1912-1913 Heinze coils and box repairs

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Darren J Wallace
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1912-1913 Heinze coils and box repairs

Post by Darren J Wallace » Mon Dec 23, 2019 3:56 pm

I thought I would share with you guys how I did some of the repair work to my original 1912 Heinze coil box and coils. For the most part, I've done nothing to the coil box other than clean it up a bit. I'm not sure whether I will leave it original or restore it, as it looks and performs just fine the way it is. The coils were completely taken apart and new primaries and secondaries were installed along with the correct "orange drop" capacitor Lang's sells. I decided to use the original iron rod cores from the old coils in the new coil assemblies to help them look authentic, plus they're already the correct length. I made up small wooden frames to hold all the new electrical parts, carefully soldered everything, and wrapped the primaries with good quality electrical tape. The coils were all tested with their original points before potting them with tar. The new wooden frames have plenty of holes to allow the tar to flow freely and fill every void. I did clean all the visible parts on each coil. The coils seem to get the best spark tested with a Fun Projects Strobe-Tester when the points are adjusted to between 0.8 and 1.0 amps. Now I know this isn't the correct setting for "regular" coils, but it seems to make the best spark with no "double spark" at the lower settings. Each coil was easy to set and they seem to hold their setting after a good run time. Checking them later, they still worked good. I've elected for the time being to keep everything looking original. My car is not mint condition, so neither should the coil box. I was happy to find this coil box as my 1913 Canadian touring was built in September of 1912. I don't know it I'll use the coil box long term but I have it to complete the car for authenticity. I have a nice new KW repro wood box in the car which operates great! How many of you actually use Heinze original coils in your cars?

By the way, anyone out there have a spare original key? I don't have one.

Merry Christmas! :)
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1913 Canadian Touring & 1905 Queen, both cars are 4 generation family owned cars

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Bob McDaniel
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Re: 1912-1913 Heinze coils and box repairs

Post by Bob McDaniel » Mon Dec 23, 2019 5:32 pm

Darren,

I don't have a spare key but when I get home will try to check my original key to see if the one you posted looks the same. I plan to do the same as you with the box in my 13 Touring and rebuild the coils along with a couple of spares in case I am out with the car and have a problem because you wont find anyone else with a coil to help you along the tour route if one stops working in your car. I don't plan to tour with my 13 but who knows after I get it going it might just be fun to take a couple of 100 mile runs someday with it.
Give an old car guy a barn and he won't throw anything away.

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AndreFordT
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Re: 1912-1913 Heinze coils and box repairs

Post by AndreFordT » Tue Dec 24, 2019 7:33 am

Here a few photos that tell how I did it some time ago.
First will be the photos of the coils.
Next post will be photos of the box.

Good luck
Andre
Belgium
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AndreFordT
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Re: 1912-1913 Heinze coils and box repairs

Post by AndreFordT » Tue Dec 24, 2019 7:34 am

Now the box.

Andre
Belgium
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Allan
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Re: 1912-1913 Heinze coils and box repairs

Post by Allan » Tue Dec 24, 2019 8:03 am

Andre, the one on y 1912 chocolate van is the same as yours, right down to the cam type lid latches. It is a really nice original which I refinished when I restored the car in the early 90's. Unfortunately, I lost the lid with its original matching number and paper instruction label on an interstate trip to Sydney. I borrowed an original lid to carefully build a replica and I was most pleased with my work, until I went to fit it. It was exactly the same dimension as the borrowed pattern, but 1/16" shorter than the one I had lost, and so does not fit well. Bugger. When I can find some matching timber I will have another try.

Allan from down under.


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Re: 1912-1913 Heinze coils and box repairs

Post by R.V.Anderson » Tue Dec 24, 2019 2:10 pm

Allan, originally the coilbox was made from Cuban mahogany. That exact species is no longer available for making lumber. It's my understanding that, years ago, some priests took seedlings from Cuba to the Philippines and planted extensive groves there, which are now being sustainably harvested. This wood is as close as we can get to the original stuff; however, a great source for the REAL original wood is in old houses being remodeled or demolished. Their mahogany door casings, made of the ORIGINAL Cuban wood, are a great source for wood for lids that will exactly match the boxes.

However, if for whatever reason you can't get any original wood, you can do a decent job of matching a new lid to an old box by creative staining. Usually the trouble is that the new lid comes out considerably lighter than the box. Careful application of additional coats followed by even more careful drying will usually do a more than acceptable job.

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Re: 1912-1913 Heinze coils and box repairs

Post by Darren J Wallace » Tue Dec 24, 2019 2:29 pm

Made a key today for the coil box :)
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1913 Canadian Touring & 1905 Queen, both cars are 4 generation family owned cars


Dropacent
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cuban mahogany

Post by Dropacent » Tue Dec 24, 2019 2:48 pm

I have a pretty good supply of Cuban mahogany should anyone decide it’s worth using on a batch of very authentic coil boxes. Probably enough for a half dozen, maybe more. I am coming to the end of my projects around here, and always searched out original wood to take care of them. This wood is in wide table leaves, and no glue joints. Tmorsher@icloud.com If you wonder if it makes a difference, just look at a new coil box compared to what these originals look like. You buy a new box, and they tell you it’s mahogany but it’s not.


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Re: 1912-1913 Heinze coils and box repairs

Post by Greg sarky k » Tue Dec 24, 2019 2:53 pm

This is my early 12 box. Before and after. Excellent Restoration by RV Anderson
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R.V.Anderson
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Re: 1912-1913 Heinze coils and box repairs

Post by R.V.Anderson » Tue Dec 24, 2019 8:59 pm

My new boxes are mahogany. Not Cuban, but still mahogany. Guaranteed.


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Re: 1912-1913 Heinze coils and box repairs

Post by J1MGOLDEN » Wed Dec 25, 2019 8:42 pm

Is the glue on those early coil boxes water soluble?

I have always wondered how you get 4 sets of dove-tails apart without destroying them.

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Mark Gregush
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Re: 1912-1913 Heinze coils and box repairs

Post by Mark Gregush » Thu Dec 26, 2019 12:10 am

Good question^.
I know the voices aren't real but damn they have some good ideas! :roll:

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Re: 1912-1913 Heinze coils and box repairs

Post by AndreFordT » Thu Dec 26, 2019 1:48 am

Some times they came apart easely with a srew driver.
Most of the times I use a paint stripper to warm up the joints and than they separate without breaking .
Pay attention not to burn them.

Andre
Belgium

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Darren J Wallace
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Re: 1912-1913 Heinze coils and box repairs

Post by Darren J Wallace » Sat Dec 28, 2019 5:35 pm

Today, I decided that if I use my coil box I would have a convenient way of quickly checking and/or adjusting them at home. I made an adapter to run them in a Strobo-Spark tester, but it will also work fine in my hand cranked coil tester! :)
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1913 Canadian Touring & 1905 Queen, both cars are 4 generation family owned cars

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Darren J Wallace
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Re: 1912-1913 Heinze coils and box repairs

Post by Darren J Wallace » Sun Dec 29, 2019 6:50 pm

Anyone know why the coils have the alphabet numbers on them? Better yet, why the fraction on the one?
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Scott_Conger
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Re: 1912-1913 Heinze coils and box repairs

Post by Scott_Conger » Sun Dec 29, 2019 7:23 pm

Darren

a little bit of info, though not all you're looking for: https://www.google.com/search?q=mtfca+l ... e&ie=UTF-8
Scott Conger

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Re: 1912-1913 Heinze coils and box repairs

Post by R.V.Anderson » Mon Dec 30, 2019 11:43 am

Around the time of the T's introduction, the Heinze Electric Co. patented a mortise and tenon joint between pairs of its coils. The idea was to make the units a bit more secure in the box, helping to keep them from bouncing around in the box and losing contact. This joint required that the coils be made with one thick side to accomodate it. These thick sides then had to be adjacent to those of other coils, which meant that the coils had to be made and installed in the box in pairs, with "male" and "female" sides. These coils were stenciled with "M" and "F" so the assemblers would know which coils would get the tenon glued in. This was the first style Heinze coil used on the Model T:
Heinze stencils 001.JPG
When the coilbox lid was changed to include a pair of notched strips that, together with the cam style latches, kept the coils firmly in place, this joint was no longer needed and was eliminated, although the thick side was continued, probably because of the cutting machinery. These units were then stenciled "L" and "R," probably for "Left and Right":
Heinze stencils 004.JPG
Late in 1911, the "L" and "R" was changed to "Z" and "Y:"
Heinze stencils 005.JPG
I have no idea why this change took place. The best guess I can come up with is that Lowell, MA, where the Heinze Electric Company was located, had a very large Greek immigrant population, quite a few of whom worked for Heinze. Many Greek surnames begin with "Y" or "Z". Perhaps that had something to do with it.

Very early in the 1912 model year, the thick side was eliminated (all sides were now the same thickness) and the stencil changed to a large upper case "I". This continued into late 1912 when it changed to a more squat upper case "I" with prominent horizontal bars. The two 1912 units are shown side by side for comparison:
Heinze stencils 006.JPG
Finally, for 1913, the stencil changed to a large upper case "K":
Heinze stencils 008.JPG
In the quite different 1914 units, not shown here, the letters changed to "O" and later on, "A".

There are many other coil construction details accompanying these stenciling changes, but I'm focusing only on the stencils since that was Darren's question. Some markings, such as the "1/2" on Darren's coil and the long stream of small numbers on some other coils, have no known explanation. All the details I know, probably more than anyone is interested in, will appear when the article I'm working on for the magazine comes out.

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Darren J Wallace
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Re: 1912-1913 Heinze coils and box repairs

Post by Darren J Wallace » Mon Dec 30, 2019 7:36 pm

Thank you very much RV! And thank you everyone else who has chimed in here! Very valuable info for sure!
1913 Canadian Touring & 1905 Queen, both cars are 4 generation family owned cars

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