Identifying correct coil box for early 1913

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Darren J Wallace
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Identifying correct coil box for early 1913

Post by Darren J Wallace » Fri Apr 05, 2019 7:35 pm

One thing I find fascinating, and fun with the ongoing repairs, restorations and upgrades, is trying to put my car back to as "period correct" as reasonably possible. My 1913 Canadian touring was built in September/October 1912. It has quite a few 1912 features. B-872 engine, steering column, front fenders, all lights, running boards, spring shackles are just some of the components Ford of Canada was using up when they built my car.
I'm now wondering about the coil box. Currently, it's a typical 1913-1914 metal box with the Canadian ID plate. The more I read, the more I think it should have had a wood coil box originally.

Would my car have originally had a wood coil box? If it should, I'm thinking that the KW replica the vendors sell would be the best choice. This way I can use my oxidized 6 screw metal top coils I currently run in it now.

I'm curious to what you guys think, and why it should, or should not be changed.

This car has been in my family since 1956, and no one in my family changed it. It was sold new, less than 10 miles from where we live. If it was changed, I wonder why it was changed, and the fact that it's technically a 1913 coil box, why so early into the car's life? The only thing that makes any sense to me was that the original wood coil box was one of the less common proprietary manufacturers that made their own coils. The box, and,or the coils started to fail, and the original owners opted for the improvement at an early period.

Or.... is it the fact that it's a Canadian car make all this stuff make sense?

What say you all?
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1913 Canadian Touring & 1905 Queen, both cars are 4 generation family owned cars

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Re: Identifying correct coil box for early 1913

Post by Darren J Wallace » Fri Apr 05, 2019 7:55 pm

My car from 1929, the earliest known photo of it.
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13 T in 1929 wedding of Louise Sippel and Farrell B Kinnaman in Cleveland Ohio.jpg
1913 Canadian Touring & 1905 Queen, both cars are 4 generation family owned cars


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Re: Identifying correct coil box for early 1913

Post by R.V.Anderson » Fri Apr 05, 2019 8:14 pm

Canadian cars may have been different, but I think that early on they pretty much followed the pattern of US production. If so, then your car could have come with the early K-W, a Heinze, or a Kingston coil box. If you have no way of researching it, through the Canadian archives or even from old photos, then it would be your choice.


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Re: Identifying correct coil box for early 1913

Post by Russ T Fender » Fri Apr 05, 2019 9:30 pm

My late '12 originally had a Heinze box. Years ago and before they started reproducing the coils for it I replaced it with a metal box when the coils failed. Later, I replaced the metal box with a Heinze repro box dimensioned to take KW coils and the original is still sitting on the shelf with 4 bad coils. I bet a lot of cars experienced the same scenario.


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Re: Identifying correct coil box for early 1913

Post by Original Smith » Fri Apr 05, 2019 9:41 pm

That photo doesn't make me think it has the original engine, or at least the original crankcase. The pan doesn't look very tea cup! Any of the major coil box makers would probably be ok for your car. I prefer the KW brand, but now that points are easy to get, choose what you like. Like you, I ran a metal box for years, but finally decided to put the real thing on the car. Haven't regretted it at all. The early 13 KW coils work great.


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Re: Identifying correct coil box for early 1913

Post by Colin Mavins » Fri Apr 05, 2019 10:18 pm

Hello again there are 3 1913 here in Manitoba one of which is not restored with a B block all 3 are Canadian cars and all are wood coil box with the triangle KW switch key on the right side,The brass plate has no paint on it . As for what you have how my 1912 had the same upgrade, the picture is the day Dad bought it 1960
6.jpg

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Re: Identifying correct coil box for early 1913

Post by Darren J Wallace » Sat Apr 06, 2019 9:52 am

Larry, The engine pan was changed but the original engine was kept. I have a correct pan, but I'm not going to change it until the engine needs to come out, or a winter project to go over the engine some day. It's still the same pan as in the photo :)
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Re: Identifying correct coil box for early 1913

Post by Original Smith » Sat Apr 06, 2019 10:11 am

KW coil boxes are starting to get a little pricey. The last one I saw for sale was $900. The best part is, the switch is the same as the master vibrator, which are easy to find. but you have to find the correct plate.


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Re: Identifying correct coil box for early 1913

Post by Drkbp » Sat Apr 06, 2019 1:45 pm

Colin,

Did the Canadian body manufactures "date/number" the bodies on the front seat base like the U.S.?

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Re: Identifying correct coil box for early 1913

Post by Original Smith » Sat Apr 06, 2019 6:09 pm

Here is a photo of a KW box I picked up two or three years ago. It even had three original coils in it, no switch, porcelains, or contacts inside. With a week I had it on the car, and running. I didn't refinish it.
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003.JPG
Coilbox Side.JPG
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Re: Identifying correct coil box for early 1913

Post by Darren J Wallace » Sat Apr 06, 2019 6:40 pm

Very nice Larry! Thanks for sharing, and thanks to all who have chimed in here! It is very much appreciated! Nice enough day today to get her out and go for a ride!
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Re: Identifying correct coil box for early 1913

Post by Darren J Wallace » Sat Apr 06, 2019 7:18 pm

Will the original or reproduction 1912-13 KW coil boxes hold the standard style coil?
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Re: Identifying correct coil box for early 1913

Post by Allan » Sun Apr 07, 2019 7:00 am

Darren, I went to an early version of the Truefire system because I ran out of early coils which worked. I wanted to keep the original coilbox rather than go to a reproduction that would take the later coils. I can well understand the coilbox being substituted to get around the early coils.

Allan from down under.

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Re: Identifying correct coil box for early 1913

Post by MikeSommers » Sun Apr 07, 2019 10:17 am

My U.S.'13 has a block date of April 3, 1913. It had a metal coil box, but it I was told that there was an 'upgrade' program that allowed owners to swap out their old box and coils for a new and improved metal box and coils. I talked to RV Anderson, and he felt that an April 1913 T would have been built with the dwindling supply of wood boxes. And the coils in these wood boxes are slightly larger then standard coils. I had him build a 1913 period correct box and coils, which look fantastic. Although not cheap, it is a showpiece for the car. Given that you have earlier parts in your car, I would go with the wood box.
Closer Firewall 2.jpg
Coil Box 3.jpg
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Re: Identifying correct coil box for early 1913

Post by MikeSommers » Sun Apr 07, 2019 10:23 am

Darren,
I don't think your horn is period correct. All the '13s I have seen have a bulb horn (which looks better than the A-U-GA mechanical horn). I don't know what year they started using the later horns.
Mike

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Re: Identifying correct coil box for early 1913

Post by Darren J Wallace » Sun Apr 07, 2019 11:38 am

Mike, That's a beautiful car you have! Thanks for sharing! I have the correct bulb horn on my car, the Klaxon was put on in the 1920's. You can still see it in this 1956 family photo. This photo also shows the incorrect bulb horn which I have saved, and installed the correct one. The 1920's photo also shows the wrong brass horn as in the 1956 pic. All the fun of correcting out the car :)
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Re: Identifying correct coil box for early 1913

Post by Darren J Wallace » Sun Apr 07, 2019 11:55 am

So I have this idea of buying one of the Vendor's reproduction boxes for the regular coils, the switch, and parts. I've put so much time money and effort into a nice set of 1913-ish regular style coils I thought this might be the best way to go for me (?). Snyder's web site says the holes in the firewall have to be elongated in order to fit. Lang's site does not state this. I really do not want to alter my firewall, even though it is a replacement.
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Re: Identifying correct coil box for early 1913

Post by Darren J Wallace » Sun Apr 07, 2019 12:00 pm

So how obvious of a change would this be using the wood coil box with later coils? If it's a blatant thing, then maybe I'd consider going to authentic style coils.
If the only way to tell that's it's not 100% correct is to look under the coil box lid, I can live with that. My car will never be a show car, and small hidden changes like what I'm proposing don't bother me. To me, it's like having modern Timken bearings in the wheels as an example.
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Re: Identifying correct coil box for early 1913

Post by Russ T Fender » Sun Apr 07, 2019 12:25 pm

When I went from an original Heinze wood coil box to a repro box that uses the later coils it did not require any modifcation of the dash and In my opinion the difference in size is not noticeable unless the have the two side by side or take a measuring tape to it! Others may be more observant but my primary concern was reliability


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Re: Identifying correct coil box for early 1913

Post by Original Smith » Sun Apr 07, 2019 1:04 pm

All of the mounting holes, and the firewall holes are the same as later years.


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Re: Identifying correct coil box for early 1913

Post by R.V.Anderson » Sun Apr 07, 2019 2:53 pm

Darren, if it were my car, I'd run it with the later box while keeping my eyes open for a correct wooden box and coils. You might get lucky and find the whole setup, or you may have to get the box here and then one or two coils there. Keep in mind that you have a choice of coil makes since you don't know what it originally came with and as Larry points out, all of the boxes were made to fit the one dash, so they will all interchange on yours. Original wood boxes and coils of all makes aren't everywhere but they aren't rare, and since all parts of all early style coils are being exactly reproduced :oops: :P any coil can be rebuilt regardless of condition.


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Re: Identifying correct coil box for early 1913

Post by Allan » Sun Apr 07, 2019 7:16 pm

R.V. If my Truefire ever goes down, I was entertaining the thought of converting to an E timer. This would allow me to use original coils with the points bridged as they are when a master vibrator is used. What tests should I run on the coils to check if they are usable in this way?

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Re: Identifying correct coil box for early 1913

Post by Mark Gregush » Mon Apr 08, 2019 12:38 am

My friend om mines 1912 has had a metal coil box in it for well over 50 years. It is part of it's history and has been on the car from maybe the 50's when it was redone (note I did not say restored). He has a Heinze box and I have been slowly redoing the coils for it, but they are the 1913 style. I told him that the box that was on it is part of ist's history and should just stay there. Besides the newer coils are easier to replace and work on.
I know the voices aren't real but damn they have some good ideas! :shock:

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Re: Identifying correct coil box for early 1913

Post by R.V.Anderson » Mon Apr 08, 2019 11:26 am

Allan, you would need to check the coil units' windings and condensers using an ohmmeter. The primary (one ohmmeter lead on the bottom contact and the other on the coil vibrator with points separated) should register about one-half ohm resistance and the secondary, or high tension windings (one lead on each of the two side contacts), should register around 3,000. This last will vary with the make of coil and its condition, but generally if a coil registers less than 2250 ohms it has shorts and its output will be reduced accordingly, though it may still work. If the coil passes muster this way, I next check for a high voltage short or arc between the primary and secondary windings using a megger after disconnecting one side of the condenser. This is frequently caused by operating the coil without being properly connected to a spark break that allows the secondary to arc outside of the coil. In this case, the coil will spark just as happily but the spark will be inside the coil where it's useless for our purpose. One last thing: the units should all have new, proper condensers installed. Originals always leak, some terribly, some will still function, but don't mess around. Replace them.

Also, one note on Heinze coils: some late style units are wired differently internally; to check the secondary on these, place one ohmmeter lead on the bottom contact and the other on the lower side contact.

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Re: Identifying correct coil box for early 1913

Post by Mark Gregush » Mon Apr 08, 2019 12:48 pm

LOL wish I could correct my bad english after the fact! :lol: "A good friend of mine's" not "My friend om mines ".
I know the voices aren't real but damn they have some good ideas! :shock:

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Re: Identifying correct coil box for early 1913

Post by festanley » Mon Apr 08, 2019 4:18 pm

Darren,
My brother has an early 13 and I own a mid year 13. Both cars have the wood boxes with the triangular KW switch. When I got my car a set of later coils had been jury rigged with extensions on the contacts to use them in the early box. It was not a good solution. Over a number of years we have acquired 4 sets of the early KW coils. We wanted the proper coils and spares for our cars because we do drive them. The early coils do turn up but you have to be diligent about looking for them.

Brent Mize (The Coil Doctor) can rebuild the early KW coils and he has done several sets for us. Normally you would scrap a common KW coil that had a bad secondary but the early coils are scarce enough that replacing the secondary winding is worth the cost and Brent can do that as well. The early KW coils work just as well as the common KW coils but they are just enough different that they don't interchange.

I would suggest to keep looking for a proper wood box and coils for your car. In the interim the metal box is perfectly good substitute.

Also the later coil boxes will fit earlier firewalls with no problem. I usually keep a complete spare coil box in the trailer when I am on tour just in case but I have never used it.

You have a nice T with a great history. The 13 T has always been one of my favorites and my brother and I both like our cars a lot.

Alan


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Re: Identifying correct coil box for early 1913

Post by troutjohn » Tue Apr 09, 2019 6:02 pm

Daren, here is another option to consider. I have a 1913 with an original KW coil box. I use later more modern coils with brass strips soldered to the contacts and wood spacers in the coils box. See 2 pictures: 1) the coils in the box with spacers. 2) 3 coils: later one, 1913 one with lower contacts, and a later coils with the soldered strips.
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Coils in 1913 box.jpg

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Re: Identifying correct coil box for early 1913

Post by Darren J Wallace » Wed Apr 10, 2019 5:05 pm

Many thanks everyone for your input! A lot of great ideas here, so I've got some choices to consider and some searching to do!
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Re: Identifying correct coil box for early 1913

Post by Original Smith » Thu Apr 11, 2019 11:42 am

I made the divider from a piece of wood I found at a hobby shop. I cut it to fit, and it slid right in. This is the piece in the center of the coil box.

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