Mark C

1916 Maxwell Ignition Coil

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Hello,

Getting ready to start my '16 Maxwell for the first time in 60 years! Everything is there except for the Ignition/Transformer Coil. Wondering if any of you Maxwell experts out there have any ideas what I can use in its place.

Thanks in advance for your help, Mark C

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Mark, the 1917 I'm restoring has an Atwater-Kent distributor and coil and I believe yours has a magneto. Although I've yet to hear mine run yet either I have tried to learn both ignition systems. If I understand it correctly the ignition/transformer coil was used with the dry cells only. I think you can still run your car on the magneto alone.

THE AUTOMOBILE Page 688 April 13 1916

Ignition on the Maxwell car is furnished by a Simms high tension magneto assisted by dry cells and a transformer coil to facilitate starting. The ignition system is of the dual type, having a small non-vibrating coil which is attached to the frame of the car. This coil is unaffected by either moisture or heat, and being non-vibrating there is nothing to get out of order or require any adjustment.

Four dry cells are used in connection with this system, and care must be taken to connect them correctly. This is most important, and the wiring diagram should be consulted before disconnecting or connecting any of the ignition wires.

The switch operating the battery circuit is in connection with the starting switch and when the starting pedal is depressed, thereby throwing the starting motor into operation, the current flows through the switch, coil, and magneto. As soon as the engine starts or the starting pedal is released, the circuit is automatically disconnected and the engine runs on the magneto. It is readily apparent that the operation is extremely simple with the additional advantage that it is impossible to unconsciously leave the swtch on and thus run down the batteries.

To start, the spark should be fully retarded__not only to eliminate the possibility of back-firing but because the spark is actually hotter when the spark control lever is fully retarded, with the engine running at a very slow speed. At medium or high speed the best results are secured with the ignition partly or fully advanced.

Hope this helps, Howard Dennis

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Mark,sorry this reply is so disjointed but I stand corrected on my previous answer, I knew I had another piece to this puzzle but couldn't find it and then I had to figure out how to get it on here!

This may explain why I see so many Maxwells with magneto's other than the correct Simms units.

Hope it clears up the systems function for you.

Howard Dennis

post-33891-143138142102_thumb.jpg

post-33891-143138142105_thumb.jpg

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Mark C. I have a 1916 Maxwell which has been restored ground up. I too have the same problem you seem to have in that I find it difficult to start the engine withe the electric starter as the engine simply does not turn fast enough for the Simms-Huff Magneto to produce a good spark at cranking speeds. Were you ever able to find anything on the "Intensifying Coil" itself? Seems to me that would be the key to solving our problems. I have never been able to find any literature about the coil itself or where I could get my hands on one. Would appreciate information you might have.

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Hello Duke, I have not found anything on the "non-vibrating coil." I'm not sure if it was made by Simms, Maxwell or a third party. Just the grainy picture in the parts catalog is all I have to identify the piece. A local antique car expert has told me that another coil from the same period would likely do the job. I have collected a few of these devices off eBay, but have yet to test them on the car. Progress has been slow lately, not finding much time to work on the car. If I should have success in the future, I'll let you know what I did to achieve it. Good luck with your Maxwell. . . Mark C

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Hello Duke, I have not found anything on the "non-vibrating coil." I'm not sure if it was made by Simms, Maxwell or a third party. Just the grainy picture in the parts catalog is all I have to identify the piece. A local antique car expert has told me that another coil from the same period would likely do the job. I have collected a few of these devices off eBay, but have yet to test them on the car. Progress has been slow lately, not finding much time to work on the car. If I should have success in the future, I'll let you know what I did to achieve it. Good luck with your Maxwell. . . Mark C

Mark, I appreciate the information. Seems like Maxwells are rare enough and or old enough that information like what we are talking about is slow and hard to come by. I will appreciate anything you come across, no matter when. Thanks, Duke

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If your Maxwell has a distributor you can go to your local auto parts store and purchase a universal coil. If I remember correctly your car should be a 12v system. Get a 12v coil with a internal resistor. The original Atwater Kent distributor runs on 6v so the voltage needs to be reduced. If you can't find a coil with the resistor built in the coil, purchase an ignition voltage reducer. By all my literature magnito ignition was for export cars unless special ordered. You will also need a coil bracket . Also the Atwater Kent distributor housing will mount in place of the mag. Your mag mounts on a bracket bolted to the side of the motor block and the distributor mounting bolts on the same bracket. I know this dist was used until 1920 or 1921. Thanks Randy

Edited by RWitz (see edit history)

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Simms-Huff magneto ignition was used on all Maxwells until late 1917 when a Simms labor strike caused Maxwell to switch to the new Atwater-Kent Type CC distributor ignition system.

Howard Dennis

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On 12/5/2009 at 5:54 AM, Mark C said:

Hello,

Getting ready to start my '16 Maxwell for the first time in 60 years! Everything is there except for the Ignition/Transformer Coil. Wondering if any of you Maxwell experts out there have any ideas what I can use in its place.

Thanks in advance for your help, Mark C

i have a genuine 1914 car it has the ignition/transformer  coil on it , i know this is going back a bit but do you want a decent picture if i can get it off?

pete

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Here's pictures of the only one I've ever seen, sent to me by the owner of a 1915 Maxwell:

Howard Dennis

 

MaxCoii01.jpg

MaxCoil02.jpg

MaxCoil03.jpg

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