corleone

Maxwell ignition question

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I bought a Maxwell car and was told it was a 1914.  I just found the original coil for the car. It is an Atwater-Kent type CC coil and has a distributor cap and rotor system. Apparently the points never completely close when the car is running. Another Maxwell owner said his 1914 uses a magnetto system.  Could my car be a later model?  Thanks for the help.  

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First, check to see where your serial number falls on this chart. Maxwell didn't have a factory installed Atwater Kent Type CC distributor until late 1917 but since the Type CC was designed to directly replace a magneto it would not be unusual to find one retrofitted on an earlier car.

It would be impossible for an ignition system to function if the points never closed.

 

Howard Dennis

Maxwell serial number list.JPG

Edited by hddennis (see edit history)

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my 1916 has a bosch magneto. As Howard said, the distributor system was used later. If it will fit, I highly endorse the magneto ignition. Starts easily and runs great.

 

bob

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I have a 1916 with the distributor system.  I read that a distributor conversion kit was available in the early years and used the same distributor as the early distributor cars.  Apparently the magneto manufacturer closed due to a labor dispute and magneto parts were not available.  Bob

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I recently purchased a 1915 (as stated on the title) Maxwell touring car.  It has a magneto system. My '20 has the AK distributor which I am much more familiar with.

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My 1913 model 35 came to me equipped with the Atwater Kent unit driven by the water pump shaft. All 1913-1914 models 25, 35, and 50 came from the factory with Mags. My model 35 was a Splitdorff.

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Thank you answering my questions. I will check the ser # on the car to see what year it is. There are three places for wires on the Atwater-Kent CC coil. One is on the very top of the coil, one is about one inch down from the top just below the inspection cap, and one that is marked "S" but looks like it goes to the Distributor from the wiring diagram hddennis so kindly copied and sent. I can't tell for sure from the picture where the top two wires are supposed to go. I assume one goes to ground and the other to the ignition switch and then to the contact maker. The former owner told me the car runs and starts, but after a bit just dies and has no spark. That sounds to me like something is heating up and failing. He took the coil off and sent it to be checked and/or repaired but the place he sent it told him it was sealed and could not be repaired. I removed the cap and got to what looks like a resistor of some sort, but the rest is sealed. It appears that I have a much later car than what was indicated on the bill of sale. Any ideas will be greatly appreciated.  Thank you.

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1 hour ago, corleone said:

Thank you answering my questions. I will check the ser # on the car to see what year it is. There are three places for wires on the Atwater-Kent CC coil. One is on the very top of the coil, one is about one inch down from the top just below the inspection cap, and one that is marked "S" but looks like it goes to the Distributor from the wiring diagram hddennis so kindly copied and sent. I can't tell for sure from the picture where the top two wires are supposed to go. I assume one goes to ground and the other to the ignition switch and then to the contact maker. The former owner told me the car runs and starts, but after a bit just dies and has no spark. That sounds to me like something is heating up and failing. He took the coil off and sent it to be checked and/or repaired but the place he sent it told him it was sealed and could not be repaired. I removed the cap and got to what looks like a resistor of some sort, but the rest is sealed. It appears that I have a much later car than what was indicated on the bill of sale. Any ideas will be greatly appreciated.  Thank you.

The top wire is the feed wire coming from the ignition switch on the dash panel. I don't know why it's marked "O" but that wire goes through the hole in the distributor cap and attaches to the top screw on the right side of the condenser cover as shown in the wiring diagram. I believe the "S" terminal stands for spark and it goes in the center terminal of the distributor cap to feed the rotor and on to each spark plug wire. I have found distributors with and without the tiny braided ground wire shown in the wiring diagram just to the right of "Gear Cap 25c". It attaches to the mounting screw of the coil and a small screw in the bottom underside of the distributor body right next to the pivot point for the left hand Distributor Cap Clamp.

Hope this helps,

Howard Dennis

May 29.jpg

Edited by hddennis (see edit history)

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Thanks so much Howard. We are going to attempt to put the coil back on today and see what happens. There are several wires hanging loose and we were not sure of where to connect them. The wiring diagram is great to have. I don't know what we will do if this coil is bad. Have no clue where I might find another one. I saw an Atwater-Kent coil on e-bay, but it was for a six or eight cylinder car, don't know if that matters. This car has two 6V batteries.  We did find a ser# for the car. According to the information you sent, the car is a 1917. From what I read in one of my car books, Maxwell went to a coil from a magneto late in that year. The coil bracket on the car surely looks original to the car.

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1 hour ago, corleone said:

Thanks so much Howard. We are going to attempt to put the coil back on today and see what happens. There are several wires hanging loose and we were not sure of where to connect them. The wiring diagram is great to have. I don't know what we will do if this coil is bad. Have no clue where I might find another one. I saw an Atwater-Kent coil on e-bay, but it was for a six or eight cylinder car, don't know if that matters. This car has two 6V batteries.  We did find a ser# for the car. According to the information you sent, the car is a 1917. From what I read in one of my car books, Maxwell went to a coil from a magneto late in that year. The coil bracket on the car surely looks original to the car.

Corleone, great to hear the serial number nailed down what you have. I hate to admit it but automotive electrics are my worst subject and I tried to get every period piece of literature I could to help with my 1917. To add to the confusion I found like you Maxwell made "early" & "Late" 1917's and several different dash Panels were used during this time and you always need to make sure the diagram you're using matches your cars dash panel.

At this point I'd like you to send me what book you read about the early and late cars so I can add it to my files. In years of research I've only found 2 listings with that information, one was a newspaper article stating Simms was on strike and not supplying magnetos and the other was a period electrical manual with both diagrams. If you find and purchase a Maxwell owners manual make sure it says Seventh Edition May 1917 AND that the diagrams enclosed show your style dash panel.

Speaking of dash panels would it be possible for you to post a picture of yours so I know which type you're working with?

If it turns out you have a bad coil a few years ago I sent two to these fellows and they rebuilt them with a combination of mine and parts from their new ones. Be sure and tell them you want the original cap from yours used. They also rebuilt 3 dash panels for me. http://www.mykmlifestyle.com/Ignition_Coils_Antique_.html

 

Howard Dennis

May 30.jpg

May 31.jpg

May 32.jpg

Edited by hddennis (see edit history)

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I will look again through my books for the information on the change Maxwell made from magneto to coil. I am not sure how to post pictures on this forum but I will figure it out and send you pics of what I am working with. Strange that they did not stick with the same dash on the cars, but that is typical of what went on back then I guess. Oh the joy of working on orphan cars!

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If you decide to go with the AK system,  I have NOS points, rotors, condenser and dist cap for the car.  402-359-5762  Tom   I also have an NOS AK distributor unit that replaces the magneto unit.

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i have just bought a pink Maxwell From California and it is now in the UK, thanks for all this info, i was wondering how the electrics all worked

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