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DELCO 'MAILBOX COIL' SUBSTITUTE


Terry Wiegand
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For those who have early Buicks with the Delco Coil sitting atop the Starter/Generator unit, when these coils give out a serious problem is created.  These things haven't been available for almost 100 years.  I have learned that there were two fellows in the Twin Cities area that had the capability of rewinding these coils.  Hold onto your shorts - it is not a cheap proposition.  I was told 3 or 4 years ago that they were getting upwards of $600.00 to do one of the coils.  Right now I have two cars that use this particular coil.  The 1916's coil went South and the one on the 1920 is still as hot as ever.  It bit me and my forearm hurt for almost a half hour.  I needed a coil for the '16 and I believe that I have come up with the solution to this problem.  I bought a modern 6-Volt Coil from Brillman Tractor Parts and I have designed a bracket to hold the coil in position on top of the S/G unit.  I have a friend who is doing the computer work in creating the drawing for me.  He should be finished with that the first part of next week.  I hope to have the drawing at Chickasha with me next week.  We are going to make the holding bracket using Aluminum and the bottom support piece will be salvaged from a Delco coil.  Both parts will be Anodized and the idea here is to create a bracket that will look for all the world like it left the factory at Flint on the car.  When I get this all done and in place on the car, I am going to make my engineering available to anyone who requests it so that they could do the same thing that I did for their car.  I am posting some photos to show approximately what the unit could look like and how it will be placed on the S/G unit.  Brillman tells me that their coils are 'HOT' as in 55,000 Volts Hot!  The short time that I had the engine running using their coil - it ran perfectly.  As things come together, I will be posting updates and photos when they become available.

 

Terry Wiegand

South Hutchinson, Kansas

AACA Life Member #947918

 

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

There is good news to report on the Delco Coil alternate.  I picked up the machined parts from McPherson this afternoon.  It is nice to see the plans starting to finally come together.  This bracket is what the coil that I got from Brillman Tractor Parts will fit into.  I asked the folks at the machine shop to not deburr the pieces.  I am taking them to Wichita tomorrow and leave them with the folks who are going to do the Black Anodizing.  They will run them through their tumble burr machine with a fine grade of media material.  I did not want to slip the new coil into the bracket now and run the risk of scratching that new coil.  The coil is pictured in the photos above and I wrapped it to protect the finish.  I am hoping that the lead time for the Anodizing won't run too long and maybe we could have the car in the McPherson College show in May.  More photos as they are available.

 

Terry Wiegand

South Hutchinson, Kansas

AACA Life Member #947918

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  • 2 weeks later...

I picked up the Anodized bracket this afternoon.  I will get more photos once I can get into my shop building.  We have had hurricane force winds here for the last two days.  Everyone is pretty much confined indoors.

 

Terry Wiegand

South Hutchinson, Kansas

AACA Life Member #947918

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Edwin,

 

We will be there for sure.  If the weather will just cooperate so that the shop building can be opened up I will be able to get everything put back together rather easily.  Ben, we're talking about McPherson College

and the annual car show that the Restoration Program students put on.

 

Terry Wiegand

South Hutchinson, Kansas

AACA Life Member #947918

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You could always use one of these to put a modern coil in.  Just paint it the color you want.  Always look at all of the other goodies you get with the box.

 

https://www.amazon.com/Fun-Express-Little-Tinplate-Mailbox/dp/B001J8SYV4/ref=sr_1_6?keywords=mini+mailbox&qid=1649548227&sr=8-6

Edited by Larry Schramm (see edit history)
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Morgan;

  Here is a pic of the coil on my 1916 Buick..........looks the same! I've had it on the car since I got it 15 years ago, the only thing that I had to change is that ballast resister in the end which developed an intermittent ground. I had another one but would up fixing that one.

 

  AndyIMG_0235.JPG.3cbd246aef08cc89ebf79a5b84cdef85.JPG

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I have the very same setup on the 1920 K-46.  When I changed out the original and hard as a rock plug wires on this car, that old coil bit me really good.  My arm hurt for almost half an hour.  No doubts here - that original to the car coil has a lot of fire left in it for being 103 years old.  I could not say that about the coil on the '16.  It was dead and had been for who knows how many years.  Checking the continuity on one of these coils will not tell you anything about the internal condition of the primary and secondary windings.  I should mention that the 1920 has less than 5,000 actual miles on it since it was built.

 

Terry Wiegand

South Hutchinson, Kansas

AACA Life Member #947918

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4 hours ago, Terry Wiegand said:

I have the very same setup on the 1920 K-46.  When I changed out the original and hard as a rock plug wires on this car, that old coil bit me really good.  My arm hurt for almost half an hour.  No doubts here - that original to the car coil has a lot of fire left in it for being 103 years old.  I could not say that about the coil on the '16.  It was dead and had been for who knows how many years.  Checking the continuity on one of these coils will not tell you anything about the internal condition of the primary and secondary windings.  I should mention that the 1920 has less than 5,000 actual miles on it since it was built.

 

Terry Wiegand

South Hutchinson, Kansas

AACA Life Member #947918

When you are working on these remember the capacitor is in the bottom of the coil.

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