OK all you classic car guys, what the heck is this thing?

Discussion in 'OFF-Topic / Misc.' started by Bucksnort101, Jul 25, 2012.

  1. Bucksnort101

    Bucksnort101 Well-Known Member

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    My father bought a 1961 Oldsmobile Super 88 a couple years ago and has been slowing going over it. Last night he showed my cousin and myself he pulled fromt he engine compartment as asked us if we knew what it was. Neither of us had a clue, neither has anyone else he asked. Looks like it was factory installed as it still has some of the original colored paint on it.
    Essentially he said the part was mounted on the frame near the radiator. Looks like just a big coild of copper wire wrapped around a heavy metal tube. He said the wire coiling was originally wrapped in some heavy black paper wrap. Wire you can see in the picture was broke loose and he cannot see where it was connected to. There looks to be a spot that another wire was soldered to the metal tube, most likely a ground wire? Anyone have a clue what this might be? Vehicle runs fine without whatever it is so it's doesn't appear to be critical to the operation of the car.


    P1000208.JPG P1000209.JPG
     
  2. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    It kind of looks like a coil with a missing cover, but if it's running I seriously doubt that is it.
     
  3. Bucksnort101

    Bucksnort101 Well-Known Member

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    That's what I first thought too, but it just had a black waxy paper covering over the wire. But I wouldn't think the Ignition coild would be mounted out of the way and up by the raditor. Old timer that owned the vehicle before my dad ket receipts and note to the repairs h had done and he was taken for a ride by some of the shops from. They did some off things with vacuum wires, replacement fuel pumps and such, so maybe it's something they jerry rigged as a coil, but it sure looks like it has the factory body colored paint on it, although a bit worn. Sure would be nice to find out where the other ends of those wires went to, but I suspect they are longgone.
     
  4. A4K

    A4K Well-Known Member

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    Drop a PM to Bob (Woljags) - he restores classic cars!
     
  5. N4521U

    N4521U Well-Known Member

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    Looks and sounds a little suspect eh?
     
  6. Aaron Brooks Wolters

    Aaron Brooks Wolters Well-Known Member

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    Buck, I'm just taking a guess here but it looks like a make shift capacitor. Maybe for a anti-theft device some one has rigged up at one time. Did a search on wiring diagrams and came up with nothing that looks like that. Here is a good link but there's nothing like that on it.Oldsmobile wiring diagrams - The Old Car Manual Project
     
  7. Bucksnort101

    Bucksnort101 Well-Known Member

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    I am starting to think it's a Gonkulator. If you don't know what a Gonkulator is ask Col. Klink.
     
  8. razor1uk

    razor1uk Well-Known Member

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    Homemade aerial, or solonoid booster coil... but why near the rad? ...closer to cooler air perchance...
     
  9. Aaron Brooks Wolters

    Aaron Brooks Wolters Well-Known Member

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    Had not thought of that Razor. Short wave radio antenna. Possible.
     
  10. Bucksnort101

    Bucksnort101 Well-Known Member

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    Great minds think alike. I was just Googling and looking up Ignition Coil boosters. I'm really starting to think this is part of some homemade contraption, but parts are either hidden or removed. The thing that throws you off is the color of the metal matching the paint color and the placement, but it makes sense to put it there for cooling.
    Only other thing that comes to mind is some sort of radio noise suppressing device, but it would be pretty heavy duty for that purpose.
     
  11. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    Um....I'm sure the FBI is not tracking you guys in any way.................honest!

    :magnifyglass:
     
  12. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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  13. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    If the was near the radiator, then it would most likely have been not too far from the regulator. In '61, GM was starting to use the Delcotron alternator, but some vehicles still had a generator. This was most likely a large Cap to even out the voltage as the vehicle's RPM varied. Not saying this is exactly what that is, but I have seen similiar devices on vehicles of that age (and older)
     
  14. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    I think you could be right there Dave. Many British cars, probably most in fact, still had dynamos (generators) up until the early 1970s, and were fitted with a voltage regulator. This looked similar, although smaller, I guess due to the small engines we had then, and was normally housed in a bakelite box-like cover.
     
  15. Bucksnort101

    Bucksnort101 Well-Known Member

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    Can't see that this is a capacitor as it is just a large coil of wire wrapped around a steel cylinder. More likely a power choke/resistor of some sort, as it just looks to have two leads coming from it. Could still be part of a Generator circuit I guess, not sure if the car has an alternator or generator, will have to ask.
    He is taking it up to an Oldsmobile collectors show this weekend, hopefully someone there knows what it is for sure.
     
  16. mikewint

    mikewint Well-Known Member

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    wire wrapped around a steel core is an electromagnet. If there is a second coil of wire then you have a Tesla coil and it is part of the ignition system producing high voltage for spark. No second coil and you are looking at a resistor used to decrease voltage. Any resistor heats up thus the mounting near the cool air supply
     
  17. T Bolt

    T Bolt Well-Known Member

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    Flux Capacitor? :lol:
     
  18. Bucksnort101

    Bucksnort101 Well-Known Member

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    I was wondering how long that would take. Good thing the information on this site is offered for free, I'd hate to think I'd have to pay;)
     
  19. Messy1

    Messy1 Well-Known Member

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    #19 Messy1, Jul 27, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2012
    Curious myself. Can't wait for positive ID.
    I'm with everyone else in thinking it has something to do with the ignition system or charging system. Possibly some type of early attempt at boosting the radio's range possibly? There were a ton of hokey things being done to cars back in the day to appear more modern, little gimmicks added by car makers to sell more cars. This could be something like that.
     
  20. Bucksnort101

    Bucksnort101 Well-Known Member

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    Sure does seem like it is an electronic choke of some sort, possible an RF Choke to block noise from the ignition system. Seems to be way to heavy duty for a radio component, but who knows.
    Might see the vehicle this weekend so I'm going to try to see if I can find where the other end of the broken wires are, if they are still there at all.

    On second thought, maybe it's a hotdog cooker? Put your dogs on there as you drive to the picnic area, and they are cooked when you arrive.
     
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