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Converted to 12v


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Yes Peter, I'd be curious as well as to why one would convert to 12 volt, which in my own experience with many 6 volt cars gains just about nothing in a properly maintained vehicle, unless you love your wife and she insists on your installing A/C or a CD player or she's leaving you and taking everything with her except you and your hot car. It seems that some folks think converting to 12 volt means you no longer have to keep your engine in tune, use correct size battery cables, clean the grounds, etc. Conversion seems to be a national preoccupation these days.

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A/C would be nice :-)

The guys where I'm getting some of the work done have pushed me down this path. I haven't done anything except gather parts. Its starting to sound like far too much.

The car has been under powered in lighting, will stall if the turn signals are left on too long and is a challenge to start the motor. I thought that 12v would eliminate these issues.

- Mark

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I suggest you're going down the wrong path to solve those problems. 6-volt cars, when new or properly maintained, do not have such problems. I suggest you start at the battery, make sure it's fully charged, and then make sure you've got 6 volt battery cables, "O" gauge or larger (and not the Pep Boys skinny little 12 volt cables). Then make sure the connections and especially the ground connections are clean and bright. If that doesn't solve it, find a better diagnostician and not someone who just wants to "paint over" problems.

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G'day all, I would suggest that you look at your starter motor to see if it is a Delco Remy or Auto-lite. If it is a Delco Remy from 1951-54 then it has a stall torque of 16 ft lbs. Get hold of a 51 to 54 Auto-lite ( Part No's MCL 6113 or MCL 6114 0r MCL 6122) as these have 25 ft/lbs stall torque. An MCL 6113 Auto-Lite should be fitted to your 51-400 anyway, but it may have been changed to a Delco. I fitted one of the Auto-Lite 25 ft/lbs starters to my 38 Six and it really makes a huge difference. Also, as Owen suggests, the cable dimensions and good connections are of primary importance. If your lighting and general electrics are not in good condition your battery, charging system and connections sound suspicious. You should be maintaining at least 8 volts with a charged battery and your lights on, it's in your service manual anyway. The Packard service manual for 51-54 states that 80% of all automotive electrical problems are caused by bad connections and defective leads. Best regards Peter Toet

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Thanks guys. I'll check these things out. The battery cables are not the big flat ones, they do look tiny now that I think about it. The previous owner may have put the wrong ones on. I had the generator rewound this year hoping that was the source.

I'll peek at the starter this evening and check the battery level. Can you tell if a battery is in need of replacing? This one is only 3 years old.

- Mark

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There are two ways to check your battery, (1) with a professional tester which checks the voltage under a large resistance. Perhaps your local garage has this equipment, but if not a simple voltmeter may give some clues. A static battery, under neither charge or discharge, should read about 6.6 volts. If the lead connectors between the 3 individual cells are exposed (not likely with modern batteries) any individual cell with less than 2.0 volts would indicate a failing battery. Under charge (engine at road speed) voltage acrosss all 3 cells should read about 7.8 volts, or thereabouts. If in doubt, borrow a battery from a friend's 6 volt car known to be in good condition. (2) A 2nd and traditional method is to get a battery hydrometer and check the specific gravity of the acid in each cell. A reading of 1.275 indicates a health battery; all 3 cells equal but somewhat less may indicate a battery needing charge, or beginning to fail; a single cell reading significantly less means the battery is NG.

The ground cable does not have to be the flat braided type, but must be at least an "O" gauge and you will no doubt have to order these or have them made up as most auto parts stores only stock the smaller diameter 12 volt cables which are absolutely unsatisfactory for a 6 volt car.

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You can get the thick 0-guage battery cables at a truck parts store in any length needed. Here in Houston, I go to the industrial side of town near the docks, where there is a lot of truck traffic. The regular auto parts store does a lot of truck business, and they have a big variety of cables and terminals in stock. You can buy them ready-made, or they can customize the length if needed.

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I've been down this road before and typically, changing to 12 volt causes more problems than it solves.

Such as, the starter doesn't turn over very fast because it is worn or defective. So the owner or so called mechanic as the case may be, puts on a GM tractor 1 wire alternator, coil, lights, etc burns out the radio, farts around for 6 months and finally gets the thing so it will start and run.

Then the starter burns out so he replaces it, which was all that was the matter in the first place.

Usually it is quicker easier and cheaper to keep the 6 volt system intact and just fix whatever is wrong but fix it properly, don't just hodge podge it.

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G'day ALL, Optima batteries are good batteries, however they should not be any better value than a good quality 6V or 12V truck type plate battery. I have seen a lot of Optima batteries replaced for the same reason that plate type were replaced: because they were not maintained. Batteries of today use Calcium and other elements in construction, require higher charging voltages and are lucky to last 3-5 years, whereas we used to have batteries that lasted 12-14 years. Battery technology is firmly rooted in the replace every 4-5 years ethic. I Have over 40 vehicles with batteries on charging/minding systems and modern batteries are definitely NOT up to the standard of batteries of 40 years age. best regards Peter Toet

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We have mostly all had our experiences with batteries and opinions on what's best; generally I agree with Peter Packard's comments. In my 34 Eight I've used either NAPA or Delco #7210 (?)large commercial truck and bus 6 volt battery and have generally gotten 6-7 years from them. I don't use a battery "minder" but I do put the trickle charger on overnight about once a month during the winter months, and I only use distilled water.

With my 56 Caribbean after the supply of mainline producer's Group 60s dried up, I went to the botique battery makers twice, and each was unsatisfactory, 18-24 months was about the best I got, and I've since gone to an Interstate Group 63 and painted it black. I've thought about an Ultima within an authentic Group 60 case, but the price is simply staggering and that plus the fact that the car isn't a real show car and I have one friend who has had a disasterous and very expensive failure attributable to an Optima (which they did make good on) has lead me stay with lead/acid.

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I have a 1947 Super Custom Clipper that has to sit outside all the time. And with a good set of cables and a fully charged battery. It has never failed to start. Just the other day I had a freind stop by and after setting for over a week without starting it, it started up after about an 6 to 8 seconds of cranking. (Mechanical fuel pump only.). It starts up faster if I had started it sooner. Because the other day I drove it around a little to charge up the battery and parked it in the drive way to get ready to do some work, when another friend dropped by for a cookout, after that I was showing off my Packards and the Packard I had driven earlier started right up after a 2 to 3 seconds of cranking.

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I got a NAPA 6V battery from the local Parts Source place near me.

Motor is complete and the engine bay got primer on it this morning. I had to canabilize a gear from the 288 motor.

Painting the motor this afternoon. Time was kind to me and I've replace the entire wiring harneess in the car from scratch. Generator is checked out and putting out the juice.

Cannot wait to fire it up on the weekend!!!

Any tips on last minute things I should do before I turn the key?

- Mark

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G'day all, Hope everything goes well. Just a few "tips"

1: Before you start cranking the motor seriously, pull the lead out of the centre of the distributor , keep it about 1/4 inch from the block and have someone crank the motor to check for spark.

2: prime the carby with an ounce or two of gas

3: Check the static timing for the motor, this can easily be adjusted with a timing light at idling later ( remember to disconnect the vacuum advance when checking the timing at idling) . Good luck and Best Regards, Peter Toet.

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Thanks everyone. Motor is on the hoist and I hope all the holes line up :-)

Doing a final check of wiring today, then adding the rest of the engine bay "bits"

It's like standing in a kiddie sized swimming pool :-)

- Mark

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OK, so the best laid plans of mice and mens ..LOL

The engine in mounted in the car. How I forgot to put the water pump on is beyond me but at least its at the front. Engine is a darker grey than I imagined, its the right paint, but I expected to see like a battleship grey vs a very dark soft charcol.

Did anyone else know you needed to charge a freshly filled battery? Ya... dead... was testing the lights etc and poof. so its on the trickle charger...

More tomorrow. I need a beer.

- Mark

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Best of luck with it Mark..if you need a hand with anything give me a call, I should be back in the area by friday, right now I'am in Boston Ma. on hollidays should be in Albany tonight, just doing a little site seeing and stuff...

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Sounds good Mark, are you going up to Barrie this Sept, have been planning to go up there for the weekend with my brother an do some vending there, and need to pick up some parts for the 65 Mustang as well...

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Barrie is the weekend after labour day, what style air filter do you need, for a 2bbl or the 4?? i did see a couple of 4bbl clearners last time there, same as the one i have on my patrician...

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I don't wish to change your mind, but there are serious facts to consider. Some members refuse to drive at night because 6volt headlights just aren't bright enough, and your generator can't take any higher-wattage replacement headlights. If you keep your 6-volt system, please buy an alternator for it. Generators only put out about 35-amps, and they need lots of engine speed to accomplish that.

Let's do some math:

6-volts

<span style="text-decoration: underline">X 35-amps</span>

210-Watts <--That's it, folks. You never get any more than the max.

Do you think original headlights draw 100-watts, each? What about with tail lights? If you want more light, you will draw from your battery because the generator is max'ed out.

THAT's why your local guys are urging you to go with a 12-volt system. Most 12-volt alternators are at least 55-amps. Let's do the math:

12-volts

<span style="text-decoration: underline">X 55-amps</span>

660-Watts <--More than three times the output than a 6v system, AND the alternator charges from idle speeds. By the way, most 12volt alternators are about 100amp, not 55amp, which gives 1,200watts, not 660.

Want brighter 12volt headlights? Go for it; there's plenty of capacity to spare. You can have A/C, an alarm system, stereo, electric wipers, auto start, GPS, phone charger, 400watt inverter (to make 115vac), portable tire pump, laptop charger (with the inverter), etc. Try to find ANY of these in 6volt.

Consider the cost of a 12volt battery vs 6volt. Now consider the cost of the above items (they're cheap). OEM's ALL switched over to 12volt. Not one has switched back. By the way, my 6volt starter works just fine on 12volts. It's been doing it for four years, now. It's been the best choice I ever made. Is it original? Neither are my seat belts, electric windshield wipers (that you can't see), and radial tires. I won't drive without them.

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G'day all, There is no denying that 12V has a lot going for it, however vision is still an issue on dark rainy nights in a modern car even with 100W lights and wrap around screens. I would personally recommend that if the electrical system is sound, stick with the 6V lights and system. My 53 Clipper deluxe has excellent 6V sealed beams and I regularly use it at night on interstate trips. My 38 Six now has 50/45 bulbs and relays fitted and is a lot better at night than the 32/32 bulbs running through the ammeter. Best regards Peter Toet

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I've left the car at 6v. Replaced all the wire with brand new, had the starter and generator rewound.

Fired the motor up today. Had to hand turn it a bit before the starter kicked in, but is idling perfectly. I ran the rpms up a bit then let it idle. Did this a few times.

I'll change the oil at the end of the day just to be over-cautious.

Other than that, i think it was a total sucess. the 327 roars to life when I turn the key and i cannot wait to take it for a spin.

Any other things I need to consider before I declare the work complete?

- Mark

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