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Jerald.Krutsch

6 to 12 volt conversion 49 Buick special

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I have a couple of questions. Is there an advantage to changing my Buick over from 6 to 12 volts? I plan to keep the car as stock as possible. What is involved in making this change if I decide to do so?

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Benefits of AACA Membership.

There is really no reason to do this. I have driven my 40 with a 6 volt system ove 100,000 miles and it has NEVER let me down. Why waste the time and money ???

If it aint broke, don't fix it

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12V lights are a little bit brighter, 12V batteries are cheaper and easier to get, and it makes it possible to add aftermarket radios a little easier. But in an otherwise stock car there is little to be gained by converting to 12V. A well-maintained 6V system in a car designed to run on one is not a problem.:)

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I have changed a few cars and finally concluded, the improvement is not enough to justify the cost and trouble involved. It is much better to repair what is wrong with the 6 volt system rather than change to 12 volts. 6 volts work fine if everything is up to spec.

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If you want an AM_FM -CD player for cruisin' use a 6-12 volt inverter and put it in the glove box. Mine runs this kind of unit just fine and also has enough power to run my CB.

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You can also use a portable 9V/110V set. Wire the battery connections to your 6V system and it will work fine.

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I have also found that running my CB from a 12 volt jump[ box does away with most of the static in the system

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Jerald, I agree with all the above. I can think of only one reason to convert and that is if you wanted to install an AC. Otherwise, make certain both battery cables are at least as heavy gauge as original. Heavier is better. Perhaps run a heavier gauge wire from the generator to the battery post on the starter. This is what I have done on my '50.

Good luck

Ben

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I have had 6-volt DRIVERS since getting my license in the early 1980's, and have never "had" to switch one to 12-volts.

Make sure everything with your stock electrical system is correct: proper size battery cables

(#2 or better yet - #0 gauge), clean and tight connections (if some one has replaced original terminals with modern "crimp terminals", replace them with soldered-on lugs; get rid of any crimped butt-splices!).

If your Buick still has the original starter-switch linked with the gas-pedal, make extra-sure your engine is correctly tuned, and the carb is working correctly.

If your original generator is not capable of providing enough amperage to run all your accessories ( I believe 35 amps was the maximum output of the highest-capacity 6-volt generators...), you can source a 6-volt alternator ( GM "one-wire") in a variety of outputs up to 65 amps (maybe more), paint it satin black, and only the "purists" will notice.

Certainly a lot easier than switching the whole system to 12-volts.

My '28 Ford Coupe came with one of these alternators, and unless I plan on having the car judged, I don't think I will change it.

Modern 6-volt Sealed Beams are just as bright as their regular 6012/6014 cousins ( have to meet SAE / DOT standards)... if your headlights are "dim" at road speed, make sure you are running modern 6-volt Sealed Beams (Wagner are best; Sylvania are dodgy) and that they are correctly aimed, and make sure ALL the headlight wiring / connections are clean and tight, ESPECIALLY the ground wires, which usually goes from the headlight plug to the headlight bucket for a chassis ground.

On most 20+ year-old vehicles, chassis-grounds have gotten rusty (even if the body finish "looks great"), and there's a lot of resistance there... you can run ground jumpers from the headlight plugs back to a convenient spot on the frame or even the grounded terminal of the battery.

I ran ground jumpers on my trusty-crusty '41 De Soto, and the lighting brightness improved dramatically AND it stopped popping the SFE-30 fuse on the headlight switch.

Unless you want A/C, a properly functioning 6-volt system is entirely viable.

Edited by DeSoto Frank (see edit history)

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