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8 volt battery


Guest LHazleton
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Guest LHazleton

My 47 Ford has an 8 volt battery.

The car has been sitting dormant for over a year & a half and I'd like to get it running again. My question is, will I be able to use a 12v charger, or will this do damage to the battery? When I use the 6v setting, it reads 100% and won't charge anymore. Engine cranks very slowly & won't even think about starting.

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you can jump off a 12 volt car to get it started, then let the car charge its own battery. do not charge the 8 volt with a 12 volt charger. when jumping with 12 volts have all electrical items such as headlites, radio, heater in the off position. your car can easily handle this as long as you don't crank for excessively long times. keep polarity the same. usually an 8 volt battery is put in a car to make up for other problems that make the car hard to start. if those other problems are addressed then the original 6 volt system is more than adequate. this issue has been well addressed on this forum so do a search and you will get alot of help. skyler

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Guest LHazleton

I brought the battery into my garage & found that it has 2 weak cells. Maybe that's why it cranks so slow. DUH.:rolleyes:

I'll just buy a new 6v battery and hope for the best.:D

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Guest Bob Call

Check the cables and the connections. A little corrosion of a 6V system will really affect its performance. I would replace the insulated cable from the battery to the starter solinoid (negative) and the ground (positive) if it is insulated. Also the cable from the solinoid to the starter. A lot of times these cables have corrosion inside the insulation that you can't see. DO NOT REPLACE WITH 12V CABLES. Make sure all connections are clean and tight. On this Ford I would use the flat woven ground cable from the battery to an engine head stud or if the battery is too far from the engine a cable from the battery to the frame and a cable from the frame to an engine head stud.

As has been stated so many times on this forum, if a 6V system is clean and tight and there is no problem with the starter, solinoid, etc. it will work just fine. Back in the day an 8V battery was a bandaid approach to corrosion or a starter that needed new bushings.

Edited by Bob Call (see edit history)
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Correct. The eight volt battery is just a Band aid for some usually minor problem. Use proper six volt cables, not twelve, and be sure all connections are clean and tight. If a six volt battery in good condition still won't get the engine turning enough to start, fix the starter. I have no trouble starting a 1923 Model T, a 1946 Allis Chalmers Model B, and a 1951 Dodge pickup on six volts.

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As I've said before, the 8 volt batteries were first popularized by used car salesmen of the day as a way to move cars off the lot. they weren't concerned about what happened after you faded from sight. L brings up a dilemma in that you can't charge them,even the car's own system won't keep it up for long. I guess they had 8 volt chargers back then but I've never seen one. You might be able to put a proper sized resistor in series into a 12 V charger circuit or if you have a 24 volt charger you could series three 8 volt batteries

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I had my 8 volt batt. go dead from sitting. I connected a 12V charger to it on low and in 5 min. it started (with the charger assist).

I know that I made a mistake going with the 8V batt. It cost $130, the petronic ign cost almost double of a 6V and now I have to run 12V bulbs.

The car is a 55 Chrysler just like the one that I had as a kid. I always had batt. problems then until I put two 6V batt. in paralle.

I should have went with a 12V batt and a 56 Chrysler generator just like the factory did!

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Guest LHazleton

Guys, Thanks for all the help!

One really dumb question; how do I know if it's a pos. or neg. ground?

I've been told it could be either. The ammeter in the dash apparently doesn't work, so I can't watch that as I crank it.

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Guest Bob Call

Flathead Ford V8'are positive ground unless someone changed it to negative ground. Hook it up positive ground and re-polarized the regulator. Instructions for polarization can be found on the internet. Search polarize battery or polarize regulator.

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Re; Daves comment "You do not have to use 12 volt bulbs. The 6 volt bulbs willwork fine on an 8 volt system; they do burn a bit brighter, but that iscertainly a plus."

I must have bought a mess of cheep 6V Chineese bulbs as they burn out regulary,

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Guest Siegfried

Years back we were cleaning up cars for display at the AACA Museum prior to its opening. Must have found close to a dozen 8 volt batteries. All were dis-charged. I used the 12 volt starting method mentioned earlier. Figured it would work because once on a road trip with my 6 volt Karmann Ghia I temporally lost the battery when I flooded the engine. Fortunately I was sitting at a gas station, and the owner was still driving a 30tys flathead 8 Ford with volt electricals. He used a 12 volt jumper pack to start my engine. None of the Karmanns 6 volt components were damaged That was about 17 years ago. Sure was happy that I ran into him.

Maybe this is something I should know. What is the difference between 12 volt and 6 volt battery cables?

Here's another question. I have a starter booster installed on the Karmann. It was there when I bought the car in 1984. Have never removed it. A VW mechanic told me that this was a fix at VW dealerships to help out a lazy starter. Seems to me that a lazy starter is having problems with electrical current reaching it. Possibly a bad ground? The battery in a Karmann is grounded to the engine case by one of the generator stand nuts. I usually have to remove the ground cable once a year to clean up oil seepage where the cable attaches.

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When you go to purchase cables demand 00( aka double ought). Many counter guys do not have a clue what you are talking about regarding that size. Have the length measurements ready for the NEGATIVE cable( positive grd) and I advise calling a battery supplier, or Y and Z wire or Rhode Island Wiring to have them make it up with the correct color and terminals. They also sell the braided ground. Avoid places like Batteries Plus. I didn't, and got welding cable inside the insulation and terminals instead of 00, as I requested. My Caddy was unforgiving for that.Ron

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You can also get the heavy cables at auto supplies in industrial areas that have heavy 18-wheeler traffic. I typically see these cables offered in a variety of over-the-counter lengths, or the counter guys can make them in custom lengths to meet your need. See below for the cars I have that all start easily on the original 6-volt systems. The Locomobile has a 525-cubic-inch engine, the Duesenberg a 420-CI, the Packard a 385-CI, and the Auburn a 278-CI.

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When you go to purchase cables demand 00( aka double ought). Many counter guys do not have a clue what you are talking about regarding that size.Ron

Not just counter guys, most people in the world. I don't know why but when wire was first sized, like sheet metal, they used a "gauge" where the higher the number the smaller the wire so # 12 is good for 20 amps and #14 is good for 15 amps. When you get down to #1 it's good for 100 amps and #0 is 125. You can't go lower than "0" so you go to "00" which is rated for 150 amps. after 0000 they use circular mils but you don't have to worry about that. 12 volt battery cables might be #6 or #4 which is good for 55 amps or 70 amps respectively.

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I have used 8 volt batteries for years in my 6 volt positive ground cars. They turn right ovr and if I am in a noisey parking garage and can't hear the engine due to all the noise I don't have to worry I will only have one more shot at starting. I use a trickle charger made for 8 volt batteries when not on the road. It made an occasional vehicle into a no worry vehicle. Fred

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1930 Model A, 1950 Plymouth, 1951 Chevrolet - all daily drivers, all started regularly at minus 20 to minus 30 degrees with 6 volt batteries and 00 cables. Did have a bit of a problem with two of them at minus 42 one day - probably thick oil. The A started that day without a hitch.

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