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32Ford

Converting over to 12v...

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I have a 32 Ford truck that is currently 6v w/generator. I would like to convert it over to a 12v system. Is it difficult? Is it expensive? Any ideas? Thank you

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32Ford,

Welcome to the AACA Discussion Forum. We tend to be more interested in preservation of vehicles in their original condition than modifying them. I recommend fixing what is wrong with the vehicle to put it back to work like it did when it was new rather than converting it to 12 volts. Probably the most common problem that leads people to want to convert a vehicle to 12 volts is a slow starter. That is often caused by incorrect smaller gauge battery cables designed for 12 volts being installed on a 6 volt car. Another common cause is loose or corroded connections in the electrical system. Cleaning and tightening cables along with replacing any incorrect or cables in poor condition should return the electical system to like new excellent working condition.

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Amen, MCH. 12-volt conversions are for the birds and fakey-do "retro" rod krowd. If your generator and starter are in good shape, which any decent shop can test, your ignition system in good shape including your timing where it should be, you'll start given a decent battery.

If you're due for a new battery, do yourself a favor and get a six-volt Optima www.optimabattery.com

Also important, very: Don't get "heavy duty" battery cables at the local parts emporium. Go to an over-the-road Diesel truck (Kenworth, Peterbuilt, etc.) supply house and get 00 (double aught) battery cables. Have your terminals soldered not just crimped on.

Battery cables today, HD and otherwise, are intended for 12-volt systems with their lower amperage than our 6-volt systems.

If you install a battery disconnect switch, a wise idea

in any vintage or collector car, make sure it's

rated for more amps than your starter draws.

Do the above and you'll be fine. Remember, these

cars ----all of them -- started easily in the day or

they'd never have left the showroom or dealer's lot.

*

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Thanks for all the info. I have been told to use a battery disconnect switch because of the fire hazard of not using one, as well as the possible draining of the battery. How do fires start with these vehicles by not disconnecting the battery? Just curious...

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Thanks for all the info. I have been told to use a battery disconnect switch because of the fire hazard of not using one, as well as the possible draining of the battery. How do fires start with these vehicles by not disconnecting the battery? Just curious...

Electrical fire start due to electrical problems. Batteries being drained while the car is parked is due to electrical problems. I personally see no need for a disconnect switch for a car with an electrical system in good repair. Fix the electrical system if you are worried about it.

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Frail wires can lead to short to ground anywhere the wire insulation is not good. A lot of wood in the frame and floorboards, dust as well as grease, possible gasoline leaks after the spark can start a fire. It depends a lot as how old your wiring harness may be. Replacement harness may reduce, but not eliminate the problem. Just as has been said above, these cars were not considered a serious fire risk when they, and the wiring was new.

John

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The battery disconnect that is the most reliable is to remove a battery cable from the battery.

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The battery disconnect that is the most reliable is to remove a battery cable from the battery.

That is what I do after every drive. I do NOT want to chance another fire.

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Personally, converting to 12volt is a good idea. Not expensive and easy. I converted my Chrysler 75 to 12volt years ago.

I agree that battery technology today is far better than 1930, and the biggest mistake people make is to install incorrect wiring in their vintage vehicle, but manufacturers didn't step up to 12volts and 24volts for the fun of it.

I went to 12volt because I couldn't find anybody to rebuild a 6volt generator properly. Having thrown the solder three times in four years, I finally imported a rebuild unit from the USA (which also died in 8 months). I then installed a 12volt alternator.

Plus I found that 6volt batteries don't have the same longevity as 12volt batteries.

Couple that with better starting, better performance, better reliability, more powerful lights and more readily available parts, I figured it was a no brainer.

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I had a few 6 volt cars down through the years and if the starter and cables are in good shape they usually started just as good as ones with 12 volts,with that said if I redo a 6 volt car it gets converted 12 volts since I drive them out of state and do not like to be forced to carry many spare parts and like to be able to use what can be found at the parts stores these days. If I were to get a 6 volt vehicle again and its not one that will be driven long distance I would leave it alone and make sure the starting and electrical system is in good shape.

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