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Whats involved in Converting from 6v to 12v on my 49 Plymouth Special Deluxe


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Hi Guys<P>I recently purchased a 1949 Plymouth Special Deluxe 4 Door Sedan, and I was wondering how involved it was to convert it from a 6v system to a 12v system. I am having charging problems anyway, and I figure that if I need to replace the generator, why not convert it to 12v? Thank you all for your help! Rich of Gaithersburg Md, Member of the Chesapeak AACA in Baltimore MD. confused.gif" border="0smile.gif" border="0

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The 6 volt system is adequate for your car,so why go to all the trouble to change it? If you change, you will need to replace all the bulbs and find a unit to drop the voltage for your radio heater and gauges, plus you will need a generator and voltage regulator. A well maintained 6V system is as reliable as a 12V

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I agree with the Old Guy, if the only problem you have is charging, either have the generator rebuilt, or you could replace it with a 6 Volt alternator. I know a lot of guys with Model A's that have added a 6 Volt, one wire, positive ground alternator. But if it was me, I would have the stock generator rebuilt.

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Because I have had so much trouble with hucksters that insisted I convert to 12 volts, it saddens me to find someone who wants to convert. The starter, and horns will never make their authentic sounds again. They wont last as long. The ignition coil must have a resistor fed running circuit or it will burn out and strand you. Ignition points will become a problem. All lights will have to be replaced.<P>I think the best way out of charging problems is to get a spare generator and voltage regulator. Do this by retaining your old parts. Find a rebuilder that knows that Plymouth did not change to negative ground until 1956.<BR> <A HREF="http://www.antiqueautomobileradio.com/battery.htm" TARGET=_blank>http://www.antiqueautomobileradio.com/battery.htm</A> <P>Stay away from concourse dealers, restorers, and know-it-alls who don't know and don't care. Find a restorer that wont steal your parts. The weakest part of a generator is the armature commutator brushes, learn to replace those. The next weak point is the voltage regulator points. The voltage regulator can be set to too high a current. That will burn up a generator.<P>You can get a 6 volt positive ground alternator. <A HREF="http://www.nurex.com/show_product.asp?pid=A%2D10001%2DA" TARGET=_blank>http://www.nurex.com/show_product.asp?pid=A%2D10001%2DA</A> <BR>or even J.C.Whitney<p>[ 02-15-2002: Message edited by: Michael Crawford ]

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Hi Guys<P>Thank you for the input so far. From here and from reading a similar past posting from Nov 8, 2001 on this same subject tells me to just repair my 6v system. I did find out when I brough it home that the driver side head lamp is a quarts halogen and was dull from the beginning. I did put a old 12v battery on it, and the halagon bulb went bright, and of course the passanger side burnt out. I figured that the halagon headlamp may be a 12v headlamp which contributed to the recharging problem. I drove the car home, which was about one mile from where I was stopped (I was pulled over by a cop last nite and I was told to park it due to no headlites). ANyway, I have a shop manual which I plan to study, and will attempt to repair the charging system. I only hope I did not damage it beyond repair when driving it home one mile using a 12v battery. Thanks again for all your help. ANy more advice would be greatly appreciated too!! Happy motoring! Rich of Gaithersburg MD wink.gif" border="0

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Having been in this a number of years,I simply tell people to look up the electrical section in their manual,replace EVERYTHING!! Have fun.My 1941 still has almost all the original system,starts and runs fine.(I dont follow my own advice!)

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First you must remember 6 volts won the second world war. It is perfectly adequate if you maintain it. Two important items are there are different capacity batteries, if you use one without enough ampere/hour rating you will have rapid discharge and possibly poor engine cranking performance. The other is you must use battery cables of the proper capacity for 6 volt current flow, usually twice that of 12 volt systems. So don't use Kmart #6 or smaller wire it won't be adequate. Go to an established parts house and get "00" straps still used on trucks.

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"To get 6V halogen you would have to use pints." So if we had a couple of these we would have a quart of light? smile.gif" border="0<P>6v quartz-halogen lights, including sealed beam replacements, are available through a number of specialty suppliers.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Former owners can really do some stupid things, can't they. rolleyes.gif" border="0 And then we have to go through H trying to figure out what they did and how to fix it. Glad that getting rid of that 12 V bulb was the simple solution to your electrical problem. ~ hvs

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Its working great now! Thank you all for the advice! I found out while doing the repairs, that the previous owner had a 12v halogen headlight on the drivers side!! That really messed things up!! Anyway, thanks again for everything! Rich of Gaithersburg grin.gif" border="0

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  • 3 weeks later...

Ron ~ Maybe we aren't all as tight assed as you are rolleyes.gif" border="0, and enjoy a little humor and horseplay now and then. likewise we do not expect all of our participants to hold PhDs in English. Ooops, I missed a capital letter back there. Please forgive me for I have sinned.<P>Lighten up or go away. We have a good time on here and a lot of good information and assistance is exchanged among us semi illiterate slobs. And it really don't hurt the DF none.<P>But then of course that is just my opinion.<P>hvs

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Guest De Soto Frank

From the peanut gallery;<P>of course, in 1949, and up through 1955, it was kind of hard to put "the wrong" sealed beam in a car...<P>Mustang Rich- keep the 6-v; I've driven old 6-volt cars as every day drivers until recently, and a "properly functioning" six volt system has been adequate for me.<BR>(Kinda bums me out though, when I can't offer a stranded motorist a "jump start"! wink.gif" border="0 )<P>The usual rules apply- good proper gauge cables; clean connections; cleaned & overhauled starter & generator; etc.<P>Good lluck!

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The only thing worse than site users that pepper their messages with misspelled words, improper punctuation and incomplete sentences...<BR>are the smart-alec responses that only tend to confuse the writer even more. Everybody tries so hard to be funny. But, why as an adult wouldn't you know that "quartz" is not "quarts"? This type of thing is very annoying, but all too common on just about every site I visit. There is something gravely wrong with our education system. These folks are being graduated right along with the guy next to him who becomes the doctor or professor. Some people are just always going to be brighter than the next. No problem, we can all get along.

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Guest De Soto Frank

Ah yes...<P>"Lucas, Prince of Darkness" ( wink.gif" border="0 )<P>(Couldn't resist; mere mention of said manufacturer always elicited this response from my bestest gear-head buddy, a reformed parts-counterman!)

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Ron why so "dim"? don't you realize we are just making "light" of a simple spelling mistake. Perhaps you should be "lumen" over some other forum where they don't share our "bright" view of life. I think these guys are just "beaming" with youthful exhuberance and that "illuminates" my day. <P>Excuse me while I go fill my headlights with halogen again, seems they are "burning" a lot these days. Now what is that conversion again, 1 litre equals how many quarts...ahh the hell with it I'll just check the "lightstick".

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this is the first automotive foru i've logged into, I must say i'm amused by the variety of submitters. We,the British, never made refrigerators because nature provided an excellent alternative. And those of yopu who have had the opportunity to visit the glorious islands will understand why we don't have to chill our beer. Anyway getting back to 6 volt systems it seems to me that if -space permitting- two 6 volts were fitted it would be possible to have the best of both worlds being able to use both 6 and 12 volt equipment and be able to be jump started or jump start a 12 volt system! what do you all think? Bill brady

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Bill ~ Welcome to our little gathering place on the other side of the pond.<P>If we didn't have Lucas to pick on, some of our threads would be a lot shorter smile.gif" border="0 ~ hvs

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<blockquote>And follows the conundrum"why don't the british have capital punishment".......?<p>William Lucas designed the electric chair. </blockquote>Actually Tom Edison invented the electric chair. He used George Westinghouse's AC system to do it. He was trying to demonstrate that his DC system was a lot safer than AC. He also tried to get people use use the term "Westinghoused" rather than "electricuted."<P>But in that day prior to solid state voltage inverters the only way to send electricity significant distances required transformers which only work on AC. So Edison's DC system lost out.

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Besides, dc could only be carried short distances and needed gas or steam powered substations as Edison's Pearl st. station demonstrated.<BR>Conversely ac could safely be carried long distances with a series of stepdown transformers. A little known fact is that certain parts of NYC were still wired for dc until comparatively recently and I remember the massive buzzer inverters that converted it to ac line current, what a noise they made, in fact a friend of mine who worked for con-ed gave me a couple of super-early bi-polar rotary converters made by cutler-hammer.

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Until about 15 years ago a cousin of mine owned a loft building on 23rd St. in the Chelsea section of NYC. At that time the ground floor had been converted to AC but the upper three stories were still DC. She had a tennant who had all of his machinery operating on DC and he had been there forever. She said that if he died she probably would never find another tennant to live with the DC. She has since sold the building so I cannot determine its present electrical status. <P>At least into the mid 1950s the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in NYC had DC current in the rooms. ~ hvs<p>[ 03-16-2002: Message edited by: hvs ]

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