guslopez1964

Recommend new alternator and battery for 1964 Buick Riviera ?

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Hey I new to the Buick Forum. I have a 1964 Buick Rivera with a 425 nailhead and want to upgrade my alternator, im almost done with my rebuild! My questions is what brand and amp settings do you recommend for an alternator? I plan on putting in a nice sound system with subs later. Would 120-140 amps be enough or go higher?

Also any places you might recommend to order some upgraded battery cables thicker gauge?

thank you,

Gustavo

1964 Buick Riviera

425 Nailhead

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Gustavo,

Welcome to the forum. I've looked for higher amp alternators that have the same case but have yet to find one. When I want larger cables, I go to a place here in the Kansas City area which rebuilds starters, generators, etc. and have them made for me; usually 2 gauge. I also bought some 2 gauge cable off a spool at my local O'Reilly Auto parts store; sold by the foot.

Ed

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Hey I new to the Buick Forum. I have a 1964 Buick Rivera with a 425 nailhead and want to upgrade my alternator, im almost done with my rebuild! My questions is what brand and amp settings do you recommend for an alternator? I plan on putting in a nice sound system with subs later. Would 120-140 amps be enough or go higher?

Also any places you might recommend to order some upgraded battery cables thicker gauge?

thank you,

Gustavo

1964 Buick Riviera

425 Nailhead

You can get over 100 amps by switching over to a later model alternator. I cant remember the alternator model number but it was standard equipment on the `80`s Rivieras (12SI?). It will bolt in but requires some wiring work because it has an internal regulator which differs from original equipment which has an external remotely mounted regulator. The later model alt. has a two wire plug in addition to the "+" post/wire. One of the two wires is simply ignition key switched and the other wire is a system voltage sensing wire which controls voltage output via the regulator. It is typical to tie this second wire into the system by looping it onto the "+" terminal of the alternator but the last time I did this conversion on a first gen car I tied the voltage sensing wire into the hot feed for the cabin in order to maintain a little higher voltage at the battery. This conversion is good for about 105 amps, full output. Keep in mind any increase in output should be accompanied by an increase in the ability of the wiring to carry the extra amps. I usually upgrade the gauge of the wiring up to the fuse box hot feed to get the extra amps to where they are needed.

Tom Mooney

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You can get over 100 amps by switching over to a later model alternator. I cant remember the alternator model number but it was standard equipment on the `80`s Rivieras (12SI?). It will bolt in but requires some wiring work because it has an internal regulator which differs from original equipment which has an external remotely mounted regulator. The later model alt. has a two wire plug in addition to the "+" post/wire. One of the two wires is simply ignition key switched and the other wire is a system voltage sensing wire which controls voltage output via the regulator. It is typical to tie this second wire into the system by looping it onto the "+" terminal of the alternator but the last time I did this conversion on a first gen car I tied the voltage sensing wire into the hot feed for the cabin in order to maintain a little higher voltage at the battery. This conversion is good for about 105 amps, full output. Keep in mind any increase in output should be accompanied by an increase in the ability of the wiring to carry the extra amps. I usually upgrade the gauge of the wiring up to the fuse box hot feed to get the extra amps to where they are needed.

Tom Mooney

Right on yall!

I been looking at summit and saw some of the 120-140amps one wire hook up, were Powermaster, Summit , and March any suggestions which brand is better? Or all about the same? here is the link. http://www.summitracing.com/search/year/1964/make/buick/model/riviera/part-type/alternators-and-generators?N=4294947043%2B4294950350%2B4294946520%2B4294944858%2B4294900037%2B4294900026&SortBy=BestKeywordMatch&SortOrder=Ascending&keyword=alternator

thank you,

Gustavo

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Right on yall!

I been looking at summit and saw some of the 120-140amps one wire hook up, were Powermaster, Summit , and March any suggestions which brand is better? Or all about the same? here is the link. http://www.summitracing.com/search/year/1964/make/buick/model/riviera/part-type/alternators-and-generators?N=4294947043%2B4294950350%2B4294946520%2B4294944858%2B4294900037%2B4294900026&SortBy=BestKeywordMatch&SortOrder=Ascending&keyword=alternator

thank you,

Gustavo

I'm a believer in Powermaster. I have one on my 1964. Great technical service is a phone call away. If you have any questions, call Brady at 630-957-4019.

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OK Riviera People: What is the advantage in a higher amp alternator than a stock set-up? Mitch

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Nothing unless you're trying to power up some big a$$ed sub woofer that takes up half your trunk.

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OK Riviera People: What is the advantage in a higher amp alternator than a stock set-up? Mitch

The advantage that driving a 50 year old car doesn't provide. (:

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The advantage is not the amps but the voltage regulation. Hence, external regulators have gone by way of the Dodo.

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I got a nice t-shirt last time I bought a regulator. Seems to work fine.

Bernie

 

post-89785-0-43385100-1432556445_thumb.j

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The advantage IS in the higher amp output as compared to the original alternator. This is necessary if one is installing high amp consumption accessories like a high end sound system or a compressor for an air ride system. It is true the more modern internal regulators are more reliable and consistent but when both regulator types are functioning properly the battery doesnt know the difference. The battery will know the difference, as will the operator, if amp consumption is higher than alternator output.

  Tom

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Sorry to resurrect, but I’m pretty sure my alternator is dying or dead.  Amp light coming on in gear and it stumbles.  Max voltage at idle in park is 13.8.  Won’t run at all in gear with the battery disconnected...

 

So, should I get original, or higher amps for my 64?  The car does have a new aluminum radiator and a temperature regulated electric fan.  And I plan on adding a decent stereo later, and possibly (probably not) an air ride system.

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You should be able to find a rebuilder who can use your original alt case and put new guts in it. 

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Unless you're concerned about having the car look original, i'd replace it with a higher amp version. My charging circuit was burned, I replaced it with a much larger gauge wire. The original is 10 gauge, and according to online load calculators, it was very undersized for future upgrades (electric fans, stereo, possibly air ride). I went with a 140 amp alt (with a breaker), and 2 gauge charging wire (including a ground to the battery from the alternator).

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8 minutes ago, jsgun said:

Unless you're concerned about having the car look original, i'd replace it with a higher amp version. My charging circuit was burned, I replaced it with a much larger gauge wire. The original is 10 gauge, and according to online load calculators, it was very undersized for future upgrades (electric fans, stereo, possibly air ride). I went with a 140 amp alt (with a breaker), and 2 gauge charging wire (including a ground to the battery from the alternator).

Got any details on the breaker and/or pics of your 2g set up?  I did order a 120 amp alternator and that Year One harness adapter.

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Good thing you ordered that newer Alternator because by removing the battery cable while the car is running you probably blew out a couple diodes/capacitors in the old alt.  Removing a battery cable to test A GENERATOR is OK, NOT an ALT.

 

Tom T.

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8 minutes ago, telriv said:

Good thing you ordered that newer Alternator because by removing the battery cable while the car is running you probably blew out a couple diodes/capacitors in the old alt.  Removing a battery cable to test A GENERATOR is OK, NOT an ALT.

 

Tom T.


Well, oops then.  I thought that was OK for Pre computer controlled vehicles.

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And while we are at it, if upgrading to a higher amp alternator, and updating/upgrading the charging system wiring, is there any reason to keep the external voltage regulator in place instead of using the internal on that comes in a new alternator?

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No, not unless you want to keep it there for the stock look.

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12 hours ago, anestech* said:

Got any details on the breaker and/or pics of your 2g set up?  I did order a 120 amp alternator and that Year One harness adapter.

I don't have any pics, but I can post some tomorrow after work. I'm also running a Ford starter solenoid, and 00 gauge wire to the starter. Ground wire also. I've had lots of problems with grounds before, going overkill this time. 

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Awesome, thanks!  Hoping to do mine this weekend.

 

I’m pretty sure then electric fan the previous own installed was too much for the original 43 amp alternator 😆 

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Here's some pics of how I wired my alternator. The alt is a Powermaster CS130 style 140 amp. I mistakenly ordered a single wire style, but decided to keep it. I ran single wire on a mustang with zero issues for years. I used 2 AWG marine wire (tinned copper) with a matching ground wire, terminating at the battery post. The breaker is marine grade 150A. Cables are running under the radiator support out of sight. From the post, a 1/0 AWG cable goes to a Ford starter relay, then to a mini starter. A matching ground runs from the starter (bellhousing mount) back to the battery post. I was told wires coming from the post was bad for corrosion, but mine are plated brass so hopefully it's not an issue. I bought a used crimping tool, and got the wire, terminals, and shrink for pretty cheap by shopping around. Probably $200 in the wire (counting a bunch other not shown) and $150 for the crimper. On the Ford solenoid, the smaller wire (4 AWG) runs under the dash to an industrial contactor (constant rated relay) that takes the load off the ignition switch and splits the load for the breaker panel (fuse block replacement).

 

 

Alternator Wiring.jpg

Alternator Breaker.jpg

Battery Cables.jpg

Ford Starter Relay.jpg

Starter Wiring.jpg

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Also wanted to mention, the battery is a 27F group, it puts the positive lug towards the middle of the car, and away from the hood. The standard 27 group puts the positive lug dangerously close to the hood at the fender. RivNut pointed me in that direction a couple years ago.

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Overkill as hell and I love it!  I’m just doing a fused 6g for the 120 amp I got.  Battery already has 4g on both ends (ground to power steering bracket, and pos to the junction block), and the started has something bigger than original as well.  I’m putting new terminals on too. 🍻 

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