Coyoteboy

6 volt to 12 volt conversion 1951 Packard 300

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I have a 1951 Packard 300 that is all original and it’s in pretty good shape. Just it’s original oldness and patina which I love. I acquired the car so my entire family could enjoy it and participate in our local car club events and tours. Heck I even traded a 56 Porsche replica. What I realized afterwards was that it’s a 6 volt system and not 12. I really don’t care because my 12 yr old loves it as well as I do. I wanted to add an AC unit as well but can’t find anything that will work with 6 volt system. Don’t take offense at me wanting to add an AC as it’s gets hot here in FL and it would definitely keep my wife happy! With all that said. Does anyone have any guidance or productive advice for doing such a thing. We all love the car and hope to enjoy it even more. Note: I still have a gas tank issue that I’ll get into later. Thanks!

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Before you go to all that trouble, consider the coolers that were available when your car was new.They can be found at swap meets or EPay. 

cooler 2.jpg

cooler3.jpg

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44 minutes ago, Coyoteboy said:

Wow. I remember all these with the older VWs but didn’t know they were available for these. How do they work?

they are a swamp cooler aka evaporator cooler, uses water to saturate a padding of hay and as you drive outside air is forced into it passing through the saturated padding before coming through the outlet into the car's passenger compartment. usually there's a cord that you would pull on from time to time to rotate the padding drum, thus getting the padding saturated again.

 

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if you convert the packard's electrical system to 12 volts, you'll have a much easier search results in looking for either a under dash a/c unit or even a rear trunk a/c system. in my 1953 pontiac chieftain custom catalina, i am converting to 12 volts, and i will have dual a/c systems, up front in dash i'm using the factory 1954 pontiac air conditioning system, and also using a 1955 buick factory trunk air conditioning system which has a very nice under dash control panel. 

new 1953 pontiac parts installed 003.JPG

53 2537sd with factory ac 002.JPG

53 2537sd with factory ac 009.JPG

1954 or 1955 buick air cond controls 003.JPG

Edited by pontiac1953
adding picture (see edit history)

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Think about everything that operates with the battery voltage. Lights, heater fan, gauges, starter, relays ignition coil.  Most everything will require some type of modification.  Depends on how much of a  challenge you enjoy.

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I've yet to come across a 6 volt system, that if restored to correct original condition, needed any changes.  I have found some conversions to 8 and 12 volts were the person who thought it better to make the change obviously didn't understand how to properly restore the original 6 volt system.

 

Do we really believe the original engineers didn't know what they were doing ?

 

As for adding 12 volt type items to a 6 volt systems, I vote for the 6 to 12 volt converters to power that item and leave the original system ..... original !

 

Paul 

Edited by PFitz (see edit history)
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1 hour ago, Coyoteboy said:

Does Anyone know how difficult it is to convert the 6 V to a 12 V system.

 

 Difficult is relative.  I , for one, think it is simple. Biggest problem is mounting the alternator. And there are aftermarket ones built into generator like housings that mount in the original mounts.  Since 12V uses smaller wire than 6V, all switches and wire are adequate. All bulbs need to be swapped for 12V. Some gauges MAY need resistors. I bypassed the Amp gauge. It does not care about voltage, but since I did not know how many amps it could handle, chose that route.  

 The book Joe mentioned in post #3 is good. Get it and study if you feel you need to.  If you were here we could do the change in an afternoon.

 

  Stay with us and don't worry about the worry warts.        An under dash unit will work fine. I installed a Mark IV in my 1950 Buick. Works well.

 

  Ben

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I sure wish I was closer,,,,I’d love to get it done but I didn’t know I could use a converter just for the AC.    Thanks

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1 hour ago, Coyoteboy said:

Does Anyone know how difficult it is to convert the 6 V to a 12 V system.

i'm converting my 1953 pontiac to 12 volts only because of all the power options being added to the car, changing all the bulbs and lamps, because i'm changing from a six volt straight eight to a 12 volt pontiac V8 that takes care of the starter, charging, and ignition. in your case, i would investigate about a six volt compressor clutch and six volt blower fan motor fitted to a air conditioning system, everything else in the a/c isn't electrical.

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You should contact a company that makes air conditioners for your car like Vintage Air . They must have solved this problem a thousand times.

 

I was thinking of leaving the car 6V and adding a small 12V alternator and battery just for air, radio, etc.

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1 hour ago, Ben Bruce aka First Born said:

 

 Difficult is relative.  I , for one, think it is simple. Biggest problem is mounting the alternator. And there are aftermarket ones built into generator like housings that mount in the original mounts.  Since 12V uses smaller wire than 6V, all switches and wire are adequate. All bulbs need to be swapped for 12V. Some gauges MAY need resistors. I bypassed the Amp gauge. It does not care about voltage, but since I did not know how many amps it could handle, chose that route.  

 The book Joe mentioned in post #3 is good. Get it and study if you feel you need to.  If you were here we could do the change in an afternoon.

 

  Stay with us and don't worry about the worry warts.        An under dash unit will work fine. I installed a Mark IV in my 1950 Buick. Works well.

 

  Ben

 

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Swamp cooler depends on evaporating water. Hard to do in Florida! It is already 95% relative humidity there........

 

A 6 to 12 converter has effiency of less than 100%, so the power needed to run the fans and clutch will be a real high drain on the little 35amp generator. 

 

I like the extra 12 volt alternator and battery leaving the car 6 volt. But I have never done that. 

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Yeah Frank air conditioning consumes a lot of electricity, AC cars have heavy duty alternators for a reason. The stock generator would not be able to keep up. That is why I thought of an add on alternator. Some of them are not much bigger than a grapefruit and if you have to add belts and pulleys to drive the AC anyway  it should be possible to hang a little alternator on there someplace.

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My Solution to this is driving another car with air on hot days. Many 1960's, 70's, 80'a or early 90's cars have air and still AACA eligible. In fact you could probably buy a 80's or early 90's Caddy or Buick AACA HPOF eligible in very nice shape for about what you may have in the 6 to 12 volt conversion and Vintage air cost. Save the Packard for the six month a year you don't need air. Just a thought! I have a 1996 Buick Roadmaster that I use on hot local tour days to keep the wife happy. In 2021 it will be AACA eligible. As it has a tow package, I also use it to tow my brass cars and a boat. 

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