59 Edsel Generator

Edsel Generator

Recommended Posts

I have a quick question for all the more knowledgeable Edsel owners about the generator on a 1959 Edsel Ranger, I’m only 17 and as my first project car I don’t have a lot of knowledge about these things. I have a 292 Y block and it runs but it drains the battery completely and it seems the generator isn’t doing it’s job, I don’t have a key and I am bypassing the key ignition and using a screwdriver to start it. Does this mean that the generator is bad? and if so should I get a new generator or swap for a alternator? I’d appreciate the help. 

 

-Reese Daar

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Get the key fixed first. Then polarize your generator. I don't remember how exactly to do that on that particular system.

 

You need a shop manual. If you can't afford one, look for something published online. Any Ford, Mercury, or Edsel manual from that period (from about 1958 until Ford stopped using generators) will work. The instructions for polarizing the generator will be the same.

 

Once you have accomplished that, put a voltmeter (a cheap/free harbor freight DMM will do if you don't already have something) across the battery terminals and rev the engine up to 2000 rpm. The voltage should be higher than 12.6 if it is charging, and probably should be around 14 volts. The charging system light on the dash should be out.

 

One more thing, with the key on, and the engine not started yet, the generator light should be on. If it is burned out, replace it. It might be necessary for the system to work.

 

I had a 61 Ford that used the same setup you have, but it was a long time ago. The generator and regulator were absolutely reliable, and kept my battery up even in the dead of winter. It used to get way down below 0 deg F here in those days. The car had lots of other problems, but always started in the cold.

 

It is normal for the generator to not charge much if at all with the engine idling. It needs to be revved up a little. You just need to not run a bunch of electrical stuff with the car idling for long periods of time, and you will be fine. Drive it!

 

Have fun, and welcome to the forum.

 

EDIT: there's a 1958 Ford shop manual on OldCarManualProject: http://www.oldcarmanualproject.com/manuals/Ford/1958/Service/    You might find it useful for other things in addition to the generator.

 

There is detailed generator troubleshooting information in section 8, but polarize it first, and see if it works. Polarizing is on page 8-9 http://www.oldcarmanualproject.com/manuals/Ford/1958/Service/08/Group8/08-009.html

 

 

Edited by Bloo (see edit history)
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you very much! I’m sorry I’m replying so late; I’ve been working to try to pay for the seemingly endless amount of parts I need. This really helped me as I can’t seem to find anything on the Edsel even though I personally think it’s one of the best cars out there. I have just replaced the ignition cylinder lock... but for some reason when I turn the key some of the lights turn on, but I have to still by-pass it to crank it... I can’t seem to figure it out as I’ve been playing with it for a few days now. I’d really appreciate any knowledge about the ignition not cranking

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
36 minutes ago, 59 Edsel Generator said:

but for some reason when I turn the key some of the lights turn on, but I have to still by-pass it to crank it.

 

What exactly do you mean by that? Turn key on, warning lights come on, but then you turn further and it doesn't crank?

 

36 minutes ago, 59 Edsel Generator said:

I have to still by-pass it to crank it.

 

What are you bypassing? Are you shorting out the solenoid terminals under the hood? Which ones? Make sure it is out of gear, E-brake on, and in park if Edsel the has that. If you are shorting out just the big ones, try shorting from the big one that goes to the battery to a little terminal. One of the little ones should make it crank. If it doesn't, make sure the solenoid has a good ground at the mounting bracket. If it does, and one of the little terminals wont make it crank, the solenoid it bad.

 

Going at it another way, If you put a test light or a multimeter on a little wire (and to ground) with the key on, one of the wires SHOULD be live. You want the OTHER one. It should become live when someone turns the key. If it doesn't, there is still trouble with the wiring or the key switch.

 

If the car has an automatic transmission, it will have a neutral safety switch. That will keep it from cranking if it is bad, or more likely just misadjusted. On my Ford with a column shift automatic, I think it was on top of the steering column down near the floor. No telling what Edsel might have done with the pushbuttons. Do you have those?

 

And finally, the two little wires on the solenoid might be reversed. If they are hooked up wrong the car won't crank.

 

One comes from the key switch (possibly going through a neutral safety switch on the way) crank the engine. Putting 12v between that terminal and ground (the bracket) is what makes it crank.

 

The other one goes to the positive terminal of the ignition coil. It sends a full 12v to the coil while cranking. It has it's own contact inside the solenoid. It is not necessary for cranking, or running, but will make the car fire off easier when the battery is low.

 

attachment.php?attachmentid=150997&stc=1

Edited by Bloo (see edit history)
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you so much for answering my questions, I will definitely try these things after school. 

 

Yes I am bumping the solenoid next to the battery, just to get it turn over... and as long the new key is in the ON position it cranks, but from inside the car you can’t crank it... i will try your methods with the test light to the key tomorrow and see if I get power. I don’t believe the solenoid wires are swapped but I will definitely check. The chart definitely helped understand the solenoid and how the current runs.

 

once again i really appreciate it and I will let you know if I fix it, as I might have a few more questions.

 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Once you get it starting thru the key. When you go to polarize the regulator you want to disconnect the FLD wire at the regulator. On Ford systems this is usually the middle terminal. Using the FLD wire touch it to the BAT terminal, touch lasts no more then 2 seconds, you should get a small spark. Reconnect the FLD wire and start the engine. Mechanical regulators take 3-5 minutes to warmup to operating temperature. So keep the engine rpms up off of idle and watch your voltmeter. The voltage to settle in at 14. If it never reaches 14 then you need to make adjustments to the regulator.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Okay that makes more sense, thank you very much I’ll see if I can follow those steps and get her runnin. I’m in the middle of a full brake system build and will probably have to wait till the weekend to get to starting it. Thanks again and I appreciate the knowledge 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now