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Thinking of doing 6V to 12V but wondering something


EdgarCalaveras
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Hey guys,

I recently acquired a 1938 Buick Coupe convertible special 40, and was thinking about getting the 6 volt to 12 volt conversion kit from vintage auto garage but wanted to know if I had to switch the bulbs as well on my lights, and if I had to where could I find them? As well if there are any other steps I need to take part in before or after purchasing the conversion kit. Any advice will be appreciated.

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Don’t bother. Get a six volt compressor. Want to be comfortable? Buy a new Kia. Keep it stock. It was a great car when new. The chances of making it better are just about zero. 

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I think it's a very good looking car.  If you are not already familiar with it, look at how this era of car, starting with 1940 Packard, used Bishop and Babcock AC.  Even modern systems have a mechanically-driven compressor. The issue is the old systems had no compressor clutch.  Be sure you have enough room between the engine fan and radiator for a different hub to carry a second belt for the compressor drive, or else you are into designing a serpentine drive.  I'd consider leaving the folding top as the "AC" system.

 

Lots of ways to have tunes - that would not seem to drive the 6v vs 12 v issue

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Many years ago I tried a different approach:

a pair of 6 volt Optima batteries linked in Series and charged by a single wire 12 Volt Alternator with internal regulator-

The A/C and Power port were fed by the (non-ground) 12Volt part,

But I took a 000 cable from the terminal between the two batteries where 6 Volt was the available current to run the entire car, other than the A/C and "modern" accessories. That way, the car retained most of the originality and ran as a 6-Volt vehicle, but the A/C ran as 12-Volt, and the port was able to support a modern radio, GPS, radar detector, cell phone and other accessory chargers, etc.

It was easily reversable if ever needed.

Edited by Marty Roth (see edit history)
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23 hours ago, EdgarCalaveras said:

I want to run A/C and a radio so I drive it comfortably, everyday with the summer heat

What we are trying to say is that "adding air conditioning" is MUCH, much more than just changing to 12 volt. 

 

Add and mount compressor to engine . . . where? what about belts? additional pulleys? 

Add evaporator and ducts to interior. . . . Cut dash? Add unit under dash where it blows on your knees?

Add hoses to carry refrigerant. . . cut holes in your firewall?

Add condenser to front of radiator. . . . How big should it be? how much space do you have? 

 

Air conditioning does NOT ACTUALLY COOL the interior of a car rather it only MOVES THE HEAT and dumps it from the condenser . . . IN FRONT OF YOUR RADIATOR(!)  

Is your radiator and engine ready to have a bunch of heat released in front of it?  Will it boil over? Will it vapor lock? Will it stall in traffic?

Etc, etc, etc. 

 

One change like "adding air conditioning" will very likely lead to making so many other changes that the car is no longer operational OR needs to be changed so much from stock that it isnt really an old car any longer.  And that can seriously affect value and interest when you try to sell it. 

 

Radio? there are lots of radio conversion experts out there who can change the internals of your stock radio such that it receives AM-FM satellite, blue tooth, telephone, etc AND still retain its stock appearance AND still operate on 6 volts. 

 

Oh, and to answer your original question, YES you will need to change all bulbs and the charging system - generator/regulator or change to a modern alternator. As well as change the instruments in the dash to operate properly on 12 volts. 

Edited by m-mman (see edit history)
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25 minutes ago, m-mman said:

What we are trying to say is that "adding air conditioning" is MUCH, much more than just changing to 12 volt. 

 

Add and mount compressor to engine . . . where? what about belts? additional pulleys? 

Add evaporator and ducts to interior. . . . Cut dash? Add unit under dash where it blows on your knees?

Add hoses to carry refrigerant. . . cut holes in your firewall?

Add condenser to front of radiator. . . . How big should it be? how much space do you have? 

 

Air conditioning does NOT ACTUALLY COOL the interior of a car rather it only MOVES THE HEAT and dumps it from the condenser . . . IN FRONT OF YOUR RADIATOR(!)  

Is your radiator and engine ready to have a bunch of heat released in front of it?  Will it boil over? Will it vapor lock? Will it stall in traffic?

Etc, etc, etc. 

 

One change like "adding air conditioning" will very likely lead to making so many other changes that the car is no longer operational OR needs to be changed so much from stock that it isnt really an old car any longer.  And that can seriously affect value and interest when you try to sell it. 

 

Radio? there are lots of radio conversion experts out there who can change the internals of your stock radio such that it receives AM-FM satellite, blue tooth, telephone, etc AND still retain its stock appearance AND still operate on 6 volts. 

 

Oh, and to answer your original question, YES you will need to change all bulbs and the charging system - generator/regulator or change to a modern alternator. As well as change the instruments in the dash to operate properly on 12 volts. 

Didn’t even think about it like that, thank you, I guess the A/C is a no go

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13 minutes ago, EdgarCalaveras said:

I guess the A/C is a no go


Not necessarily, Edgar. In the end it will depend on money and know-how. I believe I can think of 3 old cars here which have got A/C by EXTREMELY talented owners. One was a ‘50 Buick done by Ben Bruce aka First Born, also a ‘48 Chrysler which was intended to drive through Mexico and Central America to the hot steaming jungles of Panama, and I do think the other IS a ‘38 Buick. The ‘38 Bu’ got a Wizard Grade upgrade by a genius wizard who also changed it to auto trans. The wiz’ is getting on, and for the love of his lady and the old car, he provided creature comforts seldom or never before seen in such a car. They like to drive long adventures. If you are interested, I know I can quickly link you to the Chrysler, the Bu’s would take some time, but a PM to Ben would hook you up. I think the ‘38 (?) was done by McDarrunt, who is a professional shop. Can anyone remember exactly ? There is a market for vintage A/C systems when an old car is so beloved that the owner just HAS to drive it in heat which otherwise could be dangerous to her/his health. I am a frail old man, and could die driving in certain conditions without A/C. But my 1924 and 1927 Cadillacs have remarkably good flow-through ventilation. Does have its limits, and around here, neither money nor know-how are in sufficient supply for serious modification.
 

Good luck with your new toy, and your good health. Please stay here with our friendly group, and let us know how you get on ! And if you get a moment , please post some pictures !     -   Carl 

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19 minutes ago, C Carl said:

I can think of 3 old cars here which have got A/C by EXTREMELY talented owners.

Certainly anything is possible. 

The main concept is that this is a very advanced modification and not for beginners or people without deep pockets. 

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Edgar........my name is also Edgar. Not too many of us! The Buick doesn’t have horsepower to spare.........a properly done install will ruin the car, kill the power, and since the cab is not well insulated and has poor seals......it all adds up to lots of time, money, and irreversible damage to the car......for something you would use ten times a year. It can be done.......but it is not practical.

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We don’t know where Edgar C. cruises. For all we know, he just might be in Panama. During the day , white top up, A/C on. Come the night, top goes down , and you cruise underneath that Panamanian Moon with a compatible South American beauty, (oh the memories !!!), you met at the “Le Palace”. Oops ! That was over 35 years ago. I have no idea where the hot spots are in Panama, (or actually anywhere), these days.             Barely friction in my own imagination anymore,    -    CC 

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13 hours ago, EdgarCalaveras said:

Thanks everyone, I realized I won’t sacrifice the beauty of this car for some air between my jewels. I guess I’ll just toss on a speedo in the summer.

No, please the speedo will not do, and no photos either!  I think I would rather have you re-attempt to install air conditioning.

 

Kidding aside, check into the aviation inspired solution.  See this: https://www.aviationconsumer.com/accessories/cockpit-cabin-coolers-do-they-really-work/

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Lots of naysayers, Edger. Do what you want. I did. And nothing that cannot be put back  to original. 

 As far as power, of course it will !  These folks probably have not driven a Buick lately. 

 Having said all that, I really enjoyed my convertibles in my younger years. 

 

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