Jump to content

6V to 12V


51BuickWoody
 Share

Recommended Posts

Posted (edited)

Work is slow but continues on my '51 Super 50 Woody. We would like to convert it from a 6V system to a 12V. Is this as simple as just adding a different generator/alternator or is this a huge pain in the ass?

Edit: A little more context, this car is completely disassembled. There is no existing electrical system. A friend of my father's was an aircraft electrician. He's building a wiring harness for us. We're planning on. Adding an electric power steering system and a modern stereo (placed under the dash)

20210514_135408.jpg

123_1(11).jpeg

20210313_122111.jpg

Edited by 51BuickWoody (see edit history)
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I put an alternator in my 53 Chevy pickup with no real issues. I changed the bulbs of course and put a resistor in the coil line. It always started well and I never did replace the starter. I drove it for years with no issues. If it starts easily, the starter will take it I think. 

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

There are a lot of holes in that block. I remember when I was in high school, the local car lots had a back row. I looked at a V12 Lasalle but it wouldn’t start. I ended up buying a straight 8 Buick (I think it was) for 25 bucks. It had an automatic and wouldn’t shift, so I took it back. I really would like to have both of them now. 

 

I can’t remember if the Buick was a 51 or 52. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

13 minutes ago, Nevadablue said:

It had an automatic and wouldn’t shift,

Dynaflows do not shift. Just put it in Drive and go. Very smooth, no shift, torque converter does all the work. But, if it doesn't go, then there are issues.😉

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hmmm... it would go, but I guess it was slipping then. The engine would rev but the car wouldn’t go any faster. Long ago... distant memory. A friend and I were looking for something to make a ‘buggy’ out of. Hopefully someone else fixed the old car. We finally found a beat to death pickup and removed everything from above the frame and put a seat on it. Wonder we didn’t die. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's a pain in the ass and doesn't get you anything if the 6V system is working right. If the starter, ignition, etc is worn out or busted you will have to fix it anyway. 12V or no 12V. What usually happens is Gomer down at the filling station tells someone to change to 12V but doesn't tell them how. So they manage to lash up an alternator then the "fun" begins. We get all kinds of plaintive questions about how to make the lash up work. Eventually they get it to work in a half assed fashion then the 6V parts, that were weak to begin with, start to burn out. So they fix those parts, which needed to be fixed anyway, and end up with something that works almost as well as if they just fixed it in the first place, after wasting hundreds of $$$ bucks and weeks of time.

I have changed cars and tractors to 12V and know how to do it, but these days I wouldn't bother because I have wised up since then. I could probably do it successfully but I don't have to ask how.

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

6V is certainly fine and adequate. I own 3 old cars currently. All 6V and start as well as if they were new.

 

Depends what you want, and more importantly what you understand about the 6V system. 
 

If you are building a hot rod, I get it. 12V gets you modern conveniences. A/C. iPod stuff. Pumpin’ stereo. Etc. 

 

If you are building a mostly stock, reliable fun old driver? My vote is 6V. Personally I’d avoid 12V if I was looking at old cars to buy. That’s just me. To each their own. 
 

The right decision is an educated one. I suggest formal printed textbook reading. Seek to understand more on the topic. Internet forums or social media sites are not suggested reading if you want to study the topic, in my opinion. 

Edited by keithb7 (see edit history)
  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guys, he did not ask if it was necessary or any of that stuff!!   No pain in the ass.  I replaced the generator with a parts store rebuilt alternator. Changed all bulbs. 12V coil, internally resistored [?]. Resistor for gas gauge and radio.  When the starter drive gave up the ghost many years and miles later , starter was replaced with a mini- high torque model.

 

   I  did this in 2012.  Only one problem since when I tried extending a "timed out" battery. ONLY lasted eight years. 

 

  Ben

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have never done the conversion, but seems like alternator, starter, bulbs, coil resistor would be the extent of it.  Perhaps some issues with gauges?  electric wiper motor?  radio?  horn? heater fan? turn signal flasher? ... if your car has those.  A close scan of the wiring diagram would show all the components of interest.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, Akstraw said:

I have never done the conversion, but seems like alternator, starter, bulbs, coil resistor would be the extent of it.  Perhaps some issues with gauges?  electric wiper motor?  radio?  horn? heater fan? turn signal flasher? ... if your car has those.  A close scan of the wiring diagram would show all the components of interest.

Haven't you just listed about all the electrical items on the car?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You don't have to change the starter. The alternator is the major swap. Bulbs are easy, and there are voltage converters sold specifically for this conversion. People have been doing this since the 1950s. It's not exactly rocket science.

 

 

 

Screenshot_2021-05-20 The Official 12 Volt Conversion Guide Book.png

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Cheap cars like Chevrolet with vacuum wipers, no radio, no heater, no electric accessories and 3 or 4 fuses are easiest. Better built, better quality cars like Chrysler, Dodge or DeSoto with electric wipers, electric transmission controls, built in heater, full gauges,circuit breakers  etc are harder. I know how to do either one but as I said, not worth the bother IF the 6v system is working right. If it is not working right 12v won't fix it.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree with first born, I did 12 volt generator an gauges as he said. 6 volt starter worked for awhile then switched to 12 volt hi-torque starter. Bright lights fast crank over then did Affordable EFI and all Is well would drive across country maybe not on freeways.

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I just wanted to jump in on this, I too am thinking of converting my Oldsmobile to a 12v system. The main reason being that I don't want my wife to be stranded on the road if the battery somehow quits and no one can jump it if it's a 6v plus possibly adding in A/C in the future. Besides what everyone else is saying here adding in an alternator, a resistor to save your gauges and the bulbs it looks straight forward and there's a ton of info out there to help. But since you'd be starting from scratch it will make everything so much easier since you will be tailoring the electrical system to your exact needs!

Link to comment
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
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...