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'31 Buick 8-57 Generator issues


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After rewiring the old Colonel along with other mods and adjustments, we cranked it up and it ran nicely.  the ammeter worked and drew 5-10 amps correctly.  It ran for about 20-30 minutes.  i was elated that everything seemed to operate correctly according to the little i know mechanically.

The next day, we cranked it up again and the ammeter went the wrong way drawing about 5 amps.  in my world, that would indicate that the generator is not genning and something is pulling on the battery.  On this Buick, the generator seems to be integrated into several different things, distributor, water pump and maybe other stuff.  None of those would seem to be part of the problem, i don't think.  But they're so integral that it seems pretty difficult to try and open up the generator to find and take a look at the brushes, etc., that the manual suggests.

 

I know this group is very knowledgeable so if anyone can give me a direction of where to start tracing this issue without messing up the integral things that are already working, i would really appreciate it.  Again, i'm a retired mechanically challenged newbie tackling this fantastic machine that had to  be amazing back in its day.

 

Many Blessings,

 

Jerry

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You should be able to remove the band on the generator to inspect the brushes commutator.  There should be a current limit relay up under the dash.  it should buzz if there is a short in the light circuits.  The horn and motor electrical is not protected.  Start simple, disconnect the horns at the starter and see if that corrects the problem.  If the problem persists, you are down to the the ignition switch, ammeter, distributor system  and generator system.  You can disconnect the wire from the generator and see if the short goes away. If it does, the problem is in the generator system.  

 

I hope this helps.

 

bob Engle

 

 

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thanks Morgan, this is a 31 Buick and doesn't seem to have a regulator but does have a cut out relay.  i've opened the band and looked at the brush compartment but not gotten into it yet.  it looks relatively clean.  how do i get to the field?  any ideas really appreciated!!

 

Blessings,

Jerry

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1931 and 1932 Buicks have the same generator systems.  The system includes the cutout relay mounted on the top of the generator.  there is also a thermal cut out inside the generator. you should be able to see this with the band removed.  The functions, adjustments and troubles shoot of these devises is described in the 1932 Specifications and adjustments manual for 1932.  I assume the 1931 manual has the same information.  

 

I suggest you get  a reproduction of this manual and follow the instructions to check out your system.

 

Bob Engle

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Check that there is 6 volts to the cutout on the wiring harness side,  this will confirm connection to the battery. 

Jump the cutout with a jumper wire with the engine running. If it charges immediately then the cutout is your problem. If still no charge then you will have to dig into the genny. 

Most common problems are sticky brushes and connections. 

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Everyone, the 31 Buick is running, roughly, but running and the generator is genning with the correct polarity.  It was evidently polarized in the wrong direction for some reason, but now runs.  Once i jumped the "gen" term to the "Bat" term, there was a small spark and the ammeter started indicating correctly.

i'm sure that i'll have more questions as we try to get it road worthy and trustworthy but for now, i can't thank all of you enough who chimed in with advice to help.  Yall are great folks and carry a lot of knowledge.

thanks again and

Many Blessings,

Jerry

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