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why did my 41 plymouth flathead that was always positive ground all of a sudden turn negitive


JohnnyMaryjo
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why did my 1941 Plymouth Flathead that was always positive ground all of a sudden turn negative

 

How can I get it back to positive ?

 

I had a mechanic  place a new gas tank and fuel pump but he told me he did nothing  else ?

why did my 41 plymouth  flathead that was always positive ground for yrs. all of a sudden turn negative

How can I get it back to positive ?

 

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Polarize the generator, but make sure you charge the battery correctly first! Make the + of the battery actually +. I assume from the original post that the battery charged backwards.

 

And get the correct instructions for polarizing a 1941 Plymouth. 

Edited by Frank DuVal (see edit history)
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Likely... he had the battery disconnected and hooked it up neg ground, so. Reconnect it properly and bump the generator and you should be good to go. Reverse charging a battery leaves little power so I don't think that's it. 

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9 hours ago, Oldtech said:

Likely... he had the battery disconnected and hooked it up neg ground, so. Reconnect it properly and bump the generator and you should be good to go. Reverse charging a battery leaves little power so I don't think that's it. 

 

do I have the motor on while I do this ?

 

someone told me to drain my new battery  and charge it correctly then use the neg. post on the battery hit it  to the small post ( or wire ) on the generator  ?

Please help 

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No. You do not have the motor running.

I have a printout that says to momentarily touch or just drag a piece of wire across the posts, at the same time, marked BAT and GEN  on the regulator.

You should see a spark when you do. This is called "flashing".

DO NOT hold the wire to the posts. Just drag it across the posts.

 

If I am incorrect I am sure someone here will let us know

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1 hour ago, Joe Cocuzza said:

No. You do not have the motor running.

I have a printout that says to momentarily touch or just drag a piece of wire across the posts, at the same time, marked BAT and GEN  on the regulator.

You should see a spark when you do. This is called "flashing".

DO NOT hold the wire to the posts. Just drag it across the posts.

 

If I am incorrect I am sure someone here will let us know

Hello

on the regulator it only has bat. FLD. and arm ?

 

 

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Not quite. You just jump the batt to arm momentarily with a screwdriver, jumper or whatever.  Some heavy duty units you jump to field, but I've not seen this on a car. 

Just checked my Auto-Lite book and it confirms, Batt to Arm.

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3 hours ago, Oldtech said:

Not quite. You just jump the batt to arm momentarily with a screwdriver, jumper or whatever.  Some heavy duty units you jump to field, but I've not seen this on a car. 

Just checked my Auto-Lite book and it confirms, Batt to Arm.

THANKS FOR THE CORRECTION

I ALWAYS GET CONFUSED ABOUT THIS EVERYTIME.

 

THANKS

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what made my 6 volt post. ground go neg. ground?

when i place the 6 volt battery charger on my 6 volt battery  it will only work and charge ? if I have the neg. cable connected  to the positive . post on battery ?

how do i correct this ? or is my battery  shot ?

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here is what a fellow friend told me to do ?

do you agree ?

Step 1 Connect volt meter as shown (red) to verify correct battery polarity. Meter indicates positive voltage, polarity is correct.  If negative voltage, polarity is incorrect.

 Step 2 If polarity is correct, you’re done.  If not, proceed to step 3.

 Step 3 Turn on headlights and leave them on until battery is dead.

Step 4 Connect battery charger observing correct polarity and allow it to fully charge battery.

 Step 5 Connect temporary jumper shown in diagram between battery negative and geneeratorfield for 1-2 seconds and remove.

 Step 6 Start engine.  Verify proper charging.  You’re done.

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Sounds good to me.

 

On a positive ground car, the positive cable goes to the chassis. The battery charger does not care about any of this. You always hook the red charger lead to the positive marked post on the battery. It is the battery you are charging, and how the car's electrical system is wired need not be considered when charging the battery with a battery charger.

 

Check as you outlined with a meter. Red meter lead to positive post and black to negative post. Proceed as you posted above.

 

If it is reversed, the battery may be toast, but the best way to try to save it is the method you posted above. I would only add that if you have an old fashioned "dumb" battery charger, use it! Some smart chargers will refuse to charge when the battery is completely dead, and it will be completely dead after you run it down with the lights. Letting the battery sit dead while you figure it out is bad for the battery. A possible workaround if that happens, and if you only have a smart charger, is to temporarily hook a second 6V battery in parallel with some jumper cables, and that brings the voltage up enough to get the smart charger started.

 

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thank you for helping me

the battery will only work with this charger if the red is on the Neg. and blk. is on the post.

red to red and blk. to blk. will show its not charging. this is why he is saying drain the battery first if it still does it then the battery is history. 

what happens if I do buy a new battery and it does the same thing that the one I had  in there ( its not even a yr. old ) what would cause it ?

what do you think made my pos. ground  6 volt turn to neg ground ?

I had it to a mech put a new gas tank and Carb. rebuild ,and new fuel pump

please help

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16 minutes ago, JohnnyMaryjo said:

the battery will only work with this charger if the red is on the Neg. and blk. is on the post.

 

You are reporting multiple issues. When this happens you must stop, slow down and take small baby steps. 

 

When you have connected the CHARGER to the battery, are you removing the cables that connect the battery to the car? 

 

Step one: Remove the car cables 

Test first: Do you have a volt meter? Test voltage in the battery while it is NOT connected to anything.  Note the polarity of the volt meter test leads that it takes to see the voltage. 

 

Step two:  connect the charger to the battery, while it is not connected to anything else. (CORRECTLY connect the charger - Positive Charger cables to battery positive) See if it charges.

 

Step three: Report back to us what is happening. 

 

Can a battery reverse polarity?   Yes, but it is very difficult to do. 

https://www.batterystuff.com/blog/battery-myth-can-a-battery-reverse-polarity.html#:~:text=The fact of the matter,It is just not possible. 

Edited by m-mman (see edit history)
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^^^Good advice!.

 

Two things:

 

1). ALWAYS connect the battery charger red lead to the post marked (+), which is the larger post, and ALWAYS connect the battery charger black lead to the post marked (-), which is the smaller post. This is true with any battery charger. There are no exceptions. This is an exchange between the charger and the battery. The car does not matter. If the charger will not work this way, it is probably a smart charger. Nobody should really have a smart charger as their ONLY battery charger. In the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s almost every household had the same kind of battery charger. It is a dirt simple metal box with an ammeter on the front panel and a switch for 6 or 12 volts. They are rated about 6-10 Amps (it varies). There were a zillion brands of them and the front panel layouts vary but they are all about the same inside. If you have only one battery charger, it should be one of these. They are super common, and if you don't already have one, you can probably score one at a yard sale for $5. That won't help you today, but start watching now.

 

Here is an example:

 

contenteetimes-images-edn-diy-resurrect-

 

And another one:

 

tte0dJr7gZNmGp6qyFAIeTsVsstY5cC63BEtuUtQ

 

And now the second thing:

 

2). I believe you said the charger works if it is hooked up backwards. This SUGGESTS that you are using a smart charger and the battery is charged backwards. That is a lot to assume, and we should not assume it. Check it. As @m-mman says, take a step back. Disconnect the battery and check it with a multimeter. If you don't have a multimeter, one of the absolute cheapest will do for this. It is about $6 at Harbor Freight, and on some days can be had free with a coupon. Check with meter red (VOmA) to positive on the battery, and meter black (COM.) to negative on the battery. Set the multimeter for DC Volts (DCV), and some scale range that is higher than 6 (20 would be good). If you get negative voltage, the battery is charged backwards and you will need to run it down and then charge it correctly as outlined earlier.

 

cf0ac9d8-ffe3-4aa4-b631-b7be1d1a0d6f-jpe

 

P.S. One more thing (I guess that's 3 now), NEVER EVER believe the color coding on the battery cables in a car. They are often wrong. You need to know if the car is positive or negative ground, you cannot tell from cables. If you don't know which polarity it should be on some particular car, you can ask here, or you can look in an old Chilton or Motor manual that covers the year. Old 6V Mopars like yours are positive ground. Most 6V GM cars are negative ground, except some prewar Cadillacs. Most 6V Fords are positive ground.

 

Once you know whether it is positive or negative ground, just hook the battery to the car that way and ignore colors. On your positive ground car the battery cable that goes to the frame, or to the cast iron of the engine block, or to the transmission case ALWAYS connects to the (+) positive terminal of the battery.

 

 

Edited by Bloo (see edit history)
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1 hour ago, m-mman said:

 

You are reporting multiple issues. When this happens you must stop, slow down and take small baby steps. 

 

When you have connected the CHARGER to the battery, are you removing the cables that connect the battery to the car? 

 

Step one: Remove the car cables 

Test first: Do you have a volt meter? Test voltage in the battery while it is NOT connected to anything.  Note the polarity of the volt meter test leads that it takes to see the voltage. 

 

Step two:  connect the charger to the battery, while it is not connected to anything else. (CORRECTLY connect the charger - Positive Charger cables to battery positive) See if it charges.

 

Step three: Report back to us what is happening. 

 

Can a battery reverse polarity?   Yes, but it is very difficult to do. 

https://www.batterystuff.com/blog/battery-myth-can-a-battery-reverse-polarity.html#:~:text=The fact of the matter,It is just not possible. 

 I connected the CHARGER to the battery,  removed the cables that connect the battery to the car .and the only way it will charge is blk to red /  and red  to blk.

it will not charge if the red is to red and the blk is to blk. ? I have no volt meter .

Can a battery reverse polarity?   Yes, but it is very difficult to do.  HOW do you do it?

or is it better to buy a new battery. this one is 10 mths. old

how did this happen 

thank you all for helping me

Johnny

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1 minute ago, JohnnyMaryjo said:

connected the CHARGER to the battery,  removed the cables that connect the battery to the car .and the only way it will charge is blk to red /  and red  to blk.

This sounds like you removed the automobile cables AFTER you connected the charger?  Did you really mean to say that?

I am confused. 

 

2 minutes ago, JohnnyMaryjo said:

it will not charge if the red is to red and the blk is to blk. ?

What exactly does this mean? Tell us exactly HOW you are determining whether the battery charger is actively charging the battery.

How do you know the battery charger is working?

Is there an amp meter (as Bloo has pictured?) Exactly what type of charger are you using? Can you picture it? 

 

And you WILL need to get a volt meter As Bloo said they are cheap and you can use them in the future for  many other things. 

 

4 minutes ago, JohnnyMaryjo said:

Can a battery reverse polarity?   Yes, but it is very difficult to do.  HOW do you do it?

The article link is above. But do not worry about it AT THIS TIME.   Do the other steps first. 

 

5 minutes ago, JohnnyMaryjo said:

or is it better to buy a new battery. this one is 10 mths. old

You may have to eventually, BUT in the car repair world the smart mechanic TESTS, and tests, and PROVES that something is needed BEFORE replacing any parts.  We are working to lead you through a simple methodical process to understand AND DIAGNOSIS what is wrong.

The time for guessing and  "I THINK I know what the problem is. . . ." has long passed. 

Slow down and carefully perform each step. I know you want your problem solved quickly, but that is not how difficult problems are solved. 

 

8 minutes ago, JohnnyMaryjo said:

how did this happen 

Who cares? What happened is not important at this moment.

Maybe after everything is working correctly the cause will become apparent but worrying about the cause has NEVER helped me solve a strange car problem.

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2 hours ago, m-mman said:

And you WILL need to get a volt meter As Bloo said they are cheap and you can use them in the future for  many other things. 

Harbor Freight! That is the one pictured. I carry one in several cars I have. They do come in handy. For long term storage in a car, I remove the voltmeter battery and store in a plastic bag.

 

I know Bloo said it, I am just agreeing that Harbor Freight meters are great for the price!

Edited by Frank DuVal (see edit history)
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I have the battery out of the car and did the charge I placed the red cable to the pos. Post on the battery and the blk. cable to the neg. post  on the battery

the light on the charger came on to show me it will not charge there is a problem.but when I took the red cable and placed it on the neg. post on the battery and the blk. cable of the charger on the pos. post on the battery it showed it was charging . I also try to charge the battery hooked up in the car  it did the same thing . as  not in the car

here is a pic of the charger .it has always worked I charge a number of things with it.as you can see it  it will light when charging  and will light when trouble  not charging.

it seems that the battery is neg.  why and how did it come to that.

the mechanic told me he did nothing  to cause this ?

Please help

Johnny

 

IMG_1864.JPG

IMG_1863.JPG

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4 hours ago, Bloo said:

If the charger will not work this way, it is probably a smart charger. Nobody should really have a smart charger as their ONLY battery charger.

Ok, this is a smart charger that has built in protections and is not going to do what you want to do, or tell you what you need to know.

This device is NOT a diagnostic tool, and tells you nothing about the battery. The battery might actually be OK or not. but this thing is not the way to determine it. 

 

If you are going to get into old cars, you are going to need a real battery charger. As noted by Bloo above. 

In the world of old cars sometimes you have to use old tools. Devices that were made in the era of the car. 

 

BUT until then. . . . . Get a voltmeter and connect it to your battery. Again do it as as described by Bloo. and report back. 

One step at a time and we can get you through it. 

 

BTW - if you are feeling frustrated and maybe a little angry . . .  then welcome to the world of old cars, its part of the experience. 😎

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You will need to discharge the battery first.

 

Fighting electrons to charge a backwards battery will end in failure (heavy current), even with the old fashioned charger, the internal circuit breaker will keep tripping.

 

Nobody has 6 volt lantern batteries anymore. Can you tape 4 D cells together and put some wire leads on the ends so you can parallel this to the charge/battery and trick the new charger into working? This is after the battery is dead/ fully discharged.

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18 hours ago, m-mman said:

Ok, this is a smart charger that has built in protections and is not going to do what you want to do, or tell you what you need to know.

This device is NOT a diagnostic tool, and tells you nothing about the battery. The battery might actually be OK or not. but this thing is not the way to determine it. 

 

If you are going to get into old cars, you are going to need a real battery charger. As noted by Bloo above. 

In the world of old cars sometimes you have to use old tools. Devices that were made in the era of the car. 

 

BUT until then. . . . . Get a voltmeter and connect it to your battery. Again do it as as described by Bloo. and report back. 

One step at a time and we can get you through it. 

 

BTW - if you are feeling frustrated and maybe a little angry . . .  then welcome to the world of old cars, its part of the experience. 😎

hello

thank you for the info.

I agree first things first

Also if I need a new battery  whats to say it will do what the battery I have now  did ?

this is why I would like to know what might have caused this  so I can make sure its fixed .

any other thoughts

thanks

Johnny 

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To get charged backwards the battery would have to be completely dead. Charged backwards is an unusual problem to have. A regular battery charger could do it IF THE BATTERY WERE COMPLETELY FLAT DEAD. I don't think the smart charger would, it would probably refuse to try. The car might(?) be able do it if it got polarized backwards. Maybe if it got jump started and then the system got polarized backwards while the battery was completely dead. This is the sort of thing that shows up in textbooks, but is hardly ever seen.

 

Always make sure the battery is hooked to the car the right way (see my post above). Always hook up a battery charger the right way (see my post above). Always polarize the generator anytime after removing or reinstalling a generator, or a voltage regulator, or a battery.

 

Technically in SOME of those situations you might not HAVE to polarize, but it's easy, and it's what all the old books say to do. I'll bet most of us in here have never seen a backwards charged battery. Nuff said.

 

Probably your battery is shot. There is a certain voltage per cell if the battery it taken below, there is permanent damage. I don't remember what voltage that is, but charged backwards is WAY beyond it. A battery should never be left with a low charge in it either. That leads to a condition called "sulphation" where the battery is weak, but if charged on a charger might work pretty well but only for a few days. The car can no longer charge it as much as it needs.

 

If your battery is ever low, put a charger on it right away. Either that or drive the car, and put it on a charger when you get home. Leaving it partly discharged is bad, and if it ever goes completely flat dead, your chances of saving the battery good enough to still use get worse the longer you wait. This is a timeline of minutes and hours, not days. Two days dead and it probably will never start a difficult car reliably again. Three days and it probably wont be good enough to use at all. This is why you need a real (old-fashioned "dumb" type) battery charger. If the battery is completely dead, a smart charger is going to refuse to work, and leave you fumbling around for another 6 volt battery and some jumper cables, or lantern batteries, or D cells and duct tape, or whatever, just to get the charger to start charging. Meanwhile, minutes and hours count if you want to save the battery.

 

As for the charger you pictured, I think it is a maintainer. Find a manual for yours and look it up. I have three maintainers and two of mine look exactly like yours except for the color and brand (red, Vector). I'll bet they came from the same factory. I leave them hooked up all winter. If your charger is what I think it is, you can leave it hooked up all the time if you need to let the car sit around for a few days (or months over winter). It will keep your battery fully charged automatically when you are not using the car. Maintainers are super useful, but should not be your only battery charger.

 

I wouldn't go out and buy a battery just yet. Sort this problem out. Maybe you get extremely lucky and the old battery still works good enough to use. If not then you need a battery but at least you will already have the car charging the right way.

 

Edited by Bloo (see edit history)
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thank you for the reply and the help

do I make sure the battery is dead before I try to charge it ?

 

when i try to charge it now it  will only say charging when i place the red to neg. And the blk to pos. 

if I place red to pos. and blk to neg it will not charge?

again why and how did this happen to my positive  to negative ground ?

thanks

johnny

 

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I said it before and I'll say it again. Never hook the battery charger up backwards. There is no situation ever where that is a good idea. If you want to run it dead, put it in the car and leave the headlights on.

 

I don't know how it happened. Maybe from hooking the charger up backwards? Don't do that.

 

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Johnny  Every one is giving you good advice. I do not know how your battery got charged backwards or if it really is charged backwards.

May be the last person that worked on your car left something on and drained it, then not realizing it was positive and put his charger on

the starter cable and car frame but backwards. I would put the battery back in the car with positive cable to ground and turn the lights on

if the battery is charged backwards the amp meter should show charge, if it shows discharge the battery is probably good and your charger not so good.

    Bob  

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3 hours ago, JohnnyMaryjo said:

do I make sure the battery is dead before I try to charge it ?

No. . . . You get the voltmeter we discussed, and take the voltage reading properly as we discussed and report back. 

 

You are becoming fixated on "the battery being backwards". Forget about that!   

The job now is one of SORTING the car out. TESTING (not guessing, not assuming) and then proving, and then correcting. 

This is the technical forum where many many people have come to discuss what's broken and how to fix it. (Including me on many of my cars) 

 

A lot of advice is given here and the cars that actually get fixed, are the ones where the owner doesn't try to jump to the solution first.

Cars get repaired by identifying the EXACT PROBLEM and then methodically examining and testing. 

 

I use the word "sorting" as it relates to an old car because that is a huge part of what we do. You took your Plymouth to a mechanic and he did "something"(?) Exactly what? who knows? Is a a real expert on prewar Plymouths? I doubt it. So MAYBE he made a mistake. Maybe not? Right now you need to start at the beginning and go from there. 

 

Over the years all our old cars have all been worked on by people who did not understand them and thought they were fixing them and did things they should not have and then continued "fixing them" until the car would no longer operate. Then sometimes we buy them. 

We then get them, the first thing we do is to CORRECTLY identify the symptoms, then examine and test and then repair correctly. That is what we are walking you through. 

 

Story time - My friend once bought an 1959 Edsel at an auction. (nice car 30,000 miles) Edsels are 12 volt negative ground. Everybody knows that.  By 1959 there were no 6 volt positive ground cars being made. Nobody should have ever thought that it was Positive ground.

Well, I was tuning it up and trying to get it running nicely when I noticed that it didn't charge and it ran poorly. Everything looked good what was the problem? I spent almost an hour looking and checking and SURPRISE! somebody had put the battery in with a positive ground. Duh!   

Did I care who did it? No! Did I worry about what MIGHT be wrong?  No!  I changed the cables to the correct ground, checked the battery (with a voltmeter) Started the car, fixed the charging system and readjusted the ignition. (with the battery backwards the spark was no good) The battery was weak (not ruined) and while charging it (with my real mechanic's quality charger) I Cussed about the idiot who put the battery in backwards. A couple additional hours on the project but, that why it is a hobby. 

 

Somebody told you your battery is "backwards". As bloo explained that is something that could happen THEROTICALLY and might be mentioned in a textbook but is so rare that you have to stop thinking that it is your problem.  If you keep gong to that conclusion then your car will never be properly sorted out and fixed. 

 

Now, Have you got that voltmeter yet? 

Edited by m-mman (see edit history)
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Johnny, you really need to get yourself some DC electrical background at a basic level. One of these manuals will give you that and a lot more background that applies to getting and keeping your car sorted out.

 

We all had to start somewhere. Unless the corner gas station/repair shop comes back, or you have a mechanically inclined chauffeur something like this Motors Manual will get you started (!).

 

Good luck.

 

https://poshmark.com/listing/1949-Motors-Auto-Repair-Manual-hardcover-book-612421926f6c91f4e25f85b0?utm_source=gdm_home&utm_campaign=13132532864&campaign_id=13132532864&ad_partner=google&gskid=pla-1272947252120&gcid=521981878713&ggid=121840577669&gdid=c&g_network=g&enable_guest_buy_flow=true&gclid=CjwKCAjwrNmWBhA4EiwAHbjEQHWN7C3pge5xDuWLxv7RgbEi9EYR2fXEXXYguTMsSPxPyP-1Fcmk0RoCikoQAvD_BwE

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On 7/17/2022 at 8:21 PM, JohnnyMaryjo said:

the mechanic told me he did nothing  to cause this ?

But it kinda sounds like he did.

I won't get in on this, but you are in good hands about the troubleshooting.

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On 7/17/2022 at 6:51 PM, Bloo said:

^^^Good advice!.

 

Two things:

 

1). ALWAYS connect the battery charger red lead to the post marked (+), which is the larger post, and ALWAYS connect the battery charger black lead to the post marked (-), which is the smaller post. This is true with any battery charger. There are no exceptions. This is an exchange between the charger and the battery. The car does not matter. If the charger will not work this way, it is probably a smart charger. Nobody should really have a smart charger as their ONLY battery charger. In the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s almost every household had the same kind of battery charger. It is a dirt simple metal box with an ammeter on the front panel and a switch for 6 or 12 volts. They are rated about 6-10 Amps (it varies). There were a zillion brands of them and the front panel layouts vary but they are all about the same inside. If you have only one battery charger, it should be one of these. They are super common, and if you don't already have one, you can probably score one at a yard sale for $5. That won't help you today, but start watching now.

 

Here is an example:

 

contenteetimes-images-edn-diy-resurrect-

 

And another one:

 

tte0dJr7gZNmGp6qyFAIeTsVsstY5cC63BEtuUtQ

 

And now the second thing:

 

2). I believe you said the charger works if it is hooked up backwards. This SUGGESTS that you are using a smart charger and the battery is charged backwards. That is a lot to assume, and we should not assume it. Check it. As @m-mman says, take a step back. Disconnect the battery and check it with a multimeter. If you don't have a multimeter, one of the absolute cheapest will do for this. It is about $6 at Harbor Freight, and on some days can be had free with a coupon. Check with meter red (VOmA) to positive on the battery, and meter black (COM.) to negative on the battery. Set the multimeter for DC Volts (DCV), and some scale range that is higher than 6 (20 would be good). If you get negative voltage, the battery is charged backwards and you will need to run it down and then charge it correctly as outlined earlier.

 

cf0ac9d8-ffe3-4aa4-b631-b7be1d1a0d6f-jpe

 

P.S. One more thing (I guess that's 3 now), NEVER EVER believe the color coding on the battery cables in a car. They are often wrong. You need to know if the car is positive or negative ground, you cannot tell from cables. If you don't know which polarity it should be on some particular car, you can ask here, or you can look in an old Chilton or Motor manual that covers the year. Old 6V Mopars like yours are positive ground. Most 6V GM cars are negative ground, except some prewar Cadillacs. Most 6V Fords are positive ground.

 

Once you know whether it is positive or negative ground, just hook the battery to the car that way and ignore colors. On your positive ground car the battery cable that goes to the frame, or to the cast iron of the engine block, or to the transmission case ALWAYS connects to the (+) positive terminal of the battery.

 

 

i used the meter it says  - 6.16

 

again it says minus 6.16 on the meter now what to do

thanks

Johnny

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