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Posted By: DeanThe54Chevy 6V Generator to 6V Alternator - Tue Mar 25 2014 03:59 PM
Any suggestions on what to do or what to buy?

Is the generator positive or negative ground?

I will be replacing the old wire, with the OEM 6V harness (American Autowire or Jim Carter Trucks.

But I'd like brighter lights while keeping the original 6V in case I'd ever want to throw back in the old generator for originality sake. Also, I don't want to have to change/add voltage reducers and risk burning the gauge/s or radio.

I'd like to hear from anyone who may have done this and what suggestions they might have.

Thanks
Posted By: infinityedge Re: 6V Generator to 6V Alternator - Tue Mar 25 2014 05:14 PM
If all you want is brighter lights, you don't need to change out the generator, just swap in some LEDs for the tail lights/turn signals and get some H4 housings to replace the stock sealed beam bulbs.

http://www.stovebolt.com/ubbthreads...in=148008&Number=1001146#Post1001146

I have the 60w/55w bulbs currently installed. They are as bright as any car with halogen bulbs and the battery still charges fine at idle with the high beams on.
Posted By: DeanThe54Chevy Re: 6V Generator to 6V Alternator - Tue Mar 25 2014 06:13 PM
Ok, my other concern too, is how do I make the starter more effective (quick turn over)
Posted By: infinityedge Re: 6V Generator to 6V Alternator - Tue Mar 25 2014 06:24 PM
For that you'll need a 12V battery ;-)

Personally, the only time I have trouble starting is on very cold days and even then it only takes a little more time than normal to start. Since you are in L.A. you should have it easier than I do up in the hills around the snow line.

I'm thinking of adding a 120VAC external oil warmer to make cold starts easier, but have yet to get around to it. Probably won't until it gets cold again.
Posted By: DeanThe54Chevy Re: 6V Generator to 6V Alternator - Tue Mar 25 2014 06:33 PM
Great! Yea my conundrum was whether or not to upgrade with an alternator or stick with the generator. Considering I get home late, I usually drive the truck in the evening/night, so it was hard to see. Plus I'd like it to fire more easily and smoothly. I've seen many threads of people chaging over to 12V and say its great, but I don't want to ruin my original radio and/or gauges.

Maybe I'll upgrade later if I decide to make it into a daily driver soon.
Posted By: infinityedge Re: 6V Generator to 6V Alternator - Tue Mar 25 2014 07:23 PM
Make sure to clean up all the connections between your coil, distributor, and plugs. Once I cleaned up the bit of corrosion that had developed and slapped on a some dielectric grease to hopefully stop future corrosion, my truck fired up much easier.

I highly recommend doing the headlight swap. It is amazing how much better modern lights are. If, in the future, you want to do the 12V conversion, all you have to do is spend $30 on new bulbs and relays.
Posted By: Tiny Re: 6V Generator to 6V Alternator - Tue Mar 25 2014 10:21 PM
Originally Posted by DeanThe54Chevy
Ok, my other concern too, is how do I make the starter more effective (quick turn over)

Step one clean every battery cable end on the positive and negative cables. Step two make sure your starter is good. Step three make sure your battery is good. Step four start it and go.

As for the lights, I put a 6v alternator on my '38. It doesn't make the bulbs brighter unless you consider at idle where the lights dim with a generator. I haven't bought any 6v LEDs in the last four or five years BUT when I did buy them (very expensive) for my tail and dash lights they were no brighter than stock and didn't work well all around. An option to consider is contacting Bill Hirsch <CLICK> and ask about their halogen bulbs. They make replacement 6v halogen bulbs for almost every application. I bought them for may dash lights and they are a god send for this old man's eyes. For your tail lights use a #81 bulb for the tail light and an #1129 for the brake light. That will give you 6cp for the tail light (stock is a #63-3cp bulb) and a total of 27cp while braking. This is a side by side comparison of my 6v '38 tail light (L) next to my modern 12 pickup on the right. A good shot of gloss white inside the housing will reflect more light through the lens. Also make sure you're using plastic lenses. They let more light pass than glass lenses do.
Posted By: infinityedge Re: 6V Generator to 6V Alternator - Tue Mar 25 2014 11:17 PM
The 6V LEDs I got (not too expensive, $10-$15 per pair) are way brighter than stock. They might even be brighter than a modern car's OEM tail lights, but I haven't taken a lightmeter to them yet to compare.

If I were to do it again, I would get the pineapple style in red (like my turn signals) for tail lights rather than the brighter whites I bought. It would be a little cheaper, and I think the end result would be better. The whites are so bright, you get some bleed through around the edges making the tail lamp red with a whitish overtone. The downside would be that the license plate would be lit red. Maybe whites on the lower socket and reds higher would be the optimum.

Honestly, the LEDs are so, so much better than stock, or any other filiment bulb I've tried, that I think everyone should give it a try.

I have yet to swap dash lights for LEDs, so I can't give any opinion on that, but once the current bulbs go out, I will swap them. It might be hard to find a 6v LED that isn't too bright though.
Posted By: Tiny Re: 6V Generator to 6V Alternator - Wed Mar 26 2014 02:02 PM
It's possible that the LED technology has improved to the point where they are now indeed brighter in a 6v application but that wasn't the case back then. The problem I ran into with the dash lights was that LEDs are so directional. Dash bulbs use a BA9 base bulb which is pretty small. At the time I bought the bulbs it was difficult to put more than one LED in each bulb. Every 6v BA9 LED I found at the time had the LED facing forward. This provided very little illumination in the 360 deg sweep needed to illuminate the gauges. If the LEDs are now small enough to put several in each bulb, covering the 360 deg arc, they will likely do a much better job. If they still have only one LED don't waste your money. I'm so happy with my halogen bulbs, and do so little night driving where I even need them, that I'll likely never be in the market for dash bulbs again.
Posted By: DeanThe54Chevy Re: 6V Generator to 6V Alternator - Wed Mar 26 2014 03:17 PM
Thnak you both for the prompt and informative responses. I decided I'm going to keep the generator and 6V system. Why fix what isn't broken? wink I'll be sure to clean the leads and double check the battery, maybe its getting tired :/

Otherwise, changing the bulbs is a simple (and cheaper) alternative.
Posted By: pfarber Re: 6V Generator to 6V Alternator - Fri Mar 28 2014 10:20 PM
You can also get some commutator stones to clean the commutator on the starter and genny. That alone should help with the cranking.

I did a little write up HERE

For 6V connectors you should also be using some dielectric compound and all the connections. It helps prevent corrosion and gives a much better ground.
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