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1963 T-bird charging problem

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by hawaiian_highboy, Nov 3, 2012.

  1. hawaiian_highboy
    Joined: Apr 27, 2012
    Posts: 7


    Hey everyone,

    I have a 63 T-bird that can't seem to hold a charge. The battery is good and there is power running from the alternator to the battery and from the alternator to the regulator and out of the starter relay. The car starts fine with a fresh battery but won't from a jump. I'm thinking it might have something to do with the regulator. Does anyone know how to check it to see if it's bad?

  2. Commish
    Joined: Jan 9, 2010
    Posts: 379

    from NW Ok

    If it won't run after a jump, sounds like the alternator is not charging, I would clean all cables and then check across battery terminal with it running, should be putting out at least 14.2 volts at minimum with a fresh battery. If not do a little googling and find out how to bypass your reg. and full field the alternator, been to long for me to tell you for sure how.
  3. garcoal
    Joined: Nov 15, 2006
    Posts: 277


    i think a 63 tbird should have a geneator. either way ust take it off and have it tested
  4. Paul B
    Joined: Sep 29, 2007
    Posts: 880

    Paul B

    My 63 has an alternator i think 63 was first year for them
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  5. Yutan Flash
    Joined: Aug 6, 2008
    Posts: 690

    Yutan Flash
    from Gretna, NE

    '63 was first year for alternator on the T-bird. First off, is the original-style alternator (used '63-'64) with the plug-in connector and press-on pulley/fan still in place, or has it been replaced with a '65-later style with separate terminals? Parts for the '63-4 style alternator can be hard to come by, but if you know where to look (i.e. '58-'66 T-bird parts vendors would be a good start for used ones) can be sourced. Replacing an original-style electromechanical voltage regulator with an electronic one from a '70s-'80s Ford might also cure the problem.

    Advice to take it off and have it checked out at a alternator/starter rebuilder is spot-on - could be as 'simple' as a diode needing to be replaced (that's happend to me several times), worn-out brushes, etc.

    You'll find a LOT more specific info on this topic at Vintage Thunderbird Club Int'l's message board by going to and following the links to the VTCI Forum.

    Alan H. Tast AIA, LEED AP BD+C
    Technical Director/Past President, Vintage Thunderbird Club International
    Author, "Thunderbird 1955-1966" & "Thunderbird 50 Years"
  6. t44e6
    Joined: Nov 3, 2012
    Posts: 4


    BEFORE you take it off and have it tested, check all connections, wires, and cables thoroughly. Have seen many a failed hack-installed crimp connector or splice in out of the way places.
  7. test the alt. on the car before you take it off very simple to do, start the vehicle and grab a screwdriver and while its running touch the center of the BACKSIDE and see if their is a magnetic draw pulling the screwdriver against the alt. If their is no draw the alt is bad, this is the first thing i always do then check your connections. A VOM meter is a must for electrical issues but most folks don't own one and some that do don't know how to use one.

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