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Technical 53 buick over charging

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by motoscott909, Oct 22, 2015.

  1. motoscott909
    Joined: Jul 14, 2015
    Posts: 4


    Hey All,

    Forgive me if i posted this in the wrong section.

    Today I starting having some problems with my 53' Roadmaster with the original 322 Nailhead. It has the original 12v generator setup and a brand new battery at the beginning of summer.

    I last drove the car about a week ago and i always unhook the battery when i am not driving it. For reference The ammeter usually goes just a bit above zero when the car is running.

    So today i went out in the garage and hooked up the battery like i always do, and got in the car to start it. Before i even started the car i noticed that the ammeter was jumping all around. Going from negative charge to zero and back again. I started the car up and the needle quit bouncing, but it was charging higher than it usually does. I figured that the battery may have just been discharged because it had been cold this past week (a couple night below freezing) and the generator was working overtime to make up for it.

    I took off without thinking much of it and about 5 miles down the road i started to smell "hot electronics". I'm sure you all know what that smells like? I then looked at my ammeter and the needle was pegged at full charge. I instantly pulled off to the side of the road and shut the car off and quickly unhooked the battery. I let it cool for 10 minutes or so while i checked for the source of the smell, but i couldn't pinpoint the smell. I then hooked the battery back up and started the car. the ammeter went to the position just above zero that it usually rides at, and there was no detection of smell. I decided to head back home and closely monitor the gauges. with about a half mile to go, the ammeter again pegged at full charge, but i did not smell the burning. I managed to get it home and unhook the battery again.

    I had to go to work, so i did not have a chance to look into it much further, but does anyone have any ideas? I was thinking regulator, but i'm not sure that would explain the needle bouncing before i start the car? or would it?

    Any input would be appreciated!

  2. Rusty O'Toole
    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 9,603

    Rusty O'Toole

    Bad regulator? Take the cover off and carefully clean the point or take it to a good auto electric shop.
  3. Atwater Mike
    Joined: May 31, 2002
    Posts: 10,671

    Atwater Mike

    Buick had 12 volt systems in '53? I thought '55...
  4. motoscott909
    Joined: Jul 14, 2015
    Posts: 4


    Thanks guys for the info. I suspect the regulator but wanted to hear some suggestions. I always thought if the points stuck the generator wouldn't charge at all, but im probably thinking wrong? I believe that i have a spare somewhere in my parts hord that i might try after i pull the old one apart. Im still not sure of the source of the smell? just makes me nervous! Im just glad that i shut it down fast enough to not have an electrical fire start!

    And to answer your question Atwater Mike, i believe 53' was a transitional year for Buick for 12v systems. As far as i know, the straight 8 models still had 6v systems, and the nailheads had 12v. Mine is most definitely a 12v as it is stamped on the generator and a few other relays that i have noticed.

  5. d2_willys
    Joined: Sep 8, 2007
    Posts: 4,175

    from Kansas

    Pontiac and Chevy went to 12 volts in 1955 models, Buick, Cad, and Olds was 53.
  6. Fr. Buick
    Joined: Oct 17, 2005
    Posts: 177

    Fr. Buick

    I had similar symptoms on my '54 Buick - the needle would jump to the Neg suddenly, then back to slightly Pos. A new battery fixed the issue.
  7. I had to replace the voltage regulator 3 times in my 53 buick special before it would stop over charging.Got it from Napa.Bruce.
  8. BJR
    Joined: Mar 11, 2005
    Posts: 7,047


    Are you sure the battery was put in the right way, negative grounded.
  9. bryan6902
    Joined: May 5, 2008
    Posts: 1,137


    Maybe try and re-polarize that regulator before you replace it.
  10. Truck64
    Joined: Oct 18, 2015
    Posts: 4,820

    from Ioway

    If the cutout relay part of the voltage regulator sticks, then the battery voltage will backfeed into the windings of the generator when charging voltage falls below the battery voltage, or even at rest with the engine shut off. This will smoke it good. This is why oftentimes the covers of voltage regulators had (or have) dents on them, people trying to get them unstuck.

    If you were observing the gauge doing the hula in stop and go type speeds - above idle and at idle - this may be what happened, though it would seem they would have stayed stuck. Guessing though.

    Batteries actually "like" cold weather in terms of storage, and if it was charged when put away then that isn't the issue.
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2015
  11. LONG
    Joined: Aug 20, 2011
    Posts: 292


    all but the Special with the 263.
  12. You can't tell how much it is charging with an ammeter it only shows how much power you are using. To check charging you need a volt meter that will give you the voltage output of your charging system.

    Snag a multi meter and go to the battery post on your voltage regulator or to the positive port on your battery and with the car running check the voltage, hot to positive and ground to a ground like a clean spot on your engine block etc.

    It shouldn't be making over about 13 volts, maybe 14 volt spikes.

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