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Technical 58 Ford generator...please help

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Ford Farmer, Feb 11, 2018.

  1. Ford Farmer
    Joined: Jan 22, 2017
    Posts: 18

    Ford Farmer

    Make a long story short I have a 58 Ford and the charging system worked fine but when I rebuilt the engine I also had the generator professionally rebuilt by a qualified shop and installed a new voltage regulator along with all new wires. And it worked perfect...sometimes. It will charge perfect for a couple days than quit for a couple days then charge again than stop again and so on. So I took generator back to the shop where they tested it 4 times and it would not fail on their test machine. Any idea what would cause this??? I really wanna keep the car original but am getting very aggravated cause I never know when its gonna decide to stop charging. :(
     
  2. Try another regulator and check all connections especially grounds
     
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  3. southcross2631
    Joined: Jan 20, 2013
    Posts: 3,510

    southcross2631
    Member

    Take the whole car to the shop that rebuilt the generator if possible and have them test it on the car. you may have another problem.
     
  4. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 45,220

    squirrel
    Member

    Generators are pretty simple, but voltage regulators can cause problems.
     
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  5. Truck64
    Joined: Oct 18, 2015
    Posts: 3,964

    Truck64
    Member
    from Ioway

    Did you paint the engine? The only thing probably worse than rust and corrosion, the great bugaboo of good electron transfer, is fresh coat of thick paint. Very common issue with rebuilds. It may well test fine on the bench but when installed, it is not grounded. Remember the generator grounds through the block. Make sure connecting hardware and fasteners, brackets, mounting boss on block etc etc are clean and shiny, bright and tight. I like to run a thread chaser in the block and use a small amount of vaseline or NO-OX to help keep the crud out of the ground connections.

    NOS or NORS? or "new" junk from golly knows where?
     
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  6. Troublemaker427
    Joined: Jun 27, 2006
    Posts: 1,829

    Troublemaker427
    Member

    I'd look at the regulator. I had a "brand new" one that drove me crazy on my '61. I replaced it and all is good now.
     
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  7. Ford Farmer
    Joined: Jan 22, 2017
    Posts: 18

    Ford Farmer

    I just ordered a new regulator and I'll triple check the grounds nest time i'm out in the shop. Any thoughts on running a second battery ground cable right to the generator mounting bracket? Just for good measure.
     
  8. Truck64
    Joined: Oct 18, 2015
    Posts: 3,964

    Truck64
    Member
    from Ioway

    That is a valid test or diagnostic troubleshooting procedure. If charging resumes or voltage increases then grounding is poor. If the generator is grounded properly to the block, and the battery is grounded to the block properly, then extra grounds aren't really necessary. Test this using the voltage drop method while under load. Even a few tenths is rough on a charging system. Generators are prone to this because they don't have a lot of excess current reserve.

    The voltage regulator itself needs to be at the same ground potential. At some point Ford ran a jumper wire from generator case to regulator body just to be sure. You could try that as another test, connect a jumper from generator case to voltage regulator case. If a regulator floats or is lifted relative to ground it can get confused. Find a copy of the Shop manual for troubleshooting, it is helpful since most of us don't have it memorized. And hardly anyone can help you, sure as hell not at any parts store. There's a few good webpages on them in the Tractor world. Just keep in mind you're working with a Ford "type B" circuit.

    For all that I found keep a generator endplate on hand. This is easy to swap out, it includes fresh brushes pre-installed, the most likely thing to cause trouble in a generator itself. Takes about 5 minutes. This was how it was done "back in the day." Now, new brushes should already be worn and tapered slightly to the radius of the commutator, so as to present a full contact patch from first use. They are made of soft carbon so it only takes a few seconds to do so, but this is an important step so they will last and not burn. Maybe 40,000 miles? I ignored this step once "they'll wear in, right?" and they barely lasted 1,000 if that.
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2018
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  9. alchemy
    Joined: Sep 27, 2002
    Posts: 15,145

    alchemy
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I did this on my car when I wired it. Not hard to do and guarantees a good ground between the two most important items in the circuit.
     
  10. Malcolm
    Joined: Feb 9, 2006
    Posts: 7,540

    Malcolm
    Member
    from Nebraska

    Did you polarize the generator when installing the new regulator? I haven't messed with one of these systems in quite a while, but do recall having to do that.
     
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  11. alchemy
    Joined: Sep 27, 2002
    Posts: 15,145

    alchemy
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Ah, yes, did you do that? And make sure you do it Ford style, not Delco style. I think you can let the smoke out if you polarize a Ford via the Delco method.
     
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  12. Ford Farmer
    Joined: Jan 22, 2017
    Posts: 18

    Ford Farmer

    Yes I did polarize according to the 1958 Ford shop manual. I ran a second battery ground today directly to the generator bracket and made sure the gen to reg ground was good...still no difference. I am thinking the next step is going to be a battery to regulator ground too. The annoying thing about my whole situation here is I can go out tomorrow and the car can just decide to charge for a few days perfect and than for no reason stop for a while than start again.
    Also there is a small device that LOOKS like an ignition condenser that is part of the regulator assembly. Any idea what that thing is?
     
  13. Truck64
    Joined: Oct 18, 2015
    Posts: 3,964

    Truck64
    Member
    from Ioway

    Designed to reduce RFI; I would remove it for now. It is a condenser (capacitor) used for noise suppression. They were installed at the generator armature post as well, and at the ignition coil. Television & radio interference was a common issue before resistor wires & plugs.

    Anyway it could easily be shorted or "leaky" by now. Since you have a problem best to remove it altogether from the equation.
     
  14. BJR
    Joined: Mar 11, 2005
    Posts: 6,235

    BJR
    Member

    I bet you have a generator brush that is hanging up. From the back of the generator, can you see the brushes? If so see if they move up and down freely in the brush holders. With the engine off of coarse.
     
  15. Dave Friend
    Joined: Dec 24, 2017
    Posts: 71

    Dave Friend

    Hi
    I would take the cover off the regulator and watch if the cut out is adjusted proper.
    It could be right on the edge and at times cutting out. A slight adjustment maybe all lit needs.
    Dave
     
  16. Ford Farmer
    Joined: Jan 22, 2017
    Posts: 18

    Ford Farmer

    All very good information. I'll check those brushes saturday when i'm out at the shop, unfortunately gen has to be removed to check. As far as the reg goes the cover can't be removed, it seems sealed. I did order another one so I'll swap it out and see if thats the problem.
     
  17. Truck64
    Joined: Oct 18, 2015
    Posts: 3,964

    Truck64
    Member
    from Ioway

    No, the backing or end plate itself pops right off. That's what I was talking about earlier. That way the generator could be serviced quickly. Armature wire and two bolts. Now BJR might be right, brushes can get cockeyed and stick in the holders. You could first try jamming them tight against the commutator at idle (carefully!) with a screwdriver or something, if you can get to them.

    Better probably to remove the backing plate and inspect them if you haven't checked them out in a while, but that trick will get you charging again if they are just hanging up in the holder. As brushes wear down the spring tension is a lot less.
     
  18. Ford Farmer
    Joined: Jan 22, 2017
    Posts: 18

    Ford Farmer

    One more thing I forgot to ask. Does the regulator have any bearing over the generator electricity output? If the reg is no good could it somehow stop the generator from putting out power or will the generator produce regardless of what the regulator is doing. I ask because I notice that if I touch the voltmeter to the gen terminal on the regulator it is showing nothing coming in. But when the car decides to charge its showing 13.8 coming from generator
     
  19. Drill the regulator cover rivets out, then reattach the cover with screws; that's how the factory ones were. My experience is the quality control on 'new replacement' generator system parts is crap (they've been obsolete for over 50 years now), I stick to alternators these days...

    And yes, the regulator is very likely to be the problem. If you have the service manual, once you get the cover off the regulator it will explain how to troubleshoot/adjust it.
     
  20. 13.8 v is pretty normal for a generator car. 13.8 to 14.1 is a good range. Any time I changed a generator, I'd do the regulator too. I recall my '64 Ford having a braided ground strap on the radiator support that went to one of the mounting screws. Install both items, then follow the polarization instructions that should come with the generator.
     
  21. sunbeam
    Joined: Oct 22, 2010
    Posts: 4,697

    sunbeam
    Member

    You can check the brushes by seeing if the generator will motor . Through the belt and apply 12 volts to the ARM terminal and the gen should motor.
     
  22. Dave Friend
    Joined: Dec 24, 2017
    Posts: 71

    Dave Friend

    Hi again
    As crazy Steve said. drill out the rivets and see if the regulator is working proper. If the generator will motor, it is ok. There are 3 relays a cut out that opens to separate the gen from the battery. A current relay to control current. A voltage relay to control volts. To me as I said I think it is the cut out not set correct
     
  23. Dave Friend
    Joined: Dec 24, 2017
    Posts: 71

    Dave Friend

    Why spend the money. Take the cover off
     
  24. Truck64
    Joined: Oct 18, 2015
    Posts: 3,964

    Truck64
    Member
    from Ioway

    Is this a trick question? Maybe I need more coffee to get into my charitable self, but what does "voltage regulator" mean to you? ;)

    Well the answer is "it depends". The generator itself runs "full tilt"all the time - once it reaches a certain RPM. The regulator, through the use of vibrating electro-magnetic contact points, throttles this back in terms of both voltage, and current (amperes).

    The charge voltage is sort of a moving target. This is another task of the voltage regulator. They are temperature compensated. A cold battery needs more juice coming in to get to same charge level compared with warm temperatures. 13.8 won't do shit, depending. It might make a good float charge. Somewhere north of 15 volts is OEM spec when it's cold. Usually around 14.5 is right in there under typical conditions.

    A couple things that will work against you. Rust in the cables, grounds, and connections. The tiniest bit, even invisible, can cripple any charging system (alternator or generator)

    I haven't heard anything particularly good about those "sealed" voltage regulators. Some people don't want to mess with generators, some people want to be more authentic, whatever. Just don't expect to use cheap shit and have any luck. If running a generator use a NOS or NORS regulator.

    RTFM. I can't emphasize this too strongly. They are simple systems and easy to diagnose with a voltmeter.
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2018
  25. sunbeam
    Joined: Oct 22, 2010
    Posts: 4,697

    sunbeam
    Member

    A motoring generator checks the brushes and armature not so much the fields.
     
  26. That's generally not true. If the generator or alternator has permanent magnets for 'field windings' (typically found on motorcycles or 'small engines' charging systems) they run full-tilt and shunt the excess output to ground to control output. But virtually all 'normal' automotive charging systems control output by varying voltage/current to the field windings.
     
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  27. Truck64
    Joined: Oct 18, 2015
    Posts: 3,964

    Truck64
    Member
    from Ioway

    Well learned something there, I always figured that "full fielding" the generator was evidence of that. It is a matter of the voltage regulator .. regulating though.

    An unregulated generator all spooled up pegs to the high side though doesn't it?
     
  28. Dave Friend
    Joined: Dec 24, 2017
    Posts: 71

    Dave Friend

    Hi
    if there is no series field gen will not motor. If fields are weak slow rotation. If no shunt field, no speed control.
     
  29. sunbeam
    Joined: Oct 22, 2010
    Posts: 4,697

    sunbeam
    Member

    It's been my experience there is usally enough residual magnetism for a generator to motor without the fields windings used.
     
  30. Ford Farmer
    Joined: Jan 22, 2017
    Posts: 18

    Ford Farmer

    Hello all
    I know it’s been a while but I wanted to fill everyone in on what the actual problem was just in case anybody is still reading the thread . Long story short I had to replace the Generator end plate. It was bench testing fine but when installed on the car the nut for the positive cable was spreading the insulation just enough to cause intermittent short outs.


    Sent from my iPhone using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
     

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