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Technical Generator issues

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Christie, Mar 7, 2021.

  1. Christie
    Joined: Jun 4, 2007
    Posts: 201

    Christie
    Member

    My generator isn’t charging my battery, I started noticing I would need to jump my battery every few times after driving. When I start the car, there’s a rattling type of noise that causes the generator light to flicker and then the rattle clears and the light goes out. I was told to polarize the generator by a friend. I did that at the regulator and got a huge spark. Not sure if I damaged the regulator and generator doing that. Now I’m getting black oily smoke out the exhaust. Advice please? And thank you


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  2. brading
    Joined: Sep 9, 2019
    Posts: 413

    brading
    Member

    First thing I would do is rremove the fan belt then start the engine to see if the rattle is still there. If it is you need to find out what is causing that first. If it is no longer there then you need to remove the generator, strip it down and found out the state of it. When we know the answers to these we can advice further. Can see no reason why the black oily smoke would have anything to do with the generator.
     
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  3. AngleDrive
    Joined: Mar 9, 2006
    Posts: 973

    AngleDrive
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Florida

    But the rattle might have to do something with the black oily smoke
     
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  4. theboss20
    Joined: Dec 30, 2018
    Posts: 250

    theboss20

    What car? Original generator to that vehicle? 12v or 6v, Pos. or Neg. Ground....how did you polarize...each system requires a different method.


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  5. ProtoTypeDesignFlauz
    Joined: Jul 29, 2007
    Posts: 1,118

    ProtoTypeDesignFlauz
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    My dad would tap on the side of the regulator and/or generator with his (farmer's) pliers, to make the charging system work. Also, if the carburetor was overflowing fuel, he would tap on the side of the carburetor. On the farm there was always a lot of tapping going on.
    I do know that tapping probably will not fix the black oily smoke out the exhaust problem.
     
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  6. jimmy six
    Joined: Mar 21, 2006
    Posts: 9,505

    jimmy six
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    GM and Ford polarized different and is normally needed after replacing a generator. It sounds like a bearing/bushing and short brushes to me. Needs to come off and apart if you have the knowledge.
     
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  7. Truck64
    Joined: Oct 18, 2015
    Posts: 4,766

    Truck64
    Member
    from Ioway

    @Christie there are a few things that can cause a generator charging system not to work.

    The idea generally is to first determine whether the generator itself, or the regulator is at fault. A shop manual or similar has the correct step by step procedure. It may simply be the carbon brushes inside the generator are worn, or sticking. But as you've discovered there are some good reasons why alternators replaced generators.

    It is important to charge a dead battery back up with a charger, a jump start is really only to get you back home.
     
    Christie likes this.
  8. Christie
    Joined: Jun 4, 2007
    Posts: 201

    Christie
    Member

    Thank you all for your advice and input. I’ll be going out there later and I’ll take some pics of what I’m working with.


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  9. Truck64
    Joined: Oct 18, 2015
    Posts: 4,766

    Truck64
    Member
    from Ioway

    Is this still a 6 volt system? A 55 fairlane was originally.

    Your best bet might be to remove both the regulator and generator and take the whole shootin' match to a motor repair shop and have them go through both. They can test everything, replace brushes &c and things like that as necessary, and match charging voltage setpoint thru the regulator. These kinds of shops are getting scarce, but there may be one or two yet in your area.

    I tend to avoid walking anyone thru generator troubleshooting anymore, as what they really want is an alternator.
     
  10. Christie
    Joined: Jun 4, 2007
    Posts: 201

    Christie
    Member

    If it gets to that point, should I just use an alternator instead? And it’s a 12volt.


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  11. Truck64
    Joined: Oct 18, 2015
    Posts: 4,766

    Truck64
    Member
    from Ioway

    Most people dislike generators because they expect them to perform exactly like an alternator, which they are used to. These pretty much either work, or they don't, and there is no periodic maintenance or adjustment required.

    They'll spend huge money rebuilding a motor and spare no expense on every part great and small and then slap on a tired old generator that was laying in the weeds 40 years as an afterthought. It works for a few months, maybe.

    I guess only you can answer the question, it depends how interested you really are in delving into the mysteries of Really Obsolete charging systems. They work fine setup correctly, and for a long time too. Till they don't, and that's when people decide they've had enough.
     
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  12. 61SuperMonza
    Joined: Nov 16, 2020
    Posts: 489

    61SuperMonza
    Member

    If you drive the car regularly I would replace the gen with an alt. This is an easy conversion and the end result will be more reliable. No more dimming of headlights depending on load and removing weight is a nice side effect.
     
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  13. Atwater Mike
    Joined: May 31, 2002
    Posts: 10,659

    Atwater Mike
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    ^^^^ This. Alternator is a simple retro fit, brackets available for most. The small Japanese ones (Sanyo, etc.) are easily fit, usually under $100. But for simplistics/availability/simple wiring, I'd suggest a Delco with 1 wire conversion. (I use this one exclusively, with an exciter wire from an under-dash button to #1 spade connector on the alternator plug) Start engine, touch button, and no need to rev 3,000 RPM to excite.
    Youtube has instructions...
     
  14. I prefer the three-wire alternators as they do a better job of delivering full voltage to the harness. The one-wire alternators were never intended for cars, being designed for stationary equipment and things like tractors and forklifts that had very minimal wiring systems. A bit more involved to wire in, but better results.
     
  15. Flat Six Fix
    Joined: Feb 6, 2010
    Posts: 1,271

    Flat Six Fix
    Member

    Not a real bad idea, or pull your genny and have gone over. Your choice and cash.
    If it were me, wire in and fab a simple mount for an alt. Then keep genny if you wanna go back sometime.
    On the 1 wire GM 10SI, ive had one for years, no im not runnin AC, power windows or huge stereo but it handles my trucks needs no problems whatsoever.
    Only thing with the 1 wire style alts, they need to be brought to say 1500 rpm for self exciter internal regulator to kick on. Once charging any RPM fine til engine shut off again...Either way is good.
     
  16. Beanscoot
    Joined: May 14, 2008
    Posts: 2,053

    Beanscoot
    Member

    Alternators work fine, generators work fine.
    Generators are more in keeping with the spirit of this site.
     
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  17. Ice man
    Joined: Mar 12, 2008
    Posts: 984

    Ice man
    Member

    Most folks think of a generator as that thing in the garage that you use when the power goes off. Generators on cars hit the dust in the 60s. Even old Model As that are Henry Ford stock have alternators, adapted to there Banger to keep every thing charged, and they are 6 volt. Cant believe yours is a 12 volt system and still using a geneture, yea that's Old Pgh lingo. Iceman
     
  18. 51504bat
    Joined: May 22, 2010
    Posts: 2,891

    51504bat
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    The GM style 1 wire alternator on my 8ba charges immediately at idle. Just hooked up the one wire and good to go.
     
  19. Budget36
    Joined: Nov 29, 2014
    Posts: 6,783

    Budget36
    Member

    I think the rattle and oil from the exhaust should be the first order of business. Worry about the charging side of it later.
     
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  20. theboss20
    Joined: Dec 30, 2018
    Posts: 250

    theboss20

    Disagree with this statement...after 30+ years owning an Auto Electric shop we made many one wire Delco alternators with low cut-in and 105 amp output that ran all types of street-rods. We used the CS Series alternator with a special self-excited AC regulator...part #7801SE/AC


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  21. GM never installed them in cars; it was hot rodders that re-tasked them for that....
     
  22. 6-bangertim
    Joined: Oct 3, 2011
    Posts: 400

    6-bangertim
    Member
    from California

    What car are we talking about? Do you have the factory service manual for it? If not, GET THE BIBLE for it - there is NO subistution for it! Read and understand the section on charging systems, and how to troubleshoot them. An easy exercise would be to remove the generator, tear it apart, inspect it, following the manual. A local auto electric shop that does rebuilding can help you with parts and testing, for reasonable cost.

    How far do you drive the car, when you take it out? How often? Generators charge at a lower rate than today's altinators, so it takes more driving to charge the battery. I might get some arguement here, but I LIKE generators, because the lower charging rate helps batteries last much, muck longer!

    A battery charger is a GOOD investment, if the car isn't driven frenquently. Batteries need to be cahaged every 2-3 months to keep them active, if the car sits for long periods - otherwise they go dead, and won't take a charge.
     
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  23. theboss20
    Joined: Dec 30, 2018
    Posts: 250

    theboss20

    One final note...a battery maintainer is the best choice for all Vintage, Rod or Custom vehicle. Put it on and forget it. Always a fully charged battery. Of course many storage spots don’t have electricity...then there is solar...a small panel can achieve the same results.


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  24. sunbeam
    Joined: Oct 22, 2010
    Posts: 5,279

    sunbeam
    Member

    I am not a fan of one wires. To many voltage spikes. Two recent cases Guy brought me a very nice 61 Chevy no radio no ac had a vintage air unit and no charging. On checking it out I noted that his volt meter was stuck on 30 volts. the second case farm tractor the amp meter was fried. both now use a 3 wire unit.
     
  25. 2OLD2FAST
    Joined: Feb 3, 2010
    Posts: 3,401

    2OLD2FAST
    Member
    from illinois

    Im well aware of your credentials. However , I see no reason why , if wired correctly with adequate wiring ,there'd should be a voltage drop anywhere in an automotive electrical system that's alternator related ..
     
  26. Truck64
    Joined: Oct 18, 2015
    Posts: 4,766

    Truck64
    Member
    from Ioway

    I'd sure agree with that, even if driven regularly. But regardless a charger will pay for itself quickly and many times over after several years. Batteries have gotten a little spendy.

    In hot weather I'd argue they need charging every few weeks, or better the use of a float charger.
     
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  27. Christie
    Joined: Jun 4, 2007
    Posts: 201

    Christie
    Member

    Thank you everyone for your input/advice! So much appreciated! The last couple days haven’t let me get out there to tinker. I will keep you updated on when I do go out there though! :)


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  28. Truck64
    Joined: Oct 18, 2015
    Posts: 4,766

    Truck64
    Member
    from Ioway

    No no no Christie! Do it Now!
     
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  29. You are 100% correct, but the operative phrase is 'adequate wiring'. Both the OEMs and aftermarket harness suppliers skimp on wire sizes, particularly in the main harness feed from the battery/charging system, the three-wire will compensate for that voltage drop up to a point due to it's 'sense' circuit. The one-wire can't do this. Neither type of alternator is the cause of the drop, the three-wire is a 'fix' for it.

    In a minimal system on something like most early bodied hot rods with few electrical loads the one-wire will usually work fine. Get into something newer with more loads, and that lack of remote sensing can become a problem. Which is why these weren't used on cars and trucks by the OEMs.... plus if wishing to retain a idiot light on a newer car, there's no place to connect it.
     
    KJSR likes this.
  30. 2OLD2FAST
    Joined: Feb 3, 2010
    Posts: 3,401

    2OLD2FAST
    Member
    from illinois

    Its always the details ( and lack of knowledge) !
     

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