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Technical Living with 6v--How is it, really?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by squirrel, Apr 30, 2019.

  1. Sactownog
    Joined: Jan 19, 2018
    Posts: 239

    Sactownog
    Member
    from SAN DIEGO

    got an OPTIMA 6v battery and it works great, starts car right up even after a week of not being started. I still run the trickle charger to it but I think the 6v is ok to run with after living with it on my 33 Dodge for a year.

    I had to rewire the entire car when I got it, all wires are larger and the grounds need to be VERY CLEAN.

    I plan to put a 2nd Optima 6v battery in and run them together for extra umph even through its not needed.
     
  2. If the wiring itself is in bad shape, convert it to 12v; but use two 6v batteries and wire the OD to run off one of the 6v's.
     
    alanp561 likes this.
  3. I struggled for a year with my old 48 Ford on 6 volts. It was always a bitch to get cranked and the original wiring was scary. I decided to rewire and convert to 12 volts. Now my car will start at the first instance the starter engages. Original 6 volt starter still in it.
    My opinion is that 6v systems leave too much to be desired. I don't believe them to be as reliable as 12volts. The manufacturers changed them for a reason.
     
    GreenMonster48 likes this.
  4. carbking
    Joined: Dec 20, 2008
    Posts: 2,483

    carbking
    Member

    Ran lots of 6 volt a long time ago.

    Only 6 volt I have now are John Deere. No issues with batteries. Generally last 8~12 years.

    Would believe the two major issues many have with batteries are:

    (1) failure to re-polarize the generator whenever the battery is disconnected and reconnnected
    (2) trying to use 12v battery cables.

    Jon
     
  5. Truck64
    Joined: Oct 18, 2015
    Posts: 3,179

    Truck64
    Member
    from Ioway

    It's my understanding 6 volt systems weren't up to the task of the new postwar high compression V8 engines and the fielding of power hungry factory options and accessories.
     
    samurai mike likes this.
  6. Truck64
    Joined: Oct 18, 2015
    Posts: 3,179

    Truck64
    Member
    from Ioway

    It is not necessary to polarize a generator disconnecting or reconnecting a battery, or replacing the voltage regulator.

    Ford Shop Manual "Normally, it is only necessary to polarize a generator when a generator has been rebuilt and if new pole shoes have been installed."

    If a generator has sat for a LONG time they can lose it, or if dropped, probably. It won't hurt anything to polarize if done correctly but often ... it's not done correctly.
     
  7. theboss20
    Joined: Dec 30, 2018
    Posts: 136

    theboss20

    Part of the answer to this comment is whether or not the generator is in good repair...a generator with a partly shorted armature can lose it’s magnetism and have to be re-polarized to function. Also if the cut-out in the regulator sticks from time to time this can also stress the generator and create issues.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
     
  8. carbking
    Joined: Dec 20, 2008
    Posts: 2,483

    carbking
    Member

    You quote a good source, and not my field, so no argument from me.

    From personal experience, my Dad and I ceased to have battery issues after we started re-polarizing each time the battery was reconnected (more than 50 years ago). While it may not be necessary, very easy to do, and if done correctly, will certainly not hurt anything. Takes longer to dig out the moving coil voltmeter than it takes to re-polarize. Old habits die hard ;)

    Jon.
     
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  9. plym_46
    Joined: Sep 8, 2005
    Posts: 3,742

    plym_46
    Member
    from central NY

    Manufactures went to 12 v to save half the cost of wiring the car with thinner wire. 24 volts in airplanes same weight and cost saving. Plus nobody could come up with positive ground radio transistors.
     
    H380 likes this.
  10. New Lemon's car ?
     
    squirrel likes this.
  11. Truck64
    Joined: Oct 18, 2015
    Posts: 3,179

    Truck64
    Member
    from Ioway

    Yes it will, the generator will try to motor, and may even catch on fire. That was my first exposure to DC generator "issues" some years ago. The GEN light illuminated with the engine off. "Huh" I wondered, "What's the deal with that?" Popped the hood, and noticed smoke from the generator. The deal is, the battery is backfeeding into the field windings.

    This is why used voltage regulator covers sometimes have dents, a few "love taps" will get them unstuck.
     
    theboss20 likes this.
  12. TWKundrat
    Joined: Apr 6, 2010
    Posts: 121

    TWKundrat
    Member

    Keep it 6v if for no other reason than to offend everyone who hears it crank over. I don't know why but it really drives everyone crazy that I still run the 6v in my Buick. They're always telling me I'm dumb as hell for not updating it but I'm a little fanatical about sticking with the old car technology (I know optimas don't quite qualify but what the hell). I swear by them optimas. They've held up pretty well for me even with AZ heat and infrequent use. From my experience most of the conventional 6v batteries don't last worth a crap anymore.
     
  13. Truck64
    Joined: Oct 18, 2015
    Posts: 3,179

    Truck64
    Member
    from Ioway

    Yep.

    Them: "You know, you need to get rid of that."
    Me: Get rid of what?
    Them: "That Generator".
    Me: I do!? Why??
    Them : "It's not reliable".
    Me: What do you mean it's not "reliable", it's lasted
    55 years, how reliable does it need to be?
    Them: "&@$!!!!"

    I wonder, if the turnover on 6 volt batteries is slow. Seems like it would be. If they sit on the shelf for a while the plates will sulfate permanently as the charge dissipates. I wouldn't go out of my way to put a car back to 6 volts from 12, but if it was original I would make it work. It worked for them back then, I bet I can make it work for me.
     
  14. Rusty O'Toole
    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 8,959

    Rusty O'Toole
    Member

    Squirrel you are old enough you should remember driving 6 volt cars when you were a kid. They are reliable as any 70 year old part within their limitations. I have converted cars and tractors to 12V but, if I had it to do again, would not bother. I find it easier to fix the 6V system and get it working right, than to change to 12V and find it still doesn't work, and then fix what was wrong in the first place.

    You know they went to 12V to get more oomph for starting high compression large displacement V8s, to run the many power accessories that were gaining in popularity, and to cheap out on wiring. Your Hudson doesn't have any of these problems. Except maybe the wiring.

    If you do go 12V I am sure you know how to do it right, with all brand new 12V parts, and it will be as reliable as if you put in all new 6V parts.

    You could also half ass it like the guys who come on here begging for help after some jasper told them it is easy to change to 12V - then disappeared when the problems started showing up.

    Or, best choice of all, say the hell with it and buy a new car if that is what you want.
     
    tinsled likes this.
  15. Pats55
    Joined: Apr 29, 2013
    Posts: 188

    Pats55
    Member
    from NJ

    I always had a problem with my LaSalle. It would start great cold but when I would stop for coffee for 30 minutes it would turn over so slowly. It always started. I always tried to park on a hill. If it starts hot I would leave alone..
     
    tinsled likes this.
  16. Steves46
    Joined: Sep 23, 2008
    Posts: 347

    Steves46
    Member
    from Florida

    I have had my 55 F100 going on 9 years with the stock 6 volt and have not had any problems. I really believe my 00 gauge battery cables with the ground running to one of the starter mounting bolst coupled with 12 and 14 gauge wiring harness/clean grounds have contributed to bright headlights and a decent turning starter when starting up. Dang, now that I have said something nice about my truck I hope I haven't jynxed anything. Ha-Ha!
     
  17. Rickybop
    Joined: May 23, 2008
    Posts: 5,558

    Rickybop
    Member
    from Michigan

    Sqirrel, this is one area that I do have experience in.
    Simply put, if everything is up to snuff...you'd be pleasantly surprised.
    Bright and tight. Good components. Adjusted correctly.
    It'll charge at idle and the headlight won't dim.

    Past that, I've wondered a time or two if there's any reason why good power (big power) couldn't be had with a 6 volt system. Might be interesting to hear a relatively slow-cranking bad-ass engine fire up and surprise everybody...lol.
     
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  18. Rickybop
    Joined: May 23, 2008
    Posts: 5,558

    Rickybop
    Member
    from Michigan

    It's true, the 12 volt systems are more forgiving of less-than-optimum connections, etc. More volts, less amps to heat stuff up. As you crank a 6 volt starter, it will slow sooner than 12 volt due to more heat.
     
  19. winduptoy
    Joined: Feb 19, 2013
    Posts: 1,490

    winduptoy
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Jim,
    I like my 6V stuff and Rickybop is on target. That said, if you go 12V.....I'm thinking use ohms law to drop your voltage to the OD solenoid.....
     
  20. Paul
    Joined: Aug 29, 2002
    Posts: 14,321

    Paul
    Editor

    I've had several 6 volt cars and never had an issue, of course that was decades ago and I never had a car longer than a year or so back then.
    I did hear the old guys then suggest the adjustable regulator and go to 8 volts or putting the second 6 volt in to start with 12, just never needed to, something else would catch my eye and focus was directed elsewhere..
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2019
  21. anthony myrick
    Joined: Sep 4, 2009
    Posts: 4,255

    anthony myrick
    Member
    from al

    rr
    rrrr
    rr
    r
    Dang...........wait...........
    rrrr
    rrrrr
    mmmmmmmmm:)
     
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  22. BamaMav
    Joined: Jun 19, 2011
    Posts: 3,063

    BamaMav
    Member
    from Berry, AL

    The wiring should make the decision. If it’s the old cloth covered wire and is the least bit brittle, I’d rewire for 12 volt with modern plastic covered wire. You don’t want that brittle cloth breaking off exposing naked wires, especially hidden in the body somewhere, and you know driving will cause it to break off on rough roads.
     
  23. Paul
    Joined: Aug 29, 2002
    Posts: 14,321

    Paul
    Editor

    copied from: Basic Wiring Systems, By the editors of Hot Rod Magazine, 1964

    1.jpg 2.jpg 3.jpg 4.jpg 5.jpg 6.jpg
     
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  24. leon bee
    Joined: Mar 15, 2017
    Posts: 287

    leon bee
    Member
    from Arkansas!

    Whenever I went to the dump in my 48 Stude shit-hauling truck on a hot day, I always carried along a good 12v battery and jumper cables. Wouldn't want to get stranded out there.
     
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  25. JOHN H EDGE
    Joined: Dec 8, 2015
    Posts: 214

    JOHN H EDGE
    Member

    60C0C1E1-C745-45EB-86F4-1B24891AFE69.jpeg Interesting reading and interesting reasoning why people stay 6 volt and why some convert to 12volt
    I decided that my wagon worked well and everything in the electrical system seemed to operate properly so why not give the old girl some help to perform to its potential or maybe better
    1st thing battery- the factory battery box was large enough for two of those ugly optima batterys so two it was wired parallel
    Plenty of CCA’s and tons of reserve capacity
    2nd thing generator- upgrade to an alternator and install a 6 volt positive ground internals for fast/effective low RPM charging rate No dim lights at idle
    3rd thing ignition- upgrade to pertronix 6volt positive ground
    Ignition module and coil easy start and good bye points
    4th thing fuel system- electric fuel pump for easy start and no hot soak/vapor lock problems
    5th thing wiring - upgrade battery and starter cables to welding whip 00 to eliminate voltage drop
    Runs like a champ and never leaves me stranded traveled all over the southeast
    My wagon has factory overdrive it’s the best option you can have if you really want to drive 75mph@1900 rpm’s
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2019
  26. Hemi Joel
    Joined: May 4, 2007
    Posts: 584

    Hemi Joel
    Member
    from Minnesota

    Squirrel, perhaps my response is too late to be relevant if you already decided. But as an FYI, I've been driving my 49 Plymouth every summer since 1993, racking up over 40,000 miles. All with the original 6 volt system. It has overdrive, and the lights are bright. Never had an issue or breakdown. I replaced the wire harness and battery cables back in 93, and I keep the generator oiled. I woudn't even consider switching it to 12 v.


    (edit: correcting auto-correct)
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2019
    46international, tinsled and squirrel like this.
  27. Jim, I drove a 1966 VW with a 6 volt system back and forth to work up until about 10 years ago, the only complaint was the headlights were less than desirable but the VW didn't have seal beam headlights.

    As far as cranking I never had a problem. HRP
     
  28. samurai mike
    Joined: Feb 24, 2009
    Posts: 417

    samurai mike
    Member

    fyi. there are 6, 8 or 12 volt regulators for gm external regulated alternator. we have used them for years on 9n tractors
     
  29. TWKundrat
    Joined: Apr 6, 2010
    Posts: 121

    TWKundrat
    Member

    On a side note, thanks for buying that Hudson so I didn't have to Jim. Damn thing has been taunting me on craigslist. Last thing I need is another car sitting in the yard not being worked on that makes me feel guilty every time I look at it!
     
    squirrel likes this.
  30. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 42,741

    squirrel
    Member

    Thanks for pointing this out....I've been wondering about the alternator on the car, it's one of those older GM units, and had a small rectangular regulator mounted on the side of it. I was wondering if perhaps it's a 6v unit, but the label is not all there, and I haven't yet figured out a safe way to test it.
     

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