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Hot Rods What are the benefits of converting from 6v to 12v?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by marchofmorons, Apr 6, 2014.

  1. marchofmorons
    Joined: May 5, 2013
    Posts: 6

    marchofmorons
    Member

    1950 Chevy Styleline, still with the original 6v system. Thinking about upgrading. Worth it?

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  2. Torana68
    Joined: Jan 28, 2008
    Posts: 1,280

    Torana68
    Member
    from Australia

    dunno really , if its working well and your not changing anything. Easier to get a new radio/cd, easier to get good bulbs/better lighting, more grunt for starting.........anything you want to replace electrically will be easier to find in 12v.
     
  3. Rottenwood Garage
    Joined: Jul 12, 2013
    Posts: 34

    Rottenwood Garage
    Member

    Starting would be your #1.
     
  4. 51woodie
    Joined: Jun 19, 2004
    Posts: 89

    51woodie
    Member

    Yep , starting is #1 and you can use your 6V starter. I've had mine in a '51 ford for 7 years. Put in resistors and use your gauges and orginal radio. Swap the vac wipers and get electric for those rainy day rides and you can actually see down the road at night with 12V bulbs.
     

  5. Tudorp
    Joined: Mar 27, 2014
    Posts: 174

    Tudorp
    Member

    Not to mention, higher volts means less amps to do the same job, which means less heat or risk of electrical fire due to heat (keeping in mind the old wiring is old, dry and cloth insulated. just more effecient.
     
  6. Do you drive at night,brighter lights. HRP
     
  7. Cosmo49
    Joined: Jan 15, 2007
    Posts: 1,296

    Cosmo49
    Member

    Yes, brighter bulbs and yes keep your starter, 15 years on a 6V starter with 12V, daily driver ONLY vehicle.
     
  8. marchofmorons
    Joined: May 5, 2013
    Posts: 6

    marchofmorons
    Member

    Earlier starting is definitely a pro. That's the biggest pain I have with her is not enough umph to get her going. I drive at night a lot... Less idiots out. Dark country roads are the best. Thanks crew.

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  9. marchofmorons
    Joined: May 5, 2013
    Posts: 6

    marchofmorons
    Member

    *Easier starting

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  10. flathead4d
    Joined: Oct 24, 2005
    Posts: 889

    flathead4d
    Member

    Unless you are going to add some upgrade items that require 12 volts, I would leave it the way it is. The only reason I changed to 12 volts was because I added a moder radio W/ CD player and an electric cooling fan. Note: 6 volt wiring is far superior to 12 wiring and will handle a 12 volt upgrade with ease.
     
  11. Tudorp
    Joined: Mar 27, 2014
    Posts: 174

    Tudorp
    Member

    I wouldn't call 6v wiring "Superior" but it is different. 6v wiring is heavier gauge due to the need to be able to draw more amperage due to the lower voltage. So in the fact that it is heavier is not a bad thing. But, you are also dealing with old brittle, and in most cases cloth insulation which could easily crack and have issues simply due to age and decomposition of the insulation. I agree, I love the vintage wiring, but new cloth reproduction wiring so your not dealing with the aged brittle wiring.



     
  12. big bad john
    Joined: Aug 11, 2010
    Posts: 4,727

    big bad john
    Member

    Starting would be # 1 reason.....easier to get 12 volt light bulbs and brighter lights
     
  13. flathead4d
    Joined: Oct 24, 2005
    Posts: 889

    flathead4d
    Member

    Tudorp's comment is correct. I should have added that when I converted to 12 volts, I rewired my entire car with new 6 volt wiring harnesses. Saved a lot of time and had all the original connectors.
     
  14. stuart in mn
    Joined: Nov 22, 2007
    Posts: 1,998

    stuart in mn
    Member

    Depends on how you plan to use the vehicle. If you aren't adding a modern radio or other electrical devices I don't think there's a big benefit. You're in Florida so starting the car in cold weather is not a big concern, and brightness of the lights depends more on good electrical connections than anything else (clean up power wiring as well as ground connections.)
     
  15. Rusty O'Toole
    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 9,608

    Rusty O'Toole
    Member

    Whatever they are, they aren't worth the work and cost of the changeover.

    If your 6 volt car is hard to start, fix what is wrong with it. They weren't hard to start when they were new or nobody would have bought them. Besides, if you change to 12v, after you do all that work you will only have to fix what was wrong in the first place, because 12 volts won't fix a worn out motor.

    I have changed cars and tractors to 12 volt in the past but today I would not bother, it is easier and cheaper to leave them 6v and fix what is wrong.
     
  16. junk yard kid
    Joined: Nov 11, 2007
    Posts: 2,719

    junk yard kid
    Member

    Ive found that 12v batteries are much cheaper and easier to find than 6v ones.
     
  17. So far nobody mentioned that the main problem is usually with grounds in a 6 volt system. Remove every cable starting with the battery terminals, clean and reinstall. Be sure you have cables designed for a 6 volt system, they are heavier for a 6 volt system than a 12. Most modern parts countermen don't know there is a difference. Have the starter tested if it cranks slow. There may be halogen 6 volt headlights available but I am not sure. My suggestion would be to leave it unless you want to use modern electronics.

    Charlie Stephens
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2014
  18. One thing not mentioned is voltage drop....

    Connections can degrade over time (even ones done right) and increase voltage drops. The thing to remember that those drops will be present whether it's 6 or 12 volts, and if using 6V components can be even higher because of the higher amp loads. As an example, if a 6V headlight is 50W, it draws 8.3 amps. If you have a .5V drop due to a connection (and that can easily be a typical drop), that's over 8% loss. Convert to 12V with the same wattage headlight, amps are now 4.2, voltage drop goes to .25 volts, and the percentage is only 2% loss.

    This is why the factories went to 12V; a 12V system is a lot less sensitive to degraded connections. Not saying a 6V system doesn't work, but a drop at a connection (any connection, not just grounds) that you'd never notice in a 12V system can cause very noticeable issues at 6V.
     
  19. A Rodder
    Joined: Jul 13, 2008
    Posts: 2,477

    A Rodder
    Member

    The ease of getting jump started, to me, is the only reason I would upgrade from an otherwise good functional operating 6v system.
     
  20. Rusty O'Toole
    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 9,608

    Rusty O'Toole
    Member

    I'll tell you something else. If this was an issue for me, I would just buy a 12V car to begin with and save myself a lot of time and money.
     
  21. JunkYardGuy
    Joined: Sep 6, 2009
    Posts: 82

    JunkYardGuy
    Member

    If you ever need to use jumper cables to get you started, there are a lot more 12 volt cars and trucks out there to help you out than 6 volts.
     
  22. Tudorp
    Joined: Mar 27, 2014
    Posts: 174

    Tudorp
    Member

    This is no BS, back when I was 19 and in the service, I was driving my 49 P15 Plymouth. The battery died on me, and there I sit on the side of the road. An old coot, I'd say about 300 years old pulls over to help. I told him my generator apparently died, and killed my battery. I need a jump, but my car is 6v. He said, "No problem young man.." and popped his hood, connected the positive on his battery, popped the servicing caps off the top of his battery (remember when batteries had those?) stuck a long screw driver down into the 3rd cell of his battery, clipped the negetive lead from the jumper cables to the shank of the screw driver, walla, 6volt.. He jumped started my Plymouth with that, and it worked like a charm. I was certainly impressed by that old man that afternoon.
     
  23. motion guru
    Joined: Oct 18, 2009
    Posts: 157

    motion guru
    Member
    from yacolt, wa

    I ran 6V positive ground on my GMC for years and just this last year upgraded to 12VDC for only one reason. I wanted to run a mini-HEI ignition on my 270 inline. Apart from that one thing I was happy with 6V.

    I had halogen 6V lights, electronic ignition, 12V inverter that allowed me to charge a cell phone or run a GPS, engine has 9.5:1 compression and no problems starting with 6V.

    I was more bored with not having something else to tweak than anything as 6V ignition options are somewhat limited.

    I have a new Y&Z 6V harness (Cloth covered) that is in excellent condition so that wasn't a concern.
     

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