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Generator Still A Problem- Going Nuts

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  • Generator Still A Problem- Going Nuts

    i have a 1960 bird, 352 with a/c. the gen light was on when i bought it. i figured easy fix. not so.

    to dated. i have replaced the generator with 2 rebuilt ones, and replaced the vr.

    i also, made my own wires 1 - 8 ag, 2- 10 ga. i attached the 8ga to the back of the gen (arm) and attached it to the arm, on the vr. i attached the other two wires to their respective locations. field and grd.

    still the gen light is on. i put a volt meter on the bat clip on the vr, and no matter if i accelrate it or not, i only get around 12 volts and the gen lights on.

    i am not wild about connecting the field and the arm to the battery. when i do that, it sparks and the voltage (with the car off) goes to 9.5 or 10.

    it just doesn't sound right.

    so either i am very unlucky and i got 2 bad gens, or something else is happening here.

    is there anyway, to test voltage from the gen attached to the car, without involving battery?

    i am really perplexed on this one. oh, the starter switch is a bit goofy. you have to push it in then turn it, to start. else it will just turn and turn with no action. i mention this just in case this comes into to play somehow.


    Last edited by JohnG; June 22nd, 2010, 05:04 AM. Reason: case

  • #2
    PLEASE, turn your "caps" off. It is the same as yelling.

    The 1960 Ford Thunderbird. The WORLD'S most wanted car....

    VTCI Member#6287.


    • #3
      I do the caps, for people like me with bad eyes. Didn't know that was yelling!

      Anyway, I did a test similar to Dave test that I saw at this URL:


      i made a 10 ga jumper wire from the ARM to the BAT terminal. then made another jumper wire, and it says to touch the Field to the arm. All wires connected.

      Upon jumping the arm to the batt, the Gen light goes off, but I am only getting about 10 volts. Then jumping the Field to the Arm, there was no change. Even upon acceleration.

      My guess is the 2nd generator is bad as well.

      Any thoughts?



      • #4
        Hey Jack,
        I also went through two generators. Got tired of fooling with them and put alternator on. Have not had any problems since!
        Richard D. Hord


        • #5

          was it the same problem with the gen light, or did the generators just wear out over time on you.

          The reason I ask is, if that solves it , I'll buy it, but I worry that might not be it.

          Did you have to remove the fan pulley to install the new SS bracket??

          I saw the design, and I was wondering.
          Last edited by jackbird60; June 21st, 2010, 08:18 PM.


          • #6
            Jack, if you have an old headlight (a substantial load), disconnect your armature and hook it up to the headlight. Connect the middle headlight prong to a good ground.

            So now you have only a headlight connected to the armature. Start the engine and touch the field wire to the Batt.

            If the generator is putting out, the headlight will shine. Remember, this test is UN-regulated, so don't rev the engine too high. You can gauge rpm's by the brilliance of the headlight. I like using light rather than meters because you can see what's happening.

            Remember, I said the GEN light only shines when the generator is making less voltage than the battery? In your test, when you touched the bat to the arm, the light went out because it had exactly the same voltage on both sides of the bulb (from your key switch and from your jumpered armature-to-battery).

            I'm glad you did the #8 wire, in case you go to an alternator. The wires are already sized right and in place.

            Call me if you want. We need to put this problem to bed. The system is simple and shouldn't be this hard to fix. - Dave
            My latest project:
            CLICK HERE to see my custom hydraulic roller 390 FE build.

            "We've got to pause and ask ourselves: How much clean air do we need?"
            --Lee Iacocca

            From: Royal Oak, Michigan


            • #7
              Thanks Dave for all your help. If it doesn't rain tomorrow, I'll be able to try it. Your right, this thing shouldn't be this hard. I am betting that the gen I am getting from O'rielly auto parts is not good.

              wow , so much work for just a gen. well now, I am a pro at take them out and put them on.



              • #8
                H i Dave ,

                Quick question, how important is that condensor/rectifier that connected to the armature. VR How does that part fit in? Is that just for RF interferfence?

                Last edited by jackbird60; June 21st, 2010, 10:22 PM.


                • #9
                  Jack, the condenser is just a simple capacitor. It is supposed to tame down spikes from contacts OPENING. In a generator, when the commutator segments leave the brushes, they still want to flow power, so the brushes naturally arc.

                  We usually put condensers at contacts. Points are contacts, mechanical voltage regulators have contacts, and some vintage gas tank sensors have contacts (like my '55 Customline). Expect to see a condenser at each location.

                  Your car is alive with spikes going everywhere. The battery tames most of that down, but a condenser (at the source) helps smooth the power, tremendously.

                  The condenser doesn't rectify, and it isn't directional. It absorbs voltage spikes, then gives the energy back when the spike returns to normal. This helps prolong contact life. If you are missing a condenser, I guess it isn't a biggie. Most folks only notice a change when the points condenser fails. If the points condenser opens, the points arc, causing a delayed opening, and premature points failure. If the condenser shorts, no spark at all (and the ballast resistor gets real hot.
                  My latest project:
                  CLICK HERE to see my custom hydraulic roller 390 FE build.

                  "We've got to pause and ask ourselves: How much clean air do we need?"
                  --Lee Iacocca

                  From: Royal Oak, Michigan


                  • #10
                    Hey Jack,
                    I could never get them to charge at all. I tried to get in touch with C.R.A.P. for the bracket with no luck. So I done some modifications and made it work! Here's what I posted!
                    Generator to Alternator conversion
                    Houston we have power!
                    Boy it was a booger. I'm going to try to explain what I done to complete this project. Special thanks to Ray Clark for all his information and his input.
                    I tried to contact C.R.A.P. for bracket and never got a response. So I used what I had and it don't look bad at all. And best of all it works!!!
                    Disconnect and remove battery!
                    First you want to purchase one wire GM Del-co alternator with internal regulator and pulley. Remove old generator.
                    Measure from the radiator (the radiator is a stationary point of reference) to get you a dimension to the center line of the crank pulley and the fan pulley, (this dimension should be the same) write this dimension down. The alternator pulley needs to be the same dimension.
                    If your bracket is like mine it was all one piece, You got the front part that mounts to the water pump, a cross piece that ties to the rear part that bolts to the block.
                    Take a reciprocating saw and cut cross piece out, close to the back part and close to the front part.
                    Measure from the radiator back to front part of bracket, write that dimension down.
                    With pulley on new alternator hold rule, center line of pulley, on dimension you got on fan pulley and crank pulley center line (should be same) see how much you need to get to the front of mounting position on new alternator. EXAMPLE: mine was 3/4"
                    Remove fan and fan pulley from engine. Remove front part of alternator bracket. Remove upper stud, it will come out with vise grips and twist.
                    Now you need to make a list of things you need. I needed 12" 7/16" all-thread rod, two lock washers, two nuts, 2" x 3/8" bolt, 3" x 3/8" bolt, 6" x 1/2" ID galvanized pipe, 4" x 1/2" ID galvanize pipe, 3' number 8 wire, wire-end terminals and metric bolt and lock washer to fit Alternator hole for adjustment mounting bracket.
                    With the extra dimension you need to get front bracket out to be in line with outer pulleys, cut you two pieces off the 4" x 1/2" galvanized pipe (this is best done in vise)
                    Next is for the replacement for the stud you removed from the water pump. Take the 4" x 3/8" bolt and cut off threads and cut it long enough to accept the top part of front bracket plus shim, drive it into place where stud was and install galvanized pipe shim.
                    With the pieces of pipe you cut, shim out the front part of the bracket (stud and bolt) Attach front bracket to water pump. Use the 2" x 3/8" bolt.
                    Now measure from the front bracket to the rear bracket and deduct the Alternator mounting position. (Mine was minus two inches) this will give you the dimension you need to cut the 6" piece of pipe. Cut 6" pipe to that dimension.
                    Next measure from front bracket to back bracket and add enough to that dimension to except two lock washers, two washers and two nuts. Cut your all-thread rod to that dimension.
                    Remove tension bracket (mine had two bends in it) get bracket on solid surface and straighten bends with hammer (it needs to be straight) after you have done this reinstall.
                    Use your all-thread rod, put washer, lock washer and nut on one end. Start this into rear bracket and install pipe you have cut as shim. Work alternator into place and slide all-thread rod threw front bracket. Now install washer, lock washer and nut (hand tighten only) Bracket will be on front of alternator.
                    Now that alternator is hanging, jack up car set car jack stand in place and get under it. Align lower bracket and install metric bolt and lock nut (hand tighten only) Bracket will be on front of alternator.
                    Reinstall fan pulley and fan. Install belt. Tighten tension on belt, tighten tension nut and nuts on all-thread rod.
                    Take ARM wire (yellow wire that was attached to generator) and attach it and new number 8 wire with wire end connector to back of alternator. Tape up other two wires as they are not needed.
                    Attach other end of new number 8 wire with wire end terminal to battery side of solenoid. (where positive or red battery cable is connected)
                    Now to the voltage regulator. Gut it, disconnect any connections inside, and underneath, It is not needed, but I left mine because I wanted it to look original. Reinstall and hook it back up the way it was.
                    Arm post on voltage regulator you should have yellow heavy gauge wire and small yellow wire with black stripe. Go to wires on drivers side at firewall and look for small yellow wire with black stripe, cut it.
                    Reinstall battery.
                    Start car and check on fire wall for 12 volts, (I found this at relay in front of passenger) turn car off check for voltage again at that location, if it is dead attach wire then run to yellow wire with black stripe coming through firewall. Tape off other wire coming from Voltage regulator.
                    Start car and check voltage at ARM and BAT at voltage regulator, you should have 12 volts or a little more. (I had 13volts)
                    You should now have power and GEN light should go out when car is running.
                    Richard D. Hord
                    Attached Files
                    Last edited by Richard D. Hord; June 22nd, 2010, 05:14 AM.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by jackbird60 View Post
                      I do the caps, for people like me with bad eyes.
                      Jack, for a quick fix you can press the CTRL and + keys at the same time (count the number of times you press the keys) this will enlarge the print
                      sometimes forum boards will not allow a post to be entered with the print enlarged, if this happens simply press the CTRL and - keys (the same number of times as you increased them) and the print will return to board standards and allow the post to go through...
                      Last edited by Coral; June 22nd, 2010, 07:54 AM.


                      • #12
                        Generator Still A Problem- Going Nuts

                        If anyone is thinking of converting to an alternator, C.R.A.P. again has the mounting bracket available for our 352 engines. Larry has made more of them available. He can be contacted at 815-634-8216. Here is the webpage that has the bracket on it.

                        Ray Clark - Squarebirds Administrator
                        The Terminator..... VTCI #11178
                        Contact me via Private Message for my email address, or Call (Cell) 210-875-1411



                        • #13
                          You can also use later BIRD FE brackets to make it look more as an original appearance-

                          I believe CRITES RESTORATIONS sells take-off parts-

                          The early FE block will not have the threaded hole to accept the mounting bolt, but C.R.A.P. offers this rear mounting adapter (or one can be fashioned)-


                          • #14
                            i like that seem simple an effecient with the modern fe bracket. do you know what size belt to use. what type of alternator is used? model and year?

                            I like that a lot. So if I am looking at this correctly. the adapter piece is side mounted to the engine block, and the other piece of that bracket has a threaded hole were the alternator bolts to .

                            i like it- very effecient design. I wondering how much for that little adapter bracket from c.r.a.p. and how much for a FE bracket.



                            • #15
                              Hi Dave,

                              I did the procedure you mentioned with the headlight. Had to buy one, it had only 2 post. I connected one to the grd, one to the arm. Then I started the car, and touched the field wire to the batt. nothing, nada. So bad gen. I can now take this gen off in my sleep. But not tonight. I do it tomorrow. Probably before work. so I can return it.