Author Topic: PowerGen Alternator in a 39 LaSalle?  (Read 230 times)

Offline USNTar

  • Posts: 28
  • Name: J. Isaacson
PowerGen Alternator in a 39 LaSalle?
« on: January 08, 2018, 01:35:32 AM »
I know from searching this forum the firestorm that erupts when this topic is mentioned but I'm not trying to stir the pot. I also don't really care about judged competitions or the like, but similarly I'd like to keep the car looking as close to original as is practical and affordable to my purposes. In essence, I have my own reasons for wishing to run a 6v alternator, and the PowerGen units rather appeal to me. I wouldn't even ask, but I've never seen this question directly addressed. My question is are they a direct drop in part? I don't see 39 LaSalles or Cadillacs (or for that matter any pre '55 GM vehicles) listed in any of the vehicles they are intended to fit into. If not, what modifications would need to be done?

Any advice from those who have used them or knows someone who has? Thanks.
Jon Isaacson
CLC #31060
1939 LaSalle 50-19

Offline Steve Passmore

  • Posts: 5089
  • Name: Steve Passmore
Re: PowerGen Alternator in a 39 LaSalle?
« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2018, 03:15:57 AM »
You must remember that the flatheads have a particular type of front bracket. This is not interchangeable with normal generators and you will not be able to modify it to fit. so make sure when you buy one it is specifically made for the flathead.

This guy in your country does them. There may be others if you do a search.

http://www.gener-nator.com/images/Cadillac%20&%20LaSalle.jpg

Prices are very expensive so it will depend on how much authenticity you require. I have done conversions with straight alternators. They are very small and unobtrusive. It takes a particular casing size though and when painted black are barley visable.
Steve

Offline bcroe

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PowerGen Alternator in a 39 LaSalle?
« Reply #2 on: January 08, 2018, 08:27:09 AM »
Quote from: Steve Passmore
You must remember that the flatheads have a particular type of front bracket. This is not interchangeable with normal generators and you will not be able to modify it to fit. so make sure when you buy one it is specifically made for the flathead.

Prices are very expensive so it will depend on how much authenticity you require. I have done conversions with straight alternators. They are very small and unobtrusive. It takes a particular casing size though and when painted black are barley visable. 

Looks like, the bracket adjustment is part of the case for these.  An alternator
needs an entirely different voltage regulator, in addition for 6V positive ground
in this case.  How do the PowerGens do that, external or internal, mechanical
or solid state?  I presume some rewiring must be done to connect it up. 
Bruce Roe

Offline Steve Passmore

  • Posts: 5089
  • Name: Steve Passmore
Re: PowerGen Alternator in a 39 LaSalle?
« Reply #3 on: January 08, 2018, 09:19:23 AM »
The front caseing has always been the adjustment on the flatheads Bruce. Becker Electrics used to make these until he died. The front casing is machined to take the custom front bracket. Regulator and Rectifier built in. He would make any configuration one asked for. 6 or 12 volts. Neg or Pos ground. One or two wire.   The picture shows my unit that I developed myself as a project over the last year or more. This is 12 volt Neg ground.
Steve

Offline bcroe

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Re: PowerGen Alternator in a 39 LaSalle?
« Reply #4 on: January 08, 2018, 09:24:30 AM »
Quote from: Steve Passmore
The front caseing has always been the adjustment on the flatheads Bruce. Becker Electrics used to make these until he died. The front casing is machined to take the custom front bracket. Regulator and Rectifier built in. He would make any configuration one asked for. 6 or 12 volts. Neg or Pos ground. One or two wire.   The picture shows my unit that I developed myself as a project over the last year or more. This is 12 volt Neg ground. 

And what is required of the car wiring (regulator not used), is a drawing provided? 
Bruce Roe

Offline Steve Passmore

  • Posts: 5089
  • Name: Steve Passmore
Re: PowerGen Alternator in a 39 LaSalle?
« Reply #5 on: January 08, 2018, 09:51:59 AM »
Beckers only used to give you rudimentary instructions but I rewire all my cars to suit as a matter of course anyway. I leave the regulator in place and bypass it with an insulated strip across the terminals so it still looks like the wires are connected. The pictured one is a two wire so it needs a lead from ignition as an exciter. It also has wires for a rev counter which I blank off.  With these small bodies(CS121) one has to get what one can.
Steve

Offline USNTar

  • Posts: 28
  • Name: J. Isaacson
Re: PowerGen Alternator in a 39 LaSalle?
« Reply #6 on: January 08, 2018, 09:54:18 AM »
Thanks for the commentary Steve. I see from searches that you have spent a lot of time studying these alternators.

So as I gather, my options are a) a GenerNator; b) a small, "straight alternators. They are very small and unobtrusive. It takes a particular casing size though and when painted black are barley visable"?

The picture shows my unit that I developed myself as a project over the last year or more. This is 12 volt Neg ground.

Any particular make and model of 6v alternator I should be looking for or have you only looked into 12v alternators? Keep in mind, I don't wish to change to 6v. I see vague references here on the forum to "small alternators from parts stores" on 41's and other vehicles, but no specifics as to make and model anyone has used on the flathead V-8 as used on 39 LaSalles. Maybe this is only achievable by machining new brackets/casings. If so, then I don't have the facilities to go that route and I might as well save my pennies for a GenerNator.

If however, there is an off the shelf alternator which is a simple drop in unit, I would do that for a semi-temporary fix. I don't really want to tie up a bunch of time and money on something that I don't plan on keeping. If the PowerGen alternator would have fit as a drop in unit, I would be happy to let it go with that as I can live with it's appearance and price range. The GenerNator is a bit beyond my price and need range at this time. This portion of my resto plan isn't critical right now, but something I would like to achieve over time.




Jon Isaacson
CLC #31060
1939 LaSalle 50-19

Offline Steve Passmore

  • Posts: 5089
  • Name: Steve Passmore
Re: PowerGen Alternator in a 39 LaSalle?
« Reply #7 on: January 08, 2018, 10:45:53 AM »
Well, you have a little bit of a problem then Jon as there is no 'drop in' Alternator that can fit the flatheads. I have produced a few of these alternator conversions mainly for my own use as there are too many variables to start making them in any numbers.
 All my cars are 12-volt neg ground, so that's what I build, but it must be possible to get any configuration you need as Becker used to do it.  For another forum member I gave the service of modifying the casing and supplying the custom front bracket to fit their own alternator. This saved a fortune in shipping costs as I'm in the UK plus they used their own unit but had to disassemble and reassemble it themselves.
If you feel up to that and can purchase a CS121 6volt pos ground I can help you out.  You might try these guys below who offer 6-volt Positive ground alternators and see if they can make you one with a CS121 casing, This is very important. the 121 is the mm width of the body but most are 130mm plus. If they can and you send me the front casing you would be in business.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Black-6-volt-60-amp-1-wire-GM-alternator-Positive-Ground-with-pulley/332500047079?hash=item4d6a8c14e7:g:TxwAAOSw2XFUkg7W&vxp=mtr
Steve

Offline kkarrer

  • Posts: 622
  • Name: Ken Karrer
Re: PowerGen Alternator in a 39 LaSalle?
« Reply #8 on: January 08, 2018, 11:17:53 AM »
Actually, I've installed a couple of the Power Gen/Genernator alternators on Cadillac flathead 346 engines for the purpose of 12v conversion so that AC could be added.  If I remember correctly the guy who makes them is up in the northwest...Oregon, I think.  They work perfectly, but they're pretty pricey.  You can leave your existing voltage relay in place with the wires attached and just don't connect it to the new unit as it has a built in regulator and of course you'll have to protect or change some of your electronics (the starter is fine, but the solenoid can be problematic and you have to switch the wires on your ammeter to account for the change in polarity)  There's also a company out there that produces a 12/6 volt battery and I'm going to use that on a 41 Fleetwood that will be in my shop in the next week or two.  Those batteries are a bit expensive and the wait time is about 6 wks.
Ken Karrer
CenTex Reg. Dir.

Offline bcroe

  • Posts: 2096
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PowerGen Alternator in a 39 LaSalle?
« Reply #9 on: January 08, 2018, 12:26:54 PM »
I would expect the 6V alternator to be capable of more current than a generator,
especially at idle.  But if using the same case style, the 6V current capacity
would be the same as the 12V version.  That because heating of the diodes
is determined by the current, and most likely they use the same output windings
as well, just excited differently.  So the 6V alternator can only deliver half the
power of a 12V alternator, at the same current. 

Any wiring will be affected, circuit wise, and possibly requiring a heavier gauge. 
The old wiring around an engine can be in pretty bad need of renewal anyway. 
My advice is install a suitable fuseable link in the output lead, so a diode
failure can't cause a wiring fire (like my 64 had). 
Bruce Roe

Offline Jim Miller

  • Posts: 41
    • CLC Member
      CLC Member #30628
  • Name: Jmiller
Re: PowerGen Alternator in a 39 LaSalle?
« Reply #10 on: January 08, 2018, 05:43:11 PM »
Jon
I went with the GenerNator on my 41. Kept it 6 volt positive ground. Don Allen is the owner. Good guy to talk to. Number is on the Internet, located in Oregon. Was very easy to install and he included a diagram to confirm changes. Been pleased with the results.
Jim Miller
Jim Miller

1941 62 sedan
2016 SRX

Offline Bobby B

  • Posts: 1763
  • Mendham, New Jersey
  • Name: Bob Bender
Re: PowerGen Alternator in a 39 LaSalle?
« Reply #11 on: January 08, 2018, 06:16:31 PM »
Thanks to Steve  ;).........

                  Bobby
1947 Cadillac Series 62 Convertible Coupe
1968 Mustang Convertible
1973 Mustang Convertible
1969 Jaguar E-Type Roadster
1971 Datsun 240Z
1979 H-D FLH

Offline bcroe

  • Posts: 2096
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PowerGen Alternator in a 39 LaSalle?
« Reply #12 on: January 08, 2018, 07:27:03 PM »
That belt looks like its ready to jump out of the alternator pulley.  It should be seated as
deeply as the one over the water pump. 

If those pictures were transmitted at say resolution reduced to maybe 200K, I could get
them on my screen instead of having to scan over a bit of them at a time.  Bruce Roe

Offline jackworstell

  • Posts: 161
    • CLC Member
      CLC Member #7558
  • Name: J L Worstell CLC #7558
Re: PowerGen Alternator in a 39 LaSalle?
« Reply #13 on: January 08, 2018, 08:00:38 PM »
About the eBay reference posted above by Steve....in fact they did make up a 6V  positive ground unit for me using the CS 121 frame.

As Steve says..it must be based on a CS 121 unit...it is the only one small enough to work with the "Becker bracket "

Bruce...I believe you are correct...when a 12V unit is converted to 6V  the amp rating gets cut in half approximately.  But still more amps than the original generator and more than enough  amps left for a 1937-1948 Cadillac

Jack Worstell    jlwmaster@aol.com

PS   I'm aware of others using a larger alternator as a starting point ....say a  CS 130   or a  10Si  but the mounting arrangement gets difficult/awkward and something has to be done with the air cleaner mounting/position..........it is not easy to mount a more or less standard alternator to a 346 Cadillac flathead..........

Offline Bobby B

  • Posts: 1763
  • Mendham, New Jersey
  • Name: Bob Bender
Re: PowerGen Alternator in a 39 LaSalle?
« Reply #14 on: January 08, 2018, 08:12:17 PM »
it is not easy to mount a more or less standard alternator to a 346 Cadillac flathead..........

Jack,
 I had a 10SI in there for years with the stock air cleaner. You have to be creative my friend. This set-up looks better and is more efficient. Steve and I discussed this for years and the CS121 style is the way to go, so he made it happen. Weren't you inquiring about doing this conversion/update over a year ago?
                                                                     Bobby
1947 Cadillac Series 62 Convertible Coupe
1968 Mustang Convertible
1973 Mustang Convertible
1969 Jaguar E-Type Roadster
1971 Datsun 240Z
1979 H-D FLH

Offline Bobby B

  • Posts: 1763
  • Mendham, New Jersey
  • Name: Bob Bender
Re: PowerGen Alternator in a 39 LaSalle?
« Reply #15 on: January 08, 2018, 08:28:35 PM »
That belt looks like its ready to jump out of the alternator pulley.  It should be seated as
deeply as the one over the water pump. 

Bruce,
 Hi. Relax.....It's a mock-up. The 3/4" wide pulley is on the bench  ;)....
                                                                          Bobby
1947 Cadillac Series 62 Convertible Coupe
1968 Mustang Convertible
1973 Mustang Convertible
1969 Jaguar E-Type Roadster
1971 Datsun 240Z
1979 H-D FLH

Offline USNTar

  • Posts: 28
  • Name: J. Isaacson
Re: PowerGen Alternator in a 39 LaSalle?
« Reply #16 on: January 08, 2018, 09:52:58 PM »
Well, you have a little bit of a problem then Jon as there is no 'drop in' Alternator that can fit the flatheads. I have produced a few of these alternator conversions mainly for my own use as there are too many variables to start making them in any numbers.
 All my cars are 12-volt neg ground, so that's what I build, but it must be possible to get any configuration you need as Becker used to do it.  For another forum member I gave the service of modifying the casing and supplying the custom front bracket to fit their own alternator. This saved a fortune in shipping costs as I'm in the UK plus they used their own unit but had to disassemble and reassemble it themselves.
If you feel up to that and can purchase a CS121 6volt pos ground I can help you out.  You might try these guys below who offer 6-volt Positive ground alternators and see if they can make you one with a CS121 casing, This is very important. the 121 is the mm width of the body but most are 130mm plus. If they can and you send me the front casing you would be in business.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Black-6-volt-60-amp-1-wire-GM-alternator-Positive-Ground-with-pulley/332500047079?hash=item4d6a8c14e7:g:TxwAAOSw2XFUkg7W&vxp=mtr

Steve et al.

Thanks for all the clarifications, and especially Steve for your generous offer. In reflecting on all the data presented here, I think I am just going to be better served biding my time, saving my money, and buying a Gener-Nator. I know they're pricey, but I think that is what I would be happiest with unless the Powergen line comes out with a unit that will fit my flathead V-8.

To be honest, I've got my hands full enough (and bank account empty enough) with all the resto work I'm doing this spring as it is. My generator works fine, but I know eventually I will want it to work GREAT. I know some folks are happy with just a generator, but I live in a metropolitan area with lots of stop and go traffic, and unlike many will be driving it somewhat at night.  I would certainly feel a lot more comfortable with the benefits an alternator can provide.
Jon Isaacson
CLC #31060
1939 LaSalle 50-19

Offline Steve Passmore

  • Posts: 5089
  • Name: Steve Passmore
Re: PowerGen Alternator in a 39 LaSalle?
« Reply #17 on: January 09, 2018, 03:44:06 AM »
Sadly, it's only the flatheads that require a CS121 casing to fit in the available space without modifications. These 121 are obsolete and I can't see any company bothering with the production costs for the few customers it might have especially with the variation in voltage and grounding.

You could try the company I bought my stock from in Canada. Doug was extremely helpful and sold me the basic 121 units for less than $70 each.
He assembled them as I asked so may well make you one in the configuration you need. The Powergen is expensive for a discontinued Alternator. My conversion work and bracket is a little over $100 and your original pulley fits. All in all this much cheaper than a Powergen even if they bothered making one for our cars. .
Steve

 

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