Generator to Alternator Conversion - 1961

Started by Dan LeBlanc, August 06, 2009, 11:18:31 AM

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Dan LeBlanc

I just switched over (temporarily) to an alternator until I can get my generator rebuilt.  I've done this before with my 1962 and followed everything I did before.  I connected the battery terminal to the battery, a loop from the field terminal to the battery terminal, and connected the generator light to the relay terminal.  This worked fine before in my 1962.  Now, today, in my 1961, the generator light comes on when I start the car.  At idle with no load, I'm anywhere between 14.8-15.12 volts.  If I rev the car, it will peak out around 17.17 volts with no load.  That amount of voltage concerns me.  If I turn on the headlights, or the heater, or the a/c, or any or all of the high drain equipment, anywhere from idle to 4000 RPM, I have anywhere from 13.52-14.10 volts - that's more like it.

Thoughts?  Alternator problem (it is used) or installation problem would cause this?
Dan LeBlanc
1977 Lincoln Continental Town Car

Ted in Olympia WA

I think you have a bad internal regulator in your alternator.  If it fits and works this way I would leave a good alternator on it and dump the Generator.

Selling used Eldorado Parts from 1971-1978.  Member Number 25659.

Dan LeBlanc

I like the alternator for obvious reasons.  The reason why I took it off is that it had an internal failure and completely melted the wiring harness from the generator to the regulator (happened overnight whilst sleeping).   I'm also still debating which way I'm going with the car.  There are only 3 modifications from stock that I'm toying with:

1.  Holley fuel injection
2.  Alternator
3.  Upgrading the radio with a Custom Autosound unit.

If I go entirely original, the only thing I'll do differently from stock is have the original radio converted to am/fm.  I would've added one of the Powermaster Alternators that look like a generator, but I don't like the fact that they're one wire and I can't get my generator light to work with it.  I'm from the school where EVERYTHING that came on the car must work at all costs.
Dan LeBlanc
1977 Lincoln Continental Town Car


You don't state whether it's an internal or externally regulated alternator. By the way you've wired it, it's an external unit.

Go get a Delco 12SI Internally regulated alternator, hang it in the same fashion as the one you have. This is assuming you turned the lower bracket 180o and rebolted it to the exhaust manifold. It makes for a perfect fit.

If you do that, email me and I'll send you the pictures to wiring it properly. Don't forget to buy the correct plug to hook up the light and wire that excites the regulator.

I have my 12SI built to 150 amps to handle the aftermarket A/C, electric fans and big amp in the trunk for the stereo and multiple CD changer. Never a problem with it.

Oh. And don't waste you money on the Holley FI. Stick with the carb.


Dan LeBlanc

It is indeed an internally regulated unit.  I've also written a description of how to do the conversion a couple years ago for the 1961-62 Cadillac group and several others have done it the same way I have.

I'm leaning more towards an alternator problem.  It was taken off a converted tractor that hasn't been used in a couple of years.  I don't think the exposure to the elements was kind to the innards.  Good thing is, the car is not on the road yet anyway.  I tend to drive it once a month for a few miles just to keep everything moving.
Dan LeBlanc
1977 Lincoln Continental Town Car

Otto Skorzeny

If you're thinking of staying with an alternator but like the stock look, try the PowerGen from Summit.

Local club members who have installed them can't say enough good things about them.

Fits without modification to mounting areas.

Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for YOURSELF


Dan LeBlanc

I'll more than likely go the route of a regular alternator.  I love the Summit ones, but a bit too steep for my wallet.  After all, a shiney new alternator won't hurt appearance, only authenticity.  Besides, in my area, nobody would probably even notice.
Dan LeBlanc
1977 Lincoln Continental Town Car