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Can you use 12 volt distributor on a 6 volt system

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  • Can you use 12 volt distributor on a 6 volt system

    I'm putting a 1950 245 Commander 6 into my 38 Coupe but the vehicle this engine was taken from had been converted to 12 volts so has 12 volt distributor. I'm not going to convert my 38 at this time - I'm going to keep it 6 volts. Which distributor should I use the 12 volt distributor on a 6 volt system or the 38 229 Commander engine 6 volt?

    I'm not smart enough to figure this problem out and I hope someone can provide the answer.

    Thanks -

    Cowtown Commander

  • #2
    I think all a distributor does is split the current in to six separate paths to the spark plugs. It cares not the voltage. May need to change the condenser. I would use whichever one shows the least wear.
    Brad Johnson,
    SDC since 1975, ASC since 1990
    Pine Grove Mills, Pa.
    '33 Rockne 10, '51 Commander Starlight. '53 Commander Starlight
    '56 Sky Hawk in process


    • #3
      Since no 12 volt points distributor gets a full 12 volts going to it you should be just fine using one. 12 volt distributors always have a device in the wiring to them to limit the voltage such as a resistor or use a coil with a built in resistor. Generally they only receive close to 6 volts this way or the points would burn up in short order..
      Frank van Doorn
      Omaha, Ne.
      1962 GT Hawk 289 4 speed
      1941 Champion streetrod, R-2 Powered, GM 200-4R trans.
      1952 V-8 232 Commander State "Starliner" hardtop OD


      • #4
        There is no such thing as a 6 volt or 12 volt distributor. There is nothing in the distributor that cares whether it is 6 or 12 volts. The distributor is two big switches, and switches don't care about 6 or 12 volts.

        The coils are different, but not the distributor.

        Use the one that came with the engine, unless you know that the advance curves are the same.
        RadioRoy, specializing in AM/FM conversions with auxiliary inputs for iPod/satellite/CD player. In the old car radio business since 1985.

        10G-C1 - 51 Champion starlight coupe
        4H-K5 - 53 Commander starliner hardtop
        5H-D5 - 54 Commander Conestoga wagon


        • #5
          Originally posted by toymobile
          You MUST use a 6 volt cond. otherwise the points will not survive very long. Voice of trial and error talking.Johnny
          You must have had Resister and or wiring problems, because the same Condensor is used on '51 to '59 Stude. V-8's with early Delco Dist. which means 6 Volt and 12 Volt are all the same on any make or model with the same condensor configuration.

          A 12 Volt car must be wired differently with a Solinoid with a "Start" function to achieve the 12 Volt Start and 8-10 Volt Run, using a resistence Wire or external resister to prevent burning points.
          Second Generation Stude Driver,
          Proud '54 Starliner Owner
          SDC Member Since 1967