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Electrical questions for a '52 Land Cruiser

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  • Electrical questions for a '52 Land Cruiser


    So when I bought the car... it ran... kinda rigged to run actually, I know the PO disconnected most of the cars electrical because it was completely shot, and changed out the coil (had a jumper line that needed to be directly connected to the battery) and it would start and run using a standard 12 volt car battery, however nothing else electrical worked...

    After many hours of replacing the wiring piece by piece according to a wiring diagram I picked up, it's now ready to go as soon as I get a 6 volt battery... I put in a different coil and such to undo what was done... and while it sat I did some engine work... and body work and such...

    and this leads me to 2 situations I need help with...

    I have a battery charger that has a 12 volt /6 amp setting and a 6 volt /6amp setting...
    I figured I'd check to see if my wiring was up to snuff, so I hooked up the jumper end of the charger to the battery cables + 2 + and - 2 - , set it to the 6 volt setting turned it on, and the lights worked, the windshield wiper motor worked, everything seemed good to go... however, the starter solenoid constantly hummed, and whenever there was a drain, i.e. I turned on the wipers or lights etc... it buzzed loudly and wouldn't stop until I shut off the charger and started it again.... and stomping on the starter switch did nothing....

    so where is my logic wrong there? does that mean my solenoid is shot? is there a larger problem with my wiring attempt?

    ok, so I figure since I am itching to hear it run... I could just disconnect a few wires and maybe change the coil back, and use a 12 volt I got laying around to at least start her up... kinda "bench test" her...

    but I have no idea where to start there... any suggestions?

    Thanks in advance!

  • #2
    The very best route to take, you may not want to hear, but here's my opinion.
    The buzzing you heard is because you did not have enough AMPERAGE with the charger to crank the engine!

    Just wait it out til you have time and money to go for a good high cranking rate Group 1 -6 Volt Battery and you will be good to go! Just remember to connect the Positive to Ground and do not use the small gauge 12V Battery cables, 6 Volt are much larger and run more Amps than 12V.
    Last edited by StudeRich; 10-07-2010, 05:26 PM.
    Second Generation Stude Driver,
    Proud '54 Starliner Owner


    • #3
      Thanks for the advice... Actually I was really hoping it was that simple.. and since I have ran out of daylight here... I've had time to reconsider "just hearing her run" and have been looking online at 6 volt batteries and trying to figure out where I can squeeze an extra $150 to get one... LOL

      But your post brings up another question that I have been dreading... you mentioned connecting the positive to ground.... and reading about 6 volts, I see a bunch of positive ground, negative ground, stuff... my experience is positive goes to red which goes to stuff... negative goes to black which goes to the engine block... so your saying this is not the case? so what is the deal with a positive ground?
      is it british? (that was a joke...)


      • #4
        It's not British, but it's set up the same way: 6V Studes were all "positive earth" systems. I would strongly suggest using a heavy-gauge braided bare copper battery lead (maybe NLA at your FLAPS but available all kinds of other places) for the connection between the POSITIVE battery terminal and the appropriate bolt on the engine block and, as mentioned, a heavy-gauge lead designed specifically for 6V systems from the NEGATIVE terminal to the starter solenoid. Attached pic is of a '52 Champion convertible, lifted from eBay, but the basic setup's the same regardless of engine or body style.
        Attached Files


        • #5
          You need a battery.

          Those starter solenoids take a lot of current, maybe 10-20 amps and likely more than that charger can put out and the voltage drooped as a result. The starter itself to turn over the engine will draw 100s of amps. Only some really large pro-grade units can supply that kind of current. Also, battery chargers do not usually have any filtering and will put out a "lumpy" 120hz waveform that is probably the frequency of the hum you are hearing. If you have a battery it will supply the surge currents for the solenoid and also act as a filter for the charger and clean up that hum.

          Another thing to note about using a battery charger as a power supply to test things... The peak voltage output of the charger is going to be somewhat higher than the battery that it would normally be connected to. That is how it can force current into the battery to charge it. So, you need to be careful using a charger alone as a power supply since it may damage some things due to the excess voltage. Testing fan motors and probably the headlights for a few seconds should not pose a problem but I'd advise not to test radios with one. You may get away with it or you may not.

          Jeff in ND


          • #6
            What Jeff and JGK940 said. Virtually all pre-WW II cars were 6v, positive ground. Some post-War GM cars were still 6v, but were negative ground. GM switched to 12v negative ground in 1954 (low-production luxury models) and 1955. Everybody else (exception VW) switched in 1956. The search feature will pull up dozens of previous threads on this subject.

            Farm/tractor stores usually have decent-quality 6v batteries in stock for much less than $150. Any other battery store can get one in a day.
            Skip Lackie


            • #7
              And make sure you get a "fresh" one. 6V are a slow moving item, and the longer it sits on the shelf, the shorter it's lifespan will be. If you can look at other batteries of the same brand, you can usually figure out the production date code on them. Usually letters and or a combination of letters and numbers. Usually on a sticker on top, or stamped in the plastic case.
              (read it backwards)

              Nothing is politically right which is morally wrong. -A. Lincoln