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  • Electrical: Generator Low Voltage at Idle

    I have a 1957 Silverhawk with a 289. When I come to a stop or at idle my Voltage Gauge reads as a negative. My lights go dim and the Radio "AM, FM, CD Combo" will not play, Turn Signals also are very dim. I looked into a Genernator but that runs close to $900.00.
    Any ideas?

  • #2
    1. Loose fan belt
    2. Idle too slow
    3. Check out shop manual re how to adjust the charging on our old electro-mechanical voltage regulators

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    • #3
      skyway has some good answers. I might add, it's normal for the charging rate to drop back at idle, and it's not normal to have some of the accessories we install. Thus the need for a adjustment. Maybe a higher output gen and reg. I use a little later Buick gen and volt reg on my 53. Also, be Sure you have a High amp Battery .

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      • #4
        Alternators charge at idle, generators not so much. If a big problem you could consider changing to an alternator. If appearances are an issue they now make alternators that look like generators to keep that stock look.
        My first car on the road again!

        The old girl has never been sold to the public
        Grandpa was a Studie dealer. He got it off the car carrier in 1956 and drove it until 1959
        My dad: 1959-70

        sigpic

        Me: 1970-2015 and counting!

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        • #5
          If the generator is truly the problem...overhaul kits are available for less than $100. Rebuilt less than $200.
          KURTRUK
          (read it backwards)




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

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          • #6
            Hi,

            What's the brand name on the generator and voltage regulator?

            Mike O'Handley
            Kenmore, Washington
            hausdok@msn.com
            Mike O'Handley, Cat Herder Third Class
            Kenmore, Washington
            hausdok@msn.com

            '58 Packard Hawk
            '05 Subaru Baja Turbo
            '71 Toyota Crown Coupe
            '69 Pontiac Firebird
            (What is it with me and discontinued/orphan cars?)

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by hausdok View Post
              Hi,

              What's the brand name on the generator and voltage regulator?

              Mike O'Handley
              Kenmore, Washington
              hausdok@msn.com
              I went with a late model Nippon Denso with built in regulator on my Golden Hawk. Fitment was originally for Toyota 4 Runner, but they are used on lots of applications. I'll have to do some digging to find the one that looks like a generator. Which style are you leaning towards?
              My first car on the road again!

              The old girl has never been sold to the public
              Grandpa was a Studie dealer. He got it off the car carrier in 1956 and drove it until 1959
              My dad: 1959-70

              sigpic

              Me: 1970-2015 and counting!

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by kirkdob View Post
                I went with a late model Nippon Denso with built in regulator on my Golden Hawk. Fitment was originally for Toyota 4 Runner, but they are used on lots of applications. I'll have to do some digging to find the one that looks like a generator. Which style are you leaning towards?
                Cool, I've got some experience with Nippondenso products. I was a Toyota mechanic from 1970 to 1975. My question was actually for the O.P. I was wondering what brand generator and voltage regulator he's using. It's been a long, long time since I undercut and turned any armatures or dinked around with a voltage regulator - probably about 42 years and 45 years since I was in trade school and they were the norm and alternators were the new deal, but I can probably dreg up a little bit from memory if I know what system is being used.

                Mike O'Handley
                Kenmore, Washington
                hausdok@msn.com
                Mike O'Handley, Cat Herder Third Class
                Kenmore, Washington
                hausdok@msn.com

                '58 Packard Hawk
                '05 Subaru Baja Turbo
                '71 Toyota Crown Coupe
                '69 Pontiac Firebird
                (What is it with me and discontinued/orphan cars?)

                Comment


                • #9
                  Your radio and lights shouldn't stop working or go dim at idle even though the generator isn't charging. My 62 Hawk still has a generator and modern electronics in it and I don't have those problems. I would suspect a weak battery, low generator output causing an undercharge condition on the battery or dirty or loose connections in the main wiring between the starter solenoid, ammeter, headlight switch and ignition switch. The wiring on your car is 55 years old and could have corrosion problems by now. you should have somewhere between 13.8 and about 14.5 volts at the battery when the engine is running somewhere above 1500 rpm and the generator is charging. If the generator output isn't somewhere in that range, suspect a generator or regulator problem. Bud

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                  • #10
                    I also have a 57 silver hawk with a 289. It idles at 700 rpm in neutral and 600 rpm in drive. The generator always puts out 13.5 volts. I had the generator completely rebuilt about a year ago for $100. I just filed the points on the voltage regulator. Find a good auto electric shop and have the generator rebuilt. That would be the cheapest way to go.

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                    • #11
                      Or try the CASO fix, take the generator apart (it's only two bolts) and clean the armature with some fine sandpaper, check or replace the brushes while you are in there. It may be what is going on is the contacts on the armature are corroded, keeping the generator from putting out like it should. Cleaning them would solve that problem.
                      Jeff DeWitt
                      http://carolinastudes.net

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