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Old 12-03-2012, 01:44 PM   #1
Big_Guys_baby
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Default Generator Troubleshooting

I know it has been discussed here 1000 times, and I thought that I came across a good thread a while back but I cannot find it through the search function.

I need to know the best practical steps for troubleshooting charging problem. The generator worked and charged well prior to engine removal. After I put the engine (all nice and painted along with firewall and everything else) is has had erractic charging issues. I double checked and cleaned the ground for the battery side and it has one grounding strap on the engine to firewall as well. Re-cleaned those and seems to be good. I know at regular idle speed the generator doesn't charge, but even when i rev her up the ammeter gauge doesn't swing up to "charge" like it used to do. To be fair the belt is not as tight as before, not sure how dramatic a difference that makes.

The engine started up and ran great today but died after idling for about 10 minutes and wouldn't start back up. It showed extremely weak spark with a spark tester. 10 minutes on the battery charger and she fired right back up again.

If someone has advice on the best practical steps or can point me to another thread or article that would be great.

1946 Biz Coupe. 6volt positive ground.

Thanks!
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Old 12-03-2012, 02:08 PM   #2
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Default Re: Generator Troubleshooting

Pull the cover off the regulator and watch the cut out after you fire the engine and see if it pulls closed to energise the generator to battery connection. You can try and repolarize the generator field shoes to get some residual magnetism if there was a change to the generator. The residual magnetism of those shoes is what starts everything working.
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Old 12-03-2012, 04:20 PM   #3
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Default Re: Generator Troubleshooting

good suggestion. I found a better multi-meter so I can take some voltage readings and check grounds. The generator was off the engine for a while and sitting on the floor pan of the vehicle. That might explain why she doesn't seem to be wanting to charge. How do I repolarize the generator field shoes? I am pretty good on wiring, but not a pro when it comes to the generators.
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Old 12-03-2012, 05:16 PM   #4
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Default Re: Generator Troubleshooting

With the battery installed and fully charged for system functionality, disconnect the regulator's Field terminal and momentarity touch it to the regulator Bat terminal. The quick surge of current flow will get the field ready to go with correct positive ground polarity. It doesn't take much to get some magnetism going with a good hot battery.
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Old 12-03-2012, 07:58 PM   #5
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Default Re: Generator Troubleshooting

search for "polarizing generator" and you will find lots of discussion from the Model "A" group. I just had that issue and waiting for a sunny afternoon to road test her out.
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Old 12-03-2012, 08:59 PM   #6
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Default Re: Generator Troubleshooting

Wow. Never knew that... Amazing... This procedure is done at the voltage regulator and not at the generator? Interesting, I will search...
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Old 12-03-2012, 09:00 PM   #7
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Default Re: Generator Troubleshooting

Dumb question: how does the cover come off the voltage regulator??! Never had that off
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Old 12-03-2012, 09:50 PM   #8
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Default Re: Generator Troubleshooting

No need to take the cover off. just use a jumper wire momentarily between the field and bat terminals where the wires connect to the regulator.
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Old 12-03-2012, 10:05 PM   #9
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Default Re: Generator Troubleshooting

Sounds easy. Should the ignition be on when this happens?
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Old 12-03-2012, 10:47 PM   #10
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Default Re: Generator Troubleshooting

Quote:
Originally Posted by Big_Guys_baby View Post
Wow. Never knew that... Amazing... This procedure is done at the voltage regulator and not at the generator? Interesting, I will search...
Polerizing can be done at either end, on my A-V8 it's convenient to disconnect the field at the gen and jump from the hot side of the coil to the field connection of the gen. (with the ign on, just as a source) And, no the ign does not need to be on if you polerize at the regulater...
Karl
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Old 12-04-2012, 07:43 AM   #11
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Default Re: Generator Troubleshooting

Engine OFF. Use a #6 or 8 wire just to touch the two terminal posts for 1-2 seconds. For a better search look for posts on this topic by "Tom Wesenberg" on the "A" forum. Tons of threads about all sorts of genny issues.
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Old 12-04-2012, 08:20 AM   #12
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Default Re: Generator Troubleshooting

A three pole regulator as stock equipment on a 46 Ford should have two screws holding the cap that covers the poles and there is usually a gasket to keep the moisture out. The pole that is connected to the Bat terminal is the cut out. The other two poles are the current limiter and voltage regulator. You won't need to pull the cover for polarization but you will to insure the cut out points aren't stuck or fouled in some way.

The shop manuals instruct to polarize at the regulater as mentioned previously but the main thing is that the generator's field gets connected to the power source end of the battery momentarily whether the connection is made at the VR or at the Gen doesn't matter so much as long as the field gets flashed.
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Old 12-04-2012, 02:53 PM   #13
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Default Re: Generator Troubleshooting

I think the best article about voltage drops that can also effect charging issues on the barn is by Flathead Fever he explaines it better than I could here is a link http://www.fordbarn.com/forum/showthread.php?t=29503
Regards,

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Old 12-05-2012, 12:23 PM   #14
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Default Re: Generator Troubleshooting

Brian, thanks for the link to the post....

Update: I took off the generator and sanded off all the paint on the back side of the generator as well as cleaned off the paint on the front of the intake manifold. Reinstalled generator, made sure belts were nice and tight. Made sure connections were nice and tight and repolarized via earlier suggestions.

The car fired right up and appeared to be charging when I revved her up past idle speed. I took a voltage reading at the Battery side of the Voltage regulator and I am now concerned that she is over-charging. She showed 9-11 volts when I sped up the engine! My ford book says that that it should be between 7.1 and 7.4... I didn't get a chance to test the cut-in and cut out voltage yet.

The big issue is that car isn't quite road worthy yet (but she is getting close) so I am starting her up, idling, driving on my street only and back into garage to get the bugs worked out. This i think is being hard on my battery and I am starting to have some major hot-start issues that I think are electrical and battery related. She won't restart when hot, but 10 -15 minutes on the battery charger and she will fire right up.

Also possibly related is that once the engine warms up (she runs between 160-170 faithfully) she has a "miss" when I mash down the throttle. When it is cold started the engine revs beautifully and has great oil pressure, comes up to temp good, etc... Once the engine got hot just recently, when I mash the pedal down the engine sputters and won't rev up. I can't tell if this is an ignition miss or if she is fuel starved...

Ahh, I love these cars... The good news is that steady and excellent progress is being made on her and I expect her to be road worthy come spring if not sooner!
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Old 12-05-2012, 06:55 PM   #15
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Default Re: Generator Troubleshooting

Someone may have been running an 8-volt battery and made some shade tree adjustments to the voltage limiter pole or the voltage limiter is flakey. If it puts out more than 7.6 volts with the cover in place then it is higher than it should be and may start to affect the battery, light bulbs, and instruments adversely as well as cause ignition component problems. These old regulators were adjusted back in the day with a test apparatus that had a sensitive volt meter and a variable resistance amp meter. A person can do more harm than good if they don't have adequate equipment and references to do the job. You might consider purchasing another regulator.
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Old 12-05-2012, 07:49 PM   #16
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Default Re: Generator Troubleshooting

this regulator was replaced by my dad about 15-20 years ago and it was aftermarket. I think from an early ford store in Wisconsin or Ohio if I remember correctly. The light bulbs hadn't been burning out, but might explain why the 7amp fuse on the turn signal circuit keeps frying and also why i seem to be having a coil problem as well.

Debating trying to adjust or just buying a new one... oh well, going to do some rust busting while i figure it out.
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