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1961 Charging Issues

Bill,

I am working on a 1961 Lincoln Continental, and I am having trouble with the charging system.

I have had the generator rebuilt and replaced the voltage regulator with a new unit. At idle the generator light is shining brightly. Once I get the vehicle off idle the light goes out and the generator charges. Is there anything I can do to remedy this problem?

The car has to be close to 1000 rpm before the light will go off which is obviously to high for idle speed. Is there a spec as to how many volts the generator should output at idle? I understand generators do minimal charging at idle, and you can expect the light to flicker at a stop with the headlight or other accessories on - but at idle with a fully charged battery and no loads it should not be on brightly.

Have you ever had this problem?, and if so do you have any recommendations. I have checked the system over multiple times and I cannot find any problems. I am starting to consider finding a smaller pulley to speed up the armature. I am out of ideas otherwise. I would be glad to supply any other information or answer any other questions you have. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,

Brian

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Hello Brian,

I agree with you that the generator light can come on at periods of idle and electrical loads, but should not be brightly lit at the higher RPM's.

If you believe that your charging rate is excessively low at idle and engine speeds above idle according to the generator warning light, you can verify the charging voltage with a volt meter hooked up to the battery terminals. The voltage to the battery as supplied from the charging system must be higher than the battery voltage in order for the battery to charge and that charging voltage must not be excessively high or an overcharging condition will occur.

I am assuming of course that the wiring on your Lincoln is correct and in good operating condition and has not been modified. The battery also must be in good all around condition and able to receive and store a charge, etc. If you feel that the above is correct then your next step is to revisit the regulator and generator. New regulators and generators can and do fail. If your rebuilder is local, he should be happy to verify that the generator and regulator are operating correctly for you on the car. If not, many local parts houses such as Advance or Autozone, etc., also offer this service at no charge.

I hope that the above suggestions help but if you are still having problems with the diagnosis or need parts assistance, please contact us at any time.

Sincerely,

Bill