6 to 8 volt conversions

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newpack110
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Joined: Mon Jul 27, 2009 10:24 am
Location: Florida, Tampa Bay Area

6 to 8 volt conversions

Post by newpack110 » Tue Dec 01, 2009 11:11 am

My 1940 Packard 110 as I bought it, has an eight volt battery. the car starts easily when the 8 volt battery is fully charged, but after sitting 5 days, the battery will crank the car slower but , not start it. So I am sort of leary about going back to 6 volts. The second problem is that the gas, ammeter, & oil pressure guages are blown and I hope to replace them with new ones. What do I need to do to protect the new gauges if I am using the 8 volt battery? I presume the regulator was adjusted by the previous owner.
Any advice about 8 volt conversions in general, would be appreciated!
Thanks,
Bruce

Dave Czirr
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Re: 6 to 8 volt conversions

Post by Dave Czirr » Tue Dec 01, 2009 11:24 am

Others may disagree with me, but I'm firmly convinced that conversions, whether to 8 volt or 12 volt, are foolish and unnecessary folly foisted of on us by prior owners who were reluctant to fix whatever was wrong in the first place. Just think about it, tens of millions of 6 volt cars all across the world from Alaska and northern Canada to the boiling tropics started and started reliably for half a century. And they should still do so if properly maintained.

One of the biggest causes of hard starting with 6 volts results from the folks who go to Pep Boys to buy a battery cable and get one for 12 volts. 6 volt systems require larger cables to carry the equivalent current at lower voltage; battery cables should be at least "0" gauge, and even perhaps "00" if there is a long run, for example some 30s cars with batteries in the rumble seat area or under the front seat. Second biggest cause is corroded terminals and especially the ground cable; if the ground cable should happen to attach to the frame as in some 30s and earlier cars, then you need a good solid ground strip between the frame and the engine. Third biggest cause is just a lousy state of tune (plugs, points, high tension wiring, etc.) or low compression (worn engine). Badly worn starter motor bushings/bearings and armatures/brushes are another cause.

I've got a mid-30s Packard Eight that, if there is gas in the carburetor, starts in 1/2 turn of the engine, winter, summer, all the time. My vote is to return the car to stock, and identify and fix the problems that caused the prior owner to make an unnecessary band-aid fix.

newpack110
Posts: 6
Joined: Mon Jul 27, 2009 10:24 am
Location: Florida, Tampa Bay Area

Re: 6 to 8 volt conversions

Post by newpack110 » Tue Dec 01, 2009 1:04 pm

Thanks Dave. The wiring harness is in terrible shape and while the ground cable to the positive terminal of the battery seems original, in good condition and of a large gauge, the hot cable (that goes to the negative terminal) seems to be a newer 12 volt item. Any suggestions to where I could find an 00 gauge cable?

Dave Czirr
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Re: 6 to 8 volt conversions

Post by Dave Czirr » Tue Dec 01, 2009 1:53 pm

newpack110 wrote:Thanks Dave. The wiring harness is in terrible shape and while the ground cable to the positive terminal of the battery seems original, in good condition and of a large gauge, the hot cable (that goes to the negative terminal) seems to be a newer 12 volt item. Any suggestions to where I could find an 00 gauge cable?
Some folks find that local welding shops are capable of making them up from heavy electrical welding cable. Not sure you'd find 00 gauge, but I'd guess that some of the larger Packard parts dealers like Kanters or Max Merritt might have them remade, but I've seen them displayed by Bob Stolzfus at flea markets and I'd recommend you start with him (717-426-1446).

BTW, where are you located, and could you please add your State or City to your member profile if you haven't already. It makes it easier in answering some questions.

newpack110
Posts: 6
Joined: Mon Jul 27, 2009 10:24 am
Location: Florida, Tampa Bay Area

Re: 6 to 8 volt conversions

Post by newpack110 » Wed Dec 02, 2009 8:18 am

Thanks again for the Information. I will try to get new Battery cables.

MTpackardnut
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Joined: Thu Aug 06, 2009 6:49 am

Re: 6 to 8 volt conversions

Post by MTpackardnut » Fri Jan 14, 2011 2:51 pm

Napa sells 0 and 00 cables by the foot, with fitting for both ends. The fittings are either brass that you squeeze, or ones with built in solder and flux plugs in them. You strip the wire back a bit, push it in the fitting and heat it with a propane torch. It makes a great fitting and works like a champ. I put it on my 51 200 and it starts easily now. Much cheaper than buying one on line as well.

dmdelavan
Posts: 187
Joined: Wed Jul 08, 2009 5:54 am

Re: 6 to 8 volt conversions

Post by dmdelavan » Fri Jan 14, 2011 6:08 pm

I got my 00 cable through the local Carquest outlet. It is a good idea to run the cable without attaching the terminals since if there is a long run the turns may need a little more length and bending and twisting this cable is not easy. You might attach the terminal to the battery end and then lead it up to the starter or ground area, put that in place and then insert the cable. Then you can tack it temporarily in place and remove it for permanent attachment. You are doing a good thing for for your vehicle with this bigger cable.
Don Gutting

Beagler1
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Location: NE Oklahoma

Re: 6 to 8 volt conversions

Post by Beagler1 » Sun Nov 20, 2011 8:11 pm

What effect will an 8v battery have on the radio and other guages, etc...

34PackardGuy
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Location: Northeastern USA

Re: 6 to 8 volt conversions

Post by 34PackardGuy » Mon Nov 21, 2011 3:32 pm

It will shorten the life of your light bulbs, I don't know about the effect on the vacuum tubes in the radio but doubt it can be good for them. The dash guages have their own voltage regulator and may be relatively unaffected. Of course you'll have to have the generator regulator reworked to charge the battery.

All in all, 8-volt conversions are just a poor idea, period.

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