1956 Chevrolet Bel Air L6 charging issue


Asked by Apr 13, 2012 at 11:27 PM about the 1956 Chevrolet Bel Air

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

Just got done rebuilding the L6 to my bel air. For some unknown reason, the battery fails to charge. I measured the output at the generator with the engine idling and I could not get a reading. Perhaps the generator needs a nice clean ground through the fresh paint on the generator mount? With engine idling, the gen. light is on and the battery reads only 11.8 volts. All other connections are good and the inside of the generator was cleaned. All parts are there and intact. Voltage regulator box has not been adjusted since I got the car.

5 Answers


I think your right about the paint issue. If you get good connections you should be charging again.

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turns out you can test the generator by using it as a motor. With the belt off, the generator should spin with twelve volts hooked up and draw like 5 amps.


I remember my dad doing that in his 57 chevy

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You might have to flash the field to get it to work. It's been a long time since I've done any DC generator work (40yrs?). Do a internet search to find out how to do it.

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Yeah I did a flash test and got like 18 volts. turns out the voltage regulator wasn't grounded so it had no ground to give to the field coils. No ground to the field coils means no magnetic field. For anyone else reading this, in order to flash the field you must disconnect the termanal that supplies power from the regulator to the rest of the car. This way, when you flash it you won't fry all the wiring in the car. Secondly hook up a voltmeter to the output on the regulator (the one you just disconnected, you want to see how many volts would have went to the rest of the car). Finally, ground the field or negative termanal on the generator directly to a clean ground. Do so only for a moment, as it is hard on the generator because it is generating its full voltage potential (maybe as many as 30 volts!). This test can be used to can determine the condition of the generator and the regulator.

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