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Using a 3 wire GM alternator

Posted By ErnieL Last Month
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ErnieL
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I’m looking to replace my generator with an alternator while I install my A/C.

Thoughts? Anyone know which part number or amperage is good, does anyone know what wires need to be put where, and can I keep my original voltage regulator?


56 Meteor 4 dr hardtop
56 Crown Vic
55 F100

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miker
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You'll get a lot of comments, many here are pretty pro Ford. I've used several GM's, but my comment apply to any alternator.

All the ones I've used have the regulator built in. I don't like 1 wires. I've had too many occasions were the charge at the battery is low, and using a 3 wire solves that. I'm sure there's ways around it, but 3 wire works for me.

The wiring from the gen set to the regulator/battery is sized for the oem gen set. Fitting a large alternator (for the condenser fan, clutch, etc) may very well overload it. My bird is efi, electric main and condenser fan, power everything, and to carry the full load at night with a/c, wipers, headlights, etc. I had to increase the wire size all the way to the battery. The car is rewired, and that and relays took care of the rest of it. Kind of overkill, but if it's hot , dark, and raining that is not the time to get stuck.

Some of the kits to put GM alternators on a y block are pretty cheesy. You can probably make your own coming off the gen bracket, someone here will problem post their solution. Cheaper too.

miker
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Kent, WA
Tucson, AZ
Florida_Phil
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I converted my 55 TBird to an alternator using a Casco kit.  (www.classictbird.com)   The alternator in this kit uses an internal regulator.  I'm not sure of the manufacturer.  It allows you to retain the external voltage regulator for appearances sake.   The addition of this alternator has been one of the best upgrades I have done to my car. 

http://forums.y-blocksforever.com/uploads/images/4701cb01-c2d2-4181-9e02-078a.jpg


http://forums.y-blocksforever.com/uploads/images/82ad85c1-6def-4eb4-a085-3dd2.jpg

ErnieL
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My Classic Air A/C came with a bracket for both the Sanden compressor and an alternator. They recommend a GM for simplicity, but either way, it’s no biggie.


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56 Crown Vic
55 F100

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Daniel Jessup
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Maybe this can help you...
https://www.hotrodreverend.com/post/2017/10/01/55-ford-fairlane-restoration-blog-part-20
https://www.hotrodreverend.com/post/2017/09/30/55-ford-fairlane-restoration-blog-part-18


Daniel Jessup

Loveland, Ohio

aka "The Hot Rod Reverend" w00t
check out the 1955 Ford Fairlane build at www.hotrodreverend.com


charliemccraney
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Alternators usually come with a pulley which is too large to work best with a Y-Block damper.  Get a pulley of about 2 3/8" diameter.  The crank to alternator ratio needs to be about 3:1 for a street engine and 2 3/8" almost gets it there while not being too small for a v belt.


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ErnieL
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I guess I’ll go to the local parts house and start comparing alternators. Hopefully I’ll find a 10SI with a 2 3/8 pulley, if not we do some swapping.
This IS a job to do. Not really something you want to be doing on a running car in the middle of cruisin’ season.
Oh? What’s that? It’s 147 degrees outside? And Covid-19 will cause you to spontaneously combust if you leave the house without a mask on?
Well, ok, we’re not missing much out there. All I did last night was kick a pan of Skydrol, then step in the spilled area, then watched it eat my $90.00 tennis shoes. Fekk!
I hate dealing with A/C, so I took the melted shoes as a sign and called it a night.
And then took the world’s nastiest hydraulic fluid to the hangar. :-/


56 Meteor 4 dr hardtop
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cokefirst
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I am a fan of OE look.  I find that the alternators used on newer vehicles (those in the 60's) don't seem to look right to me even when they re nicely installed.  The Thunderbird conversion a few posts up is a great example.  The alternator is as nicely installed as it can be but it does not match the era of the car.  I am a big fan of the Powergen alternator that looks almost like the OE generator.  I have them on 3 of my cars and I use the OE wiring harness and pass the wiring through the voltage regulator.  The regulator must have some of the connections cut and is a dummy but I also get the ones that allow my dash {GEN} light to operate.  These are pricey and not for everyone.  If you are not a purist or close to it, it is much cheaper to put a new style alternator on your car.  I have no financial interest in the Power Gen operation, but I plan on purchasing them for my entire fleet of Y block powered fords.   
DryLakesRacer
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Ernie, I’m not telling you what to get or whether it should look stock. Vintage Air in its instructions call for a 20 amp feed for their system so I’m assuming that will cover the clutch and fan.

1963 Ford Failanes still had a generator and factory air. I’ve talked a few owners and all said they did not have any charging shot coming.

Normal generators are 30 amp and some 40. This tells me unless you have a lot of accessories a 60 amp alternator will be fine. The CASCO kit is a 100amp and I’m waiting for mine to arrive to install it on my 56 Victoria. I don’t have air or any electrical high amp accessories. My wiring will be sufficient because I do not have any additional load.

If I add AC I will at least move to a #8 wire which is safe at 40 amps. Safe amperage for wire is #12=20, #10=30, #8=40, #6=50 etc. if their not in a loom they can always take more and this just my rule.

A standard 60amp 3wire wire be sufficient for most of us.

56 Vic, B'Ville 200 MPH Club Member, So Cal.
blockhead2
Posted 3 Weeks Ago
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I have a NAPA 65 amp alternator that I put in my 59.  Changed it out for a higher amperage one as I have AC and electric fan.  It was OK cruising but marginal at idle with both on.  I also have a used Mustang alternator, both of which I can sell you.  I also have a 60 amp generNator if you want to keep the stock appearance.  It is new that I would sell for less than cost at $350 plus shipping.  If interested email me at wabate@verizon.net.

Regards,

Bill, 55 Tbird


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