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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
63 500XL, 390. Appears to be all original. Car was hard to start…found the carb base gasket pretty well gone, hopefully replacing it (yesterday) will help.

Anyway, on to the electrical. Like I said, car appears original, so I believe that starter/starter cable/generator is original. I have already replaced both battery cables and battery.
When the battery appears fully charged, it will not crank the car as long as I think it should. If I had the crank the car for 8 seconds at a time, it will not do that even 4 times before the battery is useless. When I jump the Galaxie with a car putting out 13+volts, she starts right up.
I am contemplating several things: after replacing starter cable of course, replacing the starter with a newer/higher performance one that has a gear reduction set up to spin the engine faster with same/less volts used, and replacing the generator. I’m thinking of getting the generator rebuilt as an alternator, with the same external appearance, or replacing it with a one wire alternator.
To be fair to the car, I did note 13+v at the battery when it was running, but this was when the engine was running at a higher rpm…when I backed off on the rpm, I’m sure the battery was getting less of a charge. Also, I changed the generator belt when I first got the car a month ago, and I haven’t checked it again to see if it has stretched.

I’m open to any suggestions.

Thanks!

Gary in GA
 

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I would try replacing the cable from the solinoid to the starter first, since it is not that expensive, to make sure the starter is getting full voltage. Kind of odd that it starts good on a jump, but not when your batt is fully charged, like maybe it takes bumped-up voltage to get 12 to the starter. Maybe try disconnecting yout battery and hook the jumper cables to the battery cables and see if you have the same trouble. Also, MAYBE check the ground strap on the starter (if '63s have one) if not, losen and retighten the starter bolts to make sure it is getting a good ground.
You shouldn't need a high torque starter, and re-pops aren't made as well as originals - look into a rebuild kit - cheap and easy.
Upgrading the generator is a good idea (or at least having it rewound), but I'm not sure if it would help much on cold stats.

You could also check the voltage at the starter and the "out" side of the solinoid (another cheap fix).

Good luck.
 

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If you can jump it and it works ok then the battery is weak. Have it tested.
 

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Sounds to me like you have a dead cell in your battery. If it is not the maintnence free type then pull off the covers and use a hydrometer to test each cell. If it is the maintnence type then run a load test on the battery. A battery with a dead cell won't hold a charge very long when trying to start the car, just like what you are describing.
 
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Even though you said you replaced the battery, I would tend to agree that the new battery is not fully charged, or is faulty. A good battery should crank it like when on the booster cables.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I'll try taking the battery out of my Mustang and put it in the Galaxie and see what happens. 68uboat, I've got to tell you, I love your user name and 'disc brakes are for cowards.' I must be brave....I have 4 drums and a single bowl master cylinder.
 

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Gary,
These checks are made with a known good battery. To check the battery hold a voltmeter across the positive and negitive terminals while cranking the engine. A engine can start at 10 volts but not very good. You need to see at least 11.5 volts while cranking and 12.5 without cranking.
Obtain a voltage meter and turn your headlights on. 1. Check the voltage between the positive terminal and the negitive terminal. 2. Check the voltage between the positive terminal and whatever you have the negitive terminal tied to ( should be the engine block ). If theres a difference then the negitive battery cable is bad. If it's the same turn the headlights off and go to step 3. 3. Have someone crank the engine while you're holding the voltmeter on each big post on the solenoid. If you get a reading of more than a 1/2 volt then the solenoid is suspect. If that checks out go to 5. 5. Hold the ends of the voltmeter on each end of the starter cable while someone is cranking the engine. If you get any voltage at all then the starter cable is suspect. The only thing left is the starter if all these checks are good. Make sure you've got the negitive cable tied to the engine block not the frame. You don't want the current for starting the engine going though the firewall ground wire. That wire is just for the lights, gauges and radio. You're starter takes a whole lot of current. Jim
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Jim, great diagnostic tips. I got the Galaxie up and running. My Mustang has been sitting since before Thanksgiving, but she started right up, so I know that battery was good. Put that battery in the Galaxie. Except for being cold...it took a few attempts, but she started. Drove her around the block a few times, great. Came back to the house and turned all the accessories on..heater, brights, radio, etc. Voltage check at battery was around 12.7volts. I will say that the starter cable did get kind of warm right at the solenoid lug. A little smoke appeared also, at the lug. It must have been the battery...when I put the 'new' batter from the Galaxie into the Mustang, the Mustang wouldn't even turn over.
But, as I have thought about...has anyone else upgraded their generator to an alternator? I'm still interested in this upgrade.

Thanks for the help!

Gary in GA
 

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the smoke and heat indicate a resistance. replace or repair such. your new battery may not be bad. a dead battery will take a full 24 hours to be fully charged. make sure the batt. temp doesn't go over 120 deg. (hot to touch). after charging-turn on headlights for 30 sec. wait 1 min. check voltage. 12.6 or higher- good batt.
 

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gcroix,
I got through changing mine over last week. Other than changing the regulator and adding a #10 wire from the regulator to the solinoid, that's it. Of course you've got things like making a mount for the regulator but you use the same wires and they are the right length also. There's a schematic of the wiring I'll include if I can find it. Jim
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Jim, from that first diagram and your text, should I assume that you are still using a external regulator? I was hoping to convert to an internally regulated alt. I have two alts sitting around...one is from a 90/91 Mercury Grand Marquis, I have a wire harness that made it work on my 66 Mustang, internally regulated, with a 10 amp inline fuse. I also have another alt, marketed as 'one wire,' that is not 'self exciting,' not totally sure what that means. I'd like to use the same alt that I had on the Mustang...not sure if the harness will be long enough, as the Mustang alt is mounted high, the Galaxie one sits low.
Galax-z, I will try what you suggest, thanks.
 

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It's a Generator, they get old and won't push out 13V at idle. Simple age issue. New brushes and a tweak on the regulator and you're good to go.

Battery isn't the strongest, but FOUR times at 8 seconds each is WAY TOO MUCH cranking on an Engine!


WHY did you feel it's necessary to crank it so long?

Not even a compression test takes more than 4.5 to 5 seconds at the MOST for each hole.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I didn't crank the engine that many times, I was just using numbers that I plucked out of thin air, just as an example to show that a one month old battery wasn't cranking the engine as long as I thought it should.
I put EFI in my old Mustang, and as much work as that was, I've never thought about/attempted rebuilding a generator, and didn't even know you could adjust the regulator. Any links that you suggest before I search? Additionally, when I run the A/C this summer and add a gps unit through the cigarette lighter, even if the gen is rebuilt and puts out 35 amps (as far as I know), would that be enough?
 

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gcroix,
There's nothing wrong with a one wire alternator. Had one on my airplane I built for 14 years and never had a problem out of it. I used the older style with the external regulator because I already had an alternator that I'd bought for my 57 Fairlane and didn't use.
The wiring on my 63 didn't need extending because the alternator sat at the top of the engine instead of the bottom like the generator, it was exactly the right length.
I made a mistake on my last post. The #10 wire added to the wiring harness was run from the alternator to the solinoid instead of the regulator to the solinoid. About 18" of wire was all that was needed.
Also one of the reasons I wanted to use the older alternator was because I'm lazy. I didn't want to rewire the car, change wiring harness or figure out how to make my generator light work.
Any alternator will work if it's hooked up right. There's diagrams out there that will show you how to hook up any alterantor to get what you want. It's your choice. There's no wrong choices.
P.S. One of the other guys mentioned this and you need to put an importance on what he said. The smoke and heat you mentioned doesn't sound good. If the starter cable is hot that would be normal with a bad battery. If smoke comes from the solinoid that's not normal under any condition.
I hate writing you a book but let me tell you this before you finish wiring up your 63. Find out which wire is hot all the time going to your master cylinder stop light switch and put a 5 amp fuse in line with it. I had one start melting the wire one time because the switch shorted out inside. If I hadn't smelled it ( I had the hood up working on something else ) it would have caught the wiring on fire. I put a fuse there on both my classic cars. I met a man at a car show that had his car burn down and the fire was started in the harness at the firewall. He didn't know if it was the stop switch but I don't take chances after seeing mine start melting the wire. Good luck. Jim
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks for that last post Jim. I'm going to replace the cable from the solenoid to starter. I'll put that fuse in the master cylinder switch wiring too. Took the car to church today and it did fine, besides the 'it's 20 degrees, I don't want to start' groaning. Ha.
 
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