When I removed the generator wire it momentarily touched the manifold and I saw a few small sparks. Now it is reattached and I have no buzz from the coils and no movement from the ammeter when I turn the key on, spin the starter or turn the lights on. Did I smoke the ammeter? Would this prevent the coils from working? Can I jump the ammeter without causing some other problem?
Yes, you may have smoked the ammeter. Yes, you can put a jumper across the ammeter.
Here is a diagram that shows what is fed trough the ammeter.
If I jump the ammeter and things start working again, can I run it like that until I can get another ammeter?
Was the generator wire attached to the generator, or disconnected from the generator ??
You may have a fuse in the generator wire line ? Generally one would install the fuse after the battery connection at the starter switch... worth a look ?
Car was running fine but generator not charging. I pulled it and shorted the wire. Installed a Becker alternator, re-attached the wire then nothing. Think I will take this opportunity to rebuild switch, install new ammeter and wire in turning signals. Hadn't spent any money on her in a while---she's due! Thanks for the responses. I LOVE this forum!
John: Re-check for a fuse in the wiring and/or clean & tight wire connections
Generally you will smoke the movement but the high current part of the ammeter (called the "shunt") is difficult to burn open so while you might not see any ammeter movement if you damaged it, the current path through it is generally not blown open so I suspect your car has a fuse. What year is the car? I ask that to know whether you have the large (1919-1925) or small (1926-1927) ammeter. The fuse if installed at the correct point would be below the main flat bottom floor board with the lever going through it. It would be in the heavy yellow wire protruding from the battery side connection of the starter foot switch. It would correctly be a 25 amp fuse but T's didn't have a fuse holder as standard equipment and people do install them in all sorts of places.
The fuse John Regan is referring to is is depicted on then wiring diagram posted above.
Ron the Coilman
You can always jump an ammeter with no fear of damage other than losing the ammeter functionality.
John, my alternator takes a pretty good RPM to "turn on" and start charging. Might try that first. Also, if you don't have a fuse, put one in. The FP fuse is the best I've seen. PK
This is like closing the gate after the horse has gotten out, but good future advice: Disconnect the negative battery cable before doing any electrical work on a car. Re connect it after you are sure everything is wired correctly.
Thanks to all. It was the fuse Changed it and she fired right up and the ammeter works fine. Comfort in seeing a charge at idle with my lights on. Disconnecting the battery in the trunk of a coupe calls for someone other than a short old Cajun man. I can do it but its a chore. Maybe I can put a master switch in a convenient spot. Any way, like Willie says, On the road again!
It would be a good idea to inspect all your wiring John. Fuses blow because something improper happened. You may have some bare, frayed or pinched wire somewhere that should be corrected.
John: Good news indeed !!
You blew the fuse when the disconnected generator wire in your hand touched a grounded part of the engine. Easy Fix !
Enjoy your ride !
Norman had a good procedure to follow..... disconnect the negative cable from the battery when working on any wiring.
Forget the master switch John. Those cause trouble.
Running the engine with a blown generator fuse can easily smoke the generator. The generator does not like an open circuit and cooks pretty quick.