I am going to be looking at a 1920 Model T sedan that has been converted to 12 volts. I am wondering what is involved in returning it to 6 volts. The seller does have the original generator and obviously would have to change the battery, but I am wondering what else along the way? Good to know if I decide to go ahead with the purchase. For you guys that may have some experience with the conversion, would you prefer to leave it 12 volts or convert it back to 6? I am mainly a purist at heart, but I could/would look past this if it is done for reliability. What is the engine numbers range for 1920? So, I can see if it has the correct engine. Anything else I should be concerned about/looking for as far as the 1920 year is concerned?
Why spend? If you get the car take all the extras offered drive & enjoy it. Make changes that are necessary as you get to know it better. 12 or 6 actually makes little difference. To switch back you'll need the generator offered a battery some bulbs and possibly some starter work depending on what's been done to it. Again, if it works/runs there's no rush to convert.
Here's some of what you want to know about dating.
The numbers for the 1920 model year are 3,277,852 through 5,223,135.
There are valid reasons for twelve volts, but easier or more reliable starting aren't among them. Fifteen million Model T's were made to start on a six volt battery or no battery at all.
Ditto what Charlie said.
12 volt can be hard on starters, especially the bendix.
I my view it is important to determine why the car has been converted to 12 volt. It may be the magneto has failed and that could have a material impact on the cars value.
Does the car have a distributor ignition system installed?
The coversion back to 6 volts can vary upon how the 12 volt change was done.
Ron the Coilman
I agree with Ron Patterson. You need to find out if the magneto works. If it doesn't, some will convert to 12 volts because the coils have a bit more power on 12 volts than with 6. However they work best on magneto. If you have a distributor, it would be set up to run with 12 volts.
If the magneto still works and you still have the Ford ignition coils, then only the parts which have been converted to 12 volts would need to be changed. That would be the light bulbs, the generator, and the starter. Sometimes the generator and starter will still be original but using 12 volts with a 6 volt starter is hard on the starter bendix. The original 6 volt generator can be used to charge a 12 volt battery. If you have an alternator on the car, it would need to be changed back to a generator.
Ron & Norman,
The car does not have a distributor on it. I would probably have passed on looking at it if it did. I did ask if the car ran on magneto and he said it did. Of course, it makes one think why the conversion to begin with? Thanks for all the replies. Any other thoughts are appreciated.
Willis, some of the guys that do a lot of touring go to 12v so they can use modern electronic devices in their cars--tire pumps, cell phone chargers, GPS, etc. Don
Both my cell phone and GPS charge OK on 6V and I think most will, so 12v would only be needed if you bring an electric tire pump with you.
By the way, the original generator doesn't mind if it's charging a 12V battery, you'll only have to adjust the third brush for proper charging - and that'll be half as much as on 6v, still the same number of Watts produced.
Add Lights to Don's list also.
Based on owner comments (assuming true) the conversion was likely done to get brighter headlamps. In that case make sure the generator is still working and what is the charging rate on the dash ammeter?! If that conversion was done half vast the generator is usually toast.
Verify driving the car on magneto just to be sure.
Best of all worlds would be to check the magneto output if possible.
I forgot to mention that in the 12 volt conversion an Alt. is installed on the engine and that the owner has the original generator. Sorry, for the confusion. Hard to see typing on an IPhone.
No one has mentioned the battery cables. A 6-volt system will need 0 or 00 gauge cables. A 12-v system can get by on much smaller ones. So be sure to check the cable size if you do decide to convert the car back to 6-v.