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Classic/Antique Car Repair/1962 Thunderbird generator


recently, after shut off for 10 minutes, I started car and "gen" light came on bright and stayed on. I read manual and unscrewed cap from regulator, when I pushed the "cut-out" points closed the light went out and voltage went to 14.5. So I replaced regulator- no change. I checked all wires for continuity so ordered a rebuilt generator from Larry's T-birds in LA.

Now when car starts, "gen" light is NOT on at idle, but when revved up it comes on, I drove it,after a while it stays off, but when starting cold again it comes (flickers to bright) on only at higher revs. I changed regulator back to the first one and it does the same thing. I also noticed that the "cut-out points were open, even with the "gen" light off.  

Question 1, could the rebuild be bad and only be a problem at higher revs?

Question 2, should the "cut-out points in the regulator be closed at idle?  It seems that if I force them closed, everything works fine, I don't know why they wont close on their own.


To answer your questions, the rebuild could be bad. Now as to the cut out points, if the engine is idling at the specified RPM, the points should be open at idle and snap shut as soon as the engine RPM increases. A generator will not put out current at low speed and keeping the points open at idle keeps the generator from drawing current and running the battery dead at idle. However the first thing that I would do if I was doing this job is to make sure that the voltage regulator is grounded well at its mounting bolts. The make sure that there is a good ground between the engine and the chassis and between the engine and the body. If any of these ground is not good it will cause the problems that you are having. If these steps do not work please get back to me and we will go to the next step.

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Brad Sears


All automotive including antique and collectible. However if the car has been modified I can only answer in general terms and maybe get you pointed in the right direction.


Automotive tech instructor. Syndicated auto columnist 1970's though the early 1990's. Syndicated auto radio talk show, Ask Brad About cars, CBS Radio 70's through 90's TV Show "Last Chance Garage" 1980's PBS-TV syndicated. Auto instructor for the following companies: Fram Autolyte Holly Carter AMF Ford Motor University Of Conn Blue Hills Technical School Sugar River Technical Center Grew up in a family garage in Needham Mass and turned wrenches from the age of 14.

Manchester Union Leader, Nashua Telegraph, Motor Service Magazine, Yankee Magazine, Popular Mechanics (Saturday Mechanic early 80's), Los Angeles Times, New York Times, and lots more.

More than I care to remember. Basically Franklin Technical Institute in Boston, Northeastern University, Fitchburg State Teachers College, Tufts University, and a lot of factory schools along the way.

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Moto Award winner. And much more.

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