1/16/2011: Note: A related story is posted in our website at the following location:
The gift that keeps on giving….
That’s how I describe my friendship with Tom Chandler. First, Tom found Pat Hoover and myself and helped us establish the sequence and date of the first “Shorty” Post Glasspar G2 frame. He did this when he shared his prized Glasspar G2 with us that he had bought in 1982.
Now, on that same Glasspar G2, he shared his solution on how to mount a generator on a Ford Flathead V8 when space is limited. And that’s the story I am sharing today – Tom is one great guy who keeps me busier than ever!
Problem: Generator Won’t Fit in Traditional Location
Traditionally, generators are mounted at top front center of all Ford Flathead engines. This rarely presents a problem unless you plan on a dual/triple/quadruple intake manifold with more than one carburetor. When you take this action, the space up front becomes limited.
An easy solution is to move the generator to the right or left of the center line of the engine, and brackets have been created to do this from the 1950’s forward (perhaps earlier too). Speedway Motors in Lincoln Nebraska stocks a series of options, and I’ve included their options on moving the location of the generator to various places on the engine.
They even have a bracket so you can mount a modern alternator – which is much smaller than a traditional generator– at the front of your engine. For those of you taking this action, this may be all you need to do – unless you want to have that “period correct” look and feel of a generator on your fiberglass beast. If that’s the case, there’s another option for you too. What I’ve come to call the “Chandler Ford Flathead V8 Generator Solution”.
Period Correct Look and Feel
Tom’s one creative guy. He wanted the look and feel of a generator, but the size of a modern alternator. That way, he could have his cake and eat it too. That is, install a small size generator that gives the appearance of a generator and not a more modern alternator. What Tom found was a small tractor “dynamo”.
Dynamo’s are not powerhouses of energy. In fact, they put out very little amperage. But most of us don’t need much power. Our cars don’t have heaters, air conditioners, inside lighting, door lights, fog lights, radios, clocks, electronic fuel injection, electric fuel pumps, etc. If you have some of these accessories – cool! But….that’s not the typical course of options for a vintage fiberglass car from the 1950’s.
I’ve found another person who arrived at this solution when faced with limited space – but for a Corvair. Even though it’s for a different engine, the solution applies nicely to our discussion. This website was originally posted in the year 2000 and updated in 2007:
This website states that this dynamo has an output of 20 amps – which should be fine in applications for vintage fiberglass sports cars. Just don’t drive at night with your headlights on for a long time and plan on the battery lasting long. Daylight driving: A-OK.
Dynamo and Regulator Installation
If you choose this route, you can polish the aluminum for a nice look – or paint the dynamo. Either complements the engine nicely. And…just like a generator, a dynamo requires a regulator. The regulator, however, looks much more modern – it’s a finned aluminum piece. But…this can be hidden away low on the firewall, or tucked away in an area under the hood where it can’t be seen.
You’ll also need to create a mounting bracket unique to this arrangement. Tom built a simple one that you can see in the pictures below along with the dimensions and instructions on how to make create one from scratch.
I’m in the process of installing a dynamo and regulator on one of my specials due to space limitation under the hood, so if any of you decide that the “Chandler Ford Flathead V8 Generator Solution” is for you, just let me know and I can create an extra – just for you.
Other Dynamos You Can Use
There are other dynamos that are even smaller and may work for you as well. Pictured below are some of the smaller ones available. Tom chose the largest one because it was approximately the diameter of a vintage generator and therefore maintained the vintage “generator” look.
Purchasing a Dynamo and Regulator
A few things I’ve learned through researching this story….
A conventional generator and alternator is the least expensive route to go. If it fits your Ford Flathead V8 and the hood doesn’t touch it – there’s no reason to look further. You’ll save money and all will be well.
The dynamo made by John Deere is no longer available – believe me….I’ve looked everywhere. Luckily, there’s a nearly identical part (and parts) made by Kubota of Japan for their tractors. The price is about the same which is $199 for the dynamo and around $50 for the regulator. The smaller dynamos are less expensive so you may save some money there.
The best place I’ve found to buy the Kubota dynamos and regulators are from Ray Kasal of Iowa Motor Parts (thanks Ray!). Ray has these parts in stock or can order what you need from his store. You can visit his page on Kubota dynamos and regulators by clicking below:
His contact information is found on the following link:
I hope this helps give some of you some options out there. If you’re having problems with room under the hood or clearance issues up front, this is certainly an excellent approach to consider. Thanks again to Tom Chandler for sharing this solution. I hope his generosity in time and creativity in engineering serves us all well.
Glass on gang…
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