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JSabah

7 words you never want to hear on your maiden drive

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It’s been 4 years in the making and today (after a few test drives around the block and several starts), I took the woody to AAA to get it licensed. Drove it there as they needed to see and verify the vin. As we were waiting our turn someone came in and said who has a woody in the parking lot. When I said I do, why their reply scared the c**p out of me .... “I think your engine is on fire”. 
 

truns out it wasn’t but the generator was smoking enough to concern everyone around. 
 

newly rebuilt 6v gen to 12v and newly rebuilt 12v regulator. Any idea why this would happen?  I’ve had the car on for at least 1/2 hour in total but this was the longest drive (15min) and this was the 1st sign of any electrical/generator issues. 

Edited by JSabah
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Remnants of cleaning solution evaporating from the generator coils?  Or if the coils where newly varnish dipped and  wrapped the first real use/heat could cause that, maybe.

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Seemed like a lot of smoke. I have the feeling it is something other than a bit of burn-off 😟

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Check for cat fur! They seem to like fires! 

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Edited by pflaming

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If the smoke had a really acrid smell, check for good ground(s) and other connections, but especially the grounds. I rebuilt the generator in our Terraplane many years ago and didn't clean the paint from the ground attachment on the generator shell well enough.  It smoked like the dickens and smelled awful, but only for a short time.  Besides the obvious, this can burn the insulation off the various parts in the generator, so depending on just what was smoking, (you didn't narrow that down, but assuming from your question you think it was electrical?) you  may want to check that.  I also rebuilt the top end of the engine and painted a lot of the engine accouterments this last summer, when I ran the car (for the first time in at least six years) the engine compartment (and car for that matter) was enveloped in smoke, but that didn't have the burnt electronics smell and was just all the "new" burning off.      

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2 hours ago, James_Douglas said:

Exactly what battery are you using?

New Duralast from Autozone. I told them I needed a battery for a ‘57 (cause they look at you funny when you tell them you converted a 49) Belvedere or Surbuban. Ended up with a Group 25 550cca 

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2 hours ago, Dan Hiebert said:

If the smoke had a really acrid smell, check for good ground(s) and other connections, but especially the grounds. I rebuilt the generator in our Terraplane many years ago and didn't clean the paint from the ground attachment on the generator shell well enough.  It smoked like the dickens and smelled awful, but only for a short time.  Besides the obvious, this can burn the insulation off the various parts in the generator, so depending on just what was smoking, (you didn't narrow that down, but assuming from your question you think it was electrical?) you  may want to check that.  I also rebuilt the top end of the engine and painted a lot of the engine accouterments this last summer, when I ran the car (for the first time in at least six years) the engine compartment (and car for that matter) was enveloped in smoke, but that didn't have the burnt electronics smell and was just all the "new" burning off.      


sorry but I don’t know exactly what was smoking other than it definitely was coming from the generator (mostly from the vents right behind the belt pulley). I checked the belt to see if it was too tight and binding but there is easily about 2 inches of play when I push on the belt. 
 

Interestingly when I parked, I took my time walked around the car (yes to admire it) and took a pic or two. There was no smoke then and I did smell anything  odd.  When the person told me he thought there was an engine fire, it was 5-10 minutes later. When I opened the hood, I could see the smoke pouring from the generator vents. I disconnect the battery - I don’t know if that had anything to do with it stopping (don’t think so) as it took several minutes to stop. 

Edited by JSabah
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5 hours ago, JBNeal said:

what do your infrared thermometer results look like...?

What should I be reading the temp on? Radiator? Generator? Something else)? Newly rebuilt temp gauge read a steady 160 

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I wonder if your voltage regulator didn’t disconnect causing power to back feed the armature. This would turn the generator into a motor. Since it couldn’t spin it is a stalled motor which can overheat the brushes and coils. It finally heated up enough to start smoking. Disconnecting the battery removed the current flow, but it would take a few minutes to cool back down enough for the smoke to stop. 

 

That’s my theory anyway... It probably wouldn’t hurt to have the generator and regulator checked by a professional. 

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7 minutes ago, Merle Coggins said:

I wonder if your voltage regulator didn’t disconnect causing power to back feed the armature. This would turn the generator into a motor. Since it couldn’t spin it is a stalled motor which can overheat the brushes and coils. It finally heated up enough to start smoking. Disconnecting the battery removed the current flow, but it would take a few minutes to cool back down enough for the smoke to stop. 

 

That’s my theory anyway... It probably wouldn’t hurt to have the generator and regulator checked by a professional. 

 

That was my initial thought as well but I didn’t even know if it was possible. I think I will take the generator and regulator to a reputable auto electric shop. I did not see any evidence of an issue in the wires tho.....

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I've used IR thermometer to identify hotspots, temperature spikes etc...if the body of the generator is 100°F after 30 minutes of operation, but the bearing area is 200°, then ya got something to inspect...same goes for the VR, wiring, engine head, engine block, radiator, etc...

 

I've used IR thermometer to identify malfunctioning relays in an automated hardwood kiln operation...going through their control system, we were able to identify faulty yet functioning components, measure amp draws before and after component replacement, and show that energy saved paid for the replacements in less than a year...on another project, I found a faulty splice in a circuit that was acting like a choke and causing the control system to react adversely to actual conditions, causing all kinds of problems...

 

I suggest taking that buggy out for a half-hour or so test drive, then back at base with engine idling, take IR thermometer readings of mechanical parts of generator, then electro-mechanical parts as suggested, then follow the charging circuit to the VR and battery, etc...don't forget your fire extinguisher for the test drive tho :cool:

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Did you polarize your regulator when you installed it? Was your amp meter

showing charge or discharge? I would recheck all elec. connections for proper

12 volt operation too but whatever you do PLEASE have a fire extinguisher

close at hand while you sort this out. Been watching your ongoing posts &

can see that yours is a beautiful car. Fire in a woody is not a pretty picture.

Good luck.

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48 minutes ago, Merle Coggins said:

I was going to say, “Hold my beer and watch this...” but that’s only 6 words. 🤣

I think it starts with hey - 

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42 minutes ago, Jerry Roberts said:

Did you drive it home ? And did it show any further problems ?


No I did not. Had it towed. I’ll test the generator next week as well as the regulator (and clean the points/contacts). Then I’ll see if I have any more issues. 

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1 hour ago, pflaming said:

Very nice. Will you leave it white?

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Yes it will remain cream. For some reason in the picture it looks more white than it is. I actually changed it from Rio Red (maroon). Here is a better picture in terms of color (you can compare the car to the whitewalls)

 

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Much better. Once the hub caps are on, will look fantastic. Got some interior photos? 
 

 

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Edited by pflaming

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31 minutes ago, pflaming said:

Much better. Once the hub caps are on, will look fantastic. Got some interior photos? 
 

 

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Hubcaps are done but I was waiting on double checking my brake rebuild before I fully torque the rear hubs (they are snugged up well for now) as they were a bear to get off even with the correct puller. 
 

interior pics... sure... (I still have the headliner to do, install the interior windshield frame and a few other odds and ends). Rear seats are original material, front seat is new.

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