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Dead battery or Genny gone south?


Country flag
Took my '63 out for a run today. It's cold and raining but I needed to do some test runs to make sure she's roadworthy for a 70 mile one way trip. I'd previously had the tank out for cleaning but have not driven the car much. It's heading up to the body shop for a makeover.

Drove about 40 miles with 2 stops and all was well. She started each time without issue. I get home, pull it into the driveway and forgot to turn off the lights. I only ran in to take a leak, and change coats. Could not have been more than two minutes. I go out, see the lights on and try to give her a start. Nothing. Dead.

Could it be that I killed the new battery in this two minutes or should I suspect the genny is just not putting out? The 40 mile drive was with lights, wipers and heater on the whole time. I'll do some diagnostics and look into it further but I thought this was odd.

Any thoughts.


Either is equally possible. Battery could be worn out, or the charging system not working. Do either of these, as they are equally easy...

1. Charge the battery or have it tested.

2. Test the charging system's output.

tony barnhill

Great Pumpkin - R.I.P
Have the battery tested first.....then have the generator tested to se if it is charging the battery.


Great Pumpkin
Country flag
Is "nothing" like no spin, no "click" of the solenoid? That'd be REALLY odd in the short run for the house 'n back... were the lights dimmer than usual?

Normally if the generator is goin' limp the indicator light comes on. I assume all the connections are fairly new so that's out.

I'm for charging the battery first and seein' if that makes a difference. Put a meter on the terminals and rev the engine to just over 2K and ya should see 13-ish volts if the genny is in any kind of working condition. You've a three coil regulator on there too to suspect. :wink:


Senior Member
If you did not notice the red "not charging" light on, and the generator belt didn't have a slight "squeal' from working harder temporarily to catch up, I would suspect the ground strap from the battery being loose first. It's also possible that your warning light is burned out. What is your voltmeter reading for the generator? I would suspect the generator last.

Jim D


Jedi Warrior
Vince - If the battery is old and has at for some time without being driven, it was probably weak to start with, then driving with lights, heated and wipers on, it was not getting much of a charge compared to the drain that was being placed on it. Our TD got that way when the battery was about 7 years old. I got a battery minder and attach it whenever the car is parked in the garage - it is ten years old now and we have not had any more problems with it. Charge the battery up, then start the car and with it at a fast idle, you should read about 14.5 volts at the battery. If you read that, the generator is good. Let the battery sit for several hours to overnight and read the voltage across it with the engine off. A reading of 12.7 to 13 volts says the battery is good.


Country flag
I'm going to take care of this stuff today but curious, how do you test a regulator? The one in the car was from a parts lot I had so I put it in. Prior to this the car was running on a homemade system that was a wiring mess. It's now back up to stock 1963 specs.


Great Pumpkin
Country flag
Vince, the first "booklet" here in the upper left.
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