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Generator to Alternator Conversions

by Jim Roberts of the Internet British-Cars list

I recently converted my TR4 to use an alternator rather than a generator. This was prompted by a severe Lucas attack wherein the voltage regulator failed, drained the battery through the charging circuit to the back of the generator. Mucho smoke, big burning-phenolic, Bakelite, and PVC stink. After reading the article in Feb British Cars, I decided on a Subaru alternator made by Hitachi (Subarus are abundant in Boulder, CO). The local Subaru repair and chop-shop sold me a used one for $35, with a trade-in guarantee (if it don't work, bring it back we'll give you another one). It didn't work, but the second one did (Hitachi Model LR160-16C).

The mechanical work consisted of boring out the pulley (it's got a keyway so you can't just drill it), machining the stand-offs that fit to the engine bracket (I could do that myself), adding a few washers to the bracket arm, and getting a new belt (the wide belts are actually 3/4" wide but are ordered as 7/8" belts). At no time did I have to mess with the brackets on the engine.

The real pain was repairing the wiring harness that had melted the entire length of the harness containing the charging wires (I'm talkin' to and from the ammeter on the dash). I pulled the glove box and heater box and started cutting. Surprisingly few wires had to be completely replaced, most were OK or could be patched. Got it back together, with over-sized wires where ever possible. The Bentley manual and Subaru manual (inspected upon purchase of the alternator) were useful here. Bottom line, it's running great, cost me about $60 bucks. Now if I could only get rid of that smell.


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