by Dan Masters, firstname.lastname@example.org
This article provides an introduction to alternator conversions, as well instructions for a number of various conversions, and owner experiences. If you would like to add your experiences to these pages, send mail to the webmaster .
Fortunately, it is not very difficult to replace your alternator with one that is cheap, readily available, and with a much higher output. What alternator to use? Actually, it doesn't make any difference - any alternator that can be made to fit physically will do. Your choice will depend on the relative configuration of your engine and the alternator you select. What might be just perfect for one application may not work without extensive modification on another, and vice-versa. The only overriding criteria should be that the alternator you choose should have an internal regulator. Externally regulated alternators work just as well, but there is an added complication with them, with no offsetting advantage.
One of the best choices is the GM alternator - it is cheap (less than $30), available off the shelf at nearly any auto parts store in the country, and can be had with an output of 55 or more amps, up to 100 if you want to pay more! It can be had with the electrical connections at any one of four possible locations - top, bottom, right side, or left side (refered to as the "clock," 12, 3, 6, or 9 O'clock) - which can be of great help when rewiring your car to use the new alternator. Just tell the counter man where you'd like the connections to be, and he most likely can find one in stock to match.
Regardless of which brand you choose, the physical mounting problems are usually not too hard to overcome by most backyard mechanics; it's the electrical connections that give the trouble. Using the instructions referenced at the end of this section, anyone should be able to swap their anemic Lucas generator or alternator with a modern, more powerful, and more easily obtained unit. Because I am familiar with the GM alternator, I have provided detailed instructions for converting the generator or alternator in various Triumphs to this unit. If you wish to use another make, however, the following equivalencies should aid in modifying the GM instructions to apply to your unit.
All internally regulated alternators have the same basic electrical connections. By comparing the descriptions below, it will be easy to change the instructions to suit the alternator you have chosen. If there is any doubt, take this write-up, along with the instructions for your particular car, to an alternator repair shop, and ask the counter man to identify the connections for you. Most places will be glad to oblige you, for a minimal fee, if any. Alternators typically have four external connections to the automobile's electrical system:
Quite popular among the Street Rod set, the one-wire units are not really suited for our cars. The only advantage is the simplicity of connecting only one wire. This advantage is lost in a Triumph, because of the changes required to the existing wiring to allow the use of a one-wire unit. All the wires required for a three wire unit are in place, and would have to be disabled otherwise. There are two distinct disadvantages to the one-wire: They are more expensive, and the warning lamp function is not operable with them.
The above article has been provided courtesy of Dan Masters, email@example.com