1957 Pickup Electrical

CraigJohnson

Gear Grinder
Jun 30, 2018
14
Big Horn, WY
First Name
Craig
Willys Model
  1. Pickup
Willys Year:
  1. 1957
This is my first post. Just became owner of a 1957 Pickup..with a 6 cyl Super Hurricane. I have been going back and forth regarding converting to 12v. Here are the electrical issues. Headlamps and tail-lamps work but are very weak. Front parking lamps not working. Has a turn signal lever attached to steering column but not working. Dome lamp works. Horn works but weak. Has a brand new battery and voltage regulator. I know not electrical issue but wiper motor not working. It does not have a radio and that is not an issue for me. I am now leaning towards not converting to 12v. Where do I proceed to improve the above and leaving it at 6v? Is it as simple as replacing bulbs? Any thoughts appreciated.
 

ndnile

Well Oiled
All-Star
Oct 23, 2017
1,157
Northern CA
First Name
Doug
Willys Model
  1. Wagon
Willys Year:
  1. 1959
Welcome aboard Craig, My wagon was converted to 12v by the Previous Owner (PO), so I'm little help there, but my 43 jeep is still 6v and I've discovered a few things on that journey.

Headlight intensity is very sensitive to voltage. Generators don't tend to charge when at idle, so double check that your charging circuit is putting out somewhere between 7.2 and 7.6 volts when revved. A quick sanity check is to look for headlights getting brighter when you rev the engine and then dimmer when you let it idle. Next I would measure the voltage at the headlight and compare that to the voltage at the battery. The PO on my jeep had re-wired the headlights with undersized (for 6 volt) wires. Consequently the wiring dropped about a volt before it even got to the headlight. A little math told me that this reduced the wattage output of the bulb by about 30%.

I would make sure you're happy with the light put out with your headlights at 6 volts before moving on to other issues. You don't want to spend time and money on a part to fix it at 6 volts, then replace it with a 12 volt version later.

Cheers, Doug
 

duke94

Well Oiled
Sep 17, 2014
1,462
Ann Arbor, MI
First Name
Gary
Willys Model
  1. Pickup
Willys Year:
  1. 1957
Start by checking all grounds. Remove and clean everything. I have a 57' PU and it is 12V. I thought all 57's were 12V.
 

Lookout Ranch

Well Oiled
All-Star
May 9, 2015
6,415
Sierra Foothills
First Name
Kurt
Willys Model
  1. Wagon
Willys Year:
  1. 1957
The switch to 12V was made midway through 1957. I have a '57 that was supposedly delivered in April, and it has 6V.

The issues reported in the initial post are not related to it being 6V. Those are related to poor connections and grounds. Once those are cleaned up, the things will work fine.

I've been happy with the 6V, but there are a few inconveniences associated with running obsolete technology.
 
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Blindmelon

Well Oiled
All-Star
Aug 10, 2014
2,346
Agua Dulce, CA
First Name
Larry
Willys Model
  1. Pickup
Willys Year:
  1. 1950
I see from your photo of the generator, you appear to have an Auto Lite #GGW-4801-EN which is 6 volt..
To brighten you parking and tail lamps, you can paint the inside each lamp white..
6 volt systems use a larger gauge wire than 12 volt systems.
Make sure you have a good ground at each lamp.

I prefer to convert to 12 volts on my older vehicles...But that's just me.
Are you the writer, Dentist or "other" Craig Johnson?
 

CraigJohnson

Gear Grinder
Jun 30, 2018
14
Big Horn, WY
First Name
Craig
Willys Model
  1. Pickup
Willys Year:
  1. 1957
Thanks Blind..I am still debating the 6v or 12v conversion. I am the retired Dentist :). But I am friends with the writer, he lives about 30 miles from us. Thanks again.
 

Kramerclyde734

Bigger Hammer
Mar 10, 2019
36
Gainesville VA
First Name
Steven
Willys Model
  1. Pickup
Willys Year:
  1. 1955
This is my first post. Just became owner of a 1957 Pickup..with a 6 cyl Super Hurricane. I have been going back and forth regarding converting to 12v. Here are the electrical issues. Headlamps and tail-lamps work but are very weak. Front parking lamps not working. Has a turn signal lever attached to steering column but not working. Dome lamp works. Horn works but weak. Has a brand new battery and voltage regulator. I know not electrical issue but wiper motor not working. It does not have a radio and that is not an issue for me. I am now leaning towards not converting to 12v. Where do I proceed to improve the above and leaving it at 6v? Is it as simple as replacing bulbs? Any thoughts appreciated.
So whatever happened to this project??
 

timd32

Precision Fit
All-Star
Jan 4, 2020
831
NJ
First Name
Tim
Willys Model
  1. Pickup
Willys Year:
  1. 1950
Pretty awesome truck.
 
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