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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have what appears to be a 1949 dodge pilot house truck. Flat head 6 and a tangled mess of wires done by the previous owner. Eventually I'd like to get all lights and everyting working but am just trying to get it started for now. It did not have a battery in it when I got it and both battery cables are the same. Can anyone tell me if these were supposed to be + ground systems. I'm told it is a 6V system. With a fresh battery it turns over, I'm just wondering if it's wired correctly or if I have it backwards... I love to tinker on stuff but am new at this... It's not pumping gas either... Any other pointers welcome! Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks "Oldguy" still confused on "+" ground

Please clarify if I am "getting it" -positive ground system, that just means the + of the battery is hooked to the frame instead of the neg like todays cars, right? Is it possible the previous owner would have rewired and switched it to neg ground? Is there a way to tell by looking at regulator, checking continuity or voltage with a digital volt meter? If it's hooked up backwards will it spin the starter motor backwards.
 

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Jmooner said:
Please clarify if I am "getting it" -positive ground system, that just means the + of the battery is hooked to the frame instead of the neg like todays cars, right? Is it possible the previous owner would have rewired and switched it to neg ground? Is there a way to tell by looking at regulator, checking continuity or voltage with a digital volt meter? If it's hooked up backwards will it spin the starter motor backwards.
+ post of the battery connects to the engine/frame. Hard to tell what a previous owner might have done. The starter isn't polarity sensitive. It will still spin the right way. I guess the best way to make certain all is correct would be to get a service manual, and check it out against the wiring diagram/parts list. And keep in mind that that wiring is 60 years old. Dried out or cracked wire insulation can cause you a lot of grief. I'd inspect it carefully, and replace any that is deteriorated. If you keep it 6 volt, make sure you use properly sized battery cables (heavier than what you would use on a 12 volt system), and that all the connections are clean and secure. A 6 volt system utilizes higher current to perform it's task than a 12 volt system. It's worth the effort to check it out thoroughly. I'm sure others will offer their thoughts on this for you also.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks again "oldguy". The starter appears to engage but then battery just heats up. The engine has the crank key hole in front. I figure if teh engine is seized teh starter motor might just sit and draw current. Figure I'll try to free the engine and then continue to inspect the mess of previous owner point to point wiring. Sounds like I should make the conversion to 12 v and look into a wiring harness. any input welcome!

"Sunsetdart" I'm off to check your lead next...thanks, J
 

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I'm sure there are several companies that can provide a wiring harness, but you can also "roll your own". It's really not that difficult, if you just take one circuit at a time. It is very time consuming, but with products like the split tubing, ty-raps, crimp terminals, and good quality wire, you can build your own harness, and have a completed job that looks better than factory. The companies that sell marine products are a good source for wire, and at your local Lowe's or Home Depot, you'll find most of what you would need.
It's my understanding that your 6 volt starter will work just fine on 12 volts, if you decide to go that route. You would however, have to change the coil to a 12 volt unit, and also address issues like electrical dash gauges, lights, and radio if so equipped.
Another thing to consider is to install fuses on individual circuits. Not sure about the Pilot House vehicles, but the Plymouths of that era used one 30 amp fuse for everything! Consider adding fuses to individual circuits for added protection and safety. There's no good reason to have a nice restored vehicle or street rod with shoddy unsafe wiring.
 
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