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Discussion in '1955 - 1966 Classic Ford Thunderbird' started by Jaybyrd, Jan 8, 2018.
I am a new owner of a 1955. Is it advisable to convert to a 12 volt or stay with the 6?
Here is a link with some info- https://forums.fordthunderbirdforum.com/threads/converting-to-12-volt.5685/
I made the coversion with very little work. It was due to a breakdown on the road and could not find a 6V generator. There are several kits that include everything except the 12dc lights. All lights need to be replaced. Also I got a shock once due to that
1965 Positive ground.
I hope that's a typo. and you meant 1955 Positive ground. Ford went to 12V negative ground in 1956.
Also, to the original poster. You can get a "Y" block generator that should be able to go right in. I personally would convert to an alternator. It will probably require a little extra effort due to bracketry for the fit up. I didn't have that problem on my car because the whole drivetrain was swapped out to a newer (289 - 3speed) setup. I have since changed it again to a 302 automatic out of a 1981 Thunderbird.
Good advice to look at CTCI from Biddle. I and friends have converted our cars to 12V. We left the original 6V seat motors and they work fine because it's rather momentary. I changed my car window motors to 12V but some guys leave the 6V motors. You just have to be careful when putting the window up and down because it moves very fast. The previous owner of my car left the 6V window motors and the window glass cracked when it jammed up very hard and quickly to the hard top frame. Some guys even leave the 6V starters. It's fine as long as you don't crank it for an excessive length of time.
As far as advice whether or not to convert I think it's a matter of personal choice. I know at some sites people get all uppity about it saying the car was designed as 6V and will work fine as 6V. If you plan to show the car it probably should stay 6V. If you want to drive / use the car and take advantage of available accessories (radio, GPS, MP3 players, updated gauges, convert to electric wipers, LED lights) then my advice is to make the conversion to 12V.
I too am thinking of converting our 55 Tbird from the 6volt to a 12 volt, negative ground system. Is there a list of what bulbs and how many will need to be changed? Yes, I know all of them but, was wondering if there's a list with the bulb numbers so I can pick them up before I start this project.
Just follow the advice of Biddle as stated earlier. Go to Gil's garage at CTCI. Under the electrical section there is an article about converting. As far as which light bulbs specifically I would go look in the suppliers books (NPD, Hill's, Concours Parts, Casco) you can probably find a kit from one of them that contains all the bulbs for a '56 Thunderbird. They will fit right in where the '55 stuff is. Another option is to find an old repair manual or listing of light bulbs like the parts stores used to have. Look up the requirements for a '56 and use those bulbs.
12V bulb kits: (it appears that the kits do not include the headlights)
National Parts Depot - T-13465-2K - $12.75
Concours Parts - 13465-BK - $24.95
Hill's - 13465-BK - $24.95
Casco - 13465-6E - $24.50
Upon further review it looks like the NPD kit does not include dash and radio bulbs. That explains why the price is half of what the others are.