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Subject: 8n 12v conversion

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Luke    Posted 10-09-2018 at 15:26:52 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [Email]  
  • 8n 12v conversion
  • Hello gentlemen, Iím considering converting my Ď50 8n to 12volt, wondering if any of you knowledgeable folks ever did that, difficulty, what it entails, and cost? Respectfully, luke

    Jim Lawrence    Posted 10-14-2018 at 05:40:32 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [Email]  
  • Re: 8n 12v conversion
  • I will chime in with Tim and Bruce: I have a 52' 8N, it is still 6V, and it starts, runs perfectly. It is all original with exception of a few replacement parts. I think the 6V system is perfect for these old tractors. Plenty of starting power, and I guess I just like it in original configuration.

    I have heard and read of so many glitches of conversions and all the issues they seem to have. I am sure it is due to improper conversion, or shoddy work. My N sits most all winter in extreme cold Montana winters, and when "I thaw out enough", I go out and on one turn over, it starts. I am not going to mess with what already works great. And, I really don't need a 12V "8 Track Player" on my N. Ha, ha.

    A friend of mine has an older (1963) pickup, and he took his granddaughter for a ride, and she got in and said, "Oh! Wind up window", Hmmm.

    Tim Daley(MI)    Posted 10-10-2018 at 04:20:05 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [No Email]  
  • Re: 8n 12v conversion
  • HiYa Luke-
    AS stated already, why do you want to switch? We know it is your tractor and you can do anything you want with it, but to just switch over the electrical system for no logical reason seems like a waste of money. Again, your tractor, your money, blah, blah, blah. Does it start and run fine now? Is it early '50 with a front mount distributor or the later angle(side) mount unit? Realize that whether 6V/POS GRN or 12V/NEG GRN, if it isn't wired correctly, you WILL have non-starting/non-running issues. 99.98% of all non-starting issues are due to poor/incorrect wiring jobs, and the vast majority of those are due to some sort of 12V switch over job. There are a handful or so of correct ways to convert to 12V and a hundred incorrect ways. Many are done by fellas who just don't diddly about the 6V system. Bruce has stated all the pro reasons to convert but many of us still have our N's with the OEM 6V system and they start and run fine because we keep them properly maintained and are set up correctly, including in cold weather. Just because you have a 6V battery does not constitute that the system is wired up correctly. You have asked good questions and received good answers. Keep us posted on what you decide.

    Tim Daley(MI)

    Ultradog MN    Posted 10-10-2018 at 04:04:33 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [No Email]  
  • Re: 8n 12v conversion
  • There are several advantages to going to 12V.
    Some have been mentioned; like it spins your engine over faster and you can run modern 12V accessories like lights and sprayer pumps. The new 12v LED lights you can buy are fantastic compared to 6V lights and they are relatively cheap now.
    12V is pretty much the standard throughout the world on everything now. Having it on your tractor lets you jump or get jumped by your car, truck, 4 wheeler, lawn tractor, MC, boat, camper or whatever.
    A 12v alternator which is internally regulated is far more reliable than than a generator and voltage regulator especially now that all the V-regs are made offshore and too often unreliable.
    An alternator requires zero maintenance, is cheaper than a generator rebuild, usually comes with a lifetime warranty, generally has a higher output, will charge at idle and is much simpler because it has fewer wires to connect.
    A 12v battery is cheaper than a 6v. They usually come with a better warranty and are available "off the shelf" just about anywhere - as are new 12v battery cables should you need them.
    A lot of guys here love to keep their tractors original and therefore like the 6V systems they came with. 6V is entirely adequate.
    These old tractors ran fine on 6V for nearly 80 years now.
    But 12V has enough advantages that many, if not most, of these old tractors are getting converted to a simpler, more reliable, more modern and ultimately better, charging system.

    jim    Posted 10-10-2018 at 12:36:17 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [No Email]  
  • Re: 8n 12v conversion
  • I converted my side dist. tractor years ago and have never regretted it.

    Tony C    Posted 10-10-2018 at 09:59:08 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [No Email]  
  • Re: 8n 12v conversion
  • All very valid points, especially if you use the machine at night at low rpm. Same for a cab with a heater fan. Especially in the north when dark comes early and stays late. Same for 12v accessories. Being able to jump it in the winter is one of the greater benefits.

    I lived in Barron County Wi., a hundred miles east of THe Cities where we had a forty acre patch on which I cropped hay. BOth tractors I had were 6V positive ground. I had no problem in early spring summer and early fall. Since I didn't need the machines during winter except to spread manure from the horse barn occasionally it wasn't a problem. If it was thirty degrees below no temperature I would pull start it or plug in the salamander in the shed, have a couple of cups of coffee and the tractor would start like it were summer. COmes with the territory in cold country.

    If I had to use one of my tractors regularly during the winter I would have converted them and installed tank heaters no question.

    I think the point I was trying to make was if you live in a moderate climate or don't need the machine during hard cold and..... the existing system is in reasonably good shape, fine. Why go through the expense when most electrical problems can be solved with tuning and a good battery, cables and grounds. If you read a lot of the posts here asking about solutions to electrical problems you will see terms like "it's been sitting all winter and I just charged tha battery ande the battery is only a few years old" or "we rebuilt the generator a couple of years ago," etc. "A few years ago" are the operant words. How many time have you cut back the insulation on a battery cable end and saw a couple inch long white fur coat on the copper. THe cable probably looked, maybe a little swollen but otherwise OK.

    If I had a large farm or dairy and had need for a small tractor, you know, with a loader or blade for cleaning loafing pens, pushing snow, road maintenance etc., absolutely convert to 12V. Parts availability, inventory and reliable starting in winter, etc. Especially true if you have hired help.

    If you convert to 12V it has to be done right. It's not space shuttle complex by any means but there are pitfalls especially with little experience on automotive electrics.

    R Geiger    Posted 10-09-2018 at 17:43:52 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [No Email]  
  • Re: 8n 12v conversion
  • I did both of my 8ns and have not had a charging problem since. No more generator or Voltage regulator problems and a lot better starting.

    I went with the kit that had the brackets and one wire alt. Others will have their opinions but it sure worked good for me. Some will say it is easy to make the mounting brackets and it could be if you are set up for it. For my money it was quicker and easier to go with the kits. both of mine were side mount distributors.

    Bruce (VA)    Posted 10-09-2018 at 17:28:31 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [Email]  
  • Re: 8n 12v conversion
  • The more important question is for you to tell us what it is you hope to gain from a 12v conversion.

    Luke    Posted 10-09-2018 at 18:48:21 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [Email]  
  • Re: 8n 12v conversion
  • My dad has a 9n and it was already done. That thing starts so quick you just need to think about starting it and it pops off! As many of you probably know the 6v isnít quite like that. Plus I think my charging system is off. So to answer, better starting and charging

    Tony C    Posted 10-09-2018 at 20:13:53 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [No Email]  
  • Re: 8n 12v conversion
  • No. Charging amperage is charging amperage whether 12 or 6 volt. THere may be a small gain, as with the correct alternator it will charge at idle.
    If you have a well maintained charging system, a fully charged battery and most important a well tuned engine there is no real difference, especially in moderate climates. If tuned properly the Fords will start in half to one turn providing you know the throttle setting and how to use the choke properly. Get to know your machine. The choke is spring loaded for a reason. Has to do with an updraft carb.

    You seem to be committed to converting your machine. You asked about about the benefits of a change over. It's moderately expensive, will probably help in cold weather and with a machine a little out of tune to start easier, I guess. Your machine, your choice. My 2N popped off in a couple of turns in temps down to 28* (above). Same for my JD M.
    Get a wiring schematic detailing the changes, pay attention to detail and you won't have a problem. Good luck.

    Bruce (VA)    Posted 10-09-2018 at 19:16:44 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [Email]  
  • Re: 8n 12v conversion
  • From my experience, I've only found three reasons to convert an N to 12v:

    1. You need to run 12v equipment (sprayers, pumps, lights, etc)

    2. You have a simultaneous failure of the v/r & generator or battery & the cost to replace those parts is close to or exceeds the cost of a conversion

    3. Your N has poor compression (like less than 90 lbs) and you do not want to rebuild it

    If an N is hard to start in cold weather (or any weather) you should find out why & fix it! These tractors have low compression, low HP engines and will start just fine on 6v.

    The plain and simple reason for 12 volt starting systems in tractors and cars can be summed up in two words: increased compression.

    In order to increase horsepower, the automotive industry increased engine compression. And you need a faster spinning starter to deal with increased compression.

    Has the compression in your engine increased?

    There is nothing inherently 'wrong' w/ a 12v conversion. The problem is that there are about 6 different ways to convert the tractor to 12v, all of them work, and an infinite number of ways to do it wrong. If you have a basic understanding of tractor mechanics, you can buy a quality kit & do it correctly. Or, you can buy an alternator & fabricate brackets if you are skilled at that sort of stuff. Of course, if you have a basic understanding of tractor mechanics, you could just as easily fix the problem that you are trying to cure with the 12v conversion. Most problems we read about w/ 12v conversions are as a result of folks getting in over their heads trying to fabricate a conversion, using inferior kits or using kits w/ directions written in Chinese, or buying tractors w/ "Bubba" conversions and now the new owner is stuck with trying to figure it out.

    And no tractor, 6v or 12v , will start or run very well if you neglect the basics like keeping the air filter and fuel screens clean and setting the points and timing at least once a year.

    Now before the 12v advocates give me a spanking, let me add that lots of folks have 12v conversions & are perfectly happy w/ them because the conversions were done correctly. 12v is also more forgiving of poor grounds/weak cables, etc than 6v, so keeping everything "clean, bright & tight" in the system is not as critical. 12v gives you twice as much current & a faster spinning starter. And, because 6v headlights are 35w & 12v are 55w, the headlights are brighter.

    You will spend probably $250 for a kit and new 12v battery. If you install it correctly you will have an easy starting tractor for a long time. And, the 12 conversion will have just about nothing to do w/ the good performance. What will make the real difference is the new wiring, cables, clean grounds & new battery.

    All four of my N's are 6v & they all four start the first time, every time, no matter what the weather. You will find that to be the case with folks who live in a lot of places much colder than VA. Plenty of 6v tractors start just fine in MI, NY, WI.....and have been doing so for years. Because they have the correct size cables, good batteries, & clean, bright & tight grounds & connections. And, the correct gaskets in the distributor.

    So, if 1000ís of old N series tractors start and run year around on 6 volts, why canít yours?

    Tony C    Posted 10-09-2018 at 20:22:56 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [No Email]  
  • Re: 8n 12v conversion
  • Couldn't have stated it better, Bruce.


    Farmer Dan    Posted 10-09-2018 at 15:35:37 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [Email]  
  • Re: 8n 12v conversion
  • This question is like asking about oil. I know several people have done, my 9N was converted by a previous owner. Only advantage is you get to add better lights and a winch. If you don't need those two things then save your money for something else.

    Farmer Dan
    Tony C    Posted 10-09-2018 at 18:31:10 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [No Email]  
  • Re: 8n 12v conversion
  • AMen Dan,

    A good heavy duty six volt, (not one of the TSC, 550 CCA cheapos) with heavy two aught or heavier cables, all the grounds including those to the lights cleaned to bright metal will do everything a 12 Volt will. Might want to run a seperate ground strap as short as possible from the hood to the frame. Same for the hot lead to the starter. The secret is a GOOD battery and charging system, Heck, if you are not confident about the generator a replacement is less than a hundred bucks. Unbolt the starter and move it forward enough to clear the mounting flange and block then clean to bright metal. If you are unfamiliar with removing the starter check YouTube. THere are a ton of videos showing what you can do wrong.

    It's all busy work. You would have to buy a 12 Volt battery so a new heavy duty 6 volt is a wash. If you have to have worm blinding headlamps and work lamp get in touch with Restoration Specialties or some other classic car restoration seller, (Carpenter probably has them)and get a couple of 6v halogen bulbs, THey are made in 6V with a bayonet mount, single contact or dual contact.

    For the conversion you will need an alternator and with internal regulator and mounting brackets, bulbs, coil and battery minimum, THe wiring will require modification.

    For less than the cost of the components you can have a virtually new 6V system with money left over to buy a fancy wiring harness and install it or simply make one. It is not difficult.

    Luke    Posted 10-09-2018 at 20:46:51 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [Email]  
  • Re: 8n 12v conversion
  • Well....not really what I expected to hear, but points gotten across. I rewired, had generator tested, and pretty much everything else you could do a number of years ago, perhaps I will put this on the back burner for now. I did just put new points on and maybe I will have the generator tested again this winter. ON ANOTHER NOTE, I just did my first hay baling with the old ford using a hayliner 68(1958ish). Itís a Amish baler with a Wisconsin engine, steel wheels and all. My newly purchased flat wagon is built on an old Chevy frame which even has wooden spoke wheels. Ití was really something to see! I wanted a Amish baler cause last time I tried making hay it was a problem without a live pto. I hope to figure out how to post videos and pics to share with yíall.

    Tony C    Posted 10-10-2018 at 09:02:10 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [No Email]  
  • Re: 8n 12v conversion
  • A little off topic but.........

    New Holland 68 Hayliners were fantastic balers as was the John Deere 24T.. for years I had a '68 and had zero problems with it. Kept it lubed and shedded with the knotter covered when it was laid up after season during the fall and winter. Would miss a bale occasionally making the turn at a row end but other than that no problems.

    Mine was PTO powered. I pulled it with an SC Case and later with a JD "B". THe Case struggled a little but the B had no problem. My fields were flat as a table. If the hay was dry, early in the afternoon and it was a hot day I could bury the in feed and it wouldn't miss a beat. Only made twine tie bales, no vinyl.

    Northern Wisconsin early seventies until 1980.

    One of my bale racks was built on a Packard frame from the thirties. Had the Packard stamped hub covers on the front wheels. Still had the PAckard front end and differential. CLass of the neighborhood. Somewhere along the line the wheel centers were cut out and PU rims were welded in. Pretty good job too, wheels were true, at least at five to ten mph. Never towed it on a hard road with a pick up.


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