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Converting from 6 Volt to 12 Volt
You get up on your old tractor and hit the starter button and out comes rrunh... rrrunh.... rrrruhn..... rrr..click. It's a common problem for old machines especially when the weather starts to dip below 40 and the tractor isn't fired up as often. You are probably used to the 12 volt Diehard, charged with 200 amp alternator of your 3/4 ton that always is ready and always starts. It's this type of experience that brings about the many queries we get for 12-volt conversion kits. Since only a few kits are available (we sell kits for the Ford 9N/2N/8N and the Ford NAA and other tractors), this article will explain the basics of the conversion and what you can do if no kit exists for your tractor. Before we do that, lets see what the alternatives are to avoid converting and for those machines that really should not be converted.
To Convert or not to Convert?
If your tractor is a working tractor, there is little reason not to convert beyond the cost. A 12 volt system is a bolt-on cure that masks the many ailments of hard starting machines without the time and expense of teardown and rebuild. The original 6-volt system will suffice if the tractor is well maintained with optimum tuning, good compression, correct gas flow, and minimal losses in the wiring. In the real world, it is difficult to invest the time necessary to keep up on all these issues and 12-volt conversion becomes inviting. Still, the most compelling reason to convert to 12-volt is that your existing 6-volt system has serious problems and requires replacement anyway. When this occurs, it may actually be easier and less expensive to convert. Locating original components may be very difficult and time-consuming.
On the other hand, if your tractor is rare or you're are restoring it for originality or show, it would be a cardinal sin to update the electrics to 1990's standards. In this case, you will have to take the time and expense to make the 6-volt system work as it was intended. Normally this is not a problem because the your restoration process will need to cover all the issues that make the original system work well anyway.
What do I replace (or what do I reuse)?
If it seems that conversion is the right thing for you, several things will need replacement. Due to some oddball items used on a few machines, it is hard to be definitive on this but for the most part the following list shows the items that will have to go on most tractors:
Now the best part, what do you get to keep. The following items can be reused, but be sure to understand the limitations.
In summary, here is a possible scenario for doing this job.
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