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1964 Charging Questions

I purchased a 64 Continental a couple months ago. We put new battery in it and drove home but noticed that the ammeter registered discharging and bounce from slight discharge to pretty heavy discharge. I had it tested at a local car parts store and as suggested i replaced the voltage regulator. I replaced it with a new style regulator and the bounce was eliminated but it still was prone to slightly discharge often.
I later dropped off the car for transmission fluid replacement/service and when they did their final test drive the car stopped on them. The headlights and ignition where completely dead. I disconnected and reconnected a few things including the voltage regulator. I got power back on and lost it again a couple times.
I read a bit on a Lincoln forum that indicated that my problem was likely either the ammeter or the constant voltage regulator. I pulled some of the instrument panel and from the front of the ammeter I could see significant blue green corrosion falling down from the ammeter. I pulled it out and the leads to it are clean but I suspect it is bad and think it should be replaced but I’d like to at least test it to feel confident that it is the problem, not just part of it. Can you give me a procedure to test the ammeter ?
Do you have new ammeters for this car? I know a lot of folks bridge them out but I don’t want to do that. Is there a newer type of amp gauge that would maintain the stock appearance? Ant other alternatives?
Best regards,
Hi Mike –
We are referring you to a previous post regarding these ammeters and charging systems. The use of a proper wiring diagram and manual is of the utmost importance in order to perform the correct diagnosis and repair.
The sudden loss of headlamp and ignition function also requires the use of a wiring diagram to trace and find faulty connections. Anything less is guess work and usually a waste of time and money.
“The charging system on the 64 and 65 Lincolns are unique to that era as the AMP gauge is very involved in the correct function of the whole electrical system as much of the power travels through this gauge. This amp gauge is also extremely problematic when and if it develops poor connections or short circuits at its connections behind the dash. Many technicians are not aware of this fact as they are familiar with the more common “Shunt” style of charge indicators. Assuming that your alternator,regulator and battery are correct and have been tested to be in “very good” working order and also not knowing the history of your car’s electrical system I can offer the following advice. I would obtain the “correct” charging system wiring diagram for the car and using this schematic I would inspect the wiring for bad connections or alterations that a previous owner or technician may have performed to the wiring. You should begin though with a very careful visual inspection of the amp gauge connections behind the dash as it may be disconnected or burnt. If you do uncover a problem in this area the repair needs to be done accurately with the contacts well isolated and tight. If you have more information or require parts for the repair or further assistance please contact us by telephone and refer to this blog post.”

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