“You are very good at taking things apart, let’s see if you can actually put something back together.” Those were the words from a friend of mine who has been following my 1937 Buick progress for a while. With his words in my head and with much of my engine at the machine shop, cold weather forced me from my unheated garage into my basement where I could work in warmer conditions. My car’s starter had been restored just prior to my purchase so I brought my attention to the generator.
I am not an electrician but understand the basic operation of a car’s generator and have attempted to explain it here. Inside the generator there is a central shaft called an armature. On the inside of the generator’s case are magnets wrapped with wire called field coils. As the armature is rotated by the fan belt it spins by the internal magnets. This generates electricity and that electricity amplified by traveling through the field coils. This is known as electromagnetic induction. The current generated is then passed through metal pucks called brushes that rub the armature and the current passes on to the device demanding electricity (lights, battery, etc.).
I assumed that, at the very least, the internal brushes were changed at some point in the car’s 77 year/ 57,000 mile history but there was no evidence indicating that any work had taken place in the post-WWII era.