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Background on Ford Alternators
Ford V8's have been equipped with a number of different charging systems over the years. If you have an early 60's Ford, you may still be running a generator with an external voltage regulator. Generators are suitable if you are looking to restore an old Ford back to stock. Unfortunately, generators tend to be bulky in comparison to alternators and generally do not charge well at low RPM.

In the mid 60's Ford introduced the Autolite alternator which also used an external voltage regulator. This is effectively what is known as the 1st generation (1G) Ford alternator. The same unit found stock on our 1973 Torino. Until the 70's, Autolite alternators were of three basic types: 38, 42, and 55 amp units. In the 70's Ford increased the power to 60 amps. In 1972 the Autolite became the Motorcraft alternator. Due to the massive rebuild market, Autolite and Motorcraft cases have become intermixed, which means the name cast into a particular stock alternator is not important.

Up until about 1985 Ford used 60 amp alternators with external voltage regulators. Beginning in 1986, Ford introduced the 70 amp internally regulated alternator in cars with abundant accessories and in most SEFI applications. This became known as the 2nd Generation (2G) Ford alternator. The demarcation was clearly due to the fact that the external regulator and wiring was finally gone. Internally regulated or not, the 2G was still only producing 5 to 10 amps more than the 1G alternator. In the 90's Ford began producing the 3rd generation (3G) alternator in 95 and 130 amp versions. This is the alternator type for which PA Performance bases their units. Keep in mind, PA Perforamnce is not a rebuilder. For more information on what makes a PA Performance 3G alternator different from the one you could grab from a 90's Lincoln, be sure to read the FM original technical article Keeping Current.

PA Performance 3G Alternator and Accessories for Early Ford
PA Performance offers small case and large case 3G alternators. The small case unit is available in 95 amp and 150 amp versions. Most early Fords run the small case alternator. The large case unit is available in a 130 amp and 200 amp versions. We chose the 95 amp small case unit since we had minimal power accessories and our Torino was already equipped with the small cased stock alternator. Considering we didn't even have a functional radio, anything over 95 amp would simply be overkill. We simply wanted the benefit of a dependable, low RPM charge. The 95 amp 3G was sure to provide that.

In order to maintain your stock external voltage regulator's wiring harness, PA Performance includes a "Plug and Play" kit. Well? Almost... the install still requires a bit of stripping and crimping. Just a reminder, the kit is made specifically for the installation of the 3G alternator on any Ford vehicle where the stock alternator is externally regulated. The box shown here is a replacement for the existing voltage regulator. The regulator replacement is designed to capture the proper circuit and retain the stock wiring harness. The kit also includes PA's own 3-wire regulator plug for use on the 3G alternator and allows you to retain the OEM warning lights. Let's cover one more required accessory and then we'll demonstrate the simplicity of the alternator install.

The OEM main power wire running from the starter solenoid to the alternator isn't suitable for the increased amperage of a 3G alternator. The wire shown here is meant to replace the old wire. The wires are available in multiple lengths. Since most early Fords have the starter solenoid and alterantor on the same side of the vehicle the shorter wire is just right.

Alternator Installation


Again, we were sure to disconnect the battery before performing any work on the charging system.
 
In fact, we went ahead and pulled the entire battery out to make access to the voltage regulator much easier.
     

We disconnected the stock voltage regulator and associated wiring. and tossed the both it and the condenser.
 
Next, we connected the existing harness to the PA Performance supplied regulator.
     

The new regulator was mounted in the stock inner-fender position.
 
Now it was time to remove old alternator.
     

Once it was loose, we disconnected the wiring from the back.
 
The heavy gauge black wire would eventuallly be replaced by the new PA power wire. The white wire with black terminal cover is oblsoleted by the new 3G alternator. The red wire is 12V "key on" while the flat terminal wire is a ground.
     

We peeled the tape off the stock alternator wiring so we could toss the stock power wire. It is not necessary however to remove the old wire. We only did it for the sake of "cleaning" up as much as possible. The new power wire will work in tandem.
 
As we unwrapped the stock power wire we found this yellow "sense" wire that was also obsoleted by the supplied PA harness. We removed it too.

 

(Alternator Installation Continued)
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