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MG TD TF 1500 - Overcharging Generator

This is a long post but the bottom line is “do you know either (a) someone [preferably in or near Greenville, SC, but UPS does work] who can rewind the armature or (b) where I can get a replacement armature?"
My ’53 TD (TD25009, XPAG/TD2/25404) came to me with a Lucas (actually it just says “Made in England” but I think it’s Lucas) generator bearing the following numbers: 22704A 8 63 and C40 L 0 12V. Coming home from my first long drive about two years ago I began to smell burning and the ignition light came on. I limped home and, on testing per the WSM, found no output from the generator. I ordered a new repop generator and voltage regulator from LBC and was soon on my way. I also installed an aftermarket volt meter. Although the repop VR said it was already calibrated, I soon noted that at RPMs above about 2K the generator was putting out about 18v. Pollyanna that I am, instead of doing anything to reduce that output voltage, I put the old generator on the shelf to be rebuilt someday and just kept driving.

Last month I planned on taking the TD on a mountain drive in connection with the Euro Auto Festival. Early that morning, it fired up beautifully as usual and off I drove with the headlights burning bright (it was about an hour before sunup). I stopped on the way for a biscuit and when I restarted the TD the ignition light stayed on at all RPMs. I picked up my sister/navigator at the gathering place and headed back to the barn to swap the TD for my recently acquired MGB and we rejoined the tour. The next day I tested the repop generator per the WSM and found that it, like the old generator, was not making any electricity.

Based on inquiries made at the next club meeting I took both generators to the grizzled old guy at Gene’s Generators, Starters and Alternators Shop where he tested and disassembled both units. He declared the old generator DOA but was able to clean up and restore the repop which I have reinstalled in the TD. Next I got an email from Moss about MossTV and, lo and behold, there was a video on how to adjust the voltage regulator. I’ll make the necessary adjustment next week.

The post mortem on the Lucas generator is that “the lead was flung out of the armature due to overheating caused by the overcharging.” That makes sense to me but the problem is that old Gene doesn’t rewind and repair armatures. I’d like to put the old generator back in (I think its quality is much better that the repop) so what I need is either (a) someone [preferably in or near Greenville, SC, but UPS does work] who can rewind the armature or (b) a replacement armature. Thanks. Jud

Ps: I’m pretty sure I started a thread about the first generator failure back in 2011-2012 but many searches of the archives failed to reveal it so I’m putting this in a new thread.
J. K. Chapin

Occasionally A NOS armature had showed up on ebay
W. A. Chasser Jr

1. If it should be LUCAS you will find LUCAS "made in England" stamped in the housing.

If it only looks like LUCAS it may be made in Turkey or somewhere else. Here in D this generators don't have a good reputation.

2. The voltage should not exceed 14,8V otherwise both the battery and the generator will be damaged. Then the regulator needs a new setting or a repair.

3. The last time my regulator has been serviced, the voltage was also too high. I had to adjust the regulator although the mechanics made the setting with his testequipment.

4. I guess many corrupted generators have burnout coils, because drivers didn't recognize overvoltage. I guess there are many original LUCAS generators available. If your generator is only LUCAS style the original will be a good choose.



There was a place in Newnan, GA that used to make/repair TD armatures...sold repair kits. They were members of the Peachtree MG club. Try contacting the club and see if they can give you any info.

Gene Gillam

Jud, see for info about the armature company that was owned by the late Jim Holcombe, T-typer. You might try to contact them and see if they can lead you to a source. They are/were in Villa Rica, GA. Bud
Bud Krueger

I do not know if they will still do it but Holcombe Armature in
ValRico used to.

I think it's outrageous that you received a new regulator that was not adjusted properly. I'd have thrown it back in their faces.

The adjustment procedure in the manual should work, but I think it's a little crude. I always adjust regulators on a test bench, as the manufacturer should. Don't be surprised if you can't adjust it so the system voltage is right--it may be that the contacts have welded together or the other mechanical adjustments, which are not described in the manual, are so far off you can't get the voltage adjustment right. If the manufacturer messed up the easy adjustment, I don't trust that they got the hard ones right.

I'm still using a regulator with a 1952 date code. I don't trust the new stuff.

If your voltmeter indicates a too-high voltage, you really shouldn't drive the car until it's corrected (or, in a pinch, turn on the headlights to drop it a bit). A high voltage will damage the battery pretty quickly, and, as you've discovered, it can wreck the generator too.

S Maas

That's the one I was thinking about!
Gene Gillam

Jud - The C40 generator is not orignal for the T series cars (correct one is C39), but the C40 should work. Contact Jerry Felper at: or 714-630-1074 Jerry can adjust the regulator and quite possibly restore your generator. The new regulators being sold today and made off shore and are less than stellar - Jerry can make them more reliable. If you can't find a replacement armature, Jerry may well have on on hand and if not, I have one that, if push comes to shove, I can supply for you. Contact me at Cheers - Dave
DW DuBois

Thanks to everyone. I'll contact Jerry to see what he can do - I don't mind shipping both units if that's what it takes. Plan B is Holcomb in Villa Rica. Plan C is Dave. Prior to plan A, I'll see if the VR will respond to adjusting and will let you know. Jud
J. K. Chapin

Bela is right on as far as adjusting. The only way to check a regulator is to follow the shop manual directions and do it on your car with your own wiring/generator. I would never assume any new, old, rebuilt, NOS, or any regulator was set correctly for your specific car. The late Don Harmer said a couple years ago that when Mr. Holcomb passed away, the company was sold and they are just a supplier/jobber now, and no longer did any actual repair or rewinding work. The is a company in California that supposedly totally rebuilds/rewinds Lucas stuff- Star Auto Electric. No personal experience but they have been around a long time. George
George Butz

I believe LBC sells Moss stuff almost exclusively Jud. I wasn't aware that there were problems with the new voltage regulators. (There were 33 items discussed yesterday at the Tech Day Chris. I'll email you the details). Cheers
Peter TD 5801
P Hehir

One of the biggest problems with the regulators sold today is that the are made off shore (India if I recall). Jerry Felper told me that the biggest problems is that the leads that go under the regulator are riveted and not done well. I flipped mine over and soldered all of the riveted connections and the regulator settled right down and didn't give me any more trouble. Cheers - Dave
DW DuBois

If you decide to ditch your offshore regulator we can provide a solid state conversion which will be very stable and reliable. I really don't want to be part of our shameless commerce division but check us out at:
David Ahrendt

John will be coming home with his trashed dynamo Dave. May or may not be something you can combine to make a workable unit.

MG LaVerne

Peter, while I share many of your concerns regarding the quality of the products available to us from the few remaining major vendors, in this case I'd hold off on jumping to any conclusions. I do understand that most products sold by LBC are from Moss inventory and I knew that the new generator and (I'm pretty sure) the new generator control box are both repops. Nonetheless, based on George's comments above, I suspect that my problems may be the result of a misalignment of the nut behind the steering wheel and the need for a small adjustment of the screw behind the voltage regulator relay. The control box works fine - it's just set for too high a voltage output. The generator worked fine but failed apparently due to the misadjusted control box which I should have adjusted as soon as I saw the way too high voltage output. I'm pretty sure an adjustment to the VR relay will solve the problem and I, therefore, place the blame for the failures squarely on the nut behind the wheel.

MG, I'm not sure I understand your post. Are you offering a replacement armature that would work in a C40 generator?


J. K. Chapin

That one is pretty much junk Jud
MG LaVerne

Thanks MG, I'll see what Jerry can do. Jud
J. K. Chapin

OK Jud. I hope you get your issue sorted. I had to stop & think for a bit about your reference to the "misalignment of the nut behind the steering wheel"? Not self deprecation surely? :-( Cheers
Peter TD 5801
P Hehir

Laverne - Are you saying that John Brickle did in his generator? The picture looks like the front bearing went south. Cheers - Dave
DW DuBois

Yes Dave, It wasn't making any racket, but the ignition light came on while I was doing some road tests on his car. I didn't really discover it until I went to pull the seeping water pump and saw the slop in the pulley. Belt was plenty loose, but when I got it out of the car and took it apart, I found no evidence of the bearing retainer, spring washer or what had been used to hold it in place. The end cap is walloed out so it's trash. The bearing location on the armature is worn so even if the wiring is good, it would need to be built up and turned down to make it useable. I have no idea about the windings in the case. All of that would suggest bearing failure but that isn't the case. The bearing spins free without issue. I put a new bearing and bushing in a spare I had on the shelf and I think he should be good in that department for quite sometime.

MG LaVerne

Wow! I gave him instructions on how to assemble the generator last year, guess I should have had him bring it over to me to assemble. Cheers - Dave
DW DuBois

I thought this might be of some use.

Look at EBay item number:


Kirk Trigg

This thread was discussed between 01/11/2015 and 06/11/2015

MG TD TF 1500 index

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