Many Willys Jeep restorers wonder if they should change their vehicle from 6v to 12v because they’re unsure if their Jeeps will start on 6v.

That’s understandable but one very important thing to remember is that 6v was originally in automobiles up until the mid 1950s. Older vehicles/Willys Jeeps WILL start just fine by keeping it at a 6v but if you find that your vehicle won’t, there’s a good chance that there’s something else going on. Most likely, the starter is worn out, the battery cables are shot, or someone replaced the cables with thin 12v ones and they just aren’t big enough to pull the amperage to turn to the starter over.

If everything is working smoothly – the starter is rebuilt, the cables are working properly, and you have a good wiring harness – then the 6v start just fine. It might be a little slower than a 12v would but it still starts. Honestly, I have 6v on most of my Willys Jeeps and I don’t have trouble with it. They’ll sit for a few months but if I pump the gas then they’ll start up.

Now, if there is a v8 engine into your Willys Jeep then we’d recommend you switch to a 12v. Also, if you’re planning on putting a lot of off-road lights, accessories, or even a stereo, go to a 12v.

Really, the switch is completely up to you. You can do whatever you desire but it’s not a necessary switch. If you want to keep it stock, you can keep it a 6v and it will work fine, as long as everything else is also working properly.

Myself? Well, I like keeping my vehicle original but then again, I’m a history buff and prefer to keep things the way they were when they were made.

Tagged with → 12v6vKeep It StockWillys JeepWillys Jeep Restoration 
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  • Pjhostettler

    12 Battery used on a 6 Volt system……Just a thought….and a little bit off the specific subject…but a friend of mine has an MB that is all 6 Volt..but uses a 12 volt battery. How?  He advised that the regulator – does exactly regulates and all he did was adjust the regulator to handle the battery.  Now he can jump or get jumped with other vehicles that are 12 volt.and still keep his system 6 Volt.  He tells me that he has never had any issues or problems. I also have heard of people using 8 volts for extra juice…a simple and inexpensive fix…..Any feedback on this?  I thought it interesting….

    • Tom

      Yes would like to know about the 8 Volt use too.

      • Pjhostettler

         Tom…a friend of mine uses 8 volt battery purchased from Tractor Supply company…so basically a tractor battery works great for the starter.  Really whips it around.

        • Whitecaps1

          Checked tractor supply did not see one listed ?

    • Philzmap

      I have a ’46 CJ2A that was converted to 8 volt before I bought it.  I do not know if the regulator required “tweaking” to up the output a bit, but the system does work fine.  Headlights might as well be halogen!  Probably not good on them, but I don’t drive it at night much anyway.  I am finishing a restore on it, and picked up a new battery through Batteries Plus – a well established chain.  About $70-80 for a new battery.  Now days, finding this 8 volt is probably no more of an issue than finding a 6 volt!

      The engine cranks over well – and the 8v does not put as much strain on the starter as 12 volts would.  Also – for daily driver use, lots of LEDs that are rated for 12 volts will work down to 8 volts without problems.  I did a conversion on the high beam indicator by replacing the 6 volt bulb with a red LED.  Works fine.  I will probably change over the “dash light” to LEDs also – positioned to face downward in an array.  They are small, inexpensive, cool running, and use almost no power.  I have not tried to experiment with LED arrays for running, turn and brake lights yet – but that would be an interesting option.

      I still think that 12 volts would be nice, in that radios, CBs, chargers for phones, etc. could then be used, but the hassle of changing everything over is not worth it to me.

      Hope that helps.

  • Tom

    Not sure about 12 Volt, but an old mechanic once told me that they ran all their Jeeps on an 8 Volt Battery.  It gave them a little extra when starting the jeep, but wasn’t so hot that you had to mess with the voltage regulator or risk ruining something electrical with too much initial startup current.  Anyone have any further thoughts on that? 

    • John

      Friend of mine had an 8 volt in his Willys because he plowed snow, no problem stating on a cold day!

    • Ouch Man

      The trick is to tweek the regulator to charge at a higher voltage output. Moving the coil into the fan airstream helps kep it cooler in the summer.

    • Jengel3

      Tried a 8 volt in my early 55 trk, amp light came on in the instument cluster and stayed on.i believ that it was sending a false signal to the regulator. Reinstalled the 6 volt and all was fine.  Jeff E.

  • Tahitipm

    I’ve converter my 1944 Willys MB (daily driver)  to 12 volts 6 years ago but kept the 6 volt starter. Never had a problem !

  • Mat L

    Where did you find the specs poster? I would like a copy of that!

  • Mark Bildeaux

    I’m having this debate with my self right now. I’ve gotten the starter freshened up by an automotive electric shop and was given the green light on it, changes out the cables and switch from Walck’s catalog, cleaned all contact points, got my 6v batter checked by a local battery business and was given the green light, yet it turns so slow with long pauses in between some cranks i dont see how it would ever start. I have almote gotten to the point in the restore where i can put gas in the tank to know for sure, but i have many doubts.

    Can you post a video of a regular 6v CJ-2A starting? I’ve never seen or heard one turn over to know what it should sound and act like. I want to keep 6v. I know it starts fine on 12v but i dont want to go the easy way.

  • Easr4tbendjr

    Here is my comment for what its worth. All of my flat fendered 4 cyls. are still 6volt I have gone from Generator and regulators to 6v. one wire alternators and Optima Batterys for the maintaince aspect, also petronics makes 6 volt electronic ignition which beliminates the points and condencer. This to me has made the 6 volt bullet proof and the starter and ring gear dont get torn up.

  • a geologist

    12 Volt is better – No contest. Changed 25 years ago on CJ-2A, eliminated all problems with starting. Kept 6-volt starter. All other electronics and lights function better.

  • Pjhostettler

    Well…thanks for the update regarding Tractor Supply…it has been some time since I last check on the 8 volt…sorry about that.  

  • John–s-wadsworth

    I have a 12 volt CJ2A and a 6 volt 49 Pick Up. Both work great. I am glad I converted the CJ so I can do emergency jump starts for others out in the field. That is the only (big) disadvantage I have with the 6 volt. If I did not want to preserve the pick up as is, I’d convert it to 12 volt. But it is only origional once! John

  • Art

    Dear Willys Owners I have a 1945 CJ2A Fire Jeep with a 6 volt system and it always starts fine. A good battery is important, plus battery cables and do not use 12 volt cables. Sometimes cables look good on the outside,but can be rotten on the inside, use a good pair of jumper cable to bypass battery cables and see if your Jeep starts. Also good tuneup can help and do not forget the point condenser it can be shorted or weak.

  • Jerry

    A 8 volt batt change has to have voltage regulator set at 9.6 volts to keep properly charged. Long hot runs can overheat generator and melt solder from armature.

  • Bill

    I have a 46 CJ2A  VE civilian that was 6 volt. It was questionable if it would start. I put an 8 Volt Battery and adjusted the voltage Regulator to 9.2 volts and it starts like a 12 volt. It has been working fine for 2 years.

  • Tom Bullock

    I am now 81 and have dealt with cars since the early 1950’s. 6 volts did quite well cranking stuff for me for many years; I am currently working a 6V 1949 Jeepster with no plan to convert. My other project is a 1930 based Ford dirt-track racer which I am going to 12 volt  because of currently available accessories. The only reason I see for a 6/12 volt conversion:  parts and accessory availability. The locals pull you over in South Dakota for a bad head-light – who will be able to sell you a 6V bulb? – You want a sterio: in a 6V world, they didn’t exist. Hard starting problem? – Read Carl Walks introduction to these comments – it is a non-problem.

  • Hhhtrans

    I  changed my 1950 CJ3A from 6 volt to 12 volt color coded wires fuse box battery starter alternator etc etc ,  Works great.

  • Danimal

    I converted my ’51 M38’s electrical system to 12V years ago and kept my 6V starter (someone had installed a 6V generator and starter long before I got the Jeep; little was left of the original 24V system).  I was told the 6V starters are wound heavier, and by going to a 12V supply the current drawn by the 6V starter is less; simple Ohm’s Law.  Whether it’s true or not, I’ve never had a problem spinning over that little L-head.

  • Da BigD

    My Willys is a classic, I want it original. I can customize other toys.

  • DocUwe

    5 Year ago I converted my MB to 12 V – and I regretted it, I sold my rig. Now at my new project (42 Ford GPW) I kept the 6 volts version, it is nice to hear the slow turning of the starter, and if all the ground cables are kept tight and the starter is rebuilt the engine starts any time. The jeep will be less worth with 12 volts. Uwe

  • Philippe

     Home here in Canada I use a voltage of 12 volts on my jeep CJ2A 1947 for the best startup in winter.6 volt battery discharges too quickly.

  • Rod

    In the mid 70’s I took my CJ3A to a generator shop to talk to them about changing the 6V system to 12v.  The old boy said I was nuts to waste money for a starter, generator and bulbs.  So he lifted the hood, adjusted the regulator to 8V and we installed an 8V battery.  Everything else remained 6V.  The starter cranks well all year round, the headlights are nice and bright but  I do admit to carrying spare 1154 taillight bulbs as these don’t seem to like the extra 2V.

  • Carl

    A-Men! I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one who recommends that you stick with the 6 volt system as originally used by Willys. Keep it original if possible. 6 volts worked then and it will work now.

  • Glenn

    My 44 MB was 12v when I got it and I swapped back to 6v, Still started fine and ran better too.  Just maintain it correctly and get the ground clean and right and use BIG wires for the starter and you are good to go.

  • Blanders

    My ’46 CJ2A was 12 volt (sort of) when it rolled off the trailer in my driveway.  No starter or generator to be had, so I kept the theme going as it was.  Toyota starter, pertronix ignition and a GM alternator.  It starts as fast or faster than my 2005 LJ, so I am going with it.  If I were restoring to original I would go back to 6v, but my goal is to save this rust bucket from the scrap yard and have the old flattie I alwasy wanted.

  • Da BigD

    My ’54 wagon is 6V, I’m staying 6V. I’m thinking of sourcing a 6V 8-track player.  I may install LEDs in  some of my stock bulb sockets, but it’s even easier with LEDs to keep it at 6V.

  • Paul Miskinis

    I converted my CJ2A to 12 volts with a 35 amp alternator. Works great

  • Wrinkleybagg

    1955 willys with a 12V conversion. still have the 6V starter in it and spins over nicely! plus with the 12V im able to run a fgew more do-dads on it. even though its still in “restoration” progress … it won its first trophy!!! 

  • Ken

    My wife owns a CJ2A that is almost all original, got it from her great uncle that had it in
    Arizona. It starts fine on 6 volts, seems a little slow turning over, but starts with no problem.
    we want to keep it as original as possible. She has all the original bill of sale,, little warranty booklet and the history documents from its transfer to her father and then to her.

  • Terry

    I’ve never had a problem with two previously owned CJ2A vehicles on 6v.  My newly purchased ’49 Jeepster has an 8v battery on 6v system and is doing great so far.  I don’t plan to change anything ’till I have to.  …maybe the one wire 6V alt and electronic ignition.  Reading all of your comments for the last four months helped me come to this decision.  Thanks.

  • Mpohlman

    I’m a 6 volter too! When i first picked up my Butt Buster in 74 i didn’t know any different! Never had any starting problems. Now, 28 years later, she’s new from the ground up, and i’m still a 6 volter with no urge to change! She fires right up! I have to admit, her life is a little easier now than it was when i was 20!! Now she sits in a warm garage!!!

  • Arjbooker

    My ’52 3A shall remain 6V.

  • Pat

    6 volt and 24 volt, no 12 volt systems except for my newer vehicles post 1980

  • Jes50

    I like to keep mine as original as possible, so my 46 will be staying 6 volt. I’ve not had any problems once I switched to Walck’s 6 volt cables from the PO’s 12volt cables.

  • Msconroy

    6 volt all the way. Keep the battery wires the right size and it will work as designrd for many more years to come.
    6 volt GPW
    6 volt Jeepster
    6 volt Model A

    They all start fine. Keep them tuned and they will start everytime

  • Wvansnippenberg

    I am driving Willys MB with a 6 volt installation for more then 40  years. In my opinion you have to take care that all the mechanical wire connections, terminals and so on are correct. Use special washers where required and use also the correct diameter for the wires in the starting circuit. I agrree that the starting circuit of a WWII Jeep is tricky, but well installed, it will not give you any problem when starting the engine

  • Baratti – BR

    Here in Brazil all mechanics recommend changing to 12 volts, but I insisted on keeping my CJ3A with 6 volts and have no problems.
    There are already 10 years of use and only needed to replace the battery once.

  • jon woods

    my willys is staying 6 volt,other than being shortened by 30 inches (length) its stock.Like my 53 international  R110 6 volt worked for years

  • Lew Ladwig

    All my jeeps are bone stock 6v with original generators.  They start just fine even on the coldest winter days.  I see just as many 6v jeeps in the Colorado Flat Fender Club as I do 12v.  I think the number of starting issues is equal between jeeps with a slight advantage to the 6v guys!  I think that is because the 6v guys tend to restore back to original and the 12v crewtend to modify and change things .  Problems result.  Lew Ladwig, Preisident, International Flat Fender Club

  • Pwolohan

    Ours is still the original 6 volts and always starts.   We’ve gone to the larger battery cables, had the starter rebuilt and changed the bushing in the bell house.

    I get tempted, however to make the switch.   It seems to take for ever to get it started, turns over and over and over then goes.  How fast should a six volt start if working properly?

  • Tinpan5

    My 52 M38A1 has been converted from 24 volts to 12 volts. It’s an easier system to maintain and repair . But I don’t see any problem with maintaining a 6 volt system , if the rest of the vehicle is kept stock.

  • Terryb505

    my 51 cj3 was 12v when i got it so i plan on keeping it that way. if nothing for the ease of hooking up any accesory.

  • Mustang1970

    I’m keeping my truck original .it worked in 1956 and it will work today.

  • SkipRocks

    I’ll go against the grain and say that both of my willys are now running 12V w alternators. Obviously not stock, one came that way being modified by a previous owner and one upgraded by me.  Never an issue since, but none before either.  

  • Capt. Colin

    I have a 56 SW that had been converted to 12 volt when I bought it, I am glad it was, I want newer ignition and some accessories and want a wiper motor in electric instead of vacuum. I know the the purest will not agree, but for my world here in cold country 12 volts for the accessories and starting is worth the debate.

  • Slensink

    Hey, how about us 24 volt military Willys owners, have you completely excluded us from the conversation?  And I thought you cared!! :)

  • Phillip

    My CJ-2A was converted to 12v before I got it and I’ve kept it.  If you ever need or need to jump off someone, unless the other vehicle is also 6v, you can’t.  I also have a trailer that has 12v lights so I’m keeping it 12v.  

  • Jimmy Mack

    Our CJ-3A pre-project Willys was converted to 12V – we took it back to 6 for authenticity.  However, we may not have heavy enough gauge cables to handle the extra current after we’ve converted. We’re going to check on that this winter.  Starting it reminds me of my 1947 Farmall H w/ 6 volts – every crank comes with high anxiety!

  • Christer

    I have one Willys MB from 1944 that has served in Germany during WWII and has just imported a 1948 Willys Jeepster from USA too Sweden and i of course run 6v in both. And i dont own any other car i drive them all year regardless of the weather condition.

  • George_saponari

    My 48 Willys remains as original, 6 volt.

  • lstetcs

    My Willys still starts well at 6V.  The only consideration for 12V would be if I simulated
    the Marine MZ jeep with the TCS radio sets, whose dynamotor needs 12V.  The MZ used
    a between-seat PTO driving a separate 12V gennie that powered the TCS dyno, but I don’t envision doing that much of a conversion. :-)  The SCR-284 Radio set uses a huge PE-103 dyno that really sucks the amps at 6V!  Can’t run the radio without the engine.  I realize my 6 or 12 volt considerations are not related to starting, but thats my 2 cents worth!. 

  • Bayley78

    I have a ’47 2-a ad 49 pickup 6 volt and a ‘new’ 49 3a that is 12. We did the 3a 12 5 or 6 years ago because we thought we might put several modern 12 volt accessories on it, like stereos, winches, spot lights. We did install an under dash electrical box for this, but it is so nice and original we have not done any of it. And yes the 6 volt ones run and start fine. 

  • Rocketeer

    I’m running completely stock, just the way it came from the factory and just the way it kept running for over 50 years. In my opinion “upgrades” are band-aids that don’t really solve any problems, just cover them up. A properly maintained 6 volt system won’t let you down. The only concession I would make is if the jeep gets driven at night I would recommend replacing the tail light bulb(s) with brighter LEDs. Wouldn’t it be nice if someone made a replacement headlight bulb (plastic?) using bright LEDs.

  • Roscoe1

    My Jeepster will go to 12 volts with an alternator.  The car will be used in parades so the advantages of low RPM charging along with the additional output needed to drive an electric booster fan are obvious. 

  • Jroethel


    My MB Obeverland has 6 V. No problem with starting it qizj the new battary. The photos you can find on facebook under name Sylke Roethel.

  • Mighty Mo

    I have  3 Willys Jeeps, A 48CJ2a that is my trail Jeep, A 48 cj2a in process of a rebuild and a 53 cj3a totally stock.

    The 53 cj3a is the only one with a 6 volt system and works just fine

    The 48 cj2a in the rebuild process has a Dauntless V6 so it is a 12 volt conversion

    The 48 cj2a trail Jeep is 12 volt. It has a Warn 8274 winch on the front so 12 volt was a requirement.

    I trail ride with many vintage Willys CJs and many are 6 volt. The 6 volt vehicles start just fine. Of course these guys maintain their electrical systems

  • DJ

    I have a cj3a that spent its early life as a service truck for Utah Power & Light. I just installed a new harness and rebuilt the generator. It starts easily no matter the weather and has enough power to handle the old unity spot light mounted up front. I figure if 6 volt worked for all those years on Utah power right of ways, it’s good enough.

  • Ron

    Got 12 volt in my little Willy’s, but it’s got a Buick V6 in it, so !! Not particular, as long as its a Willy’s, “Who cares what its got?!!” Right? :)

  • Roundhaus1991

    12 volt with a 6volt starter, she cranks over fast !
    also converted to alternator’s on all of them. Sorry no original eqpt. here. I do love the battery charging and not messing with VR’s.

  • Mike from Denver

    12 volts is much more practical for any old Jeep. Unless you want a totally original vehicle, there’s no reason for keeping it 6 volts.

  • Jesse

    Keep it stock 6 volt is fine.

  • wavy

    I have a 47 CJ2A with a 12Volt system (Bought it that way) a 46 CJ2A with a 8Volt system (seems the only way it will start) and a 50 wagon with a 6 volt (had 12volt system bubba installed and I converted it back to 6v) they were made with a 6 volt system and it worked for years so I think 6 volt should be good enough.

  • Larryd

    Sorry, my 47 is 12V, converted long ago by the previous owner.

  • W. Perry Williams

    converted our 47 CJ-2a to 12v back in the 70’s. just swapped in a generator and a regulator from a 58 GMC I was wrecking out for parts. It is still an easy to find tractor part.

  • Lsnez

    A 6v starter cam be converted  to  HI torque  by replacing the fields. The generator can also be boosted to a higher amp. output. The regulator is then gutted and a 1 one wire transistor regulator that converts the old ford alternators to 1 wire put in place of the gutted parts. Delco put out a chart for proper wire size. (amp.use—-footage = wire size)  Use  solid copper wire only. With all connections good you should not have any problems starting any 6 v engine. There are other electrical problems that can affect starting quality but this is covers 90% of what you need to do to keep your 6v system operating a max.

  • Oscar Latorre

    my CJ2A  53824 was converted to 12 v and the generator substituted by an alternator before I purchase . Was imported in 1950 by AMBROIS & Cia   in URUGUAY South America. All the rest is ORIGINAL except the foot start. The start engine is 6 V and I have a battery with an intermediate borne in 8 volts only for start
      My preference is always ORIGINAL 6V

  • Richard

    If you are going original it has to be 6 volt. I have had several 6 volt vechicles and never a problem. Starting was never a issue.

  • Al Eichenberg

    I couldn’t make up my mind. I have 12 volt head/tail lights, starter, alternator. Kept 6 volt everything else. Used a voltage reducer and all is working well (so far).

    • Larry

       What is the problem? If it is working for you now I would leave it alone. You solved the 6-12 volt the easy way. When you have electrical problem then lets talk. One other thing to check with the use of a rester is the coil. Or you feeding a 6v coil 12v?

  • Chebby54

    have a  1950 one ton pickup with the F head.  Also have a 1954 Chevy. covertible.  Have kept both 6 volts.  I have found find that with a good battery and starter they start in the hot and in the cold.  They may not turn over as quick as a 12 volt but they ALWAYS start!  There is on the market a device called the ORPIN 6/12 switch.  You have two six volt batteries hooked to the switch.  The car will start on twelve but will run and charge on 6.  Did use it with much success until I went “purist”. 

  • ed

    my heart said keep it 6 volt but the mechanics I knew strongly reccomended 12 so I capitulated.  I’m happy with it, it starts great but still find myself wondering if I should have left it stock. 

  • David Bucher

    6 volt system does work well if maintained correctly. Biggest error I run across is the wrong battery cables. 12v cables on 6volt system just does not work well. I have 4 Ford tractors on 6V but my two jeeps are 12V as they were modified when I bought them. I have been thinking about swapping the tractors to 12V even though they work fine on 6V. Reason is the cost of 6V battery at Tractor Supply have skyrocketed to around $80 from a few years back at $30 and they last only 2 to 3 years.  My local auto junk yard will sell me a 12V battery out of a late model car with that passes a draw test and comes with a 90 day return for $20. Also 6V headlights and lamp bulbs are getting harder to come buy unless you have one of the older parts houses in your area. 

    You hear about 8V batteries and I tried one in a tractor. Problem is with a generator putting out only 7V seems I  never get the battery up to charge. Also the regulator did not like the 8V as I immediately got a needle flux on the amp gauge. I just went back to the 6V and never looked into why the fluctuation with the 8V.

  • Rsherman

    I kept both of my flat fender jeeps at 6 volt but use an 8 volt battery. It adds a little boost when starting

  • Wyldwyn

    My 1942 MB was converted to 12 volt before I bought it.  Not sure if it was done right by the guy who restored it, because I’ve discovered a lot of “25-cent fixes” that he did in “restoring” it.  Only time will tell.  It does start just fine, but sounds like it’s sort of hard on the starter.  The 8-volt battery sounds like a good idea. 

  • Larrypowers4

    I think what ever you want or what you ar working on you make the it work for you.

  • Cmponton

    I went with 12 volt because I installed a electronic  ignition. Mike

  • Ouch Man

    I’ve never bothered to convert either 24v or 6v sysyems on my Jeeps. My local NAPA dealer keeps 6v parts on hand as there are many vintage cars in my area including Jeeps.

  • Ouch Man

    I’m not a big fan of electronic ignition. Keep a spare breaker plate set up with you at all times for a back up.

  • Jroethel

    I have my MB Overland 1942 in origin condition with 6 V. Never had problems with starting it and with loading the battery. Last week the battery (6 years old 6V 77 Ah) broke. There use to be some troubles with starting it, but since a  new Varta 6V 112 Ah is installed, there is no problem any more. The only thing what I take care about is, that after some weeks staying inn the garage I have to pump manualy the fuel first. After the action the jeep starts in 2-3s. So for my opinion there is no need and reason to switch to 12V. You can see the fotos of the instalation and the wehicle in Face book if you log you in and find Sylke Roethel on it.

  • Mike Willey

    My ’47 CJ2A was converted to 12V positive ground before I got it.. I will likely keep the 12 V and just convert to Negative Ground.. I think if you already have 6V on your flat fender it would be cool to keep it.. Just another conversation piece about vehicles of that time.. Original is good..

  • Maineyankee73

    I have a 1951 cj3a I am going to keep it 6 volt,however I have a 8 volt battery and tweeked the regulator,my reasoning is start up in below zero weather,so I can plow with it.

  • Cactus 1

    My 3A had been converted to 12V when I bought it.  I am a big fan of originality, just like many flatfender guys. But, I had a 1953 Ford Jubilee tractor for 20 years that I used for snow plowing.  It was 6V, and there were many times when the very limited cranking time with a 6V battery was not enough to get it started when it was really cold.  Yes, a 6V system in a jeep “will work”, but in my opinion a 12V system with an alternator is an improvement. That’s why they don’t make cars with 6V batteries and generators anymore.  I think a 12V system starts more reliably, charges better, and the battery lasts longer.

  • Bill White

    Mine is the way it was built except I converted to 12v starts better.

  • Bill White

    Mine is the way it come except changed to 12v starts better.

  • Orflatfenders

    Depends on how I want my Jeep. I have a CJ3A that I converted to 12 volt for the brighter lighting, electric winch, electric wipers, etc. It’s not going to be a true restoration as I’m putting in a Dauntless V6 and different trans. I also have several CJ2As I will be restoring to stock and in these I will be keeping the 6 volt system for originality. The 6 volt system works fine for me in stock trim.

  • Steve S

    Try jumpstarting a 6 volt jeep, then you will understand why 12 volt makes more sense in 2012. Also, have you seen the price of a 6 vot battery vsus a 12 volt?

  • marty

    marty   myself  this is the thrid willys i’ve owned. the first was 1947 willys cj 2a  6 volt starter , second 1959 willys pick-up L6-226 engine 6 volt starter, last but not least ( OR LAST ) IS 1961 wagon it has 6 volt starter.  ineeded it rebuilt, took to rebuilder he said it only matter if your engine is hard to start. that if it took a long time to turn over enough to start then i should change it to 12 volt. ( has’nt happened yet) so i quess i”m 4 6 volt

  • Windoverrain

    does anyone know if there is an electronic ignition for the 6 v 226 ci six cylinder

  • Cactus 1

    Many people who like their Willys jeeps to be “original” think nothing of changing to 11″ brakes, use various methods of adding turn signals, add fuse terminals, drive on modern radial tires, and install overdrives.  It can be argued that these old Willys “work perfectly well” with original brakes, no turn signals, no added fuses, NDTs, and no overdive.  Yet it is hard to deny that all of these are improvements, either in safety or performance.  The same can be said of a 12V system and an alternator.  It does not change the outward appearance of a Willys, or the driving experience.  It does give more margin for error in starting, and it does a better job of keeping the battery charged.  If I am out in the middle of nowhere, I prefer to have more total cranking time rather than less.  Just my two cents.

    • Larry

       If you like  the factory 6v gen. look but want 12v  you can have the gen converted to 12v with new fields and armeture. The is then gutted and tran. reg.put in  the original reg. housing. The new reg. is adjustable from 11v to 16v. What ever v you need to support extra lights etc.

  • Tom

    My 46 Cj-2A is 6 volt

  • Rolfarndt

    I grew up with 6 volts, draw back you couldn’t play the radio very long without running down the battery.  I just went through the 6 volt/12 volt thing and found that 6 volts requires everything be tight and clean.

  • Larry

    Have a M-38, 51. It’s been changed to 12V system. Works fine. 

  • Jclarke52

    A 6 volt system works fine if you plan to keep everything original. After all, that is how they came from the factory when they were new and should not give you problems so long as you maintain the system properly.

    As for myself, given that i am replacing the entire drive train in my 1950 Station Wagon with a small block Ford V8 with an automatic transmission and corresponding differential, I will be converting over to a 12 volt system. I realize that this kind of transplant is often frowned upon by purists, but then, I’ve never been much for conventional thinking. 

    Besides, without A/C this old codger would literally toast his cookies in the hot Georgia Summers!  Best of luck to all with your Willy’s.

    Joe Clarke

  • Glstephenson10

    After a frame up restoration on my ’47 CJ 2A which is completely stock I decideded to go with a 12 volt system. I feel this is the most efficient trouble free way to go.

  • Highrider98

    I have an all original ’47 that is 6 volt and it starts great on a 10 yr. old battery!

  • Pete

    I have  been buying my batteries from East Penn Mfg. factory store in Lyons, PA for several decades.  In 1982 they suggested I put an 8 volt  in my 46 CJ2A.  I have been doing so ever since and never had a problem.  The engine in this jeep was rebuilt in 1964  and to keep it from starting hard after a long sit, I use a 12 volt to expedite.  

  • Henry F

    The six volt systems work just fine and the starters spin just fine on six. The problem many owners have is the battery cables. The old six volt systems require 1 gauge cables. When everything converted to 12 volts the cables were changed to 2 gauge. If someone installs modern cables in the old systems, they (the new 2 gauge type) cannot supply adequate current to the starter and it will spin slowly.  Find the original type 1 gauge cables and it works fine, just as it did when it was new. I’ve never converted one and never needed to.

  • William

    I have a 1961 cj6 4 cylinder how can i tell if it is 6 or 12 volt

  • MIKE

    I have three Jeeps. Some 6 volt some 12 volt. The best way to start a Jeep is a 6 volt starter on 12 volt (while the starter lasts!) especially in the Iowa winters. I will have an original Jeep on 6 volt for “the way it was” and a day to day Jeep, ie: blade for winter, pulling trailer, hunting in woods, etc. because of all the common gauges, light bulbs, radios, etc that are all now 12 volt. How many of you have seen an original tube type 6 volt radio, they are pretty un-reliable.

  • Geo.

    I’m wondering about some of the new high intensity light bars. Is there a real need to change from the 6volt to run these kind of lights?

  • Mike_jensen

    Im restoring a 56 truck. Planning to go 12v. i assume i will need to switch to a 12v alternator. question is do i need a new regulator or just go with a 1 wire alternator? I think the 1 wire makes things so much easier. Also going with new wire harness throughout truck. i assume the original points and dizzy will work fine with 12v?

  • David Stuart

    I would like to keep my ’44 MB restoration original with 6 volts, but what do you do when you need a jump start and all you have are 12 volt donor cars around you?

  • Joe M1

    I have my jeep setup with the 6volt system that was installed back then. I do remember a problem with the 6 volt systems in the cold weather not able to start the engine in the cold weather and again this could, and probably, had something to do with the factors listed in the above document.

  • jeepsover50years

    I agree in the theroy of keeping all equipment as stock as posible, but tying to start a 6 volt Jeep in sub zero weather is nearly imposible even if in top condition!

  • George

    If you were to move down to the southwesten desert, your Willys or Jeep will absolutely love it and you too might also enjoy getting away from the sub zero weather. There is always a smart ass some where.

  • Ken-kerr

    got hold of a 6/12 battery and am told that it starts 12v and runs 6 v anyone know how to hook it up ?
    1943 willys MB flathead