Due to the amount of voltage-hungry electronics imposed upon our engines and throughout the vehicle, the amount of energy provided by our car’s charging system has become more important. While today’s electronic fuel injection and numerous other systems rely on certain voltages to operate correctly, additional comfort items like radios and air conditioning also put additional strain on the charging system. Even vintage Corvettes can run into problems, as many have upgraded electrical components drawing more power from the charging system than the engineers ever intended.
Technology has crept back into previous generations, at about the same speed it moves forward. Meaning, many of those modern issues that have been overcome by forward-thinking engineers will also need to be addressed by those in the retro crowd. For some of the earlier cars, the solution may be as simple as a swap from six to 12 volts. Of course, you will have to upgrade the rest of the system to operate at that voltage as well.
For those who wish to do more than simply bring their Corvette up to modern standards, Flaming River has several high-powered alternators that are designed to supply power for the most demanding of charging systems. All manufactured in the USA, its line of alternators are designed to work with C2 through C6 Corvettes and come in a variety of amperages and finishes.
For 1963-’85 cars, Flaming River has a 170-amp version designed to upgrade all units using a 6.61-inch bolt spacing. It is available in machined, polished, satin-black anodized, and chrome finishes and features a V-belt pulley so you don’t have to change the entire accessory drive system to the modern serpentine style to get the benefits of more power.
Using upgraded technology and components similar to the 2017 Corvette’s alternator, the Flaming River unit uses a hairpin stator design, which allows for more winding density and offers much higher output at idle than traditional, vintage alternators. It also features a one-wire connection for ease of installation. Internally, there are 12 press-fit diodes instead of the standard six, along with double-stacked heat sinks for improved cooling.
Ever notice how your C4 Corvette’s dash lights flicker or dim when your car settles down to idle at night? That may be due to the OEM alternator not supplying sufficient amperage at idle. Later C4s (1992-1996) can benefit from Flaming River’s 240-amp alternators, which are designed to deliver a steady 120-amp output at 800 RPM. They also use precision-balanced, low-mass rotors to allow these alternators to operate safely at shaft speeds of 20,000+ RPM. There are also twin rectifier plates with twice as many diodes as an OEM alternator—which results in 300% more surface area to dissipate heat.
C6 Corvettes can upgrade to either a 170-amp or 240-amp version to power all their accessories and more. Like Flaming River’s other units, they are available with either machined, polished, or satin-black anodized finishes. The factory units were rated at only 148-amps, which could be an issue trying to drive all the electronics in these cars when the engine is at idle. Stepping up to a Flaming River 170 or 240-amp alternator ensures there’s enough current to supply all the electronics, factory or aftermarket.
These alternators are the perfect solution for any vehicle owner who struggles with premature alternator failure, intermittent electrical accessory problems, or low voltage at any engine RPM. They are made in the USA and feature a 3-year / 36,000-mile warranty. If your Corvette’s charging could use a little boost, check out the line of HD Amp High Output Alternators available from Flaming River. Then, you’ll not only enjoy the power to the wheels but also added power to every electronic device throughout the vehicle.