VCI logo Archive Index | Current Issue
544 12-Volt Conversion

Help! I would like to convert my 544 to a 12 volt electrical system. Does anyone have advice on the best way to do this? Also looking for a recommendation on a modern set of chrome or mag wheels.

Jim says: I'm not quite an expert on this, since I've only done it to 445 and a 444, but nearly everything is the same.

Besides the lights, don't forget the turn signal flasher. You'll need to change to a 12V ignition coil/switch assy., or replace the whole thing with an aftermarket switch and 12V coil; after breaking off one too many keys, I'll recommend the latter. The starter will be OK, but the generator must be replaced along with the regulator, or an alternator conversion can be fitted. You'll be stunned at how well the starter works on 12V. Speaking of stunning, wait'll you hear the horns on 12V!!! The good news is that the rear wiper motor from a 145 or 245 will replace the 6V wiper motor with no alteration. I've used a GM blower motor in one 445 and the 444, but it required quite a bit of fitting; try to find a 12V 544 motor.

Here's the part I haven't done: the fuel gage. In my 12V 544, the fuel gage power terminal is the tie point for all switched power; I assume the same is true of the 6V 544, but it's not the case in the 444/445. I those cars, I put a 6V/10W zener diode between the 12V power and the + terminal of the gage; it works just fine. If the 6V 544 is the same as the 12V, you'll need to take all the leads off the + terminal and connect them together somewhere else (be careful!) and run the zener (in the reverse direction) from there to the gage terminal.

At least you won't have to worry about the sunroof motor or the power locks!

Back to the Top