View Full Version : Convert 6V to 12V

11-18-2005, 11:05 AM
Can anyone advise on conversion of 52 champion stude from 6V positive ground to 12V negative ground? I just got the vehicle and wonder if it would be in my best interest to convert this? (jumps, being stranded ect.) or shall I just carry a spare fully charged 6V battery in the trunk? (just kidding :)). thanks in advance for advice.

11-18-2005, 11:41 AM
I asked a similar question not long ago. Maybe this thread will help...

1951 Commander Starlight Coupe (aka "Stella")

11-18-2005, 12:07 PM
A well-maintained 6volt system will serve you fine. With cars this old, I'd take loose the battery & starter cables and insure the cables ARE the right gage and that their ends (not just the battery post clamps) are clean and not corroded - either where they'll be connected OR where the end (terminal) is crimped to the actual cable/wire itself.
The biggest bugaboo tho seems to be that a cable or two gets replaced in the course of the car's life and thru ignorance or convenience, it gets a cable intended for a 12volt application (read that: too small a gage to adequately carry the current a 6volt starting system requires).
A system that has the right gage cables with solid clean connections at each and every cable end is gonna be fine.
That said, it's pretty easy to convert to 12 volt negative ground - and there are reasons to do this if those reasons are ends you hope to achieve. BUT - you can jump a 6volt car from a 12volt if you know how to do it. If you insure that the cars aren't physically touching one another, hook one cable from the negative of the 12 volt to the negative of the 6volt. Then (and it almost certainly requires a second set of hands to be safe about this) attach the positive jumper cable to the positive of the 12volt battery and get ready to push the start button. While one person actuates the start button, the other person solidly touches the free end of the positive cable to the positive terminal of the 6volt battery. They hold it there ONLY so long as the starter's being turned. If you let up on the start switch - they have to pull back with the cable end. IT MUST NOT be left attached when the starter's NOT turning.
There'll be some sparking, but if your starter's good, it should really spin (and hopefully start the car.!) As SOON as the car starts, the helper has to remove the positive cable from where he was holding it against the 6volt battery's positive terminal!
Remember - even tho one's negative ground and the other's positive ground - it won't hurt to do this so long as you don't have the car's touching one another and you remember to keep negative to negative and positive to positive - and only momentarily. Just long enough to start the car. DO NOT just clip on the leads and then get in and try to start the car! Someone has to help in the proceedure so that they/you can remove the cable as soon as the starter stops spinning.
IF you choose to go to a 12volt system, you can continue to use the 6volt starter without doing anything to it. It'll turn in the right direction and it'll hold up to 12volts for years.
The things you WILL have to address will be the heater and defroster motors, the windshield motor, the generator, the horns, all the bulbs, of course, and the overdrive components (assuming your car is a standard shift with overdrive). All these are pretty easily dealt with by getting comprable 12volt units from later Studebakers.
12 volts might be advisable if you yearned to add A/C or modern sound system stuff. You'd have to deal with the original radio's 6volt configuration if you went to 12volts and wanted to keep it in service and you'd also have to get a little voltage regulator to serve the couple of original instruments that require 6volts to operate correctly (not a big deal to do).
Your jest about carrying a spare battery IS a bit extreme but I DO advocate Stude drivers carrying a spare water pump, fuel pump, belts, hoses and the tools to change them. Those two pumps are the items that can leave you stranded if they go kaput! Just about anything else can be addressed thru a local auto parts store should the need arise.;) All the "preparedness kit" I just mentioned can fit in a shoe box in your trunk.[^] Either item takes maybe 30 minutes to change and you're on your way again. Lots easier than being towed home or trying to find a garage to do the fix.[:I]

So - what body style is your '52? Is it driveable or a project to some degree[?] Inquiring minds want to know![:0]:D

Miscreant at large.

1957 Transtar 1/2ton
1960 Larkvertible V8

11-18-2005, 12:19 PM
thanks for the input........should have known Biggs had/has the answer!:)

11-19-2005, 03:28 AM
The car is the 52 champion coupe (12g - c5) that i need to register with the bogus commander engine vin on the title. The interior has been redone, along with brakes. it is driveable, however, I just ordered a water pump to replace the existing tired one on there now. Needs a paint job (I will do body and paint myself), and recondition the heater system. what later studies (years and/or makes) can i use parts from to convert to 12V? thanks,


11-19-2005, 08:52 AM
Stude, the last year for 6V was 1955. The 1956, 57, 58 heater motor, defroster motor, and coil (with resistor) will all interchange. The electric wiper motors from 1956 on will all work, both Hawk and Lark. I don't know about the fuel tank sending units or the instruments, there is supposed to be a Lark 12V instrument interchange, but I'm not familiar with it. If you have overdrive, the solinoid is the only thing that needs to change, you need the two connection version used on the T-86 until about 1958(?).

11-19-2005, 10:57 AM
He'd have to have the 6volt O/D relay too. Instruments are easily addressed with the little voltage regulator device I mentioned. Dick Steinkamp's got one in his pretty, black, K-body car. I bought one like it to use in my coupe.;)

Miscreant at large.

1957 Transtar 1/2ton
1960 Larkvertible V8
1958 Provincial wagon
1953 Commander coupe
1957 President 2-dr
1955 President State
1951 Champion Biz cpe
1963 Daytona project FS

Dick Steinkamp
11-19-2005, 11:00 AM
quote:Originally posted by whacker

I don't know about the fuel tank sending units or the instruments, there is supposed to be a Lark 12V instrument interchange, but I'm not familiar with it. .

If you want to keep your original instruments, get a small voltage reducer from Ron Francis ( http://www.wire-works.com/groundingandcharging.php bottom of the page)
or other sources for the fuel gauge and the water temp gauge. The oil pressure gauge is mechanical, and the amp meter doesn't care how many volts are involved.


11-19-2005, 01:08 PM
I am pretty much convinced i want to rewire to 12v, because both heater and defroster motor require rebuild/replace, and there are additional accessories i would like to put in the car. although to you savvy electricians this may seem simple (i'm not totally ignorant of electrical), but for me this will require additional education. Thanks for you help all! This site is great!