View Full Version : 4 pole GM- style starter mod

09-09-2006, 09:21 AM
While searching through old threads looking for inspiration about what to do with my near-death 6-volt starter, I ran across a passing reference to a modification for these units described as "4 pole GM"...

What's is this? Is this a process which a good auto electric shop can do? I am told that my starter has bad fields, which are not replaceable
so a rebuild won't do the job in my case. Is this true? A few of the parts houses I normally do business with don't seem to have any rebuilts...

Any other suggestions for getting my starter starting? I don't want to convert to 12 volts unless absolutely necessary, since I would need to round up/install a new ring gear in my DG200, mess with gauges, radio, etc.....although that may be easier in the long run...

51 Commander State Sedan
Worthington PA

09-09-2006, 09:48 AM
Dave T-Bow can build you one using a 50's Pontiac housings as I recall.

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Arnold Md.
65 Sports Sedan(sold)
64 Daytona HT
63 R2 4 speed GT Hawk
63 GT Hawk
63 Avanti R1/AC
63 Avanti R2/4 speed
63 Daytona HT
63 Lark 2 dr.
62 Lark 2 door
62 GT(parts car)
60 Lark convert
60 Hawk
52 Starliner(sold)
51 Commander

09-09-2006, 10:43 AM
Commander51 writes: "Any other suggestions for getting my starter starting?"

Yeah, save the starter revision money and buy new, big, FAT cables for the battery, the ground-to-engine strap and the solenoid-to-starter connection.
Clean up the attacment points where ever the ends of these cables go and drive on!:D

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

09-09-2006, 11:53 AM
Back in the 50's and 60's we used to take 48-52 or 53 Cad ambulance starters with the 4 poles and put the Stude nose on them. There were a number of other Delco starters HD that could be used but the Cad was the closest to Stude as to how far the Bendix gear moved. But there is a difference between the auto and stick. But some were Prestolite so don't try to mix and match. And that is BS about replacing the fields. Usualy the wire between the field poles breaks from heat or vibration. A little far away from me, but someone might be able to help.

09-09-2006, 04:43 PM
I have done the GM four field conversion, but probably not in 25 years. It works well, but it is now too hard to get the necessary GM parts. In case you want to try - Take a six volt starter from a straight eight, early '50s, GM car. Use the GM case with four field coils and the rest of your existing Studebaker starter. Most do not require any cutting or fitting. Some require drilling a new locating pin hole. This wil give you a night and day difference in starting.

Some people make a conversion by adding two additional field coils to a Studebaker starter. This probably works. I have just never done it myself.

Gary L.
Wappinger, NY
1954 Commander Starliner (restomod)
1959 DeLuxe pickup (restomod)

09-09-2006, 06:32 PM
Gary, If you look at a 2 pole then a 4 pole case the 4 pole has the pole end piece further away towards the end of the case and a spacer between that and relay housing. Plus the poles are of different sizes and the countersunk screws that hold the pole pieces are an oddball size and countersink angle and thread one is fine thread and the other is corse but it has been so long I forgot which is which.

09-09-2006, 08:57 PM
Another consideration, my '53 six volt was very slow cranking. New bushings did the trick, they were worn so badly the armature was dragging on the field coils.

Tom Bredehoft
'53 Commander Coupe
'60 Lark VI
'05 Legacy Ltd Wagon
All three Indiana built OD cars

09-11-2006, 08:45 AM
Fabricate a new ground cable and bolt it directly to your starter motor, fastening bolts. You'll get a surprise..

09-12-2006, 03:12 PM
Bob, THAT sounds like good advice![:0][:p]:D;)

Miscreant adrift in
the BerStuda Triangle!!

1957 Transtar 1/2ton
1960 Larkvertible V8
1958 Provincial wagon
1953 Commander coupe