View Full Version : 6 VOLT BLUES... 12 V CONV?

09-09-2006, 09:48 PM
I have a 1948 Land Cruiser and I have the 6 volt blues... I wanted to keep it as orginal as possible but I drive around town and have had too many troubles with the six volt... slow/no cranking - vacuum wipers - no radio - ADVICE (parts list for conversion) PLEASE

Tom Banish
'48 LandCruiser

09-09-2006, 10:03 PM
The design of the 6 volt system was very good. You should look through some of the recent threads dealing with this. the first thing will always be to make sure you have heavy enough battery cables. 00 gauge is excellent. Do not try to get by with cables made for newer 12 volt cars they can't carry enough current. also check for clean tight connections. If you crank the engine then check for hot wires and connections it may be easy to identify bad connections. It is easier to fix the 6 volt right first then decide if you really want to convert to 12. You will be surpised how well the 6 volt system works. Radios are available. This is well explained in recent threads.

09-09-2006, 10:15 PM
You CAN do what my dad did years ago, and have a battery made with a
three post setup, they took a 12v battery & added a post in the center
giving the option of either. You can add an altenator, and a starter
for a 12v car, & run the rest off 6v. This also gives you the ability
to run a 12v stereo and other accessories. Sorry, I dont know all the
details, but I bet there is more info online somewhere.


09-09-2006, 10:16 PM
I have 00 cables and they don't get hot after cranking the gen is working - but after a longer trip than usual (I HIT THE INTERSTATE AND HAD IT UP TO 75 JUST CRUSING RIGHT ALONG) stopped at a store in the next town and couldn't get it started again .. my wife had to come pick up the kids and I came home on a flatbed 2 hours later it started again

Tom Banish
'48 LandCruiser

09-09-2006, 10:17 PM
I wanted to change to 12 volt too, but was told much of what was told to you. Mine is a 37 Dictator. I did as was suggested. I found several bad connections. I am glad I did not change. 6 volt systems work great once ya get the BUGS out.:)

09-09-2006, 10:20 PM
Go down to about the end of page 4 and look at the thread about using and 8 volt battery. It covers this topic very well. Lots of good info.

09-10-2006, 01:15 AM
It is all good but a new harness will make u appreciate the value of an orig 6 v pos ground system. Had sim probs but new radio and harness all is cool plus many old peeps love it. For th rest they are just enzyte popping off. Car travels 75 - 100 for shows all summer. Old school will rule if somebody gives ya the knowledge an atta boy b/4 they vanish[^]

Chris Pile
09-10-2006, 04:01 AM
I put a 6V positive ground alternator in my '49 Champion and it cured my low power troubles - less than $100.

09-10-2006, 09:16 AM
Randy Rundel in Clay Center , KS. has 6 volt alternators. The 6/12 volt should not effect the wipers, I think they are vacuum. It would seem a 12 volt generator would drop in easy. I don't know, just speaking off the top of my head.

09-10-2006, 09:58 AM
I was thinking of changing my 48 Champion to 12 volt. Replaced the negative cable and starter cranked a little better but still didn't spin like it should. I checked a little farther and found a copper strap going from starter to solinoid that was corroded. Cleaned it up and problem was solved. Starts good every time.:)


09-10-2006, 10:08 AM
quote:I have 00 cables and they don't get hot after cranking the gen is working

That being the case, your starter likely needs new bearings. Fix that before you go to all the trouble of changing to 12 volts, only to find you still have the problem! the proceedure is covered inthe shop manual.

09-10-2006, 10:13 AM
Any 6 volt system ( five so far) I have ever driven has been very adequate.

09-10-2006, 08:30 PM
Tom, you may have an ailing starter. That's a possibility. And while you appear to have good-sized cables that don't "get hot", if there's a crappy connection wherever they connect, that'll cause the same sorta grief as too small a cable.

BTW, you could have jumped your car with 12volts to get it home that day.
Connect the one jumper cable from positive to positive and the other cable to the just the negative of the 12 volt car. Then, YOU have to be in the car with the ignition on and holding the starter switch engaged. While doing this, your helper touches the other end of the negative jumper cable to the negative post of the 6volt battery - only so long as it takes for the 6volt car to start and then immeadiatly pull that cable back off. Remove the other cabe and off you go! Heckuva lot cheaper than a tow truck![}:)]

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

09-10-2006, 09:48 PM
Run hard, get it hot, stop, have lunch, it won't start. [been there, etc] That's not a bad starter (although it might be a good idea to rebush the starter) it's Vapor lock. Get a six volt fuel pump, that might be another solution.

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

09-13-2006, 10:06 PM
with new alternators and internal voltage regulators on these newer cars, I didn't want to cook someone elses veh. - I checked for vapor lock and even removed the in line fuel filter just in case but no go... towed it home - tinkered with it for a short period of time and it started but I never found what caused it not to start - I did find the spark plugs losing compression at the plugs themselves (R&R) I still don't know definitively what the problem was, but for now I'm cruisin' again - AFTER SCRUBBING THE SCUFF MARKS OFF THE WHITWALLS, THE TOW TRUCK DRIVER "STRAPPED" IT DOWN ...... I think I was more upset with my tires looking terrible than I was getting towed -JUST A BAD DAY --- THANKS FOR THE POINTERS still new to the studebaker way of life Tom

Tom Banish
'48 LandCruiser

09-13-2006, 10:31 PM
The editor and technical advisors (Bob Palma and Dwain Grindinger, respectively) of The Studebaker Co-operator column in Turning Wheels are both regulars here and, while they stress 12-volt conversion should only be desirable if you want A/C and 50,000 watts of stereo (a well maintained 6-volt system works as it should), they both endorse Randy Rundle's The Official 12-volt Conversion Guide for $10 to Fifth Avenue Antique Auto Parts, 415 Court Street, Clay Center, Kansas 67432.

If A/C and stereo is not your primary goal, find and fix what you've got. 6-volt am/fm radios are also do-able.

Brad Johnson
Pine Grove Mills, Pa.
33 Rockne 10
51 Commander Starlight
53 Commander Starlight
previously: 63 Cruiser, 62 Regal VI, 60 VI convertible, 50 LandCruiser

09-14-2006, 09:58 PM
6 volt pos. ground is more then enough, My 52 ragtop with a 289 cu in Stude motor, AND a flight o matic still sports the 6 volt system!
Yes, before you ask, the starter is modified, I used the 6 volt starter, turned down the armature shaft, and installed the later 12 volt bendix on it.
Anyway, I have no problems starting it even hot. I also use 00 welding cable and made my own cables. I do plan on re-making the ground cable and running it direct to a starter bolt.
I also have run a NEW ground wire from the engine to the frame, 10 gauge, and also an extra ground from a intake bolt to the fire wall.
Be sure ALL the connections are tight and clean! That makes a BIG difference!
As far as a 500 watt stereo, I had my radio converted to am/fm, and had an extra converter installed for a cd changer that I put under the seat.
The only problem I have had, is IF my 52 sits for a few weeks, the 24 hour memory will kill the battery, I don't think it's the cd changer, but more the converter sucking the battery down. I fixed that with a simple push button switch in the line.

Besides, from what I'm hearing,12 volt is on the way out, 24 volt is coming sooner then you think!
I'm sure glad that Studebakers have a "simple" wiring harness! as some of the new cars are a big joke!


Blue 15G
09-15-2006, 08:04 AM
Lesson learned years ago: Not a Studebaker, but a '55 DeSoto I had given to me by my Uncle. (The principle would apply to any 6 volt Studebaker, though.) The car cranked somewhat slowly. Oh well, "6 Volt system, that's just the way it is", I thought. Then one day it stopped cranking at all. I had the starter rebuilt. (No modifications.) What a difference! You would think the car was 12 volt, the way it cranked after that. I echo those writing in here to say to make sure your electrical system and starting components are in top condition!

09-15-2006, 08:05 AM
Was it 24 volt that was to be here now? But didn't they found the 24 volt system was more failure prone than the 12 volt? So no 24 volt systems.

09-15-2006, 10:00 PM
If automotive engineers can design a system more prone to failure, expect it to be standard equipment soon. And if it can only be serviced by designing a new tool, expect that also.

Brad Johnson
Pine Grove Mills, Pa.
33 Rockne 10
51 Commander Starlight
53 Commander Starlight
previously: 63 Cruiser, 62 Regal VI, 60 VI convertible, 50 LandCruiser