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altair
08-19-2013, 12:45 PM
I went to a recent show and shine of about 500 participants with at least 100 that were 6 volt systems Buick streight 8, Dodge V8, Ford V8, DIVCO trucks, and many early Fords, Chevrolets, Dodges, AMC, GMC and Dodge truck (there was two 12 volt Studes there). I chatted with several 6 volt operators and they all said there has never been an issue with the 6 volts even the Buick streight 8 owner said it starts up on the first turn. I did notice on the GMC truck that the factory had attached a ground strap direct to the starter from the frame. In discussions with some of the owners the same issue came up that it is important the grounds are clean and tight and should be regularly removed and cleaned. On many of the posts, members wish to convert to 12 volts and I find that somewhat unnecessary and potentially problematic. I have a 6 volt Studebaker that had a severe starting problem, with the battery fully charged it would barley turn it over, I replaced the starter an the same thing. After scratching my head repeatedly the thought of a possible ground issue and attached a ground directly to the starter from the battery and the engine turned over like it was 12 volts. I then removed the right front motor mount and generator bracket (all very rusty) cleaned to bare metal attached a new 00 cable and then magic, the engine barley turns one revolution and starts aggressively. Prior to this the vehicle sat outdoors for nearly 30 years and now it srarts like a daily driver, still on 6 volts. Dave

warrlaw1
08-19-2013, 01:00 PM
Exactly, Dave. I used your advise and experience on my 55 and no more problems. Cheers.

52 Ragtop
08-19-2013, 01:05 PM
I have a 289 in my 52 Commander, I also left it as a 6 volt system. I have not (yet anyway) run the ground directly to the starter, but have added a few extra grounds, under the dah and from the engine to the frame (a second one) and it cranks over with nor issues.

Jim

BobPalma
08-19-2013, 01:09 PM
Thanks for the confirmation, Dave. :D

That's one of the issues we battle in The Co-Operator all the time; the speed with which people want to convert to 12 volts, thinking all their problems will go away...when it would be easier to do less work and fix what you have. :!: BP

Swifster
08-19-2013, 01:12 PM
I've never owned a 6 volt car, but my thought was these cars were daily drivers back in the day. There is no reason why these cars still can't run on 6 volts.

BobPalma
08-19-2013, 01:13 PM
I've never owned a 6 volt car, but my thought was these cars were daily drivers back in the day. There is no reason why these cars still can't run on 6 volts.

Precisely, Tom. :cool: BP

62champ
08-19-2013, 01:21 PM
And this is just not a debate in the old car hobby - the old tractor hobby has the same issue. A guy thought I was nuts for having my 6 volt generator rebuilt - "why not just buy a 12 volt conversion kit?" he asked - "because I want it to be original" I told him. Guy who did the work stated what you did (keep it tight and clean) as well as making sure the battery was always fully charged.

PackardV8
08-19-2013, 01:40 PM
The one other caveat is 6-volt systems require LARGE battery cables. Any generic auto parts battery cable today will be sized for 12 volt systems and thus only half as large in cross-sectional area as it needs to be. If you've got half the voltage, you need twice the cable area to carry it.

The majority of the 6-volt problems I see are:

1. As mentioned, bad grounds and corrosion. One cable was completely corroded back under the insulation.
2. Too small cables.
3. Reversed coil polarity
4. Decades-old plugs, plug wires, rotor, cap and points. Corrosion takes it's toll and plug wire insulation goes bad, allowing cross-firing.

jack vines

55 56 PREZ 4D
08-19-2013, 03:30 PM
If you WANT to convert over to 12 volt. By all means-- Do it. BUT DO YOUR HOMEWORK FIRST !
Unless you have done your homework VERY thoughougly and have found all the right resistors, runtz, voltage regulators, or 12 volt components to swap in, You're probably NOT going to have a complete conversion. You will either have some things that don't work and will get along without them or will give up when you find out that it's not as simple as promised.
Do you NEED to convert from 6 volt to have a reliable daily driver ? NO NO NO !!!!
6 volt systems are more sensitive to bad connections and corroded conductors.
The electrical system needs to be restored and maintained.
GROUNDS, GROUNDS, GROUNDS, GROUNDS, GROUNDS.
Any good trade or training school that deals with electrical trouble shooting will pound into you to check the basics first.
Grounds and bad connections are the most often found trouble.
Automotive electrical systems are under extreme duress.
Vibration, extremes in temperature, outside forces such as salt, dirt, grease.
Due to the battery acid, CORROSION.
As has been said numerous times, clean tight connections, replace cables even if they look good on the outside [corrosion works from the inside].
Good, CLEAN, tight ground cable connections.
Basics
-generating system operating as specified
-correct size cables
-the largest CCA battery you can find

RadioRoy
08-19-2013, 04:37 PM
Lots of newbies come on the forum and say something like "I just bought my first Studebaker. I know nothing about it, or old cars in general, so I am going to disassemble it, redesign it, and make it better."

How can they make it better when they don't understand it in the first place?

Jeb
08-19-2013, 05:08 PM
I am curious..at what rpm does the generator start to produce electricity. My brother was starting my Champion occasionally but never revved the engine above an idle and eventually the battery died. I was told the generator wouldn’t charge at idle. Could this be a problem in a parade or other situations where the rpm stay low for a period of time?

John

62champ
08-19-2013, 06:08 PM
I am wondering why we are still using 12 volts...hasn't the military been 24 volts since the 1960s? We could just skip 24 and go to 48...;)

Nox
08-19-2013, 06:13 PM
Actually, the moon is made of usual cheese, but made in Switzerland... :)
BUT (& a big wiiide one...) I've had loads of 6-volt cars & when the ice is THICK on the windscreen & the snow make the car look like a house I turned the key & they all went "Njugg... NjuggRUMBLE"! ...while other owners of modern cars with 12-volt systems were working their batteries down, down & dooown...

(The reason I'm converting to 12-volt is that the whole electronic ignition engine-&-trans-with-overdrive is 12 volt & so on.)

Nox
08-19-2013, 06:14 PM
& oh yeah, I still actually prefer my ships to be 24 volt now that I'm thinking about it!

SN-60
08-19-2013, 06:53 PM
I went to a recent show and shine of about 500 participants with at least 100 that were 6 volt systems Buick streight 8, Dodge V8, Ford V8, DIVCO trucks, and many early Fords, Chevrolets, Dodges, AMC, GMC and Dodge truck (there was two 12 volt Studes there). I chatted with several 6 volt operators and they all said there has never been an issue with the 6 volts even the Buick streight 8 owner said it starts up on the first turn. I did notice on the GMC truck that the factory had attached a ground strap direct to the starter from the frame. In discussions with some of the owners the same issue came up that it is important the grounds are clean and tight and should be regularly removed and cleaned. On many of the posts, members wish to convert to 12 volts and I find that somewhat unnecessary and potentially problematic. I have a 6 volt Studebaker that had a severe starting problem, with the battery fully charged it would barley turn it over, I replaced the starter an the same thing. After scratching my head repeatedly the thought of a possible ground issue and attached a ground directly to the starter from the battery and the engine turned over like it was 12 volts. I then removed the right front motor mount and generator bracket (all very rusty) cleaned to bare metal attached a new 00 cable and then magic, the engine barley turns one revolution and starts aggressively. Prior to this the vehicle sat outdoors for nearly 30 years and now it srarts like a daily driver, still on 6 volts. Dave

Wow!...The engine started right up after sitting 30 years? Hey,...I'M sold on that battery too!

JunkYardDog
08-19-2013, 07:29 PM
It was common for the older cars in the 40's and 50's to have ground straps , I pulled the v-8 out of my 57 commander and it has a heavy factory strap on the motor to the frame and it is a 12 v.
The mopars with the flathead six's were a night mare with a lot of them due to the starter sucking all the voltage turning the motor over the ignition wouldn't have enough power to fire the plugs hot enough to start. We would round the car 3 feet and pop the clutch and it would fire right off.
I switched a lot of the old 6 volts to 12 and leaved the 6 volt starter in them and they spun over real good.
In some early to mid 50's year Ford's had 8 volt charging systems on their pickups and their farm tractors, So the factories were looking for a little more punch as the bigger V-8's came on the market so did higher compression and a higher need for them to turn over maybe just that little extra spin.
Of course my motivation was the old tube radios were starting to die and none of them had FM as it came on the scene and tossing in a 6 volt 8 track was just dumb.
Most everybody drove their car only once a week and most everybody had a battery charger out in the garage. So as time progressed so did our cars charging system , My trail blazer has something like a 140 amp system in it totally unheard of years ago even for a diesel truck.

SN-60
08-19-2013, 07:34 PM
It was common for the older cars in the 40's and 50's to have ground straps , I pulled the v-8 out of my 57 commander and it has a heavy factory strap on the motor to the frame and it is a 12 v.
The mopars with the flathead six's were a night mare with a lot of them due to the starter sucking all the voltage turning the motor over the ignition wouldn't have enough power to fire the plugs hot enough to start. We would round the car 3 feet and pop the clutch and it would fire right off.
I switched a lot of the old 6 volts to 12 and leaved the 6 volt starter in them and they spun over real good.
In some early to mid 50's year Ford's had 8 volt charging systems on their pickups and their farm tractors, So the factories were looking for a little more punch as the bigger V-8's came on the market so did higher compression and a higher need for them to turn over maybe just that little extra spin.
Of course my motivation was the old tube radios were starting to die and none of them had FM as it came on the scene and tossing in a 6 volt 8 track was just dumb.
Most everybody drove their car only once a week and most everybody had a battery charger out in the garage. So as time progressed so did our cars charging system , My trail blazer has something like a 140 amp system in it totally unheard of years ago even for a diesel truck.

Well said!...But remember,--- Using "6 volt" and "Dumb" in the same sentence REALLY upsets some folks on this forum!!!!!!!

altair
08-20-2013, 01:02 AM
I kept it in cold storage

sasquatch
08-20-2013, 12:55 PM
My '49 2R15 is six volts and has no problems starting. New, big battery cables, a good battery (it's almost six years old) and all connections clean and tight. It does not have any extra ground wires on it anywhere. I also keep a Battery Tender on it between drives.

altair
08-21-2013, 12:14 AM
I am curious..at what rpm does the generator start to produce electricity. My brother was starting my Champion occasionally but never revved the engine above an idle and eventually the battery died. I was told the generator wouldn’t charge at idle. Could this be a problem in a parade or other situations where the rpm stay low for a period of time?

John
Definately yes, years ago in traffic jams at night many 6 volt cars would die on the side of the road because of prolonged idling with head lights, heater and wipers (if electric) on. In such traffic jams I would turn everything off to stay alive. Then came the alternator.

SN-60
08-21-2013, 12:21 AM
Definately yes, years ago in traffic jams at night many 6 volt cars would die on the side of the road because of prolonged idling with head lights, heater and wipers (if electric) on. In such traffic jams I would turn everything off to stay alive. Then came the alternator.

Altair,....Please go easy with statements like this......It REALLY UPSETS the 6 Volt crowd!!!!!!

55 56 PREZ 4D
08-21-2013, 12:51 PM
altair:
What's to get upset about ?
What you stated is true.
Has nothing to do with being 6 volt or 12 volt.
It has to do with generators. Whether 6 or 12 volt they suck.
6 or 12 volt, at idle neither one puts out electricity.
What you described could happen with a 12 volt generator.
Alternators are a great improvement.
I have a 6 volt alternator on my 55.

55 56 PREZ 4D
08-21-2013, 01:57 PM
Jeb:
The 55 Shop Manual [6 volt] goes into some detail. The 56 Shop Manual [12 volt], not so much.
1955 Electrical System Specifications
The maximum controlled charging rate at 2500 RPM [does not specify if this is engine rpm or generator rpm] is 7.35 volts.
The minimum car speed for maximum charging rate is 21.2 MPH.[3 speed trans]
I know this doesn't answer your question directly but it's a start.
In general:
The generator always supplies current. Very very little at idle, enough to keep the ignition system going but not charge the battery.
A car has to move at about 10 MPH in high gear for the generator to supply enough current to power everything AND charge the battery.
So, whatever 10 mph in high gear translates into for rpm ?

Jeb
08-21-2013, 02:50 PM
I should be fine on my drive north on the highways but I think I'll look into an alternator when I get home. Is it a big deal to switch from a 6 volt generator to a 6 volt alternator?

55 56 PREZ 4D
08-21-2013, 03:41 PM
Go to Bob Johnstones Studebaker Tech site.
You can Google it or go to the SDC home page and find it on the list.
Or do a search on this site. You'll find all kinds of discussions.
There are wiring diagrams, and a tip to install a large [ # 10] jumper across the ammeter gauge to keep it from pegging out due to the alternators greater output.
Remember that your car is positive ground, so get a positive ground alternator.
I left the stock regulator in place just to play with peoples minds, but wired around it.
The alternators bigger output and that it charges when idling, does away with the problem of dead battery while idling. [parades, long stops, etc]
The stock regulator kept the max charge rate at 45 amps so you really don't need over a 60 amp alternator. Unless you are adding a lot of electrical goodies.

SN-60
08-21-2013, 05:29 PM
SN-60;
I'm getting a little tired of your repeated personal attacks on me.
I would like to think people could have a conversation about Studebakers and not have to put up with harrassment.
A little common decency on your part would be appreciated.
Thanks

Sorry about that...but Your 6 Volt 'BALONEY' does get a bit comical after awhile!

Nox
08-21-2013, 05:57 PM
'Tis all a matter of having a wee bit of distance to one self, then it all worx out fine... :)
Not always easy thou..

SN-60
08-21-2013, 06:55 PM
FRIEND:
That is NOT an apology.
In fact I take it as another attack.

You would! Hey,...maybe if I lived in sunny California I too would not mind dealing with a 6 volt vehicle. But up here in Mass...where temps can drop down to 5 below in February....well, nursing a 6 volt car along when there is a simpler, modern, MUCH better option is.......................odd! (In My Opinion)

jnormanh
08-21-2013, 07:09 PM
The bottom line is pretty simple. In order to supply the same power to starter, lights, whatever, a six volt system has to push double the amperage as a twelve volt system. That means bigger wires or cables, and better connections, and aphysically larger battery.

A six volt system with large enough battery, wires and connectors s just fine, but a twelve volt gets the job done easier.

SN-60
08-21-2013, 07:12 PM
The bottom line is pretty simple. In order to supply the same power to starter, lights, whatever, a six volt system has to push double the amperage as a twelve volt system. That means bigger wires or cables, and better connections, and aphysically larger battery.

A six volt system with large enough battery, wires and connectors s just fine, but a twelve volt gets the job done easier.

Yes,....I guess that about sums it up.

avantibngrant
08-21-2013, 07:18 PM
Lots of newbies come on the forum and say something like "I just bought my first Studebaker. I know nothing about it, or old cars in general, so I am going to disassemble it, redesign it, and make it better."

How can they make it better when they don't understand it in the first place?
Roy, I could not agree more. The real issue with a conversion I see is the big jolt the starter gives the ring gear. If you were to convert the starter windings to 12 volt, that would be ok. I keep all my 12 volts tractors and cars 12 volts and all my 6 volts the same. The tractor (Cockshutt 35L Deluxe) I blow snow with is 6 volt and starts as well as the 12 volt (Cockshutt 550) on I use on the blade to move snow here in balmy Ottawa in January. They both have the same Hercules GO 198 engine. You just need to keep the connections clean, and the cables big as with only 6 volts, and voltage drops pulls down the voltage at the starter and points quickly if you don't. I do have a Cockshutt 30 which has been converted to 12 volt. The starter just bangs on the ring gear much harder than I like.
Neil

Jeb
08-22-2013, 03:37 AM
Go to Bob Johnstones Studebaker Tech site.

Looks like I have a lot of research to do. I'm going to stick with the generator until I get some miles on the car. Maybe it will be fine for my use. If it doesn't work out I'll go with the alternator if I don't have to change out gauges and such.

Jeb
08-22-2013, 04:20 AM
Lots of newbies come on the forum and say something like "I just bought my first Studebaker. I know nothing about it, or old cars in general, so I am going to disassemble it, redesign it, and make it better."

How can they make it better when they don't understand it in the first place?

Roy, as a newbie to the world of old cars I come here and ask questions about modifications because of what I read in so many posts by "long time, experienced" owners. Since I know nothing, I have depended on advise you all give when I see discussions on subjects that pertain to the car I own. Unless they've purchased a trailer queen I think most new owners desire to make their cars better and follow this forum to learn what/how to do it. The "understanding" of which you speak will come with time, education, and experimentation (expensive mistakes, lucky breaks?). I read a lot of "learned my lesson" posts so I don't feel alone. I'm sure I will contribute a few of these posts myself before I become competent enough to move out of the newbie/wannabe category. In the mean time, should I convert my original AM radio to AM/FM and make it better?

SN-60
08-22-2013, 05:04 PM
Roy, as a newbie to the world of old cars I come here and ask questions about modifications because of what I read in so many posts by "long time, experienced" owners. Since I know nothing, I have depended on advise you all give when I see discussions on subjects that pertain to the car I own. Unless they've purchased a trailer queen I think most new owners desire to make their cars better and follow this forum to learn what/how to do it. The "understanding" of which you speak will come with time, education, and experimentation (expensive mistakes, lucky breaks?). I read a lot of "learned my lesson" posts so I don't feel alone. I'm sure I will contribute a few of these posts myself before I become competent enough to move out of the newbie/wannabe category. In the mean time, should I convert my original AM radio to AM/FM and make it better?


Very well said jeb! Best of luck with Your Stude.