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Thread: Installing an ignition switch in a '56-'61 Hawk

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    Installing an ignition switch in a '56-'61 Hawk

    Help! I am trying to install a complete (lock cylinder and switch) ignition switch assembly in my '56 Golden Hawk. My difficulty is caused by the metal brace that runs across the car behind the fiberglass dash. I can't get enough leverage to push the switch into the bezel and turn it because the brace is in the way. Is there a trick to this or do I just have to figure out how to work around the brace? THANKS!
    Howard - Los Angeles chapter SDC
    '53 Commander Starliner (Finally running and driving, but still in process)
    '56 Golden Hawk (3 speed/overdrive - Running, but not yet driving)

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    I replaced the one in my 61 hawk and I remember it being fairly easy, but that was late eighties and I was a lot younger then.. Hard part was indeed pushing from the back
    Milt

    1947 Champion (owned since 1967)
    1961 Hawk 4-speed
    1967 Avanti
    1961 Lark 2 door
    1950 Commander Starlight
    1988 Avanti Convertible

    Member of SDC since 1973

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    President Member tsenecal's Avatar
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    I didn't go to the shop and look at mine, but can the brace be removed without too much hassle? If I remember correctly, there are a couple of bolts on each end.

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    Tom, thanks for the idea. Never occurred to me that it MIGHT be that easy. I'll look tomorrow.
    Howard - Los Angeles chapter SDC
    '53 Commander Starliner (Finally running and driving, but still in process)
    '56 Golden Hawk (3 speed/overdrive - Running, but not yet driving)

  5. #5
    President Member Xcalibur's Avatar
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    I seem to recall someone fabbing a tool to finagle the switch. You might see is some such might be doable. I no longer have one to look at, but I too don't recall it being a big problem, but that may most likely be poor memory.

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    President Member jbwhttail's Avatar
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    I agree with removing that brace, and while you have it out cover it with foam or electrical tape as it is a hazard! If your ignition switch happens to pop loose(mine did) after install it will contact the brace and go to ground causing wiring harness to burn. Someone posted that Studebaker knew of this hazard and put out a tech note to its shops.
    It is an addiction!

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    Speedster Member 56GH's Avatar
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    I agree, the brace removal is the way to go along with the insulation of the brace to prevent an electrical disaster! I had to do it on my former 56J and again on my '62 GT.

    IMG_1570.jpg
    Bill L.
    1962 GT Hawk

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    Quote Originally Posted by brngarage View Post
    Help! I am trying to install a complete (lock cylinder and switch) ignition switch assembly in my '56 Golden Hawk. My difficulty is caused by the metal brace that runs across the car behind the fiberglass dash. I can't get enough leverage to push the switch into the bezel and turn it because the brace is in the way. Is there a trick to this or do I just have to figure out how to work around the brace? THANKS!
    Make sure to disconnect the battery before working on the switch. It is hot with ignition off. I have went down this same road more than once with my 61 Hawk. Studebaker International sells all the replacement parts if needed. Sometimes a previous owner might have left the ignition lock spacer out in order to get the ignition back in as it is easier but not as strongly held in place. This spacer forces you to compress the spring farther therefore putting more tension on the Bezel and dash connection. There are more than one length bezel, more than one length spring but only one ignition lock spacer. If you get the spring to long you cannot compress it enough and if it is to weak it will not hold and will turn and pop out in a short time and maybe make contact with dash brace, etc. and could cause a fire.

    One solution if you do not intend to keep the car all original is to change out the ignition switch with one that tightens in the dash from a screw on Bezel from the front and will not come loose. There is a universal ignition switch NAPA (Echlin) part number KS6180, cost $27.
    The outer body is the same dimensions as your original switch as well as all contacts. Once you install this switch your popping loose problems are solved as well as possible ignition fires. The terminals are all marked.
    BAT at 6 O Clock position.
    IGN @ 2:00
    ACC @ 10:00
    "ST" (Start) is the center stud.

    The only difference from the cockpit is the knurled round bezel instead of a beveled bezel. The only other difference is that you cannot use your Studebaker ignition keys with the new ignition switch.
    I only suggest this to you in the event you are not trying to keep your car 100% original. This will fix your ignition problems. Hope this might help.

    Stuhawk

  9. #9
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    Howard, I would also replace the ignition switch bezel with the aluminum repro which is stronger than the pot metal original. I just yesterday replaced my switch in the 61 Champ & noticed the pin that locates the bezel into the dash was just a bit wider than the original so I had to file the dash slightly for the bezel to seat properly.
    59 Lark wagon, now V-8, H.D. auto!
    60 Lark convertible V-8 auto
    61 Champ 1/2 ton 4 speed
    62 Champ 3/4 ton 5 speed o/drive
    62 Champ 3/4 ton auto
    62 Daytona convertible V-8 4 speed & 62 Cruiser, auto.
    63 G.T. Hawk R-2,4 speed
    63 Avanti (2) R-1 auto
    64 Zip Van
    66 Daytona Sport Sedan(327)V-8 4 speed
    66 Cruiser V-8 auto

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