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Thread: Charging problem

  1. #1
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    Charging problem

    I took my Lark to cruisers weekend and she did great..... until Sunday when she stopped charging my battery.

    I pulled out my meter and my generator was spitting out 14 volts but the voltage regulator wasn’t sending any of it to the battery. I’ve done a little bit of research and some say that it could be cause of dirty points, interesting. Others talked about solid state voltage regulator as a replacement.

    Could someone school me on what is happening?

    What would you all recommend for a fix? Modern alternator or fix what I got?

  2. #2
    President Member TWChamp's Avatar
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    Try cleaning the contacts on the overload relay and cutout relay.
    The voltage regulator is the one with fine wire windings, and that sounds like it's working OK since the generator is putting out 14 volts.

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    TWChamp is correct about cleaning the points, but I will add that you will need a point burnishing tool to polish the clean the contacts. If something like sand paper or some other coarse material is used, the contacts will be destroyed turning the regulator into scrap. Also be sure that the connections between the battery terminal on the regulator and starter solenoid are clean and tight and that includes the connections to the ammeter if the car has one as bad connections will also cause your problem. If you decide to clean the regulator contacts be very careful as the air gap on the relay contacts will increase and could cause problems with the cut out relay operation. Do Not under any circumstances try to clean the contacts on the field or current relays. If you do, you will spend all day trying to re adjust the relays to get them back into correct adjustment. Bud

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    Thanks guys.

    In my research, some folks talk about solid state VR and that when the stock VR goes out to replace it with a solid state VR?

    I’m looking to make this car a runner. Not a DD I have a vehicle for that but if I want to tag in the Lark for the day I want to know I can get my things done for the day

  5. #5
    President Member TWChamp's Avatar
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    My 1950 Studebakers were my daily drivers up through the mid 70's, and they are still all stock and the most dependable cars I own.
    I've never had a stock generator or voltage regulator go out, but have had alternators go bad.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TWChamp View Post
    My 1950 Studebakers were my daily drivers up through the mid 70's, and they are still all stock and the most dependable cars I own.
    I've never had a stock generator or voltage regulator go out, but have had alternators go bad.
    I found one. Please don’t get me wrong I’m not opposed to fixing her the way she came from Studebaker but It’s 2018 not 1961. I’m exploring all my options including factory replacements.
    Last edited by what huh; 10-12-2018 at 04:54 PM.

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    My 62 GT Hawk still has what I believe is its original generator on it and I've replaced the regulator twice in the 44 years I've owned it so I would say its charging system is reliable. The advantages of an alternator are higher current output and they do charge at idle where a generator won't. Please keep in mind that the original wiring in the charging system on most Studebakers is designed for no more than about 35 amps output so adding a higher output alternator such as a later internal regulator Delco will require an upgrade to part of the wiring due to the much higher current output. Bud

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    35 amps isn’t much. I have had thoughts about adding a radio and A/C at some point. If I’m going to do this I should upgrade my charging system.

    What would be a ballpark size for running A/C, radio, factory lighting, and maybe electronic ignition?

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    A Delco internal regulated alternator is a good choice as the output ranges from about 63 amps to over 100. Like I said in an earlier post, the main electrical feed wire and the original feed wire from the generator are too small in wire size for the increased output of a modern alternator. Bud

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bud View Post
    A Delco internal regulated alternator is a good choice as the output ranges from about 63 amps to over 100. Like I said in an earlier post, the main electrical feed wire and the original feed wire from the generator are too small in wire size for the increased output of a modern alternator. Bud
    True, thanks Bud!
    Last edited by what huh; 10-13-2018 at 07:53 PM.

  11. #11
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    AS an added note, there are other alternators you can use, but a Delco alternator if it should fail, a replacement can be easily found at most auto parts stores. Also keep in mind that there are one wire and three wire version Delco alternators available. Which one you use depends on which year Lark you have and whether or not it has an idiot light or ammeter for charging indication. Bud

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    She has an idiot light

  13. #13
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    If you want to use the light and not add a voltmeter to the instrument panel, then you will need a three wire Delco alternator as a one wire alternator which is a popular choice due to ease of installation won't support the use of the idiot light and a volt meter will have to be added to monitor charging. Bud

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    Finally got some time to poke around and decided that I’m fixing what is there and will upgrade to an altenator when the upgrades start coming around.

    I started with cleaning all the connections and cleaned the points inside the VR and I found the metal clip that goes around the ceramic block broken. I took a picture and will post it when I get into the house. Still In the garage.

    That must be the problem cause that’s the location that I lose voltage when I’m hitting everything with my meter.

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    It says 1464 on the side. Can I get this by itself or do I need to get a new VR unit? Any tricks up the CASO sleeves?

    I found the VR on Studebaker international website for $100 but if I can fix it for cheaper I would rather do that

    thumbnail_IMG_0738.jpg
    Last edited by what huh; 10-20-2018 at 07:41 PM.
    1961 Lark Regal VIII 259/auto -- Lucy

  16. #16
    President Member TWChamp's Avatar
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    That's a blown fuse, and I haven't seen one like it on a Studebaker. Where exactly was it located?

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    On the battery post of the voltage regulator

  18. #18
    President Member TWChamp's Avatar
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    Most likely it was a Western Auto added device. I'd just leave it out and connect the wire terminal to the V/R BAT screw.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by TWChamp View Post
    Most likely it was a Western Auto added device. I'd just leave it out and connect the wire terminal to the V/R BAT screw.
    Roger, took your advice and did it. Lucy is happy again and charging at 13.8-14

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    The saga continues, I drive the Lark around town yesterday charging great and having fun. I decided to drive her to work this morning and 15 miles into my trip and the AMP light turned on..... then off... then on again and stayed on. Now i have nothing coming out of the Generator.

    But Im at work now so Ill have to fix it this evening. My wife is bringing me and Autolite generator that I took off a 62 champ. Should swap over but I don’t have it in front of me right now
    Last edited by what huh; 10-22-2018 at 12:15 PM.

  21. #21
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    Welp that didn’t work but I did make it home. The spare generator I had ended up not working but I found out that if you have a fresh battery you can drive 15 miles with your headlights on and not skip a beat.

    Back to the drawing board

  22. #22
    President Member TWChamp's Avatar
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    Did you polarize the replacement generator?

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by TWChamp View Post
    Did you polarize the replacement generator?
    Come again? Polarize?

  24. #24
    President Member TWChamp's Avatar
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    After generators have been worked on or left idle for years, it's a good idea to polarize them to reset the residual magnetism in the field pole shoes.
    Motor's Manuals and your Studebaker shop manual should have a good description on how to do it.

    Since the original generator was charging for a time, the problem likely isn't the generator not being polarized.

  25. #25
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    I see... I’ll look into it.

  26. #26
    President Member Jerry Forrester's Avatar
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    I think you need to find out why the fuse you found on the VR blew.
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