View Full Version : Cloth vs plastic wiring when?

Studebaker Wheel
11-24-2010, 06:13 PM
Can anyone tell me definitively when Studebaker switched from the use of cloth to plastic covered electrical wiring? Also curious as to what year was first for the use under hood insulation? Thanks.

11-24-2010, 06:17 PM
my '55 coupe has plastic covered wiring for the two main harnesses, but some of it is still cloth covered, e.g. the wiring up to the dome light. I'm pretty sure that '53 was still cloth covered, not sure about '54.


11-24-2010, 06:23 PM
Richard, the oldest model I have with underhood insulation is my unrestored 55 president coupe.

I think the cloth wiring was a "work in progress" as inventories were used up. For example, I have seen some mid to late '50''s with plastic insulation on the main harness but cloth covered head light wiring pig tails to the terminal block. Unless someone else has more factual information, I don't think there was a "date certain" change over on the wiring.

11-24-2010, 06:31 PM
I had a 54 Commander that had cloth wiring and I have done some work on a 55 Commander that has plastic wiring, so the change must have been made for the 1955 models. Bud

11-24-2010, 06:32 PM
I believe the wire change occurred in the '55 models and, as John indicated, depended on inventories.

11-24-2010, 06:56 PM
My '57 Clipper has a mixture, most of it being plastic.

11-24-2010, 08:28 PM
The big change was at the same time Studebaker used 12V systems. 1955 would be the last year for cloth covered main harnesses.

Cloth covered wires were still used for park lights and tailights, up until 58. Some items like park lights on C cabs and parts made by vendors were cloth for years. By 1959 all the wires (in cars)were plastic coated except the dome light wire. The dome light wire was cloth up until 64 and after about 1961 had some sort of plastic coating over the cloth until probably 66 (I don't have a 66 to look at)

Pretty sure our 54 Land Cruiser has hood insulation. Not sure if it was for luxury models, or if it was 'added' after it was built.

11-24-2010, 08:53 PM
When I purchased my '57 Transtar and went through it, I found that one headlamp still had (what appeared to be) the original cloth covered wiring - most of the trucks wiring had been changed to more modern plastic. ;)

11-24-2010, 09:18 PM
I have a dash from a 63 GT Hawk and while the main harness is plastic wrapped, the wiring from the tach sending unit (not to the tach) is cloth covered. The sending unit may have been replaced by the PO but the dash came from a 33,000 mile wreck.

Skip Lackie
11-26-2010, 08:38 AM
I think based on the above and my own experience, it took place over several years. Beginning in 1955, all NEW wiring harnesses were plastic. Any wiring that was identical to previous models continued to be cloth, either because Stude had already bought a large inventory, or it was cheaper to continue to purchase them IAW the same specs. All 54s seem to be all cloth, but most/all main wiring harnesses in 55 were plastic. My 59 truck is all plastic except for the short, heavy wire that powers the two-speed rear axle. That one piece is the only wiring part number that was unchanged from the early 50s.

Studebaker Wheel
11-27-2010, 03:58 PM
My question has been answered! Thanks very much for the many responses. I do appreciate it.