Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

6 volt? 12 volt? Cotton insulated wiring?

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • 6 volt? 12 volt? Cotton insulated wiring?

    There's more than one way to skin a cat; or flog a horse for that matter!

    Here's my story of my second 53 CK Stude, pictured here, and its 6 volt - 12 volt electrical system.

    Click image for larger version

Name:	53 Stude cropped.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	71.2 KB
ID:	1753656


    I bought the car when I was a student at UT in Austin, Texas. I had been working a part time job while I was in school and bought the car from the original owner in the late 60s, for the premium price of $300.

    It was my second 53. I had left the first in my mom's driveway in WV (driveway behind the 53 pictured above) when I left home. It was a bit rough looking. Mom got tired of the 53 in her driveway while I was gone and had it towed away. I was sad to hear it had to go. Mom apologized years later saying she "didn't realize it was a special car."

    This second 53 made a couple of trips from TX to WV and back. I had been determined to keep it 6 volts and pretty original although I did make the swap from auto trans to a 3 spd OD I got out of a 54 sedan in a junkyard east of Austin.

    On one trip back to WV the 6 volt system was giving me trouble and I couldn't get the correct voltage regulator or get the regulator repaired locally. The electrical system was having issues.

    And it was time to make the 1200 mile trip back to Austin. I had an early GM 12 volt self regulated alternator (12SI I think) in my parts pile. I looked at the Stude generator manifold mount and thought I could bolt one of the ears of the GM alternator to the front of the bracket where the front mount of the Stude generator bolted on.

    The GM alternator did bolt on with only the one ear. The pulley was slightly forward, but not so bad. So on it went. I bought a cheap 12 volt battery, headlights, taillights and turn signal bulbs. I had a resistor for the ignition coil and a parts store resistor took care of the radio.

    The fuel gauge and the temperature gauges read far too high so I disconnected those. The ammeter didn't know 6 volt amps from 12 volt amps so I was good there. The oil pressure is mechanical so all was good there too. The turn signal flashed lickety split!

    I was disappointed to have to abandon the 6 volt system, but boy did that starter zing! The engine never started so fast. I always ran the dash lights, defroster and heater motors on low. They ran a little faster than on high 6 volts, but never failed.

    So off to Texas I went with a grin on my face and my elbow hanging out the window. I did change the turn signal flasher to a 12 volt unit after not too long.

    I ran the car for two or three years that way. Then over just a couple of weeks or so the starter slowed down and burned out. So I took the starter to a Mexican starter shop in east Austin and explained my problem.

    The proprietor, in his electron wisdom said, "I can fix that; I'll put in 4 field coils out of a 12 volt 54 Pontiac." The 6 volt 53 starter had only 3 field coils, so that was all to the good. The Stude still started strong and still runs the original 53 6 volt armature. Amazingly, the alternator never vibrated enough to break the one ear mounting system.

    The only electrical problem I ever had after that was when a ragged defroster hose cut through the old cotton insulation on an under dash wire one night. A lot of smoke started coming out from under the dash; the exact location was lit by the red glow of the defroster hose wire. The underside of the 53 dash is very accessible so I reached up and pulled the offending hose out with just a little burn to my fingers.

    That was the last electrical problem I ever had with the car. The crankshaft eventually spun a rod bearing though, from being cut too far by a sloppy machine shop; so I put the car in storage where it sits to this day, going downhill without ever moving. Sad, but that's life.

    My 54 hardtop, seen in my avatar at upper left, still has a 6 volt system with new reproduction cotton insulation wiring throughout and I never worry about it.

    Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_1383.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	87.3 KB
ID:	1753655


    It also has a "cheater" 6 volt Optima gel cell battery discreetly hidden under a black felt cloth in the left front corner of the trunk over the axle hump.

    The batteries are wired in parallel. The trunk battery has a mechanical on/off switch under the front seat to keep the 6 volt under hood battery and the 6 volt gel cell trunk battery from discharging one another when not being driven. It does make for a more dependable 6 volt system since the car isn't driven much.

    And I still have that Studebaker grin!

    Regards to all. Life is short, so let's keep it sweet!
    Last edited by Don Jeffers; 03-04-2017, 05:54 AM. Reason: Clarity

  • #2
    Don, GREAT STORY!...I really enjoyed reading it!....Ed

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Don Jeffers View Post

      The proprietor, in his electron wisdom said, "I can fix that; I'll put in 4 field coils out of a 12 volt 54 Pontiac." The 6 volt 53 starter had only 3 field coils, so that was all to the good. The Stude still started strong and still runs the original 53 6 volt armature. Amazingly, the alternator never vibrated enough to break the one ear mounting system.
      One nitpick. The 54 Pontiac starter did indeed have four field coils, while most other contemporary 6-volt starters only had three. However, the 54 Pontiac still had a 6-volt system. The four coil starter aided in spinning up the big Pontiac straight eight, and was a very popular conversion on other 6-volt cars with Delco systems back in the day. Pontiac went with 12 volts with their new V8 in 1955.
      Skip Lackie

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Skip Lackie View Post
        One nitpick. The 54 Pontiac starter did indeed have four field coils, while most other contemporary 6-volt starters only had three. However, the 54 Pontiac still had a 6-volt system. The four coil starter aided in spinning up the big Pontiac straight eight, and was a very popular conversion on other 6-volt cars with Delco systems back in the day. Pontiac went with 12 volts with their new V8 in 1955.
        Thanks for the correction, Skip. Not a nitpick, but just the facts.

        I thought Pontiac probably went to 12 volts when Chevy did in 55, but I remembered the rebuilder saying a 54 four coil 12 volt system, so I went with my memory. After all, its only been nearly 50 years.

        So did he tell me wrong? Did I remember wrong? Did Pontiac ever use a 12 volt 4 field coil starter?

        A 4 field coil starter sounds like the way it ought to be; I like the symmetry.

        Comment


        • #5
          Yes, the 55 Pontiac 12-volt starter had four coils, but I think most of them did. Am no expert on automotive starters, but I have a couple of big Delco books that list the component parts of Delco starters and generators. They show the 53 Stude starter as having two big field coils, while most of the 12v starters of that era had four smaller ones.
          Skip Lackie

          Comment

          Working...
          X