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51 Commander Problem solving and needed parts

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  • 51 Commander Problem solving and needed parts

    I am ramping up the restore of the 51 Commander. It will not be a show car but a fun driver. I have asked questions in a bits and pieces fashion but with hitting hard I have run into some problems.
    Electrical: Previous owner converted to 12v, installed an EZ harness. It works but he did not hook up the wiper motor, heater fans, cig lighter, clock, horns
    Question: can any of those run on 12v safely?

    I have tried two different types of voltage reducers. Both insides of the reducers get very hot and smoke when running the heater fan or clock.
    Can anyone give any advice on the best way to reduce the power to these devices? The Wipers work well when you put 12v to them and barely move with the 6v. It is a 6v motor. I have two clocks and both acted like they wanted to but never engaged. I have a new 6v battery from a different car and that does not run the clocks either. I have not been able to check the horns. The previous owner used the reducing brass strips on the gauges. All the interior lights were blown and they now work with the 12v bulbs. Is the heater fan below look like a 12v or 6v. I got it later and assumed it was 6v. It is not marked.

    Electrical is always frustrating for me. I have the wiring diagram but with the new harness it does not quite match up. What is the path for the wiring between the door switches, pillar switch and dome light? The car had a headliner fire and the wiring is mostly gone.

    Can I hook up the floor starter switch with 12v? If so, what is the best path? I have figured some things out but again the new harness is making this tough.
    Headlights, running lights, brake lights all work.

    Looking for a couple of parts. I am looking for the outside holder and nut for the cig lighter.
    Also as mentioned in a previous post the turning signal column cover.

    If anyone knows anything about these clocks please let me know. I want to restore them and make them work.

    Thanks for your patience
    51 Studebaker Starlight State Commander Coupe
    53 Studebaker Starlight Regal Commander Coupe
    62 Volvo PV544 Sport
    59 Renault 4CV

  • #2
    It's a 6 volt heater fan. The early 12 volt motors were marked 12V for the first several years, at least until 12 Volts became the norm. If it's not marked, assume it's 6 volt.

    Generally, you do not have to replace switches when going from 6V to 12V. You will most likely have to rewire the floor starter switch internally or replace it. How/if you can use the floor starter switch depends more on what your starter solenoid looks like. Some take a ground on the little stud to energize and some take 12 volts on one of the little studs to energize. I don't remember which is which, but the change in how to energize the solenoid came at the same time as the switch to 12 volts.

    As a rough rule of thumb, the things that MUST be changed in converting from 6V to 12V are:
    -light bulbs - all of them
    -solenoids - all of them
    -relays - all of them
    -voltage regulator
    -ignition coil
    -regulator added to 6 Volt gauges

    Things that do NOT need to be changed are:
    -switches, including overdrive governor
    -wires/wiring (If the old wires are good)
    -distributor points
    -spark plugs
    -spark plug wires - if they are good

    Things that are being debated, or upon which there is not common agreement:
    -starter motor
    -distributor condenser

    As another general rule of thumb, most voltage reducing devices get hot and do not deliver the quality and exactness/regulation that the device (fan, radio) needs to operate properly. In most cases, not all, the voltage reducing devices will not work satisfactorily. It is best not to put your hopes in them.
    Last edited by RadioRoy; 03-03-2018, 11:52 AM.
    RadioRoy, specializing in AM/FM conversions with auxiliary inputs for iPod/satellite/CD player. In the old car radio business since 1985.

    17A-S2 - 50 Commander convertible
    10G-C1 - 51 Champion starlight coupe
    10G-Q4 - 51 Champion business coupe
    4H-K5 - 53 Commander starliner hardtop
    5H-D5 - 54 Commander Conestoga wagon
    56B-D4 - 56 Commander station wagon
    60V-L6 - 60 Lark convertible


    • #3
      Can the clock take 12 volts?
      Does anyone know of a really good conversion/voltage reducer that works better than others?
      51 Studebaker Starlight State Commander Coupe
      53 Studebaker Starlight Regal Commander Coupe
      62 Volvo PV544 Sport
      59 Renault 4CV


      • #4
        The clock only takes an electric jump for less than a second every five minutes or so. That winds the internal spring. Other than that the clock uses no electricity. I would think that would not be enough to damage it.
        "All attempts to 'rise above the issue' are simply an excuse to avoid it profitably." --Dick Gregory

        Brad Johnson, SDC since 1975, ASC since 1990
        Pine Grove Mills, Pa.
        sigpic'33 Rockne 10, '51 Commander Starlight, '53 Commander Starlight "Désirée"


        • #5
          Originally posted by lelshaddai View Post
          What is the path for the wiring between the door switches, pillar switch and dome light?
          Jim - just did this on my 52 Starlight. The main harness I got for my car did not have most (any?) of the wiring for the interior lighting. I spent a lot of time studying the wiring diagram, best I can do is suggest you do the same. Wiring for the door switches run to the instrument panel. Then there's a loop that runs from there up the right A pillar, over the door to the B pillar switch and around to the rear interior light. From there back to the dash around the left side, over the door and down the left A pillar back to the Aux circuit breaker. Hope that helps.
          52-wire (12).jpg
          3H-C5 "The Blue Goose"


          • #6
            Make the 6 volt system work!
            The car was designed to use 6 volt and there is some stupid idea going around that you have to go to 12volt to improve the starting .When Studebaker built these cars they started just fine.
            Fix the starter and bring it back to original!!
            All the resistors and burning up the heater motors and starter is not progress.


            • #7
              6 --- I agree with Robert! My 1947 Champion sedan works just fine on 6 volts. The wiring harness was replaced about 15 years ago with one from Studebakers West, on which every wire was a perfect match to the original.
              Bill Jarvis


              • #8
                I also agree with Robert. Love all my 6 volt Studebakers, and they start great on 6 volts.
                I also get over 10 years from all my 6 volt batteries, which is about twice what I get from my 12 volt batteries on modern cars.