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Update to this thread. Fan installed & starter fixed

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  • Update to this thread. Fan installed & starter fixed

    After driving my '55 President State Sedan a few times one of the biggest hassles I am still having with it is the water temperature at idle. Drive down the road at 60mph or so and the temperature gauge stays in the middle or just above the middle of the normal range. When I stop to fill up with gas I keep it idling because the other big hassle is a starter that will barely turn the engine over when it is hot. In the few minutes it takes to fill up, the needle will move to the top or just above the normal range.

    I am considering installing a 6-volt electric 16" pusher fan in front of the radiator to try to move more air through the radiator at idle. I doubt if the generator at idle will keep up with the electrical needs of the fan. I am thinking it would have to idle quite a while before it could discharge the battery very much. I am just wondering if anyone on the forum has run a pusher fan and if it helped much at idle.

    Thank you,
    Charlie D.
    Last edited by Charlie D; 09-03-2018, 10:28 PM.

  • #2
    Are 6-volt pusher fans even available?
    Winston-Salem, NC
    Visit The Studebaker Skytop Registry website at:


    • #3
      Do you have a fan shroud? If not, that would probably be the first thing to install.

      My LIMITED understanding of a pusher fan is that:

      1) it can be loud
      2) when its not on, it restricts airflow

      From what Ive read, pushers are the least-desired solution.

      But Im sure other much more experience people than me will chime in.


      • #4
        Six volt systems did work when they were new, and the cars kept cool.

        Look for bad/ corroded ground straps, weak battery, possible weak starter. One of my solenoids was not providing full current.

        There are several threads on this - I know because I've been there...


        • #5
          I've found it typical that the gauge indication will rise while at idle probably because the sensor is at the rear of the engine and the water pump isn't providing a lot of flow. Whether it's a problem depends on how much it rises.

          Considering all the work that's been done on your car it's a shame not to have it run reliably. Assuming you've done all the usual suspect things to the starting system it is suggested you remove the starter from the car for a good inspection.. if not already done verify the condition of the starter gear. It should have minimum wear on the teeth. Also check that you have the correct starter bolts. These are specific and not a standard shoulder size.

          Next disassemble the starter. Carefully check the bushings for any wear or end play on the shaft. Check the brushes for wear and replace if necessary. Now the critical check. The Delco Remy starters used on the 51-55 V8s were notorious for developing drag problems between the armature and field coils. To develop maximum torque the gap between the two must be as small as possible, but they must not touch. Carefully inspect the field coils (That's the outer unit) for ant signs of wear or contact. It will probably appear as a shiny or scuffed spot distinctly different from surrounding area. A relatively easy fix can often be to remove a small amount of material in this and the surrounding area with a small grinding wheel on a drill. If you need to be more elegant you could probably have a machine shop machine it out, but you really only want to remove metal in the contact area. This takes a little guess work so it may need to be repeated. Removing and replacing the starter is not a fun job, but neither is trying to start a stalled vehicle with a bad starter.

          I had this problem with a '52 that about drove me nuts until an old Studebaker mechanic gave me this advice. I also recall a number of references to this in TW back in the 80's. I've been fortunate with my '55 in that it's starter seems to function well when hot albeit a little slower than when cold.
          American iron, real old school
          With two tone paint, it sure is cool

          Its got 8 cylinders and uses them all
          With an overdrive that just won't stall

          With a 4 barrel carb and dual exhausts
          With 4.23 gears it can really get lost

          Its got safety belts and I ain't scared
          The brakes are good and the tires are fair.

          Tried to sell her, but got no taker
          I"ll just keep driving my Studebaker


          • #6
            Your water pump may be at fault. A few years ago there were a lot of them on the market, manufactured with incorrect tolerances. 8-9 years ago, I installed one on a friends car and the measurement between the rear of the impeller and the water manifold was so bad it had to be moved almost .070, It never gave a hint of trouble afterwards.
            64 GT Hawk (K7)
            1970 Avanti (R3)


            • #7
              I'm sure your fan is the right one, and installed correctly, but over the years I have seen a few fans installed backwards. They sure don't pull much air with the blades curved the wrong direction.

              The only time I see a dragging starter is when the drive end bushing is worn and letting the armature drag on the field pole shoes. I would never remove metal to try to fix this, but new bushing will fix it right up. Also make sure the battery is in good condition.


              • #8
                I run a 6 volt fan front side of rad on my 50 Hudson 8. Have it on a switch and use it in traffic. Makes a difference and is very quiet. Often forget to turn it off. Nothing wrong with 6 volt system if everything is close to how it should be.


                • #9
                  Don't forget that rebuilt engines tend to run hotter at the beginning of their new lives as all new parts have to break in. If you have not made them yet, I would wait for a few thousand miles more to ascertain the situation. Also, temperature gauge readings may sometimes be off base and, as they are inexpensive now, I'd recommand the use of an infrared thermometer before dealing with any modifications. As for the starter problems, I would check the continuity of the circuit with an ohmeter first. These symptoms might be caused only by a bad engine ground.
                  Nice day to all.


                  • #10
                    I quickly read over the entire thread, so I might have missed something, but...check your idle speed. It is possible (especially in heavy traffic, and very hot days) to have the idle speed set too low for the engine fan to move enough air to keep up.
                    John Clary
                    Greer, SC

                    SDC member since 1975


                    • #11
                      As earlier mentioned ...a shroud is the best way to go

                      Home of the Fried Green Tomato


                      1960 Champ , 1966 Daytona , 1965 Daytona Wagonaire


                      • #12
                        Yeah But... ALL 1953 to '55 Studebakers have shrouds unless modified.

                        I think for whatever reason this Water Pump is NOT doing it's job, I would measure the clearance between the back wall of the Water Manifold and the Impeller Blades.
                        Second Generation Stude Driver,
                        Proud '54 Starliner Owner


                        • #13
                          Thank you for your suggestions


                          I appreciate the comments and suggestions. The battery cables from and to the battery are 1O. I think they do a pretty good job of getting current to the starter because of how well it turns the engine over when cool.

                          The engine was very tight right after the rebuild but last fall’s 500 mile round trip to the Branson Orphan Car Show went a long way to seating the rings and loosening the engine up some.

                          I do have the shroud installed. It appears as if it comes about 1/2 inch from the fan blades.

                          I usually disconnect the positive cable from the battery post when not driving it. If I keep it hooked up over a period of a couple of weeks it will drain down somewhat. I have sanded and cleaned the hookup point on the water manifold where the positive cable hooks to the engine. I have taken the starter bolts out and sanded and cleaned the back of them and the torque converter housing to try to make sure there is good continuity between the starter and the engine block.

                          I think I will double check the resistance between the starter, through the block and to the positive post on the battery. I will then check the resistance between the starter and the negative post on the battery. I am guessing the reading on the ohm meter should be pretty low?

                          The last time I went to fill up with gas I left it idling. When I got home and in the garage I shut the engine off. It was not over 200 degrees and I waited five minutes or so and tried to start it. It turned the engine over very slowly, about one cylinder per second. I hit the switch to run the electric pump for 3-4 seconds and tried again. Once again for about 5-6 seconds it was cranking very slow. Then an interesting phenomenon happened. It suddenly speeded up to normal fast cranking speed and the engine started immediately. When I took the positive cable off the battery post it was very hot. I think that would indicate a lot of amperage going through the cable.

                          As a few have suggested very eloquently I think this points to the starter binding up. If it were in the electrical starting circuit I do not think the engine would instantly go from very slow cranking to normal cranking in a split second.

                          I have attached a picture of the engine compartment. Once again thank you for the suggestions on the starting situation. I will be trying to contact kamzack about his 6-volt fan.

                          Charlie D.
                          Attached Files


                          • #14
                            It DOES certainly look like everything in there is in Better than GREAT shape!
                            Second Generation Stude Driver,
                            Proud '54 Starliner Owner


                            • #15
                              Sure wish all my cars looked that nice under the hood. I never use ohms to check starter problems. A wire the size of a human hair can show 0 ohms, but not carry amps. I would probe the battery posts to check voltage, then do the same while cranking the engine. If it drops to less than about 5 volts, then the battery is too small, too bad, or the starter is drawing too much. A hot post connection means it heated up from a poor connection, or the battery is bad, or the starter is drawing too many amps. I have an ammeter with various buss bars, so it can measure up to 400 amps. Between the voltage readings and amp draw, a person can pinpoint the problem.

                              Another test that might help is to shine the headlights on the wall and see how much they dim as you start the engine. Do this both cold and hot, when it has the problem.

                              I check voltage drop to check for poor connections. Probe the + battery post and the starter body and check for voltage drop while cranking the engine. It should have less than about .1 volt drop. Do the same for the - post and starter post.
                              Last edited by TWChamp; 07-05-2018, 03:57 PM.