Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

8 volt battery instead of a 6 volt?

Collapse
This topic is closed.
X
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • 8 volt battery instead of a 6 volt?

    A friend of mine's dad said when I replace my battery that I should get an 8 volt battery instead of the 6 volt ('51 Commander). Said it provides just enough extra juice for wintertime starts. Has anyone heard of doing this? Is it safe or is it going to burn up my wires?

    www.bulletshots.net

  • #2
    It's safe enough alright but you'll have to adjust the voltage regulator up a bit to keep it charged properly. The thing is, an 8volt is more of a band-aid fix than a smart approach.
    Your car's system, if maintained in top-notch shape, should be adequate in any weather. Proper sized (gage) cables with good CLEAN connections on both ends and you're good to go.
    Studebaker and other car makers of the time weren't skimping by staying with 6 volts. The cars were engineered to work on 6 volts in any kind of weather. Of course - they couldn't follow each car around to see that it's charging/starting system was kept in optimum condition[}] That was the responsibility of the owner.
    Dirty, corroded points of contact, tired starter, wrong-sized replacement cable - throw in an 8 volt as a "fix" instead of fixing it right.
    It's 50 years this year, since Studebaker last used the 6volt system. There were reasons for going to 12 volt in '56, not the least of which was a significant cost savings since 12 volt systems use less amps and less amps means smaller gage wiring can be used to make up the car's harness. Copper's expensive.[:0]
    Quite often, these 6volt cars 'n trucks have had the battery cables replaced with a cable of insufficient gage. One intended for a 12 volt vehicle. With fresh, clean ends it may squeak by as adequate for awhile - might not. But as the cable ages and it's ends get dirty, it's gonna cause grief because it can't pass the required Amps that the starter's calling for. And the dummy behind the auto parts counter has likely never seen a 6volt car let alone ever thought to sell the right gage cable for one.[xx(]
    Remember - there's 3 big cables involved in feeding the starter. The one from the battery to the starter solenoid - the one from the solenoid to the starter and the one from the battery's positive post to ground (It IS a positive ground system.)
    All three of those cables should be of proper size and with good, clean ends tightened against good clean posts or metal. There should also be a ground strap/connection from the engine block to the frame at one of the engine mounts.[^] Fix it right and you're good to go.

    Miscreant at large.

    1957 Transtar 1/2ton
    1960 Larkvertible V8
    1958 Provincial wagon
    1953 Commander coupe
    1957 President 2-dr
    1955 President State
    1951 Champion Biz cpe
    1963 Daytona project FS
    No deceptive flags to prove I'm patriotic - no biblical BS to impress - just ME and Studebakers - as it should be.

    Comment


    • #3
      Thanks for the great info Mr Biggs.[8D]

      www.bulletshots.net

      Comment


      • #4
        Mr. Biggs is right, 8 volts just covers up underlying problems.
        Here's my recommendations, based on my experience with my 51 Commander:

        1. Rewire the whole dang car, ASAP. Wires may look okay, but will be brittle. (They probably won't look okay where you can't see them.) Use #1 Gauge cable between the battery, solenoid and starter. Ground the system to the starter mount. And if you're really anal, wire ground as many of the power users as you can back to the battery, rather than depend on loose, gooey or rusted body or frame to complete the circuit. (That's how Corvettes are wired.) I doubled the amount of wire in my car, but I should never have to worry about a lost circuit or 'gremlins'.

        2. Unless you're devoted to an absolutely stock show vehicle, ditch the generator in favor of a 6-volt alternator. These old cars just dont get run often or far enough for a generator to keep up with all the starts. I specifically recommend an alternator from Fifth Avenue Internet Garage (Google name for website).Their product and instructions are first rate. You will need to reverse polarity in your car (newly negative ground) but there's only one or two changes you need to make depending on accessories and you can expect a fully charged battery and USEFUL headlights.

        Good luck! I hope you enjoy you Commander as much as I do mine. Please take suggestion #1 to heart; you won't regret it.

        51 Commander State Sedan
        Butler PA

        Comment


        • #5
          Due to knowledge gained on this forum,I recently got to inform a 53 Cheby owner he needed to replace a 'skinny' pos cable.!! Remembering back to my childhood,I recall many times in winter, my mother and I pushing my dads clunkers to 'the hill' where he would wave bye,roll start the car,and go to work.I guess my dad never bought a new battery in his lifetime,but I do remember him 'flushing ' and 'rebuilding'a few!! Now thats frugal !!!!

          Hawks,Larks,and other critters!
          Oglesby,Il.

          Comment


          • #6
            One nice thing about a generator system, once the car is running you don't need the battery. Alternators require a constant charge from a good battery to produce the required output. Once the generator is running it's happy to produce all you need all by itself.
            "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"

            Comment


            • #7
              I recently had a local fella ask me if he might should change his 55 President coupe to 12 volts because he was tired of the reluctance of it to start on 6 volts.
              He said it WOULD start when it was cold - although it cranked slowly - but it was near to impossible to get it restarted once it was hot.

              What I told him to do was to start the car and shut it off about 4 or 5 times when it was cold. Start it, shut it off - start it again, shut it off and so on. Then using his hand, check the 3 heavy cables to see if one of them (or all) were unduly warm. (This would indicate that that cable was overtaxed in trying to carry the amps the starter was calling for - BTW, you could check the connections for the same tell-tale clues, as a dirty connection will show warm/hot too.)

              When he got back to me, he was gushing with gratitude. One of the cables - that looked fine - turned out to be of too small a gage. He replaced it with a proper gage cable and could confidently go anyplace without having to wonder if it would REstart when he was ready to leave.[]
              It MAKES a difference!

              Miscreant at large.

              1957 Transtar 1/2ton
              1960 Larkvertible V8
              1958 Provincial wagon
              1953 Commander coupe
              1957 President 2-dr
              1955 President State
              1951 Champion Biz cpe
              1963 Daytona project FS
              No deceptive flags to prove I'm patriotic - no biblical BS to impress - just ME and Studebakers - as it should be.

              Comment


              • #8
                Have you actually experienced hard starting yet, or is this a perceived problem? I completely agree with the erudite Mr. Biggs. I would only add that when you go to buy a new battery, get the biggest commercial grade battery you can find. And if the starter ever does display weak cranking, it can be 'souped up' with some GM parts from the same era.
                In the early '60s we had a mildly hot 232 V8 that developed a cranking problem. Drawing on my vast knowledge of auto mechanics, (I was 20 years old) we fixed the problem with an 8 volt battery. Later we learned that the real problem was simply too much initial timing advance!

                Dwain G.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Rockne, I think that a generator can produce all the juice IT CAN all by itself, but with only occasional short trips at modest speed, generators generally can't produce all the juice an antique CAR NEEDS. (Sorry-I'm not shouting, I just can't seem to make italics or underlines....) With generators, my old cars' batteries are always making 'a long day's journey into night'. Never could get decent headlamps, even with new wiring. Alternators take juice to make juice, but they make juice faster and at slower engine rpms than a generator can.

                  51 Commander State Sedan
                  Butler PA

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    ERUDITE! Why I'll........ No - wait - erudite - yeah - to a degree.[}]

                    Commader 51, have you ever tried a headlite relay to get brighter lights?
                    See, it circumvents all the amp-robbing contacts in the normal headlight system of a 6volt car. I've had folks tell me they were grateful for the H/L relays I sold them. Fact is, I found a few more out amongst all my "junque" the other day. Old, old (almost as old as Biggs!) NORS relays. I'd share them cheap if anyone wants to try one.
                    Actualy, they do pretty good on ebay but I could be fair here if anyone's interested. It DOES take redoing just a couple wires but it's pretty easy to install one.

                    BTW, I agree with your argument - alt.s vs. gens. The industry switched for a reason. As accesory items grew in number, it was a logical change. That and the emergence of cheap, practical, solid state rectifiers that could convert the alternator's AC to DC.
                    Look at how your H/Ls dim at idle with a Generator. That say's it's basically running off the battery at that point.

                    Miscreant at large.

                    1957 Transtar 1/2ton
                    1960 Larkvertible V8
                    1958 Provincial wagon
                    1953 Commander coupe
                    1957 President 2-dr
                    1955 President State
                    1951 Champion Biz cpe
                    1963 Daytona project FS
                    No deceptive flags to prove I'm patriotic - no biblical BS to impress - just ME and Studebakers - as it should be.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Thanks, Mr. Biggs, I do have a headlight relay installed in my '51, and I do believe it made a difference. But after having put the alternator in, I think I'll try halogens! How's that for wallowing in 'extra' electricity!?

                      51 Commander State Sedan
                      Butler PA

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        No, it's just that the battery that arrived with the car is pretty much dead and I was going to grab something to replace it. I just wanted to check and see if I "needed" to get something other than a 6.

                        quote:Originally posted by Dwain G.

                        Have you actually experienced hard starting yet, or is this a perceived problem? I completely agree with the erudite Mr. Biggs. I would only add that when you go to buy a new battery, get the biggest commercial grade battery you can find.
                        www.bulletshots.net

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Well, as Dwain says, find the biggest commercial grade battery that'll fit in the Commander's battery tray.
                          Since this car's set for some time, clean and check the size of all the cables before you try to start it. Good insurance at the very least.

                          BTW, the battery solenoid in your '51 - the little terminal that has one wire attached to it, it takes a ground to it to activate that solenoid. This is opposed to later cars that require a hot connection to their "control" terminal to start them.
                          If I recall right, your car has a "T" switch along the bottom edge of the dash that says "Start" on it. This switch, when actuated, provides a ground to energize that starter solenoid.
                          I say this because some guys might think they could use a jumper wire from the negative side of the battery (remember, this is positive ground we're working with here) to that little terminal on the solenoid and expect it to spin the starter. Won't happen tho.
                          One end of that solenoid's windings is internally attached to the large hot terminal. The other end of it's winding is attached to the little terminal and it sits waiting for a ground to make it do it's thing.

                          Miscreant at large.

                          1957 Transtar 1/2ton
                          1960 Larkvertible V8
                          1958 Provincial wagon
                          1953 Commander coupe
                          1957 President 2-dr
                          1955 President State
                          1951 Champion Biz cpe
                          1963 Daytona project FS
                          No deceptive flags to prove I'm patriotic - no biblical BS to impress - just ME and Studebakers - as it should be.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Mr. Biggs- you describe the exact problem that I have. Starts without a problem when cold, but if I drive any distance and turn it off, it will barely turn over if I try to restart it. If I then let it "cool down" for a 1/2 hr. or so, it again starts up just fine. This is a real problem when you stop for gas and can't get going again.
                            My question being what is the correct gage battery cables. I was in our local NAPA and asked this last week and the kid behind the counter looked at me like I was from outerspace.
                            Thanks.
                            1955 Champion Deluxe 2dr.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I'd go with 2/0 (pronounced "two ought") cables for that car. And make sure they're all that size - battery to solenoid, battery to ground and solenoid to starter. If any are smaller than that, they'll be, in effect, a bottleneck for the ample flow of the current the starter demands.
                              Be sure to clean the point of contact wherever your battery to ground cable attaches. And apply some vaseline or special corrosion-preventive goo before you tighten it all up.
                              Ideally, it should attach to the engine someplace so that the current doesn't have to find it's way around motor mounts and other current-restricting things.

                              Miscreant at large.

                              1957 Transtar 1/2ton
                              1960 Larkvertible V8
                              1958 Provincial wagon
                              1953 Commander coupe
                              1957 President 2-dr
                              1955 President State
                              1951 Champion Biz cpe
                              1963 Daytona project FS
                              No deceptive flags to prove I'm patriotic - no biblical BS to impress - just ME and Studebakers - as it should be.

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X