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Question About Points and Wiring

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  • Electrical: Question About Points and Wiring

    Hi all! I just graduated college, and, being back home from across the states, naturally I've started the process of bringing my '41 Studebaker out of its four year slumber. I checked the points today, and quickly realized that I just don't have the classic car experience to know what to do here with confidence. So, I've attached the least-bad photo I could get of one of the points, and was hoping some wise Studebaker owner could tell me whether they need replacing (and if so, any brand recommendation?). The idle is just the tiniest bit rough when the engine's cold, but smooths out as it warms up. Cold starts have been lazy, but, going by the gas mileage I've been getting, that could just as easily be the carb needing adjusting/a rebuild (I may be weird for this, but I'm actually excited to work on the carb, it's such a clever mechanism!).

    As for the wiring, the original harness is in rough shape, so I've bought a replacement (and a beautifully made one at that!), but have run into a...peculiar...issue! The new harness matches the diagram in the shop manual perfectly, but the one in the car doesn't! There are extra wires spliced in (for example, one coming off a threaded rod sticking out of the side of the generator). Maybe extra grounds? I'm very confident doing mechanical work, but I can't say the same for the electrical stuff, so I was wondering if anyone knew of a shop in LA that could swap the new harness in for me? Alternatively, is it safe to wire it up matching the diagram, skipping the extra connections, or would that be another addition to my long list of "learning experiences?"

    Thanks in advance,

    Attached Files

    "What a lucky thing the wheel was invented before the automobile; otherwise can you imagine the awful screeching?" - Samuel Hoffenstein

  • #2
    From what I think that I am looking at, it looks like you need new points. You could try cleaning/dressing them with a point file first.
    I hope that you got rid of all of the old fuel before you started the car after four years. If it has a fuel filter, change it.
    Gary L.
    Wappinger, NY

    SDC member since 1968
    Studebaker enthusiast much longer


    • #3
      Hi Gary,

      Thank you for taking a look! Is there a brand of points you'd recommend? As for the fuel, I left it with an empty tank.


      "What a lucky thing the wheel was invented before the automobile; otherwise can you imagine the awful screeching?" - Samuel Hoffenstein


      • #4
        Welcome to the SDC and to the SDC Forum Kevin!

        The first thing you will need is a Studebaker Shop Manual, and Chassis Parts Catalog.
        For a '41 they are only available in Book form.

        Nothing can be determined from a side view of your points, it is the surfaces of the small round contacts on the ends that matter. If they have been in there a long time they are probably due.

        No need to worry about Brands for a '41, there won't be much choice.
        Studebaker Parts are at:
        Last edited by StudeRich; 03-29-2019, 11:55 PM.
        Second Generation Stude Driver,
        Proud '54 Starliner Owner


        • #5
          Hi StudeRich,

          Thank you for the warm welcome, but, believe it or not, I've been around here for about seven-and-a-half or so years! That may not sound like a lot, but I'm only 23!

          Thank you for the info! I already have a shop manual (I managed to track down an original when I first got the car), and, per your advice, I'll be ordering a Chassis Parts Catalog tomorrow morning.

          As for the picture, it actually shows the surface of the adjustable point (my finger's holding the breaker arm off of it), but it is pretty bad, so I'll just describe it as best as I can from what I see (at least so someone may find this thread useful in the future). The surface of the point is concave, with some melted looking metal deposited just off-center. From what you and Gary have said, I think I'll go ahead and replace them.


          "What a lucky thing the wheel was invented before the automobile; otherwise can you imagine the awful screeching?" - Samuel Hoffenstein


          • #6
            After a four year hiatus, there is probably some crud in the carb as well. Put recommended amount of Sea Foam in the gas tank and drive the car!


            • #7
              Where in LA are you located? I live in Hawthorne and would be glad to take a look at your car and help you sort out your problems. If you are interested, send me a PM with your contact information. Bud


              • #8
                Kevin, I am also curious where in the Los Angeles area you are located. Either the Beach Cities Orange and Inland Empire or Los Angeles chapter should be somewhere close to you. I'm sure either (or both) chapters have members who can help you.
                Howard - Los Angeles chapter SDC
                '53 Commander Starliner (Finally running and driving, but still in process)
                '56 Golden Hawk (3 speed/overdrive, Power steering - Running, but not yet driving)
                '62 GT Hawk (4 speed, A/C, Power steering - running and DRIVING!)


                • #9
                  Welcome! Nice to see another '41 around. I just got mine in December. I'm still looking for a Left Front Fender and Left Grille.


                  • #10
                    Before you start swapping parts do some testing. Check spark. If you get a hot, blue spark then the points are fine! Lots of pictures of this stuff on my web site but I highly recommend getting the shop manual and parts books. You will eventually need a timing light and a tach/dwell meter is handy too. 41's rule!