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  • Electrical: Battery?

    Subject car: '50 Commander, six, automatic, four door.
    Got this car not running, and unknown engine condition. Had to restore the wheels and put new tires on it to go any further. Now I need to try to crank engine over and maybe start it.
    I would like to hear from all of you what your experiences have been with batteries in these cars. What brands, where purchased, stayed 6 volt or converted.
    And now, to make a short story long, In the early '70s I bought a '51 Henry J in about the same condition. After some Mystery oil in the cylinders for about a week, new ignition parts, new belts and hoses and new tires, it was time for a battery. I went with an 8 volt for more spin power. It worked out well for me for the initial runs, but I went back to 6 volts long term.
    In my search for a battery for my Commander, I found one at Tractor Supply that is a perfect fit. They also have a slightly larger one, but it would require modifying the battery tray to hold it. Anybody have any experience with "Traveller" batteries from TSC?
    Does the stock sized battery hold up well under hard-to-start situations?
    I'm not opposed to converting to 12 volt, replacing the generator with an alternator. Yes, it has a radio, but that's no problem. As for the starter, I have used VW 6 volt starters on my V-6 buggy engine for a long time. It's just a matter of short bursts, but those bursts usually get 'er done quickly.
    Hoping to make this into a nice, reliable road trip car, but nothing fancy.
    Would sure like to hear any stories of your experiences, and even opinions, please.

  • #2
    6 volts does fine in all my Studes. I get over 10 years from any brand 6 volt battery that my cars have used. My Model A battery may not be good enough for this year, but it's at least 14 years old now. I bought it from a recycling yard 14 years ago. I've had good luck with Fleet Farm batteries, and that's what's in my 1950 Champion now. It was $20 at a swap meet, and less than a year old.

    Comment


    • #3
      I have had good luck with 6 volt batteries from Tractor Supply or O'Reilly auto parts. Since there are now only two or three battery manufacturers left it does not much matter to me who I buy from. If your car is hard to start check the battery cable sizes for being correct and your grounds. My 6 volt 1952 Commander cranks over like a 12 volt car. They worked fine when new and should still if cables, battery and starter are good.
      Frank van Doorn
      Omaha, Ne.
      1962 GT Hawk 289 4 speed
      1941 Champion streetrod, R-2 Powered, GM 200-4R trans.
      1952 V-8 232 Commander State "Starliner" hardtop OD

      Comment


      • #4
        The 6-volt battery and system got everyone to work in all weather conditions for over half a century.
        Keeping all connections clean and the battery charged is key. That wasn't a problem when they were run as daily transportation.
        The problem today is they tend to get driven "on occasion" and the connections and charging system aren't well maintained.
        Any time mine are parked for more than a week I hook them up to a battery tender. It keeps the battery up to snuff but will not overcharge, and they are always happy to crank and start, even if they sit in a freezing garage all winter.
        If you need to use an 8-volt battery you have a system problem that should be addressed.
        The correct battery size is a Group 1.

        But I do hope, before you decide to motor out of the driveway you have addressed the condition of your complete braking system. It is far preferable to have no go than to have no whoa.

        That Commander Six with the DG200 automatic should be a joy to drive.
        If you need, or would just like to have, the glovebox Automatic Owner's Guide and the sheath that slides over the sun visor, I have had them reproduced and are $25 postpaid.
        Click image for larger version

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        Last edited by rockne10; 06-01-2019, 05:27 PM.
        "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.
        '33 Rockne 10,
        '51 Commander Starlight,
        '53 Commander Starlight "Désirée",
        '56 Sky Hawk

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by rockne10 View Post
          The 6-volt battery and system got everyone to work in all weather conditions for over half a century.
          Keeping all connections clean and the battery charged is key. That wasn't a problem when they were run as daily transportation.
          The problem today is they tend to get driven "on occasion" and the connections and charging system aren't well maintained.
          Any time mine are parked for more than a week I hook them up to a battery tender. It keeps the battery up to snuff but will not overcharge, and they are always happy to crank and start, even if they sit in a freezing garage all winter.
          If you need to use an 8-volt battery you have a system problem that should be addressed.
          The correct battery size is a Group 1.

          But I do hope, before you decide to motor out of the driveway you have addressed the condition of your complete braking system. It is far preferable to have no go than to have no whoa.

          That Commander Six with the DG200 automatic should be a joy to drive.
          If you need, or would just like to have, the glovebox Automatic Owner's Guide and the sheath that slides over the sun visor, I have had them reproduced and are $25 postpaid.
          [ATTACH=CONFIG]81373[/ATTACH]
          ABSOLUELY correct! The brakes are non existent right now, so as long as the engine will run decently, it will get new wheel cylinders, master cylinder and all new lines. Shoes look really good and drums are barely worn. This car has just 42K on it. Just didn't want to start dumping a lot of money in it only to discover a totaled engine. But, I HAD to do the wheels and tires just to be able to roll it around. Also, will need a whole new wiring harness next if the engine runs.
          Have already reconditioned the starter and generator.
          It's fun to get my hands back on something so simple and straight forward.
          As for the manual and slips, yes, I would like that. Do you PayPal? If so, just invoice me at rbbspeed@gmail.com.

          Comment


          • #6
            You might want to check out that carb and fuel pump.Luck Doofus

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by doofus View Post
              You might want to check out that carb and fuel pump.Luck Doofus
              Fuel/vacuum pump already known to be bad. Carb will be rebuilt before trying to fire it up. The whole start up process will be "bread-boarded" before sinking much money into it. External fuel can and pump, jumpered ignition, and starter isolated from the rest of the wiring.
              A lot of the car's wiring is bare and frayed, so the engine will be isolated for testing process. Then, if the engine runs decently, other things will be reconditioned.

              Comment


              • #8
                Follow-up: First, thanks guys for your input. It helps to know I was on the right track and not missing something in my searches. Local Tractor Supply didn't have any in stock, but their price was $75. O'Reilly's had one, but at $99, but they have a low price guarantee, so I got it from O's for the TSC price. It is the exact same battery in the same case molding. Manufacture date on top is 5-19.
                I guess Bill Gates' internet has saved me a lot of driving around and about $22 on this sale! Thanks, Bill!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Battery choices for six volt Studebaker

                  Originally posted by Trikebldr View Post
                  Subject car: '50 Commander, six, automatic, four door.
                  Got this car not running, and unknown engine condition. Had to restore the wheels and put new tires on it to go any further. Now I need to try to crank engine over and maybe start it.
                  I would like to hear from all of you what your experiences have been with batteries in these cars. What brands, where purchased, stayed 6 volt or converted.
                  And now, to make a short story long, In the early '70s I bought a '51 Henry J in about the same condition. After some Mystery oil in the cylinders for about a week, new ignition parts, new belts and hoses and new tires, it was time for a battery. I went with an 8 volt for more spin power. It worked out well for me for the initial runs, but I went back to 6 volts long term.
                  In my search for a battery for my Commander, I found one at Tractor Supply that is a perfect fit. They also have a slightly larger one, but it would require modifying the battery tray to hold it. Anybody have any experience with "Traveller" batteries from TSC?
                  Does the stock sized battery hold up well under hard-to-start situations?
                  I'm not opposed to converting to 12 volt, replacing the generator with an alternator. Yes, it has a radio, but that's no problem. As for the starter, I have used VW 6 volt starters on my V-6 buggy engine for a long time. It's just a matter of short bursts, but those bursts usually get 'er done quickly.
                  Hoping to make this into a nice, reliable road trip car, but nothing fancy.
                  Would sure like to hear any stories of your experiences, and even opinions, please.

                  I have the largest available six volt battery from O'Reilly Auto Parts that will fit the production tray. Biggest improvement has been a six volt alternator that does a better job of charging at low rpms such as driving around the neighborhood.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Remember it takes a special puller to remove the rear "Pressed On" drums, when you get ready to do your brakes. . Don't forget it.

                    I also HIGHLY recommend replacing ALL the braking system that comes in contact with fluid. including lines and hoses.

                    As for the engine, if you can turn it over by hand and have some Marvel in there, it may be ok.
                    Of course an oil change and tune up are necessary items.
                    Hopefully your commander will have as good an oil pressure as my champion did.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Remember it takes a special puller to remove the rear "Pressed On" drums, when you get ready to do your brakes. . Don't forget it.

                      I also HIGHLY recommend replacing ALL the braking system that comes in contact with fluid. including lines and hoses.

                      As for the engine, if you can turn it over by hand and have some Marvel in there, it may be ok.
                      Of course an oil change and tune up are necessary items.

                      Add in a Carb rebuild and maybe a fuel pump too. I got by for a little bit by using a boat tank and a squeeze bulb to start and run the engine for testing.
                      Hopefully your commander will have as good an oil pressure as my champion did.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I’ve never used battery tenders in 40+ years and had a battery go dead.

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