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Instrument lights inop-any suggestions?

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  • Instrument lights inop-any suggestions?

    I drove my '50 Champion in the dark for the first time last night and noticed that the instrument lights don't work. According to the shop manual they share the same fuse with the headlights, tail lights, and brake lights, which all work. I replaced the bulb behind the speedo today but they still don't work, so I'm not sure what to do next. Any suggestions?



    1950 Champion 2 Dr. Sedan

    1949 Studebaker 2R5 half ton pickup...

  • #2
    First thing is to check the headlight switch. There's a rheostat on there that works as the dimmer. Try turning the knob back and forth several times with the lights on; sometimes they get corroded from non-use and won't allow power to the dash lights.

    This is assuming a 50 has the same type of switch as newer ones; that I don't know.

    Robert (Bob) Andrews Owner- Studebakeracres- on the IoMT (Island of Misfit Toys!)
    Parish, central NY 13131

    "Some people live for the rules, I live for exceptions"- 311

    "Do they all not, by mere virtue of having survived as relics of a bygone era, amass a level of respect perhaps not accorded to them when they were new?"



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    • #3
      First of all, not to insult you, but you do understand that the interior light switch (IL) must be turned on separately. If so, have you checked the switch? You should make sure that the wires (which are all tied in a big cluster into a single male connector) are hooked into the correct terminal, which is on the left (driver's)side of the switch, so that the wires go into the switch at a right angle. If that checks out, look at the switch itself (easier said than done).
      You have to take out the headlight switch first, to get at the hole that releases the knob for the interior light switch. To do that, you need to put a file or awl into a hole on the right side of the switch to release the knob, which then pulls out. Then you need to sacrifice a big old flat bladed screwdriver by grinding the tip down until its about 1/16" wide and grind the sides down so it will fit in the dashboard hole. There is a notched collar that holds the switch in. Loosen it and the switch will go up, back and out. Ditto for the interior light switch. The map light, glovebox light and cigarette lighter courtesy light are also all plugged into the interior light switch. Once you get the switch out, you can clean it up and test it.
      My switch works, so I haven't looked into buying a replacement, but they aren't listed in the SI catalog.

      1950 Champion 4 Dr.
      Holdrege NE
      John
      1950 Champion
      W-3 4 Dr. Sedan
      Holdrege NE

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      • #4
        Are they all out or just one? I'd also check the sockets that affix the lamp and base to the dash. Barring any changes in design the socket grounds to the metal underpinnings on the dash and over time these can corrode some to where the lamp doesn't complete a circuit anymore. Usually a little cleaning around the hole and reseating of the lamp base and it works like before.


        [img=left]http://i158.photobucket.com/albums/t102/PlainBrownR2/My%201950%202r5%20Studebaker%20Pickup%20with%20turbocharger/P1000137-1.jpg[/img=left]
        [img=right]http://i158.photobucket.com/albums/t102/PlainBrownR2/DSC00005.jpg?t=1171153370[/img=right]
        [IMG=left]http://i158.photobucket.com/albums/t102/PlainBrownR2/Ex%20Studebaker%20Plant%20Locomotive/P1000578-1.jpg[/IMG=left]
        1964 Studebaker Commander R2 clone
        1963 Studebaker Daytona Hardtop with no engine or transmission
        1950 Studebaker 2R5 w/170 six cylinder and 3spd OD
        1955 Studebaker Commander Hardtop w/289 and 3spd OD and Megasquirt port fuel injection(among other things)

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        • #5
          I should also point out that the 1950 dash lights provide indirect light that is supposed to illuminate the luminous dials. They are only visible when its really dark (no streetlights). If your instrument panel numbers are faded so they are hard to read, they will be even fainter at night.

          1950 Champion 4 Dr.
          Holdrege NE
          John
          1950 Champion
          W-3 4 Dr. Sedan
          Holdrege NE

          Comment


          • #6
            The knob for the headlights doesn't turn back and forth like on a new car to make the dash lights lighter or darker. The map light above the speedo works but the glove box light and cigarette lighter lights don't. Are there two more bulbs for the gauges on both sides of the speedo? If so they don't work either....



            1950 Champion 2 Dr. Sedan

            1949 Studebaker 2R5 half ton pickup...

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            • #7
              You're correct 50 Champ. There is no dimmer adjustment. The knob has two positions: instrument lights only (first notch) and map light and dome light (second notch). You are also correct that there are lights on both sides for the gauges. Its unlikely that all of the lights would be burned out unless someone ran it on 12 volts[}]
              I still suspect its the switch or the connecting wire bundle. I had my instrument cluster out a few weeks ago. Here's what it looks like from the back:



              There are little domed "half-covers", for lack of a better term, in front of the four instrument lights. They direct the light onto the instruments. The other three holes toward the center (blinkers and high-beams) don't have the covers.

              1950 Champion 4 Dr.
              Holdrege NE
              John
              1950 Champion
              W-3 4 Dr. Sedan
              Holdrege NE

              Comment


              • #8
                When these cars were new that 'black light' dash was the coolest thing you ever saw. Most of them don't illuminate so well any longer. Read these posts from a couple years ago....

                http://forum.studebakerdriversclub.c...trument,lights




                Dwain G.
                "Burning Bridges...Lost Forevermore"......

                Comment


                • #9
                  quote:Originally posted by Lothar

                  You're correct 50 Champ. There is no dimmer adjustment. The knob has two positions: instrument lights only (first notch) and map light and dome light (second notch). You are also correct that there are lights on both sides for the gauges. Its unlikely that all of the lights would be burned out unless someone ran it on 12 volts[}]
                  I still suspect its the switch or the connecting wire bundle. I had my instrument cluster out a few weeks ago. Here's what it looks like from the back:



                  There are little domed "half-covers", for lack of a better term, in front of the four instrument lights. They direct the light onto the instruments. The other three holes toward the center (blinkers and high-beams) don't have the covers.

                  1950 Champion 4 Dr.
                  Holdrege NE
                  Thanks for the pic, Lothar. So you're saying that the instrument lights only work when I pull out the IL knob to the first notch and that they don't automatically work when I turn on the headlights or parking lights? I'll have to go out there in a little while when it's dark and see if they work when I do that.

                  Also, since you also have a 50 Champion and mentioned the blinkers, do the turn signals on your car work in the instrument panel? In other words, when my turn signals are on there is no little flashing left or right turn light simultaneously flashing down by the speedometer. Is that the way it's supposed to be? Thanks again for the info....



                  1950 Champion 2 Dr. Sedan

                  1949 Studebaker 2R5 half ton pickup...

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                  • #10
                    The instrument lights are separately controlled by the interior light switch. Turning on the headlight switch just turns on the headlights. My turn signals are messed up, but yes, there are green arrow indicators that should light up. You can see the holes for the turn signal lights on either side of the speedometer in my picture.

                    1950 Champion 4 Dr.
                    Holdrege NE
                    John
                    1950 Champion
                    W-3 4 Dr. Sedan
                    Holdrege NE

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      In my '51, turning the knob to the left turns on the dash lights; turning it to the right should turn on the map and/or dome light. Neither of them can be on at the same time and it is independent of the headlights or parking lights.
                      "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

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                      • #12
                        quote: there are green arrow indicators that should light up. You can see the holes for the turn signal lights on either side of the speedometer in my picture.
                        I can see the little arrows on either side of the odometer but they don't light up. The turn signals work fine on both the front and back of the car, which is obviously the most important thing. I turned them on and stuck my head under the dash and there are no loose bulbs going on and off under there anywhere. I could hear the flasher but that was the only indication that they were on. Since the turn signals turn themselves off after completing a turn I guess they don't really need to flash in the instrument panel, and since I rarely drive it at night I guess I don't really need instrument lights, so I'll just be glad that all of the other more important lights work....



                        1950 Champion 2 Dr. Sedan

                        1949 Studebaker 2R5 half ton pickup...

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          The turn indicator lights are part of the turn signal circuit and hook up to the flasher, I think. There are two different types of turn signal wire harnesses (factory and dealer installed), but that shouldn't be different for those lights.

                          1950 Champion 4 Dr.
                          Holdrege NE
                          John
                          1950 Champion
                          W-3 4 Dr. Sedan
                          Holdrege NE

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