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54 Commander Starter cut-out and back-up switch

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  • Electrical: 54 Commander Starter cut-out and back-up switch

    Can someone please tell me where the starter cut-out and back-up switch is supposed to be located on my 1954 Commander 4dr? It has a manual 3 speed with overdrive and an on the floor starter switch. Hoping to mostly finish wiring the car this weekend. Thanks in advance for any help.

  • #2
    Originally posted by rav931 View Post
    Can someone please tell me where the starter cut-out and back-up switch is supposed to be located on my 1954 Commander 4dr? It has a manual 3 speed with overdrive and an on the floor starter switch. Hoping to mostly finish wiring the car this weekend. Thanks in advance for any help.
    I don't remember if my '53 was the same or not, but on my '62 Hawk , its on the right side of the steering column about 6" off the floor.

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    • #3
      The backup light switch would be on the portion of the steering column that is in the engine bay. It attaches to the column mast with two screws, and there is a link that attaches to the first/reverse shift lever. The manual transmission cars did not have a starter cut out.

      Be careful, as the backup light switch is different for power steering cars versus non-power steering cars for a '54 with manual transmission.

      I have the instructions for installing backup lights on a '53/'54 that details the mounting of the backup light switch. If you need that, I can scan the switch part of it and post it here. Let me know.

      I have a NOS backup light switch (with link) for non-power steering manual transmission car if you need one; Private Message me thru this forum if you are interested in it.
      Paul
      Winston-Salem, NC
      Visit The Studebaker Skytop Registry website at: www.studebakerskytop.com

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      • #4
        Well now I'm a little confused, which perhaps is fairly normal working on an old car. If it doesn't have the cut out switch that the electrical diagram shows, what sends power to the starter solenoid? When I connected the starter switch on the floor directly to the middle terminal on the solenoid, nothing happens as it needs power, and the other side of the starter switch is grounded. Am I missing something obvious?

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        • #5
          Thanks too for the super quick replies to my first post

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          • #6
            The six-volt starter solenoid that is mounted right on the starter has one lead from its coil internally connected to the hot post that takes the cable from the battery. The other lead goes to the small stud that is connected to the floor switch. Pushing on the floor switch grounds this wire, and the solenoid is energized.

            If this is not happening, first step would be to use a clip lead to ground the small stud on the solenoid. If that cranks the engine, then your problem is in the floor switch or the wire to it. If it doesn't crank the engine, the solenoid may be bad, or the wrong solenoid may be installed.
            Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands

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            • #7
              If I am interpreting your question correctly, there is no "starter cut out switch" on a manual transmission car. That function is provided by the foot switch under the clutch pedal on 54 and older Studebaker cars.

              There is a neutral safety switch on cars with automatic transmissions. That is so you don't start the engine in drive or reverse and lose control of the car.
              RadioRoy, specializing in AM/FM conversions with auxiliary inputs for iPod/satellite/CD player. In the old car radio business since 1985.

              17A-S2 - 50 Commander convertible
              10G-C1 - 51 Champion starlight coupe
              10G-Q4 - 51 Champion business coupe
              4H-K5 - 53 Commander starliner hardtop
              5H-D5 - 54 Commander Conestoga wagon
              56B-D4 - 56 Commander station wagon
              60V-L6 - 60 Lark convertible

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              • #8
                My 6V solenoid is mounted on the left fender, almost beside the battery. Maybe someone move it there a long time ago, but it's been there at least 30 years. If I apply power to the small center stud with a test lead, the engine cranks. If I ground that stud, nothing happens. I have another 6V solenoid from a '54 parts car that I just tried, and it does the exact same. It was also mounted in the same spot on the fender before removal. I checked the starter switch on the floor and it is good, and it is a new wiring harness. Seems a little odd if both solenoids are either wrong or not functioning correctly, but what do I know. That's why I really appreciate all the advice.

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                • #9
                  It sounds like you have it wired for negative ground. Perhaps you have the battery cables reversed?

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by RadioRoy View Post
                    If I am interpreting your question correctly, there is no "starter cut out switch" on a manual transmission car. That function is provided by the foot switch under the clutch pedal on 54 and older Studebaker cars.

                    There is a neutral safety switch on cars with automatic transmissions. That is so you don't start the engine in drive or reverse and lose control of the car.
                    That reminds me of when I was in a shop when the shop owner started a 1954 from under the hood. It was an automatic and in reverse. The car went through the wall behind it before he could get the engine stalled.
                    Gary L.
                    Wappinger, NY

                    SDC member since 1968
                    Studebaker enthusiast much longer

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by bensherb View Post
                      It sounds like you have it wired for negative ground. Perhaps you have the battery cables reversed?
                      I believe that you have "hit the nail on the head". The OP may not know that the car should be positive ground.
                      Gary L.
                      Wappinger, NY

                      SDC member since 1968
                      Studebaker enthusiast much longer

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                      • #12
                        The battery is hooked up positive ground. That is not the issue. Not sure how well the car would run if I had the cables backwards.

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                        • #13
                          Could the battery cables be reversed on the solenoid? In other words, should the heavy cables be swapped side to side on the solenoid?

                          Generally, the 6 volt solenoid gets the small stud grounded to energize and the 12 volt solenoid needs +12 volts on one of the small studs to energize.
                          Last edited by RadioRoy; 08-30-2020, 02:58 PM.
                          RadioRoy, specializing in AM/FM conversions with auxiliary inputs for iPod/satellite/CD player. In the old car radio business since 1985.

                          17A-S2 - 50 Commander convertible
                          10G-C1 - 51 Champion starlight coupe
                          10G-Q4 - 51 Champion business coupe
                          4H-K5 - 53 Commander starliner hardtop
                          5H-D5 - 54 Commander Conestoga wagon
                          56B-D4 - 56 Commander station wagon
                          60V-L6 - 60 Lark convertible

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Well that is a possibility. Seems odd to me to cross the battery cable over the solenoid to the other side, but I will try it tomorrow. The battery cable has been wired to the terminal closer to the battery since the late 80's at least, but doesn't mean that it's been correct.
                            Thanks RadioRoy for the idea.

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                            • #15
                              I think it is simpler than you think!
                              Both Solenoids were designed for a Powered (-) (Hot) start wire to the Starter Switch.
                              Do they have One small Terminal or 2?

                              The Correct Starter Switch is a Grounding Switch, so you just need the Correct Solenoid which energizes by being GROUNDED, not Powered by the Starter Switch.
                              StudeRich
                              Second Generation Stude Driver,
                              Proud '54 Starliner Owner

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