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  • Engine: Idle and Temperature questions and more

    So this is my first post here. I just bought a 60 Lark with the V8 a few days ago. I haven't had as much time to enjoy it yet, but I have driven it around. When I bought it the PO said that he set the idle low for economy. I put a tach on it and in neutral/park it idles around 500 RPM. When I put it in drive it drops to 300 RPM. I saw somewhere that it should be closer to 650 RPM. Is that in park or when in drive? He also said he never drove it on hot days because the temperature would get close to the top. It never overheated, but got close I guess. I just figured this was due to the extra low idle. Am I right in assuming that? I haven't checked the timing yet. I will do that this weekend. What should the initial timing be set at?

    Now for something different. I am looking at getting a Powermaster Powergen alternator. I found a wiring diagram for a 60 Lark. Would I take the charging wire and just connect it directly to the battery or do I connect it to one of the terminals on the regulator? I think it was labeled 'B'. Does anyone have any experience with these alternators?

  • #2
    The 650 idle rpm should be, engine hot, ...in gear. I guess I didn't mention that on the other site.
    Set the idle "mixture screws", also hot, and in gear. In gear to simulate the actual...idle rpm. You do this to obtain a smooth idle.

    You don't say, is the alternator that you bought, a single (one wire) wire or a normal wire connection. Details count when asking questions.

    I did not have my factory gauge connected, but on an Autometer gauge, my 259 powered Lark, ran 180/185, pretty solidly. On our 100° summer days, while sitting in the In-N-Out burger line, it would climb to 195/200 or so. It would cool back to 185 within the first 1/2 mile of being back on the street.
    I had an aftermarket, 6 blade, flexible stainless blade, fan on it. A little noisy, but pulled a LOT of air. DO NOT buy one of those flat bladed fans. They don't move much air.

    Mike
    Last edited by Mike Van Veghten; 09-19-2020, 07:34 AM.

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    • #3
      Thanks Mike.
      Its a one wire alternator. So those flex fans actually work? I was planning on putting an electric puller fan connected to a temp switch. I had my 41 Ford set up that way and it ran pretty cool. About the same as your 259.

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      • #4
        at 650 rpms , in gear, that would translate into 700+ rpms @ idle. I think that's way too high, and I'l wait for others to chime in. I've never heard of adjusting the mixture screws while in gear also..... The only "in gear" adjustment I remember is the auto tranny for fluid level in "D"rive....... I wait for additional comments....and will be prepared for new info....

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        • #5
          Originally posted by jackb View Post
          at 650 rpms , in gear, that would translate into 700+ rpms @ idle. I think that's way too high, and I'l wait for others to chime in. I've never heard of adjusting the mixture screws while in gear also..... The only "in gear" adjustment I remember is the auto tranny for fluid level in "D"rive....... I wait for additional comments....and will be prepared for new info....
          I agree with you on all counts.
          Gary L.
          Wappinger, NY

          SDC member since 1968
          Studebaker enthusiast much longer

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          • #6
            Before you start any adjustments assure that there are no vacuum leaks, listen at the exhaust for any popping sounds, it should be a steady purr. Popping would indicate a vacuum leak and no amount of adjusting will fix that. Because of the open cooling systems on these engines they are susceptible to oxidation inside the blocks causing rust buildup and debris in the radiators. This usually leads to over heating issues and usually requires a thorough block cleaning. My 259 block was plugged solid around the expansion plugs. After cleaning out the debris I installed a 160* thermostat and that is exactly where it runs at now.

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            • #7
              Yes Altair's (David's) suggestion is right on, no amount of fans, Electric and otherwise is going to fix a Plugged Block as most are with Rust, Casting Sand, Casting Wire and chunks of Iron and where do you think all that goes? Of course, IN the Radiator!

              The Idle is not causing the Overheating, and How often/Long does anyone Idle their Engine?
              And Yes if the gauge is past 5/8 to hot and correct, it IS Overheated.
              When it reaches 212 Degrees and boils over, it is well beyond Overheated.
              Last edited by StudeRich; 09-19-2020, 02:32 PM.
              StudeRich
              Second Generation Stude Driver,
              Proud '54 Starliner Owner

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              • #8
                I always adjusted idle to 550 rpm with car in drive. Now I just guesstimate it. Idle screws: start with 1 1/2 turns, then adjust to max rpms and turn them in just a little. Did you check timing? Check temp with infrared thermometer (or 'borrow' your wife's candy themometer. Don't, I say don;t take the cap offf with engine hot. The temp sender is located at what is probably the hottest spot on the engine. Can timing make a difference? One would think so. Gasahol burns significantly hotter than Sunoco 260 or Clark's super 100! Our cars were never designed for the garbage we put into them.

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                • #9
                  From what I understand from the restoration blog, the engine was cleaned out around 2007 or so. Could the inside accumulate dirt and debris in 12 years?
                  As for the timing, I tried to check it. I hooked the light up to the front spark plug on the driver side bank. There were two lines on the pulley and I wasn't really sure what the timing should be set to.
                  As for vacuum leaks, there is a hose on the backside of the carburetor that felt dry and maybe cracked. So I will replace that and the distributor advance hose.
                  I drove it today about 22 miles total. The first half of the trip the temperature stayed right in the middle of the gauge. On the second half it started to get about 5/8 on the gauge. But it didn't go higher than that.

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                  • #10
                    The 3/8 Inch hose on the rear of the Carb. is the Hose for the PCV Valve, that SHOULD then go to the Lifter Cover.

                    Either a Calif. PCV Conversion was done or most likely a former owner used a '61-'64 Stromberg WW 2 Brl. Carb. with the Vacuum Fitting to connect a PCV System during restoration, since the Factory did not install them until 1961 on only Calif. and New York Cars.

                    The Timing Mark is the Line just above and to the Right of the "IGN" Mark, it will be 4 Degrees (5/16") before (to the Left of) of "UDC" which is Ultimate Dead Center, same as the more commonly called "TDC", (Top Dead Center).
                    It is supposed to be done at slow Idle about 550 RPM, Vacuum Advance Hose disconnected and Capped/Taped.

                    AS you probably know, Left/Right is always the CAR'S, not yours, and from the Driver's Seat.

                    If it is not broken, why "Fix"it? A good working Generator works just fine if you are not running a 200 Watt Audio Amplifier and idling a lot!
                    Last edited by StudeRich; 09-19-2020, 09:16 PM.
                    StudeRich
                    Second Generation Stude Driver,
                    Proud '54 Starliner Owner

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