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Electrical gremlins

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  • Electrical: Electrical gremlins

    I am in the process of getting my 1950 Champion back on the road for the first time in decades and none of the electricals work - no headlights, no gauges, nothing except the horn. It's in really good shape because it has always been stored indoors and there is no rust so I don't suspect that as the culprit. I looked at the wiring diagram and it appears that everything goes through the Ammeter - could it be a faulty ammeter or loose ground somewhere? Thanks for any help on where to start chasing this gremlin - hopefully it's something simple!

  • #2
    It's always difficult to get precise answers over the net so I would suggest you get a test light (6/12 volt) from a local FLAPS and start at the battery and test connections.

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    • #3
      I prefer a VOM. Got 6 V to ammeter?? If no replace wire. If yes, do you have continuity thru ammeter. If no, replace ammeter. Watch out for 70 yr old wiring!


      • #4
        The wiring has rubber insulation, which is hardened by now.

        The wiring will still do its job, if you leave it alone. By that I mean, don't try to flex it. I have seen people go overboard flexing and fiddling with the wires. If you flex the wires, the insulation will crack and fall off.

        Use your test light or meter on the connections, but be very careful about flexing or moving the wires.
        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


        • #5
          The Ammeter is Powered by one of the Two Wires on the Batt. side of the Solenoid with the Batt. Cable.
          Check that wire and it's connection.
          You will also see it's same Color Code at the Ammeter.
          Second Generation Stude Driver,
          Proud '54 Starliner Owner


          • #6
            Will the starter turn the engine? It should not unless the starter switch under the Clutch peddle.
            If there was a bad ground I would suspect that the engine would not turn over nor would the horn blow If there is a bad ground; the bad ground would have to be in the battery area. There are too many others areas for the various items that do not work to pick up a ground. East enough to check; run a ground wire to the cars body\

            For what it is worth, for what you are looking for; my favorite test instrument is a test light and a good set of eyes. As Roy said the wires are 70 years old and fragile . I do not have a 1950 wiring diagram.
            Usually power goes from the battery-generator area to one side of the Ammeter. Then from the other side to both the headlight switch and the ignition switch. I would look for a bad-loose connections in those areas. Everything except the lights should have originally gone through the ignition switch.


            • #7
              Electrical Gremlin? Maybe try the AMC Forum for that??

              Kidding aside, the fact that the majority of your electrics are inoperative points toward (a) fault(s) somewhere early in the system... as you noted, most of the lights and accessories receive their power through the ammeter. Betting it's not on the ground side, as Studebaker generally grounded most stuff through the body- i.e. the tail and headlamp assemblies didn't have a ground wire, as they obtained their ground through being physically screwed to the body. Most of the time, there will still be enough of a ground connection that lights will at least come on dimly if they have power. I would start with a well grounded test light and start poking around at the ammeter and trace things off from there.
              Whirling dervish of misinformation.