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1928 President hydrostatic fuel gauge- anyone know about them?

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  • Fuel System: 1928 President hydrostatic fuel gauge- anyone know about them?

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ID:	1893121 Hi, I know this is wrong forum for this, but I let my membership to Antique Studebaker Club lapse finally after many years of never reading it (or working on my '28 President, sitting up at dad's farm all these years).
    Has to be 30+ years ago dad bought this hydrostatic fuel gauge repair kit from Lionel Stone, as I recall not having a clue how to put it in, nor having time in college to figure it out for him. Amazingly, FOUND it this weekend, and reading the packing list, says there should be TWO of the little ear-plug shaped fittings, yet is only one in the bag.
    Assuming Lionel is unavailable (I know he's not in business any more), do any of you know about this? Instruction sheet is for "Ford or other cars using hydrostatic...", so wonder if we lost it, or maybe the President only needs one? Everything still in original envelope, but IS opened.

    If I decide to keep the car, I'm going to want to fix this some day and imagine it will be difficult to find this part 30 years later? Or maybe the original can be reused. (STILL don't understand that system)
    Dad at 95 finally succumbing to old age, and I'm going to lose my storage space at the farm this year I think; the marvelous all-original President may have to go :-(
    Thanks!
    Barry

  • #2
    It's called the King Seeley fuel gauge and is very common in most cars of the era. Everything from Fords to Duesenbergs.
    Googling the item, a lot of suppliers list the kit, but out of stock on Amazon.

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    Last edited by rockne10; 05-04-2021, 04:55 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


    • #3
      Just a little real world advice from an owner who has been through this with a King Seeley. Don't get caught up in process of trying to make this thing read accurately-it won't. I spent countless hours trying to get one of these things to work right on my 31 Four Season Roadster. This is a car with a successful show resume. It's not a driver, but most people I know that do drive with this unite don't rely on their accuracy. They use other means to measure the fuel level. Most just rely on a wooden stick. I could spend a good deal of time explaining the process necessary to try to make one of these work, and the reasons why I believe that they won't work with today's fuels, but it's probably pointless.

      Your father's President should be a great car. I hope you choose to keep it, regardless there will be other things to focus on that are far more important then your fuel gage. Some pictures of the car would be nice. At any rate keep us in the loop regarding your situation.

      Bill

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      • #4
        Thanks guys. Here are a few pics. He bought it in '86 from a friend in the car club, just to 'bid it in' for him. We ended up being the only bid and drove it home :-) All original, had 39000 miles on it (~40 something now?), except the guy had repainted it and put on new tires. I THINK he was 2nd owner. And someone put a heater in it (looks almost as old as the car!) and a modern ignition switch unfortunately. Don't know where I'd ever find the parts to rebuild that steering column ignition lock. Oh, and some idiot along the way replaced the dark brown mohair headliner with an off-white piece of material. Really? I always figured "someday" I'd find someone redoing a four-door sedan, with a big headliner to trim down to fit this one, but never have looked or asked. The wood and undercarriage look like a 5yr old car that has been sitting in a garage, truly a remarkable condition 'survivor', and if I'm able to keep it, would only rectify mechanicals, put in the new wiring harness Larkworks hand-made from Stude prints for me, etc... An incredible car. Purrs at 70mph when I intend to be <50mph (because almost NO brakes!!) :-)
        Click image for larger version  Name:	Stude 28 FB Pres Rosell.jpg Views:	0 Size:	96.3 KB ID:	1893466 Click image for larger version  Name:	Dad &amp; Stude 6-21-09.jpg Views:	0 Size:	153.1 KB ID:	1893467 Click image for larger version  Name:	Stude engine compartment.jpg Views:	0 Size:	166.0 KB ID:	1893469 Click image for larger version  Name:	Stude steering column.jpg Views:	0 Size:	106.7 KB ID:	1893464 Click image for larger version  Name:	P9200737.JPG Views:	0 Size:	87.6 KB ID:	1893468
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        Last edited by bsrosell; 05-06-2021, 04:57 PM.

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        • #5
          Beautiful. Love to see it out and about.

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          • #6
            Barry,

            Thanks so much for sharing. It's truly a beautiful survivor. The rough edges like the headliner and the steering lock/ignition might be an issue, but parts do show up from time to time. That ignition style was used for a number of years, throughout other, Studebaker, models and in sibling, Pierce Arrow. Ebay might be your friend when it come to finding the parts. In case your interest is immediate I've chosen to include the contact information of a Pierce Arrow parts provider.
            John Cislak
            33 Briggs st,
            Indian Orchards Ma. 01151-2105
            pierceparts@aol.com

            Bill

            Comment


            • #7
              I worked on a Franklin Olympic with the K-S hydrostatic fuel gauge... found that someone had simply cut a strip of red transparent plastic and dropped it in the tube so that it just read "Full", then called it quits. I wasn't having it, so embarked on a journey to make the thing work again... the hardest part was getting fuel varnish out of the myriad little tubes on the sender, and we were fortunate to have a dash readout (gauge) that wasn't rotted out from the corrosive acetylene tetrabromide originally used as an indicator fluid. The whole setup is just a U-tube manometer with about a 1:4 ratio with the level of gasoline in the tank; I understand that "calibration rods" were used in some applications to "tune" the gauge to the tank. I think the replacement fluid obtained may not have been the same as the original, but woulda had the same 2.95-2.96 specific gravity. Also have read that some of the new fluids lose their red color over time.

              In the end, we managed to get a very accurate fuel gauge, and it sure looked neat when illuminated at night. This was verified by filling the tank (a number of times) and then driving until it was empty (once). The only thing was that the reading would eventually return to empty if the car was parked for a long period of time (a few weeks), no matter the actual level in the tank. It would climb back to parity after driving the car for a mile or so... which is a function of how the tank sender works. Trying to get one of these to work correctly is not for the faint of heart, and I'll only chalk my success up to spending far more time futzing with it than I probably should have, and possibly dumb luck (as evidenced by the words of people above who are far more skilled than I). Also sounds like these gauges need occasional maintenance to remain accurate... I've not seen the Franklin in years, but it did remain dead on for the year or so afterward that I saw the car regularly.
              Whirling dervish of misinformation.

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              • #8
                I'm proud of you sticking with the process. I really don't want to get embroiled in a give and take but... When I began to show my car the K/S was working but was inaccurate to the tune of about 40%. Thinking that I could improve the accuracy I began the painstaking process of adding and removing fluid with a syringe. I got to the point that I felt that the reading was very close to accurate in the cool garage. As soon as I took it out of the garage and the temp increased, the fluid level rose quickly, until it became obvious that it would breach the top of the gage, thus ruining the face of whatever it touched. At that point I ran it back into the garage and removed the fluid that was required to bring it down to the point that it would barley register on the gage. I never looked back-the impending unforeseen consequences overwhelmed the need for an accurate gage.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Lark Hunter View Post
                  Trying to get one of these to work correctly is not for the faint of heart, and I'll only chalk my success up to spending far more time futzing with it than I probably should have, ...
                  Should have sent it to KM Lifestyle.

                  http://mykmlifestyle.com/King_Seeley_Fuel_Sender.html

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                  "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


                  • #10
                    I wonder how that would have played for my Pebble Beach bound Four Season-not really I know how it would have been received.

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                    • #11
                      thanks guys. I don't feel so bad for not tackling it as a 20 yr old now. :-) (annoys me everytime we've driven it the past 35 years " is there enough gas? Why didn't I FIX that gauge when we were thinking about it?" ;-) So, the "lead"-looking crud in my visible gauge is probably not a good sign? Since it is supposed to be red? In the original kit from Lionel Stone (again, 35 years ago), it has a black-paper pouch of fluid that says "keep out of the light". Any reason that wouldn't be good yet? (HAS been in envelope and cardboard box all these years.)
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                      • #12
                        Those are infernal devices . I rebuilt the gauge and the sender on a Nash a few years ago and got it to work at least reasonably well as it responds to being filled and to fuel consumption . Although it is not especially accurate , I have been told most of them don't work at all so my effort was appreciated .

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by bsrosell View Post
                          In the original kit from Lionel Stone (again, 35 years ago), it has a black-paper pouch of fluid that says "keep out of the light". Any reason that wouldn't be good yet? (HAS been in envelope and cardboard box all these years.)
                          I wouldn't know why not.
                          I believe the initial issue with a vehicle equipped with it's original fluid is evaporation. The specific gravity makes it's evaporation negligible but, over the course of decades, with the top of the sight tube being open, it's eventually inevitable.
                          In fact, I think if the rest of the system hasn't suffered any leaks, refilling the tube and calibrating the reading might be a preferred first step. As has been noted, once you pull the system apart, especially in the sending unit, it's a bear to get back together intact.

                          "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


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Hallabutt View Post
                            the K/S was working but was inaccurate to the tune of about 40%. Thinking that I could improve the accuracy I began the painstaking process of adding and removing fluid with a syringe. I got to the point that I felt that the reading was very close to accurate in the cool garage. As soon as I took it out of the garage and the temp increased, the fluid level rose quickly, until it became obvious that it would breach the top of the gage, thus ruining the face of whatever it touched.
                            It doesn't sound like your experience is all that uncommon. Reading on AACA forums, Packard forum, various Ford clubs... probably the only time I've seen a fuel gauge with a list of enemies. Truth be told, I didn't have to do much more than get the right amount of liquid in the gauge to line up with the Empty or Reserve mark at the bottom before putting fuel in the tank; and now I feel kinda bad complaining about that. Started off with 100LL avgas, then migrated to 91 octane unleaded (all pump gas in AZ has 10% ethanol). Car was parked in a garage that was 50-60 degrees F, and driven in 70-95 degree heat. For whatever reason, the gauge was trustworthy enough that you didn't need to carry a dip stick or a bright flashlight to check fuel level... thankfully it did, as I had to disconnect the speedometer on the first or second shakedown cruise so didn't have an odometer.

                            That tank sender that rockne10 showed in post #9 looks exactly the same as the one I was dealing with. I was 10-12 years younger and dumber then, and might be a little more apprehensive of tearing into something like this again. I dunno.

                            Whirling dervish of misinformation.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by rockne10 View Post
                              It's called the King Seeley fuel gauge and is very common in most cars of the era. Everything from Fords to Duesenbergs.
                              Googling the item, a lot of suppliers list the kit, but out of stock on Amazon.

                              Click image for larger version

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                              That's an interesting read about a finicky system that was used then!
                              Ron Dame
                              '63 Champ

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