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Converting to 12 Volts

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  • Converting to 12 Volts

    I'm new to this forum, so if I'm asking questions that have already been thoroughly covered, point me in the right direction, Thanks.

    I recently purchased a Speedster in nice condition, but needing TLC. My first question is concerning the brakes:

    The brake system was rebuilt maybe 10 years ago and the booster unit was replace w/in the last three years. I expected the power brakes to perform much better than they do! The brake pedal is very hard and it takes a great deal of muscle to slow the car down. In fact, I'm not sure I could lock up the wheels - if I tried. What could be causing the brake system to be so stiff. I have looked at the rubber hoses at each wheel and they do not show cracking or age.

    Secondly, I plan to convert the electrical system to 12 volts. I know that there are many who will question why I want to do this. In short, believe I need to do this. While I plan to preserve the original appearance of the car, I want to install an alternator, AC, stereo system w/CD changer, security alarm and power door, locks, windows. So, is there a checklist or outline describing the steps involved? Or perhaps just a list of the items that would need to be changed? I've already noticed that the consensus of the group is that the starter would not need to be changed.

    Sorry this is so long.

    Thank you!

    Jim

  • #2
    I completed the job on my '53 by changing out all the bulbs, put on a one wire alternator, and used a special step-down resistor to protect the gauges that were six volts. I have had no problem in 8 years. I did not have a list or anything; I just got with it. This probably is not much help to your query other than just do it. I installed A/C and an alarm alongwith cruise control. Hope the project will go well for you. Chet

    Comment


    • #3
      quote:Originally posted by sasjdw

      I'm new to this forum, so if I'm asking questions that have already been thoroughly covered, point me in the right direction, Thanks.

      I recently purchased a Speedster in nice condition, but needing TLC. My first question is concerning the brakes:

      The brake system was rebuilt maybe 10 years ago and the booster unit was replace w/in the last three years. I expected the power brakes to perform much better than they do! The brake pedal is very hard and it takes a great deal of muscle to slow the car down. In fact, I'm not sure I could lock up the wheels - if I tried. What could be causing the brake system to be so stiff. I have looked at the rubber hoses at each wheel and they do not show cracking or age.

      Secondly, I plan to convert the electrical system to 12 volts. I know that there are many who will question why I want to do this. In short, believe I need to do this. While I plan to preserve the original appearance of the car, I want to install an alternator, AC, stereo system w/CD changer, security alarm and power door, locks, windows. So, is there a checklist or outline describing the steps involved? Or perhaps just a list of the items that would need to be changed? I've already noticed that the consensus of the group is that the starter would not need to be changed.

      Sorry this is so long.

      Thank you!

      Jim
      Hi Jim and Welcome to the forums! Glad we got to meet ya!

      On your brakes, it sounds like the booster system, (actually the booster itself), is not working properly, and unfortunately, it's a common complaint about that type brake booster system. The booster HAS to be rebuilt by someone very knowledgeable about them. There are, (as far as I can remember), about two companies who can get 'em right. I know that you said it was rebuilt about 10 years ago, but I'm thinkin' that the booster needs another checkout/rebuild. I know that somebody here can tell you where you want to take/send it for the re-do.

      Changing over to 12 volt is pretty simple and straight forward. Like roikie was saying, change the bulbs, put a resistor block in for the points, (do not forget that resistor), a step-down transformer for the indicators, slap a 12 volt battery in it and enjoy. I don't blame you at all for wanting to change it over to 12 volt. Let us know how it goes, OK?

      Sonny
      http://RacingStudebakers.com
      Sonny
      http://RacingStudebakers.com

      Comment


      • #4
        also you will need to do something about the blower motors if you have a heater and the wiper motor if it is electric. I'm goign through this on my '55 Commander coupe project, I ordered some "runtz" transistorized voltage droppers from Speedway for the gauges and clock, will be using early finned Hawk blowers and wiper motor, haven't figured out how to deal with the radio yet. Personally I would have left it 6V if it hadn't had a Flightomatic already swapped into it (no 6V starter)

        nate

        --
        55 Commander Starlight
        62 Daytona hardtop
        http://home.comcast.net/~njnagel
        --
        55 Commander Starlight
        http://members.cox.net/njnagel

        Comment


        • #5
          You can get a rebuilt booster from some of the major Stude parts vendors. But recently, I was made aware of a shop in Oklahoma that's been doing these boosters right and cheaply. Nice folks to deal with too.
          Tulsa Brake & Clutch
          1345E 11th St.
          Tulsa OK 74120
          (918) 582-2165
          Ask for Harvey.

          As to the 12 volts, these guys have covered it pretty well. The only thing that might cause you grief is if this Speedster still has it's anti-creep system intact. It could fry the soleniod. Also, you'll get REAL short life out of window or seat motors and heater and defrost motors.[xx(]
          You CAN - as I have done with my '53 - sub heater and defrost blower motors from a 56 up Hawk. Likewise with the wiper motor. Wiper motors from any Stude car of 56 thru 60 will fit with no changes required. (56 was the year Stude went to 12volts)[^]

          Miscreant at large.
          No deceptive flags to prove I'm patriotic - no biblical BS to impress - just ME and Studebakers - as it should be.

          Comment


          • #6
            Great to know another Speedster is being saved. It's a wonderful car! A police officer in a huge Range Rover pulled alonside me once and called down "Want to swap?" "Not for anything!" I called back towards the sky. It really causes quite a stir in London and gets pedestrians shouting compliments.

            I am very happy with my (slightly fortified) 6 volts, but I'm content with music that always seems contemporary with the car, from the AM 8 "toob" wireless.

            I soon found that the power brakes needed restoration. It was like driving a London bus when the power bit cut out - though fortunately they do still keep working. In fact I drove it without the power for a year while getting things sorted. To save shipping I took the unit to Long Beach in my hand baggage and brought the replacement unit back the same way, so my baggage got a huge dose of X rays from the suspicious security people. (I admit that it must look exactly like a bomb on X ray.) Home again, the garage found that one of the hydraulic junctions was damaged and couldn't be made reliable, so it had to be shipped back to California again anyway. []

            In a traffic jam, in very hot weather, it once went "unpowered ' again - I think because the hot, rubber hoses softened and temporarily collapsed.

            Peter.

            Comment


            • #7
              what's the solution to the anti-creep solenoid problem? a voltage reducer? on just the solenoid or switch too?
              quote:Originally posted by Mr.Biggs

              You can get a rebuilt booster from some of the major Stude parts vendors. But recently, I was made aware of a shop in Oklahoma that's been doing these boosters right and cheaply. Nice folks to deal with too.
              Tulsa Brake & Clutch
              1345E 11th St.
              Tulsa OK 74120
              (918) 582-2165
              Ask for Harvey.

              As to the 12 volts, these guys have covered it pretty well. The only thing that might cause you grief is if this Speedster still has it's anti-creep system intact. It could fry the soleniod. Also, you'll get REAL short life out of window or seat motors and heater and defrost motors.[xx(]
              You CAN - as I have done with my '53 - sub heater and defrost blower motors from a 56 up Hawk. Likewise with the wiper motor. Wiper motors from any Stude car of 56 thru 60 will fit with no changes required. (56 was the year Stude went to 12volts)[^]

              Miscreant at large.

              Comment


              • #8
                i have a wiring diagram for signal switch i wanted to post, but when i press the insert image button it just gives me codes. how do i post a message with an image file inserted?

                Comment


                • #9
                  quote:Originally posted by Fred Duplechin

                  i have a wiring diagram for signal switch i wanted to post, but when i press the insert image button it just gives me codes. how do i post a message with an image file inserted?
                  First, the picture has to be on a server somewhere else on the 'net Fred. Then you have to make a link to it by clicking on the "Insert hyperlink" icon above the area where you're typing in your post. When you click on "Insert hyperlink" the hyperlink codes will appear in your post, (they're the two things that get inserted into where you're typing in brackets, looks like [url]). Then when you put your link in between those two bracketed hyperlink codes that appear, when you click on "Post New Reply", your useable hyperlink appears in your post. It has to be done that way because although we're typing what we wanna say into our posts, what is actually happening is that the program is converting what you type into html language.

                  You're very welcome to put whatever Studebaker pictures you would like here. http://racingstudebakers.com/coppermine/index.php When the picture is posted there, just right click on it, copy the http:// information, then just paste it between the two [url] codes. It's really a LOT simpler than it sounds.

                  Hope this helps.

                  Sonny
                  http://RacingStudebakers.com
                  Sonny
                  http://RacingStudebakers.com

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Fred, if you can find a voltage reducer to cope with the load that the solenoid will draw, that should work just fine. The switch won't care whether it sees 6 or 12.

                    Miscreant at large.
                    No deceptive flags to prove I'm patriotic - no biblical BS to impress - just ME and Studebakers - as it should be.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I want to thank all of you for the great feedback. I have a couple of follow-up questions:

                      1. I understand that since I am switching the polarity, I'll have trouble with electric motors (wipers, blowers) and gauges working backwards. However, what about other things like: starter motor, headlight switch, etc. Do I have to reverse the wires? Won't the starter run backwards? Isn't the headlight switch 'positived' (instead of grounded) to the chassis?

                      2. The previous owner told me the brake booster unit was replaced a couple of years ago (although I don't know where he purchased it). He is a long-time Studebaker enthusiast and attend the York swap meet regularly, so I would think it was purchased from a reputable dealer. Anyway, is there a simple way to test the unit to determine if it is working properly?

                      3. I saw a post on the Phantom Auto Works front end replacement kit. Does anyone have any experience with this and will it work on my Speedster?

                      Thanks again and in advance,

                      Jim W.

                      James D. Wilkerson

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        The starter motor will run the proper direction regardless of polarity. Lite sw. needs no change either. The instruments will work alright with a regulator from Ron Francis wiring - no polarity issues I've heard, according to a guy that did a 12volt conversion to his Stude. I just bought one of the regulators for my '53 Coupe but it's not installed yet.
                        Best take the booster off and send it to a shop that's qualified to fix it.
                        As to the Phantom front end. It's nice but I've not heard any firsthand report of how well it works. Bear in mind that it might not integrate well with the Power Steering setup on the Speedster since the "power" part is integrated in the sector. I'd call Rene at Phantom for clarification on this.[^]

                        Miscreant at large.
                        No deceptive flags to prove I'm patriotic - no biblical BS to impress - just ME and Studebakers - as it should be.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Its been my experience with the 6V motors is they won't run
                          backwards with neg ground. On my '53, the motors were the
                          type that has a field winding rather than permanent magnet
                          motors. The direction the motor turns is due to the polarity
                          of the field winding relative to the armature winding (winding
                          on the rotor). So, with this type of motor, reversing the
                          polarity of the power applied reverses both the field and
                          the armature so the magnetic fields produced by each are
                          also both reversed and the motor still turns the same
                          direction. If you took the motor apart and pulled out
                          the field winding power wires and hooked it up separately from the armature
                          you could reverse the direction. Now, if its a permanent magnet
                          motor, you can't reverse the field so reversing the polarity
                          of the armeture does make the motor run backwards. Its easy
                          to check this out if you have the motor sitting on your bench.

                          The gist of all this (if you are still awake!) is you don't need
                          to reverse your motor wires. You will need a way to drop the
                          voltage down to 6V or they will run really fast and could
                          burn out.

                          As far as the gauges, they are also not polarity sensitive
                          (except the ammeter). For my '53, I used a little 12v to 6v
                          regulator for the gas and temp gauges.

                          The lights are not going to care about polarity, just voltage. So
                          you need to use 12v bulbs.

                          I am not sure about the starter. I have heard 6v ones will work on
                          12v OK. The starters are also made with a field winding so I don't
                          think they are polarity sensitive either.

                          JH

                          '53 Champion Hardtop

                          Jeff in ND

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Hi again,

                            I'm new to the Studebaker brand, so I'm really getting an education! I'm following the topic on the automatic transmissions and I believe that my Speedster must have the DG 250 since it is an auto (assuming that it is all stock - and I have no reason to think otherwise). Mr. Biggs mentioned that I might need to change out the 'anti-creep' solenoid. Are there any other 6v - 12v issues associated with this transmission?

                            TIA



                            James D. Wilkerson

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              The best advice I've ever read is "The Official 12 volt Conversion Guide" by Randy Rundle of Fifth Avenue Antique Auto Parts in Kansas City Kansas. Everything you everywanted to know and helpful parts too. I was very worried about the worn and frayed wiring on my '55 and decided to rewire it. The commercial wiring harnesses (I used EZ Wiring) are great, easy and tech support was very good.

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