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Is it possible to use an 8 volt battery ??

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  • Is it possible to use an 8 volt battery ??

    Can an 8 volt battery be used in a 6 volt system to give better starting power ?? I have been told a 6 volt starter can take many more than 8 volts and that the bulbs and heater will not be affected. I live in a rural community and the farm stores have 8 volt batteries readily available....thanks...brad

  • #2
    Possible but not desirable. If you have a starting problem I would look deeper than the battery.

    Brad Johnson
    Pine Grove Mills, Pa.
    33 Rockne 10
    51 Commander Starlight
    53 Commander Starlight

    previously: 63 Cruiser, 62 Regal VI, 60 VI convertible, 50 LandCruiser
    "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.
    sigpic'33 Rockne 10, '51 Commander Starlight, '53 Commander Starlight "Désirée"


    • #3
      To keep an 8 volt battery charged up it's necessary to adjust the voltage regulator to up the voltage. To actually charge a battery, it needs 10% over battery voltage. A 6 volt needs at least 6.6 volts to fully charge a battery and the 8 volt would require 8.8 volts. I've seen plenty of 8 volt batteries on old tractors and if you check the battery with a hydrometer, you usually find they top out at 3/4 charge. I agree with rockne10, a good 6 volt system should get the job done. Go through the starter, clean the commutator, undercut the mica, new brushes AND grease the bearings. I had a combine with a Chrysler 318 industrial engine that had to be pulled to get started because the engine cranked over so slowly. I took the starter off, greased the bearings and I couldn't believe how much faster it spun over. Problem solved. That may be your only problem also. One thing, if the bronze bushings are worn, it's really hard to keep grease in them. Best to replace them. Also check the battery cables, if you replace them with ordinary 12 volt cables (smaller) you loose power. A 6 volt starter will draw twice the amps of a comparable 12 volt job. More amps=larger diameter cable. Also make sure corrosion hasn't worked it's way up into the cable if it's a plastic coated one. I wish someone would have suggested that to me once when I had electrical problems on my motorcycle! That one took a mighty long time to figure out. And last but not least, make sure your ground cable is making a good connection. Stupid me, I forgot that lesson once learned. This spring my Hawk wouldn't start and it was only after I did all the above things that I checked the gorund. Actually that one came to me at 2AM in a dream, I guess I had a case of mechanical tunnel vision.
      john (60 Hawk, 51 LandCruiser)


      • #4
        An 8 volt battery is not a fix for a starting problem. you need to check battery cables for corrosion and make sure it has the big fat cables(00). If cables are good pull that starter and go thru it completly as mention earlier. Again 8 volt battery will also overwork your charging system.



        • #5
          I had a friend who got a switch from J C Whittney that would allow a 12 volt start and then revert back to the 6 volt system. He needed two six volt batteries to make the hook up. His starter never had a problem with the 12 volts applied to a 6 volt starter.


          • #6
            Once again - the 6volt starters can live long, happy lives being fed 12volts. As has been said already, an 8volt's a band-aid for other problems. Regulator needs to be turned up a bit (to where the generator puts out about 9Volts, to keep the battery charged. 6 volt bulbs will have improved candlepower and shortened life. Of course, a headlight relay can improve headlight performance at 6 volts if so desired.

            BTW, the 6-12 starting arrangement has been around since at least the 30s. That it or the 8 volt batteries (that have been around for forever as well) weren't adopted by the car companies says something in itself. They (the car companies) wouldn't have sent cars out the door KNOWING that they were gonna cause aggravation for customers. That would have cause doom for sales prospects and brought about an end to that company!

            Miscreant at large.

            1957 Transtar 1/2ton
            1960 Larkvertible V8
            1958 Provincial wagon
            1953 Commander coupe
            1957 President 2-dr
            1955 President State
            1951 Champion Biz cpe
            1963 Daytona project FS
            No deceptive flags to prove I'm patriotic - no biblical BS to impress - just ME and Studebakers - as it should be.


            • #7

              Try finding the problem first. The starter armature can be dragging because of a worn nose bearing. Did you know the early starters were supposed to be oiled as a maintenance measure, just like the generators. So the bearings may also be dry, creating a resistance.
              A good ground in most important and with a 6 volt system, it's extremely important.
              Clean your battery terminals, then the connections at the starter relay. Use a dielectric grease on them after cleaning and tighten as usual. Try rerouting your ground cable to, one of the bolts, that hold the starter motor on. Be sure both the battery cables are at least #0 gauge, #00 would be better.
              64 GT Hawk (K7)
              1970 Avanti (R3)


              • #8
                As was stated above, the voltage regulator must be set up to allow the 8-volt battery to charge and 8-volt battery chargers are available as well. I have had an 8-volt battery in my Hudson Super Wasp for 8 or more years and indeed the lights are a little brighter but I have had no problems with blowing out bulbs or anything else. It does turn the starter more rapidly than on my other Hudsons. It was in the car when I got it and I did not change the setup though I have gone through two or three batteries since.

                '55 Commander
                '55 President
                \'55 Commander
                \'55 President


                • #9
                  I'm not having a problem or changing from original for change sake. Just curious after hearing conversation about an 8 volt system. Thanks for the interesting input. It's nice to have a site where one can get the complete answer....Brad....See you in Omaha


                  • #10
                    I'm not having a problem, nor changing from original for change sake. Just curious about the method. I know I can get complete answers here. Thanks for the explanations. See you in Omaha....Brad