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50 champion dash wiring help needed

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  • 50 champion dash wiring help needed

    Hi

    I need to replace the wiring, or at least fix the bad wires, under the dash of my 50 champion. No dash lights, no gages, no idea what all is wrong. Is there some easy way to access this area or am I limited to lying backwards on the floor and reaching up as best I can? I can barely get my hands in there, let alone detach and reattach wires.

    Does the dash panel come off easily? Something simple I am overlooking?

    Also, I am considering replacing the entire wiring harness. Anyone do this with a harness from Stephen Allen? How hard of a job is this?

    Thanks


    Tim Porter
    Hebron Illinois
    1950 Champion 2dr

  • #2
    Tim,
    Of course it's MUCH easier with the dash out, But, if you disconnect the battery first! then the wires off the back of the guges, it's pretty open once you take the gauges out. (assuming that it's not much different from my 52 Commander. Steven Allen has excellent parts, I used a Studebakers West harness, new reproduction. Has plastic insulation instead of cloth, (better IMHO)
    Get a shop manual, and photo copy ythe wiring, and follow them , it's pretty simple to do. My car hasn't "burned" up in 6 years! <G>

    Jim Turner

    Comment


    • #3
      Sounds like you're going to be under the dash for a while. Do your self a favor & pull the seats & lay a blanket down so it's not as bad (I've spent my share of time standing on my head under a '50 champ dash too). It's easier than pulling the dash.

      As you've noticed, there's not much room to manipulate the gages & wiring under there. Take your time & walk away when frustration sets in. Unless the mice have gotten to you, it' shouldn't be too hard to get the stuff to work. 2 things to do are to make sure the wire that goes up to the dome lights (thru the A pillar) still have insulation on them (mice), and most importantly, oil the speedometer head. There is a tiny oil cup on top of the back of the head (near where the cable attaches). You can't see it, but it's there. It's hard to get oil to it (a 3 in one can with a flexible straw is handy).

      If you don't oil it, it will reward you by screaming really loud just before it snaps the needle shaft off.
      lots-o-luck
      Mike Sal.

      Comment


      • #4
        Hi Tim,

        Don't even consider doing this job on your back!

        The dash is quite easily removed by taking out a bolt on each side and one in the middle. I can't advise you about premade wiring harnesses but can tell you that it's not hard to order up the correct color wires, wire terminals and some heat shrink to make your own. When I did my 50 Champion I attached a terminal strip to the fender well and terminated all the wires coming through the firewall from the dash on it. It was then easy to run the continuation of each of the wires and terminate them on the other side of the strip. This arrangement is mostly out of sight and makes trouble shooting a breeze. This might not suit a purist but if I was one of those I'd have used cloth covered wires.

        Gerry
        NE Colorado

        Comment


        • #5
          If there are no dash lights at all, I'd probably start testing at the separate switch for instrument/interior lights.


          Dwain G.

          Comment


          • #6
            BTW, when you rewire the car take the little extra time to isolate the high amperage headlight circuit from the headlight/dimmer switchs and under-dash wiring with a relay. You'll be glad you did.

            Gerry
            NE Colorado

            Comment


            • #7


              Thanks for all the very helpful advice. I am going to take another look at the manner which the dash is fastened into the car. I have so much trouble focusing on work in closed quarters, this sounds like a pretty good route to take. This will be an "over the winter" project as I do not have a lot of free time right now and want to keep this puppy of the road. I just won't drive at night.[8D]

              Thanks about the headlight relay. I had already run across this advice on old messages and it really makes sense.

              Thanks to All.

              Tim


              Tim Porter
              Hebron Illinois
              1950 Champion 2dr

              Comment


              • #8
                I din't have that much trouble doing the dash on my 1950 champion. I took the seat out and brought the droplight in there. On your back on the floor with a pillow or something and really there's plenty of room to see what's going on. The nice part is that there just aren't that many circuits in there to be re-done. Get yourself a wiring diagram and have at it.
                That said, I still can't get the temp gauge to work...

                Comment


                • #9
                  Tim, I think I have a few of those HL relays here still. I sold one to gecoe when he was doing his car. I'll look if you like.

                  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.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Sure, that would be nice.

                    Know where I can obtain a fuel sender unit?

                    Thanks



                    Tim Porter
                    Hebron Illinois
                    1950 Champion 2dr

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Actually Bob, you sent me two of them. One would do if you wanted to leave the dimmer switch in the high amperage headlight circuit but I opted to keep the circuit as direct as possible so I needed one for the high beam and one for the low beam. Here's a pic (I hope)

                      Gerry
                      NE Colorado

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Removing the dash usually requires unbolting the steering column, parking brake, vent cables, oil pressure line, etc. etc.

                        If you're like me (bifocals), and you're laying under the dash, you can't see crap. I asked my optometrist what strength glasses I needed for just that activity and bought a cheap pair from the pharmacy. They also make it easier to see what I'm welding. Growing old takes some endurance.

                        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"

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          [)]

                          Yupp. I have bifocals and a pair of the no-line jobbers. They are great for reading or the computer but useless for working under the dash. The cheapie readers sounds like to good solution.

                          Hey Gecoe, thanks for the photo of the HL relays. I know it will come in handy.

                          Thanks!

                          Tim Porter
                          Hebron Illinois
                          1950 Champion 2dr

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I did kind of minimize the dash removal process as Brad pointed out. As I remember it took about a half hour to remove it. I'd do it the same way next time. An added bonus was that I had tried everything I could think of to get the windshield wipers working properly but nothing worked until I was able to remove the pulleys and cable for a through cleaning while I could finally get to them. That solved my problem. I too wear the no-line bifocals but since I rewired it on the workbench they worked perfectly[^].

                            Gerry
                            NE Colorado

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