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What a difference a working vacuum advance makes.....

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  • Engine: What a difference a working vacuum advance makes.....

    You know, I have read in different places(here, TW, Hemmings, etc) on how important it is to have a working vacuum advance. I figured with the gas we have, and the passage of time, mine was running as well as it was going to. Well, the Prestolite dist blew up, and I found another(Delco) used one, and slapped it on, and it ran the same. On a whim, I pulled the distributor again, and took the vacuum advance off, and found it was no good. Went to the old distributor, and found it was no good also.
    Got a new vacuum advance from Special Interest Autos, and man does it make a difference. Took the hesitation out of the engine, and made it a little easier on take off. Little things mean a lot.

  • #2
    probably worth several mpg as well.

    (other) folks that are concerned about a few degrees of advance/retard significantly effecting operating temps at idle and part throttle would be looking for lower numbers on the temp gage, too.


    • #3
      Another reason to keep a frequent check on points gap. Unlike the electronic computerized systems of today...a tiny change in that teeny little air gap...makes a ton of difference in performance. Too often, those who detest or are reluctant to tinker with the mechanics of these old rides, end up discouraged, disappointed, or worse spending big bucks overpaying other people to chase non-existent problems rather than using a gauge and a screwdriver to tweak a small setting.
      John Clary
      Greer, SC

      SDC member since 1975


      • #4
        Originally posted by Chucks Stude View Post
        /Cut/Got a new vacuum advance from Special Interest Autos, and man does it make a difference. Took the hesitation out of the engine, and made it a little easier on take off. Little things mean a lot.
        S.I.A. ? wasn't that Bob Johnson's Studebaker parts Co. that used to be in MO back in the 1970's, 80's? I bought parts from him back then. I understand that the Packard Farm bought him out before Ed bought them, and he now works for S.I. in Greenfield.

        Unless there is another Studebaker Parts Vendor with that name, you must have had that advance a very long time!
        Second Generation Stude Driver,
        Proud '54 Starliner Owner


        • #5
          i just had the same deal with my lark. i was tuning on the 289 looking for mpg (and power) when i found that the vacuum advance was doing nothing. no problem, i have the distributor from the old engine. check it, and it is bad also. looked at all stude vendors and could not find it. went up front to the old garage and pulled out a 60s chevy point distributor. SAME advance set -up, just uses a rubber hose instead of the steel tube. put it on the car and went for a ride. in the two years i've owned this car it has never once chirped a tire. will now smoke the right rear all the way through first gear and into second! going to the hunnertcarpileup in it soon, so we'll see about mpg.
          61 lark cruiser
          64 daytona 2dr hardtop


          • #6
            I called SI when I figured out the VA was kaput, but the said they are NLA. I looked thru Hemmings and found Special Interest Autos, in Rockwall Texas. He rebuilds generators,starters, distributors, switches and vacuum advances back to show quality. He does everything from auto, truck, marine, and industrial. He does anything from 1910-1970. He had a replacement VA, because the Stude diaphram is corrogated, and GM is flat. Worked great. His name is Jim Schmukal Jr. His phone no. is 1-800-634-2469, his website is: www. He manufactures some specialized parts. I think everything is exchange, you have to send your stuff in, before you get it back. I think he will make a good resource as parts become more unobtainium.


            • #7
              This is a very timely and interesting thread to me. I am fixing up a ’55 and the other day checked the vacuum advance on the distributor. When it was off the distributor I could pull a vacuum and it would stay for a long time. With it back on the distributor and hooked up to the breaker plate I hooked up the mityvac and the plate would come back but would slowly return after each pump. If I continuously pumped it to 13-15 on the dial, the plate stayed pulled back. Is this the way a good vacuum advance is supposed to work?

              Thank you for your response.

              Charlie D.


              • #8
                i should have stated in my ear lier post that i have a delco window distributor. probably why the chevy part worked. anyway, if you have this dist. you can buy the chevy vacuum advance off ebay for 15 bucks.
                61 lark cruiser
                64 daytona 2dr hardtop


                • #9
                  Yes, but the ones for the non-window Delco are not available. I have a buddy in Denton, who has two Delco window dist. but he will not part with them.


                  • #10
                    It sounds like the diaphram is not seating around the edge of the vacuum advance. I don't know if you need to brad down the edges of the canister or what. When you pump on it a bunch, it sounds like it seats but on low vac, it doesn't???