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  • 6Volt to 12Volt conversion

    I am new to the Studebaker world since I just recently acquired a 1951 2R16A Fuel Truck. I Would like to convert it from 6Volt positive ground to 12Volt neg. ground. Other than the Alternator, Battery, resistor on the gas gauge, 12V heater blower motor and all new ligh bulbs, is there anything else I need to know[?] Does anyone offer a "conversion kit" to get everything needed in one place[?] I don't plan on driving it much and use the truck to refuel my 1943 and 1948 antique airplanes. Although I plan to cosmetically restore the relatively rust-free truck I will probably only drive it to the bulk plant and perhaps in our local July 4 parade. Most of the time I will start the engine, engage the PTO, refuel the airplane and shut it down again without driving it any distance. That's why I need an alternator to get get the most charging done in a short amount of time. I don't think the 6volt system is up to the task since it barely can start the truck now with a brand new fresh battery.


    Bob Picard
    1951 2R16A Fuel Truck
    Anchor Point, Alaska

  • #2
    Welcome Bob. Check the "electrical difficulties" thread here, that will get you started on what to do. There are no conversion kits as such available that I'm aware of.

    Frank van Doorn
    1962 GT Hawk 4 speed
    1963 Daytona Conv
    1941 Champion R-2 Rod
    Frank van Doorn
    Omaha, Ne.
    1962 GT Hawk 289 4 speed
    1941 Champion streetrod, R-2 Powered, GM 200-4R trans.
    1952 V-8 232 Commander State "Starliner" hardtop OD

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    • #3
      As an alternative, if all your electrics work as is, there *are* 6V alternators made, based on I think a Delco 10SI. Might be less work, and easier to "restore" down the road if such is any concern to you, if you don't have any interest in adding a modern radio and/or engine (requiring a starter not available in a 6V version) which are the usual reasons for converting to 12V.

      here's one:

      http://www.fifthaveinternetgarage.co...tor/index.html

      nate

      --
      55 Commander Starlight
      http://members.cox.net/njnagel
      --
      55 Commander Starlight
      http://members.cox.net/njnagel

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      • #4
        Also from Fifth Avenue, ask for Randy Rundle's The Official 12-volt Conversion Guide for $10 to Fifth Avenue Antique Auto Parts, 415 Court Street, Clay Center, Kansas 67432.


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

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        • #5
          I have a 54 Chevy that I use as a driver. I converted it to a 6 volt 1 wire alternator and it works great.
          Todd


          63 Lark 2dr Sedan

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          • #6
            Mr. Picard - a 6V, Pos. ground, 1 wire alternator will cost you far less than $90, is easy to install - and is VERY dependable. I installed one on my '49 Champion and was very pleased.

            Most of the Model A guys use them because of their modern dependabilty and ease of installation. No bulb changing, no other changes.

            The ONLY reason to upgrade to 12V is to run modern A/C, or other accessories. Contact me if you'd like the ordering info.


            Chris Pile
            The Studebaker Special
            Midway Chapter SDC
            The only difference between death and taxes is that death does not grow worse every time Congress convenes. - Will Rogers

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            • #7
              Thanks for the input everyone. The reason I want to change to 12 volts is that Even with a new full battery, the engine cranks and crancks and crancks without even firing. As soon as I put a 12v jumper cable to the starter post it starts righ away. I don't know if its low compression or what, but its the only way I've been able to start it. I will try to rebuild the starter first. The charging system seems to work fine. Even witha 6V alternator the battery will not be more fully charged than it is now hooked up to a battery charger. My new 6V battery is rated at 655 cold cranking amps, perhaps it is not big enough.

              Bob

              Bob Picard
              1951 2R16A Fuel Truck
              Anchor Point, Alaska

              Comment


              • #8
                Could be your ignition system is weak and hitting it with 12V gives it enough extra spark to start it too. Check to see what the spark looks like when its cranking and not starting. Maybe dirty connections to the coil or the coil is bad or points are iffy....


                Jeff in ND

                '53 Champion Hardtop

                Jeff in ND

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                • #9
                  Bob,

                  I think as Jeff suggests you have other issues with the ignition system. Check for a good spark, you may want to swap out points condensor, cap, wires, rotor and coil.

                  A 6 volt system requires clean, tight connections as well as the heaviest cables that you can find. Even if the cables look good they may have breaks and shorts inside the insulation. Also be sure that the ground is good and the connection clean and tight.

                  I have a '49 fire truck that came equipped with the optional 6 volt alternator as the truck has lights, siren, radio, etc. You should be able to find an alternator for a reasonable price as they are often used on farm equipment.

                  Gary


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                  • #10
                    Just a thought: make sure your ignition coil is connected properly. Since the truck is positive ground, the (+) terminal on the coil should go to the distributor points, and the (-) terminal should go to the ignition switch. Connecting backwards could lose you a few kV at the plugs, and there aren't many to spare when cranking.

                    Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands
                    Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands

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                    • #11
                      A properly maintained 6-volt system should have no problem starting. They were a standard for nearly sixty years. There were a lot of ships, guns and tanks produced in the 1940s by people who drove to work in vehicles that started off a 6-volt battery. Or, they may have been crank start.
                      The interesting thing is, once it's running, a system with a generator rather than an alternator, doesn't need a battery.
                      Find the problem with what you have. It's cheaper than converting the entire car to 12-volt.
                      If you do want the AM/FM quadrophonic megahyperdrive stereo, you'll need to convert.
                      "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

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                      • #12
                        funny you should mention that Gord, I was helping JP with his '52 last weekend and the coil was connected backwards. Ended up stealing the coil off his '51 and it too was connected backwards. I guess at least two previous owners didn't think about polarity too much...!

                        nate

                        --
                        55 Commander Starlight
                        http://members.cox.net/njnagel
                        --
                        55 Commander Starlight
                        http://members.cox.net/njnagel

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I little more on this topic (slightly off-topic, though). My dad has a '55 ford f250. It was the main farm pickup from ~'68 to '89 or so. That truck always turned over pretty well on the 6v system, not slow at all. Not like the '47 chevy we also had where you were toast if it didn't catch before it flooded. Since he is retired from farming, the '55 doesn't get much use anymore. Last summer we were wanting to start and move it. Its seemed to get progressively more "cranky" over the years. Dad thinks its the carb but in futzing with it I thought the spark didn't look right. Its sorta orange-ish and seems weak. I suggested he get a different coil. Don't know if he tried that or not. The description of your truck cranking and cranking but not starting made me recall that. I think the spark ought to look more blue-white rather than orange.

                          Jeff in ND

                          '53 Champion Hardtop

                          Jeff in ND

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                          • #14
                            [quote]Originally posted by n6346m

                            The reason I want to change to 12 volts is that Even with a new full battery, the engine cranks and cranks and cranks without even firing. As soon as I put a 12v jumper cable to the starter post it starts righ away. Bob [quote/]

                            Bob - it might be your fuel pump, too.



                            Chris Pile
                            The Studebaker Special
                            Midway Chapter SDC
                            The only difference between death and taxes is that death does not grow worse every time Congress convenes. - Will Rogers

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Is there a way to stay 6-volts if you are planning to use a electronic spark advance HEI type dist (Mallory perhaps)?? It may be possible the actual operating voltage is lower but I dont have a spec sheet.
                              That is the only road hump I am having wanting to stick with 6-volts. The 2nd reason would be for a 12V accessory teardrop camping trailer but I suppose that system could be rebuilt to 6V as it's totally custom as well. (possible electric brake mechinism)

                              Ches in So.Dakota
                              55 Commander Coupe in parts.

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