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'54 Starliner Dome Light - Source, Pics, Info, Anyone?

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  • Electrical: '54 Starliner Dome Light - Source, Pics, Info, Anyone?

    It's time to tackle the interior lights - the under dash courtesy light and the dome light. I do have a wiring diagram for this, although understanding it might be another matter. The circuit looks a bit complicated.

    My immediate question has to do with the dome light. The Starliner has a new headliner, and at first I thought that a previous owner had removed the dome light. Then I noticed a small bulge under the headliner, just behind and above the driver's side door - above where the door window and the rear side window meet. Through the headliner, I can feel what appears to be the base for the dome light, without the outer bezel or lens.

    Before I cut into the headliner to replace the wiring to the base, I would like to know whether I can find a replacement bezel (presumably chrome) and a lens. Are these available in the aftermarket, or does anyone know where I can get the correct used parts?

    After spending an hour or more looking around the internet, I cannot even find a picture of what the unit should look like. Does anyone here know where I can find such a picture? Or maybe someone has a picture of their dome light that they can share?

    Thanks for any help that anyone can offer.

  • #2
    They are out there, the same one was used I believe in all 1953-58 cars
    Milt

    1947 Champion (owned since 1967)
    1961 Hawk 4-speed
    1967 Avanti
    1961 Lark 2 door
    1988 Avanti Convertible

    Member of SDC since 1973

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    • #3
      Originally posted by northern View Post
      It's time to tackle the interior lights - the under dash courtesy light and the dome light. I do have a wiring diagram for this, although understanding it might be another matter. The circuit looks a bit complicated.

      My immediate question has to do with the dome light. The Starliner has a new headliner, and at first I thought that a previous owner had removed the dome light. Then I noticed a small bulge under the headliner, just behind and above the driver's side door - above where the door window and the rear side window meet. Through the headliner, I can feel what appears to be the base for the dome light, without the outer bezel or lens.

      Before I cut into the headliner to replace the wiring to the base, I would like to know whether I can find a replacement bezel (presumably chrome) and a lens. Are these available in the aftermarket, or does anyone know where I can get the correct used parts?

      After spending an hour or more looking around the internet, I cannot even find a picture of what the unit should look like. Does anyone here know where I can find such a picture? Or maybe someone has a picture of their dome light that they can share?

      Thanks for any help that anyone can offer.
      Don't cut your headliner...at least until you hear back from a 54 K owner. My '53 K has only the courtesy light under the center of the dash, no dome light. As best I can determine from the Body Parts Book, neither the 54 or 55 K bodies had dome lights.
      Paul Johnson, Wild and Wonderful West Virginia.
      '64 Daytona Wagonaire, '64 Avanti R-1, Museum R-4 engine, '72 Gravely Model 430 with Onan engine

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by 53k View Post
        Don't cut your headliner...at least until you hear back from a 54 K owner. My '53 K has only the courtesy light under the center of the dash, no dome light. As best I can determine from the Body Parts Book, neither the 54 or 55 K bodies had dome lights.
        A friend recently checked a '53 Starliner in the museum at Wetaskewin, Alberta for me. It, like yours, does not have a dome light. I was hoping to get him to take a picture of the light for me.

        Does your '53 K have the wire running up to where the dome light would be? Mine has the wiring - original, cloth covered style - that disappears into the pillar between the windshield and the driver's side door. It most likely goes to the dome light area. That, and the parts that I can feel under the headliner, make me think that this car must have had a dome light.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by 53k View Post
          Don't cut your headliner...at least until you hear back from a 54 K owner. My '53 K has only the courtesy light under the center of the dash, no dome light. As best I can determine from the Body Parts Book, neither the 54 or 55 K bodies had dome lights.
          My '54 K body has a factory dome light on the left side of the ceiling just behind the driver's door, along with the under-dash light. Both come on when the door is opened. I think this subject was discussed here before some time ago. Sorry, I can't get you a pic. (Technologically challenged.) I'm sure someone will, though.

          Dave Bonn
          '54 Champion Starliner

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          • #6
            I don't have a picture of one, but my 54 K had both a dome light and an underdash light. The dome light was over the driver's door. IIRC, the underdash light had a toggle switch with it so that you could turn it on without opening the door.

            I have seen an early K with the dome light centered over the rear window.
            Dick Steinkamp
            Bellingham, WA

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            • #7
              I went through the parts books and its not the most clear.... My '53K does not and never had a dome light. Only a lamp under the dash. The parts book gives a P/N for the BULB for 15G and 5H models as hardtops ('54's) although it claims a P/N for the lamp housing for all '53-'58 models being the same.

              I seem to recall the John Bridges book mentions that a dome light was added for '54.

              Jeff in ND

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Jeff_H View Post
                I went through the parts books and its not the most clear.... My '53K does not and never had a dome light. Only a lamp under the dash. The parts book gives a P/N for the BULB for 15G and 5H models as hardtops ('54's) although it claims a P/N for the lamp housing for all '53-'58 models being the same.

                I seem to recall the John Bridges book mentions that a dome light was added for '54.
                I believe You're right...dome light added on '54's & up.

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                • #9
                  Northern, go to web site "studebakers forever" for picture of "dome" light on 54 starliner. There will be several pictures of the 54 and the dome light picture is towards the end of the pictures. Ken Deltaville Va

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                  • #10
                    Thanks, Ken for the link. Now I just need to find one.

                    I tore out the old wiring for the light yesterday; it certainly did appear to be original. So I would have to agree that Studebaker did include the dome light for 1954.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by northern View Post
                      I tore out the old wiring for the light yesterday;
                      You did this with the new headliner already installed, man you're good. BTDT, but what a job.
                      The headliner installer must have left enough material stuffed up behind the windlace so as to be able to uninstall the headlined over the door.
                      Jerry Forrester
                      Forrester's Chrome
                      Douglasville, Georgia

                      See all of Buttercup's pictures at https://imgur.com/a/tBjGzTk

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Jeff_H View Post
                        I went through the parts books and its not the most clear.... My '53K does not and never had a dome light. Only a lamp under the dash. The parts book gives a P/N for the BULB for 15G and 5H models as hardtops ('54's) although it claims a P/N for the lamp housing for all '53-'58 models being the same.

                        I seem to recall the John Bridges book mentions that a dome light was added for '54.
                        You are correct. The Bridges book, Studebaker's Finest, page 136 says in reference to 1854 interior changes "...and dome lights in the sports models which completely light up the interiors." Then both C and K models are shown with the left side dome light on page 153. I should have referred to the book before I made my post #3.
                        Paul Johnson, Wild and Wonderful West Virginia.
                        '64 Daytona Wagonaire, '64 Avanti R-1, Museum R-4 engine, '72 Gravely Model 430 with Onan engine

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Jerry Forrester View Post
                          You did this with the new headliner already installed, man you're good. BTDT, but what a job.
                          The headliner installer must have left enough material stuffed up behind the windlace so as to be able to uninstall the headlined over the door.
                          It was only necessary to remove the kick panels and to undo the headliner along the edge by the windshield. That gave access to the two corners that lead down to the kick panels. I used the old wire to pull the new wires from the kick panel areas to the roof and back to the dome light area. The light works now; it just needs a bezel and lens to look good.

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                          • #14
                            You were lucky. The ones I have fooled with had pinch weld clips holding the wire to the metal above the door.

                            Originally posted by northern View Post
                            It was only necessary to remove the kick panels and to undo the headliner along the edge by the windshield. That gave access to the two corners that lead down to the kick panels. I used the old wire to pull the new wires from the kick panel areas to the roof and back to the dome light area. The light works now; it just needs a bezel and lens to look good.
                            Jerry Forrester
                            Forrester's Chrome
                            Douglasville, Georgia

                            See all of Buttercup's pictures at https://imgur.com/a/tBjGzTk

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I think I have one out of one of my 55's. They are the same. As soon as the temp gets above freezing here I will see. If you don't get one sooner or closer. The location in your initial post is correct, also remembering this light is wired with the ground making it burn. I can get you a picture of C body (same location)
                              Last edited by Flashback; 01-07-2014, 01:02 PM.

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