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What in the %$%*@#!

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  • Electrical: What in the %$%*@#!

    Medium to long -winded story fellas, so stick with me:

    Took Sarah ('65 Daytona)to her first cruise night of the season last night.Started off easy enough;after pumping the heck out of the gas pedal (cold start after sitting)she cranked up.After warming up, took it to the gas station to fill up.Starts like a new car!Drove to the cruise night, running like a champ.Then I went to leave.
    The newly installed hi-torque starter sounded eerily like the stock Studebaker starter.Rurrrr rurr.rur.....No start.Let sit for 2 minutes, pumped the gas and rurrr,rrr.Crap.Sounds worse than before.Stand in a long a** line to get a lukewarm soda.Tried again.No luck.No tools or jumper cables.Out of desperation I got out the only thing I had in my trunk,a can of starter fluid.Sprayed the carb like crazy,put everything back together.Pumped the gas, cranked the starter a little longer than I should have,and like the little engine that could (rump,rump,rurr,rrrrrrr)she started up! Revved it up some and left the lot after it warmed up some.Ran great going home, but I noticed a few things:
    Weak headlights (have had those for a while now),no dome light,no hi-beam indicator light.During the ride home, the ammeter needle remained stoic;staying right in the middle and never going to the C or the D side.Stayed straight in the middle the whole ride home,sampling 'passing gear' a few times!Once I got home,I disconnected the battery.
    This morning I got up, reconnected the battery, pumped the gas twice, and vroooom!Starts right up!Dome light is back, along with the hi-beam indicator!Shut it off;started right back up again! Now however the ammeter needle is pointing about a quarter of the way in the D zone.Revved it, turned some things on and off, let it warm up, still no change.
    Things I have done so far:New Interstate battery with double-O cables,rebuilt alternator, new Summit hi-torque starter.Voltage regulator is a few years old.I read in the Ron Francis brochure,"If it's goofy, it's a ground."Well to me this sounds goofy enough.
    Suggestions, tech tips, help and advice is certainly welcome here.I'm about to pull out what's left of my hair,lol!
    As always, thanks in advance for your replies.

  • #2
    Sounds like a bad voltage regulator. I once had a similar issue and that's what it was. You should have the entire charging system checked for sure. It could also be as simple as a loose alternator belt.
    Poet...Mystic...Soldier of Fortune. As always...self-absorbed, adversarial, cocky and in general a malcontent.

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    • #3
      Agreed, voltage regulator is a good place to check first, but the loss of accessory-circuit items like the dome and high-beam lamps suggest an intermittent connection somewhere in the harness; likely on the "fuse block" located to the left of the steering column under the bottom lip of the dash. After the regulator, I'd start checking for loose fuses and connections down there.

      Clark in San Diego | '63 Standard (F2) "Barney" | http://studeblogger.blogspot.com

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      • #4
        One more thing...ignition switch. Worn, corroded, or intermittent contacts. On these old cars, the ignition switch is the activation point for lots of circuits. It may not be the problem, but is worth a good look.
        John Clary
        Greer, SC

        SDC member since 1975

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        • #5
          All new fuses/ breakers, ignition switch recently replaced with one from a 54,ooo mile car (one with a real factory bezel and not the FLAPS switch I was using), rocker switches cleaned or replaced, new hi/lo beam floor switch, different fuse block to replace the cracked one, ran new wires to replace some of the 'iffy' looking ones.I have a new voltage regulator I found in my basement today so that will go on, and I may run some new wires from the v-reg to the alternator (just recently replaced some corroded ends).Thanks for the suggestions;I appreciate it.Keep 'em coming!

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          • #6
            As has often been said, just because an item is new doesn't mean it's functional, so check everything.
            John Clements
            Christchurch, New Zealand

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            • #7
              What John said. When I replaced the ugly FLAPS ignition switch on Barney, I went with a used switch as well. Looked good, functioned well -- for a while. Then one day I was driving and all systems but the engine turned off; dash went dead, head and taillamps died (at 8PM in a suburban neighborhood!). Turns out the switch was tired and contacts weren't contact-y.

              Stude vendors sell new switch assemblies that work perfectly; worth the money. Also, don't cheap out on the locking bezel: the original steel ones have a tendency to bend their locking ears, popping off under spring pressure and letting your switch fall out of the dash while driving. This is not only inconvenient, it's dangerous! So get one of the re-designed machined bezels. They look perfect and perform better than OEM.

              Clark in San Diego | '63 Standard (F2) "Barney" | http://studeblogger.blogspot.com

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              • #8
                it's also a good idea to wrap your ignition switch terminals with tape when replacing it, just in case it does fall, it's not going to short out for a bit and may give you time to cram it back in the hole or get it to a safe spot.

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