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NO headlights or tailights, 52 Champion

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  • Electrical: NO headlights or tailights, 52 Champion

    Coming home last night from Sonic the lights went out without warning. Thankfully it was a full moon and the park lamps with tail lights worked when I went to park lamp setting on the switch. When I pull the switch out for headlights the tail lamps and dash lights go out too. Dash lights fine until I pull out for head lights. Am I right thinking something is wrong with the light switch. Looks like all the wiring is in fine shape. If it was the dimmer switch, that wouldn't affect the headlights tail lights and dash lights would it? Thanks, Pat.
    1942 Packard Clipper Custom Touring Sedan * 1952 Studebaker Champion Regal * 1954 Studebaker Commander Regal Starlight * 1967 Thunderbird Hdtp * 1969 Continental Mark III * 1969 Mercury Marquis convertible * 1972 Buick Riviera * 1973 Continental Mark IV * 1978 Glass Top Lincoln Town Car * 1983 Mercedes 300SD * 1986 Dodge RAM 4WD * 1999 Infiniti Q45

  • #2
    I might add, when the head lights went out, it caused the radio to go quiet. I turned the radio off and when I turned it back on thankfully it played music again.
    1942 Packard Clipper Custom Touring Sedan * 1952 Studebaker Champion Regal * 1954 Studebaker Commander Regal Starlight * 1967 Thunderbird Hdtp * 1969 Continental Mark III * 1969 Mercury Marquis convertible * 1972 Buick Riviera * 1973 Continental Mark IV * 1978 Glass Top Lincoln Town Car * 1983 Mercedes 300SD * 1986 Dodge RAM 4WD * 1999 Infiniti Q45

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    • #3
      Not specifically familiar with the 52, but the headlight circuit is normally protected by a circuit breaker that will trip if there's a short (or if the breaker itself is getting weak). Turning off the lights will allow it to cool down and reset.
      Skip Lackie

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      • #4
        There appears to be a small breaker(small rectangular box) on the end of the switch and maybe (?) a standard relay under the hood by the hood latch. Lights are working this morning. I have installed LEDs in the dash lights so I could see the dash at night. I didn't think LEDs would pull to much current. I also noticed this morning that the radio power is pulled from a terminal on the rear of the light switch. Is this correct to Stude's specs in 52. I thought maybe that the radio draw was causing the light switch to over heat since the radio went off when the lights went out.
        1942 Packard Clipper Custom Touring Sedan * 1952 Studebaker Champion Regal * 1954 Studebaker Commander Regal Starlight * 1967 Thunderbird Hdtp * 1969 Continental Mark III * 1969 Mercury Marquis convertible * 1972 Buick Riviera * 1973 Continental Mark IV * 1978 Glass Top Lincoln Town Car * 1983 Mercedes 300SD * 1986 Dodge RAM 4WD * 1999 Infiniti Q45

        Comment


        • #5
          I don't think the radio should be getting power from the light switch. Lights get their power from a always hot source, usually the Batt terminal on the ignition switch. The radio should have its own in-line fuse and get its power from the acc terminal on the ignition switch. Maybe someone moved the radio power over to the light switch CB terminal so they could play the radio and not have the key in the ign? Is this the tube Stude radio? If it is, the 6 tube version pulls about 5-6A and the 8 tube one more like 8A.

          If they had the radio on the wrong end of the light circuit breaker, then the radio load is adding to the lights load and could be the reason for the breaker to trip.

          But, it seems like your switch could have problems too if things work in the park position?

          Jeff in ND

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          • #6
            Definitely get that Radio wire OFF of the headlight switch! That is just Wrong, you never want a radio to be powered up all the time, if you happen to turn the Volume all the way down and leave it on, the battery will be dead quite soon with a Tube Type Radio.
            Not to mention OVERLOADING the Circuit Breaker. Jeff H is correct.

            Just be sure that there is an in line Fuse in the Radio Wire.
            StudeRich
            Second Generation Stude Driver,
            Proud '54 Starliner Owner

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            • #7
              It could be an intermittant short in the dimmer switch.
              If you car is ugly then it better be fast.....

              65 2dr sedan
              64 2dr sedan (Pinkie)
              61 V8 Tcab
              63 Tcab 20R powered
              55 Commander Wagon
              54 Champion Wagon
              46 Gibson Model A
              50 JD MC
              45 Agricat
              67 Triumph T100
              66 Bultaco Matadore

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              • #8
                Yes, as Jeff and Rich said, remove the radio power from the light switch and the headlights should be fine. ONLY if the radio had a seperate dial light wire, then that would go to the light switch.

                The dash light switch might have dirty contacts from not being used for a long time. My 1950 Champion was restored 21 years ago and only had a few miles put on it until I bought it a year ago. My dash light switch was a bit touchy until I pushed it in and pulled it out several times to wipe the contacts. You'll run into the same thing with old radios that haven't been played in a long time. The volumn control may be scratchy or completely go out as you turn it. I leave the radio off and turn the control all the way back and forth several times, and this often cleans it enough to work OK. If you have the switch out or apart, then it's easy to clean the contacts and lube the moving parts, but you can usually get by with just working the switch several times as I described.

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                • #9
                  I worked with the Champion yesterday. The wire I thought was to the radio is actually the power feed to the cigarette lighter. That wire runs behind the radio looking like it was to the radio. The radio has it's own power feed with an inline fuse plugged into the ignition switch. The Stude's lighter has an eyelet on the end that is installed on a back bolt stud of the light switch. Is that the way the dealer installed the lighter? I am replacing the dimmer switch first as I have noticed lately that when I flip between low and high beams there is a delay or a moment that the lights go out, sometimes it will peg the amp meter and the needle sticks on full discharge until I tap on the dash glass. I'll start there since I notice this quirk the last few night drives we've taken. We went out last night and all was fine but I drove on low beams and didn't touch the dimmer switch. Thanks to all that commented here!
                  1942 Packard Clipper Custom Touring Sedan * 1952 Studebaker Champion Regal * 1954 Studebaker Commander Regal Starlight * 1967 Thunderbird Hdtp * 1969 Continental Mark III * 1969 Mercury Marquis convertible * 1972 Buick Riviera * 1973 Continental Mark IV * 1978 Glass Top Lincoln Town Car * 1983 Mercedes 300SD * 1986 Dodge RAM 4WD * 1999 Infiniti Q45

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I think studebakerkid hit the nail square on the head - the dimmer switch. And the fact that you have been noticing some quirks when using the dimmer substantiates that.

                    When I was using my '55 E7 pickup as a daily driver (late '90s/early '00s), I had a similar experience. Hit the dimmer, and the headlights went off. This was a curvy country road with no streetlights! Thankfully jabbing the dimmer switch about five times got the headlights back on. Replaced the dimmer switch the next day and no more problems. But prior to that, I had been experiencing similar quirks when using the dimmer that you have been seeing poweroptions. I believe changing the dimmer switch will take care of your problems.
                    Last edited by r1lark; 05-05-2015, 08:19 AM. Reason: spellin'
                    Paul
                    Winston-Salem, NC
                    Visit The Studebaker Skytop Registry website at: www.studebakerskytop.com

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                    • #11
                      That's my first plan of attack, the dimmer. I know one of the reasons I enjoy the Champion so much is because of the outgoing help I get from all of the members here on this forum. The members and the forum is SUPERIOR to the Lincoln and Tbird forums I frequent. On those sites I might have to wait days and sometimes not one person will respond. The positive culture of the Studebaker collectors of this forum has me shopping for another Studebaker or two.
                      1942 Packard Clipper Custom Touring Sedan * 1952 Studebaker Champion Regal * 1954 Studebaker Commander Regal Starlight * 1967 Thunderbird Hdtp * 1969 Continental Mark III * 1969 Mercury Marquis convertible * 1972 Buick Riviera * 1973 Continental Mark IV * 1978 Glass Top Lincoln Town Car * 1983 Mercedes 300SD * 1986 Dodge RAM 4WD * 1999 Infiniti Q45

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by poweroptions View Post
                        The positive culture of the Studebaker collectors of this forum has me shopping for another Studebaker or two.
                        Yes, feel the force.......the force of owning multiple Studebakers!
                        Paul
                        Winston-Salem, NC
                        Visit The Studebaker Skytop Registry website at: www.studebakerskytop.com

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Is dimmer switch DS-40 the correct dimmer for the Champion?
                          1942 Packard Clipper Custom Touring Sedan * 1952 Studebaker Champion Regal * 1954 Studebaker Commander Regal Starlight * 1967 Thunderbird Hdtp * 1969 Continental Mark III * 1969 Mercury Marquis convertible * 1972 Buick Riviera * 1973 Continental Mark IV * 1978 Glass Top Lincoln Town Car * 1983 Mercedes 300SD * 1986 Dodge RAM 4WD * 1999 Infiniti Q45

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                          • #14
                            I'm looking at them on Ebay. I can't seem to find one that says it's compatible. THNXS
                            1942 Packard Clipper Custom Touring Sedan * 1952 Studebaker Champion Regal * 1954 Studebaker Commander Regal Starlight * 1967 Thunderbird Hdtp * 1969 Continental Mark III * 1969 Mercury Marquis convertible * 1972 Buick Riviera * 1973 Continental Mark IV * 1978 Glass Top Lincoln Town Car * 1983 Mercedes 300SD * 1986 Dodge RAM 4WD * 1999 Infiniti Q45

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by poweroptions View Post
                              Is dimmer switch DS-40 the correct dimmer for the Champion?
                              Yep, Studebaker 519246, Standard Motor Parts (and others) DS-40.
                              Paul
                              Winston-Salem, NC
                              Visit The Studebaker Skytop Registry website at: www.studebakerskytop.com

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