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  • Electrical: Ground Locations

    I have a 62 Lark Cruiser with intermittent headlights. I pulled the switch on and went to see if they were on and after a few seconds they came on then turned off a minute later. Turned them off and back on and they came on for a minute then off again. Thought it might be the switch but maybe I should check grounds first. Any help finding where the headlight grounds are would help or weather they are at the headlights themselves. The wiring diagram shows them at the headlights but thought I would check.

    Thanks,
    Todd
    Last edited by toddbowie; 10-12-2015, 10:12 AM.

  • #2
    You have a tired headlight circuit breaker. On '62 Larks, the circuit breaker is mounted on the headlight switch itself. A small rectangular metal canister, with two studs - power in and power out. The amp rating would be stamped on the breaker - match but do not exceed the rating. These are available at most auto parts stores, but you would have to look in their "Illustrated Parts Guide" for their ignition system line. $5.00 or so.

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    • #3
      All of the lighting grounds are made by the individual housings being screwed to the body and fenders. I don't believe your problem is with your ground connections, but it wouldn't hurt to check them for corrosion as the car is 53 years old. The circuit breaker on the back of the headlight switch could be bad, but there could also be a short or corroded connection somewhere in the lighting circuit that is causing the breaker to trip. Or the headlight switch and or dimmer switch could be bad as they are also 53 years old. Anyway you have some trouble shooting to do. You didn't state whether the instrument and tail lights stay illuminated when the headlights go out. If it's just the headlights going out, then the circuit breaker is not your problem, but the dimmer switch or a contact in the headlight switch is bad. The instrument and tail lights also get their power from the same breaker as the headlights. Bud

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      • #4
        Thanks, that makes sense. I can get a new switch so will replace it instead of using an external circuit breaker.

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        • #5
          I forgot to mention, the tail lights go out with the headlights but not the dash lights.

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          • #6
            The circuit breaker is good, the headlight switch isn't. The contacts in the switch are worn and or corroded causing the problem. You can try to disassemble the switch to clean the contacts, but be very careful as there are a couple of small springs and small ball bearings that will fly out never to be found again. A new switch is the best way to go. Bud

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            • #7
              Are you getting a NEW switch, as in "recently manufactured" ? A universal type ?
              Or a "New Old Stock" switch ? If it is NOS you still may have trouble. A 50 some year old switch can corrode just sitting on a shelf.
              Look it over carefully, and you may still have to clean the contacts in the switch.
              South Lompoc Studebaker

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              • #8
                You might also check the dimmer switch on the floorboard. They can go bad and wreak havoc with the lights.
                RadioRoy, specializing in AM/FM conversions with auxiliary inputs for iPod/satellite/CD player. In the old car radio business since 1985.

                17A-S2 - 50 Commander convertible
                10G-C1 - 51 Champion starlight coupe
                10G-Q4 - 51 Champion business coupe
                4H-K5 - 53 Commander starliner hardtop
                5H-D5 - 54 Commander Conestoga wagon
                56B-D4 - 56 Commander station wagon
                60V-L6 - 60 Lark convertible

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                • #9
                  A relay for the headlights would take most of the amperage load off of the light switch and breaker.
                  Gary

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by 55 56 PREZ 4D View Post
                    Are you getting a NEW switch, as in "recently manufactured" ? A universal type ?
                    Or a "New Old Stock" switch ? If it is NOS you still may have trouble. A 50 some year old switch can corrode just sitting on a shelf.
                    Look it over carefully, and you may still have to clean the contacts in the switch.
                    I'll probably order a new switch from the Studebaker catalog after I check out the dimmer switch. The grounds are all fine. I will also consider a relay.

                    Thanks for all the help, I'll let you know the results.
                    Todd

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                    • #11
                      I don't know if a headlight relay will solve your problem, but installing one is a good idea. I've installed relays on my 62 GT Hawk and my 63 Avanti and the headlights with halogen bulbs installed are as good as the lights on my late model Chevys. The relay will take the load off both the headlight and dimmer switches and as a bonus both the instrument and tail lights will be brighter because the headlights aren't drawing their power from the headlight switch. Like 55 56 Prez 4D says, a NOS headlight switch could have contact corrosion problems due to sitting on the shelf for 50+ years depending on its storage location. Bud

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by RadioRoy View Post
                        You might also check the dimmer switch on the floorboard. They can go bad and wreak havoc with the lights.
                        Had that happen on a few Studes.

                        Back to the topic post "Ground Locations" I thought the obvious answer was "under the four tires", or in my case under the jack stands.

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                        • #13
                          Some of the remanufactured switches and relays do not use silver alloy contacts as the originals and the contacts burn and fail soon.
                          For the failing head light switches a good quality relay will be best.
                          Robert Kapteyn

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by rkapteyn View Post
                            Some of the remanufactured switches and relays do not use silver alloy contacts as the originals and the contacts burn and fail soon.
                            For the failing head light switches a good quality relay will be best.
                            Robert Kapteyn
                            Does anyone have a wiring diagram for connecting the relay?

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                            • #15
                              Most relays have three contacts: one is marked either "batt" or "+" which goes (via a ~25 amp fuse or fusible link) to the hot side of the battery or ignition switch. The second is marked "switch" or something similar. The third is marked load or something similar, and goes to the lamp(s). One pole of the switch goes to the relay, and the other to the old headlight contact on the light switch. Some relays will have a fourth ground pole. Most relays come with a wiring diagram anyway.
                              Last edited by Skip Lackie; 10-18-2015, 05:44 AM.
                              Skip Lackie

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