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Startix questions on '35 Commander

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  • Electrical: Startix questions on '35 Commander

    I should probably wait to receive the shop manual I have ordered for my newly purchased '35 Commander, but I can't do much until I have the following problem figured out. The car is equipped with the Startix automatic starting system. As I understand it, the Startix has two relays, the first of which will send power to the starter as soon as the key is turned on (on other cars I have owned with the Startix, the clutch pedal also needs to be depressed. On this car the Startix will engage no matter the position of the clutch pedal). Once the engine starts and current is flowing from the generator, the other relay tells the Startix to stop sending power to the starter.

    On this car, even after the engine starts, the startix continues to send power to the starter and it keeps trying to engage, so I'm afraid if I keep the engine running I'm going to be doing damage to the starter drive and the flywheel. Am I correct in thinking that this tells me that the generator is not operating properly and not providing enough current to energize that second relay?

    Did this car come originally equipped with another starter button? I'm sure that once I get the shop manual I'll be able to figure out a way to bypass the Startix (I really don't like it much). Other cars I've had with Startix also had secondary starter buttons.

    Should there be a switch on the clutch pedal to prevent the starter from engaging while in gear? This seems to me to be really unsafe and an oversight in engineering if there is no switch. On the other cars I've owned with Startix, the owner's manual specifically says the Startix will not work until the clutch pedal was depressed.

    Thanks. Tom

  • #2
    Yes, it sounds like your generator is not putting out enough to keep the Startix disengaged. On my 1932 Studebaker, I used an ignition switch that had an accessory position (no start position, just "on", "off" and "accessory". I used the acc position in conjunction with a push button switch hidden under the dash to start and drive the car most of the time, using the Startix as simply a starter solenoid. I worked on the Startix and finally got it to work perfectly, but never really trusted it enough to not engage while the engine was running. The car had a later model coil and key switch that replaced the original integral key/coil unit when I got it so I didn't feel too bad about a non-original key switch, since I considered the wiring mod a safety upgrade. I no longer have the car and can't remember how I wired it up, but it wasn't difficult, I'll try to joggle my brain to remember how I had it wired. The '35 may have also used an anti-backfire device that prevented damage if the engine kicked backwards while the Startix was trying to start it. My '32 didn't have a switch on the clutch pedal but later models may have.

    Comment


    • #3
      There is no starter button on your Studebaker; either on the dash or under the clutch pedal. The current to the Startix is engaged as soon as the ignition key is turned to the "run" position. That current should flow to a vacuum switch on the exhaust manifold, then to the Startix. Once the engine is running the switch opens and cuts the power to the Startix. It sounds like perhaps your vacuum switch is not opening when the engine starts running.
      Your Shop Manual should have the schematics for that circuit.
      It probably won't give much detail about the Startix itself. Here are some pages that may help with the system. Click image for larger version

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ID:	1703955 And one more to follow.
      Last edited by rockne10; 02-20-2016, 05:25 AM.
      "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

      Comment


      • #4
        Click image for larger version

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ID:	1703957 Assuming your Startix itself is functioning properly, as Ed indicated, simply wire a momentary switch under the dash instead of running the current through the vacuum switch. That's what I did with my Rockne.
        "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

        Comment


        • #5
          Thank you for the responses. This is fascinating. My next post has been pre-empted because I was going to post a picture of that vacuum switch and ask the forum what it was. When I go out to my shop tomorrow I'll check that out. I think I remember that there might be a wire disconnected from the switch and I did not associate it with the Startix and didn't re-connect it. I was scratching my head wondering why there were wires hooked up to something that was obviously vacuum-related and didn't make the connection because I don't remember anything like that on the other cars that I've owned that had a Startix system.

          I continue to be amazed at the depth of knowledge and the willingness to share displayed here on this forum.

          Tom

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by tomlewis View Post
            Thank you for the responses. This is fascinating. My next post has been pre-empted because I was going to post a picture of that vacuum switch and ask the forum what it was. When I go out to my shop tomorrow I'll check that out. I think I remember that there might be a wire disconnected from the switch and I did not associate it with the Startix and didn't re-connect it. I was scratching my head wondering why there were wires hooked up to something that was obviously vacuum-related and didn't make the connection because I don't remember anything like that on the other cars that I've owned that had a Startix system.

            I continue to be amazed at the depth of knowledge and the willingness to share displayed here on this forum.

            Tom
            This is just a follow-up. I got the shop manual and it very clearly says that if the Startix continues to energize after the engine is running that this is a signal to the driver that the generator is not functioning properly. I had the generator and regulator checked and repaired as needed. After I re-installed the generator and regulator, the Startix is working correctly.

            The shop manual also says that if the Startix continues to energize after the engine is running that the key can be turned all the way to the left and the car will continue to run until the generator can be repaired and the warning signal of the starter gear contacting the ring gear will stop. I tried that and it also worked just the way the shop manual said it would. Tom

            Comment


            • #7
              The Startix is a mysterious device. I've been able to fix three of them and tested each on my '32 Stude, all three worked great but I had to mess with the adjustment they warn you to never try to adjust. It's tricky but once you can get one to work, they seem to be very reliable. I always amazed my friends by showing them how it started the car by "magic"!

              Comment

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