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1916 Studebaker Roadster - Cut-out relay


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ANY pre-war techies out there???

I have a 1916 Series 16 SF Four Roadster that was occasionally not getting starting spark. Some troubleshooting made me think that the generator/battery 6 volt "cut-out" relay located on the engine firewall was not engaging. This little beast according to my 1917 DYKE's manual allows the battery to provide energy to the high tension coil for the start and then once the generator is running it cuts out the battery and the generator takes over duty providing energy to the coil and even hopefully charges the battery.

Normally when you turn the ignition lever to start you see a discharge on the charge/discharge dial and that was not happening. Upon opening it up inspecting the relay it looked worn and was remaining open and could only be engaged by pushing down on the sole set of contact points inside. I did get the discharge indication as normal only when I physically engaged the contacts which sat on a floating plate between two terminals. Thinking maybe it needed cleaning I opened the thing up and after the explosion of wires I dicovered 2 sets of lengthy wire windings and there is no hope in putting it back...besides the relay is worn...only 91 years old.

I would like to find a similar part...or at least something that would work. My Studebaker manuals don't tell me much...I don't think this is a voltage regulator as this era didn't have them as far as I know...but the wires must at least have sensed generator current when the engine started and switched off the battery. Any ideas on a NOS item or something compatible would be much appreciated.

The starter is a Wagner, the generator a Wagner, the distributor a Remy...this relay has no markings or numbers.

Rick.

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Hi Ken...sounds great...I have shipped you a private email via this website (to your profile) to discuss compatibility and possibly shipping me a photo. I really appreciate your offer and certainly hope it will do the trick...most of the early 6 volt systems were fairly generic.

Look forward to hearing directly from you...let me know via this website if for some reason I didn't connect through your profile.

Rick.

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  • 1 month later...
  • 8 months later...

17 Studie...sorry for the long delay...winter in Canada is no fun and not much work was done on my 16 Roadster.

Short answer is while their is a local museum here with a big restoration shop that thought they might be able to fix my original relay I decided to do what others have advised and I bought a 6 volt cut-out relay. My roadster is in show room condition but I am having trouble getting spark still (see my above post) so I have to find time to get after it. BTW...my Studie was built in Brockville, Ontario, Canada and shipped to Australia...it is right hand drive!!!!!

Rick.

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Rick Hi,

I have fitted a 6 volt relay - will have to test it when I get the car mobile.

As for spark - I have recently gotten my rebuilt motor going - but I had lots of trouble with my original coil and a NOS one I bought. If everything was right and the battery fully charged I could get it started, but the spark was very weak. I bought a modern Bosch 6 volt coil and condenser and now no problem at all - nice big blue spark.

Now having a few problems with the carby but think its the fuel needle - so have made a new one and will fit soon and see if its any better. The car is running too rich and I have to have the auxiliary air and lower spring tensioner both wound fully out (which should make it very lean)- but its still rich. thanks David

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  • 5 weeks later...

Thanks for the update. I also have a NOS coil which I have to install and try and a NOS set of points. I hope to get after it in Sept./Oct. I am also going to get a new set of old spark plug wires made to ensure I have good connection. Lets keep in touch...I also note one of the guys on the site has a parts book and illustrations that he will ship out...may be helpful.

Rick

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  • 12 years later...

I have this one but like every other one I’ve had, it is inoperative. Unlike the Remy cutouts, the Wagners were not meant to be serviced. You can cut the welds on the housing and use a diode inside then reassemble to keep the original look.

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I'm not certain what diode to use. The member of our club who suggested it works on Model T's.
He checked with a contact in the U.S. and was told at least 25 amp and for a positive ground.
Can you let me know if something like the one in this link would work?
I'm understanding that it needs to be soldered in but don't know where to solder it to inside the housing.
Any guidance or instructions you can offer would be greatly appreciated.
My Dad restored the car and I'm learning to take care of it.
Thanks so much.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Diode-Positive-25Amp-200-Volt-5-16-Tin-Can-/114618378917

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That looks like an old fashioned alternator diode, similar to what you might find in some of the solid state cutouts I have seen. If it were me, I would go a lot higher on the current rating. When used in an alternator, diodes like this have a rather large heatsink. Any diode will need to be seriously derated with no heatsink. I have seen in a couple of diode cutouts for Fords, and they are just an alternator diode about like that one, and little to no heatsink (because there isn't room). I really wonder if the people manufacturing them know what they are doing. It would work as long as it does not overheat due to excessive current.

 

With that diode you will have to make something to press it into to hook up the other terminal. Heatsinking would be good too but I doubt you have room. It doesn't matter whether you get a negative or positive diode. Those are alternator terms, and negative just means it is reversed in the case when compared to a positive diode. It makes no difference as long as you put it in the correct direction. It needs to allow current to flow out of the generator but not in. The opposite kind of diode would just connect the opposite way.

 

Similarly, in a positive ground system the diode connects one direction, and in a negative ground system it connects the other direction.

 

The diode goes in series with the armature wire, just like the 2 terminals of the cutout did. In on one terminal and out on the other. Unlike the cutout, nothing is grounded.

 

Stude Light: I understand they weren't meant to be serviced, but have you ever tried to fix one? It seems like if you were cutting it apart anyway, once you were inside it might not be that tough.

 

Edited by Bloo (see edit history)
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I’ve restored and readjusted the Remy ones that Studebaker used. They have a cover that is removed with a single screw. Once inside you can easily adjust the cut in and cut out voltages. If I recall, the internals of the Wagner did not have adjustment screws so you have to bend the arms to get the voltages set.

 

I’m guessing the generator in a 1926 is good for maybe 10-12 amps so you don’t need a huge diode. 
 

You could reach out to Jason Smith from Advanced Electrical Rebuilders for some advice or just have him do the conversion.

 

http://www.aerrebuild.com/index.php/about-us.html

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