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1930 Commander Two coils?

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Durring the last couple months of production of te 1931 president model they did the change from two to one coil. The bodys were still stamped for 2 so they just covered it with the firewall pad. Is yours a 31? or they made the change at a different time for the commanders.

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Gentlemen, Thanks for the information and the photograph. My car is engine number FD 801 and the block casting has an I indicator for the year model. I am not sure if this makes it a 1930 or 1929. Regarding the left/right drive comments: there is plenty of room on the firewall and behind the dash for the coil to be in either location no matter the position of the steering column.

I am interested to know how the President dual coil system worked. How was the second coil introduced into the high tension circuit? Two inlet points on the distributor cap? I suppose each coil was activated by its own set of points or were they all just connected in parallel and even if one coil failed everything would go as normal.

An interesting point from the photo is that on my right hand drive the carburettor is reversed so that the air filter points forward to miss the carburettor.


Thanks, John


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The dual coil 1928-30 Studebaker President 8 system used a dual ended rotor that fired four cylinders with one coil and the other four with the second coil. The plug wires were arranged so one rotor tip commutated from one coil then alternated to the opposite rotor tip that commutated from the second coil. As it rotated each coil had its own set of points synchronized with the rotor that had two seperate commutator brushes in the cap [1 in center post and the other that commutated a brass ring molded into the cap].

Attached are several photos of the parts that comprised the delco 668A or C version (A used a small key to index the rotor on the distributor shaft that experienced shearing if it bumped a post while rotating so later C version changed to a "D" shaped index hole for durability).

I have an electrical diagram of the circuit I drew up but can't find it at the moment. The parts photos will show the details of the distributor, points, rotors and 10 hole caps.

I once owned a 1930 President and rebuilt these distributors for other owners also.

The photos show Top and Bottom view of type A and C rotors; A set of service parts for a dual coil ignition system; one view of inside of the dual rotor cap with brass commutator ring; two views of a 668 type distributor head with points and condensors.







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Hi stude8,

Many thanks for your very informative explanation of the President ignition system. The photos were especially welcome because I'm not sure I would have got my head around a description. The method of introducing the two coils into the distributor cap is interesting as is the two ended rotor. Amazing!

I wonder if the Commander and President could have shared the same firewall pressing and so mine is just a product of that.

Thanks again, John.

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I found the data page I have from info in a 1934 Motor's Handbook about the 1929-30 Studebaker President 8 dual coil ignition system and just noticed the illustration is incorrect because they show a 12 cylinder cap in the drawing. Probably the art dept got confused by the 10 posts on the distributor cap (8 cyl's and 2 spark coil's). It does illustrate how the two coils are triggered by the two sets of points.



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Thank you for the pages from your ignition manual. The diagram for the 1929-30 STudebaker distributor is correct, I printed it out and put it in my service files for reference. I did once own a 1930 President Victoria but sold it 10 years ago in a weak moment. I have since acquired a 1928 Studebaker Commander Big Six Victoria to play around with. It has a less complicated ignition system.

John Shanahan (stude8)

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  • 7 years later...

Hi, I have a 1928 Studebaker President FB, all original (bought from my dad, in family for over 40 years now).  It RUNS great, always has.  But last few years it has started dying after a mile or two driving it "just to get it out" from his farm.   Spits and coughs and just dies.   Like it is out of gas.  But rebuilt fuel pump, checked for good flow and drained gas tank, all good.  Suspected bad coils, had them checked and the guy said "they test ok, but hard to tell until they are hot".    So, wondering about replacing them?   Since they both are special (original tin-can) with flange that mounts directly into the firewall, how have you gone about replacing them with new 6V coils, while retaining the original flange mount?  This is the first post I've come across that addresses the coils and shows how they mount, and see yours ARE new coils.  Car is up at the farm so can't look but recall there was no way to separte them; might be wrong??   Thanks!   

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Could be coils, could be condensers, and if your running an electric fuel pump that also could be a problem. Most likely it’s coils. You can test a coil with a tester that heats and loads the coil......it’s the only way to be sure it’s the problem, as using a tester to check resistance is not reliable. If you like, I can test your coil for you with a Herbrand tester. You would need to mail it to me, and include return postage. I would be happy to test it for free. Instead of guessing, it’s best to be sure of the problem. You could also just buy a new 6 volt coil, and swap it out. 

Look up Herbrand HT-660 On YouTube to see the tester I use in the shop.

Edited by edinmass (see edit history)
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48 minutes ago, studeq said:

Sounds like the condenser. Has happened to me. Give that a try first, cheaper and easier. Then move on the coil if that doesn't cure it. 


Coil issues vs condensers.............ten to one coil is the problem. In 150k miles of pre war car driving over forty years I have had two condensers fail........one the condenser was 104 years old, the other was on a great running car that cot out in a terrible downpour and the water caused a failure of the condenser. I have had many coil failures.....so much that I carry a coil as a spare in every car..........but I don’t carry condensers.......because if they short, you can just cut the wire and drive home without it.....no harm, no foul. If you do try the condensers first, do NOT touch the points or their adjustments......unless you have a Sun distributor tester.........I have of those also if you need to get yours set up correctly.👍

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thanks Edinmass, generous of you!  I'll have to take the coils out again and look at them closer, to determine whether (or HOW) a new coil can be retro-fit to those bezel-mounts.   last summer, it sure seemed they were integral to the coil but that really doesn't make sense, coils are generic, and even Studebaker wouldn't have made a unique coil just to fit flush on the firewall. (I don't think! 🙂 ). But looking at my photos below, I sure don't see how a new coil would be captured (and the whole thing IS the original 'tin can').    If they ARE one-piece as I recall,  If you could send your address I might take you up on that;  email is bsrosell@mmm.com.


  QUESTION: what is the issue to be aware of with the points?   I was at some point going to put in a new set.   I had purchased a new distributor cap, set of new points and new condensors several years, as I gathered parts that "someday" I'd need when I got to this car.   Meanwhile I've a '57 Golden Hawk apart, (going on 10 years, chassis almost done; work, 5 kids, and a disability with a walker will do that to you!) and dad's 53 Buick Super convertible (original) in line first.  But WOULD like the President to run and drive a bit!



President coil.JPG

President firewall coils.JPG

Edited by 53BuickSuperConv (see edit history)
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