Eric W

1952 Studebaker Commander Starlight Coupe

Recommended Posts


Benefits of AACA Membership.

6/20 - I did bring it to the cruise night on 6/13, where it got all the way there, stalled out, and was pushed to a spot towards the far end of the parking lot. After getting something to eat & looking at the other cars, I did get it started again & got it home. After some thought, I checked the oil - quite low after dripping away in that guy's yard for 7 months. Added oil & brought it to the cruise night last night. Still slow to start after it's hot, but there & back no problems. I ordered the clips for the hood scripts & pulled the bumper guards front & rear. I have another rear bumper that I picked up at a Studebaker-specific estate sale. Brought the bumper & guards to the chrome shop today. The back bumper & guards as-is are a real letdown with the new paint.

20190620_01.jpg

20190620_02.jpg

20190620_03.jpg

20190611_rear_bumper.jpg

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Eric, the Studebaker looks great. .Had a similar problem with my Studebaker. I had the carb, and fuel pump rebuilt.also had the gas tank cleaned and sealed. She runs fine now. John

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Eric W said:

The back bumper & guards as-is are a real letdown with the new paint.

 

That's the way it always is.........almost a never-ending ordeal! :)

 

By the way Eric, I'm jealous - such a beautiful Studebaker. I always had a soft spot for '52s although I never had one.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good point, John. I'll see if I can determine the exact carb & get a rebuild kit from The Carburetor Shop. I got kits from them for both of the '51 Buicks with good results. Remade the power lead for the license plate light this morning. I had cut that wire to pull the trunk - there's no inline bullet connector, at least not that I found. While doing this, I noticed the right tail light was out. Right brake light is good, so maybe a burned bulb. Turned out it just needed to be cycled in the socket some and it came back to life. The Thursday cruise "night" typically starts as soon as I can get there after work (before sundown), but going home I need complete working lights.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi,

I've popped in now and then to watch your progress and like what you have done with your car. Driving it is as much of the joy as the journey getting there in my opinion so have fun!

 

I was at our weekly cruise-in on Monday and thought you might like to see this Stude. 

IMG_5292.thumb.JPG.16f85129512cb3b1392e186a067af2ae.JPG

 

The owner has redone it to all stock keeping the flat head 6 and has the swamp cooler which is so unique.

IMG_5293.thumb.JPG.811c6c2b4c77e75b5dba1ad96fca1f50.JPG

 

He told the story of finding the cooler at a swap meet and with some of the original paint redid it.

First time he put it on the car and went for a ride all the bugs and crap flew inside his nice new interior so had to pull over and take it off... LOL

He said it is cleaned out and has some effect now. 

 

Keep on movin' on.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ok, 5 weeks on the chrome. I think they had it done last week sometime, but I was out of town. They've still got one part that they weren't happy with, so I haven't installed any of the 4 bumper guards that I had done for the front. The rear parts came out great, though. Those bumper over-rides were all crunched up, and they push the dents back out & smooth it over. They did have to cut out the mounting brackets & weld them back in. They told me they would do this before they started. They said the last part would complete its rework tomorrow, if I can find time to get it (I have to leave work early to make their operating hours). They did show me the part in nickel; all that's left is the chrome & polish. Royal Plating in Tucson.

20190729_01.jpg

20190729_02.jpg

20190729_03.jpg

20190729_04.jpg

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bumper and guards look really nice Eric. Your hard work is really paying off on this car!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks - I was able to pick up the last part from the chrome shop yesterday, but I haven't had a chance to put them on. Even though the front guards weren't what I'd call terrible before, it does make a big difference to see perfect new finish on there. That back bumper was an estate sale find for about $30. Of course, the chrome work is a lot more than that. But it was very straight, with just one small area where the bottom edge was dented a little. That's how I saw the part - they may have seen many more areas that needed a little tweaking. But overall, much more straight than the bumper I removed, which had obviously had some sort of impact.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ok, got the front guards on & took it down the street for some better photos.

20190731_01.jpg

20190731_02.jpg

20190731_03.jpg

20190731_04.jpg

20190731_05.jpg

20190731_06.jpg

20190731_07.jpg

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Drove for a while today - got to the better photo spot, but need to pass by there again when the sun is lower...

20190810_01.jpg

20190810_02.jpg

20190810_03.jpg

20190810_04.jpg

20190810_06.jpg

20190810_05.jpg

20190810_07.jpg

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Some interest, but nobody showing up with money. Starter died in February. Pulled that & sent it for rebuild, then realized I wouldn't have it for the once every OTHER year Studebaker-only show in Tucson. So called the local Studebaker parts-pile guy, and he had the starter I needed. Got that on & going with 6 days to the show. Made the show today. Parked across from another 1952 Commander Starlight Coupe that drove down from Phoenix (see first photo). Same guy who sold me the hood emblem. Need to sell at some point because I've got an idea for another project, but no more garage space...

20200307_01.jpg

20200307_02.jpg

20200307_03.jpg

20200307_04.jpg

20200307_05.jpg

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

And then there was this worldwide pandemic, and the economy crashed, so I think this car is trying to stay with me...

 

Got the starter back from the rebuilder. Decided to swap it in to see if it works better than the one that's on there. Got it mostly into place and decided it might not be right for the car. I didn't take a good picture before I sent it off, so I'm not sure the same one came back. The end that goes into the bellhousing looks a lot bigger than the one that I got from the parts guy. He said the automatic transmissions had a different end to engage the flywheel, so I backed it back out and put the smaller one back. In looking at the Studebaker shop manual, it looks like the one I have on the car is for the 6-cylinder, and the one I had rebuilt looks correct for the 8-cylinder, which this car has. Regardless, trying to start the car after all this, hitting the start button just caused a click from the solenoid, and nothing further. Opening the door, the dash light was shorted. I'd seen this before (recently) - jiggle the bundle of old crap wires by the solenoid and the short might clear. It didn't after a couple of tries. This rats nest of multiple generations of wiring add-ons finally brought the car down.

 

Thought about trying to pick through the rats nest, and between the crumbly insulation and bits of bare wire showing through, I figured its time to break out that wire harness kit that I'd found in the parts car. Here's some photos. 3rd photo - almost none of those wires in the middle are stock - mostly added to patch and bypass things over time. Got the original wiring out from the engine compartment and from behind the dash. Got new wires in for the headlights and front marker / turn signals. Got the new harness through the firewall, then realized I need to thread it through the firewall cover plate, so it will come back out tomorrow. This will be good when its over because the gauge cluster didn't light up and the headlights were rigged to an add-on headlight switch below the dash, among other things. Weird thing about this vintage of Studebaker wiring - there's no fuse panel & no fuses. I'm not sure where the smoke is supposed to come out.

20200321_01.jpg

20200321_02.jpg

20200321_03.jpg

20200321_04.jpg

20200321_05.jpg

20200321_06.jpg

20200321_07.jpg

20200321_08.jpg

20200321_09.jpg

20200321_10.jpg

Edited by Eric W
text edit (see edit history)
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Big job for sure Eric, but the peace of mind having a good wiring system will be well worth it. 

 

Is your original headlight switch bad? I may have a NOS one if you are looking for one. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks - I got a headlight switch out of the parts car. Today finished cleaning up & repainting the firewall cover plate. Got the harness pulled back out and strung through the cover plate, then harness back in place and firewall opening closed up. Made the connections under the hood for front lights, solenoid, ignition coil, temperature gauge, and generator. Will need to get under the car to pull the remaining old wiring for the transmission overdrive, the high/low beam switch, brake light switch, and the harness to the rear lights. It's looking like the harness I have was for the automatic transmission, given that there's no overdrive wiring, and the start switch lead ends up behind the dashboard, so I might need to make a few wires. Got the instruments back in - connections for AMP, Temp, oil pressure, fuel gauge, and the gauge pod illumination. Got the dash courtesy light leads rebuilt, that light socket cleaned up and reinstalled (it's just above the speedometer, and lights up when either door is opened).

 

Swapped out light sockets for the instrument illumination - the stock lights use a smaller bulb on a very deep socket to get the light source up inside the gauge, so the light is reflected back down onto the face of the gauges. Pretty easy to cut the lead, drop the supplied socket off, thread the lead through the original socket, and solder the lead back together. Moving on to the speedometer - it's got the high beam indicator light, turn signal repeaters, the gauge illumination, and the speedometer cable. This harness has both right and left turn signals with the same color of wire, so I may be swapping things around when there's power. There's also a circuit breaker on a separate bracket between the 4-gauge pod and the speedometer - seems like that's the "fuse" for several things.

 

Connected up the ignition key and headlight switch. Can't figure out which terminal on the headlight switch is for the gauge illumination, but I can work that out when there's power.

 

This is going a lot quicker than the '51 Buick, but that car was missing all of the original wires under the hood, and I remade those wires from raw stock and the wiring diagram rather than having a harness kit. Since the Buick ran the rear lights from the right side of the dashboard, across the right-side floor, around the front seat, along the driveshaft hump, then under the backseat and into the trunk, there was a lot less going down the firewall than in the Studebaker. Studebaker runs the rear lights down the firewall in the engine compartment and back along the frame from there. This harness kit has been pretty good - a couple of terminals to cut off and switch for different ones, but overall seems to be fitting pretty well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Some photos - cover plate after overnight in Evap-o-Rust, scotchbrited & painted. The section of harness fed through the cover plate. Cover plate in place. Branch looping under - just the way this harness was made. Plenty of length there.

 

Front light wiring & closer up. Still need to put the horn relay back. Routing at the terminal block wasn't exactly what I wanted, but I was working with the lengths & terminals provided.

 

Gauges going back in. With the gauges out, took the opportunity to go over the panel with Simichrome to shine it up some.

20200322_01.jpg

20200322_02.jpg

20200322_03.jpg

20200322_04.jpg

20200322_03A.jpg

20200322_05.jpg

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Got back to it today. Tried adding the battery to see what lights would work. Turns out - none. This harness has so much resistance, it's sucking up all the power within itself. About 3v loss on the big wire between the voltage regulator and the solenoid. This goes through the ammeter, but I checked no detectable loss through the ammeter itself. On the smaller wires out to the front marker lights, voltage is almost nothing. Ordered a new harness from Studebaker Int'l, and started backing this one out. Hopefully their harness has a couple more pounds of copper than this one. Got the dash disassembled / disconnected.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

After fighting with the wiring on my ‘48 Packard for a year I “bit the bullitt” and bought a new wiring harness from Rhode Island Wiring.....expensive but it solved all electric issues and I never had an electical issue after that. Good move.....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Yes, this mystery harness I was working with didn't seem to be all that great quality - wires looked heavy enough, but when I saw what I was pulling out, I wasn't so sure. When I connected the battery and started some measurements, that pretty well confirmed this harness isn't adequate. Given Studebaker International is a major supplier, I'm counting on them to know what they're doing. I'll add some more photos of today's progress. I got the nasty train wreck of old wires out from the bottom end of the engine compartment.

 

First photo - what came out - bottom harness went to the overdrive solenoid. Middle is to the starter switch (at bottom of clutch pedal throw) and to the hi/lo beam headlights. Upper is to the rear lights / brake light switch.

Next photo - before. Last photo - old wires out from lower firewall & around the steering column.

20200328_01.jpg

20200321_03.jpg

20200328_02.jpg

Edited by Eric W
added photos (see edit history)
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Got back to removing the old wiring. Wanted to pull the section between the frame and the brake master cylinder. First photo is to remind me what the brake master looks like all fasteners in place. Pull the 2 big bolts that hold the master to the frame, so the cylinder can shift around a little to pull the wires down and back. Second photo - the portion of harness released. Don't really need to go farther back than this until the replacement harness is delivered - I can see the rest of the harness on the frame all the way back with not really anything in the way of pulling it out.

20200404_01.jpg

20200404_02.jpg

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now