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12 volt conversion

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I do have to agree with Bob on this.

While it is your car and your money, that question that needs asked, especially in a vehicle of this vintage, is why do you want to do this?

There MAY be valid reasons; but reliability is NOT one of them.

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Most of the time people get frustrated at the starter turning slowly and decide they need 12 volts when the real cause is battery cables. 1/0 or 2/0 cables is what it came with and after 95 years of ‚Äúmaintenance‚Ä̬†they usually have #2 size cables which works fine for 12 volts. I would start with the cables and making sure you have the correct ampacity wire. I purchased the correct equipment for my cars at Rhode Island Wire. Get the 1/0 or 2/0 wire and battery clamps/terminals to match the gauge, solder them on and you are typically good to go for many years.

I went through this learning process years ago with a 1939 Allis Chalmers tractor and after a few years of dealing with issues related to converting to higher voltage I took the advice of someone on the tractor forum. Went back to 6 volts, heavy wire and happy for years.

Edited by Stude Light (see edit history)
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It is not only the cable size.

When the bushings in the starter wear down, the armature will start racking up

on the stator , causing the starter to slow down.

Early fifties Delco starters  (6Volt) also had problem with leaking engine oil and swelling up

the starter electrical coils , which caused more friction.

(oh my , Studebaker engines leaking oil ?)

Very few rebuilders are aware of these problems and just clean the starters and put pretty paint on it and call it "rebuilt". 


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I have converted my 35 Commander and 29 President to 12v. negative to earth. The advantages are; 30 amp generator,  buy a batteries any where and cheaper, modern accessories work, eg. GPS, GPS Speedo, led lights etc..

It is simple to convert.  change light bulbs and generator, reverse the wires on the ammeter. The 6v starter motor, and horns will work on 12 volt. Early cars have mechanical temp and fuel gauges no need to do anything with them.  I have been running these cars trouble free, 35 and 18 years respectably  and have had occasion to replace batteries on more than one in country towns, where 6v batteries are not available, but 12v batteries are. Also you can jump start them with a more modern 12 volt car.

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