Jump to content

Stalling 1938 Studebaker? Any ideas?


Recommended Posts

Single-carb flathead sixes with stock cams should be 18-20 as best I recall.  High-performance cars with cam overlap will have less.  Low vacuum usually means (1) vacuum leak or (2) late ignition timing--rarely it could be excessive advance but even a pre-war car would ping like crazy.

 

How new is that piece of vac hose from the vacuum chamber to the steel line?  In the photo it looks a bit funky.

 

After you've done some of the easy stuff, consider loosening the clamp on the dist, remove and plug the vac draw from the intake manifold, turn dist while idling to max vac, then back off 1/2 to 1 inch from max on the gauge, and try that.  Mark all locations first so you can go back to where you were.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 hours ago, TerryB said:

You can welcome those guys to the Studebaker Dazed and Confused (SDC for short) club that have been watching or contributing to this thread Dave.  
 

Terry, you do know that SDC is the Studebaker Drivers Club? Ever since August 1962.....😉

 

6 hours ago, Bloo said:

If it were me, I would be soaking up those manifold bolts or studs every day with heat riser solvent, in anticipation of possibly having to unbolt the exhaust.

 

Like when I complained of chest pains, the cardiologist said get on the Cath table, because the only way to know is take a look inside!😲 Soak those bolts and be prepared to drill out broken studs. It is just the way it is. The plugged exhaust may not be the problem, but to eliminate it as a possibility it has to be removed!

 

If it was bad wires inside the metal protector, just soaking them with water should reproduce the issue when cold.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Grimy, the vacuum leaks has been checked by three different people. All of us has said we couldn’t find any leaks. The timing has been checked and the engine is starting and idling great. If the wires don’t help and I get the exhaust off and it’s clear and the distributor checks out I will go back to vacuum. I just can’t keep redoing the same thing until I check out all other possible problems. I will let all know as I get these done and if any of them work. 
 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

One more time - the only time I have experienced a similar problem (drastic loss of power under load) it was a condenser, and since new condensers have been known to be bad right out of the box, if it was mine I would get another new condenser. 

Just my two cents - sorry for the repeat.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have been following your progress & have a suggestion. I have seen this same issue several times and it turned out to be distributor rotor. They short through the center to the shaft. You can not see a trace, so replacement is the only test. Have seen it on vw in the 90s and a 63 corvette in 1970. Both times drove techs crazy! I would change cap rotor & ignition wires. Again these cars always idled fine & only acted up on acceleration. Hope this helps its keeping us up at night trying to figure if out!

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

It’s now at the point where even my wife is asking “if that guy on the AACA site got his car fixed yet?” She is definitely not a car person so it shows the level of concern is widespread and growing!  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

LarryCarol. Going to try the plug wires today and will pickup an extra rotor. Ed has said he thinks it’s either the wires or the distributor. 
TerryB, thank your wife for the concern. To all that have read and contributed to this thread and tried to help figure it out, please know how much I appreciate all of the suggestions, support and help. It’s hard on all of us with the pandemic going on but my wife and myself have made it harder moving just before this all hit. Not knowing anyone in the area has made all of you extra special. When this is over I guess I need to invite all of you over for one hell of a party in celebration of the end of C19 and the successful solving of the 38 Studebaker mystery. 
dave s 

 

well I’m sure it’s not much of a mystery to some of you that know what you are doing but I’m an amateur at best working on the beast. But it is fun! 

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am somewhat obsessed with test equipment but even one of these can tell you a lot about the spark.

That said I'd be tempted to drill a hole in the exhaust pipe near the manifold and install an O2 sensor bung. Just left open can tell a lot about a plugged exhaust or install a back pressure guage, or an O2 sensor can tell quite a bit. When done can just install a plug. No broken bolts.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ok I tried to get the correct spark plug wires but no luck at local car parts stores. I ordered a set from Brillman that will be here early next week. So things will be on hold until then. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Someone one these forums once said 90% of all of my gas problems were electrical. My 21 Paige 6 cylinder drove me crazy for close to a year.  Idled nicely but broke up under load.  Took the carb apart at least 6 times.   Turned out to be a bad spark plug wire.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I haven't read the 200+ posts here but I have a friend who did trouble shooting for John Deere and he said 90% of electical problems are from grounding failure.

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

19 hours ago, 31plymouth said:

Someone one these forums once said 90% of all of my gas problems were electrical. My 21 Paige 6 cylinder drove me crazy for close to a year.  Idled nicely but broke up under load.  Took the carb apart at least 6 times.   Turned out to be a bad spark plug wire.

Wouldn't inspection of the spark plugs show that? A wet plug or carbon fouled? 

 

On 3/26/2021 at 10:23 AM, padgett said:

I am somewhat obsessed with test equipment but even one of these can tell you a lot about the spark.

That said I'd be tempted to drill a hole in the exhaust pipe near the manifold and install an O2 sensor bung. Just left open can tell a lot about a plugged exhaust or install a back pressure guage, or an O2 sensor can tell quite a bit. When done can just install a plug. No broken bolts.

 

As 'way out' as Padgett's suggestion is, it does stimulate some thought, could a mouse have built a nest in the exhaust system over the winter? 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

John. It is not stored as it is driven three or four times a week. Great weather in SC allows that, so not likely a mouse plus the black snakes around here are very good at keeping them from being around. We had a mole in the front yard until the big black snake went dome his tunnels. No more mole!  
 

I did manage to get the exhaust off the manifold by soaking the bolts, a little determination and perseverance along with some inspirational support from CCR in the background. The heat riser is wide open and the weight keeps it that way. The stud for the spring is broken off that’s why there is no spring to close the riser when cool. I don’t really need it as we don’t get very cold in SC. Waiting for the wires hopefully they will be here by Tuesday. 
dave s 

Edited by SC38DLS (see edit history)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Would think that the odor of fried mouse would be noticeable.

 

Just keep doing "things", eventually something will change. From your description it sounds more like a general loss of power than a miss. Correct ?

That said an electrical fault can feel like anything.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 minutes ago, padgett said:

Would think that the odor of fried mouse would be noticeable.

 

Just keep doing "things", eventually something will change. From your description it sounds more like a general loss of power than a miss. Correct ?

That said an electrical fault can feel like anything.

 

Nothing says the mouse had to be home at the time.....

 

49 minutes ago, SC38DLS said:

John. It is not stored as it is driven three or four times a week. Great weather in SC allows that, so not likely a mouse plus the black snakes around here are very good at keeping them from being around. We had a mole in the front yard until the big black snake went dome his tunnels. No more mole!  

 

 

I hate snakes! I never saw a snake in the wild until I got the house in Florida. 

 

Did you start it up at night  or in the very dark to see if you see any arcing on the wires, cap, and coil?

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

Haven’t started it at night - too lazy to get back to the garage after I sit down, legs and back can only take so much then it’s try to get comfortable and reduce pain. I ordered the wires but hopefully tonight I will try the St Elmo’s ( isn’t that what’s it is called?) fire test. Haven’t done that in a hundred years but it is a good test. 
Ed thinks it’s electrical I. Either the wires or a bad distributor. I think he knows what he’s talking about so I ordered the wires as a hopeful solution. It can never hurt to have an extra plug wire or two. 
I am positive with all the good ideas and input from all of you, we as a group will solve this problem. Then we either have a great party get together or I have to figure out a way to get you all metals in honor of solving the great Studebaker running mystery!  Lol. 

Edited by SC38DLS (see edit history)
  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Top failure - condenser.  I know you tried three so probably not that.

Next failure is a bad coil.

Next failure is bad points.  Just because you put in new doesn't mean they are right. I suggest getting a NOS set, as I previously suggested, or at least check the spring pressure.  Maybe you already did this. 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 3/27/2021 at 11:47 AM, SC38DLS said:

I did manage to get the exhaust off the manifold by soaking the bolts, a little determination and perseverance along with some inspirational support from CCR in the background. The heat riser is wide open and the weight keeps it that way. The stud for the spring is broken off that’s why there is no spring to close the riser when cool. I don’t really need it as we don’t get very cold in SC. Waiting for the wires hopefully they will be here by Tuesday. 

 

And you haven't driven it with the exhaust removed yet? Yes, I know it is loud....  as long as no fire will ignite anything..... do be cautious.

The car has to be driven to make it fail, right? Idles just fine forever in the driveway? 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 3/27/2021 at 12:41 PM, John348 said:

I hate snakes! I never saw a snake in the wild until I got the house in Florida. 

Black snakes are wonderful to have around the house. Not in the house. 😉

 

I live where we only have one poisonous snake, the Copperhead. That's enough. See them usually every summer. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, Stude Light said:

Top failure - condenser.  I know you tried three so probably not that.

Next failure is a bad coil.

Next failure is bad points.  Just because you put in new doesn't mean they are right. I suggest getting a NOS set, as I previously suggested, or at least check the spring pressure.  Maybe you already did this. 

 

Yep, grid of those old archaic points and condensor, stick a Pertronix in there......😉

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 minute ago, Bloo said:

How much ya wanna bet it'll still do it? :lol:

 

From what I have read so far, anyone's guess is good as another....lol!

 

SC38DLS, I feel for you, this must be driving you nuts, I know I am going that way reading along.

 

Disconnecting the exhaust/muffler maybe a good quick check.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The real problem here is the lack of proper diagnostic tools. An oscilloscope and a five gas machine would have pin pointed it quickly. Dave isn’t a full time mechanic which also adds to the issue. Once the ignition wires are eliminated.......if it’s not fixed it will be one of the “repairs” that were done and somehow something is incorrect. Since he believes he still has the identical issue........it’s probably in the wires. With all the changes, if done correctly........there should have been some partial improvement. As Holmes says, through process of elimination..........if everything else is ruled out, then the last choice is the obvious solution. If Dave doesn’t get it soon, I’m going to have to drive up with my car doctor tool kit. 

  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Dave.......over 2800 views. Your in the running for most popular thread for 2021! 
 

If the wires don’t fix it, I’m going to have Dave send me his distributor by USPS so I can check it on my Sun tester. 

Edited by edinmass (see edit history)
  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just wish the first view would have had the perfect solution or better yet it never would have been an issue to start the thread! 
Waiting for the wires to arrive. 
 

Frank I did drive it. Yes it idles and read five in driveway/ garage. Under load it Boggs down and it did with exhaust off also. 
 

Ed thought it was electrical when he first got into this thread. I am expecting he has hit the nail on the head. Time will let us all know soon!  
dave s 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Padgett. I’ve worried about a stuck valve since the start of this but I do t see any smoke coming out the exhaust ( could be the eyes are just too bad to see but I have have cataract surgery on both in the last six months! ). 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Good news is I had cataract surgery in the '80s ("you're too young") and just checked at 20-40 in both without glasses. It works & an incredible light show.

 

Was not thinking "stuck" rather why would a valve "float" at low rpm. Leak down tester might show but suspect could just pull the side covers and check the springs out as the engine winds on the starter. At this point I'd probably pull the head, sounds like you have done every thing else.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Only problem with pulling head is getting a new gasket delivered!  I had one sent and the mail lady decided it should go in the box no matter what!  The seller marked it with “Do not bend - special fitted copper flat gasket “. He even put two thin wood strips in the box to help prevent bending. The mail lady folded it into three sections and jammed it into the box!  A complaint did nothing but the insurance paid for it. I reordered and gave the shipper my fedex number to send it. I don’t want to go thru that until I check out the wires & distributor. 
Ed probably could have saved me a lot of time and hassle if I just towed it down to him weeks ago. I’m betting on his long distance analysis that it is electrical. 
 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The “fun”, using that term very gingerly, is that so many symptoms are similar to several individual possibilities. The weak or broken valve spring did come to mind too in this saga of what if’s and maybe this or that scenarios.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Shifting doesn’t help, tried all three gears and it still stalls. It’s either electrical or a valve. I’m hoping for the electrical at this point. 


 Well the most fun has been all of you joining in to solve this predicament!  It may yet still be a valve. But I have the spark plug wires ordered and with luck ( something I apparently have nut had lately) they will arrive tomorrow!  We will then find out if it the solution or not. If it is great, if not decision will have to be made to pull distributor or side covers. I believe I will check to see if gaskets are available for these panels or if I have to purchase a complete engine rebuild kit to get them. 
Time will tell. 
 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ed, I am sure it’s going to be electrical. Everything you have said makes sense, especially with having all of the other things thought off proven not to be the cause. I’m just hoping it’s a wire and not the distributor. I will let you know as soon as the wires arrive and I get them on. 
currently I am going to bypass the loom unless you think it is good to use. 
dave s 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I’m hoping for the distributor, because it’ll save me a drive. 😎

  • Haha 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ed, I’m hoping for the wires so it makes it so you don’t have to do anything but have bragging rights on saying “I told you it was electrical in the beginning!”

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Peter Gariepy changed the title to Stalling 1938 Studebaker? Any ideas?

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
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...