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Stalling 1938 Studebaker? Any ideas?


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On 3/20/2021 at 4:41 AM, SC38DLS said:

I’m in agreement Dave, Electrical seems more likely as all the fuel possibilities have been changed out and it seems to be getting gas. When it Boggs down it still wants to run buts it’s like the brakes are on or it’s pulling a huge weight, not gas starved. Trying to check out each electrical part to see if any effect. 

 

Does your vehicle have a "Hill Holder" ? If it does could it be malfunctioning and holding the brakes on?  Just a thought.

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On 3/23/2021 at 2:29 PM, Frank DuVal said:

Way back in that link to 41 Champion (same engine) tune up specs, in the small light print, used a 24" monitor...:

 

Pressure: 3 1/2 lbs maximum 

Capacity: 1 pint or over in 1 minute.

 

The Champion engine and the "Commander" engine are totally different engines. (If that makes a difference here, I don't know.  But you will need to check Commander tune-up specs to be sure.)

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The hill holder was removed years ago because it was causing a break problem and the part needed couldn’t be found. I have checked the brakes are free and clear

 

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I just talked to the Brillman company about the tracking for the wires. The invoice says it shipped last Friday but the lady just told me they have been busy but they should ship them today. You have to love the fact they can invoice and collect from the CC company but be too busy to ship a stock item. Another frustrating step. I won’t believe they are shipped until I can track them.  So again everything is on hold!  

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Don't get me started on items that have "shipped" when just a label was created. Or those that were shipped from their Guangzhou warehouse.

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Agree with desire but has nothing to do with troubleshooting. Have some 8mm I'd use to test and look for changes.

 

Any chance you could record the sounds before and as it happens ?

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2 hours ago, SC38DLS said:

The car is original so I want cloth wrapped original looking wires if possible. 

 

So would I, however to troubleshoot I would use whatever I could get cheap, and disturb the original wires and loom as little as possible, either by letting them hang in place, or by removing the whole mess, whichever is less invasive. If the wires are not the problem, everything can just go back.

 

The "period" wires on my Pontiac I made from Brillman wire and terminals and I have been very happy with them. Are your Studebaker's wires original? What color(s) is the cloth?

 

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Bloo no the wires are not original they were replaced with cloth covered when everything was redone five+ years ago. I just don’t want to put just anything on it. I was told Brillman was a good quality wire and they said they were shipping last Friday. The invoice says they were shipped. When I called today the lady couldn’t even find me in the computer!  Finally did using phone number. When she checked the shipping area there was no shipment. She called back about an hour ago and said they are shipping today. I would have just gotten an inexpensive set last week if I knew this was going to happen.  

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Cheap carbon core wires can’t handle the KV’s of a six volt system, and will burn out.......ask me how I know. Back when I was 15 and poor. Just wait for the good stuff. Ed

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Like 8mm myself but why would the secondary (high voltage) ignition system be different 6v vs 12v ? Can see the coil drawing more but... YWTK

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1 hour ago, edinmass said:

Cheap carbon core wires can’t handle the KV’s of a six volt system, and will burn out.......ask me how I know.

 

OK, no one said by a cheaply made set of wires, just a standard FLAPS* set. A six volt system does NOT make anymore kilovolts than a modern ignition system. Quit spreading untruths/ old wives tales/ other crap. You may have had a real cheap set that would not have worked on any engine, so they failed in your application, but don't blame that failure on how many kilovolts a standard 6 volt Kettering ignition system can develop. I'm sure you have used ignition scopes in your years in shops. Are you really saying you saw 6 volt systems always develop more kV than 12 volt systems on the 'scope?🤔

 

In most cases, the kilovolts of a Kettering ignition system is set by the gap of the spark plugs! Once the spark happens, the voltage stops rising, as the coil is now supplying current to the "short" of the arc, and then falls off. Want to change system secondary voltage? Change spark plug gap. I haven't seen any 6 volt system engines call for over 40 thousandths gap. 

 

 

*FLAPS  Friendly Local Auto Parts Store. I would have put on a used known good set from another engine for troubleshooting. And NOT run them through the shield/brackets.😉

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17 hours ago, KURTRUK said:

The Champion engine and the "Commander" engine are totally different engines. (If that makes a difference here, I don't know.  But you will need to check Commander tune-up specs to be sure.)

 

Not really. The AC Mechanical pump is basically the same animal internally across all engines of similar displacement. Commandeer 226 cu in, Champion (started in 39 model year) 165 cu in. No 400/500 cubic inch monsters in this lineup.

 

Same with timing marks, the "balancer" is marked with words, not degrees, so same instructions for Commander and Champion engines.

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Frank, I don’t have another set of wires to use. Many times I’ve said I have no clue as to electrical systems and did not do the one on the 38. So I have no idea what you are talking about when you say Kettering or any other system. Ed was the first one to say the problem was electrical in a conversation we had a few weeks ago. Right now that seems logical as we have eliminated every other suggestion anyone has given me. I don’t really want to put the wrong type of wires on the car so went with what a few people recommended by going to Brillman. The only problem is they messed up the shipping. So please let’s not everyone get upset or mad and start saying things that will just get others doing the same thing. 
I appreciate all of the help and information all of you have provided so far. I readily admit I don’t have a clue what some means and have tried to ask for explanations I can understand. The neat part is I’ve gotten them.

Lets hold off on any more until I get the wires and try them. Then it’s either ok or on to the distributor. That’s the plan and I’m sticking to it! Hope that makes sense to everyone. Thanks again I really do appreciate the help. 
dave s 

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1 hour ago, Frank DuVal said:

 

OK, no one said by a cheaply made set of wires, just a standard FLAPS* set. A six volt system does NOT make anymore kilovolts than a modern ignition system. Quit spreading untruths/ old wives tales/ other crap. You may have had a real cheap set that would not have worked on any engine, so they failed in your application, but don't blame that failure on how many kilovolts a standard 6 volt Kettering ignition system can develop. I'm sure you have used ignition scopes in your years in shops. Are you really saying you saw 6 volt systems always develop more kV than 12 volt systems on the 'scope?🤔

 

In most cases, the kilovolts of a Kettering ignition system is set by the gap of the spark plugs! Once the spark happens, the voltage stops rising, as the coil is now supplying current to the "short" of the arc, and then falls off. Want to change system secondary voltage? Change spark plug gap. I haven't seen any 6 volt system engines call for over 40 thousandths gap. 

 

 

*FLAPS  Friendly Local Auto Parts Store. I would have put on a used known good set from another engine for troubleshooting. And NOT run them through the shield/brackets.😉


Frank, I was underneath a car on the floor since 7am when I quickly dashed off a fast note and used a poor choice of words to be very brief about the cheap carbon core wires. 
 

Quite spreading rumors..........???? You have to be kidding me to make a comment like that. And the accusations are asinine. I’m guilty of being way to brief......not in any attempt to misleading anyone. I won’t bother defending my skill set or abilities............I think fifty years of working on the worlds best cars and fixing things that most other people can’t and my scope of work more than proves my skill set. 
 

The good news is the car I was working on today is now correctly fixed, after a bunch of others attempted to and failed. Tomorrow, I’ll be spinning wrenches on another car.............and so it continues. 

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1 hour ago, edinmass said:

Quite spreading rumors..........???? You have to be kidding me to make a comment like that. And the accusations are asinine. I’m guilty of being way to brief......not in any attempt to misleading anyone. I won’t bother defending my skill set or abilities............I think fifty years of working on the worlds best cars and fixing things that most other people can’t and my scope of work more than proves my skill set. 

Ed, I know your talents (from reading on this forum), that's why I was surprised at the words you used. Yes, I make mistakes typing too. 🙄 

 

Thank you for correcting to the fact of cheaply made spark plug wires are not for any engine, not just 6 volt ignition systems. I see so much misinformation of 6 volt systems being written, hence the spreading rumor comment. Without a correction, a future person searching this post would think there was so much high voltage in a 6 volt ignition system that they needed to buy those superior woven cloth wires instead of just good carbon wires. Of course, if going for original looks, one needs to get the correct woven style.👍

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5 minutes ago, Frank DuVal said:

Ed, I know your talents (from reading on this forum), that's why I was surprised at the words you used. Yes, I make mistakes typing too. 🙄 

 

Thank you for correcting to the fact of cheaply made spark plug wires are not for any engine, not just 6 volt ignition systems. I see so much misinformation of 6 volt systems being written, hence the spreading rumor comment. Without a correction, a future person searching this post would think there was so much high voltage in a 6 volt ignition system that they needed to buy those superior woven cloth wires instead of just good carbon wires. Of course, if going for original looks, one needs to get the correct woven style.👍


 

We will call it a misunderstanding............no harm, no foul. I should have commented in detail on cheap Chinese junk ignition components, and what is sold as parts fit for automotive use by most of the car supply houses. I fell victim to them as a fifteen year old kid with no money, and thinking I was fixing and improving my car at the time........when all I was doing was adding additional running problems due to sxxt parts. I’m not certain that new wires will fix Dave’s problem. It’s certainly possible, as I have seen wires in a loom cause misfire under load several times in the past. Unfortunately this problem on Dave’s car has come up now that we are very busy in the shop, and the holidays and upcoming shows are going to prevent me from driving up and helping him for a while if he need one site assistance. I have told him if necessary I would get up to his place to help him......just hoping we can get it done here........it’s a 18 hour round trip for me.

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Boss Kettering also did early Octane research for GM. 

 

And the Kettering of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. 

 

Yes, Padgett, Kettering University was GMI.

 

Charles Kettering started out making an electric cash register work for NCR.  Small motor could do short work that required high power.

 

And of course, his highest achievement to vehicles, using small motor to do a bust of high power work (a la NCR) the automobile engine starting motor! Now anyone could start the internal combustion engine.

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1 minute ago, edinmass said:

I’m not certain that new wires will fix Dave’s problem. It’s certainly possible, as I have seen wires in a loom cause misfire under load several times in the past.

Me too.

 

And spark plug wires that people run so nice and straight next to each other to clean up the engine looks. They inductively couple so energy is transferred to the wrong spark plugs giving what people call crossfire. Run great at idle, then no power on the road.

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That is why I think an audio file would tell us a lot, a spark misfire sounds a lot different from a choked (intake or exhaust) condition which sounds different from a broken/bent valve/spring.

 

Otherwise ROAD TRIP !

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4 minutes ago, padgett said:

That is why I think an audio file would tell us a lot, a spark misfire sounds a lot different from a choked (intake or exhaust) condition which sounds different from a broken/bent valve/spring.

 

Otherwise ROAD TRIP !


 

After the half bottle of Woodford’s Rye this afternoon to ease my pain.......(fixing a heavy chassis on the concrete for hours on end.) I’m already on a “TRIP!”

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Ed’s offer is amazing and as much as I would love to have him go over the 38 there is just no way I can let that happen. The car is my fun and enjoyment. Ed has a career and responsibilities for a fantastic collection of high end cars. I would never be able to justify using his time and talents driving up here to solve this problem. I feel fortunate he has given so much time trying to help me thru this forum, PM’s and phone calls. He really is a generous, kind, helpful guy to know. He has my respect for these reasons and his amazing talents. It’s great to know someone like that. 
dave s 

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Dave.....if you don’t get it running right, I will stop up and visit. It’s just the timing that will need to be worked out. Besides, I like dogs...........🐶
 

As for the above post......I have no idea who you’re talking about!

Edited by edinmass (see edit history)
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Have you checked your universal joints recently?  On many vehicles these receive little or no attention until it is too late causing all sorts of problems.   I did see in another thread that you changed to modern joints some time ago.

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

Wires just arrived!  So did a honeydew request!  Which to do? Wires- maybe it will solve problem. Honeydew - maybe I’ll get dinner and be able to sleep in bed instead of couch!  Wires take a backseat until tomorrow morning. 
 

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"In most cases, the kilovolts of a Kettering ignition system is set by the gap of the spark plugs! Once the spark happens, the voltage stops rising, as the coil is now supplying current to the "short" of the arc, and then falls off. Want to change system secondary voltage? Change spark plug gap."

 

My understanding is that with the 'Kettering" single spark "points break" system, the spark timing is almost entirely set by the single breaking of the points, NOT by voltage saturation. The model T Ford and other earlier systems used multiple (buzz coil) point breaks and do fire on a point break when the voltage has sufficiently saturated. That is why proper adjustment of the coils is necessary for a model T to run smoothly and well.

A 'points break' single spark system can indeed have too high or too low a kV to the plugs. It used to be and I think maybe even more so today, a real problem with six and twelve volt systems. Used to be, MANY labeled twelve volt coils were actually still six volt coils meant for use in twelve volt system automobiles that used external resisters to drop the voltage to the coil when running. They would bypass the resister for a hotter spark when starting. Only by reading the specifications for the given car or coil could one know for sure what it was or needed to be.

I don't have access to the proper diagnostic equipment. However, in years back, I ran into several cases of cars with too high or too low secondary voltages causing running problems or failures of other components. Too high a secondary voltage tends to burn out points quickly, or cause cross-firing between cylinder wires. Too low tends to cause running issues and misfires. Too low a voltage can also cause problems at higher speeds or heavy loads, because the greater fuel amount adds to the gap resistance inside the cylinder under compression. That higher gap resistance can cause the plug to not fire reliably at a specific point in the equations. This can cause a power loss at a specific amount of speed or load/pull.

 

Another thing that can cause misfires or power loss in cars is a bad condenser. The funny thing about those, is that fifty years ago, the condenser was nearly always change every tune-up! About forty years ago, modern materials made condensers that almost never fail! Provided they are good to begin with. Around thirty to forty years ago, I routinely changed a condenser, only to have the new one fail within a few hundred miles. So, I put the old one back on and continued driving. It took about three routine tune-ups for me to figure out what was happening, and MOST of the new condensers were failing in a few hundred miles. IF (that big IF again!) a new condenser survived a few thousand miles, I found that they were likely to last for years and years of high mileage use. That old Ford truck of mine ran service calls for seventeen years! I put well over a half million miles on it! I did replace the engine once. When I put the engine I had rebuilt in it, I routinely replaced the condenser that had more than 100,000 miles on it. The new condenser failed at about four hundred miles. The one I had taken off, I had placed on the truck's dash inside. On the side of the road, I put the high mileage condenser back on, and ran it for another 200,000 miles!

All that to stress the point that just because you may have a new condenser in it doesn't mean the new condenser is any good!

 

A bit of why on the condensers. In the old days, for half a century, the condensers were made of rolled aluminum foil and paper. The heat in general, as well as the thermal cycling highs and lows from running and not, would cause the paper to break down. As the paper breaks down, it would stress the aluminum foil. The condenser could fail either by shorting turns where the paper breaks (condenser becomes too weak), or paper shifting tearing the foil causing an open. Standard procedure called upon changing the condenser every 5000 miles before the paper breakdown would likely cause a failure. About 1970, they began using Mylar instead of paper. The Mylar doesn't break down anywhere near as badly as the paper did. And since the Mylar is less abrasive and doesn't shift around as much as the paper did, the aluminum foil is much less likely to break and fail. I can only surmise why so many of them fail new in a very short time. I would suspect poor manufacturing practices or inadequate internal connections. I suspect that they also made the aluminum foil too thin believing the thickness was no longer necessary.

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Wayne, the condenser was one of the first things I thought of as a possible problem. I also checked the points and saw they were slightly pitted. So I changed them out and put in a new condenser. Problem persisted. So thinking it was possibly the new condenser I put the old one back on and still the problem persisted. So I got another new one just to be sure it wasn’t a bad new or old one and the problem persisted. I figured the chances of three being bad production condensers should be slim. It may still be the problem but I also do not have test equipment and even if I did I wouldn’t know how to do a condenser test!
Tomorrow when I install the new wires I will double check the plug gap to be sure it is set properly. Thanks for the explanation. It may be over my head in parts but I believe I hit the intent and hopefully it will make sense with everything else I’ve learned since starting this mess. 
dave s 

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38 minutes ago, wayne sheldon said:

"In most cases, the kilovolts of a Kettering ignition system is set by the gap of the spark plugs! Once the spark happens, the voltage stops rising, as the coil is now supplying current to the "short" of the arc, and then falls off. Want to change system secondary voltage? Change spark plug gap."

 

My understanding is that with the 'Kettering" single spark "points break" system, the spark timing is almost entirely set by the single breaking of the points, NOT by voltage saturation.

 

Both are true, up to the comment of voltage saturation. I did not say voltage saturation, in fact I do not know what that would be.🤔 

 

The points open, current stops flowing in the primary winding of the coil, the magnetic flux starts decreasing, which acts like a motor in that the lines of flux are now moving past the secondary windings generating the high voltage which then is connected to the spark plug. The time between the points opening and the spark at the plugs should be milliseconds. The voltage cannot rise past the start of the plug arc, since the arc is a short to the other side of the spark plug. You can see this with an ignition 'scope.  If the coil does not make enough volts, then the plug will not fire. Make just enough volts and firing will be weak, unreliable, lots of driveability issues, like you said. System needs to be able to make enough kV to fire the plugs reliably under all operating conditions.

 

51 minutes ago, wayne sheldon said:

It used to be and I think maybe even more so today, a real problem with six and twelve volt systems. Used to be, MANY labeled twelve volt coils were actually still six volt coils meant for use in twelve volt system automobiles that used external resisters to drop the voltage to the coil when running. They would bypass the resister for a hotter spark when starting. Only by reading the specifications for the given car or coil could one know for sure what it was or needed to be.

What problem? Just buy the proper coil for the application. No guessing. The lower voltage coil with a ballast resistor lets the ignition system operate at the same kV whether it is running or cranking (running the starter motor). When the engine is running, the voltage at the ignition coil is higher, because the generator or alternator is producing voltage higher than the battery. When the starter is cranking, the voltage at the coil is lower, due to the starter current pulling the battery voltage down. So, when running ad the ballast resistor in line, the coil is getting maybe 8-9 volts. When the starter is cranking and the resistor is bypassed, the coil is getting 8-9 volts. Same thing! I know we all say "the coil gets 12 volts when the starter solenoid is engaged", but actually the voltage is very similar under both conditions. Without this resistor and bypass system, the voltage during cranking at the coil would be lower than when running.

 

 

 

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Question on plug gap and type. I’m using Autolite 303 gapped at .025 (0.64mm) which is what shop manual says they should be. Because of the current fuel compared to back in the day fuel should I gap at .020 or .022  or ????

Ed I know you mentioned running a different, I believe a hotter, plug. I did not write it down but thought it was a 306 or 308, Is that correct ?

dave s 

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