Oil change time

I have wanted to do this for a couple of months now so when I got a sunny warm day to work with I jumped on it

Everything is ready. The oil drain plug is 1″ on this car and I had to go into my packed-away tools to find a wrench that big.
This is the oil I have settled on. VR-1 10W-30. It has the ZDDP content good for flat-tappet engines and it is a good viscosity range for this engine. It can take almost 6 quarts with the filter.

This is the worst part of the job. The oil does not drain out of the filter housing so I have to pump it out. It is the better part of a quart.

Finally I have to wipe this sludge out of here. Some people say the partial-flow oil filter does not do much. They should wipe this mess up. After this it is just putting in the new filter and filling up the oil.

Oldest picture yet of the Studebaker

My mom has a box of my Grandfather’s pictures and letters. We started organizing it on Thanksgiving and we found a picture of the Studebaker dated 8/26/1952. The car was parked in 1953 for 30 years but it was still a daily driver at this point.

The car at this point looks pretty much like it did when my father started working on it. The 51 Stude bumpers are already on it. It is probably painted the same dark green but the paint is a LOT shinier. When we started working on the car the rear fender in the picture above was scraped and dented, that obviously happened after August, 1952. I have the trim rings still and two of the hubcaps that were on it then. The trim rings are stainless and in good shape but the hubcaps are pretty beat up.

The rear tires look just like the spare tire in the car (which is VERY old). I suspect that the same tires were on the car in 1984-85 when the picture below was taken and that one of them was used as the spare when new tires were put on.

I will have to keep looking for earlier pictures of the car. There is a family story about my grandfather trying to teach my grandmother to drive and her hitting a policeman. She never did get a driver’s license. I wonder if that triggered the replacement of the bumpers?

Wrapped up the wiring

After work I went out to troubleshoot my issues from yesterday.

I started testing the driver’s side headlight bucket with a meter and could not figure out where the problem was so I pulled the entire bucket out. I cleaned the screws and the metal around the screws to ensure I have a good ground.
I installed the headlight bucket at tested it with jumper wires. Everything worked so I wired it back into the terminal block.
Success! Probably a bad ground. On to the brake lights.
I used my jumper to short out the brake light switch and they worked perfectly.
Spotlight works too! Last thing to check is the gas gauge.
Well this might be the problem! Stupid. I remember wanting to check the connections for the gas gauge. I must have gotten distracted and I never actually connected the wires. Easy fix though. Gas gauge works now!

Time to start the car….

She lives! Don’t worry about the stumble. It is pretty cold and I did not let it warm up at all. So the ignition, regulator, and generator are all wired correctly. So everything works! I let the car warm up while I cleaned up a little.

Last thing to do on the car tonight is to install the remaining harness clips.
So I was thinking about turn signals and it occurred to me that my old fog lights might be ideal. These are pretty ratty but new ones are actually not that expensive.
Yeah, that will work. I am out of time tonight but something like this could work.

Completed the wiring (maybe)

I only had a couple hours today to work on the car but I got into testing. Of course there are problems…

First thing to do was the driver’s side headlight. There was some surface rust in here so I painted it last night. That might be causing me problems now but more on that later.
Yesterday I was surprised that I had not taken any pictures of the headlight harness. So here is one. The wires are in a rubber conduit to protect from rocks and water in the fender. The striped wire grounds to a screw in the back of the bucket. You can also see the green bare wire that gets fed though the parking light socket and soldered to the contact button.
The repro wiring is insulated wire with the fabric woven over it. So the wires are a little thicker than the factory wires. Most of the time that does not matter, but for some reason the parking light socket was a lot tighter on this side than the passenger side. So I had to trim off the cotton to get the wire to feed into the socket. No biggie, nobody will see this. The contact button is all soldered up here too.
Bucket assembled…
And installed! Next I hooked up the wires inside the fender. For some reason I don’t have a pic of that.
I connected the horn relay too. Not a lot of extra wire here.
Well lookit that! Main chassis harness is complete! Whohoo!
One last wire to install! Actually that is not true, I did not install the new horn wire or the new gas tank harness. And I have to rewire stuff like the heater/defroster motors and the spotlight. But those are projects for later.
Here is where that wire goes. Connects the coil to the points.
Here we go! So all the wires are run. At least I think they are. Time to test.
Here is the pile of wiring I took out of the car. Keep in mind this is a simple electrical system. After one last look-over I turned on the battery. No smoke! I pressed the horn and it honked. So first test down.
Parking lights work too. Instrument lights and the ammeter moved correctly. So 4 for 4 so far.
Passenger headlight works! High and low beam.
But we have a fail on the driver’s side. It is just glowing in both high and low beam. When I see something like this I assume a bad ground. Since the parking light is working fine the most likely place for the bad ground is the striped wire that ties the headlight bulb to the bucket.
When I unplugged the bulb this happened. That is the common terminal so I assumed this was the problem. I got out my soldering gun and soldered the terminal back on. Then I tested the bulb and it works fine. I also verified I have battery voltage at the lamp socket. But when I plugged it in it still does not work. I decided to move on.

The next step was to turn on the ignition. No smoke there either. So I started testing.

Turn signals work! Gas gauge does not move so I probably got those wires backwards in spite of my best efforts. And for some reason the passenger brake light does not work. Since the turn signal does work that is a bit of a mystery. However the Climatizer and defroster fans work. I am out of time but I will troubleshoot this and then try to start the car.

More harness work and started on headlights

I have been less than thrilled by the quality of the 1-1 connectors that came with the new harness. One of the original factory connectors was broken so I took it apart. The brass insert is much thicker and better shaped than the reproduction connector. And it is plated with tin or maybe even silver. I decided to use the original connectors if I could.
The connectors from inside the car were not bad, but the ones from under the car were pretty nasty. I soaked them in solvent, scraped off the undercoating and paint overspray, then blasted them out with brake cleaner and compressed air. Finally I soaked them in vinegar to try and clean the tarnish off the contacts.
The results were impressive. I can use these no problem.
The first thing to do is get the main chassis harness positioned. To do that I need to join it to the rear chassis harness. So after carefully routing the wires I was ready to connect. The triple-connector here contains the gas gauge and tail-light wires.
That went well so I hooked up the rest of the rear chassis harness. I pull-tested each connector, they all held very wll. The ugly wire up top is the blower motor wire. That needs replaced but I will do that later. All these connectors will tuck up into the frame rail.
Next I hooked up the brake light switch. Those little clips that hold the bullets in are VERY weak springs. Every time I take them off I have to squeeze them tight again to get them to hold.
Once the connections were all made I tucked the harness up in the frame rail and installed the clips to hold it in . You can see one hooked over the frame there. I installed all the clips from the front to the rear axle.
Back on the firewall I positioned the harness vertically and held it there with one of the clamps. That let me hook up the high beam switch and the voltage regulator.
Moving forward the generator harness goes in.
Making progress. As each end of each wire is connected I double-check the location and wire color then check it off on the wire list.
Time for the headlights. Driver’s side first.
After removing the trim and the headlight bulb the bucket is exposed.
Then I fed the wires out through the hole in the inner fender
4 screws and the bucket is out. I have to take that apart now.
To get the headlight mount out the two springs are removed. Then the headlight mount can be wiggled off the adjusting screws.
The parking light socket is built into the bucket so once again I have to fish a bare wire thorough then solder on the contact button.
One rebuilt headlight bucket with a new harness.
Bucket and headlight are re-installed.
Here is how the harness from the bucket is routed though the fender.
To complete the headlight the wires just get connected at the terminal block on the inner fender. Almost done but I am out of time for today.

Main harness is out!

This is the first free time I have had this week so I went out to work on the car for an hour or so. The goal is to get the old main chassis harness out.

First I disconnected harness from the starter switch. This is also where the negative battery cable connects, so here is where the entire harness connects to the battery.
Next the high-beam switch. This is really buried down there. I jacked up the car and came up from the bottom.
Next I disconnected the wiring from the headlight terminal blocks.
And the horn relay
Generator wires are in super rough shape. Disconnected those and the horn wire. I will have to decide soon if I want to replace the horn wire. It runs though the steering box, up the column to the horn contact under the wheel. Nothing about it looks easy, on the other hand it is probably as bad as the rest of the wiring.
Back under the car I disconnected the brake light switch and this connection for the Climatizer fan.
These two clips are the last things holding the harness to the car. Some quick screwdriver work and off they came.
Now I have to snake the new harness into position. I had to get it behind the hood-release cable and under the emergency brake cable. My big worry here is getting everything hooked up and finding that I put something over where it should be under or behind where it should be in front. So I am comparing to the pictures I took every step of the way.
In this picture I have the harness more-or-less where it will go. I highlighted it in the picture to make it clearer. More work to be done here but I am running out of time.

Studebaker Champion Switches

For my future reference and maybe to help others this post will have the terminals on all the switches on the car. I have taken thousands of pictures of this car so you would think I would have better ones than some of these. But they are good enough.

Headlight switch

B = Battery, T = Taillights, H = Headlights, P = Parking lights


Gas gauge

Instrument lights dimmer

I measured the resistance at 1Ω to 3.3Ω

Defroster switch

Resistance is .2Ω to 22Ω

Climatizer (heater) switch

Ignition switch

Fuse block

Headlight dimmer switch

Finishing the under-dash wiring

I had a about half a day to work on this so my goal was to get as far as I could under the dash. It actually went very well. First I checked out the wiring on the ignition switch that worried me yesterday. Sure enough they were backwards, but as it turns out it does not matter. The switch is set up so you can’t wire it wrong. Nice. Moving on…

First I hooked up the headlight switch. This wiring had been modified on the original harness and my notes were wrong so I had to do some detective work. It was complicated because I can’t figure out how to take this switch out of the car. While I was doing this I also re=installed the instrument lamp dimmer and hooked up the power wire to it.
Next I put the spotlight switch together. Besides the left wire that I made yesterday I also made a temporary extension for the wire going to the spotlight. This wire barely reached the switch before. Eventually I will remove the spotlight and replace the wire but for now this will give me more room to work with. I installed the switch and attached the power lead to the fuse in the fuse block on switched power
Next I put in the switches for the Climatizer (heater) fan and defroster fan. The long lead is one I made earlier to reach the non-stock location of these switches. It ties to switched power on the fuse block. The short jumper lead feeds the power from the Climatizer switch to the defroster switch.
I changed the orientation of the switches from where they used to be. The Climatizer switch has writing on the knob and I wanted that text to be upright when the switch is off. The catch is that now the heads of the screws for the switch terminals are hard to get to. To get around that I had to remove the switches again, connect the wires, and re-install the switches. The left-most wire is the wire for the defroster motor. That wire is not great and needs replaced but to do that I have to remove and disassemble the defroster motor. That will be a job for another day.
Finally I installed the switch knobs and the lighter. I was about to make a new power lead for the lighter and realized that I had no intention of actually using it so I just left it disconnected. If I ever take up smoking I can hook it up.
Turn signal time! Here is the new turn signal switch. That dinky hose clamp is the first problem.
I want the turn signal switch as close as possible to the steering wheel. To do that the best place to mount it is on the housing on the steering column that the shifter is mounted in. So I need a bigger clamp. This is the one from the old switch. I thought about reusing it but it is too wide.
This is the biggest clamp I have. I think it is for a dryer vent. I test-fit it then cut it to length.
Oh yeah, that will work. I will just have to tweak the position a little
I wanted the wiring for the turn signal up out of the way but I also needed to make sure I could connect the power and ground wires. This is what I settled on. The power lead with the fuse holder is getting power off the ignition switch. I looped the turn signal harness over the steering column and tied it to the main chassis harness with a not-period-correct zip tie. That ensures the connectors don’t have any strain on them. This would not work if I had a radio but I don’t so might was well use the space.
I found a threaded hole in the bottom of the dash where the factory heater controls are supposed to mount. I found a slotted screw that fit and used it to ground the turn signal switch.
Last task under the dash is the instrument lights. The new harness comes with the two sockets that plug into the back of the gauge cluster but there is a third custom light socket that lights up the ignition switch (of all things). Here is what that looks like. The can on the right screws to the dash above the ignition switch and there is a slot in it to cast light on the switch.
The harness comes with a kit to rebuild the custom light socket. I will have to put the parts on the wire and solder that little brass button onto the wire. I decided to reuse the spring from the old harness, it looked better made than the new one.
New harness ready to install. This was easy to put in, the biggest problem was getting the screw in to mount the ignition switch light. It is is tiny and has to be installed blind.
Done under the dash! Mostly looks pretty good. I will remove the tags when everything works. The old wire dangling by the flasher is the dome light wire. That has never been hooked up on this car. If I ever replace the headliner I can replace that then. I can clean that stuff up later.
I was about out of time but got as far as disconnecting the voltage regulator. These wires are scary bad! I am maybe 2/3 of the way done getting the old harness out but most of the rest is under the hood. That will have to wait though. I have other chores for the rest of today.