More under-dash wiring

After a week I got back to work on the wiring with more work under the dash. Lots of labeling and disconnecting but finally was able to start pulling the harness out through the hole in the firewall.

Yes! Harness is out from under the dash. Made a huge mess.
I removed the switches that I could get out for cleaning. The ignition switch is staying in and I can’t figure out how to get the headlight switch out. This picture shows the fuse block on the right, instrument light dimmer up top, and the spotlight switch on the left. All of them got cleaned up and hit with DeOxit. I also tracked down replacements for missing lock washers and such.
The power wire for the spotlight needs a new wire and since it is aftermarket these wires are not included in the harness. I bought some extra wire with the harness and used some to make a new power lead. Original is on top, mine is below.
I took the cigarette lighter apart and found several problems. First, the terminal at the end is rusty. Second, the plastic insulator for the contact is broken
Plan A to fix it was to steal a contact and insulator from another lighter I had setting around. But the new one is much shorter and has a different profile. This will not work.
Plan B, fix the old one. Since the insulator is trapped in the bottom of the lighter tube it does not have to be strong, it just has to go together. So I superglued it. This worked!
There, all back together.
Wow, lots of space with no wiring. And lots of dirt. The only wires left in here are the instrument lights. They will get replaced later. Those two hooks hold the harness under the panel.
This is what came out of there AFTER I vacuumed the inside of the dash. 80+ years of dirt!
Time to put the harness in. The first step is to put this flange over the harness. Even though it is split you really can’t flex it much. My main concern here was to not get it backwards.
So the plan here is to feed the under-dash part of the harness in while leaving the old harness still attached in the engine compartment. Once I am done under the dash I can ‘line up’ new harness with the old one and put the grommet in to hold the harness in place in the firewall. It took a little effort to wiggle the harness thorough the fairly small hole.
Some wires have to be first. After snaking the harness more-or-less where it is supposed to go I hooked up the first two wires to the ignition switch. This is the very end of the harness. I hooked this up the same as it was before but once I looked at this picture I see one terminal marked “GA” and the other “AM” If those are “Gas gauge” and “Ammeter” I have them backwards. I will have to figure this out later.
Next up were the wires going to the gauges. At this point I am just trying to get “landmark” wires connected so I can position the harness correctly. As each end of each wire is put in its final position I am checking it off on the wire list that came with the harness. I am verifying color, tag number, and position.
Final wires of the evening. To get these to reach I had to twist or roll the entire harness (they were poking out towards the dash instead of towards the fuse block. The top red wire is about 1/2″ shorter than the factory wire and it almost will not reach. I am leaving the paper tags on for as long as I can to keep track of things.

New wiring begins

Last year I had a short in the headlights and decided that it was really time to replace the wiring harness. I did some shopping around and decided to go with a authentic reproduction wiring harness from Lark Works. The car’s original wiring was all insulated with woven cotton. The reproduction harness will use modern vinyl insulated wire with cotton woven over it so it looks original. I went with Lark Works because they were competitive on price and are Studebaker focused. Their harnesses are designed from factory drawings and use Studebaker part numbers. Plus they were super responsive and helpful when I contacted them. I went with a stock harness with the addition of turn signals. It was a pile of money but the harness is beautiful and the documentation is excellent. All this was late last year. I was going to do it over last winter then we moved. Next I planned to do it after the Delaware car show in July and that got delayed until October. Now I am out of excuses. Time to start.

Got to start somewhere

The harness is in several sections. The big one is the main chassis harness. That is most of the instrument panel and under the hood. So it goes through a lot of tight places. The main chassis harness ties into the rear chassis harness that runs under the car to the gas tank and tail lights. A separate rear compartment harness in the trunk connects all the lights to the rear chassis harness. I want to start simple so I am starting from the back and move forward.

The light sockets for the tail lights are not replaceable and the factory wires are crimped into the terminals. The new wires just have a bare end, so my first challenge is how to fix this.

Lets solder it!
The old wire is fine, just the insulation is bad. So I cut the old wires off and stripped what was left.
Then just solder the wires together.
Then a little shrink tube and good to go. Shrink tube is not authentic but that is just too bad.
Next the license plate light. I installed this NOS but the wiring is still old. The new harness came with all the innards for the light socket.
But that means I have to tear apart he light. I wish I could find new foam washers for this. The old ones are pretty ratty.
All done!
Next the rear compartment harness. Someone installed an aftermarket backup light system, my father installed aftermarket turn signals, and there is plenty of repairs, modifications, and screwups. So my first task is to trace the wires. It would be super helpful if I could read the color codes off the old wires but they are so faded and dirty I don’t trust my interpretations.
Here is the new rear compartment harness. Notice every wire is labeled and the harness comes with diagrams and a wire list.
New wire running up to the license plate light
Rear harness installed and attached with 1-1 connectors to the tail light

So a word about the 1-1 bullet connector splices. The new harness came with a bag of new connectors. This is one of them disassembled. The new splices do not grip the bullet tightly and the brass tube is very short so pushing one wire in can push the second wire out. Disappointing. You can see in the second connector a tiny dimple which is the only thing “snapping” the bullet in the splice. I can improve them by tightening up the brass tube but still not great. I can reuse the original connectors but the ones that have been riding under the car for 80 years are just FULL of dirt. Honestly I am not sure what I am going to do. If the originals clean up well I will use them, if I have to use the reproductions I will pull test them to make sure the wires are connected well.

Now for the rear chassis harness…

This is the new rear chassis harness.
This bad boy snakes up through the driver’s side frame rail through some fairly tight places like in the picture where it is going under the rear shock. So I had to figure out how to do that.
This fuzzy picture is what I came up with. I put a plastic bag over the wires on the end of the new harness and taped it tight. Then I attached that to the end of the old harness. Then it was pulling and pushing..
It took some wiggling but it worked. Looks better already.
And here is the old harness. I will add it to the pile of dead wires…
I am not doing this any too soon. Bare wire is poking out through the “insulation” all over this. Some of the damage is probably from me removing the harness but I suspect the dirt was preventing more shorts than I care to think about.
Now it is time for the main chassis harness. Here it is! Easy, right?
This is the main harness documentation. I “unrolled” the main harness and used the wire list and the tape to “map” the harness.
At some point I am going under the dash. To make it easier I removed the front seat. I also removed the engine pans and other bits that would be in the way. This actually the first time I have had the seat out. That big black thing is the heater core. The heater fan is in the middle. It sucks air in and blows it out through the core.
A big part about this job will be removing stuff that does not belong or work. For example at some point someone put a “courtesy light” under the dash. There was also a power tap for a radio, some wiring for the the aftermarket backup lights, and a couple of loose wires that I don’t have a clue about.
Here is the light removed. That bare wire was twisted around a terminal on the fuse block. The other end I think went to the door switch but who knows? It is gone now. I also removed ash trays and glove box to approve access.
Before a single wire gets disconnected I need to figure out what terminal is what on the gauges and trace any wires I can’t identify. Wire colors are not much help. For example that right wire is red. Can’t you tell? Access is tough to. I took this picture by jamming my phone up behind the dash but from underneath the pedals are in the way and it is tough to see.
The fuse block is another problem. I already took that courtesy light off the very busy terminal you can see but there are three other wires. Got them figured out. Two are supposed to be there, the other is feeding the cigarette lighter. That switch you can almost see on the left is for the spot light. That wire is running straight up to the spot light mount above the emergency brake. That wire is NOT in the new harness so I will have to decide what to do with that. I am not sure where it is getting power from yet.
I can install one new wire. This is the indicator light for the high beams. The new harness came with a brand new bulb, wire, and socket. So I installed that.
I also removed the heater and defroster switches. These look to be in really good shape. The defroster switch is just a rheostat, the main Climatizer switch is a three-position switch. I cleaned both and sprayed Deoxit into them.
Working on the switches I found the first real problem with the reproduction harness. My heater/defroster switches are not in the stock locations. So the power wire that came in the harness is too short. Someone else made a longer one back in the day so I did the same thing. The “original” wire and my copy are above. I used modern 12ga wire since this is going to be replaced when I put the factory heater controls in.

I also identified all the terminals on the ignition switch, headlight switch, and the gauges. I removed the grommet in the firewall and the clamps holding the harness to the firewall. So it is about time to bite the bullet and pull the harness out from behind the dash. But it is super late and time to quit. More to come!

Delaware OH Car Show 2021

The car show is usually in July but we had severe thunderstorms predicted for that day so the organizers postponed it until October 9th. We woke up to dense fog but my new neighbor fired up his Mustang and I followed him though the pea soup to Delaware. Once the fog burned off the weather was perfect!

We had shady parking, so the picture is backlit. But shady!
470 cars I heard…
That is my neighbor’s very nice 67 Mustang fastback next to me.

Spring maintenance (sort of)

We moved back in January and the new house has been taking up all kinds of time. So I did not get to the sprint maintenance until early summer. Saturday, July 3rd to be specific. Oh well, these things happen. One down side is that it was REALLY hot so after a while I just stopped taking pictures. Usually I start with an oil change but I am gong to shift the oil change to fall so the car has clean oil in the winter when it sits more and gets hot less.

Well this is a bad start. Looks like I have a radiator leak. With any luck at all this a pinhole in a tube and an easy fix. It is just seeping out so I am going to defer fixing this until after car show season.

First thing to do is check the fuel sediment bowl. As usual a little bit of crud in there. Then I used this gas and some kerosene to clean the air filter. On to the plugs!

All six plugs looked great. Grey insulator, no oil fouling. I cleaned and re-gapped all the plugs to 0.025″. All were a little open. These plugs are getting older and will probably need replaced in year or three. For right now I put them back in.

Next I checked the distributor. I have been having some eye trouble and I really noticed it here. I could not see the points gap. I used a magnifying visor and a bright light and checked the gap. It was a little small so I adjusted the points. Here you can see the .020″ feeler gauge in the gap. If it looks like the points are not lining up well with each other that is because they don’t. Never have and I am afraid to mess with it because the car runs so well. After getting the points gapped I cleaned and lubed the distributor lobes and put a drop of oil on the felt wick in the shaft. With the distributor back together.

I lubed all the lubrication points under the hood (mainly the generator and steering box). Then I checked the battery electrolyte levels and cables. Then it was time to jack up the car.

At this point it was really getting warm out. I greased the chassis and adjusted the brakes all around. Here is where things went a little pear-shaped. First the rear universal joint on the driveshaft was installed backwards sometime around 1987. Because of that you can’t get a grease gun on the grease fitting. So to lube the joint I have to unbolt the driveshaft from the differential, lube the joint, then put it back together. This generally takes about three minutes and the only tricky part is holding the u-joint together so the grease gun pressure does not blow it apart. This time I could not get the u-joint to fit properly back in the yoke on the differential. After much fooling around I realized there was a little chunk of debris in a corner of the yoke. After cleaning that out it went right back together but it was frustrating.

All the brakes adjusted OK except for the passenger side rear that brake was dragging a lot.. I just rebuilt these back in April and they should not have been dragging. I did a lot of fooling around and tried to re-center the brake by feel which I am not 100% convinced actually works. But eventually I got it pretty well adjusted and it feels pretty good. I still think something might be wrong with this wheel so I will check it again later.

The 17 year cicadas just died off but this one left early. For some reason it looks like it was surprised when my giant shiny green car snuck up on it.

Current mileage

Rear brake cylinders

Last year about this time I found leaking wheel cylinders in the front brakes. The rears are at least as old as the fronts so I made note at the time that I should check the rears too. Finally got to it today.

First the parts. I bought two NOS wheel cylinders off e-Bay years ago (that one in the blue box). But they are at least 20 years old and no way am I trusting rubber brake parts that old. I had one fresh rear rebuild kit I bought by mistake a couple years go (the small box) so I went to NAPA to get another one like it. Discontinued. Crap. Then the guy helping me said they had a complete wheel cylinder on the shelf. Sold! So I have one new wheel cylinder and one new-but-needs-rebuilt cylinder. Lets rebuild!

These are probably OK but why take a chance?
Ready to assemble
Going together

All done!

Now it is time for one of my favorite tools. I got this puller off e-Bay after my old puller proved horribly inadequate back in 2010. It is military surplus and AWSOME.

Here is the puller hooked up. All 4 arms are on the studs and tight. Notice the axle nut is reversed and put back on the axle to keep drum from flying off.

Here is a close-up of the end of the puller. Then you whack it. A lot. This is the passenger side and it did not want to let go. So I put some heat on the hub. That worked. Scared me it was so loud.

Looks like some water got on the axle. I will have to clean that up. No sign of leaking or damage.

I removed the grease cover and wheel cylinder then cleaned up the axle.

All back together and ready to put the drum and hub back on

Next I cleaned the drums up and found this. Both drums are less than flat and smooth. I probably should get them turned and replace the brake shoes but that might be a problem if these drums are too thin. I need to pull the drums off my spare axle and see what they look like. Shoes can be had. Not cheap but they are out there. so I just put it back together.

I tore down the old wheel cylinders to see what they look like. There is some corrosion but not bad.

I have seen worse but this is not great. It can be honed and rebuilt though.

Lots of corrosion in the pistons too.

I forgot to take pictures while I was putting the drums back on. I reinstalled my speed-bleeders and bled the brakes. Took a few stops to bed the shoes back in but they work great now. Plus I washed the car!

Studebaker 80th birthday

So 12/11/2020 marked the Studebaker’s 80th birthday. Car birthdays are tricky. The cylinder head is dated 11/28/1940 but the engine block is stamped 12/11/1940. Oddly that date is also the shipping date shown on the production order. Which means either they built and shipped the car the same day OR somebody fudged the production order.

Unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures of the car before my father started working on it. Here is the earliest picture I could find. It is of my sister and I washing the car in 1982. This was the first time I ever saw the car out in the open. We were visiting for a week so all we did was clean it up and make a list of things we needed to do.

This next shot is a couple years later. After working on the car whenever we visited Dad finally got the car running. This is us looking very pleased with ourselves. Notice the oil dripping up front…

My grandfather got into it at this point and decided to get the car painted. He knew a guy who ran the body shop at a car dealership in Greensburg PA. Here they are during the project

And pictures of the car being painted…

Dad took these pictures on our next visit after the car was finished. It looked amazing. Grandpap looked thrilled. This is the only picture I ever found of him driving the car.

After he passed the car sat for 8 years until my grandmother also died and left it to me. It was a sad sight with years of dust on it.

We got air in the tires, pushed it up the hill, and loaded it on the trailer. This was difficult because it has been parked for years with the parking brake on and the back wheels did NOT want to turn.

At this time my father was building houses and we asked the contractor who graded his lots to help use bring the car home. This trailer usually held a backhoe so the car was no strain. We did have some excitement when several deer decided to cross I-70 and we locked up the trailer brakes getting stopped. I thought for sure we were going to wreck but we did not hit anything and left a really impressive set of skid marks.

The car as a show-winner at the International Studebaker Meet 2019

Defroster hose and door pin

The weather was SO nice that I decided to take care of a couple of little things.  The first is this defroster vent hose.  It has been falling out from under the dash for years.  The hose is fabric soaked with some sort of flexible compound that is not flexible any more.  Plus the canvas is rotten.  The last time it fell it broke in the middle and that is that.  I found that hose above on Amazon.  I found some other hoses that looked more like the original hose but they cost $5-$8 per foot and nobody can see it anyway.  This hose was $9 total.  Sold!

I cut the hose to length.  I could have made it shorter but I have plenty of hose (there is enough there for another car, let me know if you need it!).  I found some hose clamps too.

Here is where the hose attaches at the defroster heater core.  The other hose going up is only about 5 inches long and still intact so I am leaving it.  The other end of the new hose goes to the vent over the glove box.

Here is the new hose attached.  It was tight getting it over the pipes.  I think the intention was not to need clamps.  I put the clamps on anyway.  This is not falling down again.

Next job.  The passenger side door check strap on the car is attached with a sheet metal screw stuck in the hole.  Not only is this ugly every once in a while it pops out and causes problems.

Cleaning up my late father’s stuff I found a stash of 4 pins.  I snagged them figuring one would work.

The bit shiny one on the left worked the best.  I put some grease in there and put it together.   I don’t think this will pop out but if it looks like it might I will have to do something to hold it in.  For right now it is good.