Classic/Antique Car Repair/Electrical


I have a 1963 Studebaker GT Hawk with a 12V system. It has a stock 289 Studebaker engine and an automatic transmission.

Drove it one day and all was fine. The next day it did not want to turn over. Put a charger on it with the battery disconnected.When I hooked up the battery cable the motor started turning over without the key being on.

I have replaced the starter solenoid and ignition switch and checked all the fuses, all good.

The battery tests out good but, the headlights went from barely on to now nothing. No lights what so ever. It seems like something is draining the battery. Unfortunetely, the fuse box has been replaced by a former owner to the new style fuses.

Oh boy! Electrical problems after some one has Mickey Moused the system can be a real night mare. This is one that I would start by isolating circuits one by one until I found the one causing the problem. That means that I would start by disconnecting the wire at the solenoid that comes from the ignition switch and connecting a voltmeter to it. Then connect the battery (making sure that it has a full charge)and read the voltmeter. If there is voltage there then that wire i shorted to a live wire some where in the harness. If there is no voltage then turn the key to start. The voltmeter should now show battery voltage. Let go of the key and the voltage should drop to zero. If the test fails, move back to the back of the ignition switch. Remove the wire that runs to the solenoid and attach the voltmeter to the switch terminal and repeat the test. If it test OK here then the problem is in the wiring between the switch and the solenoid. If it fails here the problem is the switch. I believe that the solenoid has two small wires on it. One is to energize the starter and the other is the ignition ballast resistor bypass during cranking. Make sure that these are connected correctly.  

Classic/Antique Car Repair

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Brad Sears


All automotive including antique and collectible. However if the car has been modified I can only answer in general terms and maybe get you pointed in the right direction.


Automotive tech instructor. Syndicated auto columnist 1970's though the early 1990's. Syndicated auto radio talk show, Ask Brad About cars, CBS Radio 70's through 90's TV Show "Last Chance Garage" 1980's PBS-TV syndicated. Auto instructor for the following companies: Fram Autolyte Holly Carter AMF Ford Motor University Of Conn Blue Hills Technical School Sugar River Technical Center Grew up in a family garage in Needham Mass and turned wrenches from the age of 14.

Manchester Union Leader, Nashua Telegraph, Motor Service Magazine, Yankee Magazine, Popular Mechanics (Saturday Mechanic early 80's), Los Angeles Times, New York Times, and lots more.

More than I care to remember. Basically Franklin Technical Institute in Boston, Northeastern University, Fitchburg State Teachers College, Tufts University, and a lot of factory schools along the way.

Awards and Honors
Moto Award winner. And much more.

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