Subject: Can you rebuild a headlight switch/breaker??

From: (DaveCarter) Date: 11/09/2000 20:14 Pacific Standard Time
I commute to work in my 50SLC and with the time zone change, now I'm coming home in the dark. So I need headlights, and what happens is if I run high beams for over 15 minutes the circuit breaker blows. When I touch the light switch, it's warm but not hot like a short would be. I go to low beam and they come back on. Has to be a current thing. I have a new wiring harness but the switches are still original.
1. Can I rebuild the switch or breaker (#526350 & #522014)?
2. When I pull the switch out for testing, what kind of resistance should I be seeing?

From: (TCherry3) Date: 11/09/2000 20:40 Pacific Standard Time
>>>2. When I pull the switch out for testing, what kind of resistance should I >be seeing?"
Dave, you should see little or no resistance across the switch if you see some you already found the problem! also the way the circuit breakers work is a bimetal strip and what happens is over time and through many duty cycles the metals start reacting at different temperatures so they go off easier. one thing i would look for is bad ground connections on the bulbs (not just headlight) as that builds resistance into the circuit and thus creates more heat to send your circuit breaker into a tizzy. good luck, hawkrod

From: "Terry & Mary Brandli" Date: 11/09/2000 21:11 Pacific Standard Time
What do you have in it for headlights? How good is the generator charging. A long time ago I put a pair of aircraft landing lights in one of my Larks. When I turned the brights on it looked almost like daylight untill the breaker would turn the headlights off. I tried it with just one aircraft light but if I turned the radio and heater fan on the headlights would still go out after awhile. I'd add a bigger battery and or a higher amp generator if the switch, breaker, voltage regulator etc. check out ok. Do you have higher wattage headlights in it then original or anything else that might be adding to the total power drain when the headlights are turned on. Does the ammeter show charge or discharge when the brights are turned on? Terry [ the babbling short circuit] Brandli

From: (r.kapteyn) Date: 11/10/2000 05:03 Pacific Standard Time
The headlight switches on the 1950 cars were marginal. Many burned out and that is why they are hard to find. The best way is to install a headlight relay. This will relieve the current thru the switch. This goes for all Studebakers. Headlight switches are rebuildable and I used to do this. I had bought a number of other switches to rob the parts out of. If your head light switch still works,save it by installing a relay. You should also install a new breaker. These are available. I can not understand why 12 volt and 6 volt breakers are different. They act on current and not voltage. The same breakers are still used on other equipment and I believe they are still current manufacture.R.Kapteyn , Joliet Studebaker Service.

From: Date: 11/10/2000 05:35 Pacific Standard Time
>>> I can not understand why 12 volt and 6 volt breakers are different.
I'd venture to guess that the 12V breakers have a lower current rating in an attempt to shut down on a short more quickly as a 60W 12V bulb will draw half as many amps as a 60W 6V bulb just a guess nate

From: Date: Sat, 11 Nov 2000 13:04:30 GMT
> Do I really need that special tool the manual calls out (Switch Nut Wrench J-4252) to pull thelighting switch?
Dave, All that tool is is a piece of tubing with two prongs to fit in the slots of the bezel nut - the round chrome thing on the face of the dash. That simply unscrews like any other nut. Whether you need the tool or not depends on how tight the nut is - I needed it on my car but you might not. You still could probably make one if you had access to some steel tubing and a bench grinder and/or milling machine. I tried to be lazy and buy the Eastwood bezel nut tool, that didn't work, both ends are the wrong size :( nate

From: Date: Sat, 11 Nov 2000 13:04:30 GMT
I have had a bit of trouble with very old dimmer switches.   Sometimes a marginal dimmer switch with not-always-the-best of contact can add some of it's own quirks to further confuse the trouble shooting.    Until I replaced it, the dimmer in my Hawk would every once in a while cut off the hadlights.  If I went hi lo hi lo hi lo several times, they would come back and stay on for quite a while after that. Sometimes the floor switch would feel warm to the touch. When I put in a new floor dimmer switch, the problem went away.

From David Levesque
Your dash switch may indeed have problems, but if you put in a new floor switch also, you may have fewer troubles to contend with.    When I put Halogens in my truck, I wired the headlights through relays the same way you would with a newer foglight/driving light installation.    My headlight switch and dimmer are no longer asked to carry a heavy load. All they do is switch the relays.  The power line to the relays now carries all the heavy headlight current. 

 I did the same thing with the lights going back to the rear also. I have THREE turn signal and brake lights (FOUR bulbs each side plus the front) on each side of my truck, and I can even hook up a trailer with multiple turn lights without the flasher going nuts.  The blinking is even, no matter how many lights are hooked up.

 For anyone towing trailers, it is a good idea to run the rear lights thru relays because it keeps the lights bright, the flasher at a steady speed, and it keeps the turn signal switch from burning the contacts.     Good luck D L Vote Liberty Vote Freedom

_____Can someone help me connect the dots. I've put together an image of a shot of the light switch and an excerpt from the wiring diagram for the Headlight switch. I'v tried to reconcile the two by following the wiring diagram but I'm not sure on most of the connections.
1. What do the P N T symbols mean. Are they legends for the wire gauge and color or do they mean Postive Negative T????
2. Can anyone help me connect the dots? Dave Carter

___From Jeffrey Dewitt
When I was in Asheville for the TriState Meet in September I went for a ride on the Blue Ridge Parkway at about 1 AM.  There was no moon that night, and that mountain road gets VERY dark.  Gus has halogen lights because I like to SEE at night.  I guess the extra current draw of the halogen lights was to much for the 40 year old circuit breaker and the lights went out, which got quite exciting! A new circuit breaker seems to have solved the problem. Jeff DeWitt

From: John Poulos Date: Sun, 12 Nov 2000 21:55:09 -0500
I have a couple of idea's:
1. Bad circuit breaker.(trips at say 20 amps instead of 30)
2. High resistance in the headlamp circuit causing higher than normal voltage drop and a larger current draw.
3. Low battery voltage.
4. A short circuit.
5. bad dimmer switch

From: Studeman Date: Mon, 13 Nov 2000 04:50:52 GMT
Dave, First: Be sure you have very good GROUNDS - for your headlights and taillights. Coroded grounds produce very high resistance and that will cause the breaker to trip. Clean all terminals and mounting screws. Use white grease (lithium) on all connectors- to prevent furthur corrosion.

Terminal "B" is the terminal where power comes to the switch from the back of the ammeter.
Terminal "A" is from "B", through the circuit-breaker, and into the switch itself (see the brass strap?).
Terminal "P" is where your green wire is- it goes to the headlight terminal blocks
Terminal "H" has the Red/Blk tracer wire is- it goes to the dimmer switch
Terminal "T" should have a Black w/yel tracer wire- these go to the taillights, and the instrument light (switch) Ray
I would remove nuts "A, B", and install a new 6V circuit breaker.- this is the most likely culprit.
Figure 1

From: dave carter Date: Mon, 13 Nov 2000 08:15:34 -0800
Thanks Ray & John, so A & B are the breaker, No, I don't see the brass strap, the brown material under the terminal is the phenolythic board and non-conductive. Shouldn't I be seeing something on terminal A, nothing is attached???

From: Studeman Date: Mon, 13 Nov 2000 04:50:52 GMT
Dave,There should be a visible solid metal connection between the "A" terminal and a terminal inside the body of the switch. See the photo below....I said brass... but it was just that some look like brass. This one looks more silvery....Yes, I know this isn't the same as your headlight switch, but it is the same "electrically"....Ray