The Studeblogger

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Rain Delay! and alternator woes.

Well, Southern California is finally getting some rainfall after several years of record drought, and I'm not complaining - we surely need it and thanks be to God! Downside of this is that there's no Studebakering until the wet stuff stops. Poor Barney sits under the cover that's glued to him like a prom dress on a cheerleader until after the rain is done.

In the meantime, the rain was delayed long enough that on Sunday I was able to pull the alternator for service. About a week ago, I took Barney for his first twilight drive with lights blazing, and saw the ammeter doing a weird little dance afterward - after powering up a nearby hill at 50 MPH, I came off the throttle and saw the dash and headlights dim dramatically as the Amp needle fell halfway to the "D"ischarge mark.

At first I thought perhaps the drive belt was slipping during the high-speed (!) run, so I tightened it up the next day and saw the ammeter behaving like it should. But the problem reoccurred, so I asked around and found that Richer Auto Electric (official electric shop for the Little Guys street rod club)was located literally around the corner from me.

So off I went on Monday and dropped Barney's alternator on the counter at Richer, where Jim took it to the back, strapped it to the test machine and came back pronouncing it non-operational. Glad I found that out before it quit on the car! I guess it pays to have these items tested when you don't know for sure the condition they're in. Jim told me he'll have the rebuild done by the end of the week.

By the way, I found that Wilson Auto Electric makes a direct, bolt-in replacement for the Prestolite ALK-5001 that Studebaker used in many late-model Larks. It's p/n 90-06-1001, and you can get one online here, should you need to.

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