Studebaker M16 Starter Issues

A while back I had to move the M-16 farm truck. I hadn’t started it for about 4 months but it is usually pretty good about firing up even after sitting for extended periods. I keep a trickle charger on the battery so wasn’t worried about cranking power.

When I tried to turn over the motor nothing happened. I checked with a volt meter on the battery while attempting to crank and could see big voltage drop when the starter was trying to turn so I knew the solenoid and related wiring were OK. It appeared the starter was seized.

I pulled the starter, and happily, like almost everything else on this truck, that was easy to do. At first I couldn’t see why it wouldn’t turn but eventually noticed a small bit of metal wedged between the rotor and armature.



That little bit of metal on the right is what was jammed between the armature and rotor.

I had to disassemble the starter to get the metal bit out but once that was done it turned freely. I took the opportunity to clean the commutator bars and brushes. Not having a metal lathe I used my drill press and some emery cloth. It wasn’t ideal but got the job done.


I then undercut the commutator bars with and old broken pancake flipper that was about the perfect width and shape (I knew it would come in handy at some point).


The commutator was so dirty to begin with I was surprised the starter worked at all. Now it cranks over nicely but I still have to boost it with a 12 volt battery when starting it for the first time in a while (the truck has a 6 volt battery).

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3 Responses to Studebaker M16 Starter Issues

  1. albell says:

    Ah yes, the old pancake flipper commutator reconditioner. I though they had all gone.

    Ed, did you at any time toots about why you keep it at 6 volts and not swap things out to go 12?

    ( jeeze, or evening 24)



    • edbee says:

      Luckily I still have what is likely one of the few left in existence… waste not, want not… 🙂

      yes… to keep the truck stock, as it is now, or to upgrade to 12 volts: that is the question. It would be nice to be able to use 12V bulbs and an electric winch could be convenient for pulling stuff up into the box. On the other hand, the truck is pretty much completely original at present and it already has a hydraulic pump for the dump box so maybe I could find a hydraulic winch. Bottom line I suppose is I don’t have time to do any of those things to the truck anyhow, just the bare minimum to keep it running as safely as it can.

      Good to see your blog active again. It gives me energy to do the same.

  2. Peter Sauer says:

    make sure you send that to the local Chapter so they can put in their news letter.

    Thanks for the upgrade on the truck.  I saw all kinds of trucks from the 40’s to 60’s and maybe a few a bit later like dodge pickups or one tons out in SK. this past summer, so going back this summer to weed wack around what I think looks interesting to me.


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