The Studeblogger

Sunday, July 12, 2009


A while back I noticed a lot of rust on the outside surfaces of my backup lights. These lights are a one-year design (1963) and so the bits are a little hard to come by. However, I found a pair on eBay.

When I pulled the lenses off, I found that no interior gaskets were mounted in the backup lights, letting water run right into them and rust them out. In the first pic, you can see the results - the old lamp bodies are badly rusted and, while operable, are certainly not very nice.

People often forget to put new gaskets in when replacing lenses and such, and the original die-cut material was a gray rubbery composition that deteriorated badly. It would often dry up and crack, leaving the interior vulnerable to moisture.

Fortunately, new die-cut gaskets are available from most Studebaker vendors. These are made of modern expanded-cell foam materials that compress nicely and resist deterioration. It's easy to install; simply scrape out the old adhesive and bits of gasket, and run a bead of 3M Black Super Weatherstrip Adhesive (available at any body or paint supply shop, or online). Then press in the new gasket; the 3M adhesive sets fairly rapidly and you can install the new part nearly immediately.

There's one other gasket too - the one between the lamp body and the car body. Amateurs often leave these off, which allows vibration to rub the two parts together and wear off paint and metal, allowing rust to start unseen between surfaces. These gaskets are also available from your favorite friendly Studebaker vendor. Again, the older gaskets are usually a rubber compound that deteriorates; the new ones are modern foam. This does not need adhesive; it simply is sandwiched between the lamp and body.

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