The Studeblogger

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Yeah, I'm still here :)

Lots of stuff going on around here, very little of it Stude-related - except for me driving the car all over North County! I really do love the Studebaker, and things are slowly getting dialed in. I got a new set of spark plugs from Chuck Collins Studebaker today (Champion H14Y, stock #91, if you're in need), since I plan on adjusting the valves tomorrow. Why does this require that I lay in new plugs? Well, the last time I removed plugs, I wound up cracking one off - so I figure, better safe than sorry!

I have gotten a couple of small (emphasis: small) projects done, though. One involved rehabbing the fresh-air intake on Barney. In '63, Larks got a new Climatizer system that placed the heater core and valve horizontally under the dashboard (instead of mounted vertically on the firewall as in years past). This made use of the Lark's cowl-mounted fresh air grille for heating and cooling. The heater core is mounted on the passenger's side of the car, with ductwork carrying fresh or heated air to the other side of the car. But on the driver's side of the car, there was a fresh-air vent under the dash that was just an updated version of the old fender-flap air scoops that the earlier models had; the difference was that the Lark's air flap also let in air from the cowl vent (rather than the fender).

In my car, the driver's vent wouldn't close. There's a latch, meant to hold the duct shut tightly when you don't want air forced in, and no matter how hard I pushed the knob in, I couldn't get that duct to shut and latch. Close examination revealed that the actuating rod was bent and misadjusted.

This photo shows the driver's vent from the perspective of the carpet, a position I've become accustomed to from all the changing of dash switches, rewiring, replacing of ignition switches, etc. The actuating rod in the foreground attaches to the vent door. See the little latch mechanism? See how the vent is not shut all the way? See the kink in the rod? Yup... that was my problem. The rod was so bent that it prevented the vent from being shut properly.


After removing the rod I hammered it straight using my bench vise. There! Much better! But hold on there - not so fast. There's a bracket on the dash that the rod rides in, and it's lined with a rubber grommet. Mine was rather perished - old, dry and cracked. May as well not have had a grommet there at all.

Determined to fix this, I pried out the rubber (came out in 3 pieces, natch) and headed down to my local Tru-Value, who often have oddball parts that fit my Stude. But not this time, and the Studebaker International catalog showed no stock for this bit, either. What to do, especially now that I'd crumbled my old piece into fine black bits?

Tru-Value and Yankee ingenuity to the rescue. If I couldn't find the right size, I'd fabricate a suitable replacement! Heading to the hardware store, I grabbed a rubber grommet with a suitable outside diameter, and a pair of Delrin shoulders that press-fit into each other, and assembled them into a Delrin-lined grommet that would fit into the bracket.
The bits, unassembled.

 The Delrin/rubber sandwich.

The installed bushing.

Success! It may not be original, but it works great - quiet, no rattles, easy slide. After reinstalling the actuating rod, I found that the vent door still wouldn't latch all the way, but that the bracket itself could be loosened and slid backward - which I did, and now feel the door close with a satisfying *snick* when I push the knob all the way forward.

Adjusting screws.


I smeared some white lithium grease on the latch after polishing the rust off it with some 200-grit paper, and it works smoothly and quietly.

Oh, and that rubber seal around the vent flap? It turned out I didn't need one but I ordered it anyway from Studebaker International - part # 1338907.

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  • is my project

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:17 AM  

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