The Studeblogger

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Engine's Home!

She's home! Last Saturday my brother-in-law Dave, my son Reed and I went up to StudeKen's shop in Visalia to retrieve our freshly rebuilt 259.

It's a heckuva trip, about 300 miles each way. We started out at 5AM to beat traffic through LA, and got home at 6:30PM. Makes for a long day, but it's fun spending time with just us guys.

Visalia is a little ag community in California's Central Valley, not far from Fresno on Highway 99. Ken's shop is in Three Rivers, an even tinier place amidst the mountains, lakes and rivers 40 miles east of Visalia.

Visalia still has a very small-town feel. Mearle's Diner (shown on the left) was, until recently, representative of the time trap the city is stuck in - it's American Grafitti in that town! (Mearle's was recently closed and is now vacant, waiting for a savior.) They even have a working A&W Drive-In!

We arrived at Ken's place a bit before noon, where we immediately saw our 259 hanging from the hoist on his shop floor. It's back to its rightful color now, black with yellow valve covers (as opposed to the flaking turquoise it was covered in prior to our pulling it).

Ken's an interesting guy. When I first talked with him about rebuilding our engine, he told me he'd built his first Stude engine in 1967. What he didn't mention was that he'd built it in South Bend, whilst working for Newman & Altman's Avanti Motors (N&A bought the dies and tooling for the Avanti from Studebaker in 1966 and produced the original Avanti until very recently). So he honed his chops at the birthplace of Studebaker! Cool.

We loaded the engine into the homebrew cradle I built for it and slid her into the back of Dave's truck, then hit the highway for the trip back home. (A recent thread on the SDC Forum puts a dry Studebaker V-8 at about 650 lbs. I can attest to the fact that Dave's Dakota rode very smoooooothly on the way home.)

We had a little traffic coming home through LA, but nothing too gripe too loudly about. We pulled in about 6:30 and unloaded her, after which Dave took off for home (another half-hour drive for him). Reed loves using the engine hoist, so he got to hook the chains to the heads and pump it up. We tarped her up for the night, and the next day we attached her to an engine stand borrowed from a friend.

Here are some daylight pics. Lookit that engine shine! Looks nothing like the greasy green mess we pulled out.

A "before" pic so you can see the difference:

She sure is a beauty. Can't wait to fire her up! I've been painting little pieces (intake manifold clamps, exhaust manifolds) while I wait for the transmission to be done. Woo hoo! It's coming together!

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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Lark emergency brake clevis rod source.

I've been reconstructing my emergency brake system (the PO cut off the rear cables and completely removed the adjusting rod and equalizer), and had a hard time finding the clevis rod that attaches the adjusting arm to the bellcrank.

The manual specifies a 5/8" diameter rod, 1/2" long. I tried NAPA, all major autoparts chains, even went to a local fastener manufacturer - no joy. Turns out that 1/2" diameter is a more common size in cars; everyone I went to had the 5/8" rod in universal 2" lengths, and since this is a brake part, I didn't want to just cut off one of these.

Finally, an internet search turned up the fact that 5/8" clevis rods are common in marine applications. I still couldn't find a 1/2" long rod, but did find a 9/16".

Maybe this stuff is easier found in more agricultural parts of the country, but out here on the west coast - good luck!

Here's the link for anyone who finds it useful.

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Friday, January 05, 2007

Boy, am I wired!

Yeah, it's been a bit quiet here at Studebaker Acres lately, but the Christmas holidays tend to drive out any effort or thought not devoted to them and their activities. Now that the holidays are past, I can get back to some Stude-related activities.

I've been accumulating parts - a new water pump from Fairborn Studebaker, brake parts from Studebaker International, other odds 'n ends off eBay.

But back in early Fall I found a bunch of wiring weirdness with the Lark (see Dash It All for details) that convinced me a new wiring harness was needed. After all, it's nice when your headlights and taillights all work! And a heater would be nice, too...

On the advice of the guys in the Studebaker Drivers Club Forums, I contacted Studebakers West in Redwood City, California. I told them the year and model of my Lark, and after answering some quick questions about options, they told me they'd call me when it was done - in about 8 weeks.

In reality, it was more like 14 weeks. I got a call in the middle of December telling me that my harness was ready. (It takes a while because SW makes their harnesses by hand, on demand. Some of the more popular models are on the shelf, but my Standard was a bit of a weird-oh, so it took longer.)

I got the front and back harnesses done - the entire car, really - and it cost just over $400. Three days after the phone call, I had a box at my door with a fresh wiring harness!

Problem is, I realized that I had no idea what all those wires connected to. I'd been using the diagrams graciously posted at Chuck Collins' website, but found the black-and-white JPEG a bit hard to read. So I decided I would redraw the diagram in Illustrator and color the connections to boot.

The results are pretty good, as seen in the thumbnail above. This diagram is for 1963- 1964 Lark-types only, but you can download an 11x17" PDF version for free if you like, suitable for printing at Kinko's. That's the COLOR version; a redrawn black-and-white version is available here if you'd rather have that.

If these are useful for you, drop a line and let me know!

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