The Studeblogger

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Lotsa Larks!

It's always cool to see a young person driving a Studebaker (as opposed to the old farts like me that you usually see in the driver's seat!), so I wanted to share this neat video posted by Dave Arnold on the SDC Forum, of his daughter taking her first drive with her temporary driver's license -- in his shiny black 1960 Lark convertible!

I'm not sure my heart could handled that ride if it were my son in the driver's seat! (Of course, that's the plan for Barney... just don't remind him of that!)

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Spring is here.

Well, springs, actually.

I ordered up a NOS set of factory rear springs from SASCO to replace the old, flat, tired ones in the Lark, and they arrived last night. 45 pounds of 45-year-old metal, waiting for me on the porch when I came home from dinner. The UPS man must had had fun with these!

Problem is, I ordered HD (heavy-duty) springs, and SASCO shipped me standard-duty springs. The difference? HD springs have 5 leaves; SD springs, only 4. I'm deciding whether to keep them or send them back, pending advice from the SDC Forum guys.

Update: After calling SASCO, Denise told me that they were out of the HD springs. These are standard-duty, so will replace what I have no problem. Hey, still 1/4 the price of new units from Eaton Detroit!

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Sunday, July 12, 2009

Getting wires in the right holes...

It was hot today but I got an important bit done - the plug wires are finally in the correct holes in the distributor cap.

I labeled the distributor cap with the plug numbers when I disassembled the engine for rebuild, but once the car was running, I found that the distributor had to be turned so far clockwise that the nipple for the vacuum advance canister was contacting the firewall!

Luckily, Dwain Grindinger over on the SDC Tech Forum had posted a copy of a tech page that shows exactly how the distributor should be clocked on Studebaker engines, and I realized that the PO had installed the distributor 90-degrees off. Armed with this info, I went out and moved all the plug wires around the distributor cap, connected the battery and fired her up. Sweet!

This is a good page to have since it explains how to find Top Dead Center, clock the distributor, identify the cylinder numbers and insert the distributor into the block - for both 6 and V8-equipped Studes. I've attached a full-size copy; feel free to print and stick it in your Shop Manual.

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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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Saturday, July 11, 2009

Good news and more progress.

Lots to talk about. Been getting a few minutes here and there to work on Barney and things are going well!

In my last post I talked about the fuel line leak I've been working on. Turns out that the NOS hard lines I got from SASCO were fine - the problem was in the brass 90-degree fittings I got from the Dorman bins. Seems that 2 of the 4 I purchased were defective! Bad seats straight from the bin. That's why the leak moved from the fuel pump to the carb end, and why replacing one didn't help - the replacement was defective too! Finally I got a good one (the last one in the bin drawer) and it worked. Fired up the car with the new carb for the first time last weekend, with no leaks - purrs like a kitten!

Yesterday I got under and got the front sway bar bolted in. This had been giving me fits. There are four links on the Stude sway bar: two in the center of the bar on the front frame crossmember, and one on each end that connect to the A-arms. The centers were easy to get on, but the ends - OY! The bolt holes in the bar end clamps would not line up with the holes in the A-arms. I could not do it. So it had been sitting, partially assembled, since May.

I'd solicited the SDC Tech Forum about how to get them on, and various suggestions were proffered, such as using a floor jack to hold the brackets in place, but none of them worked. Finally, I tried a variation on Dick Steinkamp's suggestion: if pushing UP didn't work, maybe pulling DOWN would. So I pulled the brackets into alignment using a drift (OK, it was a small Craftsman screwdriver!) and used my biggest Channellocks to pull down, holding the bracket in place long enough to get the bolt in.

The driver's side was easy, but the passenger's side gave me fits even with the new proceedure. Turns out the bracket was tweaked just enough to prevent the bolt from sliding in, so I clamped it in my vise and gave it a few bangs with the lead hammer to get it square. Finally, I got it on (to the detriment of my powder-coat job) and now the front suspension is, at long last, complete.

Next step is to time the ignition. Once that's done, I'll have it flatbed towed to my brake shop for installation of a new master cylinder and steel lines and alignment of the new front end.

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