The Studeblogger

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Great customer service.

Got a call this afternoon from Studebaker International, the big repro & NOS parts house owned by Ed Reynolds, the outgoing president of the SDC. A few days ago I'd ordered some miscellaneous heater bits, plus a new set of window fuzzies and U-channel for the front doors - the stuff that's in there is so far gone, it's hip, Daddy-O!

So Tom from SI informs me that UPS called him to say that they package they'd shipped me was damaged in transit, but that they were sending it to me anyway. He told me to take a careful inventory of missing or damaged parts when it arrived, and to call him back and tell him what they needed to re-send me!

My job entails some interaction with technical support and customer service, and I am acutely aware of how important it is to keep the client happy. Proactive stuff like this goes a long way. They didn't have to call me; they could have just let me receive my stuff and then call them up with a mournful tone in my voice. But now I know what to expect and, more importantly, know that they'll fix the problem ASAP.

My hat's off to Ed and the good folks at SI. It's good to deal with people who care.


Heater progress...

Well, parts are coming out of the electrolyte bath now. The top half of the blower case shined up so pretty I almost wanted to shoot it with clear and keep it like that! But it received a coat of primer and a couple coats of gloss black before drying in the sun all day, as did the blower impeller. Now the back half is in the soup.

The radiator shop told me that the core leaked like a sieve when they tried to pressure test it (no duh - I know what the inside of the blower case looked like!). They're scaring up a new core for it.

I also went down to Ace hardware this afternoon to scare up some new fasteners. Every single one was rusty, right down to the quarter-inch 6-32s that hold the blower case together. (Well, there were only two 6-32s... the rest were assorted pan-head wood screws. Sheesh.)

Tomorrow I'm going to try to take apart the air box and replace the long-gone rubber flaps that sealed the air diverters. Stand by for pics.

Sure does feel good to get something done!

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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Rust buster!

Last weekend I got something done (yay!)... I pulled the heater out of Barney. Bad news was: the core had leaked and the fan really was shot (boo!). I hooked the fan motor up to my battery charger and, on the 10 amp setting, it would not budge... took the 50 amp setting to get it spinning! And even then it sounded like the bearings were very pissed at me for making them... well, bear.

So I am now embarked on rebuilding the heater, and therein lies a tale, one of mild alkali, electricity and rust removal.

The squirrel-cage blower fan had rusted (no! really?) and although they're still available, $30 made the CASO* in me squirm. I remembered an article I'd read about electrolytic de-rusting, and decided to give it a spin.

The gist is this: you take a plastic bucket, pour in a couple gallons of water, add 1 tablespoon of baking soda (or washing soda) and stir. Then, you connect the positive side of a power source (like a battery charger) to a steel or iron object immersed in the bucket, and the negative side to the object you wish to de-rust. Switch on, let it bubble for a few hours, and voila! clean metal. Well, un-rusty metal - you still have to scrub off the black coating left behind by the process.

You can read a much more detailed explanation on the Stovebolt Forum.

So, last night, in went the squirrel cage. And this morning, out it came, with nearly all of the rust banished.

Oh, and don't worry about the filthy mess in the bucket after you're done - all it is, is iron oxide, baking soda and whatever other sludge your part may have had on it.

As I write this, the blower housing is soaking in the bath, and I have ordered a new fan motor and miscellaneous other parts from SASCO. Look for the step-by-step heater repair post coming soon!

*CASO: commonly-used acronym, stands for "Cheap-ass Studebaker owner". Can be a term of endearment, or not - use carefully!

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Monday, August 17, 2009

Lark & Hawk Wiper Blade Refill Interchange.

Just saw this post from Nate Nagel over at the SDC Forum:

...the arms and blades from a 56-64 Hawk or 56-62 passenger car [use the same] blades and rubber as a '62 Corvette and repros are available.
Good to know!

If you're into Studes and not on the Forum, you really should be. The repository of knowledge there is vast (some may say half-vast!) Seriously, these guys know their stuff. It's an invaluable resource.

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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Be safe!

One of the hazards of working around old cars is the constant exposure to evil substances. Things that will rot your internal organs, turn your skin different colors or even kill you. It's no laughing matter; the chemicals involved with cleaning, painting, assembling and restoring vehicles can be nasty things. And we've got warning labels on so many things these days (coffee cups: "Caution: Contents Hot") that we tend to ignore them now simply because of overload.

But the consequences of exposure can be severe. Do yourself a favor and read this first-person account of just how wrong things can go - the author was exposed to a minute amount of superheated brake cleaner, and is lucky to be alive - although the damage done to his kidneys, pancreas and lungs will shorten his lifespan dramatically.

Safety's no joke. Read the labels, protect yourself. No short cut is worth your life.