PS install complete!

The new adapters for the Saginaw pump proved to be a bit of a problem. The bottom pressure adapter fitted the pump fine.  The top return adapter would turn in only a couple of threads and then bind up.  I measured the threads/inch and the old fitting was 16 and the new one looked like an 18.  The supplier couldn’t provide one with the 16 threads/inch and ended up running a die over the threads to bring them in line since they were so close.  I still don’t understand it all.  Seems there are different thread counts and pitches which I didn’t really grasp all that well.  I’m used to metric, regular machine screw and of course, pipe threads but, I guess there is more to it than that.  At this stage in my life – going on for 72 – I’m not likely to need to have this information at my finger tips so I’ll just leave it to the professionals.

Now for problem #2 – You can see the top adapter has a shoulder which allows the O ring to move further inside.  This worked pretty well for the lower return hose.  I did have to use the original O ring from the old fitting and not the fatter one I got from the hydraulics shop.

The lower pressure adapter was a bit more of a problem as it doesn’t have a shoulder and with a small O ring, it bottomed out on the pump body before the O ring could be properly seated.  For this reason I picked up two fatter O rings for the adapters when I went back about the thread issues – a small one for the return line and a bigger one for the pressure line. When I tried to use the fatter one it wouldn’t slip inside the adapter opening to rest on the seating surface.  So I stretched the smaller of the fatter O rings onto the pressure adapter and tried that.  It just slipped inside the pump body to seat properly on the inside flange.

I also used some Permatex aviation form-a-gasket to seal the threads and perhaps help keep everything drip free.

Here are the two lines connected to the back of the Saginaw pump. The tight 90 degree pressure fittings allow the lines to nicely miss the distributor.  I certainly is fun? connecting parts from two different PS systems!

Here is the control valve with all lines connected.  You can just see the pressure line with the silver soldered adapter.  It made fitting the line a bit easier.  To get the larger return line in place was more of a problem.  In the end I removed the pitman arm and dropped the whole affair down so I could see what I was doing.  Still not a piece of cake.  The lines are a close fit everywhere.  I had to give one of the ram hoses a bit of a bend to keep it away from the frame as the control valve moved forward and backward.

The ram pressure lines fit OK but, just.

With the control valve moved all the way back (2.25 turns from center) one of the ram pressure lines is pretty tightly bent.  This must have been how the hoses fitted on the original Hawks.  Since I will be using quick steering arms the control valve shouldn’t move this far back.

Another shot of the lines with the control valve all the way to the rear. The return line is just touching the steering box.

Hard to see but the return line is just about touching the engine mount when the control valve is all the way forward.  Again, it shouldn’t be as much of an issue with the quick steering arms.

This then is the end of the PS install.  Next I’ll fill the system with PS fluid and check for leaks.  Then on startup I’ll need to check for leaks again.

In the meantime I have to switch gears.  I’m getting the armrests and a rear console upholstered.  I never had the correct  three arm rear console for the back seat and haven’t able to find one  over the years.  I did come across one for a ’56 Golden Hawk which promises to look quite nice when re-upholstered and installed.

Not a pretty sight without its upholstery.  Now I need to scrape, sand blast, clean and paint before the upholstery shop does its magic.

PS hoses made.

Two hoses made up using standard hoses for Hawks.  Now they will attach to a Saginaw PS pump rather than the original Eaton/Bendix unit. The two dark fittings are the original Saginaw adapters.  The two silver units are newer units.  The hoses now have tight 90 deg. fittings which will attach to the new pump adapters and guide the hoses away from the distributor. The bottom hose is return hose and was usable as is with the addition of the 90 deg. fitting.  The original upper pressure hose was a Yokohama brand and the hydraulic shop couldn’t put their fittings on that brand. They cut off the curved control body attaching hose and silver soldered it to a universal 1/4″ fitting.  They then made up the rest of the hose using their brand of hose.  Who knew that there was such a difference in hose brands when it came to attaching hydraulic fittings.

As it turns out  the two part setup for the pressure hose made it a whole lot easier to fit the curved line to the control body.

I was happy to get new adapters for the Saginaw pump.  The originals had light rusting which I wire-wheeled off but, I wasn’t all that comfortable with their ability to hold a seal.

Now it’s on to getting the new lines routed in and all the connections torqued up.

Cat delays!

We just go a new kitty – Poppy. She’s a tortoiseshell  Birman – 8 mths.  So I thought I’d let everyone know why I’m not posting any updates to the ’54 Champion’s upgrades. We have two cats so now we’re  at the break-in stage.  Hopefully we won’t get to many dings or scrapes in the process!  That’s not a booger on her nose just a dark spot.







This is our boy Tommy – 8 yrs. A red point Siamese.


PS progress & more parts preparation

Getting back to it – I test fitted all the lines to the control valve.  The return line is hidden behind the reach rod.  A very tight fit and the control valve has to be rotated counterclockwise to enable one of the ram lines to clear the frame.  If the reach rod needs adjustment I have to remove the pitman arm and  pull the control valve rearward.  There is not enough room between the engine and the engine mount to allow the reach rod to rotate.  That will be fun with all the lines in place!








The pressure and return hoses are for the Hawks which use an Eaton pump on the V8 models.  The pump I have is a Saginaw unit which fed the power steering in the steering box.  I will be going to an hydraulics shop soon to get the lines adapted.  I need to get tight 90 deg. fittings so the lines will clear the distributor.  These two lines will hold the control valve in the right position so that there is enough clearance for one of the ram lines.








In the meantime work continues on the never ending, or so it seems, job of scraping, cleaning, sandblasting, sanding and painting of suspension components.









I strongly suggest to anyone who wants to do more than basic maintenance on their Studebaker that they purchase a sandblasting cabinet.  The one I use is a cheap Chinese unit sold by Princess Auto in Canada.  It’s a shop dedicated to shop & related equipment and trailer components.  Too bad that most of the stuff comes from China with varying degrees of quality.  Still it does the job for me.  I run it with a small 20 gal compressor.  I use OO heavy sand at about 80 PSI.  For fine work I just use a lower pressure..Oh yes, plan to rig up dust collection system.  You don’t want to inhale any of the fine dust out of this equipment.  I rigged up a small vacuum cleaner.  It has a fine dust bag inside and I send to exhaust outside.

More tools and a bit of progress


While waiting for paint to dry I continued torquing things down.  The two ball fittings – one on the reach rod and one on the ram.  There is no way I can torque them to the 50 lbs recommended using a proper torque wrench so I just had to do it by feel while watching for the castle nuts to align with the cotter pin holes.

Here’s a little tool I bought on a whim awhile back.  Turns out the mirror is quite useful – the arm is extendable.  It really helped me to line up the castle nuts.


These also arrived from while the paint was drying.  They turned out to be too wide (1/2″) while my vibration dampener is only 1/4″ wide.  In the end I cut off the numbers and kept the long and short lines.

Fits nice.  Hope the glue holds.  I put my own numbers on the long lines.  I have some tweaking to do on the advance and this should help.  Jim Pepper of the Cooperators has given me some tips about the best settings for static, distributor and vacuum advance settings. Another job for a little later on.

Finally got to test fitting the PS lines.  Here I have the right and left hoses ( to move the ram) in place.  Next is the pressure and return hoses.  Very little wiggle room and not a whole of printed info to help with the install.

The best information I could find is the PS routing diagram in the parts book.  It indicates the left and right turn hoses but, the diagram is small and the exact placement of the hoses on the control body is not all that clear.  The pressure and return hose openings are easy (bigger and smaller than the turn hoses) but, you have a choice of two openings for the turn hoses.  Hope I got it right as I don’t have an existing PS setup to check.  On top of all this you have a choice of two openings on the ram to pick.  I put a finger on one of the openings and moved the bell crank and if I felt a vacuum, then that was the line for the opposite direction that the bellcrank moved – vacuum when moving the bellcrank to the right means pressure in this opening will move the wheels to the left.

In the meantime the paint did dry.  Looks so much better with a coat of shiny POR15.

I’ll be away for a couple of days so I won’t be blogging for a bit.

Of wrinkles, tools and sway bars

So you do your best and what happens – wrinkles!  Something in the old paint didn’t like the primer.  Now its wet sand the bad areas and re-prime with a different product.

Here’s the tool I talked about in the last post.  I believe it is a Lisle product though I couldn’t find a logo on the tool.  Is is made in the US.  I previously bought a similar tool from Princess Auto.  It was made in China and wouldn’t grip anything, especially a pulley.  This tool really grips well.  It’s a plastic handle with a serrated band that fits serrations in the handle. The other side of the strap is noticeable tacky.

This is the top of one of the sway bar brackets.  It seems flimsy and is bent.  I decided that I would beef up the cross piece with some heavier stock.  Then I looked at the fit of the bracket on the car and realized what Studebaker was up to.

A little hard to see but the cross piece is spanning a factory gap in the frame.



Here’s a shot of the factory gap that the cross piece fits over.  It seems that the metal is meant to bend into the gap somewhat which  keeps the bracket stable laterally.  Pretty poor setup.  Not sure why they didn’t make frame changes later on to eliminate this gap so the mounting bold could be held in place by the lower frame plate.

All the sway bar parts sandblasted or wire wheeled and ready for paint.  I have some POR15 epoxy paint that I’ll use.  The parts won’t see direct sunlight so they should remain shiny.

The new sway bar bushing is on the left.  The bar size is obviously larger.  The later model bar is 3/4″ and the old bar is 5/8″.  Not a big difference and certainly smaller than the aftermarket bars.  However, this is a 6 cylinder car so I hope to see an improvement with even a slightly larger bar plus the improved mounting location – the original bar mounted at two points on each lower A arm.


More ho-hum & something new

Into the boring stuff.  Like painting the top of the rad.  All sanded and ready for priming.


I did manage to get back to the install.  The alternator is in place and I finished installing the PS pulley and shaft nut.  Both would have been a pain except for the strap wrench from Lisle.  I’ll put in a photo of it next time.  I also re-torqued the crank nut.  Fortunately this is a standard so I was able to lock the engine with the parking brake and the trans in high.








It’s not too easy to see but the PS belt runs very close to the fan pulley hub.  There is about 1/8″ clearance so I’m hoping it doesn’t rub.  It should be OK since this is the setup used by Studebaker for the ’57 Champion sedans.

Now for something new.  A club member, Wilson Baker, is building a ’53 coupe.

The body is off the original frame and will now be fitted to the new frame.




Wilson adapted a Mustang II kit from Horton’s Streetrods in Ontario.  The rack  & pinion is also part of the kit.  The install is into a donor ’60 Hawk frame.

Here the body is going onto the frame.  There is a lot of body work needed and that is the main reason for all the bracing inside the cab.


Body panels added.  Wilson says he will keep it up on the frame stand to make it easier to do the body work.


Another shot of the body before it was transferred to the newer frame.  Wilson will be using a newer drive train.  More on that later.


Ho-hum work!

I really should clean up what I have to do before going on with the PS install.  I had to remove the rad because the overflow tube broke off when I removed the top of the fan shroud.  That’s been repaired and now I need to repaint the top before the re-install.

Once that is done I’ll replace the flex fan and then the two piece shroud.  A friend, Don Preiss split the shroud on his ’57 Golden Hawk to make it easier to access the front of the engine.  Also, it is a real pain trying the take off the fan with the shroud on so that you can remove the shroud itself.  It is a whole lot easier if you can remove just the top half of the shroud first.

Here’s a before shot of Don’s ’57 Golden Hawk.  Below is the same car after many many hours and $$$ later.

Fuel line in and ram fitted

The routing behind the cross member was easier than I had expected.



It was a bit tight fitting it along with the brake line, missing the bellcrank grease point and keeping it up off the lower lip so I’ll be able to get at the top bolts when I’m putting back the lower A arms.

Not too easy to see but the fuel line is connected to the carb via a clear fuel filter.  It is a copper line.  I couldn’t buy a short length of nickel/copper from my suppliers and I didn’t want to drop $60+ for a 25′ roll.  The copper is double flared and should perform fine.


That said I may spring for a roll later on.  This is what I took out of the fuel filter.  This is the second time I have had to clean it.


I installed an electric fuel pump as part of the engine upgrade.  It has a filter as part of the pump and it is located just ahead of the rear axle.  So all that crud has come from the line between the electric fuel pump and the carb pre-filter.  An all new fuel line  and new fuel pump filter will be a project for later on.

Now that the fuel line has been routed away from the PS ram area I can get on with the PS work.

The tricky part was getting the ram mounting plate in just the right position.  The stud sticking out of the top made it hard to position the hole in the frame. I clamped the bracket to the frame in various locations with the stud sticking up on the outside of the frame.  I then attached the ram and moved it back and forth checking clearances.  There wasn’t a whole lot of wiggle room.  When I got to a good spot that cleared both the sway bar mount and front cross member I just eyeballed where the stud would be on the outer frame lip.

I tried to position the hole so that the nut would clear with a socket attached.  Allowing for extra height from the lock washer allowed me to keep the stud a little further away from the outer lip.  I then connected up the ram and checked clearances.

Clearance with the sway bar bracket was the closest.  The photo doesn’t show  it too well but there is actually about 1/8″ clearance at the closest.



The spacing at the cross member is fine with the ram at the furthest and closest extremes.  I expect the turn stops on the steering knuckles will  keep the ram from getting even this close.



Once the ram was in its proper place it was easy to move the mount so that the supporting bolt hole could be positioned on the opposite side of the frame.

Next job will be to install the PS hoses.  In the meantime both steering knuckles are in the parts washer awaiting clean up.  I’ve got a bunch of cleaning, painting and bearing installation before I can put the front end back on the ’54.

A new direction

I was planning the bends needed for the fuel line to keep out of the ram’s way when I had a new thought.  Could the fuel line cross behind the cross member.  I checked it out and it looked good.  I am now in the process of running the line.  More with pictures soon.

There may be higher temperatures behind the cross member but, I’m hoping that the electric fuel pump will keep me from vapor lock problems.