Installation wrap-up

Time to install the wheel bearings. I scraped and cleaned the bottoming surface for the bearing cup – that’s the first lip down the hole.

This is a handy tool for fine cleaning. Recognize it?  It’s a dental scraper.  You can buy automotive scrapers like this but, I prefer to get them for free.  Each time I go to the dentist’s I ask for used scrapers.  They usually have a batch lying around.  My dentist actually has others besides me who ask for these neat tools.

Talking about specialty tools – I know there are proper jigs to install bearings.  I just have never gotten around to buying a set.  Maybe for next time.  I like to use a hardwood block and a moderate sized hammer.  The trick is to keep the bearing going in squarely and not allowing it to tip too much.  Once it gets going straight it seems to slip in easy enough – at least until the wood block hits the casting.

To finish seating the cup I use an old cup.  I have already ground off a skim from the outer surface on the grinding wheel so that it won’t seize inside the casting as it pushes the new cup home.

Seating the new cup with an old cup.

Same story for the outer cup. Here the old cup is about to seat the new cup.

Time to grease the new cones.  I used to do it by hand and it was always slow and messy.  I finally bought this little tool and I’m very happy with it.

You just slip the cone over the stem and then spin the top half down until it is snug on the bearing.  Put a tube of wheel bearing lube in the grease  gun and…

A few pumps and presto the grease squirts out the bottom of the cone.

The extra grease I smear around the cup.

The cone in place and extra lube applied.  I did miss a photo of the grease seal going in place unfortunately.  I used the same block of hardwood in the same manner as I did  with the new cups, being careful that it went in square.

Some extra grease to smear around on the outer cup.

Outer cone, washer and nut ready to be installed.

A smear of grease for the spindle. Especially on the inside to help the seal slip onto it’s sealing surface.

Drum fitted, outer cone and washer in place ready for the castle nut.

Just about done.  I followed the Studebaker service manual’s procedure for tightening the nut.  Tighten until the bearings are binding on the hub then back off 1/6 of a turn or back to where the cotter pin can be fitted.  I like to put cotter pins in backwards so that they are easier to remove later if needed – and they often are!

Final install on the front end. Power steering, bigger sway bar with better mounts, new front end components and now new 11″ brakes in place.

Oh yes, here’s my plastic sheet cut up into 4 equal pieces of approximately 7-1/2″ X 13 1/3″

Next I will have to set the Champion down and torque the inner A arm clamping studs top and bottom.  From there I’ll need to set the alignment good enough to drive to the alignment shop.


Final brake assembly – finally.

The end of the never ending painting for the brakes.

This is the product I use for the brake assembly lubrication points.  I think it is likely better than white grease which I always used to use.

Re-assembly is just the reverse of disassembly.  This is for the right side.  The primary shoe (with the longer pad) is always to the front.  You can put the shoes on the car first but, I always found the lower spring a real bear to get in place later.  Oh yes, make sure you use the left hand thread adjuster on the left and the right on the right.  That way they will both expand when you pry upward with the brake adjuster tool.

This is on the left side.  The primary shoe’s clip is in place.

Now the secondary shoe’s clip is in place. and the wheel cylinder push rods are seated.  I used the brake lubricant on the shoe contact points on the backing plate, on the adjuster ends, on the wheel cylinder push rods and on the centering block at the top between the shoes.  There is a little arrow  on the centering block which should point to the front so that the curved side is facing the primary shoe.

The top springs are always a bit of a grunt.  I’m sure there is a special too for the job but, that’s something I don’t have.  I used to use a big screw driver to try and slip them over the post but it was hit and miss.  What seems to work not too bad is a small set of vice grips.  I grab the end of the hook close to the coils and …

… pull the end over the post.  Oh yes.  I had to take this spring back off because I forgot to put on the shoe retainer.  You can see it below.

Next was the install of the self adjuster.  The sequence is to install the post and bracket first. Then hook the top rod in the bracket and then snap the other end over the top post. Then hook the lower rod in the bracket and  pull up the adjuster arm on the bottom until the rod’s  lower loop slips into the slot on the adjuster arm.

Next will be the brake drums with new bearings.  This won’t happen for a day or two as the bearing I thought would fit didn’t.  New ones are on the way and I should be able to pick them up on Monday.


Wheel cylinder install – easy peezie

I didn’t say much about putting on the backing plates because it’s pretty straight forward.  That is except for trying to hold the nuts behind the plate while putting 30 lbs torque on the bolts.  The heads are recessed and it’s hard to hold a wrench on them and sockets don’t go in far enough to hold – not one of Studebakers better ideas!  Got her done finally with some thread lock on the bolts.  I use the stuff everywhere, even with lock washers in place.  Just an extra bit of security. I reduced the torque from 35 to 30 lbs to allow for the lubrication of the thread lock liquid.

I have spun  the wheel cylinder onto the end of the brake flex hose.  But before that…

I loosened the flare fitting at the top of the flex brake hose where it is fixed to the frame.  This will allow me to tighten the wheel cylinder onto the hose and then position the hose away from the frame.

Before tightening the hose to the wheel cylinder I removed the bleeder so it wouldn’t get damaged and bolted the wheel cylinder to the backing plate – the attaching nuts are just snug here.

With the hose tight and the wheel cylinder bolts tightened I re-installed the bleeder.

Without making any adjustments the brake hose wanted to hit the frame with the wheels turned.

By turning the flex brake line fitting where it is mounted to the frame at the top it was easy to move the brake hose away from the frame.  Then I tightened up the flare fitting.

And its job done – at least this part.  Believe it or not I’m still painting parts.  The self adjuster parts should be nice and dry for tomorrow’s assembly work.

Greasing, not my favourite job.

Some time ago in my early Studebakering days I tried to grease with only the hand operated type of gun.  Tie rod ends were a breeze, upper A arm bushings likewise, steering knuckles not bad but a whole lot of grease ended up on the floor before it appeared at the top, finally the lower A arm bushings – only a lever type gun would get the grease in and that only with a lot of muscle.  Finally I saw the light and bought a power gun.  This is not a professional grade model but, a handyman special. It works pretty good at around 125 lbs pressure.  The new lower A arm bushings being new are very tight.  It took repeated pulls of the trigger to keep the pressure up and I only succeeded in getting grease through 3 of the 4 bushings.

This is the culprit – the rear on the drivers side. It refused to let grease pass at even 150+ lbs pressure.  I assembled the bushings with a minimum of grease thinking that I would fill them later.  I likely got some grease in so I’m going to wait until I’ve driven a few miles and then try again. Hopefully the action will open up a path for the grease.  If that doesn’t work I may have to take out the bushing, grease it well and re-install it.  Not the best thing to do.

Now all the itty-bitty brake parts are ready for assembly.  They are from a later model Lark – a ’63 if I remember right.  Time to start on the brakes.  What’s missing are the self-adjusting mechanisms.  They are in the parts washer and should be ready by the time I need to install them.

Here is a nice piece of plastic sheeting.  About 1/4″ thick.  I have marked it into 4 equal parts.  Can’t remember where I found it but, I’m glad I muckled onto it because I now I have a use for it.


Feels like progress

Front end pretty well in place.  I still need to install the tie rods but, before I do that I need to replace both of the right hand thread ends.  The only other thing left to do is to put the grease to all the lube points.  Once that is done I’ll fix the cotter pins to the bottom nuts on the king pins.  I’m holding off until I get grease to exit top and bottom of the spindle assembly.  I may have to loosen the king pin a bit to give the grease a chance to squeeze out.

The next and final part of this year’s project is the upgrade of the front brakes to 11″ from the original 10″ A number of itty-bitty parts are not in the photo.  They’re in the parts washer and will be cleaned, sandblasted, sanded and painted – where paint won’t interfere with the brakes’ operation.

This is the Turner dual MC conversion I installed last year – both the bracket and the Jeep MC were provided by Turner Brakes.  I was disappointed with the conversion as I had hoped for improved braking.  But, the braking was not even as good as before never mind any improvement.  I’m not sure what the problem is.  Now that I think about it I’ll contact Turner and see what he thinks.  Even so I’ll go ahead with the 11″ brake conversion and, if in the end my braking is still not good I will seriously think of installing a hydrovac unit.

One of the lines going over the frame leads to a Hill Holder unit which acts on the rear brakes.  One of Studebakers better ideas (which seems to have been rediscovered recently by Subaru.)

Oh yes, I forgot to mention that it was fun getting the sway bar ends attached to the lower A arms.  It took a whole lot of squeezing of the support rubber to get the bracket lined up for the mounting bolt.  Got it done by playing around with a couple of clamps.  I am keen to see if I notice any improvement from the larger, later sway bar.

Problems, always problems!

Problem #1 – My friend who has the tool to spread the A arm ends by .015 before installing the pins, lives 2-1/2 hours away and I won’t be able to arrange to get it for two weeks.  So, I decided to try my port-a-power duck bill spreaders to do the job.  They work just fine and I tight fitted a bolt to keep them apart once the bulky duck bill is removed.

Problem #2 – It is very hard to find points to take careful measurements.  .015″ is not much and you really need  some definite points to make the measurements.  In the end I made two small center punch marks and measured between them.  Above I have punched the ends of the upper outer A arm.  Even with this it is not easy.  The port-a-power is fairly fine in its movement but, likely not as good as the proper spreader. The spreaders are available from Studebaker Intl.  If I do this job again I will definitely plan ahead to have the tool on hand.





This is the tool to do the job.  Simple enough to make at home – maybe I will take the time to do it for the next front end job I do.  I intend to do over the front end on our ’66 Commander and add PS too.

The ’66 will be another blog.  It needs a Studebaker V8, PS, PB, new rear fenders, rocker panels and AC.  I have an R1 289 for it with a Studebaker high rise manifold and Stromberg 2bbl.  But back to the current project.

Problem #3 – The king pin and the lower knuckle are not aligned.  This is likely a result of a damaged A arm.  In an earlier post I mentioned that the lower A arm on the drivers side was damaged from driving over things that didn’t move – like rocks!  I fixed the damage at the inner part of the A arm but, I didn’t notice that it was slightly twisted.  Since there was no way I was going to force the king pin into the knuckle something had to be done.

With the front of the A arm resting on a jack stand I fitted the duck bill between the rear of the A arm and the frame.  The wood was to give ma a good surface to jack against and to span the coil spring opening in the frame.  A couple of goes at this and the A arm came around just enough to line up the king pin and lower knuckle.

No problems here.  The compressed coil spring is in place and the floor jack is bringing up the A arm to the point where I can fit the king pin and spindle.  I used lots of white grease on the bearings and king pin to ease assembly.

Finally the front end is almost complete.  I have moved the king pin fully to the rear and with an outward tilt.  This will be my starting point for the preliminary setup before going to the alignment ship.  Shocks need to be installed, bushings painted, sway bar fitted to the A arms and lubrication of everything. The tie rods will be installed on the bellcrank only for the time being.

Fitting the steering knuckles onto the king pins.

Nice to be able to set the steering knuckle to the king pin outside of the car. Checking to see if the knuckle is flush with the king pin ridge.

This side took three shims to get the king pin flush with the bottom of the steering knuckle.  I has a number of shims available which made mixing and matching no problem.  Otherwise I would have had to purchase a good selection to be sure I had the right combination to bring the bottom of the steering knuckle flush with the king pin ridge.

You may have noticed the jaw protectors on my vise.  I have found these to be very useful and use them often.  Again I picked them up from Lee Valley tools.  Any shop selling woodworking tools should have these in stock.

The service manual tells you to use a specific tool to put the lower bearings into the steering knuckle which allows the correct depth to take the lower gasket.  Without the tool I just set the bearing in enough to allow room for the gasket – but not too much.

As you can see I have left out about 1/32″ to 1/16″.  Hopefully this will be enough room to allow the gasket to compress and seal the bottom of the knuckle to the king pin.

Next it is time to try to fit the upper and lower outers to the A arms.

Tools & front end assembly

Here’s that wrench extender I talked about in the last post.  The two round things are magnets to keep the wrench in place.

It is  a Chestnut tool and I picked it up at Lee Valley (Canada only I believe but, the tool is likely available in the US from sellers of higher end wood working equipment.)

It holds the tool quite well. Tighten one way, turn over to loosen.

All the parts cleaned up in the sandblaster and ready for the install.  Studebaker Intl supplied two different types of seals.  Thick O rings and thick washers.  They are reversed in the picture.  The O rings fit the bottom pins and the thick washers are for the top pins.  Some of my parts are damaged from years of poor storage.  These had differing degrees of surface rust which needed to be removed.  The threads on the pins and bushings were fine otherwise the kits would have been toast.

The lower steering knuckles are installed.  However I won’t be able to tighten up the bushings until I borrow the special spreader tool to keep the arms apart.  It spreads the arms apart .015.  I believe this tool works like this – when the bushings are tightened they are pulling outwards on the rod threads. When the tool is removed the arms move together slightly which moves the bushings inward and takes some of the pressure off the rod threads.  I’d be glad to hear if my ideas are out in left field on this.

Upper A arm fix and A arm installs

I had a problem with the bushings in the upper A arm.  They didn’t go in evenly. Because the bushings didn’t have a definite shoulder like the NOS parts but, instead had a slope, there was nothing to stop one from traveling in too far – see the top photo above.  So I took the A arms to my friends shop to use his press to push out the new bushings and install some 40 + year old NOS bushings.  I figured that the cross shaft would destroy the bushing as it was forced through.  Surprisingly when we pressed the cross shaft out the bushing compressed slightly and then slipped out of the A arm.  So we started pushing and pressing from different sides until we go the bushings pretty well centered – see the bottom photo above.

The fact that the bushings moved in and out so easily was a concern. So we decided that it would be a good idea to weld a couple of spots on each bushing to the A arm body just to help them keep in position.  Hopefully with this they will work.  The spots are on the underside so won’t be visible from on top from the engine compartment.

The A arms are now in place.  Things are beginning to look better.  The lower A arms went in nicely and I was able to use a torque wrench to set them to 65 ft lbs.  The upper A arms were a different story.  The manual calls for 80 ft lbs which is not a problem except that there is no way I could get my torque wrench on the bolts short of removing the front fenders and that just wasn’t going to happen.  I was able to get a socket and power bar on one but for the other I had to use a box end wrench plus a wrench extender ( I picked up that tool from Lee Valley of all places.  I’ll include a photo in my next post.) I tightened the bolts to what I think is maybe close to 80 ft lbs.  I  normally torque everything.  I twisted off too many bolts (smaller sizes) in my younger days and it’s always a pain especially if it is a fixed stud.

Next chance I get I’ll be installing the upper pin and bushings, the lower knuckle, pin & bushings, and the king pin with spindle.  Once everything is test fitted I’ll be able to get the springs back in place.

Sway bar in & more paint!

The sway bar is test fitted.  Needed to wiggle it back and forth to get it centered and the two clamps to fit correctly in the hangers.

This proved to be the best way to squeeze the support rubbers enough to allow the clamping bolt to fit nicely in its proper place.  I perhaps should have installed the lower A arms first but, it was something I could accomplish today while I wait for paint to dry.

Next I’ll install the shock mounts on the A arms then bolt  the complete units in place.  At this point I’m still waiting for paint to dry – yet again!

I have installed new spring pads.

Paint is drying.   I could have easily bought new bolts for everything but, Studebaker used such good steel in their fasteners that I hated to toss them out.  62 years after the car was made and all the bolts came off without any problem.  So I’m taking a little extra time and using the originals even if they have a bit of rust on the heads. Paint should be dry tomorrow and then I can get on with the A arm installation.