Driveshaft work

The driveshaft (top) is just about an 1″ too long with the new engine/trans setup. Fortunately I happened to have an old driveshaft that is about 1″ shorter (47″ vs 48″). The alternative would have been to take it to a local drive line shop to have it shortened and re-balanced. That would likely have cost $200 or so.

Here it is after cleaning and primed. It has a lot of surface rust, but no deep pits so I’m hoping it will be fine.

In the car and ready to go. I was going to use the original universal joints as they only had about 30k miles on them, but in the end I used new units. This way I won’t need to take the drive shaft out any time soon which is a messy job with automatic fluid wanting to drain out of the rear of the trans. New universals cost me about $20CDN each.

I’ll be putting AC in the ’66. I picked up a used ’65-’66 original evaporator from Stephen Allen’s. I’ve ordered a universal under-hood setup including a Sanden compressor. I already have a York mount on the engine. I have also ordered an adapter plate to mount the Sanden on the York bracket.

I have disassembled the unit, cleaned as needed and tested the motor.

The front plate is chromed cast. The directional louvers are black plastic with faded chrome. I sand blasted the front plate and then used high build primer to fill all the pits. It too quite a few coats to get smooth. Next time I’d use spot putty and high build for the final smoothing. I cleaned and sanded the louvers then gave them a coat of gloss black paint.

Next will be more work installing the evaporator and finishing the hook ups for the trans.

Torque Converter

I finally got my torque converter back from the re-builders. He took a long time, but was very reasonable on the cost considering all the problems he had getting the ring gear off so a new one could be put on. In the end he had to split the converter to get the old ring off. The plus side was that we got to see the internals and they all looked good. So he welded the new ring gear on, welded the two halves together, checked for leaks and balanced the unit.

Unfortunately I was so keen to get the torque converter installed that I forgot to get some photos. Basically I removed the bellhousing, bolted the flex plate and reinforcer ring to the crank, and then mounted the torque converter loosely to the flex plate.

I then used the above torque converter alignment plate to center the back end of the unit. I believe Myers Studebaker will rent this item out if you need it. Fortunately a Studebaker buddy had a duplicate of the rental unit made up which I was able to borrow.

I decided to fit the trans to the engine beforehand to get the gears lined up so that when I am under the car with only wiggle room, it will be easier to slip into place. My first step was to put in two guide pins in the top bolt holes.

Next I put the trans on a floor jack. Some time ago I had a flat steel plate (about 10″ X 18″) made up with a pin to fit a floor jack. With the jack handle removed it is easy to slip under the car. I can then use the speed lift handle to move the trans into place.

With the modified jack I am able to line up the input shaft with the torque converter. I rotated the torque converter so that the two tangs were horizontal and the gaps up and down. I then used a thin screwdriver to slip past the trans input shaft seal and rotate the tangs up and down so they would fall into the slots on the torque converter.

Here it is starting to go in with the top guide pins engaged. You notice the cable from the trans. This is the ’66 version of the Flight-O-Matic with the cable carb to trans control. The shift lever is the same mechanical type. This is a water cooled trans. You can see one of the brass oil line fittings on the right of the trans.

After lots of wiggling I got the trans within an 8th of an inch of the bellhousing. I then used the mounting bolts to bring things together. After this I pulled the trans back and set it aside for installation later on. In the meantime the engine needs to be installed.

A big day! The engine is finally installed. Following instructions from the manual I put on the two front engine mounts and left the rear mounts off. I then got the engine sitting on the front two mounts with the bellhousing a bit off the bat wing cross member. I then got under the car and installed the two rear mounts. The upper bolts on the mounts could be torqued to 50 ft lbs, but I had to use a long wrench and do my best to guess for the lower bolts.

Here is the look under the car. The jack has the trans in place so it can be slid in forward. It’s a process of up a bit, move ahead, up a bit…. making sure the input shaft slips into the torque converter. I did put in guide studs in the upper holes to help with the alignment as it slid forward. Some trans shaking and pushing ahead is needed.

Got it close enough to get the bolts started. I pulled the unit up to the bell housing and then removed the bolts, put on lock washer and a dab of blue lock tight and re-installed them.

There was enough room to use a torque wrench to get the required 45 ft lbs on the two uppers and one lower bolt. The bolt in the shot can only be wrenched using a stubby or a regular length socket. I tightened it up as much as I could with the 6′ wrench. It should be somewhere above 30 and maybe as good as 40. The lock washer and lock tight should hold fine. No idea how Studebaker expected the mechanics to get the correct torque on this bolt.

Next – now lets see what needs to be done to get a driveshaft in place.

Project restart – New Booster

           My PB booster which I removed from a ‘66 Commander in salvage yard, was in sad shape. All over rusted and pitted, M/C actuating rod rusted off and one of the M/C mounting bolt came loose. Better to just by a new one – not!  ‘64-’66 boosters of this type are just not available anywhere.  Rebuilt units are available, but they need your core to work on.  So I sent photos to a re-builder, but it was not usable they said. As luck would have it I mentioned this to Dave Thibeault and after I sent him the photos, he felt his re-builder could do the job.

The new booster – bubbles on the edge is the brazing

A little while later and a few $$$ more than a straight-forward rebuild, I had a booster for the project.  Besides welding on a M/C actuating rod and mounting bolt there were a number of pin holes that needed to be brazed in as well – see along the side edge.

I forgot to take some photos of the booster to pedal linkages. Nothing special there except for the link from the pedal through the firewall. That part is just not available from all the sources I checked. So I made one out of 3/16″ X 1″ bar stock. I drilled holes at each end to fit the pedal bolt and the linkage pin next to the booster. I was able to buy the rubber boot for the fire wall. I cut a rectangular hole to accept the bar stock shape. And so all is ‘good to go’ as they say. The master cylinder is from the original non-PB setup that was in the Commander. The parts book lists the same M/C for standard and power brakes.

All plumed in. I used nickel/copper brake line stock. It is much easier to bend and isn’t so prone to kinking.

Work on our ’54 Champion

Beware of off-shore wheel cylinder kits!

Prior to converting my ’54 Champion to 11″ front brakes I sand blasted and painted the new larger backing plates. All to no avail. You can see the track of destroyed paint running down from the wheel cylinder location to the bottom of the plate. It also leaked onto the secondary shoe and coated the friction surface with a nice coat of brake fluid.

This was a brand new old stock replacement wheel cylinder. As it turns out both wheel cylinders were leaking. Fortunately I had two old NOS kits on hand

I don’t know who made the wheel cylinders, but I expect they came from offshore. The difference is obvious. The NOS rubber is deeper and has a better flange to keep the brake fluid from leaking when the pistons are at rest. The kits were made in the USA.

Ditto on the springs. The American spring on the left has thicker wire and as a result has more tension to help keep the cups sealed in the cylinder bore.

Ditto on the seals. You can guess which one came with the new American kit!

Here is the overhauled wheel cylinder on the right side. I did have to hone one of the wheel cylinders slightly before installing the new kit. It was showing the early signs of rust.

So a word of caution to those with ears to hear. Open up new wheel cylinder kits and if the cups, springs and seals aren’t as robust as the one from the US kit above then be prepared for leaks later on or maybe right away!

Project slowing down.

One coat of POR 15 on the back. I’ll put on a second. Then I’ll paint the inside with primer and ultra white Tremclad to improve the reflectability.

Sanding down the hood latch panel and fixing some minor damage while I’m at it. I like these panels to look good as they are the first thing that appears when you open the hood.

Primed with Tremclad rust primer. This is the underside of the panels. I’ll try to paint the topsides with the car’s proper colour when the weather warms up a bit.

This is about all I can do until I get my torque converter. Then I can proceed with the engine install and front end re-assembly. So for now not much more than watching paint dry! I do have problems with my Dodge Adventurer and I need to fix a problem with the front brakes on our ’54 Champion. I doubt I will put anything up on those two projects either. So for the time being I will not be updating the blog.

Check back with me in the fall and I should have some stuff to post. Thanks to one and all for taking the time to check in to see what I’m up to in my Studebaker world.

Painting never ends!

Got some good news about my PB booster. Dave T. has managed to get it done and it’s on its way back to me as I write. So time to clean up the MC. The existing unit was working fine and there was not too much crud in the reservoirs. This is how it looks after one coat of POR 15. It will get a second. I will also use a new brake light switch which goes in the top (see the green plug).

The top is plated steel. I decided to try and keep it original looking. I did some wire brushing with my drill and then tried various cleaner/polishers. The one that seems to work best is good old Brasso with a small brass wire brush to get in the metal crevasses. This is not the first time that I have found Brasso to be the most effective in cleaning chrome. It’s cheap compared to products like Auto Sol at over $10 a tube now.

Getting the lower front valance ready for POR 15. I use parts washer fluid and a small wire brush to clean out the oils and remaining undercoating. I’ll sand it and then give it a wash with paint thinners before putting on two coats of POR15 gloss black. It is out of direct sunlight so the paint should hold up fine. Exposed POR15 needs a special cover coat to protect it from the UV rays. I painted our steel clothes line pole a few years back and now it is very dull and may be actually breaking down to black powder.

In the middle of sanding down the underside of the hood latch panel. It’ll get painted too.

Old master cylinder ready to go. New brake light switch. I noticed a small blob of rust coloured stuff in the bottom of one reservoir. It too a whole quart of brake fluid to pump it out. Even then there was a slight tinge left. I Think I’ll check on the availability of a new replacement unit locally. Might be a good idea to do it now. Oh the fun of amateur restoration!

Parking lights #1

Still waiting for my torque converter so I can install the engine &$@! But there is no shortage of jobs to be done to complete the project. Time to look at the parking light housings.

Lots of pot metal corrosion and even one large hole – see the screw driver. Checked the vendors and I can get new ones for from $150 to $250. Hmmmmm. This is supposed to be a budget project so I’ll save that money to by and AC unit instead.

A little scratching around with a dental pick and low and behold lots of hidden rot. Looks like a job for ‘Fiberglass Man’!

Both cleaned up and sanded. I’ll be painting the inside with bright white paint to improve the visibility of the lights.

Got two little strips of fiberglass covering the damaged areas. Looks simple and should have been except that my garage is too cold. The first try wouldn’t set. The second try with more hardener also didn’t set. The third try worked with extra hardener and placing the lights in the warmest part of the garage near the ceiling!

Finished the exhaust system with two coats of high temp POR15 silver. Look good and ready to install once the engine is in place!

Intake & exhaust prep

Looking good with a coat of ultra high temperature POR15 silver. I will put on a second coat and then try to cure it with a heat gun. It needs 350 degrees for 15 minutes and a cool down for it to reach max temperature resistance – 1500 degrees.

Exhaust manifolds and pipes. Ditto as for the intake manifold.

Got enough POR 15 to do the exhaust and tail pipes so why not! These are original Studebaker pipes so as heavy as you can expect to get. Should do me out… as they say.

Carb work #5

Two new .159 jets have arrived.

Jets in place and time to close up the carb.

Gasket with a very thin coating of anti seize. I also coated the accelerator plunger bore with Vaseline. It’ll be moved up and down some while I make the linkage adjustments.

Together and ready to have the linkage rods installed and all the initial adjustments made.

All linkages in place and adjustments made. The instructions with the kit were less than complete so for the most part I used the service manual for up to ’64 cars and JT engines. The initial choke setting is hard to figure from the instructions. You are told to put a .028 gage wire in a slot in the choke piston bore and then let the piston slot come up against it. No bore slot is visible. It’s about half way down the bore! Took awhile to get that figured! The other problem setting was the fast idle. If set according to JT needs the step down doesn’t work well. Just one jump from fast to the first step and after that the steps don’t matter. I’ll have to work that out with it on the car. It should go through3 or 4 sets getting down to warm idle. The only other issue is that the connecting rods are all a bit loose in the arms which makes it difficult to get exact settings. I’ll just have to work out the lumps once it is running.

Next job will be to install a 12 volt relay and a power point. I’ll use the power point for the electric fuel pump, radio and AC when it gets added later. The switch is a momentary on that I’ll use to prime the carb from the electric fuel pump before each cold start.

I’ve installed the fuel pump priming button in between the hood release and the drivers vent. The 12 volt relay is to the right of the vent button and beside that is the power point. I use ’62-’66 tachometer junction block for the power point (#1546393)

So far I’ve attached the radio and the electric fuel pump to the power point. If and when I install AC I’ll also connect that to the power point. Takes some of the strain from the ignition switch.

Carb work #4

Getting these linkages back correctly was a bit tricky. Fortunately I had the second AFB to use for an example.

It’s always a good idea to take photos to help with reassembly. In this case the second carb has a different setup from the one above. So the photo and the manual where needed.

The sample carb’s choke linkage is very different and does not use a spring to kick off the choke idle cam.

I forgot to mention that I coat each gasket with a thin film of anti-seize compound. Just in case I need to take it apart. I don’t want the gaskets sticking and tearing. I’ve read where others use a coat of penetrating oil for the same purpose.

I’ve decided to drop the idea of a 1″ spacer under the carb. There isn’t a correct spacer for the AFB with small and large openings. Just lots with 4 large openings. So it meant I would have had to sleeve one type or have a local shop make one up out of aluminum. Maybe later, but for now I have a 1/2″ heat spacer I’ll use. With two thick gaskets I’ll be adding about 3/4″ – as long as that fits under the hood.

Here is the sandwich on the intake. The bottom one is made of old fashioned asbestos I think!

Next I’ll be setting the carb once the new jets arrive.