Back at it albeit slowly

Repair plate tacked welded onto the bat wing.

Cleaned up and ready for paint.

One coat of rust penetrating primer.

Two coats of satin black rust paint and it’s all done – took longer that it looks!

Just getting going on the JT project and it was time to replace the intake on the Dodge 360.

I found this used Edelbrock quadrajet intake in Ontario for $200. I will install an adapter plate to take the original Holley 2 bbl carb (380 cfm).

Other things have been slowly happening with the JT project. The original BB torque converter went to DSI Torque Converters to have its ring gear flipped over. That would have given me an as-good-as-new ring gear. No luck. Turns out that these torque converters can’t have their ring gears remove and flipped. You can save the ring gear, but the torque converter gets destroyed OR you can cut off the ring gear (thus destroying it) and save the torque converter. What to do?

The snout on the original BB converter is not the best so all I could do with it is have the ring gear re-welded on and get it balanced. I’d end up with a so -so ring gear and perhaps some leakage at the front seal. If the starter hit a bad spot on the ring gear I could take off the flex plate bolts and rotate the torque converter one bolt around to try and miss the bad spot. Engines stop at one of the same two spots on the ring gear so I’m told.

Instead I have another option. A friend donated an FT torque converter for the project.

It appears to be good inside, but it has a tooth missing on the ring gear. I was able to source a new ring gear through Dave Thibeault. So I”ll take this torque converter to DSI Torque Converters where they will zip cut and machine off the old ring gear, weld on the new gear and balance the whole unit.

I have started cleaning the frame. First I scrape off the thick crud. Then I wipe it down with parts solvent. After that I will grind off what ever remains of the old grease and rust.

These small wheels on my variable speed drill at slow speeds does a good job. A long process, but it will get done an hour or so at a time.

Dorian Delays

The hurricane passed through our area last Saturday/Sunday. We lost power on Saturday around supper time and it didn’t return for three days. Not a whole lot of damage but we did loose part of a large acacia tree behind the house. If fell after the eye of the storm passed over and the winds backed around to the northwest from the southeast. Fortunately it missed the house and didn’t even damage the picnic table that it fell across.

I have managed to get a couple of things done on the JT project.

I have made up a bracket for the parking brake cable so it can be mounted to the inside of the frame rail from the (removed) extra crossmember. I had to grind away some metal to get back to the width of the original mounting bracket. I will check a ’63 Cruiser to see where it should be mounted before doing the install.

I also managed to fit a new piece of metal to the bottom of the bat wing. All I need now is a bit of time to weld it in place.

Next – Cleanup #2 and on with the engine compartment and frame so that I can test fit the engine mounts.

Clean up #1

I will be doing a complete job on the front end suspension, but not just now. I will be installing power steering so those components do need to be removed, checked and cleaned. Unfortunately all the tie rod ends had noticeable movement.

Clean up started. New long tie rods from my parts collection and cleaned adjusters from the original parts. I will need to buy new short tie rod ends. Fortunately they are still available from local parts stores for about $56 each. A tad expensive, but I’ll never have to buy them again.

The next item to clean up is the bat wing crossmember. Thick crud every where.

Even on the underside. Once this is cleaned I’ll be able to install it temporarily so I can check the positioning of the front engine mount.

Some of the underplate is a bit cheesy and will need to be replaced.

Bad stuff removed with a zip cut wheel and angle grinder and now ready for repair.

The result of an afternoon’s work – scraping and cleaning with parts cleaner to remove years of crud and the remains of the original undercoating. Rather than wasting sand blaster medium I’ll just use clean off the loose rust with course grit sandpaper and paint it with a couple of coats of semi-gloss rust paint.

Next – repairing the bat wing and continued cleaning of the engine compartment.

A couple of glitches

The first glitch showed itself when I compared the holes on the front cross member for the engine mounts with the Stude V8 mounts. Here there are three in a triangular pattern.

The Studebaker V8 engine mounts for the Lark bodied cars have only 2 holes and they are in a diagonal line.

This shot is from the service manual and shows the mount sits quite low down on the crossmember. I found that when I placed the Stude bracket in a position where the lower hole on the frame matched the upper hole in the bracket it looked to be pretty much in the same position as shown in the service manual.

The top side of the engine mount plate has slots with a little adjustment front and rear. I will measure the distance from this plate to the slots in the bat wing for the rear engine mounts. I will then put the engine insulator on the front of the block and a rear mounting bracket on the bellhousing. I can then compare the two distances to see if the engine will fit properly.

Cleanup started. I will need to clean up the bat wing also so I can get it temporarily in place so I can get some measurements.

Glitch number two is the parking brake bracket. It was placed on the bottom of the extra crossmember used on ’66 models to support the back of the trans. I will be meeting up with a member who has a ’63 Lark V8 on our Fall Tour in a week or so. I’ll check to see how his parking brake cable is mounted and also take some measurements of the position of his front engine brackets.

In the meantime, cleaning and more cleaning.

Engine out!

Engine stand base. The cross pieces to hold the front and rear supports are not shown.

The hood has been removed and the engine hoist is in place. My plan was to remove as little as possible, but I ran into problems. I attached the lift chains to the rear intake manifold bolts only to find that the bolts were offset so the lift might want to twist.

So off with the carb and valve covers. I needed to replace the Chevy head bolts with longer Studebaker units in order to attache the hoist properly.

To fit the narrower pickup points I adjusted the hoist to its smallest size.

A small lift and I was able to roll the car back (by rotating a front wheel) a bit to start the engine out.

A block in place under the rear of the trans in case the hoist can’t balance the engine plus the trans.

The engine is up enough to remove the engine frame mounts. This gives more wiggle room for the removal.

I raised the engine more to get the pan over the bellcrank and happily the balance was good enough to keep the trans from dropping to the floor – quite an angle, but still OK for removal.

Just a matter of rolling the body back.

After measuring the width of the pan I was able to set up the front support for the engine. I then lowered to where I had a support block for the trans in place and then let the engine come to rest on the front pan supports. The top of the front supports were cut down to 3/4″ so that the blocks sat inside the pan lip and rested on the pan bolt heads. It is a narrower support than what I have used for Stude engines. I usually use the engine mount brackets for the front support, but the ones on the 283 aren’t suitable. They are set on an angle. So I will run some metal straps from a suitable point on the upper engine to the outside of the dolly to be sure it doesn’t roll off. Notice I have the lower rad and heater hoses in place. I didn’t drain the block when I drained the rad so I needed to put these in place to keep the antifreeze in the engine until I could take it out.

I will be removing the trans from the bellhousing and keeping that unit for the JT engine. I want to keep the cable throttle control so that I can keep the suspended gas pedal. Other wise I would have to drill a hole in the firewall, install a floor mounted gas pedal to use the throttle bellcrank to operate a mechanical trans throttle control. Also these transmissions are water cooled.

Next – the engine is out and hidden problems come to light.

Just about there

Just about ready to pull the engine. The rad support frame was a bit hard to get out. It obviously was assembled before the ‘dog house’ was installed. I had to jack each inner fender up just enough to clear the right and left frame mounting brackets. I’ll modify the brackets to ease the re-install some. I still need to remove the hood and loosen the frame mounts to ease removal. The closer I can come to pulling the engine and trans out straight, the better.

One big item I had to remove was the bat wing. The trans pan hung below the bat wing. It wouldn’t be an issue if I removed the trans first. With this out of the way I should be pretty well a straight pull out with little lifting. When doing the install I’ll put the engine and trans in place with the front engine insulators in place. I’ll then support the rear of the trans while I re-install the bat wing and rear engine mounts.

I’ll be into some major cleaning once the engine is out.

The Big Job begins

65,148.3 Miles on the original Studebaker Thunderbolt 283 V8. It was not taken care of over the years but, it still ran well.

The ’66 Commander finally in the garage for the transplant operation.

An excellent motor that I have driven over 20,000 miles without any big problems. Just improved the ignition with a Mallory (ACCELL) conversion and changed the oil and filter regularly using 15W40 diesel with STP and Lucas oil additive with each fill-up.

Here are the components removed from the Thunderbolt Delco window distributor. I picked up a Studebaker ‘Delco’ from a ’60 Lark some years ago and I’ll use it in the JT along with the Mallory electronic ignition. Not shown is a matching Mallory high voltage coil.

Stutter wheel and pickup in place. No points to wear out!

Parts starting to come off. I plan to remove all the front sheet metal and grille. I’m going to try to re-and-re the engine and trans all together. Just too difficult removing the trans from the bottom and then trying to get it to fit when it is time for the re-install. To to this I will remove the radiator support as well as the radiator.

As parts are removed they go in the box. If they are not easily identified – like bolts and screws – they are bagged and tagged.

Same with wiring. Each connection is tagged. In the past this has really helped speed up re-assembly.

Next the tear down continues.

Bellhousing mis-allignment!

In my last post things all of a sudden went south. The alignment wasn’t too bad with the screws in place and the attachment bolts tightened. Next I needed to be sure all was good so I loosened all the attachment bolts and removed the screws. Next I put the screws back in place, snugged them up and then tightened the attachment bolts. The alignment changed and was way out of wack!

So back to square one with a new plan.

First thing to do was to put lock washers behind every attachment bolt. This hopefully would stop bellhousing movement when I tightened things up once the alignment was OK.

All went OK. I aligned it up again and the bellhousing didn’t move appreciably when I tightened up the attachment bolts. So the washers made a difference. I decided that I had to go back to the idea of new locating pins. The best I had on hand were a couple of 3/8″ cotter pin type pins. I drilled a 3/8″ hole in a piece of stock and the pins were a loose fit. Next I drilled a 23/64″ hole. The 3/8″ pins were altogether too big. What I needed was a Goldilocks fit – not too big and not too small 🙂

I whittled down each pin with bits of sandpaper and and lace. After a few goes the pins fit tightly in the sample hole.

At this point it was time to drill out the old bellhousing alignment holes. This was a touchy point. I had all the attachment bolts torqued down and the alignment from the top clockwise was 0,0,-.0005, -.001 With my wife helping me to keep the drill reasonably straight I cut out the two holes. It was a bit scary how quickly the drill tore through the metal.

Sorry for the blurry photo. I put the right pin in first. The fit was too tight for my liking, but I left it in place for the time being. Next I sanded down the left pin a bit more and it went it with less effort. I was concerned about splitting the bellhousing or the block. Once I got the pin in I checked the alignment and all was about what I had before.

I removed and re-sanded the right pin and got it back in place. I used never-seize to ease the pins in and out. The pins can be pushed out from the front with a narrow drift.

Finally the big test. I removed the pins and loosed off the attachment bolts. I then inserted the pins and re-tightened the bolts. Even with all this care things actually moved a bit. Final tally was, from the top, -.0005, +.002, 0, 0. Thankfully still well within the .004 limit.

Glad to have gotten over this hump. I’ll leave to engine alone until l get a donor torque converter. Next I’ll move on to the removal of the old Studebaker Thunderbolt 283.

V8 Bellhousing Alignment Fun

To start I bolted the bell housing to the block. I tightened the blots only lightly at first, but I had to snug them up to better control the bellhousing movement as I tapped it back and forth.

Basic tools needed for the job. 9/16″ socket for the bellhousing mounting bolts, a large socket to turn the crank, a sturdy hammer to tap the bellhousing and a dial indicator tool.

This is the little tool you need to align the bellhousing to the crank. The rear opening in the bellhousing determines the position of the centerline of the tranmission input shaft. This shaft should be very close to the center of the crankshaft rear flange. The tolerance should be as I understand it, .004 or less.

The parts I will use are the base with its magnet and the gauge with its adapter for the base shaft.

Here it is in place. As I turn the crankshaft (using the big nut on the front of the crank) the dial will slide around the smooth trans mounting surface. I’ve oiled the mounting surface slightly to make it smooth for the gauge tip. Also I only turned the crank in its normal direction – clockwise.

It took three attempts to get the job right. First attempt: I got the up-and-down set and then tried to get the side-to-side set. Of course the up and down got messed up. Tried this a couple of times and I couldn’t get it to work. Second attempt: I set the top to zero and then moved around the circle 1/6 of a turn at a time tapping the housing to bring the dial back to zero each time. Went around a few times, but couldn’t get it in line. Third time lucky: I sent the up-and-down close to zero. I then tightened the top center bolt on the belhousing to stop any further up-and-down movement. I then moved the dial to the 3 o’clock position and set it to zero. Then over to the 9 o’clock position and tapped the housing sideways to get to zero. Then back to the other side for any slight adjustment. Worked well and I have the tolerance down to less than .002.

Next I tightened up the bellhousing bolts and rechecked that the tolerance hadn’t changed.

I considered increasing the alignment pins to 3/8″ and using new pins, but I didn’t have any pins that were a tight fit in a 3/8″ bore. When I aligned the bellhousing on my 185 engine project I used roll pins. Unfortunately I didn’t have some larger (bigger than 1/4″) roll pins on hand. So I decided to do it by drilling and tapping for 5/8″ screws. I have a friend with a’57 Golden Hawk who did it this way.

Cast metal is not too hard to drill with a hand drill. I drilled two new 9/16″ holes in the bellousing block flange.

I drilled and tapped both sides inserted the bolts and checked the alignment. Something must have moved a bit because now it read less than .001 all around.

Next – problems!

Studebaker interuptions

My JT project has been delayed by summer chores and events and a brake problem with my ’54 Champion. As part of the new 185 engine project for the ’54 Champion I upgraded the front brakes to 11″. I put them together with new everything. But I started having problems with the right brake grabbing. I pulled the drums and found that the backing plate paint had been bubbled by a leak from near the wheel cylinder – on both sides. You can just see the track of the brake fluid down from the lower end of the wheel cylinder.

First thing to blame of course, was the wheel cylinders. Closer inspection showed that the leak was coming from behind the wheel cylinder between the wheel cylinder and the backing plate.

It appeared that small amounts of brake fluid leaked out from between the brake flex hose and the wheel cylinder over the winter. So I removed both flex hoses and replaced the copper washers that fit between the hose and the wheel cylinder with a new pair.

Then it was just a matter of sand blasting the shoes to remove any contamination and reassembling the brakes. Pretty straight forward. Job done.

One brake reassembling bug-a-boo is trying to get the top springs to go over the center pivot. I have been using a small set of vice grips to grab the spring and then pull enough to get it over the top post. This time I found a much better way. It involved using a small wood crafting chisel.

I have a complete set and from it I chose one with a shallow curve to it. I slipped the chisel through the loop end of the spring and then hooked the curved end over the center post. Using a screw driver doesn’t work that well. It tends to slip off the center post. Using the chisel as a lever the spring slipped into place quite easily, didn’t slip off and I didn’t even damage the chisel!

This is an item I picked up a few years ago. Just loosen the bleeder screw, attach the hose and using the magnet, attach the bottle to the bottom of the brake drum on the outside. Works a charm. Just pump the pedal enough times to fill the bottle to between half and three quarters and you have cleared out most of the old fluid from the lines as well as the wheel cylinder. The brake fluid remains in the line when your done so that no air gets back into the wheel cylinder.

I’ve been using DOT 3 fluid for years, but I think it’s time to change. When I’ve used up my reserve of DOT3 I think I’ll move to either Dot 3 synthetic or Dot 5 full synthetic if I’m at a point where I’m redoing the complete system.

Next it’s time to dial in the bell housing – when I get a bit of time!