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.

Fan shroud and A arm bushings

Before moving on it was time to reroute the wiring under the PS ram.  I originally was thinking of attaching it to the underside of the fan shroud but, that would have been a problem since I had to remove a section of the lower shroud to allow free movement of the ram end/bellcrank arm.

Seeing where the ram finally fitted I was able to squeeze the wiring bundle behind it and along the front of the crossmember which is where it originally sat.  One cable tie and all was secure.  The wiring bundle is  there because I removed the wiring junction block and its numerous wires from the top of the fan shroud.

I had to remove a bit more of the shroud than I had marked out in the last post.  Now the ram end moves freely back and forth.  I may try to find a shroud from a later Hawk that used the Bendix PS system.  But that’s a project for another day.

A arms now with bushings in place but, nothing is ever perfect!

This shot of the upper A arms shows a significant difference in how far the bushings went into the A arm.  We used a large press with a piece pipe cut in half and fitted to hold the A arms apart as per the shop manual.  When the bushings snugged up against the cross rod it was not in the center.  If I had to do it again I’d insert something under the bushing lip to limit how far the bushing moved inward.  That way the bushing would be in an equal amount and the cross shafts would be centered.  Unfortunately with the bushings as they are it will cause the king pin to lean towards the front – negative caster.  Not good when some positive caster is needed to get the steering wheel to return to center when coming out of corners.  My hope is that there will be enough adjustment at the top of the king pin to make up for this. Also, when I assemble everything I’ll try to move the lower king pin knuckle to the front a bit to help compensate.

I have a theory about this problem and it has to do with NORS parts that may have been made in China.  When we installed the bushings in the Lower A arm we used NOS Studebaker original parts I had on hand.  These bushings have a definite shoulder which buts up to the A arm and stops any further movement.  I had to buy new upper A arm bushings and their shoulder was much less defined.  More of a ramp.  So the bushing with the least resistance moved in the furthest – it’s a wonder that the A arm didn’t split!

I just found a set of old NOS bushings for the upper inner A arms.  You can see a definite shoulder that is about 1/4″ down from the lip on the left.  This is what the NOS lower inner bushings looked like and I had no problem with them going in too far.  The NORS items I installed had a gradual slope up towards the lip instead of this shoulder.  SO BEWARE when installing NORS bushings.  If they don’t have a clear shoulder then you will need to use a spacer under the lip to keep one bushing from going in too far and causing the cross shaft to be off center.

Watching paint dry.

Only thing worse than watching paint dry is actually painting with a brush!  I don’t have a warm spot where I can use spray cans to paint my small parts so a brush had to do.  The A arms are extra shiny because I used POR 15 on them.  I had some left over and decided to use it up.  Not sure if I’d bother with it again.  It looks nice and is tough but, it’s a problem to store once the can is opened and it wants to skin over no matter what. I tried thinning it with POR 15 thinner but all that did was cause the leftover paint to turn into a semi-solid jelly.  The rest of the parts were done with Tremclad satin finish.  Close to chassis black.  It goes on nice and for all the weathering it gets, it stands up well.  Only a couple of items, knuckles and springs, to be painted and I’ll be finished the worst part of the upgrade.  On Saturday I hope to get the bushings in place.  A friend has a bench press and spacers necessary.  Then it’s onto the front end assembly.  BTW the quick steering arms are in place in the above shot

The radiator has a nice coat of paint and the overflow pipe has been repaired.  Time to set it in place.  Fits well, so I decided to slip in the lower half of the fan shroud.  No way it will slide down enough to fit .  It’s bumping up against the end of the ram attached to the bell crank.  I checked the parts book and sure enough the part number for the shroud is different for later models with Bendix power steering.  The parts book doesn’t show enough detail to see what the exact difference is so I’ll have to go by my own guesswork.

This is the  bottom of the lower half of the fan shroud (I split it at the seam to make access to the water pump, etc easier.) The silver line is what I figure I need to remove.  It will reduce the effectiveness of the shroud some but, I don’t think that will be too much of an issue for me.  The shroud is there to improve air intake while stopped or in slow traffic.  The majority of my driving is in the country where I live, or on the highway where lots of air is going to get to the radiator.  With the four core rad and the more aggressive 5 blade flex fan I should be OK for all but the hottest days in bad traffic. Worse comes to worse I’ll just have to pull over, turn the engine off and wait till traffic clears.  Now I’ll do a bit more test fitting and then get the cutting wheel in operation.

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.