Cleanup continues

Pretty well finished sanding the engine compartment sheet metal. Slow and tedious, but it will look a whole lot better when painted. I’ve got a couple of spray cans of Richelieu Blue single stage acrylic enamel for the job.

The battery shelf is not pretty. A lot of deep pits and a hole in the rear/outside corner. I filled that with a patch of fiberglass and epoxy resin.

It this was a pro restoration then the battery shelf would be cut out and replaced. Since it isn’t ‘cheezy’, just badly pitted, I decided to reinforce it with glass and resin and carry on. An acid adsorbing mat with the battery on top will cover it all so who’s to know 😉

A little blurred, but you get the idea of what it looks like with epoxy over it all. I will sand this down the cover it again with a light coat of resin before again sanding and painting.

Now on to the miserable job of cleaning and sanding all the frame parts that can be got at from inside the engine bay. I don’t want to wait until the sheet metal is painted before sanding. It would just dust everything up. I will be removing the sway bar next and getting it prepped for prime and paint – or maybe just paint with POR15. I have new rubbers for the job.

We were without power for 48 hours after the last storm. We live in the country and so are serviced after all the towns and larger centers. Now Christmas is peeping around the corner. Work on my projects is going to suffer! But, I’ll be sneaking out to the garage as often as I can 🙂

Factory holes repaired

I published this shot earlier showing the major opening between the firewall and the cowl. I also found a similar opening on the opposite side of the hood hinge opening – can’t be seen from this shot.

These openings were on both sides of the car. I repaired the inner ones with small pieces of metal that I epoxied in place. The outside holes were a little harder to get at so I used some epoxy gas tank repair putty. It filled the hole nicely and I used a bit to make sure the other side was covered.

I filed the epoxy putty a bit then used automotive seam sealer to finish everything up. Shouldn’t look too bad once primed and painted. Much of the repair will be covered by the fender when I put it back on.

40+ year old gaskets

I needed a set of valve cover gaskets so I checked online for a rubber set. No luck anywhere. All I could find was composition. So I decided to try to use a set of original Studebaker painted cork gaskets.

As with all cork and paper gaskets that are 40+ years old they have shrunk significantly. No hope of stretching the hard brittle cork. Sure to snap!

I have stretched gaskets in the past by soaking them in hot tap water for a few minutes, but this time I wanted to be sure and get the moisture deep into the cork. So I wrapped them in an old towel and soaked it all in hot tap water and left it for 24 hours.

They came out nice a soft and lengthened just enough to fit the valve cover.

I expect I will have to remove the valve cover to re-adjust the valves so I don’t want the gasket to stick to the valve cover or the block. So I coated them with aluminum anti-seize before installing them. Being pure cork there may be a problem with sealing on re-use. If that is an issue I’ll just restore another couple and use them. I have an order in to a Stude supplier and I’ve included a set of cork composite just in case I can’t get the original cork gaskets to seal properly.

Valve covers on the engine. Just snugged up until I install the new spark plug wire looms – that’s what the brackets are for.

Still plugging away at the engine compartment. Finally got all the heavy grease and grime off. Next step will be to sand it all down for priming.

This is one of two spot welded brackets that held the positive battery cable that went across the firewall to the starter on the passenger side. These will no longer be needed as Studebaker starters are mounted on the drivers side.

This is where the second one was mounted. I twisted off the metal leaving just the spot weld and then I ground it smooth. I found a couple more on the drivers side apron. I’ve taken them off as well and I’ll use bolted on mounting loops as needed.

Now onto sanding.

Surprise holes!

Cleaning up the far end of the cowl/firewall I found a lump of white assembly putty. So I began to pare it away and this is what I found. A significant hole. And a matching hole appeared on the other side.

Now someone with welding skills would be able to weld this up very easily I suppose. My skills are not that good so I thought I would epoxy some metal in the opening. These are the two small pieces I made up for the job. Basically the same for the other side.

All epoxied in place. I’ll file/sand it out so that it is not too noticeable. I may use a bit of filler to smooth things out.

In the meantime I took the paint sample to the paint shop and they were able to come up with a close match. I got them to make up two rattle cans of single stage paint. That should cover the engine compartment nicely. Now to get back to the prep work. I’m still getting the Dodge together, but I hope to be finished soon and I can then concentrate on the Studebaker project.

I took the new ring gear and donor torque converter into the Converter shop last week. Hope to have it back soon!

Engine bay prep continues

These tools plus a spray bottle of parts cleaner is what I’m using to get the engine bay ready for sanding.

Right inner fender cleaned – easy side.

Left side is a bit harder to get around the wiring and the master cylinder.

I find that wrapping the wiring harness up makes it a lot easier to move it out of the way as needed.

One cleaning has been done here to remove the heavy buildup of oil and dirt. The second will ready it for a coat of gloss black. Same for the master cylinder – I’ll use POR 15 and hope it can resist Dot3 brake fluid.

I have not been able to find a paint dealer that has the formula for Richelieu Blue. I will have to go with using a paint sample to prep the paint. I was able to find a narrow surface of original paint that had not bee painted over or faded. It is the section between the mounting holes on the top of the lower front cowl. The lower grille section kept it covered and away from the elements.

Preliminary cleaning of the lower front cowl inner panel. It will get a couple of coats of rust black after some aggressive sanding.

Slow progress

Just about done with the Dodge intake project. I need to get the truck running to free up the garage spot so that I can do my winter maintenance on the family Jetta and winterize the ’54 Champion.

I just received my new ring gear from Dave T. I’m away all next week, but I’ll be taking it to the trans shop as soon as I get back.

Dave also sent me a nice rebuilt PS ram. I’m looking forward to rebuilding the control valve. With that done I’ll have all the bits in place to do the install. I’ll install the ram, bellcrank, and control valve before the engine goes back in and the front end is all open.

Meanwhile I am getting a bit done on cleaning up the engine compartment so I can paint before the engine goes back in.

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.