Crank continuing…

A note on buying new rear main seals.  FelPro sells a seal for Stude v8’s – BS 10053-1.  It includes the top and bottom halves and the rubber extensions are part of the top or bottom.  What is not included are the two cork sealing blocks that come with all Studebaker rear main seals.  They are a must, but are not included in the FelPro product.  If you buy your seals from a Studebaker vendor they will likely be included. Made in China – it’s getting so it’s hard to find  products made in the US, Canada or anywhere except China and other nations in the far east.

Nothing too exciting.  Just starting to clean up and polish the rod journals.  They are wider and I needed to do an extra wrap with the lace for the spinning to work effectively.

Cleaned and polished they are a pleasure to look at.  The camera is very good at showing up the slightest imperfections in the journals.  With the naked eye it just looks mirror smooth.  It was hard to detect any imperfections with my finger nail – not the most effective test, I know. Only three journals to go.  I did finish cleaning up the crank sealing surface for the rear main seal.  A picture later.


More crank journal clean up.

A shot of what a journal looks like after taking off the wet sandpaper that has been sprayed with WD40.  I clean this off before each new sanding.

The front journal also had some water damage.

After six goes with 600 grit, and one two each of 800, 1000,2000 and one of crocus cloth virtually all of the damage is gone with only a few specs remaining.

Now the question is am I going to be in spec after all this sanding & polishing.

Before checking clearances I am going to check for a distorted block/crank.  Our local Studebaker guru Gary Payne suggested it might be a good idea since the block was really an unknown.  He has seen situations where a block was distorted enough to seize the crank when all the journal caps were in place.

Here the front and rear caps are in place and the crank turned freely. I just snugged the caps in place.

I installed the main bearing caps one at a time and checked for free rotation.  The crank was free turning with all caps in place.

Next I pulled the crank and cleaned off all the lubricant I used for the rotation test. I then carefully put the crank back in the block and put a piece of plastigage on the top of each journal. I then carefully replaced the caps and torqued them down to 90 fp.

I’m using plastigage with a range of .001 to .003.  I need to see if the clearance is between .0005 and .0025 – it certainly won’t be any less than .001.

Happy days! They all read .002 or a tad less when I removed the caps.

The plastigage residue is a bit sticky.  I didn’t want to damage the bearings so I tried a few solvents, but nothing worked.  By chance I found out the WD40 did a nice job of dissolving the residue.

Time to clean up the rod journals and do the same tests with a set of .001 service bearings.

Starting the crank work

Before I start you may ask why not send out the crank for a polishing.  Two reasons.  One, this is a budget project. Second I don’t think a crank shop will want to do a polish only. They will see the slight damage and wear and insist that the crank needs to  be turned.  Before I go that route I’ll try a clean up first. We’ll just have to see how it goes.  I’ll tackle the main bearing journals first.  I’ll then check clearances with standard or .001 service bearings.  If I can’t get within spec ( .0005 to .0025) I may have to bite the bullet and send it out for grinding and polish and buy a set of under size bearings.

First step is to run a brass wire brush through all the oil passages.  I will use my .22 gun cleaning kit to run clean rags and oil through each hole until the rags come out clean.

This is a typical main journal.  For the most part you can feel a roughness as you scrape your fingernail across the face – Only one spot journal had a spot that slightly caught my fingernail.

I’m going to try to freshen the crank using the old mechanic’s solution. I prefer sport laces as they have a wider flat surface to use over the sandpaper.  I tried different combinations of paper and ended up using: 600,800,1000,2500 and fine crocus cloth.  I used wet sandpaper, but I was having a problem getting it to spin nicely with the lace.  I decided to try a little lubricant.  I sprayed some WD40 on the wet sandpaper and tried that.  It worked very well.

I used 600 grit for as long as it took to smooth out the journal surface.  I used each strip only twice.  I washed the used strip in water after the first use and discarded it after the second run.  Once the journal was smooth I ran each of 800, 1000 & 2500 twice with water and WD40.  The final run was with dry crocus cloth for the final polish.

This task is going to take awhile so my next post may not be for a bit.

Piston Prep

This is one of a set of Hepolite pistons I plan to use.  They were made for Studebaker V8s and .040 oversize. They came with cast top rings and a three piece oil ring with chromium plated steel rails.

They are full dish pistons and have been in storage since 1966 or 1967 according to the information in the piston box.  They were made by Associated Engineering, England.  No idea how they made there way to Nova Scotia, but they were included in old dealer inventories likely from Isenor Motors in Halifax or Irving Boss Garage in Maccan, NS.

As you can see from the photos there are dark areas where there is slight surface oxidation. This will be cleaned off a bit later.

Lots of information with the pistons on fitment of the rings, pin removal, clearances and engine break in.  I’ll follow all the directions.

The directions state that the bore should be .040 plus up to .0010.  After much honing all the bores are .0010 or less over .040.

The rings need to be removed so that I can clean out any crud in the ring groves and the dark grey spots on the outside.  My first attempt to remove a top ring was not successful!

Fortunately I remembered I had a ring install/remove tool.  I got it for the smaller pistons in the Champion engines but, as it turns out it works pretty good for these larger pistons.

I’ve removed all the rings and bagged them with a piston number.  I also scratched a piston number in the top of each piston.

Next I’ll tackle the crank.


Now the fun part begins

The engine is again back on the engine stand. The final block cleaning job will be honing out the cylinders to remove the surface rust residue and give them a nice cross hatch pattern.

I went to pickup some new hones and they only had 4″ units.  My originals were 3″ only.  These are medium stones and I decided to go ahead.  I figured I could just turn the pressure adjusting screw up a bit and that would make up for the extra surface area.

This is typical of what the cylinders looked like after I had run the 3″ stones through them a few times.

I oiled the hones each time with engine oil and also ran oil around the cylinder.

Between each run I put the hone through warm soapy water.  Not sure how much good it did since I was using engine oil which tended to stick to the stones anyway.  So I wiped each stone and applied clean oil.  I also wiped each cylinder each time and re-oiled it as well.

My bore measuring tool read right around .040 oversize before I started.

It took a number of turns with the hone to reach this point.  Each time I ran the hone through 40 cycles.  If this had been a newly bored block I imagine one run of 30 cycles would have done a nice job.

Not noticeable in this photo is tiny dark grey spotting on all the cylinders.  This I imagine is some deeper corrosion.  My hope is that most of that will be removed as the rings seat into the cylinders.

I used my drill on low speed and pulled the hone back and forth very quickly.  Not sure if this is the preferred 45 deg. cross hatch, but it’s going to have to do.  Hopefully the cast iron rings will be able to seat satisfactorily.

This is not going to be a race engine nor will it be a high mileage engine.  I’m shooting for a smooth running dependable engine that has better than stock get up and go.  It will be driven on highways the majority of the time and I don’t expect to put more than 30,000 miles on it.

Same cylinder after the hone job.  It is showing a little under .001 over the .040 bore size.  This had me a bit concerned for awhile.

My measuring tools are good, but I may not be using them properly.  At least that’s what I was thinking.  A better test might be using a .004 feeler gauge as per the Studebaker manual.  This is the position of the piston and the feeler should be in the top or bottom.  They give an inch pound rate for pulling the feeler gauge out from between the piston and the cylinder wall.  I don’t have a puller gauge, but even with the cylinder and piston oiled it took a significant pull to get the gauge out.  I’ll assume all is OK and time to move on to the next step.

Next a little piston work before I test the crank with new bearings.

Will the cleaning never end!

Just when I thought I had everything cleaned up – and after I had cleaned out all the oil galleries.  I flipped the block to find some spots where water must have condensed and ended up rusting the block.  A good shot of WD40 and a wire brush should do the trick.  This side of the main bearing saddles also needed some attention.

Not too much to clean everything off.

My favourite sealant is Permatex Aviation  Form-A-Gasket.  I’ll coat most threads and gaskets with this stuff to help fight against Studebaker’s tendency to leak oil from wherever it can.  The brass plugs are for the oil galleries.  Steel would be fine but, I like adding little extras just for the fun of it all.

Maybe now I can get the block back on the engine stand and begin assembly – the fun part.

Yet more cleaning

This block cleaning is a whole lot of bother. Normally you have the block cleaned, bored and checked by an automotive engine re-builder and there is no need for all this cleaning.  I could have sent the block out but, all the cleaning in the world would not have removed the surface rust that needed to be removed and it made no sense to pay someone to do grunt work.  So I’ll soldier on and get ‘er done!

A little flat filing, some wire brush work with solvent and taping out the bolt holes, except the oil gallery plug, and the back of the engine is ready for the next step.

Time to do a final clean out of the block from top to bottom.  I’ve upended it on the work bench so that I can flush any left over crud out the two oil galleries.

Here’s another Princess auto item I picked up to clean out the oil passages.  I will end up using the brass brushes. The only drawback to these, for this job, is that they are too short to reach down the full length of the oil galleries.

While working my puzzler an idea popped into my head.  Ever wonder where these ideas come from?  Well this one was just right.  I realized that I might be able to use my shotgun cleaning kit to clean out the oil galleries.  Sure enough the 20 gauge brush fit the oil gallery bore perfectly.

Next on with the job.

Flat filing and thread cleaning

The next step in this long process is to clean up the pan and head surfaces and to clean out the many threaded holes in the bare block.

Like everything else the oil pan surface has a fine rust patina.

First step was to use a fine long flat file to clear off the majority of the rust and even out any high spots. Using the arms from the main bearing saddles I was able to keep my file perfectly flat.

The filing still left some crud that needed to go.

This is a necessary tool to have to clean out the file grooves when they fill up with rust and crud.  Another Princess Auto product.

The get the last of the rust I wrapped the file in 320 grit paper and flat filed the surfaces again.  That removed the remainder of the rust and left only some dark spots in the grain of the metal.

Next I cleaned out the pan bolt holes with a regular tap.  There are proper thread cleaning taps as opposed to the cutting tap above.  These are supposed to clean out the threads without removing metal.  I’m not sure how much metal gets removed, but the threads were shiny when I removed the tap and there didn’t seem to be much on the tap except rust residue.

I was a bit nervous cleaning out the blind holes.  I was careful not to strain the tap when I hit the end of the bore, but if there is a flaw in the tap it might bread off simply from repeated use.  Breaking off a hardened steel tap in the bore would be a major problem. The block would then have to go to an engine rebuilder for that job which wouldn’t do much for my budget project!

While I’m at it I decided to clean out the timing cover bolt, cam plate and water pump manifold holes.  I didn’t touch the oil gallery holes (on both sides of the cam opening) as they are pipe threads.  I just used a wire brush the clean out the threads. I tried a brass NPT plug and it fit nicely so no more is needed there. Next I will flat file the timing cover and water pump manifold surfaces. After that I will go on to the head surfaces.

Looking a whole lot better.  The lines are not from the file.  They are in the casting from the original machining. The water manifold openings are on the same plane as the timing cover so I was able to do them at the same time.  Holes all cleaned out and ready.








The openings for the water manifold have some restricting casting metal from the original mold.  I thought it might be a good idea to clean that away and maybe increase the fluid flow into the block.


My tool is another Princess Auto special.  It is a variable speed so I could run the filing tool at a lower speed.  I have used these at high speed and although effective, they shoot off small slivers of steel at high speed.  I had real problems getting some of them out of my hands when I forgot to put on my gloves.  Still use gloves and eye protection.


Cleaned out easily.

Time to tackle the head surfaces.

Came out fine as well.  I can still see the marks from earlier head gaskets.  Starting to clean out the head bolt holes.

Next I need to tackle the job of cleaning out the block.









How to ruin cylinder honing stones!

This is #1 main bearing saddle.  A red patina all way around.  Simple to clean up.  I’ll just use my 3″ cylinder hone and some wd 40 lubricant.

It did a pretty nice job except for a little rust not cleared out from the center.   On to do the other four saddles

About the same but getting progressively worse.  Here’s why.

The hone stone ended up wearing really fast. I noticed this after the third saddle.  So I replaced the worst stone and did the 4th.  Not as bad.  For the last one I replaced two of the worst stones – I didn’t have any more!  Two good and one not so good did a fair job.

The caps didn’t fair out any better. Especially the rear cap.

Nothing for it but to finish the clean-up by hand.

400 grit wet/dry sandpaper (with water), some elbow grease and the centers cleaned up nicely.

The caps came out nice too.

The main bearing notches were not easy to clean with sand paper.  But they did clean up real fast with a dentists dental scraper.  Whenever I go to the dentist I ask for some old scrapers – ones that look like the one above. My dentist’s hygienists usually have a handful of old scrapers and picks.  Great for getting in small places to clean out rust and crud.


Now for the valve lifters


The lifter bores have the same rust issues as the cylinders.  My idea to clean them up was to use a small two stone hone for small wheel cylinders.

The rust is evident in the bore on the left. The bore on the right is how it looks after a couple of goes with the hone and parts solvent. the rest of the lifter gallery is pretty good with the factory casting paint holding on quite well.  I will wire brush any rust areas and if anything does peel off when the engine is started it will end up in the filter or the pan.

All 16 lifter bores needed honing and it is not an exciting job!  When the honing was done I used a 3/16″ drill to clean out the oiling holes you can see above, that lead into the oil gallery running the length of the block on both sides.  I ran the drill down by hand being careful not to break it off in the bore.

Once the lifter bore honing was done I lubricated them and tried each lifter in what will be its final location.  I’m keeping the lifters and the cam lined up as it was in the original JT. All the lifters showed a very small amount of play when fitted in the bore.

Again, I’m not sure what the original lifter bore size should be and what the clearance tolerance is.  I measured a lifter and got .094″  I locked the caliper and then tried in the lifter bore.  It just fitted in.  This being a budget project, I will go with this unless someone tells me otherwise.  I have built two well used Studie flathead sixes and I didn’t need to use oversize lifters.  I did replace the original lifters as I was using new cams.  If the wear had been at all bad I would have found low oil pressure problems.  Fortunately I didn’t.

Hard to see, but this is the original JT cam.  The lobes are shiny but don’t appear to be scuffed or worn. A bit may be worn off the top of the lobes but, I can live with that I think.

Next I fitted the cam.  Before that I looked at the cam bearings.  I couldn’t see any wear.  Only some discolouration.  I cleaned them up carefully with a scotch-bright pad and check them with the calipers.  I couldn’t find any signs of wear between the up-down and side-to-side measurements.  This block was originally cleaned and bored.  When I had my sixes bored and cleaned I had the shop install new cam bearings.  I believe this is the case here.

I ran the cam into the engine (very carefully) and it seemed very tight with no noticeable play. I don’t have a .001″ feeler gauge but I d have a .0125″  Thin stuff!.  I tried to fit it in with the cam but this is as far as  it would go without forcing the cam in.  Again, unless someone tells me this isn’t OK for a budget engine I’ll just motor on.

Next will be the job of cleaning up the main bearing seats.