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jkarstetter
04-11-2017, 11:41 AM
Hello there Stude junkies,

I'm the proud owner of a '61 Hawk...........a true numbers-matching original survivor (the only factory exceptions being the rear bumper, the radiator and the optional sun-visors)!!

I'm looking for ideas from the forum on how I might be able to toy with the stock suspension by installing high end air shocks on all 4's, and installing an on board compressor (cabin controlled)?? I love it's current pedigree and wouldn't feel like I'm betraying that as long as I didn't entirely deface it with a full-on air-ride kit---but I'd be willing to also swap out front end hardware or rear leafs if any of you have some tried & true examples of what's worked for you.

Appreciate your time!!


Thanks & regards,

Jim K

Mike Van Veghten
04-11-2017, 03:06 PM
Updated/rebuilt stock suspension.
7" wheels, with good (stiff sidewall) radial tires.
Good shocks.
Anti-sway bars, "both" front (1-1/8") and rear (3/4").

Umm...stick with real springs..! Bags are for trucks.

That's a good start, it'll feel like a new car.

Mike

sals54
04-11-2017, 07:39 PM
Hello there Stude junkies,

I'm the proud owner of a '61 Hawk...........a true numbers-matching original survivor (the only factory exceptions being the rear bumper, the radiator and the optional sun-visors)!!

I'm looking for ideas from the forum on how I might be able to toy with the stock suspension by installing high end air shocks on all 4's, and installing an on board compressor (cabin controlled)?? I love it's current pedigree and wouldn't feel like I'm betraying that as long as I didn't entirely deface it with a full-on air-ride kit---but I'd be willing to also swap out front end hardware or rear leafs if any of you have some tried & true examples of what's worked for you.

Appreciate your time!!


Thanks & regards,

Jim K

While I don't have part numbers for you, it would not be too hard to get specs for the front air bags. If you have the dimensions of the shock, i.e. compressed and extended, and the diameter of the front spring, you could ascertain the front airbag needed to fit the space. The upper and lower spring supports already are conducive to installing that style bag. Bayonet top mount with flat support on the bottom. Find someone in your area who deals with, and/or installs these and with the dimensions noted, it may be pretty close to a bolt in. It won't be cheap, but is doable.
As far as the rears go, bagging will be a bit more trouble. Either pulling all but one leaf out of the rear, to allow the rear to drop, then compensate with a bag for raising/lowering. But you'll still need an upper support for the bag. The shock cross member will not be strong enough to carry the weight. Other option would be to change out the rear to a 4 link and use air bags in lieu of springs. More money...
Good luck, though. I'd love to see it.

63 R2 Hawk
04-11-2017, 10:12 PM
Hi and congratulations on being a proud new Hawk owner! I installed KYB gas-ajust shocks all around after trying numerous different so-called "heavy duty" OEM style Studebaker repops, which were all mushy junk. KYBs were a huge improvement! Some minor modification is required to fit. Konis and Bilsteins are also good choices, IIRC my KYBs are '70-'82 Camaro. I can't tell you how to fit them on a '62, as I think the '63 mounts differently. I also have 245/50/16 "Z" rated tires on 8" wheels, which helps a lot, much less sidewall to flex, wider footprint, so tires mimic the original bias ply tire handling. Adding a rear sway bar would help a lot. Don't beef up the front sway bar too much or you will start cracking suspension and frame components. Air shocks probably won't do too much fro handling, but if you DO decide to go with air shocks, make sure you plumb them separately or you will degrade handling. If they are plumbed together, the air will displace from the outside shock to the inside shock and will tend to increase body roll.

Don Jeffers
04-12-2017, 12:38 AM
I updated the suspension on my '53 hardtop many years ago.

Used the front and rear anti-roll bars off a 57 Stude wagon. (I used the finned brakes front and rear too). It was all bolt-on.

Used Koni shocks made for an Avanti.

Wondered what I was going to do for front springs.

Was sitting around the shop and my eye fell on a pair of front springs from a '70s era Alfa Romeo 4 cyl sedan. They looked interesting. I measured the spring diameter (the wire, not the coil) and it was a little thicker and the height looked about right. The coil diameter looked good too.

Installed the Alfa springs (even though they were open end truncated coils and not the closed and ground flat bottom coils like the Stude).

It all worked out great and it all remained in the car It made a great handling Stude.

I think the Koni shocks made a great difference. I did have to make a small adapter plate to bolt the Konis to the bottom of the '53 A-arm; don't know if the '61 Hawk A-arm is the same as the '53 or the Avanti.

I wouldn't use the air bags unless you want to jack the car up and down driving down the street. Personally, I would go for the good handling.

Xcalibur
04-12-2017, 01:26 AM
If you're serious, start with an independent rear suspension... works for me.

48skyliner
04-12-2017, 02:57 AM
I agree - I would start with the rear suspension. We installed an Infiniti J30 rear suspension under a 68 Mustang for a friend, several Mustang guys have driven it and they say it is the best handling early Mustang they have driven. It is slightly wider version of the Skyline rear suspension I installed under my 48 Champion. We took measurements, and I am pretty sure it fits under a Hawk without the need for any trimming such as we had to do on the Mustang. The whole cradle assembly mounts with four bolts through rubber isolators. The only issue is that you have to build mounts for some sort of coilovers that are shorter than the original struts.

http://www.pro-touring.com/threads/111428-68-Mustang-Convertible-Some-Unique-Upgrades?highlight=stilettoman

This photo shows the Nissan Skyline suspension in my 48 Champion.

63449

jkarstetter
04-12-2017, 01:06 PM
Thanks everyone for your responses to my post---lots of good sage advise & very much appreciated!!
Jim K