View Full Version : Front Axle: 4 wheel alignment 63 Hawk.

07-07-2017, 02:28 PM
My 63 Hawk sidels down the road with the rear looking about 2" to the right. The car runs straight with no vibration up front. How do i align the rear wheels with the front wheels?? The front end seems solid, king pin and bushings, a-frame bushings , new control arm bushings and shocks.

07-07-2017, 02:31 PM
To correct "Dog Legging" you check for a drastically off of parallel to the frame, Differential or a bent frame.

07-07-2017, 04:52 PM
I'm assuming what you are saying here is that the rear axle has shifted 2" to one side of the car, correct? In addition to what StudeRich said, another potential is that your spring bushings are shot.

Now, if you are saying that the rear axle is cocked 2" -- in other words, one side of the rear axle is 2" closer to the front of the car than the other side, you have some real issues. :ohmy:

07-07-2017, 05:50 PM
Maybe just a sheared center bolt in the spring has let the rear axle 'migrate'.

07-07-2017, 06:03 PM
Take a tape measure and check your wheel base side to side. Go from the front of the wheel rim on the front wheel with wheels straight ahead to the the front of the rear wheel rim. same thing on the other side. This should give you your wheel base side to side within a 1/8 to 1/4 inch. Anything more than that you have a problem. If you have more than a 1/4" difference you either have some bent parts or a bent frame. It will take two people to do this and shoot for about half way up on the wheel rim. Another way to check tracking on these old cars if you have a long paved drive way wet an area ahead of the car down good and drive straight ahead though it. If you see more than one tire track on each side you have a problem.

07-07-2017, 06:40 PM
That would be the first thing to check, and the easiest to fix. Had a friend with a (cough-cough) Nova that the rear was off less then a half inch and it dog tracked like mad. Looked like he was making a left turn. Measured and found the one side was off. Loosened the axle from the springs, found the centering bolt was worn and things had slipped. Fixed it and it tracked straight as an arrow.

Maybe just a sheared center bolt in the spring has let the rear axle 'migrate'.

07-07-2017, 10:26 PM
Is mentioned, is the wheelbase longer on one side than the other? Very bad and the reason must be found. As mentioned, worn spring bushings, worn center spring bolts, broken springs.

Otherwise, is one rear wheel closer to the fender than the other? Most Stude rear axles are not centered under the body. They can be made to center. It's just time and/or money to measure, move, adjust.

jack vines

52 Ragtop
07-07-2017, 11:19 PM
Check the tire wear on the rear, IF mis-aligned, the tires will show abnormal wear.

07-08-2017, 08:44 AM
Measurement fron front to rear is exactly the same both sides, it appears there is a 1/2 " difference one side to the other in the rear, the axle appears to be 1/2" to the right

07-08-2017, 09:10 AM
Yes,measurements taken, it appears that the front is exactly parallel to the rear, however the rear seems to be 1/2 inch closer to one side than the other. Wheel is 1/2 " closer to right rear fender than the left. All the spring bushins are in great condition, shackles are centered.

07-08-2017, 10:22 AM
Thank goodness, 1/2" shifted to one side is a lot more tolerable than 2" shifted to one side! All of my Hawks have the tire a little closer to the inside of the rear quarter on one side versus the other. Personally, I wouldn't worry about 1/2".

One item that I don't think has been mentioned -- have all the wheels verified to be the same width and backspace?

07-08-2017, 10:46 AM
All wheels are new. ive been told this by a Stubebaker club member and again yesterday by a motorist driving behind the car. I'll have to drive behind it myself to see first hand what they are talking about. Studerich mentioned the "dog-legged" running and ive heard of and seen this before on other cars.

07-08-2017, 11:34 PM
To the casual observer, rear wheel positions are hardly noticeable until something occurs which in my case was installing fender skirts on the '55 Prez sedan and the modern, (215x75x15), tires were a very tight fit. And yes, one side is about 1/2" closer than the other but I don't recall which side...

07-09-2017, 12:15 AM
Have you done the drive thru the water test yet?

07-09-2017, 11:23 AM
65457This is the rear ., inside tire track is the front.

07-09-2017, 01:43 PM
Brain I'am not sure what you have available but do you have a hoist or lift of any kind? What I'am going to suggest will take two people and a long tape measure. If there is nothing in the way under the car you could run a tape from the rear spring center bolt on the lt side rear to the center of the lower spindle bolt on the rt front. Then do the same on the other side and see how they compare. If off more than a 1/4" something is a miss. The reason I keep saying a 1/4" is that means 1/8" difference side to side. The rule of thumb on any frame measurement was always with in 1/8" be it factory or a frame that you where pulling back to square. My guess is from your picture it will not measure out the same. If so the trick is find where it is off and why. Usually take a few hour of tape time to find it. In the shop manual there should be a frame diagram that will show you all the measure points and what the tape should read but if your not a bodyman or frame tech you may not understand how it's done. Steve.

07-09-2017, 08:50 PM
Ok, thats next. I took reference pionts on the rear backing plate to the inside of the leaf spring , both the same ,thought maybe had the rear axle moved to the righ that would show for sure. Both springs are centered in their shackles front and back, bushings are good. I suspect you may be right about the diagonal measurements. If thats the case, how do i correct this?

07-09-2017, 09:07 PM
There is one other possibility. The rear axle is not "true", with one wheel having toe-out and the other having toe-in. EG, RH wheel toeing out 2mm & LH wheel toeing in 2mm. That means "per metre", ie for each metre travelled, the rear end want to go 2mm sideways. That equates to 2 metres sideways per kilometre travelled. You compensate by turning the front wheels, but your car is "crabbing" slightly. Most people just keep on driving and will eventually notice uneven tyre wear on the rear tyres. The "fix" is thermal straightening (gas-axe) on the rear axle casing. This problem is better known by the trucking industry. They travel huge mileages and their tyres cost a lot more than ours. It pays them to chase up and fix even small errors.

07-09-2017, 11:20 PM
I can almost guarantee you the problem is the centering bolt on one side has either sheared, or rusted to the point it no longer centers the spring pad on the spring. You say the rr is 1/2 inch closer to the rear of the wheel opening, so, EITHER ther rr pin is no longer holding the spring pad in place, and it slid back on that side, OR the lr pin is no longer holding that spring pad in place and it slid 1/2 inch forward. I have seen this on numerous leaf spring cars over the years. Very easy to fix. After you fix it, don't be surprised if your steering wheel is all of a sudden crooked. You will need the front toe in reset once the rear wheels are lined up correctly.

BTW, I am new to Studebakers, so don't know what the alignment pins are like. On old GM cars it is simply a 5/16 fine thread bolt with a round head instead of a flex head where it goes into the spring pad. On my 69 Camaro, one of them had rusted out badly. I didn't want to deal with rust again (not likely as it never gets driven in the rain now) so I bought stainless steel bolts and ground the hex off to make the head round.

The axle assy being bent to the point of toe in or toe out is extremely rare.

07-10-2017, 08:42 AM
Brain First things first. I would check as Lynn said the rear axle housing. Also look the frame over good to see if there looks to be any past damage or repair. The way the Studebaker frame is built if it where hit hard on any end of the frame rail on one side it would diamond in a heart beat. This is where the rail that is hit moves to the opposite direction to the other frame rail. This will make the whole frame out of square and rear axle will be off and alinement will be off. Car will drive terrible. In most cases it will also throw door alinement off. Also nothing will fit as it should and there will be almost no way to get it there. You have to look at your frame as being three boxes. A center box and a box on each end. All three of these boxes need to square to each other and square as a whole. Anything that changes the alinement of these boxes will affect the way the car sits, drives and alinement of both wheels and body panels. The axles also have to be square to these boxes and to each other. Anything that moves the wheels out of square to the frame or each other will affect tire wear and how the car will drive.

07-14-2017, 11:54 AM
Tire repair shop found U bolt was loose,they tightened it. Car dogtracked, found spring bolt was sheared.

07-14-2017, 08:10 PM
That's the most common problem and the easiest fix. Glad you found the problem and happy driving.

55 56 PREZ 4D
07-15-2017, 03:46 AM
On post #21 was kxet talking about BrianC's car ?

07-15-2017, 09:05 PM
On post #21 was kxet talking about Brian C's car ?

Their Locations seem WAY too far apart for that to be the case. :confused: Must be on his Car, which means nothing on Brian's Car.

I note that the Front Track on Studebakers is wider than the Rear, so I don't think the "Wet Tracks" prove anything unless BOTH Rears are to one side or the other.

Unfortunately, it is sounding a lot like a bent Frame.

Jeffry Cassel
07-16-2017, 11:49 AM
Art Seebach told me of an identical problem. The axle was not sitting on the locating pin that is on the spring. Unless the frame is bent from a major mishap, its hared to imagine what else it could be. Before doing anything jact up the rear end and take the spring shackles loose and check to be sure they are in the right place. Should not take long. (agree with Lynn!)

07-20-2017, 08:46 PM
Took some wheel-base measurements. With the jack just ahead of the rear wheel, i gently raised the weight off the car, watching the tire position. I could see the movement and it measured 1/2" diff between sides. A closer look i could see the rear spring bushing squeeze ahead. So, ordered all four. Keeping my fingers crossed when they arrive.

07-30-2017, 07:40 PM
Measurements tell the story, after accurate measuring, the drivers side wheelbase is 119 7/8" , the passenger side is exactly spec 120.5". No trouble removing the leaf and pressing in new bushings. The big problem is removing the rear bushing through the chassis! Anyone ideas will be appreciated??!!!! Tried a number of methods, cant get it to move!??

07-30-2017, 10:37 PM
cant get it to move!??................

Shroud the gas tank with some heavy aluminum foil or remove it altogether. Use a propane torch to burn the bushing rubber away or a 3/16" drill bit to chew it away. Pull the sleeve out with some vice grips. Use a hack saw blade with tape at one end as a grip and saw thru the outer shell which is pressed into the frame. Clean the hole up with some emery cloth or 220 paper.

Installation of the new bushing can be done with a piece of threaded rod, some close sized sockets and large washers. Lube the bushing outer with antisieze paste to assist it going in. This will NOT allow it to rotate in the frame, just makes it slide easier. The first one is a bear but the second will go quicker. It can be considered to be a difficult job by some.

07-30-2017, 11:15 PM
Is the body tight on the frame? I've moved a Hawk body rear section a good distance by loosening up the mounting bolts and pulling the body back to center. I have also noticed a lot of Studes that had all the body bolts loose allowing body to shift relative to the frame. A long shot but maybe.

07-31-2017, 09:00 PM
Body is very good on the frame, body shims are all ok. Wheelbase measurement is the critical evidence. Keeping my fingers crossed that this is the cause.
Moving along, ive re-installed the driver side leaf bushings, pads and leaf.
Question ?? In the manual (Rear suspension-Rear springs) under "Installation all models" Install the U bolt and tighten the nuts to 47 to 50 ft. Lb. and on the following page under "installation" it calls for 25-30 ft. Lb. What torque should i use????
One more point, The axle is model 44.