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gotcha
10-28-2006, 11:43 AM
Being new to the Studebaker game...please bear with me on a couple of questions and information. This has been asked many times in the archives...but is there any new info?

Subject vehicle is a 1953 Commander Starlight Coupe with no engine/trans destined for Pro Touring (just driving)

Besides the obvious clearance issues on the stock steering box and strange bellcrank steering, does anyone have good photos of engine conversions that they did. SBC, Mopar, Ford, etc. I have done many fabrications and am not concerned about doing the work...just up for ideas and suggestions. I am a Mopar guy and have many original restored cars, so I already know about the importance of numbers matching original (don't mess with it) thoughts. Does anyone make a prefab motor mount setup for conversions?

I recently decided to do the 53 Stude due to the "light years" ahead styling and the desire to move from the 60's to the 50's. All the early 50's Mopars are somewhat lacking in style. Simply put, nothing beats the 53-54-55-56-57 Studes for style.

I will install a Mopar, SBC, or Ford due to parts availability on the road.

I have no further info on the Phantom Front Suspension,
as there is nothing current (Website is in changeover) and can find no one who has done this. Fatman is surely an option as is the Nova/Camaro subframe. The bottom line is this....there is no reason that I can find to spend $2000-$2500 on something that is no better than what I have...except header and block clearance. The suspension certainly appears to be solid and the geometry is very good as designed.

Disc brakes are easily obtained. As Dick has stated...cut the coils a half turn and go for lowering. The only issue I see is clearance on the bellcrank and steering box.

Thoughts on what you have done and photos would be great. I am listening to everyone on here. Special thanks to Klif and his 55 Speedster for the photos he provided. What a nice car!

I am not into spending money...with no return, and the subframe changeover does not appear to give me anything. Let me hear from any and all.

Long thread...but thanks for the time and space.

Mike Van Veghten
10-28-2006, 12:15 PM
Since your not affraid of fabrication...

Do what I did. Got a used Vette all aluminum front suspension, some steel tubing and "melded" it all together into a C4 (in my case) Lark/Corvette front end. No more bellcrank in the way, no header clearance problems, lighten up the front end a little, good brakes, highly adjustable, easy to get parts (anywhere!).

Check it out here if you like - http://public.fotki.com/-Mike-/

Click on the 60 Lark.

There's one option for you..

Mike

gotcha
10-28-2006, 04:24 PM
Very, very, nice Mike. Extremely clean. Thank you.

DEEPNHOCK
10-28-2006, 05:43 PM
Mike,
Where did you get the curved rectangular tubing you used for the frame pieces?
Jeff[8D]


quote:Originally posted by Mike Van Veghten

Since your not affraid of fabrication...

Do what I did. Got a used Vette all aluminum front suspension, some steel tubing and "melded" it all together into a C4 (in my case) Lark/Corvette front end. No more bellcrank in the way, no header clearance problems, lighten up the front end a little, good brakes, highly adjustable, easy to get parts (anywhere!).

Check it out here if you like - http://public.fotki.com/-Mike-/

Click on the 60 Lark.

There's one option for you..

Mike


http://i77.photobucket.com/albums/j54/deepnhock/Jeff%20Rice%20Studebaker%20Pictures/1937StudebakerCoupeExpressJeffRicee.jpg

DEEPNHOCK at Gmail.com
Brooklet, Georgia
'37 Coupe Express (never ending project)
'37 Coupe Express Trailer (project)
'61 Hawk (project)
http://community.webshots.com/user/deepnhock

Roscomacaw
10-28-2006, 06:43 PM
Gotcha - Your car, your choice. BUT - I take issue with your rationale about "parts availablity on the road".

Let's say your touring in your BrandX-powered 53. Oops! - it dies. Damned fuel pump anyway! So, let's say you're someplace off to the side of the road where you can work on the car (if not, we're talking tow truck and a place to work on it). Now - you're gonna hope it broke down at an hour that parts places are open and hope you can find a way to get to the nearest one (and back) with the replacement part. (And this could apply to the fuel pump, water pump, blown hose of some sort, crapped out ignition part, etc..
Compare that to having a spare fuel pump, water pump, rad hoses and belts (even points and such - assuming you didn't do the smart thing and convert the Stude engine to electronic stuff) all in a shoebox or canvas pouch stashed in one corner of the trunk. With a few simple wrenches and screwdrivers to do the replacement with. Which approach is gonna have you tulin' down the road faster?[?]

NOW - you wanna talk slung rod or stripped timing gear - you're gonna be down for a time either way! Nah, the parts availablity slant is bogus.
I understand this might be a moot point given the car in question comes without an engine or trans, but I only ask that you don't defend NOT going with the Stude engine because you're worried about being stranded in nowheresville without a paddle.

On TOP of that - ask here about some of the sagas we've taken part of via this forum. We've RUSHED to the aid of stranded Stude drivers across the contintent, and that's NO exaggeration or one-time thing! There was one fella we helped to get from LA to NY with MANY, MANY assists along the way. This is because there's a network of willing and helpful Stude nuts that I don't think ANY other club can match from what I've seen.
SBC, Ford, Mopar makes - yeah, map your trip according to NAPA locations, but with a Studebaker - figure on getting where you're going without any holdups![^]

Miscreant adrift in
the BerStuda Triangle!!

1957 Transtar 1/2ton
1960 Larkvertible V8
1958 Provincial wagon
1953 Commander coupe

Mike Van Veghten
10-28-2006, 08:35 PM
Jeff,

The Art Morrison chassis guys did it for me.


Gotcha,

Thanks


I know Mr. B. Still, I stand by my statement. Any Chevy or GM dealer MAY...not have Stude suspension parts, neither does the local corner auto parts shop...wana know how I know?


Mike

Roscomacaw
10-28-2006, 09:34 PM
Well, let's be realistic here, Mike. Sure enough - anything CAN happen out on the road. But a well-prepared car (like one you've just completely rebuilt and HOPEFULLY worked the "bugs" out of before you set out for the opposite coast) shouldn't present any catastrophic failures unless it's been done wrong to start with. What Stude suspension parts do you see failing on a well-refurbed car? Shearing pins, failing A-arms, bushing shedding their innards?
Harkening back to my favorite example for this - the guy who confidently crowed that he was gonna be ready for anything because he was gonna dump the antique Stude iron for a NorthStar drivetrain - his backup plan depends on the local GM shop being even WILLING, let alone ABLE to take his hermaphroditic conglomeration in and first, diagnose it - and second, repair it. That doesn't sound like an advantage to me, BUT THEN.... I'd be under the hood, cranking my own wrenches instead of trusting to some 65-buck-an-hour "technician".
And that's another thing... if you're not willing and able to wrench for yourself (and even if you ARE but won't have the convenience of your own, vast array of tools and shop to use), you're gonna be at the mercy of the shops in the area which most of won't even let you bring a Studebaker into their shop because they fear it's gonna be a time-sponge that's gonna clog up their facilities and cause them woes if they have to stand behind work on something they regard as having just arrived from Mars!


Miscreant adrift in
the BerStuda Triangle!!

1957 Transtar 1/2ton
1960 Larkvertible V8
1958 Provincial wagon
1953 Commander coupe

Roscomacaw
10-28-2006, 10:01 PM
Let me add that I'm not just trying to be contrary for contrary's sake. Proabaly improvement's CAN be instituted, but I believe the consensus of those who've had experience with these cars is that it's tough to make REAL "driveability" upgrades over what they came with after about the mid-fifties. Disc brakes is probably, hands down, the best "upgrade" bucks you can spend. Anything beyond that and the gain is neligible OR - if it's truly a remarkable advance - it's awfully expensive.
Take a good, tough design (made of metal Toyotas can only dream of!)- keep it well-maintained and drive it within it's envelope of ability and it should last you a long, long time.
Honestly, I drive the CRAP outta my Stock Transtar and I treat it to a quart of oil once it's leaked enough to where it's shy about showing itself on the dipstick. Hot, I got MAYBE 30lbs oil pressure at 60 MPH - been that way for YEARS. Don't know when to quit. I've got a freshened engine for it but I can't seem to find time or reason since this tortured motor doesn't seem to know I treat it badly.
And yet come the endless hints that if you wanna chance a venture across town, you'd better get some parts NAPA can get you in a day or two. It just doesn't wash against those of us who have years and years of experience with these vehicles. You can't approach them with a Camaro mindset. Thankfully, Camaros they're not.

gotcha, I'm NOT picking on you. I don't mean to come across like I am. I truly hope you stick around and keep us up to speed on what you do to your 53.
It's just that having driven these cars and trucks as DAILY transport for 33 years, I feel qualified to dispell the notion that you can't trust a stock one for cross-country driving because you risk being stranded.
There were ALL sorts of stock Studes that drove from all over the continent to Omaha last month... and then drove BACK to where they'd come from without a hitch.

Miscreant adrift in
the BerStuda Triangle!!

1957 Transtar 1/2ton
1960 Larkvertible V8
1958 Provincial wagon
1953 Commander coupe

StudeRich
10-28-2006, 10:10 PM
Very well said, Biggs!![^] We've been hearing that "parts availability" BS as an excuse for not having a "real" engine for far too long ! :(:( Most of us could easily site many times where any other make of car would not have allowed us to do what we have accompolished with our original Stude powered Studes!![^] Like to name only one: a dependable gear drive camshaft! Yeah, I know people have broken even those, but they were not in good shape to start with! [:0]
Rich.

StudeRich
Studebakers Northwest
Ferndale, WA

gotcha
10-28-2006, 10:17 PM
Mr. Biggs...I certainly understand your feelings on the Studebaker engine, but I am not going to use one. I have been doing Mopars for about 40 years now and was just as passionate about keeping a Mopar a Mopar, as you and many of the people on this forum are about keeping a Studebaker a Studebaker. I did realize about 10 years ago that it really does not make any difference. It is about the hobby, the cars, the enjoyment, and personal taste. We could discuss the "part availability" issue forever. I can carry a canvas bag of any brand of parts in the trunk and most old car guys will pull over and help an old car guy of any brand.

If anyone would like to weigh in on the front suspension issue....please do. Thanks for the photos Mike....great looking Lark Wagon.

I would like to have input on front clip conversions vs. keeping it stock. I would like to keep the stock front end.

Thanks for keeping it lively.

Mike Van Veghten
10-29-2006, 01:32 AM
Gotcha,

If you'r looking to keep the original suspension up front, there's really not much to discuss. Just get the new parts from one of the Stude guys, clean everything up well, put it all back together and drive it.

I'd bet that you're saying...but the steering....

Well yea...not as good as it could be. I wonder as I write this...has anyone converted a Stude to a "front steer", with the steering box ahead of the suspension. The frame horns would need stiffining/bracing. But I'd bet it could be completed easier and better thAn trying to [u]PROPERLY</u> install a R&P unit to a Stude suspension!
I've heard tell it can be done,...well...maybe so...maybe not... But I'll guarenty that it isn't easy...IF it is possible.

The tubular a-arms (Phantom) that are/were available...are nice looking, but don't really do much for bettering the overall geometry of the Stude suspension. And again, without directly seeing proof...the R&P doesn't get my juices flowing.

If you really want to get into bettering the Stude stuff....figure out a way to drop the frame tie down point of the upper control arm. While this can be done, it will take a lot of work. At least the way I thought of doing it! The other thing would be to come up with some sort of shaft (the a-arm to spindle shafts, upper AND lower) that will allow more adjustement for camber and caster.

Mike

P.s. thanks again for the vote, and I promise....no more about parts availibility no matter what the "proof" !!!

And just in case you're wondering...the way the front end is setup, most any current V-8 will drop in. I'm using motor plates, not side mounts. A 409 (or maybe a 383 that's done!) SB Chevy is the first to go in.

chocolate turkey
10-29-2006, 09:54 AM
Just gotta say, I've also driven Stude powered custom Studes, both pickups and sedans for 33 years and wouldn't consider any brand changes to the front end or engine. Never been let down or stranded in my many thousands of miles of driving, commuting, touring or whatever. Very comfortable, very reliable and always preventive maintenance done. (did the same with my many Chryco products previous to SDC days!) Love em both!

Brian

Brian K. Curtis

Dick Steinkamp
10-29-2006, 11:28 AM
Here's my 2 cents...keep in mind 2 of my current Studebakers are non Studebaker powered.

If your sole criteria is dependability, you are far better off keeping your car as close to stock as possible. All those engine, drive train, and suspension parts are sturdy, proven over 15 years of so of production, dependable, easily serviced, and with plenty of availability. They all work together as designed. No "sorting out" to do in the first 5,000 miles or so of driving as is the case when you start replacing stock systems with brand X stuff.

I'd even go as far as to say that disk brake upgrades are not "no brainers". Unless all components are engineered to work together you are likely to have a vehicle that will take even longer to stop and could even be dangerous. Master cylinder has to displace the proper amount of fluid for chosen wheel cylinders and calipers...front and rear brakes can't overpower one end or the other, proportioning has to be dialed in, residual check valves have to be proper, etc. Studebaker used different brakes on the rear of their disk braked cars than on non disk brake cars...for a reason.

I have stock suspension, brakes and steering in my SBC powered '54 hardtop. It's actually quite good. Somebodys R and P setup MAY be better, but I really wonder if you'd tell the difference in normal, spirited driving.

If there are other criteria you may want to consider there would be other choices...especially if you enjoy fabrication and experimentation...but if your ONLY criteria is dependability, stock trumps a collection of brand X and/or aftermarket parts.



http://thenobot.org/images/s2d/s2d_01.jpg

Alan
10-29-2006, 01:09 PM
Got, If you want to be different put in a 270-315-325 Dodge with the new Hot Heads. And Mike any modification of the Stude steering will make it worse. If you look at the steering on a 53 Corvette it looks like they stole it from Stude. Moving the steering arms in front of the axle will put the tie rods under the a-arms. The steering box would have to be modified to work backwards since when you turn the steering wheel right the car goes left. All of the Ackerman would be gone and the tires would wear funny. The spindles would have to be modified so that the steering arms go in with the taper the opposite way. The steering arms would have to be bent out for proper geometry since the center line of the tie rod and the C/L of the king pin pivot have to point to the C/L of the rear end. Which would mean that the rims would have to be changed to get the proper clearance to the tie rod ends which will throw off the scrub radius. Kind of a snow ball effect.

gotcha
10-29-2006, 07:19 PM
Thanks to all so far. Understand the disc brake issue. I have converted a couple of my muscle cars. The right master cylinder with the right bore and the proportioning valve, etc. I have spent the weekend disassembling the car for the body off. I have measured, rechecked, tested, and have fabbed (mocked) up a couple of ideas on mounting both the SBC, Big Block Mopar, and Small Block Mopars with the stock supension/steering. The suspension and steering is strange, but actually appears to work very well. I think any rear sump pan engine will fit. Headers or manifolds will be the challenge on the driver's side. This is a driver...not a racer...and I will not be doing any road course work. Once I got the front clip off, things were easier to think through.

Another question....Who rebuilds or is there a kit for the manual Studebaker steering box?

The Older Dodge Hemis are neat Street Rod type engines and way cool. Very heavy and very expensive to build. Thanks for the thought.

Keep the info coming if you like and I will keep moving forward. Thanks to all.

bob40
10-29-2006, 07:43 PM
http://www.larescorp.com/ for steering box

N8N
10-29-2006, 08:51 PM
Two thoughts on the steering box... if you don't care for power steering, instead of having the Ross steering box rebuilt try to find a Saginaw manual box from a Champion. Make sure it is a coupe (C body) or hardtop (K body) that it comes from though. IF you think you may want power steering, I have a '55 C-body power steering setup that may be for sale soon but the box needs to be rebuilt however.

The reason I make these suggestions is because the worm and sector Ross box has a lot more internal friction than the recirculating ball Saginaw box and therefore is harder to steer and also it wears out faster.

nate

--
55 Commander Starlight
http://home.comcast.net/~njnagel

gotcha
10-29-2006, 09:32 PM
Thanks to both of you for the info. Going to try to stick with manual steering.

Bob

Dick Steinkamp
10-29-2006, 10:13 PM
quote:Originally posted by N8N

The reason I make these suggestions is because the worm and sector Ross box has a lot more internal friction than the recirculating ball Saginaw box and therefore is harder to steer and also it wears out faster.



So true! Gord found a Saginaw box and rebuilt it for me a few years ago. I replaced the Ross box in my '54 with it. A world of difference :). Jerry Kaiser has the templates and instructions to replace the Ross or Saginaw box in a C/K with a late Lark Saginaw box. Even better!


http://thenobot.org/images/s2d/s2d_01.jpg

sbca96
10-29-2006, 11:27 PM
If you decide to keep the Studebaker front suspension, I designed and
built a setup that uses 94-04 Mustang brakes, which includes the 13"
Cobra aluminum 2 piston PBR caliper brakes, and ALL the available in
the aftermarket (14 inch rotors/4 & 6 piston Baer). It also uses the
stock Stude hubs which eliminates the need for spacers, and keeps the
factory designed relationships intact. Email me off the board with
any questions you have : sbca96@aol.com . Also, there is a project in
the works to redesign the upper control arm, there are larger swaybars
available from a few different sources, and quick steering arms. Take
a look over on the Racing Studebaker forum, there is nothing really
"wrong" with the stock Stude suspension :

http://racingstudebakers.com/stl-web/bulletin/bb/index.php

Here are a few shots of the brake setup I designed, its been featured
in Avanti Magazine, and will also be in an upcoming article in Turning
Wheels (once I write it;)) :

http://hometown.aol.com/sbca96/images/avantibrakeproject/cobra_install/cobra_install020a.jpg

http://hometown.aol.com/sbca96/images/avantibrakeproject/cobra_install/cobra_install021a.jpg

http://hometown.aol.com/sbca96/images/avantibrakeproject/cobra_install/cobra_install022a.jpg

http://hometown.aol.com/sbca96/images/avantibrakeproject/cobra_install/cobra_install023a.jpg

http://hometown.aol.com/sbca96/images/Avantinewimages/Cobra_brake_breakin/cobra_brake_testdrive004a.jpg

Tom

'63 Avanti, zinc plated drilled & slotted 03 Mustang Cobra 13" front disc/98 GT rear brakes, 03 Cobra 17" wheels, GM alt, 97 Z28 leather seats, soon: 97 Z28 T-56 6-spd, Ported heads w/SST full flow valves, 'R3' 276 cam, Edelbrock AFB Carb, GM HEI distributor, 8.8mm plug wires

gotcha
10-30-2006, 07:42 AM
Great looking conversion and quality work. Thanks for the pictures and info.

Mike Van Veghten
10-30-2006, 10:33 AM
No naritive but the pictures of the front brakes I did for my Conestoga are back on the Fotki site with my Lark.

http://public.fotki.com/-Mike-/

Click on the 54 Conestoga section. My bracket along side Dave Levesque's (spll?) bracket. To adapt Wilwood calipers. Now both ends have Wilwood calipers. The front rotors are Avanti rotors with a coupla modifications.

Mike

keeffer
10-31-2006, 07:19 AM
fatman fabrications sell a mustand 2 front clip
http://www.fatmanfab.com/07page6.htm

keith kirchhoff
brockport ny 14420

gotcha
10-31-2006, 07:50 AM
Thanks Keith...I contacted them yesterday for info on this specific car. Very helpful.

sbca96
10-31-2006, 12:17 PM
Whats funny about the Mustang II front clip, is it was designed for a
Pinto back in .. um .. help me out here - 1975?? Thats over 30 years
ago now. When you compare it to the Stude suspension, its not that
much 'newer'.;)

Art Morrison still carries the whole frame, here is one project car:

http://nelson-motorsports.com/studebaker.htm

Tom

N8N
10-31-2006, 01:40 PM
1971 I believe, although I am not up on my trivia of 70's econocars. I know my mom had a '76 and it had already undergone one "facelift" by then (larger taillights, different nose than the original)

nate

--
55 Commander Starlight
http://home.comcast.net/~njnagel

Dick Steinkamp
10-31-2006, 02:31 PM
quote:Originally posted by sbca96
When you compare it to the Stude suspension, its not that
much 'newer'.;)


The big difference is ball joints rather than king pins. Better geometery if set up correctly. Another difference is the huge aftermarket that supports the Mustang II suspension. A big variety of different spindels, A arms, sway bars, spring/shock combos, R & P's...plus crossmembers and/or subframes to attach the parts to virtually any car. The aftermarket Mustang II suspensions are in fact "modern". It would be tough to call a kingpin IFS "modern".

With that said, it's still a lot of work and money to swap in a Mustang II type suspension. Make sure the advantages outweigh the disadvantages before throwing away the Studebaker IFS. They work pretty good.





http://thenobot.org/images/s2d/s2d_01.jpg

keeffer
10-31-2006, 03:51 PM
so buy the frame clip sell the stude parts to the restorers

keith kirchhoff
brockport ny 14420

sbca96
10-31-2006, 05:13 PM
Funny thing about kingpins, I remember reading somewhere back in the
80's, two Japanese manufacturers "reinvented" kingpins, unequal length
upper/lower control arms and installed them on their supercars. One
was the Acura NSX, and the other was the Nissan 300ZX. This was at a
time when McPherson Struts were the rage. Those Japanese, they are
always ahead of the game huh?;)

I wonder if I am remembering the article correctly, its been a while.

Tom

oldguy
03-14-2008, 10:49 AM
I'm pondering the same questions, in a slightly different context. My project is coming with a MII already installed, but also an extra frame that is all stock. Which to use?
A lot may depend on how well the MII was installed.
I have a different car, pretty much the same issues. My 41 Pontiac had unequal length upper and lower A's with kingping trunion setup, very similar to the Stude. Even with a tight front end and reworked brakes, I was white knuckled at 75 mph. I "converted" it to ball joints, drop spindles, disc brakes, corvette MC/Booster and power R&P. Big job, yes. Over $2,000, yes. Would I do it all over again, hell yes.
No one will convince me that a 50 year old drum, single chamber, non power brake system is any where near comparable to a boosted, split chamber, disc brake system in stopping power or reliability. I drove my poncho "defensively" for two years. Just too many idiots out there. Brakes were my driving force, but positive caster, anti dive, and power steering were strong motivators to doing it all at once. Love the Stude design, but if I'm driving 1,000 miles to an event, I'm not doing it at 55.
Not to offend anyone, just making a point. If you like driving slow, cruising with other studes, going to local events, making a cross country trip into a 2 week vacation. That's one thing, stay stock. If you want to run the Kansas/Oklahoma turnpike at 90 for 4 hours and then play dodge-em in Dallas and Austin, upgrades may be in order. your choice.

San antonio TX. 53 Champion Coupe, to be brought back from the dead.
"Of course it will fit, I have a torch"

gordr
03-14-2008, 03:01 PM
Oldguy, the stock Studebaker suspension does not limit you to 55 mph. My GT Hawk loves to cruise at 75 to 80 mph, if I let it. No wander, no white knuckles. If a Studebaker has handling problems, chances are there either worn parts, or a lack of grease, or bad tires.

If you take a Studebaker with the front end in good condition, and hoist it with the wheels free, you should be able to move the wheels from lock to lock with the pressure of one fingertip on the tire. I've done it. There is VERY little friction in that setup. If a kingpin thrust bearing dries out, and goes into a bind, you will get dodgy steering as the caster can no longer center the wheels.

I've actually seen worse steering on competitive cars with their sloppy ball joints and mega-sloppy rubber-bushed idler arms; let any of those parts get the least bit worn, and you aren't driving it any more, simply herding it between the ditches. Studebaker king pins and trunnions have to be worn to nubbins to get the same degree of slop that even moderately-worn ball joints exhibit.

I'd say you'd get the best bang for your buck by renewing the existing front suspension, and updating the inner A-arm bushing to the greasable Delrin ones sold by Chuck Collins. Add a set of Turner brakes, and adapt a beefier Brand X front sway, and the car should be comfortable to drive at any spped you choose. The only other upgrade you might consider is going to a Cavalier power steering rack which has the tie rods taken off the middle, a setup which adapts well to the Studebaker center-steer configuration. There are quite a few C/K Studebakers running around now with that setup, and if there is anything bad about it, it has not yet come to light.

Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands

Flashback
03-14-2008, 04:22 PM
In 1961 I drove my 53 coupe like I stole it. The one thing I remember is how well it handled. In 1968 I drove another 53 coupe
with Chevy power on street and strip. The one thing I remember is how well it handled. All stock front suspension on both, except both were lowered. The 68 car did have 55 Stude frt brakes. My current project I have only had about four months and don't have it running yet. It had a Turner disc setup in the trunk when I bought it. I am using 55 front brakes on it. It's all in what you want and how brave you are. If you want all Studebaker parts you have available all the power, handling, and stopping, you can use.

Tex E. Grier

PackardV8
03-14-2008, 08:20 PM
Rhat on, Tex. Those who knock the Stude front suspension forget the Corvette used a very similar front suspension from '53 to '63. No one complained about how they handled back in the day.

You and I were terrorizing the South about the same time. In 1961, my first Stude was a '56 Flight Hawk. Because it was stone slow to accelerate, the only way to go fast was never slow down. I ran it through Alabama back road corners hard enough to scrape the chrome off the door handles. Over time, I added heavy duty shocks, a later front roll bar in addition to the '56 one, a rear anti-roll bar from a Land Cruiser.

FWIW, more than one Stude with big bucks invested in a "front clip" or a rack and pinion steering conversion didn't impress me as handling or driving or riding better than a stock Stude with all new parts.

As always, your car, your money, your decision. The one piece of advice I would give is drive one with the modification being considered. If necessary, pay the cost to fly wherever and brag on the car so the owner will want to show it off. The modification might be just the clear riggin' and one can go ahead with confidence, or the air ticket might save many times its cost when the modified car doesn't live up to expectations.

thnx, jack vines

PackardV8

leroy
03-14-2008, 09:30 PM
I had a 41 pontiac and ower 60 it did wallow around a bit up front,if I remember corectly the upper control arm is knee action shock with trunions, quite different than stude with a upper control arm and trunions for the pivet of the king pin. As for driving fast on interstate seems like the faster the better the stude tracks and you have good feel of the road.
A lot of studes at bonneville over 200 mph.

buddymander
03-15-2008, 12:20 AM
Ye gads!! I put a 360 Mopar in my Hawk with stock manifolds and giant bellhousing for an 11" clutch and had to change the box to a Montero to steer outside the frame and connected it to the center steer Stude linkage with some ford truck stuff. Heated and bent the steering arms to quicken things up to Avanti standards. I'm almost done replacing all eight aframe bushings and put in some 1985 (?) Z28 coils. Got a 1 5/16 sway bar out of the same Z. Elongated the upper aframe front frame holes to allow the shaft to move outward about 1/16" so I won't hafta screw the trunnion too far to get enough positive caster. Gotta get up early tomorrow to try and finish it all up to make it up to Los Angeles on Sunday.

Greg Meyers
03-21-2008, 02:11 PM
To help answer your original question....
I can vouch for 137 mph on the salt at Bonneville, rock steady with a stock front end, lowered a bit (cut springs).
Here are some pics of what I did with the Studillac to clear the steering box:
http://salt2salt.com/TurboStude/images/Cad/PIC4.jpg
http://salt2salt.com/TurboStude/images/Cad/PIC00005.jpg
http://salt2salt.com/TurboStude/images/Cad/PIC00006.jpg
http://salt2salt.com/TurboStude/images/Cad/PIC00007.jpg
http://turbostude.com/Cad/cad509.JPG
http://turbostude.com/Cad/P1010003.JPG
Some engines are nice in that they have the distributor up front, the sump in the right place (Cad had three choices) and starter on the passenger side. The 75' Cad 509 is about 50# lighter than a big block chev. Made my own exhaust manifolds to get around the Ross box. Cut the shaft off the box and added a borgeson joint. Tilted the box a bit. I'm told that the "Blake" pitman arm is quicker steering and can replace stock Ross/Saginaw arms.
Consider Geo Trooper hanging pedal parts which are almost a bolt in:

http://salt2salt.com/04_05_Update/Graphics/DSC00188.JPG

Turner sells everything you need for the disc brake conversions.
I'm working with him on disks for pre-48 passenger cars:http://turbostude.com/Tribaker/shock.jpg
Greg
(Studillac for sale...)

oldguy
05-06-2008, 03:02 PM
I've reread this post several times, and since there has been nothing new for a while, I'm going to highjack it. As noted above, I had a choice between a frame with an MII and a 54 stocker. I took the stock frame. [leroy, the 41 Pontiac setup is nearly identical to the stude. the lever action shocks are just that. They have no effect on the geometry of the setup. Maybe its the weight, height, whatever of the poncho, but it drove like crap. I ASSUMED it was the negative caster, it was also very tough in parking lots. Wife could not drive it.] So based on that experience, I was ready to dump the Stude stuff. But there are a lot of guys singing the same tune, and no one stepping up to say... this conversion is better. So, I'm mulling it still.
Steering is an issue however. The box was frozen, so in order to turn the wheel, the PO cut the arm off the box, ruined them both. Also the steering column is gone, (hacked off) so I'm open to suggestions. I think the car is light enough to not need power steering. Would love to see a mock up, or install photos of a R&P setup. I used the center take off cavalier rack in my Poncho, so i'm familiar with the issues. Just curious about the mounting brackets and locations that work.
On a related note, I have a buddy with a 55 commander 4 door sedan, parts car. How much of that front end would fit mine? Specifically - steering column, box, linkage, springs, spindles, brakes?
Any and all comments, greatly appreciated.


San antonio TX. 53 Champion Coupe, to be brought back from the dead.
"Of course it will fit, I have a torch"

wcarroll@outrageous.net
05-06-2008, 03:41 PM
Photos of Phantom R&P installs on my Avanti and '54 Commander can be seen using the link below. Do a search on here and on the Studebaker Racing site and you should come across some pics of a center steer R&P install. Neither of my cars are roadworthy, but I have spoken with one Phantom user who has reported that his car handles very well without bump steer.

http://community.webshots.com/user/s2dbaker?vhost=community

N8N
05-06-2008, 04:08 PM
Oldguy, I believe you will find that you need to get the steering box, column, jacket, etc. and maybe the pitman arm and reach rod all from a C-K body car. The rest of the stuff from a sedan should be the same (bellcrank, tie rods, A-arms, and everything farther on out to the wheels.)

I would definitely steal the brakes from the '55, they are an improvement over the earlier ones, and the backing plates/shoes etc. are the same as the later ones, although the hubs and drums are different. If you find a later set of V-8 finned drums with hubs, they are a bolt on to a '55 as long as you use the later bearings and grease seals.

good luck

nate

--
55 Commander Starlight
http://members.cox.net/njnagel

PackardV8
05-06-2008, 04:32 PM
FWIW, Stude C/K front suspension and steering parts are numerous on the ground. I'd bet if you promise to keep the Stude OEM, there are those here who will offer to GIVE you the parts you need, just come get them or pay for shipping.

Do make an effort to find the later kingpins which have more positive caster. I consider them a requirement for radial tires and high speeds.

thnx, jack vines

PackardV8

sals54
05-06-2008, 05:23 PM
I am parting out a 62 GT Hawk with all the front suspension intact. Brakes included. If you want any of it, let me know. I did not plan on parting out the front suspension cuz its so common. It has the big drum brakes on it. I can post pix if you want to see any of it.

sals54
05-06-2008, 05:52 PM
BTW, I am also driving a 54 Coupe with the stock suspension and disc brakes added. It also has had the coils cut and a 1-1/4 inch sway bar added. It drives very well. I don't get white knuckled at all even in 80 mph traffic. Stopping is not an issue in the least. Stability is great and it stops straight and true. Just my 2 cents worth.

Leon
05-06-2008, 05:56 PM
I took a recirculating ball Saginaw box from a Lark and had the worm gear/steering post lengthened to match the Hawk. My hope was somewhat easier manual steering. But I have yet to install it. When and if I do I'll let you know how it worked out.

oldguy
05-06-2008, 06:33 PM
Thanks for the help. Don't want to be contrary, but I have some concerns. First, I love free stuff, but I can't lie. I have only a body shell so going all OEM isn't even a dream. Though keeping the front suspensioon OEM may be wise.
Packard V8, what do you mean by later kingpins? I have some time in the suspension business and also feel positive caster is a must.
N8N, CK stude parts appear to be pretty rare here in so Tex. If the sedan column/box/arms won't work, I am thinking about a chevy van tilt column, connected to a cavalier type center take off R&P. (didn't find any pics of that setup. will have to surf some more)
I may have to hunt down a 53/54 C/K with the stock suspension and drive it to feel it first hand. (any offers in south Texas?)
The racing forum has a completely different take on this. Need to mull that a bit also.


San antonio TX. 53 Champion Coupe, to be brought back from the dead.
"Of course it will fit, I have a torch"

sals54
05-06-2008, 06:53 PM
Oldguy,
Nice hijack, by the way. No blood, no revolution, just a clean break-away hijack. Cool.
If you are interested in a roller frame with all the suspension intact, including the gastank, that's what I'll have left when I'm done with the GT. Its really the best of all the C/K frames. Its beefier than the early ones, and has more crossmembers for stiffening. Even has better rear springs as they are uneven in the location of the axle. If you want the whole thing, just say the word. You'll be driving your car by the end of the month. The car is just about completely stripped off the body, and I can have the frame ready to go within a couple of days. I am in Sacramento, CA. If you want to call me and talk about it. I can give you my cell number.

oldguy
05-06-2008, 07:50 PM
AAAh Sal, why aren't you in so. texas. Shipping that frame would be outrageous. It would sure be the answer tho. [Rode in a new 62 hawk back in the day. 140 mph? Most awesome car I'd been in at that point. ] I would certainly trust that setup. Although it doesn't seem practical, pm me at djw829@sbcglobal.net I've done dumber things.


San antonio TX. 53 Champion Coupe, to be brought back from the dead.
"Of course it will fit, I have a torch"

N8N
05-07-2008, 09:47 AM
Oldguy, I would take Sal up on his offer. I think the camber change took place in about 1961 or so. The later sway bars make a nice upgrade too, although you might want to keep the early lower control arms because the early shocks are easier to find than later ones. I think that '62 still had the "popsicle" front sway bar mounts but you can buy repros of the 63-up mounts and they work on the '62 front bar. Even if you don't take the whole frame just get the whole front end off of it. Get the rear sway bar too if it has it.

Only downside to using a '62 Hawk for parts is it'll likely have a Ross steering box and the column and jacket will not be correct for a pre-1957 car. (but if that is all you have, it doesn't hurt anything to use it to allow you to drive the car) The real, ideal setup would be a Saginaw manual box from an early Champion C-K if you can find it. If you prefer power steering either setup is OK, either the correct early Saginaw "offset" or else the later Bendix style. The Saginaw P/S also requires a unique column and jacket just so you know.

nate

--
55 Commander Starlight
http://members.cox.net/njnagel

oldguy
05-07-2008, 11:05 AM
Yeah, I'm drooling on the keyboard. The front end was my prime concern, but the idea of a stiffer frame and other upgrades has me thinking OEM may work. I have access to 2 early V8 automatic setups, but saw no point in them if the rest of it was a hack job. Now I'm reconsidering everything. Sal's going to post a thread for a relay, but I'm trying to remain grounded. Getting a rolling chassis from Northern California to South Texas is a daunting task.
I definetly need a lesson on the the steering box options? Probably a separate post.

San antonio TX. 53 Champion Coupe, to be brought back from the dead.
"Of course it will fit, I have a torch"

Jerry Forrester
05-07-2008, 08:25 PM
quote:Originally posted by oldguy829
I am thinking about a chevy van tilt column, connected to a cavalier type center take off R&P. (didn't find any pics of that setup. will have to surf some more)


Here ya go.

http://tinyurl.com/2gj6cu




Jerry Forrester
Douglasville, Georgia
Be sure to check out my eBay store
http://stores.ebay.com/CHROME-CHROME-CHROME_ and my EZ33 store http://tinyurl.com/2g2j88
for your shiny Stude stuff

http://i221.photobucket.com/albums/dd123/jerrystudebaker/11Sept2007e.jpg
More pix of Leo the '55 Pres HT here...http://tinyurl.com/2gj6cu

oldguy
05-07-2008, 08:56 PM
Thank you very much. Very creative. The big "L" bracket puts the center tie rods behind the unit. mounting the unit for a normal front takeoff looked like it would be in the way of everything, and a poor sector angle. Did you use the original tie rods that came with the rack? Assume the steering arm bends are to get them short enough for the rack throw.
The power unit reaches frame to frame nicely. The manual rack is too short so different brackets will be needed. But It's a big help to see a workable location and possible setup. thanks again.

San antonio TX. 53 Champion Coupe, to be brought back from the dead.
"Of course it will fit, I have a torch"

Jerry Forrester
05-07-2008, 10:41 PM
quote:Originally posted by oldguy829
Did you use the original tie rods that came with the rack? Assume the steering arm bends are to get them short enough for the rack throw.
thanks again.

Used the Stude tie rods.
Used Avanti 'quick arms' and shortened them even more to get the steering to retain the 44 feet (working from memory here, a dangerous thing at my age) turning radius.

Jerry Forrester
Douglasville, Georgia
Be sure to check out my eBay store
http://stores.ebay.com/CHROME-CHROME-CHROME_ and my EZ33 store http://tinyurl.com/2g2j88
for your shiny Stude stuff

http://i221.photobucket.com/albums/dd123/jerrystudebaker/11Sept2007e.jpg
More pix of Leo the '55 Pres HT here...http://tinyurl.com/2gj6cu

N8N
05-08-2008, 10:47 AM
Oldguy,

a couple considerations when putting a GT Hawk frame under an early C/K:

1) all of the body mounts may not line up. It would be helpful if you had access to an early junk C-K frame to cut body mounts off of if you needed them.

2) early drivetrains used a two piece driveshaft. The GT Hawk used a one piece driveshaft. If you use an early transmission you will need to add the crossmember for the two piece driveshaft's center support bearing.

3) the trunk floor and gas tank changed in 1958. I suspect that the easiest thing to do would be to use a pre-58 gas tank, mounting brackets, tailpipes, and gravel shield.

Other than that, there's not a whole lot of obstacles to overcome. The basic bodyshell didn't change a whole lot save for the one major change in '58 with the rear suspension, gas tank, etc. and then in '62 with the new roofline.

nate

--
55 Commander Starlight
http://members.cox.net/njnagel

PackardV8
05-08-2008, 10:50 AM
IIRC back when I was doing my steering, the quick-steer arms were out of stock. Not completely comfortable with my blacksmithing skills, I didn't want to heat and hammer the steering arms. I had a machinist shorten the FRONT end of the OEM arms, moving the taper as far back as there was sufficient stock and re-thread for the nut and drill for the cotter pin. This eased my mind about any weakening from heating and bending. It shortened the arms enough to enable the rack to move the kingpins stop-to-stop. No way any rack I have found will have enough travel without bending or shortening the arms.

thnx, jack vines

PackardV8

buddymander
05-08-2008, 12:07 PM
Here's a heavy duty sway bar kit that can be purchased with or without the bar. It clears original studebaker components like the front mounted power steering ram, as well. http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&ih=022&sspagename=STRK%3AMESE%3AIT&viewitem=&item=350045952996&rd=1

sals54
05-10-2008, 03:18 AM
I'm not trying to steal anyone's business, but a front sway bar upgrade is pretty dang easy for any do it yourselfer. I have a spec sheet on how to do it. I made my own decades ago from a 1 1/4 inch front sway bar out of a 80s Oldsmobile Cutlass. They are still plentiful enough in the U Pull It type auto wreckers. They usually sell for $10 -$25 and the brackets are very easy to make. Use the outer links that come with the sway bar and just cut them in half. The inners can use the later style brackets if they are slightly modified to accept the larger brackets. I will try to post the spec sheet here tomorrow. My scanner is on the blink.

sals54
http://i296.photobucket.com/albums/mm197/sals54/NewSignature.jpg

64V-K7
05-10-2008, 07:16 AM
Unless you've revised the installation, here's the URL for your sway bar from about 10 years ago...

http://www.studebaker-info.org/tech/Suspension/swaybar/oldssway/oldssway.jpg

(too big to display here)

Bob Johnstone
http://www.studebaker-info.org/7168422/sig2.jpg
http://www.studebaker-info.org
55 President State Sedan
64 GT Hawk
70 Avanti (R3)

buddymander
05-11-2008, 08:08 PM
Sals--Could you post a pic of this installation? Was the 1 5/16" bar solid or hollow? Also, have you ever driven one with the 1" Avanti bar? If so, how much better is the 1 1/4" bar? And lastly, I must compliment you on your handwriting.

sals54
05-12-2008, 01:01 AM
buddy, the link above that 55Prez posted is my tech sheet. Well, its a shortened version of it, but covers the most important parts. This is the system I've had on my 54 coupe for decades. Never has given me any trouble. I think I used 3/8" grade 8 bolts sized to match the links at the ends. Also, lock nuts on the bolts. The sway bar is solid, not hollow. Like I said before, you cannot get better front end handling any cheaper than this. The Olds sway bars also come in 7/8" and 1". So you can use what ever size you want to get the desired roll control.

sals54
http://i296.photobucket.com/albums/mm197/sals54/NewSignature.jpg

sals54
05-12-2008, 01:02 AM
I will try to get some pix in the next day or so. I have another funeral to go to tomorrow.

sals54
http://i296.photobucket.com/albums/mm197/sals54/NewSignature.jpg

dirtdogit
05-12-2008, 11:57 PM
Sals54, If oldguy is not interested in the roller chassis will the running gear fit under a 56 Champion sedan. Building one with my kid. I am in the Sacramento area.

sals54
05-13-2008, 04:03 AM
I just sent Oldguy a note to see if its going to work out for him. If he does not want it. It will be up for grabs. One other person has shown interest in it, so we'll see what happens. OK?

sals54
http://i296.photobucket.com/albums/mm197/sals54/NewSignature.jpg

leyrret
05-13-2008, 05:56 AM
http://www.studebaker-info.org/tech/Suspension/swaybar/oldssway/oldssway.jpg

These directions are also in Studebaker Technical Tips book.

buddymander
05-13-2008, 10:27 AM
According to the pic, the end of the bar is hanging down below the lower control arm. Shouldn't it be above the control arm? Is the bar supposed to be mounted upsidedown? That's why I wanted to see a pic of the installation.

sals54
05-13-2008, 01:02 PM
OK...OK... I'll try to get the pix out today. Sheeesh, you guys are so impatient. I guess its just something I take for granted. Its been installed under there for so long, I forget about it. Then I drive one of these other C K models around here and UGH, you can't even turn a corner without feeling like the car is going off the road. But its just a matter of comparison.

sals54
http://i296.photobucket.com/albums/mm197/sals54/NewSignature.jpg

oldguy
05-13-2008, 04:20 PM
Yes, I want that frame, but NO, I don't think it is going to work out. The relay idea has fizzeled. Sal, you should make someone up there happy, and I'll try to find one closer to home. I do appreciate your effort tho.
don

San antonio TX. 53 Champion Coupe, to be brought back from the dead.
"Of course it will fit, I have a torch"

N8N
05-13-2008, 06:02 PM
If this frame is from a '62 GT, it will NOT fit under any sedan without major modifications (if at all.)

nate

--
55 Commander Starlight
http://members.cox.net/njnagel

sals54
05-13-2008, 08:55 PM
Here are 3 pix of the sway bar install done over 20 years ago.

This one is the end link. The car is on a jack close to the tire so the orientation is about as close to street height as I can get it. There is a little rub on the sway bar, but its minimal as you will see in the picture of the tire. It only rubs if I am locked in a turn and get a good bump into it. Part of that has to do with the wheels I've used. The offset could be better. They are a bit too far inboard for my taste anyway.

http://i296.photobucket.com/albums/mm197/sals54/IMG_0611.jpg

The next pic is of the bracket. It is modified as per the drawings and is mounted with the added rigidity of a couple of square washers available at any hardware store. These washers are used to hold down sill plates on houses. They are common and cheap. They distribute the force over a greater area of the frame.

http://i296.photobucket.com/albums/mm197/sals54/IMG_0612.jpg


This last one is to show the lack of wear on the inside of the tire. The rubbing is quite minor as you can see. Obviously there is not any significant wear on the tire or I would have made wheel changes years ago.

http://i296.photobucket.com/albums/mm197/sals54/IMG_0613.jpg


Now you can paint everything to match the body color and add a shiny metalflake paint job or have everything powder coated to look fabulous when someone looks under your car, or you can do a utilitarian style install such as this and reap the benefits of superb handling at a very cheap cost. I'm a cheapskate.... who likes to go fast and stop well and corner flat. So sue me. &lt;G&gt;



sals54
http://i296.photobucket.com/albums/mm197/sals54/NewSignature.jpg

buddymander
05-14-2008, 10:11 AM
I see the cutlass and camaro bar are close to the same dimensions. Now I understand the biggest difference between the installations is that the camaro bar is mounted further forward, allowing the bar to be linked from above the lower control arm, as original, instead of below. Both methods employ reinforcement of the frame area where the bracket bolts on and both utilize the same existing frame mounting bolts. Both setups would result in similar exceptional cornering ability. It would be interesting to compare turning circles.

sals54
05-14-2008, 11:12 AM
This mount arrangement was due in part to the front mounted front calipers of my first disc brake installation. I later changed the calipers to the rear of the spindle. Now the brake hose passes right above the link. I did not want any interference of the link to the brake hose either, so I left it as is. Remember to check for all brake parts clearance first.

sals54
http://i296.photobucket.com/albums/mm197/sals54/NewSignature.jpg

buddymander
05-17-2008, 10:51 AM
Was there a problem with the front mounted calipers? I'm wondering because I have another project where I want to swap spindles left and right on an aerostar suspension and use the original stude truck box along with an idler arm. This would put the calipers in front instead of back. It's a lot of work so I just want to make sure that the brakes aren't going to react in a weird way, making all my trouble for nothing.

PackardV8
05-17-2008, 12:04 PM
The calipers don't care whether they are front, back, top, bottom, anywhere on the circumference of the rotor, AS LONG AS THE BLEED SCREWS ARE THE HIGHEST POINT OF THE CALIPER! Many calipers are mounted at the center rear, as that protects them from the worst of the mud, rocks, water, etc. Check for interference with sway bars, suspension links, crossmembers; sometimes where they are is because that's the only open space.

thnx, jack vines

PackardV8

sals54
05-17-2008, 07:42 PM
The way I had my calipers mounted in the front caused an occasional interference with the upper control arm if I was exiting down a driveway with the wheels cocked over. I decided that this was unacceptable, so I changed them to the rear of the spindle and have not had any trouble with them in this position.

sals54
http://i296.photobucket.com/albums/mm197/sals54/NewSignature.jpg

Dan Timberlake
05-19-2008, 12:57 PM
Jack Vines wrote - "Do make an effort to find the later kingpins which have more positive caster. I consider them a requirement for radial tires and high speeds."

What would you expect find in a manual steering 1960 hawk for kingpins and steering box

N8N
05-19-2008, 07:02 PM
Dan,

if your car is 100% stock it will have the earlier kingpins and knuckles and probably a Ross steering box. I think by then it would have been a Ross "SL" which isn't nearly as bad as the earlier ones however. Check to make sure, if it's a "TA" or "TL" those are the really awful ones.

nate

--
55 Commander Starlight
http://members.cox.net/njnagel