View Full Version : PAL nuts - how tight is right?

08-17-2006, 07:52 AM
Okay, I'm making progress - my '52 Commander has 8 fewer holes this morning than it did yesterday - I got the pistons back in. Bolts are torqued, and the crank is hard to turn again. My question is, how tight am I supposed to tighten those PAL nuts? I didn't see that bit of information in my manual.

08-17-2006, 08:09 AM
" Crank is hard to turn..."

Did you check the bearing clearance with Plastigage?

08-17-2006, 09:52 AM
Also did you put the caps on in the correct direction? the stamped numbers on the rods should be on the same side of the rod.

good luck


55 Commander Starlight

08-17-2006, 11:03 AM
Several years ago I tore down a 232 that had lost a pal nut and I have not used them since. I also asked Ted Harbit about not useing them and he said he didn't use them. So I guess I am in good company.
I think he was saying that the crank turned harder now that the pistons and rods are in. So thats not a bad thing.

Jerry (studeblu)
64 E13 Transtar
53 Coupe
53 2R6 pickup

08-17-2006, 11:32 AM
I know folks that would lose sleep over not having PAL nuts in place when the pan's snugged up. But I don't bother with them. Haven't for years. No blow-ups yet.[:0]

Miscreant at large.

1957 Transtar 1/2ton
1960 Larkvertible V8
1958 Provincial wagon
1953 Commander coupe
1957 President 2-dr
1955 President State
1951 Champion Biz cpe
1963 Daytona project FS

Mike Van Veghten
08-17-2006, 12:33 PM
A tiny, little, thin, stamped sheet metal nut....

Don't worry about not using them. If they are such a needed piece of equipment, todays cars would have them too. The correct nut torque is all that's required.

Leave'em in the box they're in now and move on with your assembly.


08-17-2006, 02:41 PM
I was saying that the crank is harder to turn now that there are 24 new rings pulling against the cylinder walls! I don't think it is any tighter than any other engine I've rebuilt. Thanks for the advice on the PAL nuts. Any secrets on the front crankshaft seal? A piece of felt works great keeping the grease in the front wheel bearings on my Dodge Brothers Touring car, and hopefully will do as good a job on this engine. Studebaker must have thought it adequate 50-some years ago.

08-17-2006, 02:59 PM
if you choose not to retrofit a modern neoprene seal, drill a small hole in the retainer positioned so that it will allow oil to drain from the felt back into the pan. just not directly at 6 o'clock so that the felt retains some oil.

If this engine absolutely, positively, has to not leak, Fairborn sells a neoprene lip seal with the required piece of shim stock to make it work. I think Jeff R. was working on a better design that didn't require silicone and shims, but I don't know if it's ready for prime time yet.

good luck,


55 Commander Starlight

08-17-2006, 05:59 PM
A felt seal will do just fine. Put a drop of Lok-tite on the small screws holding the seal retainer. Be particular about how you seal the pan and timing cover, to the engine block. My 55 was done 15K miles ago and doesn't leak, other than an errant drop from a weak pan drain bolt gasket.
I used a neophrene seal on my Hawk and bought the seal and sleeve assembly from Ted Harbit. The seal needed a couple shims, made from a beer can, to center it. Oddly enough, Ray Fichthorn has the install procedure on his website with different part numbers than I used. Personally, I think the neophrene seal stretches a bit too much over the crank hub, which now has the speedi-sleeve, covering the oil slinger spiral. I haven't driven mine much to tell if this is a problem though.

08-17-2006, 11:50 PM
Connecting rod nuts are locked with stamped nuts which should not be reused when once removed. Install these nuts with the flat face toward the connecting rod nut. Turn the locking nut finger tight and then tighten it an additional one-third turn with a wrench. Motors auto repair manual 1957 Studebaker pg. 922

08-21-2006, 08:25 AM
Thanks Alan, for the answer to my original question.
Another question now, though, brought on by the comment by 55prez: 'Put a drop of Lok-tite on the small screws holding the seal retainer. ' My seal retainer appears to be welded in, and the felt seal is pressed in to the gap left between the cover and the 'retainer'. Was there a production change somewhere after this 232 was built in 1952?

08-21-2006, 01:22 PM
Tony, What pres. was talking about is the cast aluminum timing covers used on the later cars with a fuel pump on the cover, not like the stamped steel cover used on the early cars, no matter how hard you look you will never find those bolts on your cover cause they are not there.