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View Full Version : Baby and I get lucky (of sorts)



StudeDave57
07-19-2009, 11:10 PM
Ever since I bought Baby back in 1999 I've had a minor 'issue' with her and her steering system. There were times when I'd be driving along minding my own business, and things would suddenly 'tighten up' on me. I was still able to control the car, but it wasn't easy. Usually it would happen on longer trips. Sometimes the tube (and even the horn button) would feel hot to the touch, and there would be a binding type of noise, other times not so much. Short of pulling the entire thing apart, I had checked all I could- and never found anything wrong.

Since she's been out of my care for nearly a year, I'd not really thought much about this 'little' issue- until this past Friday while out and about exploring my 'new' County. Yup- it started to act up on me, and making lots of noise as well. So I went about my business, and added it to the 'gotta check into that' on my mental list of things to do.

Then Saturday rolled around. That morning I drove home to Dad's, and then out to My Place. I had some items on one of my other cars I wanted to get done that day. As I drove that short two miles- the steering got all tight like it had the day before- but the noises were much louder then before. Something was binding for sure, but what and where were still a mystery to me. That all changed when I got into the parking lot at My Place. As I was making the turn into the lot, and around to where I needed to park the tight steering got worse- much worse. I'd managed to get the car just about where I needed to when I heard a 'POP' and then the tight steering went away~ FOR GOOD!!! The wheel was now useless, and moving it in any direction does NOTHING.

How lucky am I that this didn't happen the day before~ out on some lonely Whatcom County country road, or even worse yet~ out on the FREEWAY (or elsewhere) at speed [?] [?] [?]

Now I have two 'dead' cars out of the three I had just two weeks ago. [:0] [B)] :( Betsy is my 'new' best friend~ and hangin' in there~ just a few minor tweeks and a new front seat away from being ready for everyday use, she is!!!



StudeDave '57 [8D]
Ferndale, WA

'54 Commander Regal 4dr 'Ruby'
'57 Parkview 'Betsy' (she's a 2dr wagon)
'57 Commander DeLuxe 2dr 'Baby'
'57 Champion Custom 2dr 'Jewel'
'58 Packard sedan 'Cleo'
'65 Cruiser 'Sweet Pea'

jlmccuan
07-19-2009, 11:32 PM
Dave, something tells me when you find the cause and how close it was to failing for a long time, you'll be scared to death at the "near miss" you've been driving. Glad you're OK.

Jim
http://i186.photobucket.com/albums/x98/jlmccuan/Avanti/AvantiSignature.jpghttp://i186.photobucket.com/albums/x98/jlmccuan/Avanti/DSCF4389.jpghttp://i186.photobucket.com/albums/x98/jlmccuan/Avanti/Logo/RabidSnailSignature.jpg
____1966 Avanti II RQA 0088_______________1963 Avanti R2 63R3152____________Rabid Snail Racing

silverhawk
07-19-2009, 11:41 PM
Wow, glad your alright!

Dylan Wills

'61 lark deluxe 4 door wagon

5859
07-19-2009, 11:53 PM
Are there upper and lower bearings in the tube/column? If so it sounds like one of those may have gone out.

StudeDave57
07-20-2009, 12:11 AM
quote:Originally posted by jlmccuan

Dave, something tells me when you find the cause and how close it was to failing for a long time, you'll be scared to death at the "near miss" you've been driving. Glad you're OK. Jim
I am VERY afraid of what I'll find, yes. Plans are to install an entire column/gearbox from a newer Stude due to parts being NLA for the '57.

quote:Originally posted by silverhawk

Wow, glad your alright! Dylan
Me too!!! Thanks for the concern as well.

quote:Originally posted by 5859

Are there upper and lower bearings in the tube/column? If so it sounds like one of those may have gone out.
I'm not 100% sure what is in there, but Dad and I are leaning toward the gear/gears that are in the steering gearbox. We'll get to the bottom of it when we can get the engine out of the way~ we were planning to pull the tired 259 very soon anyway... ;)


StudeDave '57 [8D]

PlainBrownR2
07-20-2009, 12:53 AM
Welcome to the club Dave!! I had the near exact same issue on the Lark last winter. When the car was cold, such as sitting overnight, the steering would bind until I was able to muscle it loose, and then it would work great for the rest of the day. Within 2-3 weeks of this, this progressed to one snowy(yeah yall heard me snowy), when a simple right turn from the driveway and up the road no more than 40 feet and the Lark was in the ditch. The wheel let loose inside of the steering box, which was now steering freely in all directions, albeit now pretty much useless. The Saginaw box was replaced(which also led to the replacement of an R2 oilpan), but the center bellcrank was also disassembled as well. The Lark is supposed to have the bushing center bellcrank, we replaced it a few years ago for an older style bearing center bellcrank(Bearings win out over bushings around here most of the time, lol). The bellcrank has two sets of bearing races, one in the upper half, one in the lower half. The upper races were seized solid, while the lower bearing races were still free. Luckily this is a Timken? number, so it was a matter of looking through the NAPA bearing catalogs to find the number of the bearing races. Both of the races were replaced and the car hasn't had a lick of trouble since.
In this case the upper bearing race seized and it appeared to be causing the binding through the whole steering system, which resulted in a busted Saginaw box. The bellcrank was also liberally greased on a consistent basis, so greased things still have a propensity to go south in a hurry even when they're maintained.

[IMG=left]http://i158.photobucket.com/albums/t102/PlainBrownR2/55%20Studebaker%20Commander%20Streetrod%20Project/P1010531-1.jpg[/IMG=left]
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[IMG=right]http://i158.photobucket.com/albums/t102/PlainBrownR2/My%201964%20Studebaker%20Commander%20R2/P1010168.jpg[/IMG=right]

Mark57
07-20-2009, 01:45 AM
quote:Originally posted by StudeDave57
As I was making the turn into the lot, and around to where I needed to park the tight steering got worse- much worse. I'd managed to get the car just about where I needed to when I heard a 'POP' and then the tight steering went away~ FOR GOOD!!! The wheel was now useless, and moving it in any direction does NOTHING.

StudeDave '57
Ferndale, WA



Fortuitous timing to be sure!
Glad no one was harmed. :)

<h5>Mark
'57 Transtar Deluxe
Vancouver Island Chapter
http://sdcvi.shawwebspace.ca/ </h5>

http://i186.photobucket.com/albums/x153/MarkH57/CandyStore1Thumb.jpg

StudeRich
07-20-2009, 01:49 AM
That is very interesting John. Even though your Steering Gear is entirely different than Dave's Ross type SL worm & sector type in the '57 Sedan, your's being a recirculating Ball type Saginaw, the result sounds the same. [xx(]

Are you saying that the seized Torrington Bearing caused the Steering gear to bind and break?

On Dave's worm and sector type Steering Gear, my guess is that the steering shaft may have somehow broken off of the worm Gear. Whatever happened it is free as a bird now, no scrapping or grinding or anything, the wheel just spins nice and smooth. Not really what you want while driving, for sure! [xx(]

We WILL find the cause though, and report on it. The center pivot (bellcrank shaft) will be checked, but with the wheels off the ground, it seems to turn smooth and easy, so those Bearings may be fine.

You know, that makes me wonder about those Torrington bearings being superior to Bronze Bushings. I always thought they were better, like you. But Bushings do have more surface area to support the shaft and would be less likely to bind up, loose a roller and smash the cage like yours probably did, maybe Studebaker was wise to replace the Bearings with Bushings in 1963! [:0]
A Torrington Bearing is just a lightweight tin caged set of tiny needle Bearings like inside of an Alternator, not even close to the strength and Quality of a Timkin Tapered Roller Bearing, like your Wheel Bearings.

StudeRich

PlainBrownR2
07-20-2009, 02:52 AM
Torrington!! That was it, too many bearings with T's, lol.The Torrington bearings are the ones that can be run through a NAPA catalog. The nice thing is these are an area that was standardized, so it may be used in another application, but have the same number. What happened when we went through the steering system was we ended up going from stem to stern on the linkage. We first replaced the box, and then while we had the bellcrank off to replace one damaged R2 oilpan, we discovered one of the Torrington races had seized solid, so we replaced both of the races. Everything else(tie rods, king pins, what have you) checked you like it should. You have to remember that these bellcranks are 40 years old, and our vehicles with consistent usage are not getting any younger, so with the bellcranks being in these vehicles this long and many of them seeing alot of minute back and forth movement, the impossible can become quite possible with long enough wear and tear. My suggestion is check all areas where there needs to be movement. In my case I believe that the binding may have seized the pin to the point that when I tried to strongarm it loose again, the box just flat failed from being the weakest point in the system.

[IMG=left]http://i158.photobucket.com/albums/t102/PlainBrownR2/55%20Studebaker%20Commander%20Streetrod%20Project/P1010531-1.jpg[/IMG=left]
[IMG=left]http://i158.photobucket.com/albums/t102/PlainBrownR2/55%20Studebaker%20Commander%20Streetrod%20Project/P1010550-1.jpg[/IMG=left]
[IMG=right]http://i158.photobucket.com/albums/t102/PlainBrownR2/Ex%20Studebaker%20Plant%20Locomotive/P1000578-1.jpg[/IMG=right]
[IMG=right]http://i158.photobucket.com/albums/t102/PlainBrownR2/My%201964%20Studebaker%20Commander%20R2/P1010168.jpg[/IMG=right]

barnlark
07-20-2009, 03:07 AM
Dave, I have a low mileage Ross box and shaft out of my '60. It's yours for shipping to try out.

showbizkid
07-20-2009, 08:10 AM
I'm glad you're OK, Dave. Parts can be replaced; you cannot.


[img=left]http://members.cox.net/clarknovak/lark.gif[/img=left]

Clark in San Diego
'63 F2/Lark Standard
http://studeblogger.blogspot.com
www.studebakersandiego.com

StudeDave57
07-20-2009, 01:28 PM
quote:Originally posted by barnlark

Dave, I have a low mileage Ross box and shaft out of my '60. It's yours for shipping to try out.
Thanks for the offer, I'll keep it in mind. But we've got plenty of donor cars (and parts) here to choose from. We ought to be able to make something work, I believe... ;)

quote:Originally posted by showbizkid

I'm glad you're OK, Dave. Parts can be replaced; you cannot. Clark
True that, true that.

StudeDave '57 [8D]

Allan Songer
07-20-2009, 02:18 PM
I hate Ross boxes--so this is your chance to replace it with a Saginaw box from a '54 - '55 Champion sedan.

I have never heard of a steering gear shattering before--amazing. You are one lucky dude.

I once had a tierod end come off of a Ford Cortina at about 45 mph on Pacific Coast Higway. Luckily there was nobody around and I didn't hit anything, but talk about a white-knuckle ride . . .

warrlaw1
07-20-2009, 02:51 PM
I would suspect body sag, but it's not my car. I had a VW bug with body sag and the collapsible steering column would sheer off without warning. I replaced it with cold rolled steel, and used the car for signage and emergency pursuits. I never let anyone else drive it lest they hit something and impaled themselves on the steering column. I,too, am glad, you're OK.

Rosstude
07-20-2009, 03:41 PM
Dave,
Thank God your OK, that could have been bad. I had the ross box out of the wagon a few months ago, and rebuilt it. The busings (2) pressed in and needed no reaming. There is a follower with needle bearings, which is my guess as to what failed. There is a locking plate on the back of the follower, and if it came loose, I suspect it could bind up until some or all the rollers came out, then it could come out of place causing complete failure. I got a NOS kit which had the follower, needles, lock plate, and the nut. I had to order a little spring scale to measure the less than 10 ounces of pull sited in the manual, other than that it was not too bad to rebuild, but not something I would mess around with, like brakes it has to be right.
I test fitted a saginaw box from a lark, it was too long by several inches, if I recall correctly. Glad your OK.

[img=left]http://i52.photobucket.com/albums/g27/Rosstude/OldWorld2005002.jpg[/img=left]
Ross.
Riverside, Ca.
1957 Provincial X2
1958 Transtar

Bellingham Studenut
07-20-2009, 11:02 PM
Yikes Dave! How lucky you were to have it happen then and there!
Could a steering unit out of a 57 Packard work?
Your Betsy will be a great car to drive, if you can find a seat.

James

The Bell Collection
Bellingham, WA.

studeken
07-21-2009, 05:17 PM
Is this a 50's Saginaw PS unit? Same thing happened on Cheryl's '59 Hawk. Took a friend to the airport and on the way back on the I-10 fwy near Fontana on a long sweeping turn I had to tur the wheel 2 full revolutions to make the curve. Made the last turn onto our street and the wheel did nothing. Wheels were turned just enough to make a wide sweep into the driveway. Turned out there is a pin at the bottom of the shaft that was pulverized and basically disconnected the column from the steering box. Definately a weak point on those systems, although it's a wonderful P/S setup, better than the complicated Bendix. KP

Ken Pyle

StudeRich
07-21-2009, 05:30 PM
No Ken, as mentioned nine posts up:
"That is very interesting John. Even though your Steering Gear is entirely different than Dave's Ross type SL worm & sector type in the '57 Sedan, yours being a recirculating Ball type Saginaw, the result sounds the same."

It is a Standard Ross as all Eight Cylinder non-Power '57 gears were.

This is supposed to be a very RARE occurrence, but that's THREE now, YIKES really scary! [V] [:0]

After 57 years metal fatigue is catching up to us. :(

StudeRich

okc63avanti
07-21-2009, 07:15 PM
quote: How lucky am I that this didn't happen the day before~ out on some lonely Whatcom County country road, or even worse yet~ out on the FREEWAY .....

Dave, sorry to hear about the car but glad this didn't happen in a situation that was far worst....and Luck is not involved. Too many things like this have happened in my life or the life of friends to be luck. Perhaps those Studebaker Drivers who are in heaven now are our Guardian angels!

<div align="left">John</div id="left">

<div align="left">'63 Avanti, R1, Auto, AC, PW (unrestored)</div id="left">
http://i429.photobucket.com/albums/qq16/okc63avanti/63StudebakerAvanti-1.jpg

StudeDave57
07-21-2009, 07:54 PM
Thanks to all who have replied. All I can say is that we'll know more about what happened after I get it apart. That will happen when I get to it. There area few other projects ahead of me before I can do that now. :(

quote:Originally posted by warrlaw1

I would suspect body sag, but it's not my car.
I wouldn't. This a VERY solid California car. :D [8D] [^]

quote:Originally posted by Rosstude

I had the ross box out of the wagon a few months ago, and rebuilt it.
I test fitted a saginaw box from a lark, it was too long by several inches, if I recall correctly.
Thanks for the info Ross. It's not my first choice to rebuild it~ but we may have to based on what we find when we get back to this car, and have a chance to look over the many donor parts at hand.

quote:Originally posted by Bellingham Studenut

Could a steering unit out of a 57 Packard work? Your Betsy will be a great car to drive, if you can find a seat. James
I thought about the Packard too- but have not checked the parts book as yet. That car had power steering and was a stick as you may remember. ;)
The seat is another issue altogether. I was looking at the one I got from you the other day, and managed to break the adjuster knob off in my hand... [:0] :(
No worries~ I have a plan 'b' and 'c'!!!


StudeDave '57 [8D]

jeryst
07-22-2009, 12:50 AM
Glad that you are okay. I believe that God watches over us and sees that these things sometime happen at a more convenient time.

A similar thing happened to me a couple of years ago. I bought a 67 Buick GranSport that was in really nice shape. I drove it around for a couple of weeks with no problems. One day, I decided to take the wife and kids out for a ride to get some ice cream. We were on roads with 55-65 mph speed limits. When we got close to our home, I noticed that there was some road work going on and traffic was backed up, so, a couple blocks away from my house, I turned onto a small alley that leads to my house. As I was creeping down the tar and chipped alley at about 5 mph, there was a tremendous bang, and the car came to an immediate halt, throwing everyone forward. I got out to look, and found that a rear shock had broken off right at the head, and the force had shoved it right through the sidewall of the tire. Luckily, I was moving very slowly, and the gravel on the alley allowed the immobilized wheel to slide. I shudder to think what the outcome might have been had this happened just a few minutes earlier while traveling at a much higher rate of speed.

PlainBrownR2
07-22-2009, 01:16 AM
LOL, in my case I swear He(or whoever it is) was looking for a comedic laugh, because what happened, happened literally right in front of my property, not more than 30 feet from the driveway!! Here is a man who will put the Lark through anything, who had never skidded into a ditch, who can take ice and snow with gusto, and what happens: The car wields to the right, into the snow filled ditch, with the a** end sticking into a very busy street with no hazards, and a man who is now standing in the freezing cold and cannot get his own now extremely heavy car out of the the ditch with his own strength, nor can he steer it in any direction. To make it worse the driveway to a safe haven is only a short distance, and I can't go anywhere. It might as well been 30 miles rather than 30 feet, lol.

This was one of those times where I look up and go "You're really pushing it".

The epilogue, our neighbor had a rather large Chevy pickup with a strap. After the cop arrived, and I convinced him I didn't spin out, that it was a mechanical failure. My sister then came out to see what was the problem, and traffic was getting backed up on the street. The neighbor took his strap, and I slung it around the axle and we dragged it back into the driveway backwards. He received some Baileys for his troubles after his service :)

[IMG=left]http://i158.photobucket.com/albums/t102/PlainBrownR2/55%20Studebaker%20Commander%20Streetrod%20Project/P1010531-1.jpg[/IMG=left]
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53starliner
07-22-2009, 09:19 PM
As Studeken said...I had the same symptoms and problem on my 56 Parkview with the Saginaw PS. The roll pin first worked its way out thus binding on the steering housing, then sheared. It's a splined shaft, so I could push it down to steer. Pulling it up would disconnect it from the steering box. A relatively easy fix, but startling to say the least when it first happened.

Fred