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sdc_rocketeer
11-10-2004, 08:43 PM
I am working on a 1952 champion with flat 6. I want to lower the height of the car. I have talk the poeple at Phantom Auto Works, but I want to retain the original configuration. Can anyone tell me any thing about short spring.

Sonny
11-11-2004, 12:37 AM
If you want to keep the original front end components, (and I think that's a good thing), there is no dropped spindles made for Studebakers, (at least none that I know about). You'll have to cut your coil springs by a coil or two or use heat to lower them. We've talked about this before, and I think cutting coils out changes the ride by making it very "choppy" and stiff. Heating the coils gives a better ride, but it takes some real focus on what you're doing to get the two front springs perfectly symmetrical.

There is a way to make it easier to use heat to lower them. Basically, with the car sitting level and sitting with it's full weight on it's suspension, what we've done is put blocks or pile something under the front of the car frame that won't move or compress very readily at the height where we want the car to be. Obviously there will a space between the frame and the "pile" before you heat the coils. Take your oxy/acetylene torch and heat the two center coils trying to keep them as evenly heated as possible, the car will lower as they get hot, (and you should be trying to lower it slowly), until it just hits what ever is underneath the frame, STOP, let the coils cool slowly, then do the other side. Hope this helps......

Sonny
http://RacingStudebakers.com

Tom B
11-11-2004, 12:21 PM
When my 53 coupe was restored, a well-meaning mechanic replaced the old springs with heavy duty springs. This made the front end about 3 inches higher than original. A local spring shop removed two coils from the end and it lowered it to the right height. I have noticed no difference in ride or handling. This is not to say that if you did the same thing to regular springs you might not experience a degraded ride.

Tom Bredehoft
'53 Commander Coupe
'60 Lark VI

sdc_rocketeer
11-11-2004, 08:48 PM
[quote]Originally posted by sdc_rocketeer

I am working on a 1952 champion with flat 6. I want to lower the height of the car. I have talk the poeple at Phantom Auto Works, but I want to retain the original configuration. Can anyone tell me any thing about short spring.
[/quote Has anyone had shorter spring made by one of the spring companies?

sdc_rocketeer
11-15-2004, 10:53 PM
quote:Originally posted by Sonny

If you want to keep the original front end components, (and I think that's a good thing), there is no dropped spindles made for Studebakers, (at least none that I know about). You'll have to cut your coil springs by a coil or two or use heat to lower them. We've talked about this before, and I think cutting coils out changes the ride by making it very "choppy" and stiff. Heating the coils gives a better ride, but it takes some real focus on what you're doing to get the two front springs perfectly symmetrical.

There is a way to make it easier to use heat to lower them. Basically, with the car sitting level and sitting with it's full weight on it's suspension, what we've done is put blocks or pile something under the front of the car frame that won't move or compress very readily at the height where we want the car to be. Obviously there will a space between the frame and the "pile" before you heat the coils. Take your oxy/acetylene torch and heat the two center coils trying to keep them as evenly heated as possible, the car will lower as they get hot, (and you should be trying to lower it slowly), until it just hits what ever is underneath the frame, STOP, let the coils cool slowly, then do the other side. Hope this helps......

Sonny
http://RacingStudebakers.com

Sonny
11-15-2004, 11:37 PM
quote:Originally posted by sdc_rocketeer
[br Has anyone had shorter spring made by one of the spring companies?


Yep, I have, but you have to find a good spring company who will work with you. We have Brute Spring here in Buffoonalo. You'll have to take the old spring in and tell them what you're trying to do. It CAN get expensive, unless they have something on a shelf that you can use.

Sonny
http://RacingStudebakers.com

sdc_rocketeer
11-29-2004, 10:02 PM
Thanks for the information. I have found a reasonable spring company. How much can I lower with out any problems? I am thinking 2 inches would be the max. I am also thinking about a 1 inch front sway bar to reduce body roll. Let me know what you think.

Sonny
11-29-2004, 10:09 PM
I think you're all over it rocketeer, just right, about two inches and a heavier front bar will be the ticket me tinks. :) I Would check around for the bar. I do NOT know what is true or what is heresay, but I understand, (ONLY from what I've Heard), that the current supplier has a problem with the current offering. Let us know how it all turns out for ya ok? Thanks in advance!

Sonny
http://RacingStudebakers.com

Jeff_H
12-01-2004, 12:49 PM
I put a 3.8l ford V6 and AT in my '53 champion hardtop. The stock springs were too stiff as that drivetrain has a lot of aluminum parts. Front end sat too high. I found that putting spring clamps on the front coils to clamp to coils together got the height right but made for some wiggy handling. I found this company:

http://www.coilsprings.com/

I sent them a spring with the clamps still on it and they made up a pair of new ones for me that were shorter. I've been using them on the car and they work fine. The handling is not weird anymore on the interstate like it was with the clamped springs. I don't recall the cost but I didn't think it was too bad. Seems to me it was about $140 for the pair. Other thing I did was put a '63 hawk front sway bar on and a '55 president sedan rear bar.

Jeff

'53 Champion Hardtop

sdc_rocketeer
12-02-2004, 06:41 AM
Thanks for the info. How hard was it to get the ford engine in to your car. Do you have enought horsepower? Did you have to cut the firewall? I love to see some photos.

Rocketeer

Tom B
12-02-2004, 10:15 AM
3.8 L is almost exactly 232 cid, same displacement as Studebakers' '53 V8. I'll bet a modern engine, with possibly more valves per cylinder and EFI would almost double the 120 original horses. Sounds like a great swap.

Tom Bredehoft
'53 Commander Coupe
'60 Lark VI

Jeff_H
12-06-2004, 12:31 PM
Sorry for the late reply... The ford 3.8 was not the easiest swap I am sure (only one I've ever done tho so its tough to judge). I used a "early" one from a '84 tbird I bought that was wrecked. This was in '95. My main reason for doing it was I wanted EFI and due to severe frame rust that I had to repair and the light gauge metal used in the stude frame I didn't want a heavy engine to add stress. The early EFI 3.8 is only rated at about 112hp so its not a hot setup, but its got more than the original flathead 6 had (85hp) and weighs a lot less than a 232ci stude v8. The 232 was rated at 120hp I think so its similar in that dept as well as displacement. The later 3.8s have multi-port efi and more power. Back when I bought the wrecked car, those were a more costly prospect as far as buying a whole car to strip for the drivetrain. Probably now options are different. I've got 2.79 rear gears and a AT so its strictly a hi-way cruiser, but it keeps up with traffic fine and I've driven on the interstate many times. I get about 23mpg with it.

As far as the install, I tried not to do any serious body or frame cutting. Only think I did was hog out the driveshaft tunnel a little around the crossmember since I used a 1 pc shaft. The firewall and all the front of the frame is stock. Homemade motor mount brackets are bolted to the frame in the same holes as the stude ones used. I did have to weld some brackets to bolt a homemade tranny cross member to as well. I had my car at the Zone meet in WI last august and a couple of photos are posted on this website:

http://www.studeski.com/chippfalls/82.htm

Due to all the wiring for the engine computer and fuel system stuff for the EFI, its not a no-brainer swap. I'm a EE and do similar design work for my job so it wasn't a big deal for me. I think its essential to buy a whole car to strip for parts though since just getting a engine from a 'yard you won't get all the electronics, wiring, etc and its a pain to piecemeal together.

email me for other questions or photos, I'll be happy to discuss.

Jeff



'53 Champion Hardtop

Roscomacaw
12-06-2004, 01:35 PM
Nice-lookin' car Jeff! I actualy like your powerplant conversion. I'm supposed to be a ranting lunatic about not ditching Stude power, and I DO strive to retain it whenever it's possible. But my primary distaste is that so MANY Studes are fitted with small-block Chevy's that they make blades of grass look rare. I think your choice of engine is truly in keeping with the car's personality and tractability. I'll just bet it handles nice too.[^]

Miscreant at large.