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View Full Version : Avanti issues w/new owner...HELP!



JBOYLE
02-19-2006, 07:34 PM
After a six week wait, my 63 Avanti was delivered yesterday!
I'm finally a Stude driver as well as owner. I'm amazed by the car...the steering is light years ahead of what I was expecting, the brakes are just about what I was expecting. My wife even commented favorably on the ride!
The car was as the seller described it. So I'm a happy camper.
EXCEPT for a couple of issues (you knew there had to be issues)...:D

During hard right turns (right only) at low speed there is a rubbing sound coming from (I suppose) the power steering area. (This is in addition to the normal PS sounds). A long time Avanti owner who who test drove the car for me reported similar sounds. Before shipment, I had its long time mechanic look it over and he found nothing amiss. I think I just found out why. When the car is in the air, it doesn't happen. Whgen weight is on the car the noise occurs. Other than the noise the steerin seems fine. Any ideas?

Also, after a drive there are oil puddles under the car. About a six square inch area well in back of the oil pan. Olso, there seems to be oil in the front cross member. It had an oil change just before shipment, and these were the first extended drives since the change. Any chance it could just be overflow? the oil fitler case is dry, so thst's not it.
Rear main seal?
If so , how big a deal is that to fix? Does it need hard to come by gaskets or could someone get them from NAPA? Does a Stude specialist need to do it or can any mechanic sympathic to old cars do it? I want to drive it, but it's leaking a fair amount of oil..just stopping to open the garage door leaves a small puddle on the driveway.
Thanks

63 Avanti R1 2788
1914 Stutz Bearcat
(George Barris replica)

Washington State

N8N
02-19-2006, 07:55 PM
re: the rubbing noise, do you have wider/aftermarket wheels? could be the tire hitting the fender lip. been known to happen, esp. on Larks.

re: oil, sounds like my car! probably a combination of front main seal (it's felt, can be replaced with neoprene) oil pan and maybe rear main. Not a fun job but doable. The oil pan gasket looks like it was designed by Rube Goldberg. I'll be fighting this same battle as soon as Jeff R. finishes polishing a timing cover for me so wish us both luck. Before you tear into it though check and make sure the valve cover gaskets are OK, as well as the one at the base of the distributor, and also the hose to the oil pressure gauge line. Basically check every gasket on the engine, because they are all known to leak. If you have cork valve cover gaskets consider getting a set of the neoprene ones at your next valve adjustment, then you will never need to replace them again.

This sounds insane, but if you have a cherrypicker, some floor space, and an engine stand, you may want to consider yanking the engine to do this. Like I said, I'm fighting the same battle you are and I'm strongly leaning towards "yank the engine" although I have a '55 coupe not an Avanti. This way I can clean, paint, etc. everything under the hood and it will make my inner anal retentive happy (and make subsequent oil leaks that much easier to spot.)

Now here's where I beg and plead for some vendor to heed my call again... could someone PLEASE make a one piece, molded neoprene oil pan gasket with a steel core? it would be SOOOOO nice if I could get one like they sell for VWs... turns a PITA job into one so easy you just want to drop your oil pan to wipe down the inside of the engine every time you change the oil (well, OK, I exaggerate a little... but they are the feline's posterior.)

nate

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

JBOYLE
02-19-2006, 08:07 PM
N8N:
No, it has Stude wheeels.
The oil pan looks like it has had a hard life, it's concave on the bottom and the drain plug has a lot of stuff (Brazing...or maybe sealant) around it. I was planning to replace it "someday" but are you saying it might as well come out if I have the main seals done?
I've seen no evidence of valve cover leaks.

I hate to pull the entire engine since it has 106,000 miles...I'm guessing it will need an OH before [u]too</u> long???
It's not a daily driver so I don't expect to put that many miles a year on it.

63 Avanti R1 2788
1914 Stutz Bearcat
(George Barris replica)

Washington State

studegary
02-19-2006, 08:46 PM
On the steering noise/rub, my guess is incorrectly oriented tie rod clamps that are hittig the oil pan. Your misshapen oil pan may be contributing to this. This (tie rod clamp rub) is a common problem on Studebakers and is supported by your observation that it happens with the car in a normal posture, but not when the car is in the air with the wheels and tie rods hanging down.

N8N
02-19-2006, 09:27 PM
Gary makes a good point...

well, sounds like you need to R&R the oil pan anyway. However, don't throw it out yet... even if you do find another pan you're going to need to drill the holes in the side for the breather (unless you find another Avanti pan.)

Pulling the engine is not the incredibly frustrating experience you'd think it to be, especially if you drop the transmission from underneath first. However, due to the x-member in the frame, ANYTHING on an Avanti is a little more "challenging" than on another type of Studebaker.

I actually forgot about the x-member in my previous reply; you may want to just try to do it in the car, although IIRC you will have to drop the steering bellcrank and/or block the engine up an inch or two to get clearance to drop the pan.

nate

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

GTtim
02-19-2006, 11:32 PM
About the oil leaks. Any engine with that kind of miles, from that era is going to have leaks. Here are some suggestions for finding and fixing them. Start at the top, with the simple stuff. 1) As Nate said check the hose that leads to the oil pressure gauge. If it leaks it runs down the backside of the engine and looks like a rear mainseal leak. If it BREAKS while you're driving, it will really ruin your day! 2) Check the rear bottom edges of the valve covers. Everything runs toward the rear of the engine. It will pool in little pockets while you are driving and then run out in a bunch when you stop. 3) Check the gasket that should be at the base of the distributor. 4) Take a good close look at the front of the engine where the pan meets the timing cover. There is a filler block there behind the timing cover, the threads for the bolts that secure it tend to get stripped. There are also two little pieces of cork gasket that need to be in their proper places. I've seen evidence of these having been misplaced from the factory. It will look like a front mainseal leak but many times it is the oil pan. R1 and R2 engines have special windage trays inside the oil pan. They are rare and expensive to replace. It is well worth the time and trouble to pound out the dents. 5) You don't mention what transmission you car has. My Hawk had one of the leakiest automatics imaginable. They leak red transmission fluid of course. 6) Take out the starter and remove the flywheel shield. Is the flywheel covered with oil? If not the rear mainseal should be fine.

I don't know of any normal parts stores that will have things like an oil pan gasket for this engine. I would call one of the several reliable Studebaker vendors and get the right stuff the first time. My favorite is Fairborn Studebaker.

As for the rubbing sound, could it be that one wheel bearing is loose and the result is the brake caliper is rubbing? How about jacking up each wheel, supporting it with a jackstand at the outer part of the A-frame so you can turn the wheels hard to the right and see what might be hitting. You can also check the wheel bearings then.

Good luck and let us know what you find out.


Tim K.
'64 R2 GT Hawk

Laemmle
02-20-2006, 01:14 AM
If in fact the tie rod end clamp bolts were turned around they would have sheared the crankcase by now, you mention a caved in pan...90% of the time that is the result of replacing the motor mounts.."well meaning mechanics" jack up the engine from under the pan...that just causes me to go POSTAL!
If you have access to a car wash or truck facility that has a steam jenny I would clean the entire block top and bottom, it will be so much easier to spot any and all oil leaks.
It took me six hours to remove the engine from an Avanti, some have said it can be done in four, as I was in no hurry, time to remove was not an issue.Any and all heartache encounted with the restoration of your new baby will more than be made up when you take her out and the throngs of people stop to ask questions and tell you what a great significant automobile you have!
My friend, welcolm to the membership of one of the greatest looking post war automobile the United States ever produced!
I am sure you will cause heads to turn where ever you go.

Mike
02-20-2006, 04:54 AM
My Avanti made similar noises, from the steering, when I bought it. The bolts on the tie rod adjusters rubbed against the oil pan under some conditions; although it looked like there was plenty of clearance when the car was jacked up. I think the best solution is to simply remove the tie rods; and turn them around, end for end. That puts the adjusters out at the wheels, out of harm's way. Alignment won't be changed at all, if that's all you do. Buy a cheap tie rod end puller. It's an easy job; and may save the oil pan. I wouldn't put it off.
I do remember some '63's had a different tie rod. Hopefully the end for end swap works for them, too. If not, you may have to rotate the adjusters so they clear the pan; and remember to check after any alignment.
I have an oil leak like that, too. Gaskets are available from Stude suppliers. I think Rock Auto's data base is the same as used by other auto parts places, like Auto Zone. Rock Auto, http://www.rockauto.com/ , lists the Fel-Pro oil pan gasket, and also a rear main seal "set". The later should include two little pieces of cork that go on either side of the rear main bearing cap. They look like pieces of scrap, and I suspect are sometimes left out by people who aren't familiar with Studes.
My plan of attack, on the leak, is to remove the oil pan; with the engine in the car. I will remove the filler block at the front of the engine, and repair stripped bolt holes, at the same time. Probably I will replace the rear main seal. I don't plan to remove the timing cover, at this time. That will save removing everything on the front of the engine, and the harmonic balancer.
Mike M.

JDP
02-20-2006, 10:21 AM
DO NOT attempt to drop the transmission first. You just pull the whole assembly out "nose high" with the tranny attached. A afternoons job if you've done it before.

Studebaker On The Net http://stude.com
64 GT Hawk
64 R2 4 speed Challenger
63 R2 4 speed GT Hawk
63 Daytona Convert.
53 Street rod

Roscomacaw
02-20-2006, 01:56 PM
And have a BIG drain pan to catch all the tranny fluid that's gonna pour out as you hoist the front of the assemblage up to extract it from the car![:I]

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

Avalanche325
02-20-2006, 04:43 PM
They do make caps fot the output shaft to keep you from pouring your tranny fluid out. I don't know if there is one that fits the Stude, but transmission fluid is one stinky mess.

Or you can put a front yoke in and wire it in place.

wagone
02-20-2006, 10:26 PM
JDP: As for pulling the engine and trans as a unit in an Avanti it would seem that you would need a HIGH ceiling in the garage to do this. I removed my trans first and left it under the car while the engine was out. Why do you recommend leaving the two mated together and pulling them together? Mine is a manual trans and while I don't enjoy engine pulls I did manage it with limited help. It "ain't" exactly a job for the faint of heart when all is said.

wagone and Avanti I

P. S. One of the major problems I've had is that most of the work I've done on my Avanti have been done BEFORE I joined this forum--talk about dumb!

JBOYLE
02-21-2006, 01:10 AM
After doing some poking around I think the oil is coming from the upper rear of the engine, I believe it's near the distributor (under the chrome cover).

No answer on the steering noise yet.

Thanks for all the suggestions, John

63 Avanti R1 2788
1914 Stutz Bearcat
(George Barris replica)

Washington State

GTtim
02-21-2006, 02:49 PM
John, please be sure that the flexible rubber hose that leads to the line on the firewall is new and flexible and not old and cracked. If it breaks while you are driving you will loose all oil pressure immediately. Many an engine rebuild has been bought because somebody neglected a $12 hose.

Tim K.
'64 R2 GT Hawk

JBOYLE
02-21-2006, 03:33 PM
How do I get to that hose?

63 Avanti R1 2788
1914 Stutz Bearcat
(George Barris replica)

Washington State

JDP
02-21-2006, 03:55 PM
It's buried under your stainless shield over the distributor.

Studebaker On The Net http://stude.com
64 GT Hawk
64 R2 4 speed Challenger
63 R2 4 speed GT Hawk
63 Daytona Convert.
53 Street rod

Laemmle
02-21-2006, 05:38 PM
As suggested before, steam clean the entire block..top and bottom..it will then be clear exactly where any oil is coming from.

JBOYLE
02-23-2006, 04:14 PM
I took the car into a local mechanic who is familiar with old cars and does a lot of work on street rods....he even used to maintain an 63 R-2 Avanti before it was sold out of state. In other words, I didn't have to tell him what a Studebaker was.

The problems turned out to be a leaking distributor gasket and an age-related crack in return hose in the power steering.

I will be ordering the oil pressure gauge hose and replacing it soon.

The good news is he was very impressed by the shape of the car and its originality.

Thanks for all your help and suggestions.
SDC members are first rate!

John

63 Avanti R1 2788
1914 Stutz Bearcat
(George Barris replica)

Washington State

waterman63
02-23-2006, 08:14 PM
Well guys i need to follow his lead My car has been sitting for 5 years.it had no fliud in the MC.and when I took it off the trailer it was leaking bad,Now it can sit and idle when just a tinny puddle.IDEAS!!!!

wagone
02-23-2006, 11:05 PM
A lot of Studes leak oil--the V8 seems especially prone. But if its only a "tiny puddle" you may want to ignore it--course a tiny puddle can mean different things to different people. Tacke the issues keeping you from driving the car first. Once you get it roadworthy you can then evaluate how heavy the oil consumption is and go from there as to whether you even want to deal with it.

wagone and Avanti I

JBOYLE
02-24-2006, 09:31 AM
The puddles aren't what I"d consider tiny....a bit larger than the size of a softball.

After fixing the distributor gasket leak, now the rear main seal is leaving similarly-sized messes. At the mechanic's recommendation, I got a can of seal stop and hopefully it will soften the gaskets so the cascade will ebb a bit.

Basically, I'm trying to to prevent my garage from becoming an EPA Superfund clean-up site.

63 Avanti R1 2788
1914 Stutz Bearcat
(George Barris replica)

Washington State

60Lark
02-24-2006, 12:54 PM
My 51 Champion has a similar rear main leak, I just keep pieces of card board 2ft. to 3 ft. square, lying under the leaking area. then discard the cardboard before it get soggy. Usually every couple months. it is a lot easier than clean oil from the concrete floor :D

Studebaker Fever
60 Lark
51 Champion
Phil

BobPalma
02-24-2006, 01:14 PM
;) Oil Wick suggestion, all:
Old blue jeans are excellent diapers [:0] to put under old cars that drip oil...and let's face it, most do. [8]
Old blue jeans are usually too coarse to be used as conventional rags, but they will soak and wick up quite a bit of oil leaking from under a collector car before they need to be discarded as "soaked." :) BP

ddub
02-24-2006, 01:40 PM
I think other cars may leak also. At my FLAP I bought a large sheet metal drip pan to place under the Champ and collect its assorted drips. I'm sure they don't carry those just for us Stude fans.

bonehead007
02-28-2006, 08:32 AM
My Avanti leaks too. Have to check it once the weather warms up in NJ..What I do in the meantime is when I go to Costco or BJ's Warehouse, I grab some cardboard boxes. Flatten them out & put them under the car. They absorb just fine. After a month or so, I throw them with the recycling & replace em with new boxes. They don't cost anything & seem to do the job.