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CKOT
02-22-2006, 06:04 PM
Within a month or 2 I am going to begin to "overhaul" the front suspension/steering on my GT. Tie rods are shot, rubber is all falling apart, etc.... Plan is to rebuild the king pins and bell crank, replace springs, shocks, tie rods, replace a-arm bushings/seals, replace bearings, brakes, etc. My brother has been a mechanic for about 30 years, and pretty good around old cars as he owns a few 60s brand Xs, I have a shop manual, and not bad at repairs myself. My question to the forum is, are there any tips/suggestions/etc. that you can think of that will be helpful as I go through this process? Thanks.

JDP
02-22-2006, 06:31 PM
N8 and I have that down to a science. Basic rule of thumb, ignore most of the shop manual and do what makes semse. i.e. we drop a a bar down through the shock hole, and drop the spring by lowering the lower A frame on a jack once we take the big nut off the king pin. We use a air chisel to romove the old bushings and so on.
We did make some special tools to drive the bushings back in, and a jig to keep from bending the A frame.

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

N8N
02-22-2006, 07:06 PM
What JP said. The rubber you will definitely have to replace but take the rest of it on a case by case basis. On my '55 coupe, I ended up replacing all the rubber and two trunnions, that was all it really needed. I could have rebushed the kingpins but they weren't that bad. Just replacing the rubber will give you the most bang for your buck. My car handles great now although the steering is still a little sloppy; unfortunately it's all in the steering box as far as I can tell.

The only good tips I can pass on are these:

- when removing the rubber bushings, just walk the old ones out with an air hammer and blunt chisel. If things aren't too rusty, they will practically fall out.

- The "right" way to put the new bushings in would be to use an arbor press, but mine is too small. I have a spacer for each control arm to keep from pushing the "ears" together when inserting the new bushings. Some well chosen sockets, extensions, and a big freakin' hammer are enough to drive in the new bushings, and a helper to hold things steady of course.

- If your upper trunnions are good, there's no need to disassemble them. This gets rid of the need to use the special spreader tool which I have and am still not sure if I'm using correctly :)

- If you DO replace the upper trunnion, make sure to put the socket for the allen wrench facing towards the rear, and if you're using NOS bushings with only one replaceable grease fitting, make sure that goes toward the rear as well. "doing things right" makes it easier come alignment time. I did manage to put my front end together with an upper outer shaft that did not have the hex stamped into it, that was an embarassing (and expensive, as I had to pay for 1-1/2 alignments) mistake. I'm probably the only guy that has ever happened to, but it's worth it to check. Also the nut for the kingpin pinch bolt should face out so it doesn't catch on the snubber and rip it up.

- you probably don't need new kingpin thrust bearings unless they are real rusty; but you probably do need to take them out and clean out all the old hard grease before putting the front end back together. If they don't turn smoothly even after cleaning, replace 'em. This makes a HUGE difference in steering effort on a non-PS car. Also when greasing the front end make sure that you are getting fresh grease out of the bearing; most of it likes to leak out of the bottom. Some people replace the cork seal with an O-ring to help this process along.

I did find a baggie of new boots for tie rod ends last year at York. I want to say that Cathcart sold them to me but it might have been someone next to him. They are available, anyway, if your ends are still good (the nice thing about Studes is; if you keep everything greased the front end should last a LONG time, save for the rubber bushings.)

nate

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

N8N
02-22-2006, 07:08 PM
Forgot to mention, the easy/cheap shocks to get are Gabriel Classic Gas, sold by many vendors as well as AutoZone. If you want something more performance oriented, I think there is an interchange with a 70's Camaro but I have never tried it as the Gabriels aren't bad and the price is right.

nate

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

60Lark
02-22-2006, 08:01 PM
Nate, I have been thinking of trying to put air shocks on my 60 Lark, would I look for air shocks for a 70 Camaro ? I have not seen them for the stude anywhere

Studebaker Fever
60 Lark
51 Champion
Phil

N8N
02-22-2006, 08:26 PM
Phil, only if you use the spring plates from a late car (bayonet lower mount.) Then you still have to save the sleeve from the upper mount of the original Stude shock. There probably is something that will work for the 57-62 style shocks but I don't know what it is. (if you find one, drop me a message and I'll make a note of it; I have an interchange document on my web site where I try to file useful info like this.)

nate

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

N8N
02-22-2006, 08:38 PM
After poking around some on the Gabriel web site, it appears that an *early* style shock interchanges with a 65-68 Cadillac; IIRC the only difference in mounting pre-57 vs. later is the special upper bolt, spacers, and the sleeves which you might be able to make. Probably easier to use the Camaro interchange and find the later spring plates though.

If you want to find direct interchanges for Stude shocks, use the numbers on my web site and go to gabriel.com and punch them into their "where used" query. Don't be surprised if you don't come up with anything real useful; most of the shocks Stude used don't really interchange with anything much more modern; at least not directly.

nate

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

60Lark
02-22-2006, 10:13 PM
Nate, Thanks for the info, I have been doing some number tracking and so far I have found nothing in an air shock, but the lower spring plate with the Camaro shock looks to be the most likely approach, so far. I will let you know if or what I come up with.

Studebaker Fever
60 Lark
51 Champion
Phil

N8N
02-23-2006, 07:00 AM
If you swap the spring plates, you might want to get ones with the tab for the rear sway bar welded on if you ever decide to add one. Also wondering why you are thinking of adding air shocks; do you regularly carry heavy loads, or are your rear springs sagging? I bought some new rear springs from SASCO for my '62, they were for a cop car I think (six leaves,) lifted the back end right up.

just a thought,

nate

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

N8N
02-23-2006, 07:05 AM
That reminds me, to the OP of this thread: rather than spend your $$ on rebushing the kingpins etc. which may not be worn, here's something that you may wish to buy - new front springs. I am willing to bet that yours are old and saggy; heavy-duty springs make the car ride and handle better anyway IMHO. If the tires seem tucked up in the wheel wells, your front springs are probably shot. They just don't seem to hold up after 40 years.

While you have the upper control arm off, take a look at the area around the mounting holes. There should be a reinforcement on a GT Hawk so this hopefully isn't an issue, but my 56J had the holes ripped out completely on one side (and repaired with angle iron!!!) and the other side was ready to go. The reason I bring this up now is one theory that I've heard as to why this happens is weak springs causing the A-arms to repeatedly go "over center" fatiguing the metal in the mnount area. If it is cracked definitely have the cracks welded and add a reinforcement plate underneath. I found some Grade 8 fender washers at my local hardware store; even though that area wasn't cracked on my '55 I still used the fender washers as insurance. I don't plan on driving the car "nicely" <G>

nate

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

CKOT
02-23-2006, 09:27 AM
To Everyone:
Thanks, this is exactly the types of advice I was looking for. My brother will probably appreciate it the most!! We went over the whole front end last falll, leading me to take on this projec. All the rubber is basically falling apart. I know some of the stuff may not need replaced, but I defintely knew the A-arms needed to come out, so since everything else was out, figured i'd rebuild/repair/replace. Should be good for another 43 years. :D
I did buy new springs as well. Gotta check those mounting points. Keep the tips coming, and I'll let you know how the project progresses, just know I have to get it done before the Spring thaw (I'm in Wisconsin)so I can drive this baby again.

rusty nut garage
02-23-2006, 09:48 AM
Someone posted to ignore most of the shop manual, careful it was written for a reason.
I'd recommend that you familarize yourself with the shop manual, while not necessary using it verbatum I would hestitate on using the word ignore. I've done 3 front ends for club members in the last two months. Do to previous maintenace by so called "mechanics I found bent "A" arms, holes in "A" arms (possible caused by air chisels) damaged control arm shafts etc. I surmize that all these damages were caused by incorrect maint. practices. The spring removal JDP speaks of works better then the shop manual technique. I might add after getting the car on jackstands high enough for the lwr A arm to swing down, suppor the lower arm with the floor jack, then remove the upper A arm inner shaft bolts, swing it out of the way and then remove the king pin nut. King pin then will easily come apart.
Good Luck,
Leave the BFH (BIG FRIGGIN HAMMER) in the tool box.

Russ

Russ Shop Foreman "Rusty Nut Garage"
57 SH (project)
60 Lark VIII 2dr sd (driver)

N8N
02-23-2006, 10:42 AM
To add to what Russ says, when releasing or reinstalling the spring I like to have a piece of all-thread or a long pry bar dropped through the shock hole so if the jack slips the spring doesn't fire across the room and dent something (or you.) I can't say that I have ever had a jack slip while doing this, but it's not worth the risk.

I haven't bent any control arms by using the BFH technique to install the bushings; but the key (whether you use a press or hammer) is to make yourself a spacer so that the "ears" don't bend together. If you don't do this you probably will end up with a bent control arm which obviously is not good.

One more tip I just thought of... the four bolts on each side that hold the lower inner shaft to the crossmember are known to work loose. They should have self locking nuts on them and also special hardened, flat-ground washers under the nuts. A GT Hawk should have the washers but if it doesn't I ASSume that Grade 8, AN size washers would make a suitable replacement. (SAE washers will be too big to fit. Once you get under there you will see what I'm talking about.) I would replace the bolts and self locking nuts just for insurance. These bolts had already started to work loose on my '62 Lark with only 24K original miles so a periodic inspection when changing oil and lubing the front end is not a bad idea. Replacement hardware should obviously be Grade 5 or better and use fine thread hardware (like the factory did) as they take torque better and are less likely to work loose. I believe that this was a running change and that there was also a service bulletin issued on this, but since my early '62 Lark had the washers I would assume that any GT Hawk would as well. The factory apparently recognized this as a problem and recommended that any car have the washers installed if the shaft was R&R'd.

It wouldn't be a bad idea to periodically check the two large bolts that hold the upper inner shaft as well. I haven't seen those work loose nearly as often; but if they do, that could easily cause the holes in the crossmember to crack as I described in an earlier post.

Finally (I keep thinking of stuff I should have mentioned earlier) leave the bolts that hold the rubber control arm bushings to the shafts loose until the car is completely assembled and down on the ground. You may even want to take a slow spin around the block with the bolts finger tight to "settle" the suspension, and/or lower the car without the shocks installed and bounce it a few times. Only then can they be tightened and this should be done with the car sitting on the ground. Otherwise the bushings will lock to the shaft with a twist in them and bushing life will be shortened (the bushings don't rotate on the shaft in normal operation; the rubber actually twists when the suspension moves so the idea is to set them up so there is no twist in a normal rest position.)

A lot of this stuff is in the shop manual (but a lot of it is not) so if you don't have one it might be a good idea to get one and read through it before starting the job - then reread this thread to see all the tips that weren't in the shop manual. The manual is available reprinted for a reasonable price from SASCO and other vendors or used originals show up on eBay from time to time. (I apologize if the last is insulting your intelligence, but a lot of people don't realize that getting a FSM for a Studebaker is actually pretty easy and cheap compared to many other cars.)

good luck,

nate

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

CKOT
02-24-2006, 11:18 AM
No insult taken. I have a shop manual, and got all the parts for the job already from Studebaker International. It is just amazing (and great) that it is still relatively easy to get parts for my car. Fortunately for me, my Dad has been a SDC member from around '88 so I knew about all the resources available. I blame him (or at least my wife does;)) for my Stude obsession. He has a 42 Champion we had a blast restoring....Thanks again.

blackhawk
04-15-2006, 08:48 PM
CKOT -I was just reading some of the old posts and found yours. I can add one thing that might help. You can use a Handyman or Hi-Lift jack (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0003RG3E2/qid=1145147776/sr=8-3/ref=pd_bbs_3/104-0359143-0623150?%5Fencoding=UTF8&v=glance&n=15684181) to press in those rubber bushings for the inner end of the upper and lower A-arms. Where I live just about everyone has one of these jacks in their pickup or garaqge. I secure the Handyman jack in my bench vise to free both hands for holding the A-arm and bushing and operating the jack handle. You still need to make a spacer to insert temporarily while pushing in the bushings to keep the A-arm from bending. Dale ('63 Hawk)
PS - I forgot to add that I fabricated a stronger stop for the upper end of the jack (the "arm" bolted to the long beam that the jack mechanism move up and down on). I think the original worked for awhile but eventually bent because it has a hollow center.

Dan White
04-15-2006, 09:17 PM
I have some spacers I made out of pipe and cut with my plasma cutter. Kind of crude looking but work just fine. Anyone that needs them can borrow them, just return when finished.

Dan White
64 R1 GT
64 R2 GT

studebakerkid
04-16-2006, 11:15 PM
I am sure that I amgoing to hear flack on this but I would suggest not replacing the rubber bushings with the same old junk. THere is a vendor that sells delrin rplacements for around a hundred and a half. I had them made out of nylon for one of my cars and it sure made a difference but the cost was around $300 since I had it done locally. I sure wish that Delrin or another compound had been available 20 years ago bceasue then I would not have anothet two cars to get done again.

If you car is ugly then it better be fast.....

65 2dr sedan
64 2dr sedan (Pinkie)
61 V8 Tcab
61 Tcab 20R powered
54 Champion Wagon

CKOT
04-17-2006, 02:30 PM
well, too late for delrin. Fortunately my brother is a mechanic. I had purchased an extra set of a-arms at a swap, and he got the old bushings pressed out in the shop, and the new ones in as well. Meanwhile, I stripped down the front end, then we just bolted her all back together. Lots of work, but everything up front is fresh, probably the first time in it's life for the a-arm bushings. Nice, firm, responsive now, just a complete difference, almost unbelieveable. Now, about those bolts for the upper a-arms, those werre a bugger to remove. Not much room for any kind of wrench both in clearance and swing room....43 years on the vehicle probably didn't help either. Thanks everyone for your help and input. My biggest take-away is that it just takes time, and expect to get pretty greasy, but in general disassembly and re-assemply just pretty much straightforward, and do what makes sense.

N8N
04-19-2006, 12:32 PM
Isn't it a great feeling to have an old car that drives like a new car? I just went through this with my '55 coupe about 6 mos. ago, at the same time I rebuilt everything I also added a GT Hawk front bar and a '55 Prez sedan rear bar, and some HD rear springs (fronts were already HD and in good shape.) It rides soooo nice...

Now that I have the engine out I will be replacing the steering box with a better used unit and also replacing the bushing at the top of the steering column. I can hardly wait to get all this stuff back together and see what my car really was supposed to drive like!

nate

(need to stock up on rattle cans...)

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