View Full Version : Wheels Uneven tire wear on an original 1948 Land Cruiser

09-28-2011, 11:40 AM
Hello all, to introduce myself I'm 24 and am just finishing up my master's in computer engineering working in rehabilitative and assistive robotics. I am now attempting to get into the aerospace industry, but we'll see where that goes.

Anywho, I've always had a hankering for old cars. My first project was a 1986 Jeep CJ-7 which I now drive around, and I am currently working on a 1961 Willys 4x4 Jeep wagon. I'm just about done with the body work to get the Willys painted. But as many of you probably understand, I'm always on the lookout for something else. I found a 1948 Studebaker Land Cruiser on craigslist and without thinking much called the seller and chatted for a while, then went to look at it last weekend. Well, I fully expected to not buy it but fell head over heels for it, and now it's at home.

The car is completely original and is in gorgeous condition for its age. My plan is to just refresh it some since it's been sitting for about a year. Someone did a restoration not too long ago, so I'm just going to clean up the interior some, get it running well, and then do a quick paint job in its original color. Seeing that not many of these stay in as original condition as what I have, it's definitely going to stay that way! I've already pulled the carburetor and gone through it, and the ignition system was just tuned up, so now all I need is a new 6V battery since the one in there is toast.

One thing I did notice while going through it was that the front passenger side tire has uneven wear towards the inside of the car. The car has newer radial Coker wide whites with hardly any miles on them, but the one tire has worn unevenly and tells me something's up on that side. What kind of knuckle assembly does the 1948 Land Cruiser have? Is it a kingpin style knuckle (maybe a bad kingpin bearing)? Or is it maybe a bad bushing on the suspension arm? What should I look out for to try and correct this (and probably service both sides while I'm at it)? Thanks!

09-28-2011, 02:42 PM
Welcome to the wacky world of Studebakers.

Best bet, find an old time suspension shop, get (from one of our vendors) a shop manual) take the manual to the suspension shop and have them fix it. Almost all parts are available. My '55 just had a bushing replacement, now drives like it was new. Once the bushings are replaced, probably an alignment would solve your wear problem

09-28-2011, 10:30 PM
It could be just an alignment issue. Also check the transverse leaf spring for broken leaves and make sure the center u-bolts are tight.
The upper "A" arm has an eccentric outer bushing that is used for adjustments. Not many alignment shops can do old cars .

09-29-2011, 07:51 AM
Welcome! You are sure in the right place. The quick answer to your question is that you do have a kingpin suspension and odds are that if you jack it up and start shaking things you will find something worn out. The service and parts manuals are the best money you can spend here. I just rebuilt the front suspension on my Champion last year so if you want to see some pictures of how things go together you can get them here:
Yours is very similar. Tom is right about finding a suspension shop that knows kingpins. Even if you do the work yourself a proper alignment is critical. I am lucky in that I have shop nearby that has been around forever AND does a lot of work on trucks.


09-29-2011, 08:00 AM
Welcome aboard, Garret. What Brad Bez said about that unusual front suspension: The transverse front spring can be problematic at this late date due to wear and improper lubrication issues, so be sure to buy a reprinted Shop Manual (source: Studebaker International) to understand and lubricate/repair that spring as required. BP

09-29-2011, 10:58 AM
Make sure you don't have a bent tie rod on that side, that would also cause uneven tire wear as you're dragging the tire somewhat sideways.

10-03-2011, 09:38 AM
Thanks for the tips guys, I have a reprint service manual on the way with a few other things.

Thanks for the link to your page, that will help a TON when I tear into the front suspension. I'm leaning more towards servicing the whole deal like you did since this will be a driver car. This weekend was my first chance to work with it, and I did notice the passenger side is lower than the driver side by a couple inches. That may be my problem. Hopefully the spring isn't broken. The tie rods are both straight.

Hopefully soon I'll have the time to look at the suspension and give both wheels the shake test. I'm currently in the process of repairing all the fudges by one of the previous owners. The carburetor had part of a gasket folded over into the throttle bore. I wonder if they were able to get it tuned properly. The fuel pump was not pumping, and upon dis-assembly it appears that someone packed the entire thing with marine grease. The starter solenoid was shot, and after replacing it with a 6V from Napa (and testing with a screwdriver), I found the starter switch wasn't working. Well, I got underneath it, and it only has one wire hooked up to to one terminal on the starter switch. I serviced the carburetor and upon inspection the needle was pretty worn. And after rigging up a temporary fuel tank, found that the needle for sure isn't seating properly. I'm waiting on the carb kit for it now. However, it does run VERY well with no knocks or noises whatsoever. Until the bowl runs dry...

10-05-2011, 08:25 AM
If your spring is broken you can get another one made. Spring shops are still out there. If you have the Carter WE carb there are pictures of my teardown of that on the website as well. It sounds like you are on the right track. At least you live somewhere that you can work on the car year round.