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wally
07-03-2007, 03:25 AM
One thing I've always wondered about is the reason behind the layout of the steering system on Studes. I'm thinking that the chassis got an update around '51, and though Studebaker typically borrowed some "better ideas" and components from the Big Three--that doesn't seem to be the case. Because, in spite of that factor, it still had the quirky fore -and-aft steering gear pitman arm, the long link driving the bulky T-shaped knuckle, which in turn controls the super-long tie rods. Now, the long tie rods I can kinda appreciate-It would have lower angles upon suspension deflection(bumps)than say, Chevies with shorter tie rods, thus keeping toe-in variation(and tire tread wear) to a lesser amount during suspension travel. But, other than that.......Why? [?]Guess it is just a philosophical question, that might be readily answered with "Love It Or Leave It", but I still feel it merits some discussion, here. Thanks.

StudeRich
07-03-2007, 04:09 AM
Pretty simple Wally; Studebaker engineers prided themselves with designing their own stuff, their own way and did not copy other makes. Sure it's different... Different by Design! [^]
Take for instance the "Planner Suspension" of the '40's it was a transverse leave spring. The 1951 to 1966 Suspension and Center point steering was their best effort, and was so good it was was never changed through all those years. Other makes have to have those bothersome idler arms to stabilize the steering and always wear out, not needed with center pivot steering! I appreciate the fact that they never cheapened their cars by going to the short lived cheap "Ball Joints" I laughed when the newer makes advertised their McPherson Struts like it was an improvement, just a cheap way out!

Only when they could not afford to make it because it was readily available cheaper from someone like Ross or Saginaw Division of GM did they buy a common item like a gearbox, the Saginaw power steering gear box was not only used on GM cars, Studebaker, but also Lincoln and many others.

I am sure there is no "reason" for the design, just the best, most durable and safe system they could come up with! [^]

It is expensive to make and expensive to re-build yes, but in the normal 7 year life of a car, does not need anything except 2000 mile lube jobs.

StudeRich
Studebakers Northwest
Ferndale, WA

StudeRich
07-03-2007, 04:09 AM
Pretty simple Wally; Studebaker engineers prided themselves with designing their own stuff, their own way and did not copy other makes. Sure it's different... Different by Design! [^]
Take for instance the "Planner Suspension" of the '40's it was a transverse leave spring. The 1951 to 1966 Suspension and Center point steering was their best effort, and was so good it was was never changed through all those years. Other makes have to have those bothersome idler arms to stabilize the steering and always wear out, not needed with center pivot steering! I appreciate the fact that they never cheapened their cars by going to the short lived cheap "Ball Joints" I laughed when the newer makes advertised their McPherson Struts like it was an improvement, just a cheap way out!

Only when they could not afford to make it because it was readily available cheaper from someone like Ross or Saginaw Division of GM did they buy a common item like a gearbox, the Saginaw power steering gear box was not only used on GM cars, Studebaker, but also Lincoln and many others.

I am sure there is no "reason" for the design, just the best, most durable and safe system they could come up with! [^]

It is expensive to make and expensive to re-build yes, but in the normal 7 year life of a car, does not need anything except 2000 mile lube jobs.

StudeRich
Studebakers Northwest
Ferndale, WA

gordr
07-03-2007, 04:36 AM
IIRC, the very early Corvettes also used a center point steering quite similar to Studebaker's.

A Studebaker with the front end and steering components in good shape has very little friction in the steering action. With the car on a hoist, you can move the wheels from lock to lock with scarcely more than fingertip pressure on the tires. Try that with a balljoint suspension. Or Macpherson struts.

Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands

gordr
07-03-2007, 04:36 AM
IIRC, the very early Corvettes also used a center point steering quite similar to Studebaker's.

A Studebaker with the front end and steering components in good shape has very little friction in the steering action. With the car on a hoist, you can move the wheels from lock to lock with scarcely more than fingertip pressure on the tires. Try that with a balljoint suspension. Or Macpherson struts.

Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands

BobPalma
07-03-2007, 07:42 AM
:) 1948-1954 step-down Hudsons were arguably the best-handling domestic passenger cars of that era. They used a center-point steering design virtually identical to that of 1951-1966 Studebakers.

If Studebaker engineers were so inclined, they had plenty of time to [ahem] "review" the new Hudson design already in production and available down the street at the Hudson dealer while planning the all-new chassis for 1951 that would carry them through to the end of production in 1966. [^] BP

BobPalma
07-03-2007, 07:42 AM
:) 1948-1954 step-down Hudsons were arguably the best-handling domestic passenger cars of that era. They used a center-point steering design virtually identical to that of 1951-1966 Studebakers.

If Studebaker engineers were so inclined, they had plenty of time to [ahem] "review" the new Hudson design already in production and available down the street at the Hudson dealer while planning the all-new chassis for 1951 that would carry them through to the end of production in 1966. [^] BP

DEEPNHOCK
07-03-2007, 07:57 AM
The Studebaker design of their steering was excellent.
To build a robust steering system with excellent Ackerman qualities (for street use, mind you) and to have a long arm/short arm suspension to limit bump steer was quite advanced for it's day.
To do it with trunions made it even more robust.
Ball joints were/are a concession to manufacturing costs, and assembly speed issues. Look at how fast a ball joint wears out as compared to a trunion.
Sure, technology has surpassed the setup. But it still holds it's own quite well... 60 years later.
That's something to be proud of.
Jeff[8D]

DEEPNHOCK
07-03-2007, 07:57 AM
The Studebaker design of their steering was excellent.
To build a robust steering system with excellent Ackerman qualities (for street use, mind you) and to have a long arm/short arm suspension to limit bump steer was quite advanced for it's day.
To do it with trunions made it even more robust.
Ball joints were/are a concession to manufacturing costs, and assembly speed issues. Look at how fast a ball joint wears out as compared to a trunion.
Sure, technology has surpassed the setup. But it still holds it's own quite well... 60 years later.
That's something to be proud of.
Jeff[8D]

BobPalma
07-03-2007, 09:20 AM
quote:Originally posted by DEEPNHOCK

The Studebaker design of their steering was excellent.
To build a robust steering system with excellent Ackerman qualities (for street use, mind you) and to have a long arm/short arm suspension to limit bump steer was quite advanced for it's day.
To do it with trunions made it even more robust.
Ball joints were/are a concession to manufacturing costs, and assembly speed issues. Look at how fast a ball joint wears out as compared to a trunion.
Sure, technology has surpassed the setup. But it still holds it's own quite well... 60 years later.
That's something to be proud of.
Jeff[8D]


:) To underscore Jeff's point: Ted Harbit's 1951 Commander Starlight Chicken Hawk is now pushing 140 (yes, one-hundred-forty) MPH in the quarter-mile. [:0][:0]

The front suspension and steering are the car's stock, unaltered 1951 design...and most of that car's actual, production-line parts! ;) Ted reports being continually amazed at how well the car handles at that speed as he must control it while shutting down before he runs off the end of The Muncie Dragway and other assorted venues. [^] BP

BobPalma
07-03-2007, 09:20 AM
quote:Originally posted by DEEPNHOCK

The Studebaker design of their steering was excellent.
To build a robust steering system with excellent Ackerman qualities (for street use, mind you) and to have a long arm/short arm suspension to limit bump steer was quite advanced for it's day.
To do it with trunions made it even more robust.
Ball joints were/are a concession to manufacturing costs, and assembly speed issues. Look at how fast a ball joint wears out as compared to a trunion.
Sure, technology has surpassed the setup. But it still holds it's own quite well... 60 years later.
That's something to be proud of.
Jeff[8D]


:) To underscore Jeff's point: Ted Harbit's 1951 Commander Starlight Chicken Hawk is now pushing 140 (yes, one-hundred-forty) MPH in the quarter-mile. [:0][:0]

The front suspension and steering are the car's stock, unaltered 1951 design...and most of that car's actual, production-line parts! ;) Ted reports being continually amazed at how well the car handles at that speed as he must control it while shutting down before he runs off the end of The Muncie Dragway and other assorted venues. [^] BP

Laemmle
07-03-2007, 09:27 AM
Gord,

On my Avanti one can not turn the wheels while on the lift....it takes two men to do it or lower the car a bit and use the steering wheel....car has power steering


quote:Originally posted by gordr

IIRC, the very early Corvettes also used a center point steering quite similar to Studebaker's.

A Studebaker with the front end and steering components in good shape has very little friction in the steering action. With the car on a hoist, you can move the wheels from lock to lock with scarcely more than fingertip pressure on the tires. Try that with a balljoint suspension. Or Macpherson struts.

Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands

Laemmle
07-03-2007, 09:27 AM
Gord,

On my Avanti one can not turn the wheels while on the lift....it takes two men to do it or lower the car a bit and use the steering wheel....car has power steering


quote:Originally posted by gordr

IIRC, the very early Corvettes also used a center point steering quite similar to Studebaker's.

A Studebaker with the front end and steering components in good shape has very little friction in the steering action. With the car on a hoist, you can move the wheels from lock to lock with scarcely more than fingertip pressure on the tires. Try that with a balljoint suspension. Or Macpherson struts.

Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands

Mike Van Veghten
07-03-2007, 10:17 AM
BobPalma wrote -

quote:To underscore Jeff's point: Ted Harbit's 1951 Commander Starlight Chicken Hawk is now pushing 140 (yes, one-hundred-forty) MPH in the quarter-mile.

Hmmm....somehow I'd think going mostly in a straight line doesn't count for much at all!!
I've seen some pretty cr**py home grown front ends do reasnoably well on the drag strip! Front suspensions that I'd never concider using on the street.

Mike

Mike Van Veghten
07-03-2007, 10:17 AM
BobPalma wrote -

quote:To underscore Jeff's point: Ted Harbit's 1951 Commander Starlight Chicken Hawk is now pushing 140 (yes, one-hundred-forty) MPH in the quarter-mile.

Hmmm....somehow I'd think going mostly in a straight line doesn't count for much at all!!
I've seen some pretty cr**py home grown front ends do reasnoably well on the drag strip! Front suspensions that I'd never concider using on the street.

Mike

lstude
07-03-2007, 10:31 AM
I was thinking of using the front suspension that Rene Harger (Of Phantom Auto fame) sells, since one of our club members helped engineer it and is using it on his 53 coupe, but I ran out of money and just put new shocks on my 52 Commander.

The first time I drove it on the interstate, I was amazed at how it stays straight and holds the road. I think it handles better than my 64 Daytona even though it has the same basic suspension. I guess the new shocks, lack of power steering and radial tires on the 52 make the difference.

Leonard Shepherd
http://leonardshepherd.com/

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p235/lstude1/Mein64DaytonaatBradfieldssm2.jpghttp://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p235/lstude1/AlmostreadyforSB6-4.jpg

lstude
07-03-2007, 10:31 AM
I was thinking of using the front suspension that Rene Harger (Of Phantom Auto fame) sells, since one of our club members helped engineer it and is using it on his 53 coupe, but I ran out of money and just put new shocks on my 52 Commander.

The first time I drove it on the interstate, I was amazed at how it stays straight and holds the road. I think it handles better than my 64 Daytona even though it has the same basic suspension. I guess the new shocks, lack of power steering and radial tires on the 52 make the difference.

Leonard Shepherd
http://leonardshepherd.com/

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p235/lstude1/Mein64DaytonaatBradfieldssm2.jpghttp://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p235/lstude1/AlmostreadyforSB6-4.jpg

showbizkid
07-03-2007, 10:35 AM
Even though it was completely toasted, my front end tracked well and the steering returned to center. I can't wait to see what it drives like after the rebuild!


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

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

showbizkid
07-03-2007, 10:35 AM
Even though it was completely toasted, my front end tracked well and the steering returned to center. I can't wait to see what it drives like after the rebuild!


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

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

hank63
07-04-2007, 10:35 AM
Just for the record, the design with long tie-rods + no parallel rod is not uncommon. It's all a matter of established principles (eg Ackerman). Add individual engineer's preference and production costs, and you have a bit of variety. In the end, the solution with the optimum performance and cost will tend to take over.
/H

hank63
07-04-2007, 10:35 AM
Just for the record, the design with long tie-rods + no parallel rod is not uncommon. It's all a matter of established principles (eg Ackerman). Add individual engineer's preference and production costs, and you have a bit of variety. In the end, the solution with the optimum performance and cost will tend to take over.
/H

Frank Starr
07-04-2007, 02:16 PM
Quirky? Bulky? Better ideas from the big three?

What planet are you on, Wally?

Studebaker spends the extra to build a proper front suspension and steering, and you think they should copy the crap from the big three?

I used to have some flathead Cadillacs (including a 1948 5000 lb+ Series 75 Limousine). Steering? The pitman arm, which comes out of the top of the steering box, operates a crosswise drag link whose other end is held off the ground by a rubber-bushed idler arm. To this affair are connected short tie rods which link to the steering arms. In GM fashion, the swivel joints in the tubular drag link are those spring-loaded gizmos. Take one of these cars apart, and you'll always find half of those springs broken, the idler arm wobbling around on perished rubber and the whole affair pretty vague. Further, GM uses ball-bearing wheel bearings, which are great when new but don't last. Also, Cadillac uses a steering-knuckle design which places the king pin axis outside the steering knuckle axis, resulting in an odd trianglulation of forces at the suspension bushings. And the whole steering/suspension setup is undersized for the car, at least on the limousine.

Studebaker builds a first-class product, oversized compared to the competition, with perfect center-point geometry using proper bearings and ball joints, taper-roller wheel bearings which last in service and a proper steering knuckle design. It's robust as hell. Whether or not you think it's quirky is irrelavant.

How'd you ever get into Studebakers anyway?

Frank Starr
07-04-2007, 02:16 PM
Quirky? Bulky? Better ideas from the big three?

What planet are you on, Wally?

Studebaker spends the extra to build a proper front suspension and steering, and you think they should copy the crap from the big three?

I used to have some flathead Cadillacs (including a 1948 5000 lb+ Series 75 Limousine). Steering? The pitman arm, which comes out of the top of the steering box, operates a crosswise drag link whose other end is held off the ground by a rubber-bushed idler arm. To this affair are connected short tie rods which link to the steering arms. In GM fashion, the swivel joints in the tubular drag link are those spring-loaded gizmos. Take one of these cars apart, and you'll always find half of those springs broken, the idler arm wobbling around on perished rubber and the whole affair pretty vague. Further, GM uses ball-bearing wheel bearings, which are great when new but don't last. Also, Cadillac uses a steering-knuckle design which places the king pin axis outside the steering knuckle axis, resulting in an odd trianglulation of forces at the suspension bushings. And the whole steering/suspension setup is undersized for the car, at least on the limousine.

Studebaker builds a first-class product, oversized compared to the competition, with perfect center-point geometry using proper bearings and ball joints, taper-roller wheel bearings which last in service and a proper steering knuckle design. It's robust as hell. Whether or not you think it's quirky is irrelavant.

How'd you ever get into Studebakers anyway?

sbca96
07-04-2007, 03:32 PM
While I do appreciate the "robust" design Studebaker developed in the
front suspension, lets not put down balljoints too much. While they
may be a "cheapening" of the front suspension, and non rebuildable
wheel hubs also - I was able to put 220,000 miles on my '93 Camaro Z28
with HARSH driving. Thats all the factory balljoints, tierod ends,
rotors, wheel bearings and etc. Even has the original power steering
hoses, pump, rack & pinion on it at now 245,000 miles. The control
arms, knuckles, wheel hubs and rotors got swapped because my wife hit
a curb and bent a knuckle - the upper/lower balljoints held up though!!

Its fine to pat ourselves on the back, but lets keep it real, there
ARE still well built cars out there, and SURPRISE they are American!!

Having been TRYING to get my Avanti steering back together since Nov,
(and in that time replaced all the above mentioned parts after my wife
hit the curb in my Camaro) I can also appreciate newer designs as well.[:I]

Tom

'63 Avanti, zinc plated drilled & slotted 03 Mustang Cobra 13" front disc/98 GT rear brakes, 03 Cobra 17" wheels, GM alt, 97 Z28 leather seats, soon: 97 Z28 T-56 6-spd, Ported heads w/SST full flow valves, 'R3' 276 cam, Edelbrock AFB Carb, GM HEI distributor, 8.8mm plug wires

sbca96
07-04-2007, 03:32 PM
While I do appreciate the "robust" design Studebaker developed in the
front suspension, lets not put down balljoints too much. While they
may be a "cheapening" of the front suspension, and non rebuildable
wheel hubs also - I was able to put 220,000 miles on my '93 Camaro Z28
with HARSH driving. Thats all the factory balljoints, tierod ends,
rotors, wheel bearings and etc. Even has the original power steering
hoses, pump, rack & pinion on it at now 245,000 miles. The control
arms, knuckles, wheel hubs and rotors got swapped because my wife hit
a curb and bent a knuckle - the upper/lower balljoints held up though!!

Its fine to pat ourselves on the back, but lets keep it real, there
ARE still well built cars out there, and SURPRISE they are American!!

Having been TRYING to get my Avanti steering back together since Nov,
(and in that time replaced all the above mentioned parts after my wife
hit the curb in my Camaro) I can also appreciate newer designs as well.[:I]

Tom

'63 Avanti, zinc plated drilled & slotted 03 Mustang Cobra 13" front disc/98 GT rear brakes, 03 Cobra 17" wheels, GM alt, 97 Z28 leather seats, soon: 97 Z28 T-56 6-spd, Ported heads w/SST full flow valves, 'R3' 276 cam, Edelbrock AFB Carb, GM HEI distributor, 8.8mm plug wires

wally
07-04-2007, 06:22 PM
quote:Originally posted by Frank Starr

Quirky? Bulky? Better ideas from the big three?

What planet are you on, Wally?








[}:)]Truth is, I am in the Real World, big guy. Like SBCA, I am used to getting 200k miles out of out of those "crap" Gm Suspensions, and dyi-ing an under $200 kit into it to make it like new! So, when I start looking around for just a set of new lower and upper pins, to renew my Stude front suspension, It(the expense) does make me wish that they had gone to the components of a major make, like they did with transmissions, rearends, electrical and so forth. But, thanks for all of the informative responses, anyway.

wally
07-04-2007, 06:22 PM
quote:Originally posted by Frank Starr

Quirky? Bulky? Better ideas from the big three?

What planet are you on, Wally?








[}:)]Truth is, I am in the Real World, big guy. Like SBCA, I am used to getting 200k miles out of out of those "crap" Gm Suspensions, and dyi-ing an under $200 kit into it to make it like new! So, when I start looking around for just a set of new lower and upper pins, to renew my Stude front suspension, It(the expense) does make me wish that they had gone to the components of a major make, like they did with transmissions, rearends, electrical and so forth. But, thanks for all of the informative responses, anyway.

Stu63
07-04-2007, 07:16 PM
If you wanted to see a front end design that was made with little or no thought to steering geometry. Check out the 39 DeSoto. One real short left arm from the pittman and a real long arm to the right. So as the suspension deflected the bump steer for each wheel was different. Had to be cheap though. I do not know how long Mopars used this arrangement.

Butler, PA
63 Avanti R1 R2899

Stu63
07-04-2007, 07:16 PM
If you wanted to see a front end design that was made with little or no thought to steering geometry. Check out the 39 DeSoto. One real short left arm from the pittman and a real long arm to the right. So as the suspension deflected the bump steer for each wheel was different. Had to be cheap though. I do not know how long Mopars used this arrangement.

Butler, PA
63 Avanti R1 R2899

Frank Starr
07-05-2007, 11:26 AM
Well, duh, if GM used kingpins and bushings and Stude used ball joints the prices would be the other way around. Think of the production volumes.



Truth is, I am in the Real World, big guy. Like SBCA, I am used to getting 200k miles out of out of those "crap" Gm Suspensions, and dyi-ing an under $200 kit into it to make it like new! So, when I start looking around for just a set of new lower and upper pins, to renew my Stude front suspension, It(the expense) does make me wish that they had gone to the components of a major make, like they did with transmissions, rearends, electrical and so forth. But, thanks for all of the informative responses, anyway.

Frank Starr
07-05-2007, 11:26 AM
Well, duh, if GM used kingpins and bushings and Stude used ball joints the prices would be the other way around. Think of the production volumes.



Truth is, I am in the Real World, big guy. Like SBCA, I am used to getting 200k miles out of out of those "crap" Gm Suspensions, and dyi-ing an under $200 kit into it to make it like new! So, when I start looking around for just a set of new lower and upper pins, to renew my Stude front suspension, It(the expense) does make me wish that they had gone to the components of a major make, like they did with transmissions, rearends, electrical and so forth. But, thanks for all of the informative responses, anyway.

showbizkid
07-05-2007, 02:52 PM
quote:Originally posted by Frank Starr

Well, duh, if GM used kingpins and bushings and Stude used ball joints the prices would be the other way around. Think of the production volumes.

I understand your point but disagree with your conclusions. Regardless of production volume, ball joint assemblies are cheaper to produce than kingpins, which are highly machined precision pieces. Perhaps more volume would have brought costs down some, but never to same level.


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

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

showbizkid
07-05-2007, 02:52 PM
quote:Originally posted by Frank Starr

Well, duh, if GM used kingpins and bushings and Stude used ball joints the prices would be the other way around. Think of the production volumes.

I understand your point but disagree with your conclusions. Regardless of production volume, ball joint assemblies are cheaper to produce than kingpins, which are highly machined precision pieces. Perhaps more volume would have brought costs down some, but never to same level.


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

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

PackardV8
07-05-2007, 03:33 PM
Minor points on which I would appreciate clarification:

1. Didn't GM use kingpin front suspensions up into the 1950s?
2. Isn't the Studebaker kingpin a forging?
3. The only real weakness I have ever found on the Studebaker front suspension is the upper inner rubber bushings don't last long. IMHO, they were designed for the steel bushings the '51 and the R3 used.
4. The other point which makes the Studebaker front end design an antique is the alignment, specifically the caster, is not suitable for radial tires and freeways speeds. It is impossible to get positive caster. The negative caster was engineered in to make it easy to park before power steering.

thnx, jv.


PackardV8

PackardV8
07-05-2007, 03:33 PM
Minor points on which I would appreciate clarification:

1. Didn't GM use kingpin front suspensions up into the 1950s?
2. Isn't the Studebaker kingpin a forging?
3. The only real weakness I have ever found on the Studebaker front suspension is the upper inner rubber bushings don't last long. IMHO, they were designed for the steel bushings the '51 and the R3 used.
4. The other point which makes the Studebaker front end design an antique is the alignment, specifically the caster, is not suitable for radial tires and freeways speeds. It is impossible to get positive caster. The negative caster was engineered in to make it easy to park before power steering.

thnx, jv.


PackardV8

Alan
07-05-2007, 04:23 PM
Jack, The ackerman is where I have my differences with Stude. 1 degree of ackerman is 1/2" toe out on turns and if you look at the Stude shop manual it says the outside wheel on a turn will be 17 or 18 degrees if the inside wheel is turned 20 degrees. 1 degree of ackerman is 1/2" of additional toe out. On a stude you are looking at 1" to 1 1/2" additional toe out in a turn. That is why on almost any Stude the inside of the front tires are worn and cupped and look like they have been shaved off at an angle.

Alan
07-05-2007, 04:23 PM
Jack, The ackerman is where I have my differences with Stude. 1 degree of ackerman is 1/2" toe out on turns and if you look at the Stude shop manual it says the outside wheel on a turn will be 17 or 18 degrees if the inside wheel is turned 20 degrees. 1 degree of ackerman is 1/2" of additional toe out. On a stude you are looking at 1" to 1 1/2" additional toe out in a turn. That is why on almost any Stude the inside of the front tires are worn and cupped and look like they have been shaved off at an angle.