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View Full Version : Frame/Springs 1947 Champion convertible frame - same as a 47 4 door champion?



avantibngrant
07-17-2012, 09:32 AM
I just purhcased this car needing a lot of work - don't they all? I have a very good frame from a 47 4 door and according to a look through the parts book, the crossmebers are all the same, but the frame itself is a different number for the convertible. Anyone know what is different and if it will fit? Both are the North American LHC.
Would the gauge be different of the steel?

Appreciate any help.
Neil

P.S. The Avanti is up and running with a few things left to update, but it has been to a few shows and the Belleville Ontario "made in Canada" Studebaker show.

whacker
07-17-2012, 08:23 PM
Don't know about the 47's, but in the later models the convertibles had a big X-member in the frame for flex resistance. I assume if you have the convertible in your possession, that you could look under it and see if the frame has a big X member. If the wheelbase is the same, you could cut the X member out of the convertible and weld it onto the 4 door frame. I've never done anything like that, but I have heard of it being done on convertible Larks and frames for Avantis.

avantibngrant
07-17-2012, 09:33 PM
I am to get the car tomorrow, so I will look. Although going though a lot of the posting, the X member was not used on the 47 to 52 convertible by what I was able to gather. It was on the 60-64 convertibles and the Avanti. Sooo I am wondering what the difference might be if that is indeed the case. I have a big challenge ahead of me, but while I await it's arrival, I am looking at the possibilities of using a really good frame and drivetrain I have from a 47 4 door. It came from Sask. Even the exhaust system looks good. The previous owner took the body off to put on a Corvette.
Thanks for the input.
Neil

RadioRoy
07-18-2012, 01:10 AM
The parts books certainly don't shed a lot of light on the matter.

I'm betting/guessing that there is either a difference in the gauge of the steel, or maybe different mounts for the weights on the front of the frame that convertibles have.

Michidan
07-18-2012, 08:49 AM
I really don't know about the frames either, but the convertible body will have extra flooring tubs - the Stude "hog troughs". This is where the efforts for convertible bracing were done. The frames are likely identical, or possibly slightly modified to CLEAR the hog troughs.
I may be wrong, just my thoughts on what I've seen under a few 47-52 models personally.

avantibngrant
07-18-2012, 10:34 AM
Interesting. I am set to get it dropped off today. I will look under it when I get home from work today. Hog troughs like the Avanti or somethike like a 52 hardtop would have? Does anyone make them like Classic Enterprises? Also, the weights in the front as mentioned by Radio Roy , i wonder what they are for?
It is a big project, but I will try to be patient to collect parts and information as I go.
Thanks for the help so far.

Neil

royvaldez
07-18-2012, 11:17 AM
NO. Dif. frames.

avantibngrant
07-18-2012, 11:38 AM
Would you know what the differences might be? Gauge different on the fore/aft rails? If not, I may be able to use sections if required. Seems the cross members are all the same part number.

Regards

Neil

whacker
07-18-2012, 08:23 PM
Also, the weights in the front as mentioned by Radio Roy , i wonder what they are for?

The weights are to reduce the harmonic vibration the front end sheet metal develops at certain speeds. As far as I know, all the convertibles had them. On my (long gone) 60 Lark convertible, there were two big cement weights right behind the sheet metal in front, maybe 20 - 30 lbs each. Don't try to run without them!

Doug M
07-19-2012, 09:15 PM
The Champions did not have the weights the Commanders did. Doug M

avantibngrant
07-20-2012, 01:00 PM
Doug, i think you are right on that. Just an update. When comparing the two frames, there is a plate which the body supports sit on the frame which the 4 door is to have 4 (2 per side) and the convertible 8. They are in different positions fore and aft also. I am assuming the plates hold the frame to body mounts Classic Enterprises sells and the torque boxes go on the extra ones. Would any one have any pictures of what a convertible torque box installation looks like thay would share with me? That would be helpful.
Anyone have any experience with the Classic 2 Current rust repair panels? Seems thay are the only one with a trunk bottom and Clasic enterprises is the only one with a back seat area floor panel. Which ones fit the best?
Regards

Neil

Doug M
07-23-2012, 10:53 PM
I have a 49 Champion convertible that the bottom is in sad shape the torque boxes are gone or I would send pictures. Doug M

avantibngrant
07-24-2012, 07:55 PM
Yes, i would really appreciate some pictures from anyone who has intact torque boxes. I purchased a frame dimension drawing on ebay which I am sure will be useful for the frame conversion.
Thanks
Neil

oldkystude
08-09-2012, 07:47 PM
Here is a shop that restored a 50 Commander Convertible and have a few photos of the torque box restoration:

http://www.vintageautocraft.com/1950_Studebaker.html

I've got a 48 Commander Conv that I'm half-heartedly trying to sell. I had always planned to replace the missing boxes with tubular steel. It would add weight but if you can find the right cross-section it would seem to be an easier option than all the fabrication you will see at this link. I sent this company an email requesting info on supplying a set of their torque boxes but no response. They may not have bothered making patterns of what they built.

Send me a PM or call if you want to chat post-war Stude convertibles!

oldkystude
08-09-2012, 08:43 PM
Regarding convertible weights, here is an old post of mine which brilliantly explains their function:

Think of them as anchors in the space/time continuum. The mass of the weights want to remain where they are (inertia). When the body try's to move them it must do so through the springs. The space/time anchors resist the body and therefore stabilizes it. On the lark convertibles the same task was performed by weights inside the front bumpers.
another way to think of them is that they change the natural frequency of the body. Everything with mass has a natural frequency that it will vibrate at. In the case of the convertible bodies that frequency was close to the wheel rpm at cruise speeds. Once the rpm was in sync with the body natural frequency the vibrations began to amplify. The old timers called it "wheel tramp". (insert joke here).

Anyway, leave them on there, make sure that they are in good shape and bolted tightly to the frame. They are important.

I stole, rather obtained, this image somewhere. Looks like a Commander with Planar Suspension. I don't know if Champs had them. My guess is that they did.

I actually could use a set. For the new owner of my Commander. Yeah, that's it. For the new owner. It would be crazy for me to look for parts for a car I want to sell..

avantibngrant
08-11-2012, 10:05 AM
Regarding convertible weights, here is an old post of mine which brilliantly explains their function:

Think of them as anchors in the space/time continuum. The mass of the weights want to remain where they are (inertia). When the body try's to move them it must do so through the springs. The space/time anchors resist the body and therefore stabilizes it. On the lark convertibles the same task was performed by weights inside the front bumpers.
another way to think of them is that they change the natural frequency of the body. Everything with mass has a natural frequency that it will vibrate at. In the case of the convertible bodies that frequency was close to the wheel rpm at cruise speeds. Once the rpm was in sync with the body natural frequency the vibrations began to amplify. The old timers called it "wheel tramp". (insert joke here).

Anyway, leave them on there, make sure that they are in good shape and bolted tightly to the frame. They are important.

I stole, rather obtained, this image somewhere. Looks like a Commander with Planar Suspension. I don't know if Champs had them. My guess is that they did.

I actually could use a set. For the new owner of my Commander. Yeah, that's it. For the new owner. It would be crazy for me to look for parts for a car I want to sell..

Hi. I understand from the parts book that the Champions do not have the weights, only the commander convertibles. I know mine does not.
Thanks very much for the pictures. The pictures make me feel a little better about mine as it is in similar condition. I am going to try to use the frame drawing in the parts book and the naked frame and drive train I have to make a solid works model from which I will layout some torque boxes, with help from any pictures I can get. I am sure Studebaker had it figured out, but I would have thought adding weights on the front of the Commander with the already heavier engine would have lowered the natural frequency (sq rt of k/m) as the mass increases, and k is unchanged. Maybe it lowere it to a speed it would transition through and not be held at for long.
I appreciate the good feedback. If I get a decent model of the torque boxes, I may talk to Lamonte at CE and maybe it could become part of his product line so guys like us won't feel so stymied with the convertibles.

Neil

oldkystude
08-12-2012, 01:22 AM
Neil: I would love to see those boxes become available!

I just today got this nice response from Vintage Auto Craft:

"The parts were made specifically for what the car (1950 Commander Convertible-hp) needed. Every thing needs to be made for each car individually.Not sure on the jig since i'm always changing them. If you could send me your phone # i could explain better. about the only thing I had to go on with the conv. was a close idea on the mounting points. that all needs to be done on the frame. you can reach me at 928-242-3925.

thanks hope I can help
Tim"

If you are not concerned about underbody authenticity I'm sure you could easily use the tubular steel idea to seriously beef up that area. I am considering a cross-section type used as fork lift pockets on industrial machinery. Shallow height and wide. I discussed it with Dick DeLong, a Studebaker body engineer from 1950 to 1963. He agreed with my idea and said he would not even bother with bending the curve to match the rocker. Just run it straight and as close to the rocker panel as possible.

I also obtained a 64 Convertible parts car with a good X member. I think the frame on that car is shot so I don't mind cutting the x out if it can be adapted to the 48. Our last 48 Commander Convertible was an original totally solid California car. It felt like you were driving a wet noodle. That car needs all the torsional stiffness you can give it.

oldkystude
08-12-2012, 01:40 AM
I am sure Studebaker had it figured out, but I would have thought adding weights on the front of the Commander with the already heavier engine would have lowered the natural frequency (sq rt of k/m) as the mass increases, and k is unchanged. Maybe it lowere it to a speed it would transition through and not be held at for long.

Neil

Back then they probably couldn't predict the natural frequency before they built the car. I'm sure the weights were a band-aid resulting from the initial tests. I wonder if the wheelbase was the main factor, and if so, did the later Champions need the weights when they got the Commander wheelbase?

Vibration engineering is really interesting to me as a former helicopter mechanic. On the Aerospatiale Twinstar I took care of there were similar smaller weights mounted under the forward cabin. The springs were slotted so you could adjust the distance from the weight to the spring mounting point. It looked like each ship was tuned for the smoothest ride. Who knows what I'll need if I do the frame and body stiffening!

52 Ragtop
08-12-2012, 08:03 AM
My 52 Commander convertible does NOT have the weights, but the 62 Daytona convertible did, and my 64 Daytona convertible does too. Were the weights dropped on the 52s?

Jim

oldkystude
08-13-2012, 12:35 AM
I was contacted by another Commander Convertible guy needing torque boxes. I wonder if Studebaker Intl has any of that stuff, or the original drawings? Has anyone every tried? There appears to be a market for them that may be as strong as the Avanti need.

fatboylust
08-14-2012, 01:00 PM
I contacted the SNM archives and requested to buy copies of the 47-52 convet/hdtp torque box/hog trough drawings. Mr. Beckman replied that these drawings were lost/missing and if they were found he would let me know. Nearly two years later I have little hope that they will surface. Note: the these parts/part numbers do not show in the parts books. Repops would be nice but it seems there isn't enough demand for a vendor to develop a drawing/plan and then produce the parts profitably.

avantibngrant
01-02-2013, 11:57 AM
I contacted the SNM archives and requested to buy copies of the 47-52 convet/hdtp torque box/hog trough drawings. Mr. Beckman replied that these drawings were lost/missing and if they were found he would let me know. Nearly two years later I have little hope that they will surface. Note: the these parts/part numbers do not show in the parts books. Repops would be nice but it seems there isn't enough demand for a vendor to develop a drawing/plan and then produce the parts profitably.
Hello folks. A little updat on the convertible. I purchased all the drawings the museum had on the torque boxes, 3 d modeled the frame between the axles and am modelling the parts I can from the drawings I purchased. I also bouth the body mounts from CE which I will incorporat into the modeling. As my car does not have a lot of the torque box area left, would anyone have any restoration pictures of the bottom showing the torque boxes they would share with me? I would like pictures of the front and back as well as a section of the area of rust out, but with a little more meat left than mine. When I get the modeling done and drawings done, I cna make more than one set if there is interest??? It has been fun working with drawing smade in 1946 - they sure accomplished a lot with the drawing board. My hat is off to them for waht they were able to achieve.

Regards

Neil

thunderations
01-02-2013, 12:57 PM
I'd sure like to see some drawings, pictures, anything to help with my 1950 Champion Convertible. The PO had cut the floors out and was in the process of adding new sections. The work is less then perfect and will need to be removed and redone correctly. Everything under the floor is gone, so any help would be appreciated. Also need gauge of metal used, even though I might consider going thicker to add more strength. Thanks

Hello folks. A little updat on the convertible. I purchased all the drawings the museum had on the torque boxes, 3 d modeled the frame between the axles and am modelling the parts I can from the drawings I purchased. I also bouth the body mounts from CE which I will incorporat into the modeling. As my car does not have a lot of the torque box area left, would anyone have any restoration pictures of the bottom showing the torque boxes they would share with me? I would like pictures of the front and back as well as a section of the area of rust out, but with a little more meat left than mine. When I get the modeling done and drawings done, I cna make more than one set if there is interest??? It has been fun working with drawing smade in 1946 - they sure accomplished a lot with the drawing board. My hat is off to them for waht they were able to achieve.

Regards

Neil

avantibngrant
01-31-2013, 09:08 PM
I am slowly working on it as time allows. I received some pictures form one person so far to add to my gleanings , but would appreciate any more. I am amazed that if I look very closely at my car, how much info it is willing to tell me even though it is very rusty and there is not much left on either side.
The drawings I purchased from the SNM are quite helpfull, but are only one rail of many. One of the drawings has an origin referenced as the front of the dash, center of the car and a z one which I am not sure where it is taken from. I am thinking from the underside of the floor where the frame bolts on? Would anyone know? I do hope the pictures come through ok - troughs may not hold water yet, but are coming along!
Is there any interest out there if I build more than one set? It is a lot of work so if there is a need...

Regards

Neil