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My Half A$$ Studebaker Rebuild

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  • #46
    My experience has been that either you spend significantly and make the car pristine (which by the way you might have been better off just buying a pristine car) or you do it as inexpensively as possible. Something across the middle seems to cost more than you want and generally falls short of the "hopeful" goal desired.

    My method is to generally gut the interior and cover the engine and dash openings, clean out the trunk and then strongly pressure wash the car from the inside out including using a little bleach with the soap. Pay attention that everything that can catch/hold water does in fact drain. Once the car has dried out for a few days anything that looks rusty, or is a crevice/cavity spray phosphoric acid onto/into. The suspension gets a lube to push water out as well. From there you can determine what needs the most attention. Sometimes it just comes to the point where there are now too many obvious problems that the venture is not worth the time and money. Hopefully not.

    Mechanicals first, appearance aspects second. If the car will sit a long time I'd hold off on the brakes because of moisture absorption. Likely the engine and trans. are the most expensive so look there first because, again you don’t want to do the rest of the car and then find the expensive bill doesn’t make financial sense.

    My ‘64 Daytona 4Dr. was a $1,275 car. It barely ran, had no brakes (fun to drive into my friends enclosed trailer) and had a few (unpleasant) surprises. This is what I found and how I dealt with it:

    The 283 McKinnon engine (transplant from a ‘65-66 before I got it) ran but had a rotted freeze plug that puked coolant on my friends trailer floor. I fixed that. I cleaned/set the plugs, set the points, fix bad plug wires etc.. The engine ran decently but would never stop smoking regardless of having 150PSI compression. I replaced the valve seals, soaked the cylinders/rings (in every ring freeing solution known to man) for 2 weeks. Eventually I opted to buy a ‘85, 66K Corvette 350 engine off Ebay. I paid $171 for the engine but someone else was interested in the McKinnon pedigree and I got $159 for the 283. So, all of a $12 difference. $25 each got me an Edelbrock carb, intake and a rebuilt Delco/Pertronix equipped distributor.

    The A12 trans worked fine but I wanted 1st gear starts and overdrive. It was about $80 out the door from Pick Your Part for a obviously rebuilt 700R4. And like the engine I sold the A-12 trans for $50 so the 700R4 cost me $30. I needed the speedo drive and cable changed, a proper sized driveshaft, a trans cooler (desired, not needed) a floor shift and a console. All that was about $70 from the yards.

    The suspension was old, but serviceable. Nothing was too thrashed though the leaf spring bushings do need attention. I tighten up the steering box slightly, the wheel bearings and looked for loose bolts. I also added a rear sway bar from an 80’s Camaro.

    The brakes had decent lining, one wheel cylinder leaking and I simply replaced the seals.

    The tires were marginally serviceable but I opted for four Crown Vic wheels with a matching set of Firestone tires for $88.

    The front floors were not great. Regardless I had done enough metal work in my life (as in too much enough) and opted to use POR-15, their fabric mesh and 7 years later, regardless of some rather holy front floors it is holding up well. It somewhat amuses me that the factory will punch a bunch of silver dollar sized holes in the floor yet people get holes the size of a dime and it is deemed a disaster. I was not free from metal work however. The driver’s side rear wheel well to floor area did need attention. And it took some time to deal with. The trunk I just POR-15-ed. So, having a MIG welder helped there.

    The interior I put down carpet padding rescued from the trash of a carpet store. I went to Lowe’s and got black carpeting and hand fit it myself. For front seats I replace the thrashed bench front seat with a set of charcoal gray seats from a Nissan Maxima. The rear seat I just put black covers over (no one ever sits back there). I used caulking to fill in dash cracks and painted it black with plastic paint.

    The exterior paint was not great. But “patina” is vogue and a great excuse to live with what you have. The roof paint was really bad and I painted it flat black with rattle cans. The rest of the car I wet sanded, buffed and waxed. My biggest issue was finding a replacement windshield that didn’t cost $800 shipped and installed. It looked for well over a year for something used and local to no avail. So, I eventually got a scratched, bulls eyed windshield from 400 miles away for $100 - my son thankfully delivering.

    Anyway, “all in” I have well under $2,000 in the car. I have the power of a 350 Corvette engine and the advantage of the low 1st gear/overdrive 700R4. The interior is clean and functional (still need to do the door panels). The body looks OK from 50 ft. I drive the car about 300 miles a year. I’m grateful I got it running decently but didn’t spend a lot. If I had to have paid for my labor and bought everything new it surely would have been a low 5 digit car and at 300 miles a year not worth that kind of investment.

    Anyway, I wish you the best. I hope my experience has been at least some form of inspiration. It surely isn’t the “purists” route but there is an underlying “economy” to your posts that lean my to think you may be more CASO..., than not. In fact it kind of comes out in the title. LOL
    Attached Files
    '64 Lark Type, powered by '85 Corvette L-98 (carburetor), 700R4, - CASO to the Max.


    • #47
      Thanks guys. I don't have money to burn, but want to make sensible upgrades. So no LS7's, Tremec 6 speeds or Wildwood brakes. I plan to salvage as much of the stock drivetrain to keep costs low. I will be trying to get it running to see what I'm up to. I'm sure a carb overhaul is in order as all the gaskets will need to be upgraded to deal with our crappy ethanol mixed fuel. I've had to overhaul the HD8 carb on my Rover almost every season due to the fuel eating up the jet diaphram. I had also installed a Gross Jet that proceeded to do what it wasn't supposed to, stick. I went back to the needle and seat and never had a problem with flooding again.


      • #48
        Thanks for the great pictures you've posted. Nice,


        • #49
          Wittsend, thanks for posting your saga with your car. Interesting reading and good pictures. Nothing wrong with 'driver quality" in my book. I like them all.


          • #50
            I only did a little today. I moved the seats out of the car and rearranged the bikes to make some room. I also jacked up the front end and checked out the transmission, nope, still no first or reverse. It's got to come out. I tried to rig up a fuel bottle to feed the pump and tried to prime the carb, no go, still had to use starting fluid. It wants to start and run and I saw the oil pressure jump up to 40psi when it did run briefly. I'll overhaul the carb and get a new fuel pump. The new fuel would just ruin both anyway. No pictures of my attempt. But I did of this. Burnt blue wire, which I think is for the trailer hitch and the hitch brake controller.

            Ok, I really prefer the large photos as opposed to the thumbnails.

            Last edited by Topper2011; 07-12-2018, 06:33 PM.


            • #51
              Enjoying your posts. Please keep them coming.

              Don't like that burnt wire, though. It could have melted insulation on other wires. Chasing that one looks like a priority to me.

              Best of luck on the project.
              RadioRoy, specializing in AM/FM conversions with auxiliary inputs for iPod/satellite/CD player. In the old car radio business since 1985.

              17A-S2 - 50 Commander convertible
              10G-C1 - 51 Champion starlight coupe
              10G-Q4 - 51 Champion business coupe
              4H-K5 - 53 Commander starliner hardtop
              5H-D5 - 54 Commander Conestoga wagon
              56B-D4 - 56 Commander station wagon
              60V-L6 - 60 Lark convertible


              • #52
                Originally posted by RadioRoy View Post
                Enjoying your posts. Please keep them coming.

                Don't like that burnt wire, though. It could have melted insulation on other wires. Chasing that one looks like a priority to me.

                Best of luck on the project.
                Thanks, I've traced it a little to under the car of which I'm fairly certain it's for the trailer harness. I'll dig into the harness some more to see if it melted anything else.


                • #53
                  Yes, I'm all over the place with my project. I did get some tires as my mis-matched wheel/tire combo was driving me crazy. I got these in 215/75 x 15 for $220, free delivery in two days and a $75 gift card from Visa

                  Mounted to my Cherokee wheels.

                  Trying it on for size.


                  • #54
                    Today, I drove 150 mile to pick these up. Free from Craigslist!

                    I have these in my little Transit Connect and found them good enough for my drive to Manhattan without feeling butt sore. I can't say that about the other car seats I've had. My plan is to pull these seat covers off these, send them off to use as a pattern for original material color of my Studebaker to match the back seat. Then I'll keep these TC covers for spares for my daily driver.


                    • #55
                      Decided to yank the carb since I couldn't get any fuel to get into the float bowl. I'm a lousy carb builder and I don't have a carb dunk tank so I'm sending it out. These WCFB's are heavy!

                      Packed and ready to go.

                      I really need to clean this engine up.


                      • #56
                        I'm going to tackle removing the tank today and will have to remove the welded on hitch.

                        I must have spent at least a couple hours, two rip saw blades, three die grinder wheels to get to this point.

                        This piece was solid, not hollow like I suspected.

                        I started cutting the front of the horizontal piece here, but decided this wouldn't allow the tank to drop down enough to clear. So now I have to cut it at the bump stop support.

                        Does anyone know if this is stock? Well, that battery died on the Dewalt Rip saw and decided to move on to something else, like opening the trunk and unloading the Ford parts.

                        Sweeping out the trunk, left a surprise.

                        Well, looks like I'm going to learn how to weld in a trunk.

                        Time to call it quits for today. Tomorrow, I'm determined to drop that tank.


                        • #57
                          Glad to get all that junk out of the trunk. Anyone want a very heavy manifold of which I do not know what Ford it fits. Free for the cost of shipping and my hernia operation.

                          I finally beat my nemesis.


                          • #58
                            Now, I could finally get to the tank, but it even put up a fight. I ended up poking a hole into it with my rip saw.


                            • #59
                              Time to drag everything out into the light.

                              I emptied the slurry from the tank getting it ready to send out to have cleaned and coated.

                              Between all that junk in the trunk and the cut out trailer support, I've lightened this car by over 150lbs. Now that the tank is out. I'll be looking into replacing the trunk floor. I'm done for today, time to catch up on my Tour De France watching. Work tomorrow.
                              Last edited by Topper2011; 07-22-2018, 12:33 PM.


                              • #60
                                I believe that Stephen Allen's will have repro gasoline tank for your car shortly.

                                - - - Updated - - -

                                I believe that Stephen Allen's will have repro gasoline tank for your car shortly.
                                Gary L.
                                Wappinger, NY

                                SDC member since 1968
                                Studebaker enthusiast much longer