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  • 61 Lark rebuild

    I am getting my 61 Six cylinder engine rebuilt professionally. Even though oil pressure is ok it burns a lot of oil. It is almost a self changing oil car. It seems I have been patching this car together one way or another for years. When it is finished, I hope to tour, perhaps the meet in Arizona this summer. That is why I am looking for an original A/C unit. Does anybody have good long distances with 6 cylinder Lark engines? I'll keep people up to date.

    David G. Nittler
    David G. Nittler

  • #2
    I have a friend that owns a '63 Lark Regal 4 dr. with a 6 and OD that he has driven well over 800 miles to attend various Stude functions in the PNW. As I recall he was easily passed by other members driving V8 equipped vehicles, but got his own back after passing them by at the gas stations.

    <h5>Mark
    '57 Transtar Deluxe
    "Star Performers with Saving Ways!"

    Vancouver Island Chapter
    http://visdc.shawwebspace.ca/ </h5>


    Mark Hayden
    '66 Commander
    Zone Coordinator
    Pacific Can-Am Zone

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    • #3
      I am not worried about speed just getting there without using more oil than gas.
      Any info on cylinder heads/ overheating/ etc?

      David G. Nittler
      David G. Nittler

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      • #4
        A few years ago we drove 2 1962 Lark Daytonas from Salt Lake City, Utah to Livingston, Montana for a Zone Meet. One was a six, the other a V-8. Both automatics. It was about a 1000 mile round trip. No problems at all. The gas millage was about the same for both cars. I would take that six anywhere anytime.

        Fred

        [IMG]
        Fred

        sigpic

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        • #5
          Dr. Nittler: I apologize before you take this as an insult, but who really cares about gas economy in a vintage car....? BY the time you put in ZDDP and octane boost and lead additive in a 60's car....what care you about gas consumption or cost? If I were cruisin long distances in the SW, I would surely be be using these additives for personal insurance. I would consider hardened valve seats on your car, with your suggested driving. Make sure the machine shop accurately diagnoses your current engine problems before rebuild...! Make sure you have a good deep radiator with excellent water movement, new water pump, and nice radials. Have more fun than me this season you lucky bugger...!!

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          • #6
            Hello David-

            First things first- have you properly diagnosed the oil usage? There are other, lesser things that can cause oil usage, starting with PCV issues. Good oil pressure indicates good bearings, which makes me wonder how bad the rings could be- which is the only thing in the bottom end that would cause oil burning. The rings could be worn, but if they're not, a complete rebuild would likely be money wasted.

            Provided you're not leaking excessive oil (a well-known Studebaker trait), the problem could very well be in the upper end: bad valve seals, worn guides, ventilation problems. Again, bad valve seals are common with old engines.

            Be sure to get a proper diagnosis from someone who knows what they're doing, starting with a compression test and leakdown test. Then you'll know where your problem is.

            A while back we had a member that spent a lot of money on a rebuild of a flathead 6, only to find the root problem- worn valve guides- was the culprit, and went unrepaired. So the owner spent a lot of time and money getting lots of work and parts that may not have even been necessary. The last I remember hearing, he was pulling the engine back out to have the guides done- very frustrated, of course. Don't let this be you- diagnose it correctly to be sure.

            Now maybe you have had a correct diagnosis done; if you did, here's the next thing: The OHV sixes are well-known for having problematic heads; they tend to develop cracks. It takes relatively little- the incidence of cracking in these engines is MUCH higher than other makes. Whether it is determined you need a complete rebuild or just a head rebuild, be sure to have the head closely checked for cracks (magnafluxing). If you find any, stop right there- they HAVE to be fixed or a good head sourced regardless of whatever else you do! Because this is such a common problem, it can be a challenge to find a good one, but they are out there. Are you saying you've had overheating? If so, not a good sign. Check the oil carefully for signs of coolant contamination. This is all the more critical, since you will be adding the stress of A/C to the package.

            Another thought- You mention about "patching this car together one way or another for years". We have to accept that this is the reality of owning an old car. You are driving 50-year-old technology that is also 50 years old; and many things were, unfortunately, sub-standard quality as designed (head, for example). These cars are rolling art, and a joy to own and drive; but they will always need continuous repair and maintenance, way more than modern cars. To most, it's worth the effort and grief- so long as we make peace with that reality.

            Best of luck; get that compression and leakdown test done and bring us the results before you lay out any bread; we'll help you get her straightened out![^]

            Robert (Bob) Andrews- on the IoMT (Island of Misfit Toys)
            Parish, central NY 13131

            GOD BLESS AMERICA





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            • #7
              No insult taken, as for mileage, I was oil comsumption to be less that gas comsumption...
              As for some history...I put rings bearings etc years ago. However, I never thought of redoing the head except valve grinding and stem seals. Also I never replaced the lifters. As time went by, I had lots of blow by and it seems I patched the car more than used it. Anyway my trusted mechanic did the correct tests. We determined that the head needed work. So the head was completely redone correctly. When the head was off we saw ridges on top of the cylinder walls, showing me that the pistons were not well shaped any more. Anyway we did the head.(my idea) put it on the car and used it awhile. Now it uses more oil than before. So I decided that "lets rebuild the rest or the motor and get it where I can use it more." So that is why I am doing what I am doing. I should have done the entire motor at one time but live and learn.
              I am looking forward to a more solid antique car so I can get to placed like Arizona..I read in car magazines, all the time, where people make long trips and that is where my interests lie now.

              David G. Nittler
              David G. Nittler

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              • #8
                quote:Originally posted by drnittler

                When the head was off we saw ridges on top of the cylinder walls, showing me that the pistons were not well shaped any more.
                Hold on David- that's not what ridges say at all! Ridges are naturally occuring; all that shows is that the ridges probably weren't removed last rebuild. As for piston shape, I've never heard of them losing shape! If anything, they either break, melt, break a skirt, or wear out the ring grooves. To my knowledge they don't distort or mis-shape (with the obvious exception of VERY excessive heat or detonation melting them). If your mechanic said this, I would consider seeking a second opinion.

                Robert (Bob) Andrews- on the IoMT (Island of Misfit Toys)
                Parish, central NY 13131

                GOD BLESS AMERICA





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                • #9
                  I had my 62 Six rebuilt using a 63 crank, a 62 block and various vintage OHV six parts in between. My Lark was a daily driver and on occasion we would tear up I80 to Omaha at or over the limit (75) and that Lark could really take curves fast too.

                  My heat gauge always read hot so check the sender and gauge, better yet get a modern heat gauge. I also installed an oil pressure gauge where the clock blank was in the dash so I know what the oil pressure really was.

                  If you're worried about gas mileage send your carb out to Dave T-bow. I had so-so milage on an worn out Carter AS carb and changed it out for an rebuilt RBS because the AS choke stuck wide open during a cold January. Well, the gas mileage really sucked with the RBS.

                  As far as AC units, a buddy of mine is scrapping out a couple of full sized jeeps and I recall a thread about using a FS Jeep under dash unit in a Studebaker. Since I can probably get the parts cheap, why not

                  Well, to be realistic, a Lark six is a better highway car than an interstate car, although it is fun to blow away modern cars (od + gearing) with our beloved South Bend bricks

                  Jeff T.

                  oh, the six head can be a problem but to paraphrase Bams, they are examples of 50 year old engineering, have the seats replaced, the cracks welded and call it good

                  "I'm getting nowhere as fast as I can"
                  The Replacements.
                  \"I\'m getting nowhere as fast as I can\"
                  The Replacements.

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                  • #10
                    I did the first "bebuild" really honing, rings, bearings etc. I never saw the ridges the first time,and I never did the head, except valve grindings and stem seals. Anyway when I had the head done, I got to see the ridges...What would cause them except cylinder walls wearing out funny except pistons wearing out. When the head was redone I thought the rings would seat better, but more oil is being burnt. I see it is not leaking. Probably too much pressure on the bottom???
                    Anyway I figured that I need to get the block in better shape. Thanks

                    David G. Nittler
                    David G. Nittler

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                    • #11
                      oops rebuild not bebuild.

                      David G. Nittler
                      David G. Nittler

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                      • #12
                        ..I'm going to guess as to your phrasing "pistons out of shape = "cylinders out of round". You will "always" form a ridge at that place where the top piston ring rises to the highest level in the cylinder wall. Various factors create the size of the ridge. The size of the ridge doesn't directly correlate to the wear of the cylinder walls below that ridge, but suffice it to say, the higher the ridge, the more likely the cylinder(s) will be "tapered" or "out of round". Not always...what I'm getting at, as others have clearly stated: measure these things at a reputable shop, and attend to them. By all means get back to us with the shop's diagnosis. Help is on the way....

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                        • #13
                          ok will do

                          David G. Nittler
                          David G. Nittler

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                          • #14
                            btw...how long ago and/or how many miles ago was your rebuild..

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                            • #15
                              I did my rebuild in 1999, doing the stuff I mentioned above. I put four thousand miles on it since then, because I used my 62 Lark with a 289 in it for those years. A year and one half ago I gave the 62 to my son in Houston, so his family could get into the hobby. The 61 was my first and my favorite. (I have a 50 ford and a 29 chevy, but the Lark is the best).

                              David G. Nittler
                              David G. Nittler

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