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Water Pump on a Skybolt

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  • Water Pump on a Skybolt

    I recently acquired "Stella", a brilliantly basic, janitor-spec '61 Lark with no options (not even a heater) and a Skybolt. I love her to death already, especially as the prior owners gave me (us) a very heartfelt goodbye as we drove away. She's not much, but with only 26k on the clock, runs like a top.

    Stella, however, has a pretty serious coolant leak, dribbling all over the garage floor which I believe is coming from the water pump. The hoses look decent, but are old and I'm going to order new ones from Studebaker International next week. At least one water pump is in the box in the trunk along with other spare bits, and the prior owner said he removed the thermostat because she wasn't driven much and was afraid of overheating the fragile motor and making everything go south from there.

    There's no indication of coolant consumption, so I think we're looking at a pretty basic going over. She needs carb work as well, but first things first. How hard is it to do a water pump on this car and sort out the cooling? Any gotchas? I just cleaned out the back seat and there's roughly 30 TW's and a consolidated '59-'64 shop manual, so I think I'm good to go until at least next spring.

    And, of course, 4-door sedans rock!

    -Andy

  • #2
    Andy,

    The waterpump on the six cylinders is really easy. After the hoses and fan/pulley are off, there are only three bolts! The shop manual will provide a good overview of the procedure. There are new production water pumps available, check with www.studebakerparts.com, or Fairborn Studebaker.

    The part about the thermostat being out is concerning -- is this a hint that the previous owner had overheating problems? Runing without a thermostat is not recommended.

    Congrats on your new purchase, and post some pics so we all can see it!
    Paul
    Winston-Salem, NC
    Visit The Studebaker Skytop Registry website at: www.studebakerskytop.com

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    • #3
      Paul,

      I was concerned about the overheating as well...especially given the dribble the pump is leaving. The seal must be basically gone at this point. That being said, the motor doesn't exhibit any signs of being overheated, has good power, and the exhaust looks and smells nice and normal. I didn't see any bubbles when I took the radiator cap off. Needless to say, this will all get ironed out well before we take it for much of a shakedown run. For what it's worth (not much), the prior owner said it was removed because it he was afraid it would stick due to sitting...the question is whether it actually stuck or he was being proactive?!? Who knows.

      Thanks for all the advice! I'd like to use the car on a weekly basis to more or less putter around in, so getting this stuff reliable is Job #1.

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