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  • Rubber shims

    Can anyone tell me the proper amount of shims required when mounting the 1954 coupe back on the chassis. In my short time as a stude nut I did no realize the importance of these shims. I placed the body on the chassis last night but I can tell I need help in shimming it. Also does the metal spacer go on the bottom of the shim or on top? Any help appreciated.

    Domenic Manera
    1954 Regal Starlight Coupe
    Domenic Manera, Fire Chief
    City of York Fire Department
    York, SC 29745
    1954 Regal Starlight Coupe

  • #2
    There is no easy answer of proper number of shims. The correct number and size of shims is what you need to get proper body alignment. It is easiest to start with what was there from the factory.

    Gary L.
    Wappinger, NY

    1959 DeLuxe pickup (restomod)
    Gary L.
    Wappinger, NY

    SDC member since 1968
    Studebaker enthusiast much longer

    Comment


    • #3
      There is no easy answer of proper number of shims. The correct number and size of shims is what you need to get proper body alignment. It is easiest to start with what was there from the factory.

      Gary L.
      Wappinger, NY

      1959 DeLuxe pickup (restomod)
      Gary L.
      Wappinger, NY

      SDC member since 1968
      Studebaker enthusiast much longer

      Comment


      • #4
        What Gary said, Domenic. Unfortunately, those shims should have been counted and kept together for each body bolt when the body came off. They are not necessarily the same from side to side either.

        Terry

        Comment


        • #5
          What Gary said, Domenic. Unfortunately, those shims should have been counted and kept together for each body bolt when the body came off. They are not necessarily the same from side to side either.

          Terry

          Comment


          • #6
            The frames on these cars are sort of flexible and spingy. If you don't have any records of what it was like before it came apart, I'd be tempted to do this:

            1. Make sure the chassis is on a level surface and supported by the axles so that its "natural" in that there is nothing making it twist or flex except its own weight.
            2. Start with 1/4" or 3/8" thick belting (aka rubber shim) sitting on each frame to body mounting point. Put a dab of silicon or glue to hold them in place over the mounting holes. Studebaker used old tire sidewalls to make these, no kidding!
            3. Set the body down and see if there are any gaps where the shim is not pinched between the body and frame. Add or remove or change thickness of shims as needed till they are all snugged then put bolts in.
            4. The shims at the rear of the body at the rear frame cross member can be adjusted to force the body to flex a little. This can affect the fit of the doors. You may need to revisit this when the doors get adjusted.
            5. I suspect that the shims on the front under the firewall braces can affect the fit of the front fenders. May need to add or remove there to force the cowl to change angle relative to the frame. I've not messed with them, added spaces at the front where the radiator support goes instead.

            The only metal spacers I recall are 2 huge thick washers that go under the frame at the front where the firewall/cowl supports are. The long bolts go through that washer, through the frame, through the shim then the brace and the nuts are on the top. I think all the other bolts go nut side down or thread into the frame itself.

            When these cars were built, the body had the doors and interior installed I think. Certainly the doors and glass were in. The frames already had the engine and axles along with the exhaust and gas tank installed. The bodies were then dropped down on that.

            My '53 seemed to have the same thickness shim everywhere as I remember. I put it back the same. I have seen some cars where they needed to use extra thick shim stacks under the A post supports near the trans tunnel. Not sure why but maybe those were V8 cars and the frames on those I heard have a sag to them.


            Jeff in ND

            '53 Champion Hardtop

            Jeff in ND

            Comment


            • #7
              The frames on these cars are sort of flexible and spingy. If you don't have any records of what it was like before it came apart, I'd be tempted to do this:

              1. Make sure the chassis is on a level surface and supported by the axles so that its "natural" in that there is nothing making it twist or flex except its own weight.
              2. Start with 1/4" or 3/8" thick belting (aka rubber shim) sitting on each frame to body mounting point. Put a dab of silicon or glue to hold them in place over the mounting holes. Studebaker used old tire sidewalls to make these, no kidding!
              3. Set the body down and see if there are any gaps where the shim is not pinched between the body and frame. Add or remove or change thickness of shims as needed till they are all snugged then put bolts in.
              4. The shims at the rear of the body at the rear frame cross member can be adjusted to force the body to flex a little. This can affect the fit of the doors. You may need to revisit this when the doors get adjusted.
              5. I suspect that the shims on the front under the firewall braces can affect the fit of the front fenders. May need to add or remove there to force the cowl to change angle relative to the frame. I've not messed with them, added spaces at the front where the radiator support goes instead.

              The only metal spacers I recall are 2 huge thick washers that go under the frame at the front where the firewall/cowl supports are. The long bolts go through that washer, through the frame, through the shim then the brace and the nuts are on the top. I think all the other bolts go nut side down or thread into the frame itself.

              When these cars were built, the body had the doors and interior installed I think. Certainly the doors and glass were in. The frames already had the engine and axles along with the exhaust and gas tank installed. The bodies were then dropped down on that.

              My '53 seemed to have the same thickness shim everywhere as I remember. I put it back the same. I have seen some cars where they needed to use extra thick shim stacks under the A post supports near the trans tunnel. Not sure why but maybe those were V8 cars and the frames on those I heard have a sag to them.


              Jeff in ND

              '53 Champion Hardtop

              Jeff in ND

              Comment


              • #8
                Thanks for the info, my car has the 232 v8 and metal shims almost at each location in addition to the rubber shim. I do still have the original shims, just not sure if I should use them. You are correct about Studebaker using the old side wall of a tire. Thats what I cut my new shims out of. I think I might have created a problem I do not need. But you learn from your mistakes.

                Domenic Manera
                1954 Regal Starlight Coupe
                Domenic Manera, Fire Chief
                City of York Fire Department
                York, SC 29745
                1954 Regal Starlight Coupe

                Comment


                • #9
                  Thanks for the info, my car has the 232 v8 and metal shims almost at each location in addition to the rubber shim. I do still have the original shims, just not sure if I should use them. You are correct about Studebaker using the old side wall of a tire. Thats what I cut my new shims out of. I think I might have created a problem I do not need. But you learn from your mistakes.

                  Domenic Manera
                  1954 Regal Starlight Coupe
                  Domenic Manera, Fire Chief
                  City of York Fire Department
                  York, SC 29745
                  1954 Regal Starlight Coupe

                  Comment

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