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Those pesky rubber body insulators

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  • Those pesky rubber body insulators

    The other day I was looking over the stack of rubber body insultors that Studebaker had installed at the Vernon CA plant, when building my '54 starliner. They used about 20 of those little 2" square rubber blocks between the frame and the body. Of course, they do no good whatever as far as insulation goes, given that the other side of the bolts just has a flat washer, make a solid joint. Basically, just just take up the uneven space. Anyway, as I was looking at them (prior to reusing them for my install), I noticed that they were actually made from old tire casings. Some still had traces of writing visible on them, and a couple were white rubber on one side. One was half white, half black on one side.

    I suppose it was due to mfg tollerances adding up, but they also used 1/4" steel spacers, and about half of the various body bolts had those as well. They are really just a 2" square block of 1/4" thick steel, to take up space between the frame and the rubber insulator. All this must have taken quite a bit of time just to bolt down the body, what with all this custom fitting.

    Many of the rubber insulators were in good condition, so I reused those. (Maximizing tire mileage, you know.) The ones that had gotten really mashed I tossed. BUT, I think this proves there were some CASB's back then, reusing tires for body insulators... But then they lost all they gained in cost by they way they hand adjusted each place that they installed them. PPPP

  • #2
    Posted by Corley

    <snip>But then they lost all they gained in cost by they way they hand adjusted each place that they installed them.
    I think there is a fair amount of truth in what you said but back in the day (so to speak) Engineering practices were not what we're used to today. There was a fair amount of tolerance built into the manufacturing process. It had to be accounted for in many ways and this is one of them.

    A mold to make the insulator and add reinforcing to resist crushing was not then nor now a trivial cost. I'm betting that the folks that put them together got quite proficient at adding the correct amount of steel shims. Not cheap to do but necessary to put them together.

    Today, they'd just design the assembly as a whole, robot weld it together and be done.