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Well...that was embarrassing!

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  • Well...that was embarrassing!

    MY MY...blast it all! Finally, made it home from a rare Studebaker excursion. But, let me explain. For the last couple of days, it has been almost summer here. I've been working on my engine test stand project. After dialing in my bellhousing, and installing new dowel pins, I removed the bellhousing for cleaning and painting. That meant pulling the rear motor mounts, supporting the rear of the engine with my hoist, and painting the mounts, lower dust plate, etc. While up to my elbows in "project," my wife comes out to request that I drive her to pick up a prescription and the grocery store.

    As she approached, she realized how dirty I was and how bad I smelled. She wisely reconsidered and requested that I be available to unload the groceries when she returned. She got in her car and drove away. I finished the task I was working on, and quick as I could, showered, changed to clean clothes, all the while, feeling a bit guilty about not being able to ,immediately, drop everything to help her.

    We have spent the past several months with specialists trying to locate the source and treat the chronic pain that has plagued her back and neck, so far, without positive results. I was determined to surprise her by showing up at the grocery store, clean clothed, and not stinking, to help her lift the groceries and push the cart.

    It was such great weather, and I don't recall the last time I had a Studebaker out of the barn. So...I fired up the trusty green 55 Stude truck, and headed to the store. It was great, even if the biased ply nylon tires were a bit bouncy for the first couple of miles. Knowing my wife had the errand to the drug store first, I managed to meet her at the grocery store in time to help. Everything worked out. It worked so well that it inspired me to offer to take her out for supper. (Dinner fer you serfisticated folks) In fact...she agreed to ride in my bouncy crude little "Studebaker Truck Farmer's" truck. (That's the "rare" part of this story)

    I was so happy she agreed to the excursion, that I took the garden hose and blasted the winter dust off the truck while she was inside organizing the groceries I had unloaded.

    Off we went...about six o'clock PM, a whole five mile trip, to one of our favorite Cruise-in restaurants. Of course, while there, we encountered friends. We had our meal, some good fellowship, and finally, headed to the parking lot. By that time, it was getting dark. The trusty truck fired right up. Backed away from the curb, and began to roll through the parking lot. Then, I turned the light switch. No instrument lights...then I heard an odd "Click." Next, I heard a quieter click. Immediately, I knew what it was. The main circuit breaker. I turned the light switch again, the ammeter pegged on discharge, indicating a dead short.

    Now for the embarrassing part...My wife knows the mechanic that maintains this vehicle. She's married to him. He's always embarrassed when his work fails...especially in front of his wifeeven worse when she is stranded in a parking lot.

    And...those four families we were talking with earlier???? Not a familiar face in sight. I had to call my son-in-law to come to the rescue. By that time it was completely dark. There I was, no tools, and only a cell phone for a flashlight. I moved the truck under one of the restaurant's lights, and began troubleshooting. While engaged in that, a young couple with a child came over and asked if they could assist. I told the young man that his company and concern was already a comfort. My son-in-law arrived with a few tools and a flashlight. I managed to troubleshoot enough to determine that the problem was in the light circuit, but have yet to identify the specific short. We decided to let my son-in-law escort the Studebaker home. The young couple (strangers) volunteered to follow behind. It worked out great. We're home safe...but still...dang it...EMBARRASING!!!!

    I'm too tired to stand in front of a mirror to fuss at the mechanic There's always "tomorrow"....
    John Clary
    Greer, SC

    SDC member since 1975

  • #2
    I've heard of guys fixing their vehicle under a shade tree, but fixing yours in the complete darkness?? The sunshine must be really hot down there!
    In the middle of MinneSTUDEa.


    • #3
      Great story, .... been in similar position, sort of: A buddy's brother bought a set of rims for his Malibu SS. I thought the Malibu's wheel covers were cool and bought them from him to upgrade my '61 Lark. After washing the Lark and installing the Malibu's wheel covers I picked up a girlfriend for a Saturday night movie....before I got her home all four had come off and rolled down the road...we had several good laughs over the situation, ...but she never went out with me again.
      Lou Van Anne
      62 Champ
      64 R2 GT Hawk
      79 Avanti II


      • #4
        Look at it this way -No one blew a gasket!


        • #5
          Lou I hope you found the hub caps as the girl doesn't sound like she was worth finding anyway but the caps yes.
          Castro Valley,


          • #6
            So the question is, will your wife ever ride in the truck again???
            Thanks for sharing the great story

            1947 Champion (owned since 1967)
            1961 Hawk 4-speed
            1967 Avanti
            1961 Lark 2 door
            1988 Avanti Convertible

            Member of SDC since 1973


            • #7
              WOO HOO!!! Found the problem...BKS (butt kicking simple)

              Somehow, the tail light wire for the right rear light had gotten pinched between the cross-member and the spare tire. You recall my comment, earlier, about the flat spotted nylon tires causing the truck to bounce down the road, for the first few miles, after sitting for a few months??? Apparently, this was going on for quite a while, and the vibration abrading the wire was bound to reveal itself in due time. I'm sure, that sometime in the past, I'm guilty of wrapping that wire around the cross-member. Most likely, I thought it would be an easy way to support the wire and keep it up and out of sight. Unfortunately, since to do that kind of task, the spare was probably not in place. Later, when re-installing the spare, I hadn't thought about it getting caught between the tire and metal beam.

              Again, today was a great weather day, and I spent a good bit of it re-routing that wire in a manner to make future a recurrence unlikely. While working under the truck, I added grommets and wire loom for better protection.

              John Clary
              Greer, SC

              SDC member since 1975