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Buying a 1959 Studebaker Lark

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  • #16
    You also might want to be on the look out for a '59 grille. The one in yours is a '60. Great car, still!
    ~Matt Connor
    '59 Lark 2-door

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    • #17
      Originally posted by jclary View Post
      Great to see you got the car home! How did you break the exhaust manifold? Did it somehow catch on the trailer as it transitioned down the ramp? On the window seals, do you mean the "cat whiskers?" If so, you will need to be careful closing the doors until they are replaced. Easiest way I know to crack a window by slamming a door with those worn out or missing.

      I've never owned a Studebaker with power steering, so I can't address that with any credibility. As for the oil leak. It could be anything from your front felt timing cover seal, fuel pump, oil pan gasket, rear main seal, valve covers, valley cover, and draft tube. Of course, some of these are easier to fix than others. It's just that the cooling fan will blow that oil toward the back of the engine and make you think it is only coming from there.

      I have a 1960 four door V8 Lark. It now needs lots of work, and has been sitting for years. I have thought about selling it, but every time I crank it up, pay it a little attention, I can't bring myself to part with it. I used it in business, made money with it, and had some of my greatest adventures with it. I've also taken my longest (and fastest) Studebaker journeys in it. As long as you never expect more of the car than it was designed for, know the realities/limitations of the technology of its era, and enjoy the tinkering it requires...you will have a blast.

      All those grease fittings, and oil change at two to three thousand miles, more steering wheel motion, braking effort for the drum brakes, keeping them adjusted, and the occasional "vapor lock"...keeping up with that is part of the vintage experience. If your "dream" of having this classic is in tune with the "reality" of having one...you will do just fine.

      thanks for the reply. Regarding the "cat whiskers" as you called them. I do believe that Is what I need. Does any one make reproductions of them? I need them for all the doors.Appreciate for the tip on not slamming the doors as well.. last thing I need is a broken window at this point.

      The manifold broke when we were backing it off the trailer. I think it was already cracked or previously repaired as it barely touched the exhaust pipe and that must have pushed up on the manifold and did it in the rest of the way.
      Last edited by 63avanti.; 05-03-2016, 05:30 AM.

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      • #18
        Thanks for the info on the Manifolds. Hopefully my friends doesn't break when he takes them off.

        As for the fluid I do believe it is motor oil. Dark brown with a small hint of fuel to it. After closer inspection its dripping out of the bellhousing area or coming just before that. Also only happens at this point when I jack the car up in the front or its on a steep incline for example when I was backing it off the trailer.

        is there any fluid or additives that I could try to soften the seals? This year I just want to get it back on the road and enjoy the summer then this winter I will take more time and pull the motor and transmission if need be.









        Originally posted by StudeRich View Post
        Since the Oil is coming from the Torque Converter Housing, It sounds very much like the Front Pump Seal on the Flight-O-Matic is bad.

        There is also an "O" Ring on the Front Pump that will leak when hardened from being around for 57 Years.

        Is it Red fluid?

        All of the Exhaust Manifolds from 1955 to 1964 Std. 259 and 289 are identical except the interchangeable Alternator Bracket that is bolted onto the Right side on '63 & '64 instead of the Generator one.

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        • #19
          Originally posted by Peanut View Post
          You also might want to be on the look out for a '59 grille. The one in yours is a '60. Great car, still!
          I'll have to start searching. What is the difference between the 59 and 60 grilles? just the emblem? I have another grille in the trunk.. I wonder if that one is correct.

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          • #20
            The grille is the same I believe. 60 has the Lark "bird" center location, while 59 has the "hawk" bird bottom right. Good looking cruiser . Enjoy and good luck.
            Bob
            Bob
            Welland Ontario
            60 Lark Convertible
            64 Daytona
            sigpic
            "They were meant to be driven ... so keep on cruizin"

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            • #21
              Originally posted by 63avanti. View Post
              As for the fluid I do believe it is motor oil. Dark brown with a small hint of fuel to it. After closer inspection its dripping out of the bellhousing area or coming just before that. Also only happens at this point when I jack the car up in the front or its on a steep incline for example when I was backing it off the trailer.

              is there any fluid or additives that I could try to soften the seals? This year I just want to get it back on the road and enjoy the summer then this winter I will take more time and pull the motor and transmission if need be.
              Is it coming from the draft tube, perhaps? If so, it could be something as easy as cleaning the oil fill caps in Varsol.

              As far as additives, I would not add anything to the oil. If you drive it often enough, the seals might soften up some with use.

              Craig

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              • #22
                The 59 lark grille looks lie this:
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                Note that it is a continuous pattern of the same size rectangle. I have the 60 emblem on my grille because the correct emblem is the Hawk with the wings straight up and a black inlay in the background.
                I used the 60 emblem because they are easier to find. I have my "Hawk" emblem in safe keeping. The signal light air vents are just three horizontal bars.

                The 60 uses a multi-pattern and the signal light air vents match the 60 grille. The emblem on the 60 matches the one on my grille above.

                I swapped to a 62 Champ grille for my car, as I like it that way because the horizontal bars match those of the turn signal vents, and to me it looks better. Others don;t feel that way. My original grille needs to be rechromed anyway. Here's how my car is now:
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                As far as the leaks: It is most likely "D" All of the above.... I could not park my car anywhere without it marking its territory. Engine oil, trans oil, etc. I currently have the engine out and am replacing the front and rear main seals, valve cover gaskets, and timing cover seals. It was REALLY leaking through the rear main, oil pan, and timing cover. The front pump seal on the A/T is also leaking and I will change those seals and O-Rings since the engine is out. I will also pull the rear trans seal and change it since I will have the trans low on oil.

                Also, my freeze plugs were leaking BAD. I have just flushed all the casting sand and crud from the interior of the block and I'll bet I got a half-gallon of solids out of there. Some of it looked like pudding and some like hard black clay, and some like sand. The rear cylinders were definitely having cooling issues due to all the crap in the block.

                I am also going to readjust the valves and hopefully the valve seals while the engine is out. Don;t have time for a machining rebuild at this time.

                Please look under the dash and find the paint tag on the top or bottom of the glove box in your car, take a picture of it and send it to me! I want to know for sure what color your car is. I know it is the SAME color as mine, and yours is less molested than mine. I have seen your car up close 16 years ago and it's the 4 door sister of mine.

                As far as the power steering, my car also has the PS, but it leaked SO bad that I removed the pump, and plugged the hoses, and run it without the PS at this time. It does not steer hard at all (as long as you get it greased and tightened) and you won't even miss the PS. There are kits at Studebaker International to rebuild the entire PS system.

                I am sure i have an extra manifold, but I cannot send it right now because I have broken off all my studs on the discharge on both manifolds, so I must get that fixed before I have "extra" parts, but that will be solved in the next 2 weeks. Let me know your time frame. I have a guy about 45 minutes from me that i get parts and he has about 45 cars in the back 40 that we can scrounge parts from.

                Good Luck!
                Dis-Use on a Car is Worse Than Mis-Use...
                1959 Studebaker Lark VIII 2DHTP

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by BILT4ME View Post
                  Please look under the dash and find the paint tag on the top or bottom of the glove box in your car, take a picture of it and send it to me! I want to know for sure what color your car is. I know it is the SAME color as mine, and yours is less molested than mine. I have seen your car up close 16 years ago and it's the 4 door sister of mine.
                  That four door appears to be the 1959 Spring Color, 'Seamist Green'.

                  Craig

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                  • #24
                    since the ingnition key is bent and barely useable would you guys recommend replacing the whole ignition? I see on Studebaker international they have a few different options but I have not replaced one before and just looking for the correct route to take.

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                    • #25
                      Chiming in late here, very nice 4-door. Nothing wrong with having the "extra door". Looks to be in fairly nice shape, I am glad it found a home to a dedicated Studebaker fan!
                      1947 Studebaker M-5
                      1946 Studebaker M-5
                      1948 Studebaker Land Cruiser
                      1961 Studebaker Lark 4-dr. Sedan
                      1951 Studebaker Land Cruiser

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                      • #26
                        I would buy blank keys from SI, (Buy about 6) then I would try to straighten the key, and have a hardware store cut one key at a time until you get one that works. I did this from ONE "master" key (the only one I had that I knew worked but was getting sticky) and I chose to make 3 at a time. The first 3 didn't work, the next 3 did, and the next 3 did. I made a bunch so I could keep spares for future. I used to do doors and locks in college and worked with a locksmith, so I am well aware that some people can make keys and some cannot, even though they use the same machine. It's all in how they set the master in the setup and then how they position the blank. It makes a difference how hard they push and how much they hit it with the wire brush at the end.

                        The ignition key works in the ignition and the door locks. The doors MUST be locked with the key. The trunk key does the glove box and the trunk. (or does the ignition key do the glove box too? I don't recall because I don't lock the glove box.

                        Good luck!

                        i
                        Originally posted by 63avanti. View Post
                        since the ingnition key is bent and barely useable would you guys recommend replacing the whole ignition? I see on Studebaker international they have a few different options but I have not replaced one before and just looking for the correct route to take.
                        Dis-Use on a Car is Worse Than Mis-Use...
                        1959 Studebaker Lark VIII 2DHTP

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                        • #27
                          Ign./Doors and Glovebox/Trunk: ('47-'59 Champions, 6's and All '60-'62) have Yale.

                          They used Hurd (skinny shank, short, 5 Cuts as on Ford, Merc. & Lincoln) on most '47-'59 Commanders & V8 Cars.

                          Locks are the same in the Glove Box and the Trunk, they are the little cheapie 4 Tumbler/Cut Locks that if you have 4 different Keys, One or Two of 4 will open any lock! They are similar to a desk drawer Lock/Key.
                          StudeRich
                          Second Generation Stude Driver,
                          Proud '54 Starliner Owner

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                          • #28
                            the grille meshes are different form 59' to 60'. The 59's are hard to find, but if you need to go that way, they'll be a bit more than the 60' grille mesh. If you have 205 x 15's, even with the 109 wheelbase, you'll be happy with investing ~$300. in rebuilding your PS system...that is unless you drive highways & grassy cargrounds only....

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                            • #29
                              Just a little update.... Unfortunately I was not able to get the car ready in time for my wedding... The further we dug into the car the more issues we found that needed to be addressed regardless of what I was told when I first purchased the car...

                              I Ended up rebuilding the motor, fabricated a dual exhaust system, went through the brake system and last but not least blasted and painted the wheels.

                              also had transmission issues recently and that is out and being rebuilt...


                              The only thing I have been pondering is the interior. I'm assuming from the age and staining that it is original...


                              Does anyone make the door panels or carpet for my car? Or am I better off trying to find someone to do a custom interior to best match what I have? What would have been the original carpet color for my car with the sea mist green paint and green interior?

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                              Last edited by 63avanti.; 02-28-2017, 07:25 PM.

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                              • #30
                                In my '60 it was all black originally, even the carpet and headliner, so I assume yours had dark green carpet, but '59s and '60s were not exactly the same regarding interior colors. An upholstery shop should be able to recover the door panels in something fairly close. I reused the upper 2/3 of my door upholstery, and replaced the rotten carpet on the bottom with black vinyl, and also I used new panel boards to replace the warped ones. This and the carpet I did myself, the seats I left to the pros.

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