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54 Commander

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  • #46
    How do I tell if the king pins are bad? Is there a give away? The bushings and shocks are worn out so it was easy to see.

    and here is a picture of the old and new carb. That post was broken off so the carb was binding


    • #47
      My car is slowly coming together. It's in several pieces right now as various parts are being worked on and/or ordered.
      1) Based on a hunch, I sent the distributor off to be rebuilt and it turns out the vacuum advance was bad so I bought one of S-I's electrical distributors instead. That might explain the lack of power I was experiencing and why it felt like it had no passing power on the highway. Still need to install the new distro.
      2) The throttle was missing 1 spring and another spring was replaced with a rod so that helps explain the throttle sticking open. I've got the parts on order to fix that.
      3) The starter is currently being rebuilt by S-I since I had to take it off anyway to get to the oil pan. I'm replacing the gaskets in the oil pan and transmission to help stop the leaks. The oil pan has some surface rust but i'll try and sand it down and repaint it to make sure it's ok.
      4) I also ordered new tie rod ends since I had to take off the existing ones and they looked old original.
      5) The car had an electric fuel pump that I replaced with the original mechanical one. I think I have all the parts, just need to finish hooking it all up.
      6) Ordered new shocks. Installed one, the rear two needed a spacer to install and waiting on those to arrive. The one on the front passenger side had a stripped bolt so we are going to cut it off and replace.
      7) still need to replace all the bushings in the front suspension and the 4 bump stops front/rear.
      8) Cut off the starter switch since it wasn't working right. I need to solder the new one in place and resinstall.
      9) While the car is down, contemplating having the generator rebuilt. The battery was dead and had it recharged and there were some issues with the lights working or not working so I wasn't sure if it was electrical or the generator. Might not hurt to have it rebuilt just to be on the safe side.
      10) I also cracked a bolt in the exhaust header trying to get the exhaust to drop to get to the oil pan so i may need to have the screw drilled out and replaced or just take it to exhaust shop when I'm done and have headers and a dual exhaust built for it.
      11) there are also a couple small scratches in the paint that I'm going to fix before they turn to rust. I got a quote for $900 to fix them but will look for a couple more quotes before having the work done.
      12) AND i bought a hood ornament that needs rechromed along with the grilles and a few trim pieces.

      Overall, the car has been way more work than I expected. But I got it at a fair price for how rust free and original it is and these are all things that I'm enjoying learning how to do. I think I've spent $3,500 in parts to date but considering the list above, I don't think that's bad (along with a rebuilt carb, new rims and tires). But I love the car, I just go and look at daily. I can't think of a better looking car than the 53/54 Stude's. and while this is the first car I've actually worked on at this level, it's been one of the most rewarding things I've done. It's so cool to see something that wasn't working right and find out why and then see the new part to go in that fixes it.

      After this is all done, it might even feel like it has enough power to drive on the highway :-)


      • #48
        Work is ongoing.
        1) I'm in the process of replacing the front bushings on the suspension which has been the most challenging thing so far. I had to take the control arms to a local suspension shop to get the old bushings out and the new bushings in. Getting the control arms and king pins to align has been challenging but I think we may have found another way to do it.
        2) The Lark Works wiring harness should get here in a few days and I'll be rewiring the entire car. I started to remove the instrument panel to look at how it all comes together under the dash.
        3) Still waiting on the distributor and generator from SI where they are being rebuilt. I think the person that does a lot of their rebuilds is out due to the coronavirus?
        4) I broke 2 bolts putting in the new oil pan so I need to have them drilled out and retapped.
        5) The radiator is out of the car and I'll take it to a local shop to have it rebuilt before I put it back into the car.
        6) We broke a bolt on the exhaust header so that will need retapped or replaced. I'm considering replacing both headers with higher performance headers and replacing the entire exhaust system.

        I just can't wait to get in it and drive! It definitely wasn't safe when I got it and I'm glad to have taken such a deep dive into it now instead of going piecemeal and still having something that wasn't safe to drive. Some of it I'd have never guessed since I don't have a point of reference; like the distributor not working properly and robbing power.


        • #49
          Please consider a little experienced advice on the Exhaust System.
          Forget "Headers", the advantage is Very close to 0.

          All you get with Custom Headers is in pain in the neck trying to work on the Car afterwards, some Cut up inner Fenders and a Huge bite out of your wallet for no gain what so ever!

          Once you get a pair of good correct fitting Studebaker reproduction Head Pipes, it is a piece of cake for you to install the rest of the system from one of our TWO "Turning Wheels" Advertiser Vendors: Silvertone Exhaust in Canada or Parks Pipes, for a 1955 Commander Coupe OR a Local muffler Shop can finish the system.
          It is critical to get a proper start at the Exhaust Manifolds with 2 Inch or 2 1/4" Head Pipes necked down to fit the 2 Inch Outlets on the Later Manifolds this will allow the proper fit over and under the #2 Crossmember and on back to the rest of the system with some Flo-Master type Mufflers etc.
          To accomplish that, I have used '55-'64 259/289 Exhaust Manifolds to replace the 1 3/4" outlet ones on the little 232 '51-'54 V8.

          There ARE performance gains to be made on the Ports in the Intake Manifold and Heads, Avanti R1 Valve Springs, an R2+ Cam regrind, Electronic Distributor, New small 4 Brl. Carb. (Holly?) a 259 or 289 "Upgrade" (How MUCH do you want to Pay?) etc. things you can do later if you want more performance.
          Last edited by StudeRich; 05-26-2020, 03:50 PM.
          Second Generation Stude Driver,
          Proud '54 Starliner Owner


          • #50
            StudeRich Thanks for the info, I appreciate it! When you speak of the head pipes, are you referring to these?


            Or are these the ones that you are saying wouldn't do a whole lot? If not this, where can I find the exhaust manifolds? I broke a bolt on one of the manifolds and the entire exhaust system is original to the car anyway so I think I'll change out the entire system once the car is back up and running


            • #51
              Head Pipes are the "L" Shaped Front Exhaust Pipes the connect to the Exhaust Manifold and reach to the #2 Crossmember where the "Rear" Exhaust pipe joins it to go to the Muffler.

              I am sorry to mislead you on your "Headers" plan, but usually that means a Custom High Performance (Race Car) welded up tubular set of tuned Pipes that do not fit the Car without cutting.

              If you are thinking of those Special R3/R4 Avanti Cast Iron Exhaust Manifolds (mis-named: Headers) that is totally different.
              But like real Racing Headers, they also do very little for making more Power on a Studebaker V8, and certainly not on a little 232.
              My and Studebaker's terminology and yours are a bit different, but we'll figure it out.

              You see the 232 V8 was Studebaker's First modern overhead Valve V8, and one of only FOUR makes in the U.S. in 1951 that had one, (no Fords, Chevy's or Plymouths.)
              This first V8 had quite small Valves and Ports in the Heads appropriate for it's small cubic inches, and both were greatly enlarged and improved in '55 on the 259 Engines. So "Performance Parts" for 232's are somewhat limited.

              What I was suggesting was the larger diameter 1955, 2 Inch Exhaust Pipes or even Larger 2 1/4" (probably overkill) available from our Studebaker Vendors.
              But to use those, you will need 1955 Exhaust Manifolds, just stock ones. So I would not spend any time or money repairing yours if you are planning on a new Complete Exhaust System AND you want to make it sound better and perform slightly better.

              These are 536194 Right side and 536195 Left side, but I would ask on our Wanted/For Sale Page for some used ones, because if they have New Studs properly installed they function just the same as New and with Cast Iron Gray 1300 degree Ceramic Manifold Paint, will look better than new. New ones are $225.00 a Pair and NO better.
              Second Generation Stude Driver,
              Proud '54 Starliner Owner


              • #52
                StudeRich thanks for the clarification, I think seeing the R3/R4 "headers" labeled "headers" was where my confusion was coming from, when I think of headers, i think of the hand formed set of tubes as well. Thank for the information, that is really helpful! I've still got some work to do on the car before i get to the exhaust system, but I need to sort it out for sure. I'll start looking for those exhaust manifolds for the '55's. Thanks again!