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Lark Rear Engine support cross member. replacement plan

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  • Frame/Springs: Lark Rear Engine support cross member. replacement plan

    This is my second 59 Lark 2dr Hardtop. I love them. In both cases, they have had a Chevy engine swap in them BEFORE I bought them (so dont blame me ).

    In both cases, the way to get that engine and trans in there is to cut out the middle section of the Rear Engine support cross member. I can only imagine how bad that is for the overall structural integrity of the car. I want to fix this.

    Does anyone have a solution for this?

    I think this is what I need to do:
    1) get a replacement cross member
    2) see if there is a way to make it fit, with minimal cutting: add reinforcement if possible/needed
    3) If it doesnt fit without compromising integrity, have a custom cross member made, using the original cross member as a template
    4) replace any bushings and other related parts
    5) deal with repositioned body parts/doors due to corrected positioning

    Thoughts? Other solutions?

    Thanks everyone!

  • #2
    I believe that crossmember just unbolts from the frame and the outer body support . I have good used one if you have not found one yet. Thanks John

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    • #3
      Could you simply lower that cross member enough. sounds like you have a decent plan of action. std or auto trans? some std trans housings were a bit smaller i believe. enjoy the Lark. Luck Dppfus

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      • #4
        Some photos of the existing set-up would be helpful in suggesting solutions...your plan is on the right track though. cheers, junior
        sigpic
        1954 C5 Hamilton car.

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        • #5
          I wouldn't lower the whole cross-member. Just cut and lower what "needs" to be lowered and with some extra steel, weld it back together. Give the chassis/body its support back. Plus the room for the exhaust pipes isn't compromised any doing it this way.

          Mike

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          • #6
            Some pics. would be most helpful. I hate guessing what you are up against.

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            • #7
              Here are some pics, hope this helps
              https://goo.gl/photos/nqU45tjN278Mafp59

              Whover did the exhaust needs to find a different profession. These could be way better.

              Tomorrow, with the help of a friend, I can take some pictures with a ruler spanning the middle section, and also take some measurements. It looks like the tranny pan is right about where the top 1/3 of the crossmember should be. More pics and measurements will help.

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              • #8
                One other note: they they cut out the transmission hump and put in a larger one that takes up more space in the foot area. Not a big deal, just helps with some perspective.

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                • #9
                  There have been 2 cross members removed or butched up. The bat wing, at least the ears are still there.

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                  • #10
                    For added strength you could also install a crossmember from a 65/66 Studebaker that came with the Chevrolet engines. I have done this to my 59 Lark for reducing some flex, although I can't say how much, and I lengthened the mounting plate to use a transmission mount for a Ford Toploader. The crossmember bolts in and clears all original mechanicals. One thing though some of the rivets in the chassis need to be removed so bolts can be installed. If you are still using the Chevrolet engine and transmission I can't say what clearance there would be with the exhaust.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Skybolt View Post
                      For added strength you could also install a crossmember from a 65/66 Studebaker that came with the Chevrolet engines. I have done this to my 59 Lark for reducing some flex, although I can't say how much, and I lengthened the mounting plate to use a transmission mount for a Ford Toploader. The crossmember bolts in and clears all original mechanicals. One thing though some of the rivets in the chassis need to be removed so bolts can be installed. If you are still using the Chevrolet engine and transmission I can't say what clearance there would be with the exhaust.
                      Thats an interesting idea! The 65/66 crossmember will fit? That is the Cruiser/Daytona, right? They have some of the same chassis parts?

                      Regarding the Ford Toploader: since I have a Chevy 350/350, and the Trans already has a custom mount (as you can see in the pics), I dont think I need that; please correct me if Im wrong, still learning.

                      The only thing that might be an issue is that the 65/66: while that is setup for aChevy engine, it might expect the mounts to be in a different place. That means I would have to move the whole power plant to accommodate that one crossmember. Is that right? Is there something Im missing here?

                      The exhaust is a mess and needs to be redone as its currently the lowest point under the car (which I dont like), so that will be rerouted properly when I have the $ and everything else is sorted.

                      Thanks for the advice, I like options!

                      - - - Updated - - -

                      Originally posted by Alan View Post
                      There have been 2 cross members removed or butched up. The bat wing, at least the ears are still there.
                      How can you tell that there were 2 cross members?
                      And what are the "ears" on the batwings?

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                      • #12
                        The batwing shaped crossmember was on Coupe and Hardtops '53-'55 and '56-'64 Hawks, I think Alan may have forgotten this is a Lark Hardtop.

                        There is an added Crossmember behind the Trans that looks very much like a '65-'66 Chev. Powered Stude. so I don't think you could add one there.

                        The outboard ends of the Body and Engine support Crossmember are still there, but could use more support by tying them together with a heavy Ga. steel plate. Just like Mike said in Post #5.
                        StudeRich
                        Second Generation Stude Driver,
                        Proud '54 Starliner Owner

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by StudeRich View Post
                          The batwing shaped crossmember was on Coupe and Hardtops '53-'55 and '56-'64 Hawks, I think Alan may have forgotten this is a Lark Hardtop.

                          There is an added Crossmember behind the Trans that looks very much like a '65-'66 Chev. Powered Stude. so I don't think you could add one there.

                          The outboard ends of the Body and Engine support Crossmember are still there, but could use more support by tying them together with a heavy Ga. steel plate. Just like Mike said in Post #5.
                          Thanks for the clarification. It appears that the best solution is still to get an original, full, cross-member, and try to install that. Then, start removing metal as needed for clearance and adding reinforcement to accommodate for any removed metal. My concern is that by just adding a middle piece (and keeping the current "wing" pieces), Im not going to get everything trued up.

                          Or, am I being too particular about this and should just install a cross-member?

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                          • #14
                            No, Rich. I was thinking that it is like my Avanti with it's 1555889 cross member. I don't have a Parts Catalog for the Lark, since I don't own one. But he should still put a modified stocker in there unless he wants to dump his old lady out in the street when he makes a quick left turn.

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                            • #15
                              Well, I added some more photos. Im not sure if these help show what is going on. Im going to have to see if I can get the wife to help take some more photos if you tell me exactly what would help.

                              These show the span from the lowest point on the cross member, and the tape measure shows how much space there is between that straight line across to the underside of the tranny pan. Approx 1 3/4"

                              There is also a photo that shows the span from the frame, and shows the space from there to the underside of the tranny pan. Approx 1"

                              https://goo.gl/photos/i6JHB3JrY6nqTjC26
                              Last edited by creegster; 08-14-2017, 09:26 AM.

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