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  • Peeling batwing

    The front body brace "batwing" on my '55 is coming apart at both ends, that is, the bottom layer is peeling away from the top layer.The metal itself is still nice and thick on both top and bottom, and it doesn't look like there's been collision damage of any kind. (well. . . one big dent in the right rear floor under the seat)

    Are there any particular risks involved in fixing this, like getting one end lower than the other, or is it pretty much a matter of clamping it up and welding it back together?

    It's a Vernon car, originally came from out west. I'm thinking that when it first came to the midwest, all the mud inside the layers (still a lot clinging in there) froze, and expanded, and forced some splitting at the welds.

    Also, I've not gotten a good look at the mounting bolts that hold the batwing to the frame. Just enough to see that there's a whole bunch of them holding it on. Would it typically be better to just grind/burn the bolt heads off, or aren't they usually that hard to break loose?



    Paul

    In memory of Boris, the 1950 Land Cruiser project,
    . . . he became a down payment for. . .
    Natasha, the 1955 Speedster project


    I finally have a Stude I can drive! (sort of)
    1962 GT Hawk, 4 speed, a/c

  • #2
    Unless the one on my 52 is vastly different, I don't see any inherent risk. Outside of the frame, all this piece does is support one body mount bolt each side. Albiet an important one. Good steel that has been properly welded...nothing wrong with that.

    These bolts were the one place on my frame where there was rust, it seems to collect moisture and gunk here. But my bolts broke loose OK.

    Dan
    52 hardtop
    www.studebakerhardtop.com

    Comment


    • #3
      I would clean all that crap out so it doesn't draw moisture and weld them back. I would do that before removing bolts (keep things aligned). Then, if they don't back off, just make them tighter until they snap.
      "All attempts to 'rise above the issue' are simply an excuse to avoid it profitably." --Dick Gregory

      Brad Johnson, SDC since 1975, ASC since 1990
      Pine Grove Mills, Pa.
      '33 Rockne 10,
      '51 Commander Starlight,
      '53 Commander Starlight "Désirée",
      '56 Sky Hawk

      Comment


      • #4
        You can weld the bottom of the bat wing to the top without removing it from the car if you can get your hands on a bunch of Vice Grip clamps.

        But, I would first grind off the rust and expose the seam of the two pieces, that will make the weld stronger.

        Comment


        • #5
          Thanks for the suggestions. I can't tell how far toward the center the mud goes at this point. The seam breaks are about a foot or so in from each end.

          I was mainly worried about bending it out of shape in the process of bringing the top and bottom together again. An in-place repair might keep that from happening.

          Are the nuts for the center mounting bolts welded onto the inside of the frame rails?


          Paul

          In memory of Boris, the 1950 Land Cruiser project,
          . . . he became a down payment for. . .
          Natasha, the 1955 Speedster project


          I finally have a Stude I can drive! (sort of)
          1962 GT Hawk, 4 speed, a/c

          Comment


          • #6
            Not sure what you're referring to, but if you're talking about the crossmember that also bolts to the bellhousing- I would highly recommend putting in the effort to remove and replace it. It can be welded, but it will never look quite right, and it's no big problem (or expense) to find a decent replacement. I wouldn't even bother with the bolts- torch 'em all off and get all new for about $5. They're all nuts and bolts, not welded in. The exception is the bellhousing bolts; but they should come out without too much trouble. If you torch the bolts, it's not a big job; pull the mats back for those two end bolts, support the trans., and go to it.

            Robert (Bob) Andrews Owner- Studebakeracres- on the IoMT (Island of Misfit Toys!)
            Parish, central NY 13131

            "Some people live for the rules, I live for exceptions"- 311

            "Do they all not, by mere virtue of having survived as relics of a bygone era, amass a level of respect perhaps not accorded to them when they were new?"



            Comment


            • #7
              While Bondo is right and this would be fastest, I hate welding upside down. Especially on pieces that are crud covered.
              Get a long bar, bust or loosen those bolts out, drop the batwing. Clean it up pretty with a wire wheel and stick in the vice where you can run a nice bead down either side. It will line up fine in the car and probably be better than new.
              Paint it chassis black and reinstall. You'll be putting mirrors on the ground at car shows you'll be so proud of it.

              Dan
              52 hardtop
              www.studebakerhardtop.com

              Comment


              • #8
                quote:Originally posted by bams50

                Not sure what you're referring to, but if you're talking about the crossmember that also bolts to the bellhousing-
                [brown]Robert (Bob) Andrews


                He is referring to the crossmember on K bodies (starting in 1954 models) that is used to support the A-pillars.

                Gary L.
                Wappinger, NY

                SDC member since 1968
                Studebaker enthusiast much longer
                Gary L.
                Wappinger, NY

                SDC member since 1968
                Studebaker enthusiast much longer

                Comment

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