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suspension breakout!

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  • Frame/Springs: suspension breakout!

    While replacing the front springs on my 1956 Studebaker Power Hawk, the left upper control arm inner pin mounting in the crossmember/frame broke out around both bolt holes. This is not a rust issue. The only fix I can see is to fashion/weld flat steel on top of the mounting area (being careful to locate the holes precisely) . I am concerned that this could change the front end geometry. The shoulder on the mounting bolts would be too short because of the added metal thickness. Has anyone run into this situation? I am open to any insights you may have.
    Thanks,
    Marshall

  • #2
    Not a new problem, and most common in 56J. I have replaced a couple when they broke, and installed a couple of reinforcement plates as preventive measure. There was a field service bulletin addressing this problem, and it called for welding a .125" thick patch plate, as you are contemplating. The later Hawks had a factory fix, which was a patch plate, welded on the inside to the frame.
    You just need to come up with a template to insure you do not lose the proper location of the pin mount bolts. Could make one from another car, any Stude would do, from about 1952 on up.
    I'd suggest you also inspect the bottom side of the frame, just below that location, where a rivet is located. Odds are, if the frame was beat up enough to break the top side, the bottom side probably is cracked too. That area around the rivet was/is prone to cracking anyway.
    Last edited by JoeHall; 11-23-2019, 03:47 PM.

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    • #3
      I think one would want to weld the cracks first, then grind them flat before installing the plate.Click image for larger version  Name:	Frame.reinforc.jpg Views:	0 Size:	180.0 KB ID:	1811563
      Attached Files

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      • #4
        Here is what I did to repair the Speedster. I also had extra holes to weld through for extra strength. I should add that I welded the cracks before installing the platesClick image for larger version  Name:	PICT0007.JPG Views:	0 Size:	86.8 KB ID:	1811577Click image for larger version  Name:	PICT0002.JPG Views:	0 Size:	84.2 KB ID:	1811578
        Last edited by 5brown1; 11-24-2019, 09:26 AM.

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        • #5
          It seems the factory was not overly worried about the slight change in front suspension geometry brought about by adding a layer of metal to the frame. Another way to approach this would be to make plate of 3/16" steel, roughly triangular, and as wide as can be fit through the access hole below. Drill it to match the hole spacing for the control arm shaft, and weld nuts to the underside. Ensure the top edges of the plate are beveled, or bent down. Drill a few half-inch holes in the frame where the perimeter of the patch panel will go, and between the existing bolt holes. Vee out any cracks with a grinder. Bolt the patch panel in place, weld through the holes, and in the vees, and grind smooth. Should make an invisible repair.
          Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands

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          • #6
            Many thanks for the very helpful pictures and replays. It's good to see this isn't a new problem. I printed out the service bulletin. Now ,deciding just how much disassembly has to be done,to get proper access.
            Thanks, Marshall

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            • #7
              I have an nos kit to make this repair. It included 2 - 3/16th plates , 4 bolts, nuts and washers. I am going to a metal fabricator on Wednesday and see if he can make the plates at a reasonable cost and I will make up kits if I can do it at a reasonable cost , Ed

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              • #8
                Ed, if you can't get the kits made at a reasonable price, could you perhaps make templates available?
                Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands

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                • #9
                  Drill a small hole at the end of the crack before you weld it. Otherwise, it may continue to crack.
                  "We can't all be Heroes, Some us just need to stand on the curb and clap as they go by" Will Rogers

                  We will provide the curb for you to stand on and clap!


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                  • #10
                    I went on Studebaker intl site today and they have these reinforcement plates cheaper than what I can have them made. The p/n is 1553491 they are listed as a reinforcement $10.25 ea. These are 1/8th thick , I was going to have them made 3/16 thick and they would be 20.00 ea , I hope this helps , Ed

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                    • #11
                      When restoring the chassis of our '56 president my frame was cracked on top and bottom like mentioned above. Welded & ground them before painting.
                      Mike Sal

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                      • #12
                        There is a LOT behind designing and installing successful reinforcing/doubler/patch plates.

                        Making them thicker than the original frame, etc is sometimes the wrong way to go.
                        Also NOT putting welds in the high stress areas is generally important.

                        These days with fancy computerized stress analysis and fabrication tools, reinforcements and doublers are artistically sculptured and not surprisingly kind of organically shaped.

                        https://www.enr.com/ext/resources/News/March-2016/ENR032116_Cat1.jpg

                        https://i.ebayimg.com/images/g/mSoAAOSwKUJc4uAD/s-l1600.jpg


                        https://www.realclearscience.com/blo...t_skeleton.jpg

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                        • #13
                          Not rocket science, as even I have done it a few times. Just tore the car down for easy access, then did a sketch of what I wanted done, based on the Service Bulletin above. Then had a welder come by with his equipment and do the job. Never had to repeat one. On one 56J, I installed them as a preventive measure, after having seen several cracked/broken there. Never seen it happen on a GT Hawk though, probably because they come with a factory version of same, but placed inside the frame.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Dan Timberlake View Post
                            There is a LOT behind designing and installing successful reinforcing/doubler/patch plates.

                            Making them thicker than the original frame, etc is sometimes the wrong way to go.
                            Also NOT putting welds in the high stress areas is generally important.

                            These days with fancy computerized stress analysis and fabrication tools, reinforcements and doublers are artistically sculptured and not surprisingly kind of organically shaped.
                            Yabbut, Dan, it's to be remembered the Studebakers were blacksmiths. Our cars are only a generation removed from the 1849 gold rush, Wheelbarrow Johnny, "Under the spreading chestnut tree, the village smithy stands" and Conestoga wagons. Anytime I try to get into the 21st-century with a Studebaker repair, it is not always time or money well spent.

                            Since Joe Hall has more miles on '56Js and C/K bodies than anyone I've ever known, his practical approaches work and are always cost-effective (his digression into throttle body injection not withstanding ;>)

                            jack vines

                            PackardV8

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                            • #15
                              I finished the installation of reinforcing plate today. It was a pleasant surprise,that SI had it in stock. I could not have identified it without the part number Dwain G. gave me. When I gave the part number to SI, they asked me "what is it?" I explained that there was a discussion on the forum about the part,and he said he would put it on their web site. I am always glad to help our STUDEBAKER vendors,we are lucky to have them. Again,THANKS for all help.
                              Marshall

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