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Lark engine weight and suspension

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  • Frame / Springs: Lark engine weight and suspension

    My 1960 Lark originally had a flathead 6 but i am fitting a Mopar LA 318 so i am trying to figure if the existing front springs are about right. Searching i have found the Mopar to be 525 lb , Stude V8 650 lb and the flathead i only found one reference at 455 lb does this sound about right for the flathead? if so i guess i will be closer to the flathead weight wise. I have the 318 and trans fitted to line it up and the front springs hardly moved maybe an inch or so . Does anyone know the free length measurement of the springs or have any specs on them.

    I do want to lower the car about 1 1/2" but at the moment i am just trying to get to a starting point with the original springs if they are good and within spec, i can then get shorter progressive springs made.

  • #2
    I'd first get an accurate weight on both engine and transmissions, then call the guru at, "Coil Spring Specialties" and discuss with him. He has all Stude spring specs, and can likely tailor a pair for your special ap, for a reasonable price. Don't forget to calculate for a larger radiator, and any other extras you'll hang off the front end. You should also replace the wimpy OEM front anti sway bar, with a 63-66 Studebaker V8 bar and mounts. Will also need a model 44 rear end, as the six cylinder rear end is no where near up to the chore of your 318.

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    • #3
      Also, brakes! You should definitely upgrade to the larger eleven inch front brakes and ten inch rear brakes that were used on all V8 cars. Since you are basically making a hot rod, you might well want to consider contacting Jim Turner at Turner Brakes for a disc brake conversion kit.
      Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands

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      • #4
        I have a Dana 35 axle with 10" brakes and front disc conversion pending, got everything mocked up so trying to calculate the suspension at the moment while its still a complete car before i take the whole thing apart. I am in Spain and getting coil or leaf spring suspension customized or made isn't a problem here but in Europe they don't have specs for old American cars so easiest way is to send a sample of the original and modify it. But for the front springs depending on price and shipping cost it could be viable to buy from the U.S.

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        • #5
          Studebaker used Dana Model 23, & 27 for 6's and small 8's and for 289 V8's 44 Rear Axles, are you sure it is not a 44? Maybe a 35 is a Jeep and weaker?
          StudeRich
          Second Generation Stude Driver,
          Proud '54 Starliner Owner

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          • #6
            If you want it lower and the 318 is a little heavier, why don't you throw it in there and see where it sits? Why the wierd swap? Most folks would select a sb chev

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            • #7
              Originally posted by StudeRich View Post
              Studebaker used Dana Model 23, & 27 for 6's and small 8's and for 289 V8's 44 Rear Axles, are you sure it is not a 44? Maybe a 35 is a Jeep and weaker?
              In Spain there's lots of Jeeps around so was the obvious choice when i was looking for an axle as they have 5x4.5 PCD, I found a Grand Cherokee 10 minutes down the road from my house that was for spares so as it was only $400 i bought it and it has a 318 Magnum with OD trans and LSD so i will probably put the whole drive train in as it will save me all the work that needs doing on the LA318/904. I don't think the Dana 35 was in production when the stude V8 first appeared hence the use of the 44, if Chrysler thought the 35 was good enough to put behind a Magnum V8 with big wheels i am sure it will be ok in my Lark.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Jeffry Cassel View Post
                If you want it lower and the 318 is a little heavier, why don't you throw it in there and see where it sits? Why the wierd swap? Most folks would select a sb chev
                It is in there and it doesn't sit low thats why i would like confirmation of the flathead weight. There is no weird swap as there was no engine when i bought the car. SB Chevy in Spain i've never seen one for sale here and the rest of Europe usually expensive on the rare occasions they come up for sale.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Miloburnz View Post
                  My 1960 Lark originally had a flathead 6 . Searching i have found the Mopar to be 525 lb , Stude V8 650 lb and the flathead i only found one reference at 455 lb does this sound about right for the flathead? .
                  The Champion weighs 455# including flywheel, bellhousing and a three-speed transmission. Your 318" engine, automatic transmission and torque converter full of fluid would be closer to 650#.

                  jack vines

                  PackardV8

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Miloburnz View Post

                    It is in there and it doesn't sit low thats why i would like confirmation of the flathead weight. There is no weird swap as there was no engine when i bought the car. SB Chevy in Spain i've never seen one for sale here and the rest of Europe usually expensive on the rare occasions they come up for sale.
                    If it does not sit low, I'd just drive it and see how it feels. If it sits an inch low for example, that might look and feel good.

                    The next logical thing to me would be to put in studebaker v8 springs. I imagine the stude engine is heavier than the mopar but the tranny might be heavier in the mopar.
                    Diesel loving, autocrossing, Coupe express loving, Grandpa Architect.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by t walgamuth View Post

                      If it does not sit low, I'd just drive it and see how it feels. If it sits an inch low for example, that might look and feel good.

                      The next logical thing to me would be to put in studebaker v8 springs. I imagine the stude engine is heavier than the mopar but the tranny might be heavier in the mopar.
                      I'm a long way of from driving it so just trying to get the suspension sorted as i will be stripping it all down for service of everything. The Stude V8 is 650# and LA318 #525. I do have a Magnum with 518 trans to fit so this will be heavier for sure than the LA318/904 i have in there now due to the OD trans. I am in touch with Eaton Springs but they are not sure how much the original flathead weighed either to make the calculations.

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                      • #12
                        These good people at Coil Spring Specialties will be much more help and likely less money:

                        http://coilsprings.com/request_quote...SABEgKxG_D_BwE

                        They also have all the Original Studebaker Part Numbers, Specs and Applications for any Studebaker Spring.
                        StudeRich
                        Second Generation Stude Driver,
                        Proud '54 Starliner Owner

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by StudeRich View Post
                          I did look at coil springs site but they are also asking for weight differences which i still cannot confirm. As i am in Europe it is no problem to get springs made here but the issue i have is i started with a car without an engine so no idea how it sat with the original engine and the original springs may be worn. I was really looking for any suspension specs or standard ride height measurements for a starting point to get springs made here, same with the rear leaf springs not sure if they have sagged with age also.

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                          • #14
                            FWIW, all the back-of-envelope calculations are mostly WAGs. Since there is no investment other than a few hours of labor, suggest building the car with the springs you've got, drive it a summer and that will tell you real world needs for change, if any.

                            jack vines, who's carefully calculated, random guessed and then had to change both after driving the result.
                            PackardV8

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                            • #15
                              The springs should be 14 1/4" free standing height. But you will find that the spring rates go all over the place. The best thing is to look at the number on the end of the spring, on the flat coil. That will give you a close approximation of the lbs/inch. Best way is a coil spring checker like they use for Circle Track stuff. I had a guy come by that had a 60 Lark and about a half dozen springs and none of them checked out within 20 lbs of another.

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