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  • Body / Glass: Wagonaire body question.

    Working on a '64 Wagonaire. What I need to know is the proper shape for the rear valance panel under the tailgate. The top surface of this panel contains the recesses for the tailgate hinges. Is the strip of panel between the hinges flat, or does it bow down? Mine bows down a lot, but the panel was damaged, and I have attempted to repair it. I can make it flat, but I want to know if I have to.

    If someone here has a nice Wagonaire, just open the tailgate, and lay a straightedge on the valance where it is exposed. Does it make contact all the way across, or does it touch only on the ends?

    To be clear, I'm not talking about the rear lip of the valance that faces the bumper; that has a pressed-in dip to it. I'm referring to the broad flat area that contains the hinge pockets, and which is about four inches wide, back to front.

    Thanks in advance.
    Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands

  • #2
    I think this is what you are asking about. Sorry about the "straight edge", it is straight on the bottom but a little bent in the middle but the valance panel is flat all the way across. There is no dip to it.
    Click image for larger version

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    Hope this helps.

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    • #3
      Thanks! That's exactly what I needed. I will try putting a jack under the valance, and see what happens. If I have to, I will slit it, pull it up to the flat position, and weld the slit again. I have had to do several such cuts to make the valance fit, already. It has 2 generations of collision damage, and was badly stretched.
      Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands

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      • #4
        Success! I checked with a straightedge, and it was actually a lot less bowed than I thought it was. Ground down yesterday's welds, and cut a piece of 1" square light steel tubing to about 31" long, clamped it to the underside of the valance, and made 9 plug welds to tie it in place. That both got rid of the slight bow, and added a lot of stiffness. Will take some pics later.
        Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands

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        • #5
          Gordon: Sounds like you solved the problem. How about adding your Wagonaire to the online Wagonaire Registry at:
          wagonaire.info

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          • #6
            Still working on the Wagonaire. The rear valance is essentially done. Filled with glass-fiber filler, ground smooth, and then numerous coats of regular filler to work out most of the small ripples and divots. Sanded, now in primer. A few relatively tiny divots remain, and I will get them with the polyester glaze putty at the same time I do that step on the tailgate itself.

            The tailgate is coming along fine, too. I am about done with the welding, except I may weld up a small box corner to reinforce the area of the anchor socket for the torsion bar. That area became kind of lacy when I sandblasted it today. But the left side hinge pocket is completely rebuilt with 2 layers of new steel, and the big window of rusted-through metal I cut out of the bottom center has been replaced with new metal, and the welds all ground. Got a layer of glass-fiber filler on the bottom edge of the gate, and all around the pinch weld except for the uppermost parts, and also on the inside in the pinch weld area.
            Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands

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            • #7
              How about Photos?

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              • #8
                I have been taking photos. I will include them with the next update. As to the Wagonaire registry, this car may already be on it. It was once a Turning Wheels cover car, back in 1982, when it was restored by Curtis Lagasse in Edmonton. I bought it from him in 1990-something, after it had been again repainted, and suffered through a chain-reaction collision. I used it as a daily driver for some time.
                Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands

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                • #9
                  Update, as of Sept. 20:

                  Yesterday and today were hinge days. Had to rebuild the hinges that were native to this car; both had broken pins. Only way to get those broken pins out was to slit the hinge leaves with a zip disc, spread the slits a little with a cold chisel, and then hammer the pin stubs out. The metal is hard, and cannot be drilled, and hammering them out without slitting the leaves doesn't work, either. The picture shows the hinges, one assembled, one apart. The two rusty hinges in the rear are the ones off the now-rebuilt tailgate. I had to do the same thing to them, years ago, and never welded the slits back up. Those hinges till move OK, too! These ones, I vee'd out the slits, and ran a bead with the stick welder and 7018 rod. Also welded up the oil hole on top (rain catcher!), and replaced with a grease zerk on back edge. Drilled the pin holes out to 3/8", and made pins from some 3/8" rod. Faced off the ends of the pins in the lathe, and drilled and tapped each end for 10-24 thread, and used 10-24 by 1/2" Allen-head screws to fix pins in hinges. I will replace with stainless Allen screws when I can get some.

                  The photos show the various stages in the repair of the valance panel, the tailgate itself, and the hinges, and finally, the mating of the tailgate to the car. That little job is unfinished. The gate sits too low on the driver's side, and the bottom edge is too far into the opening, so it doesn't close fully. I may have to take it off again, and slot out some hinge holes. I do have extra shims to raise the gate on the left.
                  Attached Files
                  Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands

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                  • #10
                    I have changed those hinge pins, but never thought of slitting the hinge side. One of those things that doesn't look like much, but turns out to be a job. Everyone with a Wagonaire should keep the hinges well lubricated.
                    Gary L.
                    Wappinger, NY

                    SDC member since 1968
                    Studebaker enthusiast much longer

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                    • #11
                      Incidentally, that disc in the hinge photo is the stub of a broken tap, that I was able to free from one of the new-made hinge pins, by welding a large washer to it. Took two tries, but I got it. Broke off flush, of course.

                      Today I got the tailgate hung in the body. I had to ream out the mounting holes for both sides of each hinge to 5/8" in order to be able to shift the bottom of the tailgate far enough out that it would close at the top. Barely makes it, but it does. Now bolted in securely, with proper Studebaker hinge screw and nut plates on the tailgate side, and 5/16-18 stainless steel flathead screws and nuts on the body side, because previous owner put some major reinforcement in there to repair an earlier rear-end accident.

                      And I have the torsion bar in its track, which was a fun. Not.
                      Last edited by gordr; 09-23-2020, 10:35 PM.
                      Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands

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                      • #12
                        Nicely done Gord, good thought on the hinge pin repair. Bob

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                        • #13
                          Update, Sept. 23: Made more progress on the tailgate. Installed the glass tracks, which I lined with fuzzy fabric which was the lining from a pair of lined blue jeans in its prior life. Installed the tailgate stay straps that support it in the open position. Installed the motor. There is a green sticker on the motor that reads: $5.00 Bet you have to pay at least ten bucks for one now, heh. Made a bracket to support the two relays that I wired in years ago. Figured the motor is a high-current device, and that relays would help minimize the voltage drop to the motor, letting it run faster, and preserve its life. Hooked it all up, and the motor runs, as it did when I tore the old rusty tailgate apart. Got the glass in it, and set on the regulator arms. Motor moves it up and down, but was real slow. But the battery I was using is pretty weak, so I took it out, and hung it on the charger overnight. If the motor runs properly, and the glass moves freely over its whole travel, then I can start buttoning it up. One thing I do need to do is undo the screws that hold the motor to the gear housing, and turn the motor a half-turn to put the wires on the side of the motor away from the glass. The moving glass rubs the wires as it passes by, as it sits now.
                          Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands

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                          • #14
                            Final update, Sept. 27: I'm regarding this phase of the job as done. Tailgate is installed, the latches work, the torsion bar works, the window goes down and up with the key switch, and it fits the opening as well as it can. Today I made an extra hinge shim, and put one more shim on each side between the hinge fixed leaf and the body. That made a world of difference as far as fit and ease of closing it goes. Got the inside covers on it, and even used the grease zerks to put a shot of grease into each fitting. Squirted a little more primer on it, too. Got a picture, too:

                            Attached Files
                            Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands

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                            • #15
                              Always the worst part of a Wagonaire but looking mighty good now!

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