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Recent Steering Repairs on My '55 President Sedan

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  • Front Axle / Front Suspension: Recent Steering Repairs on My '55 President Sedan

    A little while back I posted that I was having some repairs done on my '55 President Sedan to replace worn parts. I was asked to report on how these repairs improved the steering on my car. The repair was to replace the worn Bell Crank. Driving the car after this repair, I noted that the steering was a bit more positive. There was no more wandering when driving down the highway. And it got rid of a brake pulling problem I have been trying to solve for quite a while. That was a bonus.
    I have also recently replaced the coil springs in front and the leaf springs in back. This brought the ride height up about 2 inches and eliminated the problem of bottoming out when going over speed bumps and through pot holes. I was afraid new springs would cause the car to lean more on curves but that has not been the case. The car stays pretty level around curves still. It does feel tighter and more comfortable. My estimate is that both repairs had a positive affect on the ride and drivability of the car.
    Next will be new upper and lower A-arm bushings. The old ones are shot and squeak.
    Ed Sallia
    Dundee, OR

    Sol Lucet Omnibus

  • #2
    Hi Ed,
    I would use the Avanti A-Arm bushings as they reduce any deflection for more precise suspension geometry.
    SI should have them.
    Cheers,
    Bill

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    • #3
      Hey Eddie-
      A few years ago, after rebuilding the front end of my ‘64 Daytona, the car did wander a bit. Investigation revealed a worn center pin, which had seemed ok earlier, but on the car under load it showed play. After rebuilding it really made a difference, as did yours!

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Buzzard View Post
        Hi Ed,
        I would use the Avanti A-Arm bushings as they reduce any deflection for more precise suspension geometry.
        SI should have them.Cheers,Bill
        You cannot use "Avanti" Bushings, because they are RARE Avanti R3 & '51/'52 Commander, Steel, Grease-able Bushings that require New NLA "A" Arms and Shafts.

        Anyway, I don't think a '55 President State Sedan will be doing any Road Racing in high speed Left and Right turns.
        Last edited by StudeRich; 09-30-2020, 10:27 AM.
        StudeRich
        Second Generation Stude Driver,
        Proud '54 Starliner Owner

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        • #5
          When installing new bushings and center pin I always double up on both, bushings or needle bearings as the case may be. Such does not interfere with the grease fitting thus the stacked bearings/bushings share the load and will probably last a lifetime...

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          • #6
            Thanks for sharing.

            Bill

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            • #7
              Commander Eddie,

              I always perk up when I see a post from you as my Studebaker is a '55 President State Sedan. We have a few things in common: our Studebakers, first names of Charles, both served in the Navy. I would appreciate if you would elaborate on the selection of "Commander Eddie" as your forum name. The reason I ask is that the Navy played a big part in my forum name "Charlie D" I joined when I was 17 and my name on paper anyway was Musgrove, Charles D. When I went to boot camp in Great Lakes, IL the chief petty officer asked me what name I went by and I told him "David". He said young man you do not quite understand. you are Musgrove, Charles D. Now what derivative of Charles do you want to use: Charles, Chuck, Charlie? I told him I wanted to be called Charlie D. and ever since that day in boot camp I have used that name. My family and childhood friends still call me David. I retired from the Naval Reserve as a Commander after 36 years of service. E-1 to E-6 then direct commission to O-1 then up to O-5.

              It is rather ironic that I just finished up working on my steering for the past few weeks. The last road trip I did in my '55 was rather stressful, well, really stressful. The big rigs were blowing me away from them and then trying to suck me into them. I fought to control the steering for a couple of hours and was worn out when I got home. The front end was jacked up and I started in. A re-built bell crank shaft which I eliminated basically ALL the play in it. Two new tie rod ends. The Saginaw pitman shaft adjusting screw adjusted as far in as I could get it. The caster and camber set to the best of my ability and string used to make sure the toe-in was per the shop manual. New Gabriel shocks front and rear. The ones that were on it in 1983 when I bought the car were shot. I just got back from a trip to the Branson Orphan Car Show, about 500 miles round trip, and I am happy to report that I can now handle the big rig traffic. Only a half-inch or so of play in the steering wheel and it tracked very nicely and made for a whole lot less stress on the highway.

              I am cheering you on as you work on your steering.

              Charlie D.

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              • #8
                Charlie, my choice of Commander Eddie came from my previous ownership of 2 Commanders. My first car was a 1955 Commander Starlite Coupe passed down to me from my dad when I was 17 years old. And a 1950 Commander 4-door sedan (see my avatar) that I bought in 2010. The '55 President replaced that car. So, not related to my Navy service. I did serve from 1970 to 1976. Boot camp and Radioman A school were in San Diego and I was first stationed in Panama and then served on board the USS Ainsworth (FF-1090) out of Norfolk Virginia. I left the Navy as an NCO (E-5). I wrote a book about one of the cruises I was on, "A Sailor's Diary". It is available from Amazon and other online book sellers.
                As for the steering on my '55, there is little left to do besides the A arm bushings. The car is wonderful to drive. I get a kick out of people's reaction when they come up to talk to me when I am sitting in the car and I roll the window down. They are always surprised that the car has electric windows. It's a hoot.
                I will be working on my '61 Champ steering next. It will be getting new front wheel bearings, king pins, track rod ends and a complete steering box rebuild.
                Thank you for sharing some of your Navy experience. I'd love to learn more. I have been following your posts about your car with great interest for the same reasons you stated. I always learn things from the technical posts. (My post got moved to the "Tech" page for some reason. I was simply sharing my driving observations after replacing the springs and bell crank).
                Last edited by Commander Eddie; 10-02-2020, 06:46 AM.
                Ed Sallia
                Dundee, OR

                Sol Lucet Omnibus

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