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Studebaker Discs on the Cheap

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  • Studebaker Discs on the Cheap

    First I am posting this at a request of others. I have not completed this project but I will be performing a full technical write up on this conversion.
    So I'm just posting some pics per that request. A full write up will come later.
    This is just a start. And if you want to know why saturn? Because they have a full aftermarket set of parts available. So if you ever want drilled rotors or bigger rotors they are easy to come by. Plus the rotor mounting offset allows for a simple bracket to be made out of 1/4" Flat plate.
    Calipers- Late 90's saturn SC
    Rotors Rear- Saturn from same car
    Rotors Front- Kia Spectra made after July of 2000. Full 10" rotor and thicker than Saturn.
    Rear saturn rotor on Studebaker Hub. Rear Hub only needs to be redrilled to 4x100mm pattern.

    Rear Caliper in place. Notice the caliper has a mechanical E-brake bracket built in. Easy Cable design.

    Here is the link to my photo bucket that has more pics.

  • #2
    As the saying goes, ask five people, you get five different answers. I own a 49, although you can find parts for the brake system, I just couldn't come to grips with paying the 500.00 plus price tag to replace just the axle bits and still have to fork out for the mastercylinder ect.

    Plus I wanted to go a route that allowed me easy access to parts "locally" and parts that are relitively inexpensive to replace.
    I know many people do mustang II kits. And like anything else the parts are available and cheap. You get front disc brakes from a mustang, a bracket, bearings ect. But you still have to find a rear end to buy and put in. But you have that covered.
    For the rest of us who really can't pony up the dough for a mustang II Kit I found another route.

    As mentioned to me here on the list all four wheels have thier own hubs on each drum. I pressed the drum off each hub then went fishing at the local salvage yard.
    I had it in my mind I wanted disc all the way around. But I knew the rear brake caliper had to have a mechanical E-Brake set up. It took some searching because of two things.
    First the Stude uses a 4 on 4 bolt pattern. I have yet to find a modern car running that pattern. So I set my self up to find only cars running a 4x100 pattern.
    Then the stud hubs are over 5" in diameter. They don't fit in many brake rotors that have the 4x100 pattern. And there isn't enough meat to extend them out to a bigger pattern.
    I found what I was looking for on all acounts.
    I found late 90's Saturns all shared the same calipers and rotors. The rear caliper has a mechanical set e-brake assembly and is a simple cable type.
    I pulled the rear rotors and all four calipers from the Saturn. But I didn't like the front rotors from this car. They are thin, maybe not too thin, but to me I didn't want to risk it. I found that the 2000 Kia Spectra built after July has full 10" rotors and in a normal medium to large car thickness.

    There is MINOR maching that has to be done to my hubs. The front hubs need .102" Machined off the bearing housing so the disc will slide on. Then all four hubs need to be re-drilled to the 4x100 pattern. The 4x100 pattern is pretty common today in cars and wheels, even steel are easy to find. Most people that own Scion cars give thier steel wheels away for nothing on Craigslist. They are 15" wheels and very cheap. If I wanted custom wheels that is even easier.

    For brakets. Beacause of the calipers I'm using, both front and rear brackets are very simple and require only to cut them out with out any major machine work.
    On the rear there is a set of spacers for the rear axle seal. The new bracket will replace those spacers. I've already designed the rear bracket and just need to cut them out.

    The front bracket will need a slight offset at 1/4". You could say maybe I lucked out. Saturns don't get touched much at the salvage yards. All the mustangs get picked clean pretty fast. The Saturn I pulled the parts from appeared to have a recent brake job, the rotors and pads looked new. The car appeared to have a blown engine so at least it wasn't in a wreck or something. For all four calipers with mounting brackets, and all four rotors so far I'm out $124.00. The machine work on the hubs is so minimal I'm being charged a set up fee for the machining only. Then the price to re-drill the hubs.
    Now if one was to factor in time, maybe it works out the same as just buying a kit, i don't know, I like to tinker so to me, my time is free and doesn't cost me anything but a smile and some tunes on the radio.


    • #3
      My brother likes to say that his time is the cheapest thing he's got.
      I sure lots of people will be interested in a full report after you're done. I love to see home grown solutions as opposed to big buck parts changes. The guy getting big bucks usually just figured something out, like you have. and packaged it pretty.

      1952 Champion Starlight, 1962 Daytona, both w/overdrive.Searcy,Arkansas
      "I may be lazy, but I'm not shiftless."
      "In the heart of Arkansas."
      Searcy, Arkansas
      1952 Commander 2 door. Really fine 259.
      1952 2R pickup


      • #4
        Excellent! As I said in the other thread, you're doing a great service, and making a great contribution to the marque. I'm looking forward to watching it progress. Thanks for sharing!

        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?"


        • #5
          That steering wheel actually looks pretty good. I've fixed cracks like that with JB weld and primered and painted it. I had never seen a nice shot of that year front suspension. How many years did Studebaker produce it that way? It looks like a good candidate for an Aerostar conversion. How far is it from framerail to framerail inside and outside?


          • #6
            You have put together a REALLY elegant retrofit for 47-52 Studebakers, Champions at least. I look forward to seeing your progress. Your Champion is also unusual because it is a very early Hamilton ONT car. Good luck, eh!

            1950 Champion 4 Dr.
            Holdrege NE
            1950 Champion
            W-3 4 Dr. Sedan
            Holdrege NE


            • #7
              I can honestly say it's diffucult to want to post pics or links when you work on a budget. I have to set aside money each pay check and plan ahead. I can say though that when I read a comment by a fellow 49 builder to "clean, sand, prep and paint any part you can as you go." Has been great advise. Although he doesn't claim it as his own. The person whom ultimately stated this, was wise beyond his years . It has kept me moving.
              For the stearing wheel, I'm definately looking forward to repairing it. I live in Sacramento California, and although I just moved here recently, I have been to the local car museum and Vintage ford Parts. Both of these places have been god sends to me. I found out that Towe Auto Muesum offers a class on steering wheel rebuilding. Looks simple enough by the method you mentioned. Time and some sand paper should yield good results.


              • #8
                The outside frame Rail with out the lip is 29 3/4" od and inside is 25 3/4". So yes a front clip would be easy. I have researched this option as well . For me I'm trying to approach this car as a stock plus minor changes only. Maybe on the next car I can go full rod and convert to newer components front and rear. I'm kind of a rodder at heart and would like to bag it all the way around. Right now is just not good timing for me, four kids wear the pocket thin . Once my wife finishes school that can be a different story. FYI, this car is actually my wifes. She bought the car from her dad, who saved it from the scrap heap. I went to Idaho to get the car. Originally it was a Canadian car. I do not have a background on the car other than it is an 8G with a 6G front end. So being new to Studebaker I was confused about the car. Some one obviously liked the 47 front end and grafted the grill and hood onto it. Because the interior and body rust I'm trying to keep the chassis and drive train to a minimum. So the stock engine and tranny will go back on. Right now the only thing keeping it from being a full roller is the brake conversion. It should be completed in the next couple of weeks. A co-worker has his own machine shop at home and plans on doing the hubs on the weekend when he is tinkering. So cost is very reasonable because of this. But from our conversation cost in general to machine and redrill the hubs even at a full blown shop would be very inexpensive and a one time charge at that.


                • #9
                  FYI, I have loads more photos I'll upload to my photobucket album. Thier on my other computer so I just need to get to work and transfer them.


                  • #10
                    Very cool!! If you put a whole kit together that was ready to buy and bolt on, I'd be willing to buy it from you. I bet others might even follow. It would be a good way to get some extra money for your project. I'm not in a big rush either, so you could take your time.

                    I liked your pictures so much that I'm even thinking about going a few steps further on my 50 Champion project. I really liked seeing your frame all nice and new looking. Really makes me reevaluate in a good way.

                    Thank you,
                    Let me know if you are interested in building a kit (

                    1950 Studebaker Champion 2dr sedan.


                    • #11
                      For the entire chassis I went two routes.
                      For the small parts, a-arms, brackets ect. That were covered in thick, thick goo, I used 2 gallons of Purple Degreeser stuff from Lowes in a Five Gallon bucket. It's not a harsh solvent and it works really, really well. For the A-arms they had so much crud I had to use my Air chisel to get most of the guck off. Then I put them in the bucket and put the lid on. For parts that are just greasey like rear axle seals ect, just over night will do. For the a-arms they sat for a couple days. I would put stuff in during the week when I knew I wouldn't have much time. I'm a weekend builder until it gets light longer.
                      For the frame just some good old elbow grease and a wire wheel. I just moved to California and I'm not really sure on the laws, but I know they are very strict when it comes to disposal. So I just wire wheel everything then sweep it up. Mostly it's just road grime.
                      I did call about having the frame sand blasted but I was quoted from $600-1200 just for the frame which I thought was a little steep. Or maybe I'm just cheap . But i actually enjoyed wirewheeling the frame. It doesn't take that long at all. Also, I do wear a resperator and proper safety protection. The wires tend to get stuck in your coveralls.


                      • #12
                        Also I just want to add something when it comes to sand blasting as I know I'll catch flack for not doing it.
                        I started this frame off in Mid October. With the current rate I have been going, which it wirewheel a piece here, soak, clean prime, paint ect. I've actually ran out of chassis parts to clean and paint except for the final axle pieces and the drive line.
                        The engine and tranny are next on my list unless I want to get onto body parts.
                        I do have a friend that is going to let me borrow his pressure pot sand blaster which is what I plan on doing the body with.


                        • #13
                          I wonder if the rear saturn caliper and this mount would work with a later 5 bolt stude hub and a 5x4.5 rotor of some type?

                          54 Champion coupe
                          48 Champion Convert
                          54 Champion coupe
                          48 Champion Convert


                          • #14
                            Take a spare piece of sheetmetal and just sandblast a tiny section in the center and then run your hand over it and see if it's raised. Glass is better.


                            • #15
                              54Stud. I'm not sure if you mean for front or rear. But in the 5 on 4.5 bolt pattern there were plenty of rotors. What you need to look at is the Hub surface plus the Rotor Disc off set. Ideally if there is space between the disc and the spindle face then just about any caliper will work. The kia spectra rotor is 1.91" overall hieght. That is from the back of the disc to the top of the flange. So once you subtract the thickness of the rotor it is just under 1.5". What I'm doing is using a rotor offset that allows a very easy bracket to be made.
                              I have a set of Ford Crown Vic rotors. They are the same as the 2005 Wrangler rotor. But the offset actually overhung the spindle. So they wouldn't have been good to use for me.
                              Also when looking at rotors look at cars with rear disc brakes, but aware that some cars use solid discs on rear and vented on front.