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Subframe swaps

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  • Subframe swaps

    Hello all, I have seen a ton of Studes with sub frame swaps done..Seems that all the vendors are going with the Mustang style..Are there others? S-10, Camaro, blah blah..I have a friend that owes me a favor..He works at a junk yard..If he has a subframe that would work for a swap on my Lark, I could get it for next to nothing. Not that I have a problem with Stude design..but, A swap would help me with clearance issues etc...Thanks!

    Still working to restore my 62 Lark in South Bend, Indiana

  • #2
    Not an easy thing.
    I don't believe there is a straight across swap. All that I know of need narrowing to fit the car properly. That is, so the tires aren't outside the fenders! Not quite that bad but pretty close.

    Just modify your headers.

    Just a thought...if you are queasy about modifying your headers...a new front clip will drive you into a loony bin! Your own little 6' x 6' room!
    Not trying to give you a bad time...just stating...

    I made my own front clip for my Lark....TONS of measuring, tacking in't like that..make a new one...and on, and on.
    A 67 to 70 (something) Nova, Camaro..etc. All too wide. Ford, Chrysler, AMC small cars are unibody.

    Modifying your current header is the easiest way to go. The other way would to build your own set of tubes.
    "MUCH" easier than a new frame half....just because the headers don't fit.

    Just my opinion...



    • #3
      Mike, thanks for the info..I did not know if way too much was involved etc..The header thing, I'll probably go with 2.5 inch rams horns. The looney bin is only a step away as it is!![] Anyhow..I'm just putzing this eve, but this weekend I'm hoping to make some kind of progress..

      Still working to restore my 62 Lark in South Bend, Indiana


      • #4
        a 1997 oldsmobile ciera rack is the correct width for your stude you can cut down your old colum and get a u joint to connect it

        keith kirchhoff
        brockport ny 14420


        • #5
          Many places specializing in hot rod frames like Fatman Fabrications and Total Cost Involved can make you a crossmember with Mustang II suspension style pieces. These usually come in complete kits from $2K to $3500 depending on how showy you want to be. These are usually hub-to-hub including calipers. Both companies have websites. Because this set up only requires changing out the crossmember and keeps the original frame rails, I think these are the best bet. JMO.

          Tom - Lakeland, FL

          1964 Studebaker Daytona

          Michigan Speed -
          Club Hot Rod -
          LS1 Tech -
          Tom - Bradenton, FL

          1964 Studebaker Daytona - 289 4V, 4-Speed (Cost To Date: $2514.10)
          1964 Studebaker Commander - 170 1V, 3-Speed w/OD


          • #6
            Saw an interesting set-up in Dec. TW by "SlickStreetStuff" out of TN... it's a kit that includes control arms, ball joints, rack & pinion, rack mount, tie rod ends, spindles, sway bar w/brackets and bolts for $2150... uses stock frame- bolts in original holes! Uses stock fender, bumper and radiator mounts, and uses modern parts incl. disc brakes...

            Looks to me like the ideal set-up- no cutting, welding, fitting, or trial-and-error! I may try one someday just to see how it works

            Anyone have one of these?

            Robert K. Andrews Owner- IoMT (Island of Misfit Toys!)
            Parish, central NY 13131


            • #7
              It's a lot of money for little my opinion!

              For all that money...they should have at least lowered the upper a-arm mount to get more correct geometry. Or maybe found a taller spindle assembly. $2150 just for the mounting a R&P and disc brakes is a hand full.



              • #8
                Here's just our experience and only our opinion, based on years of doing this:

                Anyone who has done many engine swaps will confirm, header clearance is the least expensive and easiest part of the job. If you can't make headers fit, do not even consider talking to anyone about a front clip change. This might be likened to burning down the barn to get rid of mice eating the grain.

                Of all the questionable things we see done to Studebakers, changing the front suspension has to rank right up there. We too often see owners proudly showing and describing engineering disasters which are unsafe and worsened the handling of the car.

                We just spent more time and money on the steering modification of a Hawk street custom than we could believe. We wanted to run a custom supercharger without putting a hole in the hood. To get the engine lower, the center pivot assembly had to go. After working with several conventional R&P setups, all of which had excessive bump steer, we came to the conclusion we couldn't find a way to use one with the stock Studebaker A-arms. We fabricated a custom center-steer rack, which does not bump-steer and will be track testing it in the near future. If it does work, it is not applicable to general use. Knowing what we know now, a 1957-58 Golden Hawk hood might not seem so bad.

                There may exist professionally done steering and front suspension conversions with no serious side effects, but they are rare. During this process, we drove Studes with conventional rack installations, with GM center steer racks, with Fatman clips, Heidt clips and they all had drawbacks in some areas. Every conventional rack installation in a Stude we drove had bump steer. The GM center steer rack installation we drove, we felt was overloaded past its design criteria. It worked OK in easy driving, but after taking one apart and seeing how light-duty some of the parts were, we didn't feel confident it was safe with wide tires and/or high cornering speeds. The Fatman was set up for such low ride height, it hit the bump stops too often and so on.

                Your car, your money. Just be careful out there.

                thnx, jv.



                • #9
                  What causes all the bump steer? I'm trying to visualize the action, and am having trouble seeing it...

                  What's the Ackerman look like with a rack and stock spindles?

                  Robert K. Andrews Owner- IoMT (Island of Misfit Toys!)
                  Parish, central NY 13131


                  • #10
                    Bump steer -

                    Overly simplified is (if that's possible!), as the tire, wheel, spindle moves up and down through it's travel, its connection to the steering, whether it's through a R&P or tie basically on another plane or rotation angle. As the wheel moves up and down, the connection to the steering wants to move in another direction, more back and forth (front to rear) rather thAn up and down.

                    So the wheel goes up or down from the ride height position, the tie rods act to pull or push on the spindle. The wheel goes up (down), the solid connection to the steering forces the wheel to the right (left).

                    It's a balancing act with correct geometry and parts location.

                    My old 67 Chevy II (like the Mustang and...) was terrible. Go into a turn with bumps in the road (gutters!), the steering wheel was all over trying to keep the car making a smooth radius turn.

          's just like a Panhard controled rear end.
                    The axle is going up and down on one center of movement...and the Panhard bar is trying to control that side to side movement from a different centerline axis. That's why a Panhard controlled rear axle moves side to side as the chassis moves up and down through its movement.

                    Well...I don't know how clear that is..trying to type and eat at the same time! But that's the basics...muddy as it is!



                    • #11

                      Good explanation, Mike. The one thing I would add is the bump steer is caused by extreme toe-in to toe-out changes as the suspension moves up and down.

                      For example, visualize the car in a constant radius turn to the left. The suspension encounters a dip in the road. As the wheel moves up, if the steering arms don't precisely track with the A-arms, maybe the outside front wheel toes out more. This effectively removes some of the steering input and the car "bump-steers" to the right or outside of the intended line.

                      One of the conventional rack-and-pinion conversions who came to the shop with handling problems, the suspension, when set for correct toe-in at ride height, had 1/2" toe-in at full compression and 1/2" toe-out at full extension. It was all over the road when driven hard.

                      When told there was nothing which could be done, as the basic design was wrong, the owner said, "Well, it's a show car, so I just will take it slower."

                      thnx, jv.




                      • #12
                        so,this sounds like an interesting bit of " Forum " stuff. I was under my 55 Champion ,and noticed while I was lubing every zek fitting I could find,...alot of my bushings look a little cracked,{duh, stan, there 52yrs. young].So what should I start saving for,a kit from a vendor, bringing to a "friend " with an arc welder who has shown me all kinds of ways to make several low rider,"hopper" type of cars{he says it would be "cool with an air suspension} ??? I like the way it handles with radials and camaro front shocks, air shocks in the rear {from a 95 cad,it was free} and I'm not planning to go to Laguna Seca..great site isn't it LLSDC.


                        • #13
                          Thanks, guys, but I know what bump steer is- I was wondering how R&P causes bump steer? Is it about the mounting height of the rack?

                          Robert K. Andrews Owner- IoMT (Island of Misfit Toys!)
                          Parish, central NY 13131


                          • #14
                            It's about the arc traveled by the spindle when comparing it to the arc traveled by the steering rod end at the spindle.
                            If the arcs are not identical, then the steering rod end will steer the spindle while the spindle will go up and down. Easy way to tell what you actually have is to check your toe in at ride height, and then check it at full extension and again at full compression. This might sound extreme, but if you set up the suspension so the deflection was minimal at ride height plus and minus...say 50%, then you would probably be happy with the result. Since most 'drivers' aren't off road racers with massive suspension movements (aka: Street Rod guys) they tend to get away with marginal setups.

                            We see this thread show up so many times in the Stude world, and it usually has to do with money. Everyone wants to upgrade their suspension and brakes, and a lot want to do it on the cheap.

                            Fact is, the stock suspension and steering were suprisingly accurate and durable. In most cases, spending money on a good set of a-arm bushings, and a disc brake conversion kit (with dual m/c of course) will bring immediate satisfaction. Spend the rest of the money on the interior and engine. I speak from experience, having owned and built several of each over the years. I spent more money straightening out someone else's frame clip job than a good stock rebuild and upgrade would have cost. Hacking up a frame to stick a junkyard clip underneath is only half the job. The other half will be rebuilding the junkyard clip. Why bother? Only shortcoming's of the Stude suspension is the lack of built in caster, and the reach rod to header interference. Shoot, I'd build a new reach rod and be done with it.
                            Just one mans opinion....

                            quote:Originally posted by bams50

                            Thanks, guys, but I know what bump steer is- I was wondering how R&P causes bump steer? Is it about the mounting height of the rack?

                            DEEPNHOCK at
                            Brooklet, Georgia
                            '37 Coupe Express (never ending project)
                            '37 Coupe Express Trailer (project)
                            '61 Hawk (project)

                            HTIH (Hope The Info Helps)


                            Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please. Mark Twain

                            Note: SDC# 070190 (and earlier...)


                            • #15
                              The race cars I drove (oval track, open-wheel, open-c ockpit) were VERY sensitive; on a 5/8 mile track, we come to the corners about 130 MPH; had to be right on- caster, camber, ackerman, and bump steer. We had a nifty little gauge to measure bump steer, and we checked it frequently. It was easy to correct- we changed, with spacers, the distance from the outer end of the steering arm (outer tie-rod end) to the eye on the end of the spindle steering arm (where the tie-rod end would normally go)... we used heims in place of the tie-rod ends, and drilled the taper out of the spindle arm... cheap, dependable, and easy to adjust... What about some version of that here?

                              Robert K. Andrews Owner- IoMT (Island of Misfit Toys!)
                              Parish, central NY 13131