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Learning to work on Studebakers, or any old car

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  • Learning to work on Studebakers, or any old car

    On a few seperate threads, young Rick Burgen is doing his best to get a 63 Avanti running with our help, with little experience working on old cars, or any car from what I can gather.

    I didn't do ANY work on autos until I became the proud owner of a 1972 VW Beetle in about 1980 at the age of 25. It came with a wonderful book "The compleat idiot's guide to Volkswagen maintenance" by John Muir. Compleat (sic) idiot described me perfectly...and this book was something else! Written in a breezy, entertaining late 60s hippie style (Muir was a Lockheed Aircraft engineer society drop-out) it had crude but brillant drawings by R. Crumb, I believe and operated under the principle that ANY VW owner should know how to keep the little beast running themselves. I learned how to wrench on that little bug, and the experience served me well when I started collecting Studes and keeping them on the road - since 1988 when I bought my R-2 GT Hawk, no one has ever touched it but me, and I owe that to John Muir. It's a shame we don't have something similar for Studebakers to help guys like Rick. Stan Gundry's Avanti book is the closest one I can think of.

    Anybody else remember "The compleat idiot's guide to VW maintenance"?

    Russ Farris
    1963 GT Hawk R-2 4-speed
    1964 Avanti R-1 Auto

  • #2
    I already had about four years of wrenching under my belt when I ran across that in a bookstore. I didn't need it, but I had to have it. I laughed at the humor, and I dug the drawings. I liked it so much that a few years later I bought one of the newer versions just for entertainment.

    The science of Studebakers was pretty settled from '51 to '64, so a useful "Studebaker Guide for the Compleat Idiot" is viable.

    I wanted to help Rick as soon as I figured out that getting his uncle's Avanti up and running was his summer vacation AND his entry into auto mechanics. I want to encourage him, and see if we can collectively talk him through all the steps of putting a dormant car back on the road.

    Maybe for the enthusiastic and less tech savvy members new to Studebakers (and maybe even new to working on cars) we should put together a couple of simple step by step guides in the Studebaker Tech Tips, Specs and Data section, like how to bring an long sitting engine back to life, and a primer on Studebaker brakes and electrical systems. Because the Studebaker hobby is more fun when you can actually start the engine and safely drive the car.

    Then in the future when a new member posts about some moth balled barn find they now own, we can refer them to the basic tech pages for getting it running and stopping again.

    Thomas

    Long time hot rodder
    Packrat junk collector
    '63 Avanti R2 4 speed

    Comment


    • #3
      That is a GREAT idea Thomas! I think having a breezy, easy to understand writing style would be the ticket. Judging from some of the questions I see asked, quite a few Stude owners rely on a mechanic, who may or may not know these cars, to do the work for them. All I ask in a tech guide is to leave out the word "thingy" when describing something unrecognized - a personal pet peeve of mine (we all have at least one, right?)

      Bringing a long-dormant car back from the dead would be my first choice for a guide, since this is a common situation as young Rick finds himself in. I want to encourage him like you do, because he obviously loves this Avanti and we need people like him to keep this hobby going, or Studebakers will become static pieces of history instead of rolling exhibits of Americana.

      I still have my VW book; I'll have to re-read it to get an idea of what we want (leaving out the references to "bread" and getting your pony-tail caught in the fan belt!) Russ Farris...63 R-2 GT Hawk, 64 R-1 Avanti
      1963 GT Hawk R-2 4-speed
      1964 Avanti R-1 Auto

      Comment


      • #4
        What about this? It's always been on the Tech Tips, Specs, and Data page:

        http://www.studebakerdriversclub.com/tech_things2do.asp

        Robert (Bob) Andrews- on the IoMT (Island of Misfit Toys)
        Parish, central NY 13131






        Comment


        • #5
          Sort of like that best seller "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Repair"
          Jeff[8D]



          http://community.webshots.com/user/deepnhock
          HTIH (Hope The Info Helps)

          Jeff


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



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

          Comment


          • #6
            I think this is a great idea. Personally, I would like to see some "old school" tech articles. I have a lot of shade-tree mechanic time but its pretty much all on newer stuff. For instance, my Stude is the first vehicle I have ever had that has a generator and/or an external voltage regulator. I rebuilt my first wheel cylinder last week. I think things like that would be great articles. Also, things like: How to work on/maintain points, rebuild a carb, flare/bend hard lines.

            I'm not "old school", but not "new school" by any means, I guess I'm stuck in "middle school" :^)

            edited to add: Luckily my Stude came with a pile of Turning Wheels and I have been reading back issues of the Co-operator and have learned a lot, but I'm sure not everyone has that available. It would be great to have Co-operator articles online and searchable!


            Its not the years in your life that matters, its the life in your years.

            Comment


            • #7
              BTW, John Muir also did a companion "Compleat" volume for Datsuns, now unfortunately out of print. It was invaluable when I owned my '72 1200 pickup, affectionately named "Old Leaky"


              [img=left]http://members.cox.net/clarknovak/lark.gif[/img=left]

              Clark in San Diego
              '63 F2/Lark Standard
              http://studeblogger.blogspot.com
              www.studebakersandiego.com

              Clark in San Diego | '63 Standard (F2) "Barney" | http://studeblogger.blogspot.com

              Comment


              • #8
                quote:Originally posted by DEEPNHOCK

                Sort of like that best seller "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Repair"
                "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance"
                by Robert M. Pirsig was about maintaining human virtues and values; very little in there about maintaining a motorcycle, other than the fact that you don't need to buy the fifty dollar part if you can accomplish the same thing with a piece of aluminum you cut from a beer can.

                I'll have to pull that one off the shelf. It's been forty years since I read it.

                Brad Johnson
                Pine Grove Mills, Pa.
                '33 Rockne 10, '51 Commander Starlight, '53 Commander Starlight
                "All attempts to 'rise above the issue' are simply an excuse to avoid it profitably." --Dick Gregory

                Brad Johnson, SDC since 1975, ASC since 1990
                Pine Grove Mills, Pa.
                '33 Rockne 10,
                '51 Commander Starlight,
                '53 Commander Starlight "Désirée",
                '56 Sky Hawk

                Comment


                • #9
                  As one of my daily drivers is a 71 VW I've got the Muir book and it comes in handy (although the "official" book has better info.

                  Years ago I had another VW and an earlier copy of the book. There was one procedure where you had to wait about twenty minutes between steps. It had a drawing of hands pouring a leafy substance out of a tea bag into a cigarette paper.

                  Jeff DeWitt
                  http://carolinastudes.net
                  Jeff DeWitt
                  http://carolinastudes.net

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Me too Brad... It's been a while...
                    But it stuck with me when I substituted the word Studebaker for motorcycle...
                    Jeff[8D]


                    quote:Originally posted by rockne10
                    "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance"
                    by Robert M. Pirsig was about maintaining human virtues and values; very little in there about maintaining a motorcycle, other than the fact that you don't need to buy the fifty dollar part if you can accomplish the same thing with a piece of aluminum you cut from a beer can.
                    I'll have to pull that one off the shelf. It's been forty years since I read it.
                    Brad Johnson

                    quote:Originally posted by DEEPNHOCK

                    Sort of like that best seller "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Repair"
                    HTIH (Hope The Info Helps)

                    Jeff


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



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

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      My second car was a 1974 VW Type 181..sold for 2 years here as the "Thing". Only sold in 73-74 as sales werent great and mandatory bumper laws didnt make it worth it to sell them anymore...in fact the 181 was used as the German "Jeep" from 69-80,it was the same thing(no pun intended)just painted bright colors...still had the point for the machine gun mount..hehehe. Sorry about the history but as Stude guys you understand I was a Thing guy....

                      Anyway mine came with the VW book, I liked it. I never had to do anything crazy major but I liked what I recall as a very practical,pragmatic approach. I am not opposed to buying tools/equipment or such..but what the hell do I do if I just dont have a #9 Fluffengrubber ? Year before last I went on a car ralley were this is kinda the point so it is dear to my heart. I also owned a # of Rabbits(diesels)there was a book for keeping the rabbit alive...Now that I recall there was a Suburu one also, in fact I think they kinda did a "For Dummies" bit with "keep your xxx alive"...Kinda funny as in that ralley I ran a Sub Brat 265K,30+ MPG and didnt miss a lick other than a starchy carb at times...A liitle OT but I never knew the Sub engines were the same as the VW just water cooled and diff carb, I was told they got the design when Germans visted for a tech exchange during the Axis alliance...

                      Back on topic...As I just pasted in the main forum I just pulled my Lark out of a barn after 25 years..I would love a book/manual like that...the check up list is good yes but a basic overlay,then the checklist stuff with pics/diagrams...it would be nice to know what swaps around year-year and power train power train..not sure how to put it,in my sit I have a 6 and am/was thinking about swapping to v8...didnt want to invest twice,N8 tells me most of what I was talking about works for both...

                      Hey my car is just waiting for a book deal...

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        quote:Originally posted by ISpy


                        I also owned a # of Rabbits(diesels)there was a book for keeping the rabbit alive...
                        I owned a Rabbit diesel (1980 Rabbit L )as well and used the same book along with the VW manual to work on it. Loved the book as it had short cuts and other things the factory manual didn't have. One of the best cars we ever owned, 200,000 miles before body rust and the fuel pump made me park it. Interior was still excellent condition, that vinyl was very good material.
                        64 Champ long bed V8
                        55/53 Studebaker President S/R
                        53 Hudson Super Wasp Coupe

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          quote:Originally posted by ISpy

                          a basic overlay,then the checklist stuff with pics/diagrams...it would be nice to know what swaps around year-year and power train power train
                          That's exactly why I got involved with this Forum- I knew nothing about Studebakers. I've spent a lot of late nights searching and reading threads here. If you have enough need for the knowledge it's already all here, online, available 24/7, and free[^]

                          Robert (Bob) Andrews- on the IoMT (Island of Misfit Toys)
                          Parish, central NY 13131






                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Its unfortunate, but this forum isn't organized so you can lay it open on your fender and go to work. I agree with the book concept, but for one person (or a group) to set it up, they would have to have someone there asking one question after another. Which is what we have here. Probably ought to check with Mr. Shaw about permission to excerpt and print in print media.
                            Then, scour the forum, gather all questions together with all pertinent answers, build an index and find a publisher.

                            Been there, didn't do that.

                            [img=left]http://www.alink.com/personal/tbredehoft/Avatar1.jpg[/img=left]
                            Tom Bredehoft
                            '53 Commander Coupe (since 1959)
                            '55 President (6H Y6) State Sedan
                            (Under Construction 617 hrs.)
                            '05 Legacy Ltd Wagon
                            All Indiana built cars

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Just remembered one problem with the Muir book.

                              It suggests that if your brake shoes get contaminated with brake fluid to burn the fluid off. That works fine with riveted shoes but can cause some really unpleasant problems with bonded shoes.

                              As I found out the hard way!

                              Jeff DeWitt
                              http://carolinastudes.net
                              Jeff DeWitt
                              http://carolinastudes.net

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