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Looking at a 1962 Lark V8 to buy

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  • Looking at a 1962 Lark V8 to buy

    Hello and Help,
    My wife and I just found a 62 lark sedan for sale locally. On craigslist in the bay area, Ca. Apparently it smokes white, too much to drive. I thought it might be a leaking transmission vac. diaphragm dumping trans. fluid into the intake. Is this the case with an automatic tranny? I have owned a 59 lark v8, a 62 six cyl. and a modified Wagonaire. It would be great to have another lark in the family, but I am concerned about cost and if I have misdiagnosed the problem. I have been an auto mechanic for about 25 years. I remember the ford borgwards having a vac. diaphragm that would leak and create the white smoke situation. It may also be due to a long time sitting. Tomorrow I will check it out, just wanted to get some stude feedback before I get my hopes up for having another lark to drive. Of Course, a 64 golden hawk GT would be lovely, but this is an available and attractive lark, and is here and now. Any advice out there?
    Thanks in advance,
    Fred Dodge, SDC member on and off for the past 25 years.

  • #2
    Cen 093, maybe it is tranny fluid, but my general rule is black smoke means oil, white smoke means coolant. I would suspect a cracked head or a cracked block, causing coolant to get into the combustion areas. I could be wrong, I hope I am wrong, but please be very careful before you spend any money on this one! Drain the oil, let the oil sit for a few minutes, and see if a water scum forms on the surface. If it does, you are looking at an engine rebuild within a few miles, maybe a hundred miles at the best. It may involve a replacement block. If the car is otherwise good, and you can get it for a good price, it may still be a good buy. These engines are easy to rebuild and replacement engines are not real hard to find, but factor that into the price in advance. Good luck!


    • #3
      Well, first, it couldn't be tranny oil because except for Stude trucks, cars didn't use a vacuum modulator on their automatic trannys. They use a mechanical rod that attaches to the throttle bellcrank.

      As to smoke, white is oil - black is rich gas mixture. Coolant can be white too but you can look at it for a second and see that most of it is evaporating like steam does. THAT'S coolant leak

      Likely this Lark has some stuck (or just worn out) rings OR non-existant valve guide seals. The valve guide seals are fairly easy to fix. You can do it without removing the head (s).

      I've known of a number of Studes that the smoking eventually disappeard after being run for awhile. This due to rings that had stuck from a long period of inactivity, working themselves free with some running. Of course - a tired engine is a tired engine[xx(] And no can or bottle of "Engine Rejuvenator" is gonna reverse genuine wear[}]
      If you're a mechanic, I don't have to tell you the worth of a compression check![:0] Besides, a look at the spark plugs can tell alot too!

      Miscreant at large.
      No deceptive flags to prove I'm patriotic - no biblical BS to impress - just ME and Studebakers - as it should be.


      • #4
        I will defer to Mr. Biggs on this one, as he is much more experienced than I am. I will only say, if the rest of the car is good, and you can get a good price, don't let an engine problem kill the deal! With a Stude, mechanical restorations are probably the cheapest major things to do. The money goes into body work, paint, interior, and chrome (especially chrome!). Rereading your post, it is not clear if this is a six or a V8, but either one would be easy for a mechanic with 25 years experience to work on. Parts are still plentiful and (comparitively) cheap for both engines. The smoke may give you an excellent bargaining chip when it comes time to talk turkey with the seller.


        • #5
          I'm with whacker on the smoke working in your favor since you're able to turn a wrench. I confess that if a seller makes noise like he feels that any repairs would be tough because of trying to find parts - I'll agree with him and say something like: "Yeah, but I've always one like this!" (you don't have to tell them you've "always" wanted one since YESTERDAY![:0])[}] This infers that you agree with them but are willing to take on the acknowledged adversity of scouring the country for the necessary parts (like your Stude vendor catalogs at home![}]
          Be cautious on the late 6s (61 thru 64). The heads were ill-engineered to an extent that makes them vulnerable to developing cracks between the valve seats. If the engine's ever got hot a time or two in it's life, there could be trouble there.[xx(] That's NOT a certainty, but it's something to consider.[:I] When it's right, it's a good little engine.

          Miscreant at large.
          No deceptive flags to prove I'm patriotic - no biblical BS to impress - just ME and Studebakers - as it should be.