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Looking for ideas for fixing this

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  • Front Axle: Looking for ideas for fixing this

    I removed the front suspension today and when cleaning up the area around the shock support on the drivers side discovered a problem. The holes for the bolts which support the shaft for the control arm have become elongated.
    The rear one also has several cracks around it while the other has less severe damage.
    The cracks will be welded but I'm not sure what is the best way to deal with the holes. I believe they are about .05" out of round. I thought about welding and redrilling but that brings up a couple other concerns. I don't know where the worn area is. I assume it would be toward the engine. Welding an area of the hole would also mean the bottom would need to be smoothed so the nut would tighten up correctly. That would be a difficult task.
    Anyone have any suggestions
    Attached Files

  • #2
    I don't know what year your car is, but the later year frames had this problem less often. It was so common in earlier years, it was addressed in S-P Service Bulletin No. 358, dated October 1960. The Bulletin also provided info on a field fix. The factory later fixed it in house, with the same reinforcement plate welded in from inside the frame, I think in 1962 & later.

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    • #3
      I think the factory had a fix for this. Somebody more knowledgeable than me may know where to point you.

      If I were faced with this, I would first determine on which side the holes were worn. As you say, it appears to be the inner side. Perhaps examination with a magnifying glass would disclose wear marks on the worn side, or tool marks on the unworn side.

      Then I would fabricate a plate from 1/8" sheet steel to fit up inside the crossmember. It might have to have its edges curved a bit to fit. I would try to make as close as possible to the full width of the underside, and extend it from the edge of the shock tower to the point where the flat top of the frame turns down. Trial fit it until I was happy with it, and then mark the holes for the two bolts, and drill them. Clamp the patch to the control arm, and drill to final size using it as a guide.

      Then I'd take a 1/4" drill, and drill a number of holes through the top of the crossmember in the area the patch will go, and around and between the bolt holes, and be sure to drill where the metal is cracked, too. Then I'd bolt the patch in place, and MIG weld through the 1/4" holes to effectively spot-weld the patch in place, grind the welds smooth, and call it done, save for paint.
      Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands

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      • #4
        Originally posted by gordr View Post
        I think the factory had a fix for this.
        Yep, the factory did have a fix. It was the Service Bulletin mentioned above. The bulletin basically calls for as you recommended (with exception of dirlling extra holes for extra bolts), patchwelding a plate in place.
        From 1962 on, the patch was installed at the factory, but on the inside of the frame. The frames were also a lot thicker in 1962.

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        • #5
          When I restored my speedster it had 200,000 miles on it (I believe that is a record for speedster, haven't seen a higher mileage one yet.) My frame had cracks where the side runners intersect the front crossmember, a good one around the spring pocket, and cracks around the upper, inner -arm mounting holes...just like yours. The frame cracks I drilled out the ends and welded them up.

          On the inner a-arm cracks, there was a previous repair on one side of my car, which I copied. Take a 1/8" plate steel, cut into small squares. Drill a hole in each that matches the size of the inner a-arm mounting bolts. Locate the repair plates using a inner a-arm mounting bolt, or an indicator of some sort. Now MIG weld the plates, grind the welds so that the inner a-arm will lie flat across the repair.

          The repair does not adversely affect tire alignment, since you are not moving the mounting holes laterally.

          Please note that the upper inner a-arm is asymmetrical, i.e. mounting it with one side up is different from flipping it over. This was on purpose in a way, so that if you can't get the camber adjusted with the outer-arm adjusters, then as a last resort you could flip the inner a-arm (only after taking apart the entire suspension, that is). So be sure to check that, and use the shop manual to install it correctly. At the moment I can't remember which way it goes.
          Last edited by 55studeman; 11-14-2011, 11:45 PM. Reason: grammer
          Best Regards,
          Eric West
          "The Speedster Kid"
          Sunny Northern California
          Where the roads don't freeze over and the heat doesn't kill you.
          And an open road is yours to have -only during non-commute rush hours 9am-4pm and 7pm to 7am (Ha, ha, ha)
          55 Speedster "Lemon/Lime" (Beautiful)
          55 President State Sedan (Rusty original, but runs great and reliable)

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by 55studeman View Post
            When I restored my speedster it had 200,000 miles on it (I believe that is a record for speedster, haven't seen a higher mileage one yet.) My frame had cracks where the side runners intersect the front crossmember, a good one around the spring pocket, and cracks around the upper, inner -arm mounting holes...just like yours. The frame cracks I drilled out the ends and welded them up.

            On the inner a-arm cracks, there was a previous repair on one side of my car, which I copied. Take a 1/8" plate steel, cut into small squares. Drill a hole in each that matches the size of the inner a-arm mounting bolts. Locate the repair plates using a inner a-arm mounting bolt, or an indicator of some sort. Now MIG weld the plates, grind the welds so that the inner a-arm will lie flat across the repair.

            The repair does not adversely affect tire alignment, since you are not moving the mounting holes laterally.

            Please note that the upper inner a-arm is asymmetrical, i.e. mounting it with one side up is different from flipping it over. This was on purpose in a way, so that if you can't get the camber adjusted with the outer-arm adjusters, then as a last resort you could flip the inner a-arm (only after taking apart the entire suspension, that is). So be sure to check that, and use the shop manual to install it correctly. At the moment I can't remember which way it goes.
            Again, your repair is similar to the Bulletin, it called for a 1/8" plate, but just one plate, large enough to span the top of the tower, and drilled with two holes to align with the upper-inner a-arm. I have applied this repair to the drivers side of a 56J, and as a preventive measure on another 56J I restored later. I helped my brother swap a 56J over to a GT frame to get away from the whole issue, since its original frame needed the same repair. Seems the 56J was very prone to this problem. It is a good preventive measure on any V8 Stude prior to 1962, that is likely to be driven a lot, especially if torn down to rebuild the front suspension anyway.
            Joe H

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            • #7
              Yeah, what I suggested was to mount the patch plate inside the frame, locate it with the A-arm bolts, and then secure it in place by means of plug welds. Meaning you drill through one layer of the two to be joined, exposing the other layer, and then weld the hole back up with the MIG, creating a weld similar to a spot weld.

              Now if you can get the welder inside the frame, welding around the periphery of the patch would be good, too. Maybe you could do most of it with a stick welder and some bent electrodes. I know if I did that, some mighty ugly welds would result, with no way of grinding them smooth, but they would also be where nobody could see them.
              Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands

              Comment


              • #8
                Yeah this is what I would do to repair this issue. Gord had it right. Plug welds randomly thru the top frame crossmember, and if possible the perimeter of the plate underneath the crossmember structure.

                Gords Idea to drill the end of each crack is the correct fix for structural cracks. It prevents the crack from coming back and spreads out the stress of the crack.
                It looks as though you could get to the underside of the frame by standing up on its side or even flipping it over.

                Make sure when you drill the new plate that it is in the hole center you need for the A-arm. then I would infill the bad hole and redrill that.

                Comment


                • #9
                  All Studebakers have this problem, some are just more worn than others. The bolts and nuts get stretched so even if you torque them to spec, they find a way to work loose. Use a good shouldered bolt and nyloc nuts. Toss out those lock washers they used. These bolts need to be checked every year, or about every other oil change........

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