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Crack on bottom of frame near spring tower

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  • Frame / Springs: Crack on bottom of frame near spring tower

    My '66 Daytona 2-door V8 has what looks to me like about a 1/4" to 3/8" at the most, crack on the bottom of the frame on the right side of the car, near the big round hole on the frame bottom for the spring. I know two-door sedans only have the 13-gauge frame, and my car's frame is clean and straight, but this sure looks like a crack to me, from lying on my back on the garage floor!

    I don't have a lift and am planning on having some other, minor work done and want to have the fellow advise me on the crack area and see if he can see any more (although he's not a welder I don't believe).

    What might I expect to pay, roughly, to have a certified welder, say, weld up a crack on the frame bottom like that?

    The crack I can see is in the area noted near the bottom of this web link:

    http://www.studebaker-info.org/tech/...damage/fd.html
    Last edited by Bill Pressler; 04-09-2012, 04:16 PM.
    Bill Pressler
    Kent, OH
    (formerly Greenville, PA)
    Currently owned: 1966 Cruiser, Timberline Turquoise, 26K miles
    Formerly owned: 1963 Lark Daytona Skytop R1, Ermine White
    1964 Daytona Hardtop, Strato Blue
    1966 Daytona Sports Sedan, Niagara Blue Mist
    All are in Australia now

  • #2
    I cannot tell you how much it costs, but the crack is very common.

    I have a 56J parts car and the whole front end separated at the spring pockets. I had another friend who acquired a very rust free car that had the same issue.

    I know there have been many repaired...

    Comment


    • #3
      I had my 66 welded by a certified welder & it cracked again. I ended up swaping the frame one weekend when I had use of a twin post hoist. Used a 62 hardtop frame & so far so good.
      59 Lark wagon, now V-8, H.D. auto!
      60 Lark convertible V-8 auto
      61 Champ 1/2 ton 4 speed
      62 Champ 3/4 ton 5 speed o/drive
      62 Champ 3/4 ton auto
      62 Daytona convertible V-8 4 speed & 62 Cruiser, auto.
      63 G.T. Hawk R-2,4 speed
      63 Avanti (2) R-1 auto
      64 Zip Van
      66 Daytona Sport Sedan(327)V-8 4 speed
      66 Cruiser V-8 auto

      Comment


      • #4
        The best way to take care of this is to remove items in the way without disturbing the ride height. De greese the area and clean it well. Be sure the car is on A RACK refered to as a MUFFLER RACK where the car sits on all 4 wheels. Cross measure the frame. Check wheelbase. V grind the crack so it is almost 'through' the metal thickness and weld with at least .035 wire feed (220v) welder. A good body/frame tech knows what to do and may opt to put a plate over the crack and weld it also. Be sure doors close as they did BEFORE a plate is added. There is a factory 'rivet' near where there tend to crack-- If the metal has a gap here, it needs to be clamped and rivet removed. The plate should be close to half the gauge of the original steel, a bit more is OK, the same size or larger is not a good idea. This is a 5-6 hour job at the most. And by the way, most shops will not guarantee this sort of work. Metal fatigue can re-open more cracks at any time on a 50 year old frame..

        I have frames if you end up needing a solid one.

        Comment


        • #5
          Thanks for the advice, all. I wasn't counting on something like this so soon in my ownership, but I buy into the old "Pay me now, or pay me later". Rather handle it now than when or if it gets worse.

          With a daughter going to college in the fall, I don't see a frame swap in my future (I'm not handy at all!), but thanks for the information!
          Bill Pressler
          Kent, OH
          (formerly Greenville, PA)
          Currently owned: 1966 Cruiser, Timberline Turquoise, 26K miles
          Formerly owned: 1963 Lark Daytona Skytop R1, Ermine White
          1964 Daytona Hardtop, Strato Blue
          1966 Daytona Sports Sedan, Niagara Blue Mist
          All are in Australia now

          Comment


          • #6
            Geez, replacing a frame because of cracking?? I can't imagine it. It's just metal! I can't believe nobody can fix cracking. I've fixed fatigue cracks- successfully- plenty of times.

            Studebakers are well-known for their low-quality frames. It's just part of the joys of owning a Stude. So, if you go through the massive job of changing the frame, who's to say you won't be right back in the same boat in a few months?

            If you have a rusty frame, that's a different story; sometimes they can be fixed, but many times replacement is the only real alternative.

            Bill- don't get panicked into thinking you need to switch frames. Mike outlined a pretty good procedure above for repair (although I personally don't think all the measuring is necessary). If it was mine I'd pull the front clip (not a big deal on a Lark-type), properly repair the crack, inspect the rest of the front frame carefully, gusset the other known weak points (where crossmember connects to frame, where upper control arm brackets connect), give it some nice paint, reassemble, and enjoy for the next 50 years.

            I wish you lived near me. I'd get the job done up right for you. In fact, if you don't find somebody to repair it near you, send it to me and I'll take care of it. Yeah, I'm way over here in NY, but it'd be WAY cheaper than paying for a frame swap... that might do the same thing again.
            Proud NON-CASO

            I do not prize the word "cheap." It is not a badge of honor...it is a symbol of despair. ~ William McKinley

            If it is decreed that I should go down, then let me go down linked with the truth - let me die in the advocacy of what is just and right.- Lincoln

            GOD BLESS AMERICA

            Ephesians 6:10-17
            Romans 15:13
            Deuteronomy 31:6
            Proverbs 28:1

            Illegitimi non carborundum

            Comment


            • #7
              OK Bill, I was in a hurry to get that post up before I hit the shower because I know you frequently look in early, and I didn't want you to abandon all hope Here's a few more points:

              1. Once a crack is found, I always gusset all known problem areas, as stated above, whether they show cracking or not. If you take it apart to fix one crack, it's not that much more to reinforce the rest, but it sucks to fix it and reassemble, only to find a new crack on the other side 2 months later. It happens!

              2. Don't get hung up on the 'Certified' title. It's not necessary here. All you need is an experienced old-school welder. If you need gas line or cooling pipes in your nuclear plant cooling tower welded, probably should have a certification. Not for a lil' old car frame

              3. Understand that a proper repair for this will not be pretty looking. One technique for fixing cracks is welding and grinding flush. That will do nothing in this situation. The way to do this is to weld the crack, then reinforce with plate that's heavier than the frame and reaches out WAY beyond the cracked area. This distributes future stresses over a much larger area. A patch that's an inch or two wider than the crack will crack again, this time along the edge of the patch. Of course, assembled you won't see it anyway.

              4. Any decent fab guy should assure that any repair will clear the spring, tire, and any steering/suspension travel. Sounds obvious, but it does get overlooked.

              5. This is not serious, but it is. It's not the end of the world, or the end of the car, but it does need addressing in short order since it will continue to worsen until you get what 55s mentioned. I hate to see you facing this, but thank Heavens you had the dilligence to slide under your car and have a look around. You save a whole TON of grief- and money- by discovering this before it really comes apart.

              This is a good cautionary tale for all of us. We all hate to admit it, but this is another low-quality area of the cars we love. Of course, cars are designed and built to last a "normal" lifespan. No cars were designed to last 50 years. But I have a lot of experience with lots of similar-era Big 3 models and have never seen this type of fatigue cracking on them. Even on dirt track race cars, it takes an awful lot to get fatiguing. None of these... "quirks" should condemn our love of Studebakers, we just have to accept them and be dilligent.

              One final note re: frame replacement: Aside from the obvious risk of reoccurance of cracking on a replacement frame, I know you don't do your own repairs; so I'd guess a shop would estimate you 50-75 hours or more to do a frame R&R. And of course, while it's out, might as well have it blasted and painted, rebuild the suspension and bushings, and of course there's repairing all those things that break on disassembly. That adds up to a serious pile of money- IF (and that's a BIG if) you can find someplace that will take it on. Well beyond the value of almost all Studebaker Larks. And, you can do a LOT of repair to the existing frame for that money.

              Good luck, and if I can help in any way, let me know.
              Proud NON-CASO

              I do not prize the word "cheap." It is not a badge of honor...it is a symbol of despair. ~ William McKinley

              If it is decreed that I should go down, then let me go down linked with the truth - let me die in the advocacy of what is just and right.- Lincoln

              GOD BLESS AMERICA

              Ephesians 6:10-17
              Romans 15:13
              Deuteronomy 31:6
              Proverbs 28:1

              Illegitimi non carborundum

              Comment


              • #8
                Thank you, Bob! I might have to take you up on your offer if no one can recommend a quality welder around here.

                You, I know I trust!

                Thanks again.
                Bill Pressler
                Kent, OH
                (formerly Greenville, PA)
                Currently owned: 1966 Cruiser, Timberline Turquoise, 26K miles
                Formerly owned: 1963 Lark Daytona Skytop R1, Ermine White
                1964 Daytona Hardtop, Strato Blue
                1966 Daytona Sports Sedan, Niagara Blue Mist
                All are in Australia now

                Comment


                • #9
                  I have owned a 1962 GT since 1985, and in excess of 250,000 miles. Since I first bought it, it has had cracks on both sides of the frame, in the same spot as yours. I have kept an eye on them over the years, and recently when installing a new set of front springs, I noticed the crack on the passenger side had spread a little, and had began to extend up into the frame rail, visible from inside, with spring removed. I fabricated a "butterfly stitch" out of .125" thick metal, and had an old friend/welder come to my house and weld it up. As someone else mentioned, I had the jack stand rearward of the crack, so the weight of the overhang would close the crack. So far, so good.

                  I like to keep it simple and cheap. Working on Studes is kinda like working on old farm equipment. In other words, it ain't rocket science, and usually doesn't need to be complicated or a lot of $ thrown at it.

                  Joe H

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    A good idea also is to drill a hole at the end of the crack, that way you will help stop the crack from continuing.

                    Jim
                    "We can't all be Heroes, Some us just need to stand on the curb and clap as they go by" Will Rogers

                    We will provide the curb for you to stand on and clap!


                    Indy Honor Flight www.IndyHonorFlight.org

                    As of Veterans Day 2017, IHF has flown 2,450 WWII, Korean, and Vietnam Veterans to Washington DC at NO charge! to see
                    their Memorials!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Bill P. - I have a simple solution to all of your Studebaker problems. Give me your car <G>. I will even pay for the shipping.
                      Gary L.
                      Wappinger, NY

                      SDC member since 1968
                      Studebaker enthusiast much longer

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I saw Bill's car at the Summit meet in Ohio last summer and it is beautiful. That's the last car I would expect to hear of a frame crack on, but it just shows that our cars are all well over 40 years old now and we always have to check for such things.

                        Dave Bonn
                        '54 Champion Starliner

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Blue 15G View Post
                          I saw Bill's car at the Summit meet in Ohio last summer and it is beautiful. That's the last car I would expect to hear of a frame crack on, but it just shows that our cars are all well over 40 years old now and we always have to check for such things.

                          Dave Bonn
                          '54 Champion Starliner

                          Dave, supposedly the 2-door sedans are the most likely to have frame cracks since they used 13 gauge steel instead of 11 as in every other '66 body style. My car's is clean and rust-free but the frame does look 'petite'!

                          Oh, and Gary...thank you for your generous offer! <GGGG>
                          Bill Pressler
                          Kent, OH
                          (formerly Greenville, PA)
                          Currently owned: 1966 Cruiser, Timberline Turquoise, 26K miles
                          Formerly owned: 1963 Lark Daytona Skytop R1, Ermine White
                          1964 Daytona Hardtop, Strato Blue
                          1966 Daytona Sports Sedan, Niagara Blue Mist
                          All are in Australia now

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Something to think about...I have owned many, many Studebakers over the last 45 years or so, and I experienced a higher percentage of cracked frames on '65 - '66 models. On cars through 1964, the rear engine mounting was at the bellhousing. Thus much of the total weight of the engine and transmission was carried by the very sturdy bellhousing crossmember. Perhaps only 50% of the engine weight was carried at the front mounts. On the '65 and '66 models, the rear mounting was near the rear of the transmission - shifting a much greater percentage of the total engine/transmission weight forward to the front mounts. Granted, the F bodies (2 door sedans) used the thinner frame metal. And yes, I have indeed experienced cracked frames on 1964 and prior Studebakers. Mostly on C bodies and '60 - '62 P bodies (4 door wagons) which both used 13 guage frames in spite of being longer wheelbase cars.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Mostly on C bodies and '60 - '62 P bodies (4 door wagons) which both used 13 guage frames in spite of being longer wheelbase cars.

                              Just curious...do you remember, were these V8 cars or sixes?
                              Bill Pressler
                              Kent, OH
                              (formerly Greenville, PA)
                              Currently owned: 1966 Cruiser, Timberline Turquoise, 26K miles
                              Formerly owned: 1963 Lark Daytona Skytop R1, Ermine White
                              1964 Daytona Hardtop, Strato Blue
                              1966 Daytona Sports Sedan, Niagara Blue Mist
                              All are in Australia now

                              Comment

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