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  • Body / Glass: Door latch rattles and floor creaks...

    Hey guys,

    So, I can't figure this one out, and it's driving me nuts. A little back story to explain it though..

    A couple years ago, I blew my original T-86/overdrive apart (The carnage was impressive). During the repair, I decided to convert to a T-85C with the R11 overdrive; and adapted a hurst three speed floor shifter to the car. During the time the car was down, I took the opportunity to repair my front floors. The driver side was naturally the worst, and the passenger side was only moderately damaged. During the repair, I put jacks at the bottom of my firewall, to support the car and lift it back into place; which helped align my door jambs from the collapsed floor mounting points. My welding and fabrication skills have vastly improved, and I wouldn't let the job out of my shop now; looking the way it did then. However, it was better then what I had.

    In the ensuing months, a floor creak developed. It was a annoyance, bothered me, but I for the most part ignored it due to larger issues (Like spinning a rod bearing). However, now, the creak is driving me nuts. I am also have a bad problem with a door rattle; coming from the door latch itself moving against the striker plate. I have adjusted the striker plate several times, and it goes away for a while; but a couple weeks later it returns. I've also tightened the front most body supports; which I found loose a month ago. While the car was on the lift, I also checked my welds at the end of the body supports, and they are still holding (They look minimally done to my eyes now; gosh I hate being young and impatient!).

    Other things I do know. My frame is cracked in the usual places; on the bottom plate at the big front cross member (Haven't been able to get to that yet). My wife says she doesn't hear any creaks from the passenger side floor. The drivers door latch and striker are a matched set of my parts car '57 Clipper, which have worked quite well until the past couple months. I also have added door seals on the door itself, to butt up against the seemingly too thin reproduction door seals I have. (Which greatly cut down wind noise and water leaks.). The lower door hinge on my drivers door is worn and has some movement, but I don't know if that could be causing the problem.

    I got big plans for the floor of my car in the future, starting from complete scratch to get the car much stiffer for handlings sake (Part of the long term goal of my never ending build); but until then I want it to feel more solid on the drivers side front of the car, and be preferably noise free. Its not uncommon for me to work on high end European cars, so maybe I'm expecting too much from the stock set up.

    So, guys, any ideas? Did I make a too weak door sill on that side of my car? I did have to weld new metal even under my door pillar (below the bottom door hinge), to approximately half way across the door opening to weld to solid original metal in the sill. Possibly the metal was too thin? Would this door creak affect the door and latch?

    Sorry for being long winded, just can't figure this one out and it's driving me nuts (The car is a daily driver)!
    Dylan Wills
    Everett, Wa.


    1961 Lark 4 door wagon
    1961 Lark 4 door wagon #2 (Wife's car!)
    1955 VW Beetle (Went to the dark side)
    1914 Ford Model T

  • #2
    I really feel for you Dylan, that sounds like it is very annoying.
    It is going to be very difficult for any of the Body Techs here to understand what you have done to your '61 Lark VIII 4 Door Wagon without seeing the Repairs and exactly how you did it all.

    I can't begin to know what happened to the integrity of this Car, but it seems like there has been a lot of movement, stress and misalignment of the important support parts, the Cowl, the "A" Pillars, the "B" Pillars, the Floors and the Outriggers from Frame to Body, so without the Factory Fixtures to align everything without the stresses of the weight on it, it is going to be a PITA to fix. I really do wish I knew how to tackle it, but hopefully someone here will. Hang in there buddy! And Happy New Year to you.
    StudeRich
    Second Generation Stude Driver,
    Proud '54 Starliner Owner

    Comment


    • #3
      Yeah, it sounds like there's a weak spot someplace on the driver's side, that's generating the creak. It's akin to that loose floorboard in your house that gives you away when you put any weight on it. When you get in the car, you're putting weight on that weak spot in the metal, which causes the creak, and causes things to shift out of alignment a bit. That might also be resulting in having to readjust the door latch, because the door frame and sill on the body is getting out of alignment. The door rattle itself, and a contributor to the misalignment might be coming from the hinge. If you can wiggle the door when it's open, it might need to be repaired.

      I'm betting the creaking might be coming from the door sill someplace. If you can find it, do like what I did with the '55's door sills and weld some thicker sheetmetal or plate over that spot to stiffen it back up. I had to do that at the bottom front of the '55's door sills, because if I didn't, it would have ended up wiggling the body of the car into two pieces. I also had to build and replace the torque boxes underneath of it, which also helped quite a bit. It still creaks and the body shifts a bit, but it's going to break in two as when I had found it. What was once one of the weakest parts on the body of that car, became one of the stronger points of the body on that car!
      1964 Studebaker Commander R2 clone
      1963 Studebaker Daytona Hardtop with no engine or transmission
      1950 Studebaker 2R5 w/170 six cylinder and 3spd OD
      1955 Studebaker Commander Hardtop w/289 and 3spd OD and Megasquirt port fuel injection(among other things)

      Comment


      • #4
        hmmmmmmmmmmh
        sigpicAnything worth doing deserves your best shot. Do it right the first time. When you're done you will know it. { I'm just the guy who thinks he knows everything, my buddy is the guy who knows everything.} cheers jimmijim*****SDC***** member

        Comment


        • #5
          Well...for my first post of the new year...I'd like to first give you some encouragement. So...if you have been able to identify only two sources of creaks and rattles...you are way ahead of some vehicles I've been in.

          I'm concerned about you stating that the frame has cracks in "all the usual places." Knowing how these cars were designed with the rigidity of the vehicle being a combination of frame and body "bolted together" as intended. The frame is your "foundation." I think that anything that allows it to flex, beyond its original parameters, needs to be addressed. Without being able to see what you are describing...that would be my first priority. Until the frame is sufficiently rigid, I suspect that all other efforts are temporary fixes at best.

          Good luck. And, as I have suggested in other posts...they are never done. That is part of the fun and challenges of this hobby.
          John Clary
          Greer, SC

          SDC member since 1975

          Comment


          • #6
            Thanks Rich! I'd post pictures, but I'm pretty embarrassed by the work I did (bad 17 year old work, ugh) Happy new year to you as well!

            PBR2, your probably right, I just don't understand the sudden increase in symptoms. Heck, I didn't have any door rattles before I took the pop riveted floor patch out.

            John, you may be right, and it is a suspicion of mine. However, there is only two cracks, and only the bottom plate of the frame at the cross member rivets. I understand it's the foundation of the car, and I have never been happy on the lack of inherent stiffness of the larks; but I don't really understand how that would cause my problems in the driver side floor.

            My long term goal is basically a floor substructure, out of 1" square tubing and 1" round tubing to make the body extremely stiff. I have too many currant projects to do that now; so I'm just trying to take care of it for the car isn't annoying me on a daily basis and fun to drive again.
            Dylan Wills
            Everett, Wa.


            1961 Lark 4 door wagon
            1961 Lark 4 door wagon #2 (Wife's car!)
            1955 VW Beetle (Went to the dark side)
            1914 Ford Model T

            Comment


            • #7
              You comment "lack of inherent stiffness of the Larks" suggests you have not been around too many Larks in your experience. Probably the "stiffest" Lark would be the J body hardtop - short 109" wheelbase with the 11 gauge (.1196") frame. In my experience, the least stiff would be the '60 - '62 P body - 4 door station wagon - which had the longer 113" wheelbase and the 13 gauge (.0897") frame. I know you own a '61 4 door wagon so your comment may be based on that.

              Comment


              • #8
                The station wagon, as well as my dad's '62 Lark sedan.

                My standards may be a little high, as I want there to be NO flex detected when I hit a corner fast. That is the end goal for the car, to be able to handle very well; as well as have the power to back it up. I'm not afraid of doing frame modifications to get there in reason either.
                Dylan Wills
                Everett, Wa.


                1961 Lark 4 door wagon
                1961 Lark 4 door wagon #2 (Wife's car!)
                1955 VW Beetle (Went to the dark side)
                1914 Ford Model T

                Comment

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