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1964 Studebaker Lark Front Suspension

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  • 1964 Studebaker Lark Front Suspension

    I have a 1964 Studebaker Lark that I have installed Rene Harger's front suspension package on. The suspension makes a popping noise when you are driving it. I have checked the rotors, brake calipers, upper and lower A Frames, wheel bearings, the new ball joints, exhaust headers and everything I can think of and it is all to no avail. This suspension has done this since day one and has less than 700 miles on it. I have also checked the front shocks, which are new, to see if they are bottoming out and they are not.

    Anyone have any experience with this front end or have any ideas of what to do to fix it would be greatly appreciated.

    Bill Jones Garden City, KS.

  • #2
    Have you double checked the lower "A" arm to frame bolts? Also the upper ones? The bolts have a tendency to stretch and the nuts loosen.

    StudeRich
    Studebakers Northwest
    Ferndale, WA
    StudeRich
    Second Generation Stude Driver,
    Proud '54 Starliner Owner

    Comment


    • #3
      I may be off base on this in that I am new to Studebakers but I have had a similar problem with brand "C" when the springs were not completely seated in the lower A arms. Just a thought.

      Wayne

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      • #4
        Are you using the coil spring isolators?

        Comment


        • #5
          Greetings, willie j,

          We are all very interested in real-world owner feedback on the Phantom front suspension conversion. If you have occasion to pull the springs for any reason, can you set up a bump-steer gauge and let us know what you find?

          thnx, jv

          PackardV8
          PackardV8

          Comment


          • #6
            quote:Originally posted by wpsrea

            I may be off base on this in that I am new to Studebakers but I have had a similar problem with brand "C" when the springs were not completely seated in the lower A arms. Just a thought.

            Wayne
            The studebaker coil springs are made so they are flat on each end. Therefore, they will fit in the pocket correctly without having a seating problem. The custom made lower a arms are flat and do not have a pocket like a stock lower A arm has. I have tried three different sets of front springs and they all do the same thing

            Comment


            • #7
              quote:Originally posted by Alan

              Are you using the coil spring isolators?
              Are you talking about the 3/16" thick diameter shims that Studebaker puts on the top and bottom of each spring? If so, I have tried it without these shims and with them and still have the same problem. If you are not talking about these items I am calling a shim then I do not know what you are referring to as "isolators"

              Willie J

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              • #8
                will, The things you call spacers are coil spring isolators in the Stude workshop manuals. and they have to be there or you will have all kinds of noises.

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                • #9
                  quote:Originally posted by Alan

                  will, The things you call spacers are coil spring isolators in the Stude workshop manuals. and they have to be there or you will have all kinds of noises.
                  Alan,

                  I have checked my copy of the CD that has all of the shop manuals listed.
                  I find Item number 1510-7 which is listed as a rubber insulator, not an isolator. I have these rubber insulators installed in both springs and I still get the popping noise. Item Number 1510-8 is the steel spacer I was talking about and I have tried it both ways, without the spacer and with the spacer and I get the popping noise. Since I have tried these items both ways I don't think that this is the issue. I wish it was that simple, but in my case it is not. These custom built lower A arms are flat with no actual spring pocket. I have installed the rubber insulators between the bottom of the coil spring and the lower A frame and it makes no difference, I still have the popping noise.

                  Thanks for the ideas.

                  Willie J

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    quote:Originally posted by PackardV8

                    Greetings, willie j,

                    We are all very interested in real-world owner feedback on the Phantom front suspension conversion. If you have occasion to pull the springs for any reason, can you set up a bump-steer gauge and let us know what you find?

                    thnx, jv

                    PackardV8
                    Jack,

                    I don't have a bump steer gauge. Bump steer can be caused by several things, but in this type of front end that uses a rack and pinion set up it can be caused by the relationship of the tie rod ends being in a horizontal plane with the rack and pinion ends. In Rene's suspension this is controlled by ride height which is a direct relationship to what springs you have in the car.

                    I tried the stock V-8 Studebaker springs (Part # 151664) and the ride height was too high and the car rode very rough. This was a result of the Aluminum Head Chevy engine and 700R4 Automatic overdrive, which has an aluminum case being quite a bit lighter in weight than the Stock Studebaker engine which is all cast iron and the stock Stude automatic which has a cast iron case and is much heavier. I also had put the battery in the trunk which transferred about 40 lbs. off of the front suspension.

                    Rene suggested I try the Studebaker Six Cylinder springs (Part # 1561666). I did this and they did not have enough load carrying capacity. Dennis Lambert advised me that these springs were too light. They have a spring rating of 230 lbs, which is 5 lbs more spring rating than the V-8 springs. This is when I started to doubt Rene's system. The car was 2 1/2 inches lower in the front with these springs than the with the stock V8 springs. I tried to put a spacer under the six cylinder spring and it raised the car back up 1 1/4 inches, but did not have enough load rating to carry the car with two guys who weigh 220 in the front seats. When one of us would get out of the car it would raise up over 2 inches. This is not good.

                    I did determine that the ride height was correct and the tie rod ends and rack and pinion ends were in almost a perfect horizontal alignment position when using the six cylinder springs with the spacer under them. Then I contacted Coil Springs Specialties out of St. Mary's Kansas and we decided to shorten the stock Studebaker springs by 1 3/8" and take 175 lbs out of the V-8 Spring load rating. This gave us the perfect horizontal alignment and right ride height. These custom springs were another $200.00 trip after buying the 6 cylinder springs from Sasco for a $145.00 trip.

                    Rene does not have any power rack and steering set up yet. He uses a Flaming River Rear Mount Dodge Omni type rear mount rack and pinion. This is a manual rack and pinion set-up. Without power steering you need to have the Caster on each wheel set at a negative 1 1/2 degrees to - 2 degrees. This measurement is in the Stude shop manuals. This caster setting enables the car to steer easily. The problem with this issue is it is very difficult to get the Camber set correctly.

                    My car has never had any front end damage and now the right wheel is out at the top on the right front wheel and in at the top on the left front wheel. I have used all of the adjustment that Rene allows for in the top A-Frame adjustment. This was an improvement but it is not correct yet. I question if we can make all of these adjustments with his system. Rene then tells me I might have to shorten one of the upper A frames to make it work. If we do that and it doesn't work what new thing do we try with a system that is supposed to be a bolt on system?

                    I bought his system because it was supposed to be an easy bolt on system. I found this far from the case. I think he sells you the components and it is your problem to make everything fit. I am qualified and smart enough to know to follow directions. When I put the rack and pinion mount o

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      quote:Originally posted by StudeRich

                      Have you double checked the lower "A" arm to frame bolts? Also the upper ones? The bolts have a tendency to stretch and the nuts loosen.

                      StudeRich
                      Studebakers Northwest
                      Ferndale, WA
                      Rich,

                      I have double checked all of the bolts on the sytem and they are tight. The bolts that hold the lower A Frames on the car are grade eight bolts and I don't think they will stretch. The stock grade five bolts might, but these haven't at least not yet.

                      Willie J

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Willie j, Noises are the hardest to figure out over the internet. The only other way to have popping noises would be the upper or lower king pin trunnions binding or too close to the sides of the outer ends of the a-arms. I went back and looked at your long post that came up after I put the first part of this response here. You are going to have to have someone ride shotgun or put a video camera on the car and go through the motions to find out where and when the noise happens at.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Bill, I would like to see some pictures of the setup preferably of the underside looking forward at the upper and lower a arm inner pivot centerlines as their relation to the tie rod pivots. And the rack should be a little forward and above the tie rod ends at the steering arms for proper ackerman.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            That is unfortunate that you had this experience, and it started you
                            on this path of frustration. As you may be aware, I am running 17 by
                            8 inch wheels on my Avanti, which is the "Lark" wheelbase. I have not
                            touched the stock alignment the car had when I got it. The tierods,
                            bushings, kingpins and such are all as they were, and the car sat for
                            about 7-10 years when I got it. I also had 14 by 7 wheels on my Hawk,
                            for many years. The only thing I witnessed, was they were easier to
                            steer than with the stock bias ply ballon tires. "All over the road",
                            is relative, I notice a difference between my '93 Camaro (R&P) and my
                            '95 Impala (box-n-rods). I would say my Avanti wanders about as much
                            as my Impala, perhaps a little more, but thats to be expected since I
                            rebuilt the Impala front suspension - the Avanti is aged "good". Its
                            quite startling to hear that Rene suggested using 6 cylinder springs
                            on a V8 car, thats a "no-no" even with a stock suspension. I have to
                            definately agree with your conclusion he has NOT done enough research,
                            that "solution" alone underlines it.

                            Wide enough for you? I wouldnt go more then 8 inches on the front of
                            an Avanti, the rear I think I could have fit 9, but I wanted to be able
                            to rotate my tires.



                            Tom

                            quote:Originally posted by willie j
                            I did not have any popping noises with the stock Studebaker suspension, but the car did not drive properly with the stock system and 17" custom wheels on the car. It drove OK with the stock 670 by 15 tires on it, but not with the wider tires. I had the front end aligned and it was still all over the road with the stock suspension set-up. That is why I went to Rene's sytem.
                            '63 Avanti, zinc plated drilled & slotted 03 Mustang Cobra 13" front disc/98 GT rear brakes, 03 Cobra 17" wheels, GM alt, 97 Z28 leather seats, soon: TKO 5-spd, Ported heads w/SST full flow valves, 'R3' 276 cam, Edelbrock AFB Carb, GM HEI distributor, 8.8mm plug wires
                            '63 Avanti R1, '03 Mustang Cobra 13" front disc/98 GT rear brakes, 03 Cobra 17" wheels, GM alt, 97 Z28 leather seats, TKO 5-spd, Ported heads w/SST full flow valves.
                            Check out my disc brake adapters to install 1994-2004 Mustang disc brakes on your Studebaker!!
                            http://forum.studebakerdriversclub.c...bracket-update
                            I have also written many TECH how to articles, do a search for my Forum name to find them

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              [quote]Originally posted by Alan

                              Willie j, Noises are the hardest to figure out over the internet. The only other way to have popping noises would be the upper or lower king pin trunnions binding or too close to the sides of the outer ends of the a-arms. I went back and looked at your long post that came up after I put the first part of this response here. You are going to have to have someone ride shotgun or put a video camera on the car and go through the motions to find out where and when the noise happens at.
                              [/quote)

                              Alan,

                              Rene's suspension does not use king pin and trunnions. It uses Mustang II upper and lower ball joints and Mustang II spindles. I used Ford Granada Rotors which are an 11" rotor. I used mid 80's GM calipers, which is what Rene's sytem calls for and his custom made caliper brackets. I used 1994 Camaro 9" double diaphragm booster,matching Camaro master cylinder and made the brake pedal ratio a 5 to 1 ratio and the brakes work very well. I will try to take some photos of the rack and pinion and post them. I am new to the Studebaker Forum and have tried to add some photos of my Studies and have not been successful.

                              I appreciate all of you guys feed back and interest in this problem. It fortifies why we all belong to the Studebaker Driver's club.

                              Willie J

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