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Lark steering - help me Mr Wizard

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  • Steering: Lark steering - help me Mr Wizard

    first... I know there is eleventy - seven threads on how to deal with steering

    and they are all over the place

    here's the deal... my non power steering lark drives like a boat

    here are the options I've narrowed it down to

    #1 sell the car and buy something else that steers well at 110 mph

    #2 spend a ton of money and have a fatman Mustang 2 front end put in...the upside: power steering and power disc brakes

    #3 ask here and someone who knows the deal will maybe send me an email telling me EXACTLY what I need to buy and have done I have no garage so I will have to get it done


    1960 Lark, 2dr 350 chevy /700r... no power anything

    I love the car..love the look.. want to make it work... but if I can't - I think it will
    be for sale and that sweet 1962 Nova in town will be mine instead

  • #2
    Mike,
    Welcome to the forum!
    So far, we know you have a '60 Lark with a SBC and 700R4 trans and...

    Originally posted by SBA60Larkboy View Post
    l... my non power steering lark drives like a boat.
    That's little to go on for anyone to suggest anything.
    "All attempts to 'rise above the issue' are simply an excuse to avoid it profitably." --Dick Gregory

    Brad Johnson, SDC since 1975, ASC since 1990
    Pine Grove Mills, Pa.
    sigpic'33 Rockne 10, '51 Commander Starlight, '53 Commander Starlight "Désirée"

    Comment


    • #3
      Not too sure which boat behavior is most objectionable, but I'm not sure a 1962 Nova in prime original OEM condition will be a confidence inspiring driver at 110 mph, even if capable of reaching that speed due to a significant HP transplant.


      After the Lark suspension is sorted out, proper modern wheels and tires are fitted, balanced front and rear anti sway bars are installed, maybe a change in stance (followed by an alignment re-check) would help. The late, great Roger Huntington reported the Nascar boys took full advantage of a "new" discovery back in '66.

      A few degrees of rake plus a well executed and sealed chin spoiler/ air dam might add some high speed stability.
      Attached Files
      Last edited by Dan Timberlake; 06-02-2015, 07:13 AM.

      Comment


      • #4
        I'd rebuild the Lark's front end, bushings, tie rods, coil springs, check steering box for excessive play and same goes for king pins. Followed by a alinement. Don't forget a new set of tires!
        sigpic1957 Packard Clipper Country Sedan

        "There's nothing stronger than the heart of a volunteer"
        Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle
        "I have a great memory for forgetting things" Number 1 son, Lee Chan

        Comment


        • #5
          Same as most any other car..!

          1. Good tires and wheel (proper !) width to match the tire.
          2. Up to spec., current suspension parts (not all broken down and rotting).
          3. A good quality shock absorber all the way around.
          4. The addition of larger than stock front and rear anti-sway bars.
          5. The steering box is properly adjusted.
          6. The center pivot is tight and properly adjusted.

          There's a coupla things to start on.

          Mike
          Last edited by Mike Van Veghten; 06-02-2015, 10:40 AM.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by rockne10 View Post
            Mike,
            Welcome to the forum!
            So far, we know you have a '60 Lark with a SBC and 700R4 trans and...


            That's little to go on for anyone to suggest anything.
            point taken

            it's all over the road if I am not vigilant every second.. there is a lot of play in the steering
            - if you've ever steered a boat..or small plane for that matter - you don't just head for a point..you kinda sorta come up on it and keep correcting as you go

            my 68 firebird..I could dive into corners and power out of them and while I understand that the Lark is a different beast altogether.. I'm just looking for a little fun out there w/o taking my life into my hands on every corner or passing a big rig

            it's 2015 - someone has to have been all thru this and came up wit the ideal solution...or best practices..in the 55 years since the car has been about

            and yeah... the nova with it's 383 roller and fat rear tires and updated front suspension could do 110...140 probably.. not sure about cornering though

            Comment


            • #7
              Before giving up on it, return it to original condition, or better, new suspension bushings, shocks, that's all been said before. Radial tires will help if you are trying to run Bias Plys. If you don't have heavy duty sway bars, you'll never get it under control. Anything bigger than 205s on the front is asking for trouble.

              Comment


              • #8
                at 100+ mph - you don't need power steering !

                Comment


                • #9
                  If nothing's been done in the past umpteen years, it may just have half a dozen points of wear that all contribute to the slop. Steering and suspension both make for fun driving. I would suggest the first easiest and cheapest step would be to get the car in the air with someone behind the steering wheel and have them move it back and forth as you observe for play at any pivot point in the whole system.
                  "All attempts to 'rise above the issue' are simply an excuse to avoid it profitably." --Dick Gregory

                  Brad Johnson, SDC since 1975, ASC since 1990
                  Pine Grove Mills, Pa.
                  sigpic'33 Rockne 10, '51 Commander Starlight, '53 Commander Starlight "Désirée"

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Bell crank center pin is a good point move outward to each side. Check steering box grease level. You'll spend much less money on components to rebuild Studebaker suspensions than doing a Fatman or Heitds set up. Ive rebuilt quite a few Studebaker front suspensions and have installed Heitds suspensions in 2 Novas. Studebaker is so much more simple. Alignment is easier. Downtime is minimal. You'll spend 2 to 3k for Fatman ot Heitds plus labor. Studebaker youll have max 500.00 in parts and if you have a Stude guy do it , maybe 500.00 in labor. Can do it yourself if you are mechanically inclined and follow Shop manual. Big plus, large number of folk here can and will walk you through it. Easy choice for me, but I'm a full bleed Stude guy.
                    That's my 10 cents worth,
                    Kim

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I'm at the beginning of this for my 59 Lark VIII. I know what you are dealing with.

                      I had the front off the ground and did the 6/12 thing and thought it was wheel bearings. Pulled the wheel and hub, turns out it's kingpins. I also have worn out TRE's, and the center pivot also needs rebuilt. The front springs are squashed with 3 spacers in each side, and it's still squatty.

                      I know what you mean about chasing it all over the road. The steering wheel is more of a suggestion than a solid rule. I just got done rebuilding the front of my Land Cruiser (Toyota, not Studebaker) to eliminate the same issue there.

                      I want to boost the front height of the Lark to have more of a "gasser" stance, but that jury is still out.
                      Dis-Use on a Car is Worse Than Mis-Use...
                      1959 Studebaker Lark VIII 2DHTP

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by BILT4ME View Post

                        I want to boost the front height of the Lark to have more of a "gasser" stance, but that jury is still out.
                        I lowered my front end for the muscle car look... I got stationwagon stock sized coils for the front.. but it may have lowered it a bit much even though it doesn't look like it..so I will maybe add a slight spacer to bring it up half an inch maybe

                        a Lark gasser is a funny thought..cool though

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          You know you don't have to put the front end into nose bleed mode like a Gasser, to have the 1/4 Miler Drag Race look, just an Inch or 2 higher than the rear. This improves rather than destroys (as lowering does) the Handling and Steering, and of course adjusts the front/rear weight transfer.
                          StudeRich
                          Second Generation Stude Driver,
                          Proud '54 Starliner Owner

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                          • #14
                            I've driven plenty of cars with front end slop. I feel your pain. The "all over the road" feel is most likely center bell crank slop added to a never adjusted and lubed steering gear. The rest of the replacements will help some, but the center bell crank bearings will help the most. Almost magical how much that one item fixes slop.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              It may not even be the center bellcrank bushings/bearings. It may be as simple as a loose pinch bolt on the center pivot.

                              You need to get under the car and investigate exactly where the play is coming from.

                              I have driven Studebakers at well over 100 mph many times, but only with excellent front end components, brakes, etc.

                              When you changed the atitude of the car, you probably messed up the caster.
                              Gary L.
                              Wappinger, NY

                              SDC member since 1968
                              Studebaker enthusiast much longer

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