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  • Front Axle / Front Suspension: ISO 64 commander parts and advice

    Hi, I have a 1964 Commander that Im taking from a dirty sitter into a clean driver. It has 60k actual miles on the title. Its a V8 car, I believe its the 259. Ive rebuilt the distributor and 2bbl carb. Its all original except for the fuel pump is an electric one that someone hooked up at some point. Works great.

    Im really needing some knowledge about the front end. It has real difficult steering (manual) , It rattles and bangs along the road and Id love to make the ride smoother and quieter. The front end is real bouncy, as in it will bottom out sometimes. Im not sure if its the shocks or the coil. The brakes work but boy do they feel old and scratchy lol.

    Im considering just handling all 3 issues by installing a mustang II front end or something similar but If I can accomplish my goals without doing that, Id go that way instead.

    Advice and parts help?

  • #2
    If you refurbish/rebuild the front suspension, bring all the bushings, shocks, and bearings up to specification, you will have a car that drives and handles very acceptably. The design is really quite good.

    Converting to a different design requires a LOT of design and fabrication work and in the end you are left with a mongrel of a car at a much higher price than just bringing the original parts up to snuff.
    RadioRoy, specializing in AM/FM conversions with auxiliary inputs for iPod/satellite/CD player. In the old car radio business since 1985.

    17A-S2 - 50 Commander convertible
    10G-C1 - 51 Champion starlight coupe
    10G-Q4 - 51 Champion business coupe
    4H-K5 - 53 Commander starliner hardtop
    5H-D5 - 54 Commander Conestoga wagon
    56B-D4 - 56 Commander station wagon
    60V-L6 - 60 Lark convertible

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    • #3
      If you look at your a frame bushings I bet you'd find them worn out. My Wagonaire upper a frame bushings were so worn out the front wheels were canted inwards at the top.
      After a complete rebuild rides and handles like a new car.
      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

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      • #4
        Thank you so much! This is the kind of info I needed. I really only wanted to get it driving right so I'm 100 cool with rebuilding original equipment. I just need to find a reasonable part supplier for all those new things. I bet you know a place to get those parts, don't ya ? lol

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        • #5
          I agree with those above. I'm sure you'll find that even doing some simple steps will greatly improve the drivability. Get a grease gun and when the outside temperature hits 120*, as it may already have there in AZ, the grease in the king pins will be soft enough to accept fresh grease. Keep squeezing it in till it comes out near the top of the king pins. Then you'll know that the grease has penetrated the entire bushing. This alone will help improve steering tremendously. The bouncing may be nothing more than very worn out shocks. Then check your upper and lower control arm bushings. They're not terribly difficult to replace, but it is time consuming when the parts are stubborn to come apart. It is possible to install the new bushings without dismantling the entire front suspension. Good luck. Keep us posted.
          sals54

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          • #6
            Carson, welcome to the forum! The 64 models are among my favorites. I'm sure you will enjoy it a lot once you have that front end refurbished. Heck...enjoy the refurbishing, too!
            As for parts, visit studebakervendors.com. You'll find EVERYTHING you need there. And come back here for the free advice!
            And if you haven't joined the Studebaker Driver's Club yet, I strongly encourage you to do so. Embrace the addiction...you'll be glad you did.
            Mike Davis
            Regional Manager, North Carolina
            1964 Champ 8E7-122 "Stuey"

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            • #7
              Check with Chuck Collins at: Studebakerparts.com in Phoenix. If he doesn't have it, nobody does.
              sigpic1966 Daytona (The First One)
              1950 Champion Convertible
              1950 Champion 4Dr
              1955 President 2 Dr Hardtop
              1957 Thunderbird

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              • #8
                What the others have said. Second the recommendation to see Chuck Collins. Check the condition of the steering center pivot, right smack in the middle of the front crossmember. It is lubed from a grease fitting found in a recess on the back side of that crossmember, and lube shops routinely fail to find it. The steering bell crank is attached to that pivot shaft by a large pinch bolt, and should that bolt become loose, the steering will become very vague. Worn parts replaced, and all properly lubricated, the car will steer fine. Don't try to mount vastly oversized radial tires. They add to steering effort, and may cause the rims to crack. 205-75R15 is about as big as you should go on stock rims. If you must have bigger tires, find some suitable Ford rims. This is a serious safety issue. I have personally experienced cracked Studebaker rims, caused by big radial tires.
                Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands

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                • #9
                  And I third the call to Chuck Collins. But talk to his wife Chris. She's much nicer and sweeter than Chuck and she really knows her stuff, too.... Just kiddin Chuck.... but you can't deny how great Chris is, eh?
                  sals54

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by sals54 View Post
                    I agree with those above. I'm sure you'll find that even doing some simple steps will greatly improve the drivability. Get a grease gun and when the outside temperature hits 120*, as it may already have there in AZ, the grease in the king pins will be soft enough to accept fresh grease. Keep squeezing it in till it comes out near the top of the king pins. Then you'll know that the grease has penetrated the entire bushing. This alone will help improve steering tremendously. The bouncing may be nothing more than very worn out shocks. Then check your upper and lower control arm bushings. They're not terribly difficult to replace, but it is time consuming when the parts are stubborn to come apart. It is possible to install the new bushings without dismantling the entire front suspension. Good luck. Keep us posted.
                    Awesome! So So helpful... I live in Lake Havasu, AZ so its already hit 118 here last week. I just got permission to commandeer my gf's garage so I should be able to get in there and see whats going on.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by gordr View Post
                      What the others have said. Second the recommendation to see Chuck Collins. Check the condition of the steering center pivot, right smack in the middle of the front crossmember. It is lubed from a grease fitting found in a recess on the back side of that crossmember, and lube shops routinely fail to find it. The steering bell crank is attached to that pivot shaft by a large pinch bolt, and should that bolt become loose, the steering will become very vague. Worn parts replaced, and all properly lubricated, the car will steer fine. Don't try to mount vastly oversized radial tires. They add to steering effort, and may cause the rims to crack. 205-75R15 is about as big as you should go on stock rims. If you must have bigger tires, find some suitable Ford rims. This is a serious safety issue. I have personally experienced cracked Studebaker rims, caused by big radial tires.
                      Thanks! The steering is really stiff. I am no stranger to manual steering but this is silly. After driving it around town, I have red marks on my hands and my shoulder hurts lol!

                      Im planning on getting some new rims down the road, so what you are saying is that if I get bigger tires, get different rims, right?

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                      • #12
                        the original bias tires were around 5 inches wide at the rim. 205 radials are around 6-7+ inches at the rim and give a big bulge once mounted on the Stude rim. A later Ford rim is wider and the radial fits & looks better. As far as driving/steering goes.... you'll have a distinct effort increase with radials due to the footprint. The car will drive better on the open road, but crappy around town. And that's "with" the front steering / suspension up to snuff. You could inflate up to 35+ lbs, but then your open road ride is impaired (for a 60 year old car!). Sounds like you need springs (definitely-see GM substitutes in search mode) and shocks anyway, so while up and apart... replace "all" the soft bushings and grease the bejesus out of all zerks til you see the stuff ooze big time......

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                        • #13
                          Once you have the new parts installed and the new wheels and tires, have a good alignment done and have them set it for radial tire specs, not the bias tire specs. Castor and toe-in can be reduced, making steering easier. Any good alignment shop should be able to compensate for the difference even though there are no original radial specs for Studebakers unless someone has made up a set.............and I'll bet they have. I'm sure someone will chime in with an answer.
                          Originally posted by jackb View Post
                          the original bias tires were around 5 inches wide at the rim. 205 radials are around 6-7+ inches at the rim and give a big bulge once mounted on the Stude rim. A later Ford rim is wider and the radial fits & looks better. As far as driving/steering goes.... you'll have a distinct effort increase with radials due to the footprint. The car will drive better on the open road, but crappy around town. And that's "with" the front steering / suspension up to snuff. You could inflate up to 35+ lbs, but then your open road ride is impaired (for a 60 year old car!). Sounds like you need springs (definitely-see GM substitutes in search mode) and shocks anyway, so while up and apart... replace "all" the soft bushings and grease the bejesus out of all zerks til you see the stuff ooze big time......
                          sigpic1966 Daytona (The First One)
                          1950 Champion Convertible
                          1950 Champion 4Dr
                          1955 President 2 Dr Hardtop
                          1957 Thunderbird

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                          • #14
                            Control arm bushings: surprisingly enough, if the lower bushings are blown out, that will affect steering control more strongly than weak uppers...........although changing the lower bushings is rather easy on a Stude passenger car.
                            --------------------------------------

                            Sold my 1962; Studeless at the moment

                            Borrowed Bams50's sigline here:

                            "Do they all not, by mere virtue of having survived as relics of a bygone era, amass a level of respect perhaps not accorded to them when they were new?"

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                            • #15
                              The kingpin bushings and bearings might need replacing too. Mine were worn out at 30,000 miles.

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