Thursday, September 29, 2011

No comment

I've heard rumor that some people have had difficulty leaving comments on the blog. And I've also discovered that I don't seem to be able to leave comments as well!

For those that have had difficulty--my apologies, but I'm not sure there's anything I can do about it. And to those that have left comments please bear in mind that I'll be unable to leave a response unless I do so in a future post.

Nothing Studebakery (is that a word?) to report, other than I ordered some gaskets and core plugs (aka freeze plugs) from Studebakers West today. Oh, and I discovered that when I was getting a parking permit at work last week, Studebakers are not listed on the computer system.

"Who makes Studebaker?" she said.

"Studebaker," I replied. "But they haven't made cars since 1966."

"Oh. That's probably why they aren't in here."

"Could be."

I wonder if the guy at work with the 54 Panhard Dyna Z had the same problem?

Monday, September 26, 2011

Black sand

This weekend, I cleaned up the block.

As part of that cleaning, and based on some of the reading I've done on the Studebaker Drivers Club Forums, I decided to pull the freeze plugs and see what things looked like in the water jacket surrounding the cylinders. Of course, the experienced folks at the SDC Forums were right. There was a lot of casting sand packed in there that, for best cooling, needed to come out.

So tonight after making a special tool out of a discarded piece of brake line tubing, I started pushing, prodding and pulling the blackened sand out of the engine block. 

Perhaps it was the combination of the sand and the hammer I'd used to form the end on the tubing that brought it all back to me, but suddenly, I was a 7-year-old boy again, timidly entering the front door of the cast-iron foundry where my Dad worked, his forgotten lunch bucket in my hand. I stopped just inside, my eyes adjusting to the light. There he was, just in front of me, the cauldron of molten metal beyond giving more light to the room than the dim sodium bulbs 25 feet overhead. I walked over as he was driving spikes into a large black cube with a 5-lb hammer. He saw me, smiled, and walking me into the nearby break room split a Little Debbie's snack with me. I asked what he was doing, so he took me back into the foundry, and showed me how they made the molds out of sand. Touching the mold, I would have never guessed that something made from sand could be so hard. As the overhead crane swung by to move the mold over to the pouring area, he lead me back outside and thanked me for bringing me his lunch.

Dad passed away a little over a year ago. I would've liked to ask him what he thought about that much sand left in the casting, but I think I know what his answer would've been. Somehow, I don't think he would have approved.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Friday Night's Alright for Pulling Heads

A little carbon but not bad
It was a quick job, but man, those things are heavy. I decided to use the engine hoist to pick them up for me.

I really should of at least wiped off the oil and anti-freeze before taking a pic.
Everything was about as I expected. A good amount of carbon build up, but I could not detect a ridge at the top of the cylinder with my finger nail (it was visible as a dark area.) Cylinder bores were mostly shiny but if I looked carefully I could see evidence of cross hatching.

I'll clean things up in the morning and have a good look, but I'm thinking that I'll likely just button things up (although there is a temptation to throw new rings and bearings in it... and maybe some flat top pistons and a nice cam. See? That's what happens when you tear into things. Maybe I should've just left the heads on.)

Sunday, September 18, 2011

I should be at work right now. . .

After spending yesterday cleaning up the garage and getting ready for the next phase of the Studebaker project, I had planned on going into work this afternoon--I'm working on a project that needs to be completed by Friday and while things are going well on meeting that deadline, it would be nice to have a little breathing room in case something unexpected comes up.

But sometimes, especially when you've been working particularly hard lately, a little mental health break is in order. And for me, there's nothing more relaxing than tearing into an engine.

So much for that nice, clean garage floor.

Here's what I started with. . .

Here's what I ended up with about an hour and a half later.

Pleasantly, no surprises. Everything looks clean and, as my British friends would say, in good nick. I have a lot of exterior cleaning to do, but I'm pretty sure I'll button it up fairly quick. Ok, I admit it: it will go together quickly, but the cleaning will be a pain.

The only thing I'm pondering--and here's a question for you gear heads out there: should I pull the heads?

If you're having a busy few weeks at work and need to unwind, I strongly suggest tearing into a Studebaker V-8. I'm much calmer now.

Saturday, September 10, 2011


After my morning cup o' joe, I headed out to the garage to button up a few things on the Stude so I could take it for a little bit longer of a drive than to the corner and back.

Basically, I needed to clear up a few very small leaks in the brake system. A couple of new crush washers on the left front, re-double flaring the lines into the master cylinder, a couple of trips to the parts store because I invariably forgot some small thing and I was set to bleed the brakes. This was quickly accomplished thanks to the help of my able assistant.

At 2 p.m. I backed out of my driveway and roared away to the north. My first goal? The gas station . Wouldn't do good to run out of gas on International Drive Your Studebaker Day. The attendant (we're not allowed to pump our own gas in Oregon) was surprised when I told him that it was IDYSD, and then talked about the big Studebaker sedan his Dad had when he was a little kid.

One fat guy in a mullet walked up during our conversation and asked, "what year is that?" When I told him it was a '53, he snorted and said, "yeah, it looks like it." Nice, my first sneering comment. I wanted to follow up with a, "have you seen what most cars actually looked like in 1953?" but I refrained. Nothing was going to ruin my little IDYSD drive.

Then the car wouldn't start. A little fiddling with the carb, though, soon cured that. In the car's defense, it hadn't been driven this far in at least 10 years (if not longer) so it really could use a good tune-up, including going through the carb and cleaning things up.

So where to now? I decided to not be fool hardy, and just take the long loop around the quiet back streets to my house. So off to Crystal Lake Drive. The car cruised along nicely, but the temperature gauge was at the very top of the normal range--a little concerning. Either the gauge is off, or I'm on the border of overheating.

And then my left front hubcap decided I was driving too slowly and raced ahead down the side of the road. I caught up to it, pulled over and threw it in the passenger seat.

3 minutes later, I was pulling into my driveway.

Loved every minute of it.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Today is a special day

Today happens to be my birthday. And the first day I drove my Studebaker down the street.

I still have a little work today--the brake pedal is a little low and a bit soft and I need to change the connectors on my brake light sending unit. Oh yeah, and there's no muffler either. But she moves down the road just fine.

It was a good birthday.