Friday, June 28, 2013

Blocking has begun

I visited the body shop to discover that blocking has started on my car. The picture above is of the driver's door. A guide coat has been applied and sanded with a long sanding block. The dark areas in the picture are low areas. They will fill/sand until all low areas are gone.

Nice to see some progress at the body shop.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Control valve reseal

Next up in the Power Steering resealing project is the control valve. The control valve hangs below the steering box on the pitman arm, with the reach rod to the bell crank extending out of the front (in the pictures below this part had already been removed). The motion of the pitman arm pushes the reach rod forward or backward to turn the front wheels; the control valve captures this movement through a sliding ball stud which moves a slotted piston (called a valve spool) back and forth. As it slides past openings within the housing, it allows power steering pressure to activate a piston in the power cylinder mounted between the frame and the bellcrank. This provides power assistance to the steering.

Don't worry, there won't be a test.

Now back to the reseal. This is the easiest one as the kit only contains two o-rings. It can even be done with the control valve mounted on the car.

First, into the tray for cleaning!

It wasn't terribly dirty since I'd already lightly cleaned it previously.
And now disassembly. First, the two screws holding the cap are removed.

Next up, that nut holding the spring under pressure comes off, and the piston assembly slides out.

Confession time--in the picture above, since the unit was off the car, I removed the two bolts holding the housing and the ball stud sleeve (on the far right) to make it easier to reach the second o-ring. Plus it allowed me to thoroughly clean the housing.

Assembly was, of course, the reverse of the above process, after coating the moving parts liberally in power steering fluid.

On the far right is a plastic cap, only fitted on the 64 models, to help keep debris out of the grease in the ball stud sleeve. This appeared to be slightly distorted (grease was leaking around it) so I removed it and will have to see if I can get a replacement soon.

I've refrained from painting it--I'm going to save that until I reseal the power cylinder since it will need paint as well.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Power Steering Pump Reseal

Thanks to Jerry at Studebaker Center of Oregon, the parts arrived to seal up my power steering system. I figured I'd start with the one with the greatest number of seals.

First, I remove the pulley and shaft key...

Then undo the bolt to remove the reservoir.

Next up, the brackets.

And then the relief valve/flow control unit.

After this, the pictures low down a bit because my hands were getting a bit gunky and I didn't want to get power steering fluid all over my phone. But occasionally, I wiped things clean and snapped a picture. Here the case is apart, the rotor shaft, pump cam insert, pump carrier and rollers are removed for inspection.

Then it was a matter of cleaning up all the internal passages and pieces with a "suitable" solvent.  One of my favorite is brake cleaner--it evaporates rapidly and works well--so a few squirts and I'm ready to reassemble. Basically, it is just going through the same steps backwards, but you have to replace all those seals. Everything is also coated liberally in power steering fluid (Dexron III Automatic Transmission Fluid is a good modern substitute for the fluid Studebaker used back in the day.)

And we're back together:

It was actually pretty simple. I'm sure it wasn't working as efficiently as it could have been as some of the original o-rings had basically dissolved--little left but a bit of material. Of course, it'll be a while before I can see if it is sealed and working properly; that's always a bit of a scare when working on a project of this magnitude. When doing auto repair you typically replace a faulty part and then get to immediately test your repair and correct any issues. In a project like this one, there's a long wait and many systems that will need adjustment (or fail and need repair) before you can get back on the road. Here's hoping those adjustments are minimal.

Thursday, June 20, 2013


'50 Studebaker Land Cruiser
One of the great things about being a Studebaker owner is the Studebaker Drivers Club. This afternoon, our local chapter (and another chapter from the Portland area) went on a tour of the Hull-Oakes Lumber Company's Mill. This is one of the last (if not the last) steam-powered commercial mills operating in the US--so it was good to see equipment dating back to the early 1900's still in use.

One of the two, two-cylinder 500hp steam engines

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Nubs bug me

The GT Hawk I pulled the steering box and column from was a manual shift 3-speed/OD car.  For those younger folks following, a 3-speed manual was, for many years, shifted from the column. Since I'm going to a 5-speed, which has the shifter on the floor, I need to get rid of the shifting mechanism from the column.

First, let's clean the 50 years of gunk off.
Once I got the column all cleaned up, I threw the section of the column that held the shifter in the bench vise, being careful not to scar the piece since it is made of a very soft alloy:

That nub has got to go...
The cut-off wheel on my angle grinder makes quick work of that, although after cleaning it up it looks like a need a little finer wheel for this soft stuff:
Nub gone!
Then it is a matter of filling the hole with epoxy (the alloy would not hold up to welding, and I don't have a torch (nor the talent with it) to braze it closed.

Epoxy dried and sanded
At this point, it becomes a normal body work project--a little filler...

A little more sanding to go
Then I sanded down everything. . .

Taken apart and sanded
I'd like to say that all that was needed was a quick coat of primer and call it good for now, but that wasn't quite the case. The main part of the column had a bit of surface rust on it--with a few pits that were deeper than I could sand out--so I ended up having to treat it with a rust converter/primer. And there were a few tiny air bubbles in the filler, so several coats of a heavy-bodied primer and a lot of sanding was required. And then, when I almost got it completed, I managed to get a contaminant on it (probably from my fingers) that caused the paint to curdle. That resulted in having to sand it back down to bare metal, cleaning with a bit of acetone, then re-priming. But the end result is nice--and it is ready to go to the body shop to be painted along with the dash.

Oh, and I'll have turn signals now!

Monday, June 3, 2013

More steering stuff

This weekend I journeyed back to Studebaker John's. The two of us spent a couple of hours in the sun pulling the steering box and column out of a '63 GT. This will get me something a bit more modern with a bonus--the steering shaft is hollow and the horn wire runs through the center. I'm pretty sure I can adapt my old wheel to fit.

No pictures of that yet--still some cleanup to go. But I did manage to get my power steering pump looking pretty spiffy:

Thrown back together briefly so I don't lose any parts until the new seals arrive