Sunday, March 30, 2014

Three steps forward, one back

So clutch adjustment time. I noticed there was a lot of slack in the pedal--about 2-inches or so--before the throwout bearing shaft started to turn. Starting to look for a cause of it, I discovered a good deal of motion where the adjustment rod connected--taking it apart, I discovered a groove had been worn in the shaft. Even a small amount of slack movement here can amplify when at the pedal level.

I suppose I should suspect a little wear after 50 years
So over to the welder I go, and fill the groove with weld. Then the tedious task of filing it into shape, followed by a light sanding. The end result:

Much better
So I put it back together and tried--no good. I still could not get the clutch to release. I adjusted the rod to both extremes, and still no good. So I decided to try a shorter adjustment rod (I have several.) I adjusted the shortest rod to the shortest length (giving me the most movement) and snap:

Something is definitely not right here. Removing the access panel inside the car, I was able to use a small video inspection camera to view the throwout bearing area via a small hole in the top of the bell housing. I could see that the throwout bearing was moving forward properly and engaging the pressure plate toggle levers as it should. Hmm. Nothing for it--I'm going to have to remove the transmission and see what's happening.

Off comes the shifter..
Down comes the batwing..

And, after removing the driveshaft, out comes the transmission
Now I can see the clutch assembly and notice something is definitely not right:

One of the toggle levers is resting against the springs!

And judging from the bits of broken metal I retrieved from the bottom of the bell housing, I'm guessing this must have been the result of a casting flaw. Time to order a new cover/pressure plate assembly.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

More progress and a very short drive

Today I decided to wire up the charging circuit, the electric choke, and the fuel pump. And that meant rolling out the wiring harness.  After straightening out the main circuits, and inserting a grommet in the hole in the firewall to protect the wires from chaffing, I fed through the forward and rear sections of the harness.

I decided to tackle the charging circuit first.  After a trip to the parts store to get a modern, solid-state voltage regulator designed for a later model Chrysler product (Wells VR706, or Echlin VR32--a much easier to deal with solution over the old analog version,) I pulled the alternator power and alternator exciter wires over into position, crimped some ends on them (temporarily, since I will can't put the regulator in the correct position without the fenders in place) and attached it to the firewall.

Then it was simply a matter of connecting the other ends to the appropriate positions on the alternator.

Next,  after quickly crimping ends on a couple of wires and plugging in the electric choke, I tackled the fuel pump wiring. I purchased an extra circuit for the fuel pump with the wiring harness that included a relay with a fuse. After a good deal of pondering, it just made sense that given the wiring layout the circuit was designed to mount near the fuel pump. So into the trunk I went. After drilling a 1/2-inch hole and putting in another grommet, I mounted the relay assembly to the inner fender well.

The purple and red wire goes all the way to the front of the car, the black wire (barely visible) to ground and the yellow wire provides power to the pump. The purple wire will eventually go to the ignition switch--for now, it goes to a toggle switch on the dash for simplicity. The red power wire goes to the battery side of the solenoid. When the toggle switch is turned to the on position, the power causes a switch within the relay to close, completing the circuit to the fuel pump. The advantage of using a relay is that it allows for less current draw through the ignition switch, which is a good thing when so many other electrical devices are running through it.

I ended up with the car looking like this:

It was time for a test. I rolled the car out into the driveway, chocked the tires, then added a gallon of fuel to the tank. I hooked up the battery, threw the switch for the ignition and the switch for the fuel pump. It began clicking and soon quieted as it started pumping gas--some of which started leaking under the car. A quick turn of a couple of wrenches tightened down the joint I had missed, and after a bit of clean up and allowing the gas to evaporate, I tested it again and found no leaks. The car now fired up quickly, and idled very fast (and very loud.) After about 30 seconds I shut her down, and adjusted the fast idle circuit to a normal pace, and restarted her. She ran much better.

And then, in a fit of bravery, I decided I should try backing her into the garage. I cleared the tire chocks and fired her back up. I pushed in the clutch and tried to put her into reverse. No go--just some grinding. I shut the engine off, put it in reverse and, holding the brake down and gritting my teeth, I started the car.  The brakes held; when released, the car would move backwards even with the clutch fully depressed to the floor. Sounds like I have a clutch to adjust tomorrow.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

She lives!

Wired up the starting and ignition circuits, pushed her out of the garage and poured a little gas down the carb...

She's a little loud with no exhaust, but I guess I should go ahead and wire up the fuel pump and charging circuits and then adjust the carb and timing before I tow her to the exhaust shop.

Everything post start looks good, with the exception of the power steering pump, which is leaking a bit around the pulley. Since I had already replaced all the seals, that probably means the shaft had too much wear. I'll have to look into finding a replacement; fortunately, it isn't leaking enough to be a hazard.

Always feels good to fire up a project for the first time.

Monday, March 10, 2014


Installed the lower radiator hose and the upper radiator hose assembly. The upper assembly has a filler neck installed as it is the highest point in the system--this is a must in order to get all of the air out.

I filled it with 4 gallons of fluid (a 50/50 mix of water and low-toxicity anti freeze--I'm a pet owner and regular anti freeze is incredibly toxic to animals even in low doses) but will need to add more fluid after starting it. I didn't realize it would hold that much!

The radiator cap I got for the top filler didn't fit. Always something.

Sunday, March 9, 2014


As I said before, modifications always take a bit longer than you expect. The radiator was no exception. Although I had previously cut away the mount so the new radiator fit, I still needed a way to hold it in place.

On the top and bottom, the radiator has strips of metal that run the length of the core along the outer edges. I decided to make a raised area at the bottom of the radiator mount that these strips could slide over, holding it in position. Two pieces of 1-inch square tubing welded together fit perfectly.

This "center mount" was painted and covered in a piece of rubber to insulate it.
Next, I made three tabs and welded them to the cross rod to hold the top of the radiator in position.

A little more paint, and more rubber insulation to come.
Then it was simply a matter of bolting things together.

I mounted the fan as a pusher--the top bracket prevents me from centering it but, fingers-crossed, it will do the trick (a Studebaker Drivers Club forum member reported using the same fan and radiator with no problems. )

Sunday, March 2, 2014

More little things

Since the modifications to my radiator won't be finished until next week and the local welding shop wasn't open so I could purchase welding cable to use as heavy duty battery cable, I worked on odds and ends this weekend.

First, I removed the dash so I could get it all assembled and wired and ready to be put back in place. But I was concerned about the steering column being bent by someone pulling on it; more support was needed:

Not pretty, but it works well.
Next up, I decided my brakes were a little spongy, so I re-bled the rears, then adjusted the pedal a bit. They're a bit firmer and the pedal doesn't travel to the floor any longer, but I'm still not happy about it. I'm about out of adjustment, so I might need to source a slightly longer master cylinder actuator rod. That shouldn't be too tough.

I also topped off the fluids in the differential, the power steering system, and the transmission. I figured it was better to do it now than to forget to fill one once I had things ready to start and possibly damage things.