From The Pages Of Turning Wheels:

The Studebaker Co-Operator (September, 2004 issue)

(Note: The very helpful article below appeared in The Studebaker Co-Operator, a regular feature in every issue of Turning Wheels. Edited by Bob Palma and supported by an incredibly knowledgeable team of technical contributors, The Studebaker Co-Operator column offers sound solutions for members who write in with Studebaker problems.}


Finding the correct tools to install Studebaker engine crankshaft pulleys and gears, and the camshaft drive gear, can be a problem. Pulleys and gears must not be hammered onto the crankshaft and camshaft. Using the crankshaft center bolt to pull gears and pulleys onto the crankshaft nose can be risky and often results in stripped threads on the bolt or, worse yet, in the crankshaft snout. Studebaker recommended using various components of Puller Set #J-4704 for these tasks; a set that isn't exactly in every hobbyist's tool box.

Fortunately, appropriate and safe tools for these tasks do not require special castings or forgings. They can be made at any competent machine shop if the specifications are known.

Thanks to Ingvar Vik and Lee DeLaBarre, SDC member and Calibration Administrator for Indiana Die Molding of Ft. Wayne IN, we are able to supply SDC members with correct engineering drawings for these puller components. Armed with the drawings printed here, SDC members may have these tools made at a local machine shop.

Thanks are also tendered to SDC members Steve Blake and Bob Miles, both of whom also volunteered to have the drawings professionally made for Turning Wheels. Thanks, Steve and Bob; we'll keep your "volunteerism" in mind for future projects!            BP











(Note: Here are some more member questions and answers from The Studebaker Co-Operator column in the 09/04 Turning Wheels.   Remember, you'll receive Turning Wheels every month when you become a member of The Studebaker Drivers Club!)

Dear Dwain:

Will I have any trouble installing a Fordomatic from a 1961 Studebaker, which is available, in my 1953 Commander coupe? I plan to change the car to 12 volts, and I have ordered Randy Rundle's 12-volt conversion book discussed last year in The Co-Operator. My Commander was originally an automatic and I understand it would be a good idea to replace the DG200 transmission now in it; true?

The 289 Stude V-8 I am planning to put in the car originally had a standard transmission in back of it. Should I use a later Borg-Warner automatic to get a 12-volt starter and flywheel? Is the shift pattern the same in a Fordomatic? I know I'll have to alter the driveshaft; that's no problem. I assume the Fordomatic doesn't have anti-creep.

My '53 has fog lights. One of them sticks down 1 1ž2" further below the bumper than does the other. Did someone cut one down, or is there a difference between 1953 and 1955 housings?

There are some curiosities about this car that I hope may be explained when I receive the car's production order, which I ordered but have not yet received. I bought the car over 30 years ago and used it as my daily driver. When purchased, the car appeared very straight with only minor body repair early in its life. Nonetheless, might I have your take on the following?

There are neatly stitched leather patches in the top corners of the front seats where a rear seat passenger would have left dirty fingerprints. The seat frames would have had to be disassembled to install those patches.

There is also a large gold "V" ornament on the face of the glove box. The V-8 emblems on the rear fenders are gold over chrome. Finally, the rear bumper gravel deflector is stainless steel!

Has some early owner tastefully customized his pride and joy, or do I have one of the oddities from South Bend? That stainless gravel deflector appears to be original to the car, as do the leather patches on the seats. Thanks, Dwain; your thoughts are appreciated.


           Brad Johnson  

           Pine Grove Mills   PA



Dear Brad,

Installing the 1961 automatic is an excellent way to solve the 12-volt starter and ring gear problem. I hope it is from a 1961 V-8 car, and that it is really not a Fordomatic as they use a shift pattern different from Studebaker. Not to say the Detroit Gear unit in the car originally is no good, but finding repair or overhaul service is a challenge. Borg-Warner Flightomatic is nearly identical to Fordomatic, so parts and repair service are easy to find. Anticreep was available, but rarely seen.

You will need the 61's bell housing, torque converter, linkage, mounts, flex plate, and its reinforcing ring. Use the short flywheel bolts from your 53 engine if the ones from the 61 are not available. The bell housing must be aligned to the engine block by a qualified machinist following the instructions in the shop manual.

Pay particular attention to the flex plate. Start with a new one and protect it from anything that could scratch it. A scratch from a nut or lockwasher is the starting point for a cracked flex plate.

The 1961 transmission has a long tailshaft. You can have the front section of your present driveshaft modified to fit, or you might be able to remove the crossmember that holds the center support and use a one-piece shaft from a 1958 or newer Hawk. That should measure just under 52" eye-to-eye, depending on what model the 1961 rear end is.

The bumpers were made bigger for 1955. It sounds like one of your two fog lamp housings is the style to fit that larger 1955 bumper. Any ink-stamped numbers on the inside surface? I don't have an answer on those other curiosities, especially without seeing some photos. The patches sound like an economy upholstery repair from an era of cheaper labor. The gold emblems and stainless rear apron are intriguing. Are you sure the rear apron is stainless and not plated? Someone's custom touches, probably. Perhaps the order form will shed some light on those items once you have the form in hand.

Sincerely,            DG

Dear Gregg,

How may I get the drip rail moldings off my 1963 Hawk in preparation for the car's repaint? It looks difficult to do without damaging them. Unfortunately, I have not kept track of the rubber shims that came off with the fenders. How might I go about putting them back where they belong for proper fitment?


Thanks and keep up the great work.


           John Raffensparger Sr.  

           Parkton   MD


Dear John,

Thanks for your kind remarks about our efforts. It's always nice to hear from readers who appreciate what we are trying to do.

I often receive that question about the drip rail moldings. The fellows on the assembly line got pretty good at installing those trim moldings, especially since they were doing about 60 cars per day. Installing them without bending them is tough enough; removing and reinstalling them without damaging them is twice as difficult. The best advice I can give you about them is this:   If they are secure and not damaged, leave well enough alone and just paint around them. Mask them off carefully.

The rubber shims between the cowl and fenders are critical for fender-to-door alignment. They were not all the same thickness.   Don't worry about where the old ones were positioned. You should use new ones anyway, and they are available from many Turning Wheels vendors.

When reinstalling the fenders, try to get a uniform gap top to bottom of about 3/16 to 1ž4" wide. Remember, the door must open outside the fender, so the fender must be either level or slightly inward from the outer surface of the door, to allow clearance for the door to open. Once this adjustment is attained, tighten the three cowl-to-inner fender shield bolts. Now you can install your three outer-fender-to-cowl bolts and shims. Here's a trick to help you do that. There will be a gap between the outer fender mounting flange and the cowl. That gap gets filled up by your selecting the correct thickness of rubber shim. Once you have the shim fitted so that it slips in the gap snugly, cut one side open so you can slide it past the mounting bolt, sort of like a horseshoe coming into the stake from the side.

You can then push each shim into final position with a small screwdriver or knife blade. When all three shims have been inserted, tighten the three cowl-to-fender flange bolts. Recheck the fender to door edge clearance carefully before you try to open the door, to see if the gap became too narrow. If so, you'll have to loosen everything and force in thicker shims. Remember that all these adjustments must be made with the car's weight supported on its axles or, better yet, tires and wheels.            GL

 Dear Ingvar,

Could you help me identify my newly-acquired 1957 Transtar? I cannot locate identification numbers as directed in the manual. The number on the engine is 1544289. Underneath those numbers are the numbers 10 and 10. There is a tag attached to the underside of the firewall with a piece of thin wire. The only thing on that tag is the letter
C and the numbers 127. I have examined the truck inside and out and those are the only numbers I can find.

Any interpretation of these numbers and/or additional directions would be appreciated. I am eager to begin my restoration! Thank you for serving as a resource for Studebaker Drivers Club members.


           Mather Owen  

           Burleson TX


Dear Mather,

There should be a 3 X 4 identification plate spot-welded to the cab on the driver side, below the seat. It should have a number stamped on it beginning with 3E-7 followed by a serial number of 7601 or higher. Check the serial number on the title or registration you received when you bought the vehicle. Obviously, it should match the number on the identification plate below the seat. The plate may have been removed some time in the previous 47 years for some reason. If the plate is not there, I would question the seller from whom you bought the truck, as it will be impossible to register it in another state where they will inspect the vehicle's actual identification number before issuing a new title.

The engine identification number is stamped on a machined area on top of the engine below the intake manifold on the left (driver side) of the oil filler pipe. It should start with 3E if the truck still has its original engine. If the engine identification number begins with a V or an S,   the engine is not original to the truck and came from a car. Unfortunately, the engine numbers you gave me are casting numbers (not unique to that engine).

The hanging tag with the letter C identifies the truck as a C cab. The 127 is the production sequence number of that style cab for the model year built. There should be a second plate screwed to the cab to the right of the serial number plate, describing the cab trim level and original paint code.

I hope this has been of some help, Mather. I am sorry for the delay, but I just got back from a 3-month vacation and had a pile of mail to sort through. Thanks for your kind remarks.              IV

Dear Jim,


Could you help me sort out some apparent carburetor problems with my R2 Avanti, Carter #3507S carb? It just won't idle properly. I sent it off a couple years ago for a high-dollar rebuild. It came back looking wonderful but the engine ran poorly when the carb was reinstalled on the engine. It stumbled off light, wouldn't idle after it got just a little warm, got worse mileage than before the rebuild, and fouled plugs every 200-300 miles. The rebuilder wouldn't make good on it, so I broke it down myself to have a look.

The left float was set at 5/16";   the right was at 11/32".   There was no sealer on the secondary venturi screws, and the choke pulloff piston was stuck in its passage. I set the floats and fixed the other stuff and it settled down a little. It doesn't foul the plugs and it gets better mileage, but it still won't idle when hot. Before, it would die when it got to 160 degrees; now it waits until it is 180 degrees.

The car is driven at altitude: Albuquerque is 5,300 feet and much of New Mexico is even higher. I asked the rebuilder to jet the carb two steps lean, but he went only one step. He returned it to me with .098 primary jets and .086 secondaries. It also came back with a 16-263 (.076 X .049) step-up rod installed. I thought that was still a bit rich, so I went to a .095 primary jet and a 7347 rod (.073 X .047) from Edlebrock. This combination is about 10% leaner, and it seems OK except for an occasional surge at low speed.

But I still haven't figured out why it won't idle. I figure the warm idle problem and the fouled plugs were caused by excessively-high floats, which allowed fuel to seep over the float bowls and create a mixture too rich for the engine to handle, even at highway speeds. But the floats are now set just a touch higher than 3/8", probably 13/32 or so.

A few minutes after the engine reaches operating temperature, the idle quits. The stock, vacuum-operated idle kicker doesn't help. The poor hot idle seems like a problem that should be fixed, not jerry-rigged. Can I possibly set these floats at 7/16"?

This is a 1963 Avanti R2, bored .060 over. MSD ignition with Magnecor high-performance wires. I only use 92-octane fuel in it. I welcome your ideas.



           Jack Shiver  

           Albuquerque, NM


Dear Jack,

It is getting more difficult to find good people to restore carburetors, especially AFBs. You didn't specify whether your engine loads up due to an over-rich mixture and then dies when hot, or just stumbles and quits. From your description, I'll assume it is loading up.

Verify this by first removing the carb bonnet and blower belts. Start the engine and wait for the poor idle to begin. When it does, close the choke or block the airhorn slightly. If the idle improves, the mixture is not rich, but lean. A vacuum leak or a clog in the idle circuit could cause this lean condition. Check and repair as necessary. Choke cleaner and compressed air work well for cleaning small passages. Follow any safety precautions on any product you use, and always wear eye protection when using compressed air.

If the engine dies out instead of the idle improving, it is probably rich. You should be able to clear a rich idle temporarily by revving the engine a little. Many rich conditions are a result of low secondary ignition performance. So, it is a good idea to rule out ignition before diving into the carburetor.

Start with a meticulous engine tune-up. Check to be sure there are 9.8 to 10.2 volts available at the coil. Check to see that plug wire resistance does not exceed 100 ohms per foot. Check for proper point dwell, RPM-induced dwell change, and proper ignition timing. Have new spark plugs and gap them at .035

Now move on to the carburetor. You will need another rebuild kit.   Fortunately, these are available from many of our vendors. Remember; an over-rich condition is caused by only a few conditions. Among them are fuel level too high in the float bowls, metering rods not pulling down in the jets, and internal fuel leaks caused by cracks or booster gasket failure.

Remove the metering rods. Pay attention to the pistons. They should move freely in the bore. Remove the carburetor cover. Inspect the floats for damage, cracks, and leaks. Inspect the underside of the cover for cracks at the fuel passages. Install new needles and seats from the kit to be sure there is a good fuel shut-off.   Don't forget the sealing washer under the seat.

Install the airhorn gasket on the cover. Assuming the floats passed inspection, install and align them per the shop manual. Set the level at 3/8" over the gasket. Do not put any pressure on the needle and seat while setting the floats. Set the float drop at 23/32" using the tang on the end of the float. Double-check the float level and alignment; again, this is discussed in the shop manual. Carefully inspect the carb body for cracks. Remove the boosters and check the gaskets. Replace if necessary. Assemble the top, the metering rods, and check all the external adjustments. This should work with no problem.

I am assuming you are not using an electric fuel pump with excessive pressure. I am also assuming you have the fuel return line hooked up with the proper .040 orifice in the fitting. You might have to go back to the one step lean rod and stock jets.

There are a few more things to check. Check the manifold vacuum at idle. Valves set too tight, a cam with increased duration, or a cam installed out of position can lower vacuum to the point where it is not strong enough to hold the metering rods down. This will also cause an engine to go rich at idle. I used to routinely put a weaker spring under the piston on AFB-equipped engines with hot cams.

Finally, make sure the heat riser valve is not stuck shut. Exhaust heat through the intake manifold can cause the fuel to boil in the float bowl, again creating the rich mix at idle.

Good luck on this, Jack. Let me know what happens.                       JP

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