unimogjohn

Avanti R2, 1963, refresh

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The original Red upholstery is sure better than the black slop covering it.

Not familiar with KBR shocks, in the memory of Bonneville record winner Ron Hall I always lean toward Gabriel and Maremont products who under wrote much of the work on the 1993 Bonneville Avanti. Ron had them continue production of the OEM type Avanti shocks long after every other outfit dropped those sizes.

Stude8

Edited by stude8 (see edit history)

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The red interior color does look a lot etter so the work will pay off in the long run John so keep at it!! Just as a suggestion, if you are going to drive this car, replace the glass headlight covers with the plastic ones that are available as the glass covers are as rare as hens teeth. I keep mine for show only. They aree asy to remove and replace as you undoubtedly have found out.

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Don, thanks for the info on the light covers. Will look into it.

Spent the afternoon working on the electrical system. Put in the new ignition switch, works great, now we have key that actually works. No more pushing, jiggling, etc.

I also worked on the wiring for the brakes after draining the master cylinder of the old brake fluid. The old fluid was really nasty so will bleed all the brakes over the next week or so. The result is that I now have brake lights.

Cleaned the contacts for the fuel gauge, and it now works. Played with the radio a bit. it is getting power, but nothing from either speaker.

Next week I also plan on looking into tires. Thinking of going the white wall radial tires from Universal Tire in Hershey, PA. Can I run radials with my stock rims? Any recommendation as to size?

Heading out this afternoon for an hour or so and will continue cleaning the interior. It is so dirty and full of mold. The dirt is giving up little by little.

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We heard the weather report for tomorrow, lows in the 30s to a high of 53 with lots of rain. The Avainti is still on the trailer and covered so she is protected, but we are not. So it looks to be an inside day.

Monday, looking at the weather report we figured that we would start cleaning the interior for a couple of hours. Alice and I scrubbed, rubbed, and polished as best we could. Dirt and grunge came off in buckets. We got the majority of the interior done, first time; and boy she is starting to look good.

The stickey feeling on the seats, etc is gone, the mold has been scrubbed off, and the tarnish and rust on the gauge faces and controls are bright again. Looks great for an older girl. We have a few more hours to go before we are done with the interior, but we have gone a long way. Did not touch the headliner, looks to be very brittle. We do have a badly worn and torn driver's seat, and a gouge out of the back seat. But other than the ugly black vinyl paint, the vinyl looks pretty good for its age.

Found a Duplicolor paint that could be a good match to my green paint. Since the car is not going to be painted this year it needs to have a few spots repainted to be presentable. So we will try it on a couple of small spots to see what we have. It is a Ford color, Dark Jade Metallic Green.

Here are some pics of the interior after the cleaning.

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Morning, John, this is John in Alabama you had some correspondence with about our Avanti before it sold. The battery is also the same one that forklifts use, but we learned that there is not only a bit of difference in length, but a couple of them are a bit taller- - be a carpenter, measure twice, install once. Later, and good luck, John

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John, good to hear from you. Bet your Avanti went to a good home. It was sure a great looking car. Mine certainly is not as nice as yours, it did not have a good father like you.

Cold here this morning, but no rain yet. Started looking through the couple of boxes with the air cleaner/hoses, etc, and found the rear view side mirror. It was covered with some kind of green goo, looked like body filler. So spent a hour cleaning it, and installed it on the car. looks pretty good.

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John, this is Ala. John again. Be sure and listen to the guy that said to stash those glass headlight covers. You would be surprised how fragile they are and how easily they SHATTER!!!! Learned the hard way. I think if you look, you will see that the fender seams may be factory. Ours and a couple others had them. If you haven't already, order your build sheets from the club and you will notice many, many flaws happened during build. After I got our sheets, I thought "how did they ever sell these cars", but then all the flaws were corrected before delivery I assume. The QC men must have carried several pens tho, Ha!!!!. Later, John

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Cannot seem to keep my hands off the car. So with it raining decided to take a look at the air filter housing, etc.

Found two filters, stacked one on the other, and a paint can lid for the top. I am sure that the paint can lid must be stock, ha, ha, ha. Found part numbers for the filter so will pick up a couple tomorrow.

Also the little flapper on the carb bonnet is not flush with the bonnet. Question, should it be or is mine correct, see pic.

So will spend the evening cleaning up everything.

Oh, the spark plugs arrived, and if it is not raining tomorrow I will put them on.

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It is Thursday, and not much is going to happen today. It is cold and raining its brains out. An inside day.

Bit the bullet and did order new radial tires from Vintage Tire in Hershey, PA; so they will be here early next week. Settled on the American Classic brand with the one inch whitewall. Universal Vintage Tire

Going to stick with the rims that came with the car. The tire size is 205/75R15.

It is suppose to rain for several days so I am stuck inside, as a result my progress will be slow or none at all. I may be silent for a couple of days.

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About your radial tire selection,

first problem, OEM Studebaker Avanti rims were Budd 5" width Yes, that is quite narrow. That rim width is usually too narrow for radial tire sizes in the size range you need.

Next problem, the OEM tire size was 6.70 x 15, no direct radial size available unless some specialty tire outfit (Coker??) has a recent new size on hand.

Next problem, the width of tread on front wheels is critical on hard turns and tires can scrape the frame if too wide a substitute tire is used.

Switching to Ford rims (same 4-1/2" five bolt pattern but 6" rim width) was done in the old days but the front OEM rims had a special contour to avoid contact with the Dunlap disc brake calipers. Another Ford rim problem was the OD of the rim lug nut opening, Ford used 13/16" lug nut size and Studebaker used 3/4", you will find the Studebaker nut hex will pull through the Ford rim holes when tightened to correct torque.

I recall using F78 Michelin radials in the 1970's on my 63 R2 but you could spin the rears easy with the 4 speed trans, they did improve handling how ever.

Choose your rubber carefully so you don't have a learning curve to relive like we did way back.

Stude8

Edited by stude8 (see edit history)

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It is Friday, cold and damp, but not raining. FedEx delivered the tires from Universal Tire this morning. Mounting will have to wait until we get the car running and off the trailer so we can remove the wheels and take them to town.

Here are a couple of pics of the old tires. They are new with the nubs still on the tread, but they are starting to come apart. Since this is going to be a driver and not a display car they just have to be replaced. So will try the radials. I will give a tire drive report at some future time.

Hope to get out if it warms up a bit and change the plugs. We will see, 38 degrees is a bit chilly right now.

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Still Friday. Decided to brave the 38 degree weather in between rain storms to change the plugs. Figured I better do it now rather than later. PA is getting a big snow storm just a couple of hundred miles north from us, up to 12 inches. We are expected to get a few flakes mixed in with the rain over the weekend.

All the plugs came out easily. A couple were not even tight and were blowing exhaust through the plugs. A couple also had debris between the electrodes so they were not even firing. None of them looked very good. No wonder the car did not run. In fact, on the bad gas I do not think I would ever get it started in the condition it was in.

Put in the new plugs and made sure that I put anti-seize on the threads. At least the wires, distributer cap, and points were recently changed, errrr well, a few years ago, but they look fine for now.

Done for today, put the cover back on, and heading back in to sit by the stove.

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Ford rims can be used by simply replacing the lug nuts with the correct size. The radials will be pinched on the stock rims and contact patch will be a little smaller. My hubcaps walked with the standard wheels and radials while the Ford wheels keep the hubcaps in place. The car rides and handles better on the Ford wheels. Resist the temptation to overinflate the tires. The Avanti was not designed for radials and running them at new car pressures, like 30lbs will give you a hard ride and the car will be a little "darty" ie. over reacting to steering inputs. The rear will feel like it wants to slide on hard turns even at low speeds. The standard wheels amplify all of these characteristics.

The flapper on the carb bonnet seals when the engine is running from supercharger output. It's designed to hang open to let gas vapors out to eliminate hot start issues from too rich a mixture.

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I appreciate everyone's comments re the radial tires and the Ford versus the Studebaker rim. I have not decided what to do yet, I have a few weeks to decide.

It is Saturday, cold and wet, not a good day to be working on the Avanti outside. So decided that I would move inside. Spent an hour or so finishing the cleaning and polishing the air cleaner. It is now ready to go back on the car.

Also decided to finish stripping the black paint from the one panel that I removed and started last week. I caculate that have four hours into referbishing just the driver's side panel. Looks better in the pics, but not bad. I will have to get a sample of the current available red to do a comparison. I have a ripped/torn driver's seat. I guess I could get a yard to use to fix that. Here are the before and after pics of the stripping.

Dave (the carb rebuilder) wrote me back, he plans to start on the carb maybe next week. He says he has a number of them to do. So I am looking at three weeks before I will be able to start the car. No news on the supercharger rebuilt yet.

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October 18, 2009

It's Sunday, after finishing the farm and llama chores, decided to remove the other (passenger) door panel and strip the black paint. I figure I would have then two doors that would match, rather than one red and the other black.

I am getting better at stripping and found the right tools to remove the black paint, as a result this panel only took two hours.

Am I happy with the results, well yes and no. Will I continue to strip? I do not think so. Yes, the paint is off, that is the good. The bad is that it did remove most, if not all, of the little metal flake pink tone that covered the red vinyl. So while the panels are now original, they have lost their luster, and are just red. I did see that Studebaker International has some red vinyl paint, but if I sprayed that one I would be back where I started. I am leaning now to just starting to replace the vinyl at some point. But this is a long term investment, and it will not be done within the next year or so. There is just too much other critical thing that must be done. The same for the painting of the car.

On the plus side, one of the screws that hold the chrome plate around the the door latch was sheared off at some point. I removed the locking assembly and was able to get the screw body without any damage to the assembly. So it was a happy fix.

Here are before and after pics of the panels. Will post one back on the door when it has a chance to dry out in the house overnight.

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Edited by unimogjohn (see edit history)

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It is Tuesday, finally a nice day. Had errands and farm chores in the morning, but was able to get on the Avanti by noon.

I wanted to take a detailed look at the door and window assemblies to see what repairs are needed. Both looks good, but the grease is old and dry, and all the rubber pieces especially the outside weather strip between the door and the window are toast. To replace the rubber you have to remove the vent and window itself. I decided to leave that for another day. I did take the opportunity to at least lube the little plastic roller bearings. Both windows now roll up and down easily.

I wanted to put back on the door panels. I hate to have a car partially deconstructed, and would rather put everything back together so I always have a complete car. So that is what I did. Both panels are now back on, chrome has been cleaned and the vinyl has a coat of special wax on it. At least it looks like I have an interior again.

The new battery was dead and is now on the charger. I left the left turn signal on and while the horn was disconnected, the relay was not, so it buzzed itself until the battery was completely dead. I have disconnected horn relay so it does not happen again. I can see that the steering wheel is going to have to come off sooner than later. Oh well, a lesson learned.

Also the light went you open the door on the driver's side does not work the light, so took it out. The terminals are all rusted, the button does push in and out easily. So will work on getting the screws out (rusted solid) to see if I can get it to work. The passenger side works fine.

Tomorrow is suppose to be another nice day. On the agenda, bleeding the brakes.

Pics are the reasons for the farm chores, the installed panels, and the rusty button.

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Regarding the brake bleeding operation on the Avanti, a friend recently asked me why he could not obtain a firm pedal after doing a complete brake overhaul on his 64 Avanti. We discussed the master cylinder piston adjustment which is critical in Avanti's, the bench bleeding method for master cylinder and then in the back of my mind I recalled another mutual friend who had the soft pedal condition and found a method to correct that problem.

I emailed our mutual friend for his solution and he responded with:

"Yes, I had the same problem and found the solution. I unbolted the calipers and rotated them so that the bleeder was at the 12 oclock position but making sure the disk was still between the pads and the shims were not getting lost (I may have removed the shims). I then bled them conventionally and got a super firm pedal.

I think silicon fluid is a little more viscous, exasperating a problem that even occurs with regular fluid. An air bubble must get trapped in the 12 oclock position that can't escape through the 10:30 positioned bleeder."

If you have a difficult time getting a firm pedal try the method described above.

Stude8

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It is Wednesday, and I got a few hours to work on the old girl. Decided today was brake day.

So got out the Mighty Vac and broke both rear bleed screws free. Well, nothing came out, and the Mighty Vac was not drawing any fluid. Took a look at the master cylinder and attempted to bleed it, did that and went back to the rear brakes. Attempted to bleed them again, this time with a human helper, aka Alice, and again nothing. I figure that the Master Cylinder is bad so I have ordered a new one. All of this fussing, pumping and checking took about three hours.

I did get a chance to really look around the underside of the car. I found a leaking power steering unit (well, somewhere around it), leaking rear end main seal, fuel line cut and suspended with wire in a couple of places, and everything is a tad rusty. On the plus side the hog channels look fine and are nice and solid. The rear round bar is about 1/3 gone, but is still solid for now.

Here are some pics of the underside of the car. I do plan to paint all the metal with black rust encapsulator from Eastwood.

Oh, and the light for the opening of the driver's door works almost all the time.

Tomorrow is going to be shocks day, will try to get at least a pair on.

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John,

From your photos and description of the car's history, I would replace all the brake lines and rebuild / replace the master, calipers, and wheel cylinders before spending any more time on the brakes. All the components rust from both inside and outside, safety first! Just my $.02.

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Don, re replacing brakes. Yes, I agree and will replace everything necessary. But I have to get something working if I can to get it off the trailer and into the garage safely. Easier to work on while it is on the trailer for right now. Cannot pull the wheels/tires either until it is off the trailer and on jack stands. So I am stuck until I get the carb back from rebuilding and can get the old girl to start and run, and then off the trailer. Hopefully, that will be sometime late next week.

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It is Thursday. Sometimes it is two steps forward and ten backwards. Today was one of those days. Today was shock day.

A week ago I ordered KBR shocks based upon information I gleaned from several interchange parts list, which gave me the part numbers. With the numbers in hand I ordered them, planning to install them when I got the chance. Well, today was that chance.

It took me about two hours take off the backs, boy, everything was frozen solid, but got them off. Got ready to install the new shocks, and it was obvious that the mounting brackets were wrong. No good, wrong shock.

Undaunted I went to the front, pulled off the old one and compared it to the old one, looked like a match. Wrong, the little feet on the bottom of the shock were too short to be securely held in by the mounting bolts. So again, no good, wrong shock.

Now I am back to square one. Will head now to the local parts store to see what I can match up.

My rear shocks were adjustable, Gabriel 45244-7LB

My front shocks were Columbus HD 81582-106810

The shocks that did not fit were: KBR KG5507 Rear; KBR KG4550 Front

Here are some pics. I quit for the day.

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John

Now you are getting into the serious part of Avanti brakes, front calipers are usually get you old ones re-sleeved in stainless steel. The demand over the years has used up most every one on a shelf.

Just to help, from my Wagner-Lockheed brake catalog HU-700 (1961-73) pg 210;

1962-64 Avanti; Master cylinder Assy 44383; repair kit 39167.

Front caliper repair kit 46462;

Rear wheel cylinder Assy 3/4" Left 41451; right 41451; repair kit 8418;

Brake hose 11191.

Unless you are very lucky locally brake parts are best just ordered from someone like www.studebaker-intl.com 317-462-3124 who has them on the shelf.

The rear crossmember is available from Don Simmons as is complete exhaust system in stainless. 519-485-1966.

Stude8

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