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I am looking at buying a 1929 Studebaker on Monday. Having never owned a Stude nor a car as old as this, is there anything specific that I need to look at or for?

 

Things that I need to be aware of or questions to ask?

 

Things that might be deal breakers?

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Which model is it? It's actually a hearse, but I believe it is built on a dictator chassis

 

Does it run? Yes it does. Though he did say that he has not driven it consistently in about 4 years. He takes it out of the garage each month and cranks it up. He said every once in a while he would drive it around town for a few minutes that put it away till the next month.

 

What is the condition? It looks to be in pretty good shape.

 

Do you have pictures? I'll have to get some.

 

From what I can tell be the pics, Everything is there and it does run. I know that I will be repainting it as I don't like the current color and will replace the interior. The other stuff that I am not sure about until I see it in person is I believe things like the interior window cranks are yellowed and knobs are as well.

Also, What kind of gear shifting is required? I know how model A's start with a start pedal and such is it something similar?

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Thank you starlightcoupe

 

You have definitely given me some good info and I'll be doing some inspecting after the care is delivered hopefully by the first of the week.

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The original technical information doesn't mention the possibility of the gauge fluid evaporating. I'm sure they never expected them to last this long. After seventy or eighty years this is entirely possible. Unless you can detect any obvious breaches in the air tube from the tank to the dash, the first thing I would do is correctly replenish the King-Seeley fluid in the dash unit. It's possible that may be all that's required.

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Is the fluid readily available? Can it only be ordered online are are there any places that might carry it?

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What kind of oil can I use on the Speedometer to get it freed up?

 

Also, are there any good books and reference material that I can use to go over the engine? I know that these engines have leakage, but I'm not sure how much is acceptable. Also when my car arrives and I was told Sunday or Monday, Can I pressure wash the engine to get all of the old oil off and see what oil I do see after driving it a little.

 

Also, what kind of gas is acceptable in these engines? The guy I bought it from tries to put premium in it but going up in octane doesn't compensate for no lead in the gas.

 

Also, he said the oil will need to be changed so what kind of oil is suitable for it?

 

Sorry for these questions...I'm not a gearhead and I can't find answers to these questions. I guess most people know these answers.  Anyway, I'm getting excited about the arrival.

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Can't help you on the speedometer.

I would spray the engine down with Gunk de-greaser or similar grease cutter and let it soak in for a while before pressure washing. Years ago I soaked mine with diesel fuel for several weeks but that is not considered environmentally friendly )it also softens undercoating).

I've used nothing but regular gas in my '33 for the past quarter century, but I always add a few ounces of Marvel Mystery Oil to every ten gallons; the Rotella-T 15W40 diesel oil is also what I've been using in every old engine. And, unless it's been added, you probably have no oil filter. Nothing wrong with that; they made them that way for many decades.

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Thirties ford suppliers have the King Seeley fluid.  One of the easiest to find and most reasonably priced as King Seeley was used in fords in the mid thirties.  Without a doubt the largest user in the world.

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I don't know the speedometer in your car. But in mine, 1930 Dodge, the body is die cast and it swells with age as the zinc in it oxidises. That causes it to nip up on the drive (i.e. squeezing it). The first thing that happens is wild movements in the needle, then the cable breaks. No oil can fix it.

 

I have spent hours trying to get Brasso in there (a mild abrasive) and turning it with an electric drill (using a nail filed to fit the drive). I have got tired of that with little progress and am at an impasse.

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That is pretty much a shot of my dash gauges. I had to lube my speedo right at where the shaft that drives the number wheel comes though. I used a light oil but I don't remember which. I used Vaseline first on the speedo cable but was chasing a noise and then used a heavier grease. I may have to clean it off and go back to Vaseline. 

 

I took the fuel gauge out and cleaned it very carefully with acetone making sure not to get it on the number plate. I then used rubbing alcohol and a little air to make sure everything was open. I put in the King-Seeley fluid. Since I cleaned out and lined the gas tank I checked the sending unit to make sure it was not plugged and it was not. I damaged the fuel and gauge lines getting the tank out. They cracked right in the bend. I cut them off and placed gas line hose all of the way to the tank unit. I am still not showing quite full when it is full and need to add a couple of drops of fluid to it. Other than that it works pretty good. 

 

I am jealous of finding a 29 hearse, my boy would love to have it. Put up pictures soon.

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Edited by keninman
Added pictures (see edit history)

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16 minutes ago, keninman said:

That is pretty much a shot of my dash gauges. I had to lube my speedo right at where the shaft that drives the number wheel comes though. I used a light oil but I don't remember which. I used Vaseline first on the speedo cable but was chasing a noise and then used a heavier grease. I may have to clean it off and go back to Vaseline. 

 

I took the fuel gauge out and cleaned it very carefully with acetone making sure not to get it on the number plate. I then used rubbing alcohol and a little air to make sure everything was open. I put in the King-Seeley fluid. Since I cleaned out and lined the gas tank I checked the sending unit to make sure it was not plugged and it was not. I damaged the fuel and gauge lines getting the tank out. They cracked right in the bend. I cut them off and placed gas line hose all of the way to the tank unit. I am still not showing quite full when it is full and need to add a couple of drops of fluid to it. Other than that it works pretty good. 

 

I am jealous of finding a 29 hearse, my boy would love to have it. Put up pictures soon.

 

Here you go. It's suppose to be delivered on Sunday or Monday barring Irma.

 

From what I saw when I went to look at it on Monday was there was not any rust on it except the exhaust. Hopefully you guys see the same thing. I'm going to degrease the engine and run it some and see what kind of oil leakage there is. From what I understand some oil leakage is acceptable. So I need to see how much there is and compare it to acceptable once someone tells me what acceptable is. 

 

I have some manuals coming on Tuesday (hopefully), but did the dash gauges come out easy? on the speedo, the shaft that you are referring to is it at the dash or at the transmission?

 

Where did you get your King-Seeley fluid from? and how did you get the alcohol out before putting it in? Where did you get the lining for the gas tank and the new fuel lines?

 

And lastly, where are you located?

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Edited by kclark (see edit history)

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In another post here I placed some shots of my GL engine and the GE engine from a 28 Dictator. Yours looks like the 28-29, the carb is angled and your steering box is farther forward than mine. Your gauges are white like the 28 and your choke and map lights are like the pics I found of the 28-29. My GL also does not have a differential brake. Yours also lacks the tri-louvers of the 29-30 Dictator. The experts here can say much better than I but if I were to hazard a guess I would say it's a 28-29 President converted into a funeral coach. Post your body number and frame tag number and someone will tell you exactly what it is. 

 

I am near Indianapolis Indiana and if you look at the tags on your generator, distributor and starter I bet they will say Anderson Ind.  I live about 20 miles from where they were made. I bought my 29-30 Dictator Six earlier this summer from an elderly gentleman in Michigan. I have been putting photos of what I have been up to in a FaceBook album here

Edited by keninman (see edit history)

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As soon as the vehicle arrives I will be looking at the body number again. It looks identical though to a 1929 Studebaker Dictator 8 Hearse that is in the National Funeral History Museum in Houston, TX. I have been corresponding with them. My interior looks a lot better than the museum IMHO.

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Lovely hearse.  I see the brackets for the flower racks.  It sure would be nice if you also had the racks.  Good Luck.

 

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I wish I had those too. I do woodworking as well so I may be turning some of those out in the future.

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A couple of words of advice about the inside door handles, do not use them to close the doors or you will soon have broken ones. Also the carburetor breaks like glass. 

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19 minutes ago, keninman said:

A couple of words of advice about the inside door handles, do not use them to close the doors or you will soon have broken ones. Also the carburetor breaks like glass. 

 

On the 2 back side doors, the inside door handles just spin. So I'm assuming that they have come undone inside the door. How hard is it to pull the inside panel off to fix the handles?

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2 hours ago, keninman said:

... if I were to hazard a guess I would say it's a 28-29 President converted into a funeral coach.

Any 28-29 President would be an eight cylinder.

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And not sure if there is a difference in how they were made but the guy I bought it from has had it for 20+ years and he bought it from a guy that bought it in the 60's. The guy is still around as he knew it was for sale and wanted to know where it wound up. But anyway, he was suppose to have gotten it out of Canada so it may have been built in Canada. So I'm not sure (some of the more experienced and knowledgeable may know) if the U.S. built and the Canada built differed any.

 

I would like to find out who bought it in the 60s so as to get any other info on the history of the car. I know he lives in or right around Detroit.

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37 minutes ago, kclark said:

 

On the 2 back side doors, the inside door handles just spin. So I'm assuming that they have come undone inside the door. How hard is it to pull the inside panel off to fix the handles?

I don't know, I have not tried. I did buy the special wrench to unscrew them but have not tried yet. I have two missing door handles. I am using vice grips for one. Another is broken off but still works and one that is intact and works. They seem to be made out of the same die cast as the carburetor. 

 

Could it be a modified Commander GJ Six? What gets me is the tie bar with the "6" in it. Like the GL Dictator it came in both the 6 and 8 cylinder versions. 

Image result for 1929 studebaker commander six

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