Avanti R2, 1963, refresh

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Ernie, yes and no. It lugs down the engine, it will stumble, and then the revs will kick back up. The first time I did it, it banged into gear, the second time it actually was better and kinda slid in normally. I am just going to start it tomorrow, put it in drive and let it sit in Drive and come up to temp for a few minutes. I will try it again and come up with a better description of what is happening and when.

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You may have a band that's not releasing but I'm not a trans guy by any means. If it was a fuel or ignition issue you would think it would be the same for reverse and drive not more evident in reverse and less prevalent in drive.

I wonder if you put the rear wheels in the air and let it actually run in drive and reverse for awhile you might not unstick a few things. At least you can run through all 3 gears that way and get things spinning in reverse also without frightening the llamas!

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It is Wednesday, January 20th. Overcast and cold, 35 degrees, a little sleet last night.

But hope "springs" eternal. Took my trusty lawn chair out to the garage, sat down, looking things over in the engine bay and started thinking what could be the issue with the very rough transmission engagement. It just had to be something in the throttle linkage adjustment to the transmission. So got off my butt and started her up, and just by chance I pulled up a bit on the accelerator petal. All of a sudden the engine settled down to a nice idle at 650 rpm. I put it in Drive, and the engagement was smooth so just let it idle out to the top of the driveway. Then put it in N and the engine immediately went to 1600 rpm, so I pulled up the accelerator pedal again and she settled right down to 650 rpm. So put her in Reverse, she lugged just a bit, but went in smoothly. So it looks like the linkage is the problem.

I then decided to replace the two springs or new, heavier pull ones that I had. So did some measuring and cutting and made new springs with more tension than the ones I had on. That seemed to help a lot, but still you need to pull up just a bit on the accelerator pedal to get the idle to come back down.

So while I think now I have identified the problem. My plan is to get the car on jack stands and check the linkage from the top of the engine bay to the transmission. It must be dirty and sticking, which is causing the problem. I have no doubt that I could put it in Drive and go around the property, but the mud and muck is everywhere, and I do not trust it yet to go out on the street even though we live in the country. I would at least like to make a couple of loops around the driveway before I dare adventure down the road. Will wait for a nicer day.

So it looks like I have made some headway, I am not there yet, but getting closer. Maybe next I will report that we actually drove on the road.

I do have a used radiator shroud coming to replace the one that is broken; and I did buy a new transmission pressure tester on Ebay. So I will have a few things to do over the next couple of days.

Here are a couple of pics of the new springs and the ones that were replaced.



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Guest pfloro

Hello John:

I may have a possible reason why the engine stalls when shifting into reverse and not into drive. Automatics from the mid 50s on (?) boosted the line pressure to the hydraulic components which create reverse movement. I suspect this was done to prevent the clutch packs and/or bands from slipping. The increased pressure puts extra load on the transmission pump which in turn loads the engine a bit more. Since your engine is presently prone to stalling, this extra load in reverse may explain the stalling. Just a thought...

The jolt when shifting into reverse may also be caused by this pressure boost. If the transmission linkage is out of adjustment, line pressure may be higher @ idle. Shifting into gear will certainly cause a jolt not to mention the stress which is placed on the entire driveline. Ouch...!

As to the stalling situation: It seems as though the mixture is too lean. The idle speed is important but perhaps the idle mixture screws are set too lean. You might wish to turn them out 1/4 to 1/2 turn to enrichen the idle mixture. It's a quick & simple test. You may also have a vacuum leak which is causing or aggravating the problem. I've read that a quick way to check is to use a unlit propane torch. With the engine idling, open the valve & move the nozzle close to the intake to head interface as well as the carb to intake mount. If the engine speeds up, you have found a vacuum leak. The propane acts as to enrichen the mixture causing the speed up. In all honesty, I've never done this test because it worries me a little but I do think it's a safe test.

Your work is exciting to follow...


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John, this may be way too simple, but our Avanti and the Sky Hawk both had the linkage bent where it goes thru the floor. The new rubber helped, but just a slight bend-back cured my sticking PEDAL problem-might just glance down there too- was a cheap fix for mine. The Sky Hawk was also crooked where the pedal fastened to the floor because of a dented area. Don't know how that happened. John

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I've expeienced that same thing as John Byrd. There are lots of places on the Stude linkage that could cause the binding. The rod through the foor can be installed upside down or if the rubber boot is there it can catch on that.

Minor stuff...

I've found a little stronger sping on the valve cover hookup allows for a little weaker spring on the carb itself.

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Ernie and John, thanks for the insight on the linkage.

It is Thursday, January 21st. Waiting for another cold storm this afternoon, suppose to be snow and ice.

So headed out to the Avanti garage with the new/used radiator shroud and two new belts for the supercharger. As you might remember the current shroud has a huge chunk missing from the side of it. It was recommended that it be replace due to cooling capacity of the two core radiator. So I asked around and was offered a good used one for $40, so with $20 shipping, I now have a complete shroud for the radiator. It is in good shape and looks right for the age of the car. I could have gotten a NOS unit, but they are about $200 or so. This one will do nicely.

While the shroud was off I took the opportunity to install the two new supercharger belts. That idler pulley sure is tough to move, but figured out a way to compress it to its full travel. Full travel is necessary to get the belts on. What I did was to get a piece of rope (actually a llama lead), wrap it around the idler arm and pull up with all my might. This compressed the spring, and I was able to drape the rope (still under tension over the neck of the water expansion tank (yes I made sure that it was strong enough to hold the rope). While still holding the rope I was able to use the other hand to push the two belts over the pulley of the supercharger. Then just released the tension and I was done. The cost of the two belts plus shipping was about $70.

Not much more to do on the mechanical side of the engine bay, so thought I would start making it look a little less rugged. So pulled the top of the voltage regulator and am going to sand and paint it. It is all flaky and rusty so this will be a good start to cleaning up the bay. Besides I can do it inside the house.

Also picked up some fiberglass matting and resin; and some fiberglass Bondo filler so I can begin some body and hinge repairs when we get a couple of nice days. Cost was $34.

On the accounting side. The project costs to date, including the car, is $14, 919.





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It is Friday, January 22nd. Cold and sleeting, woke up to a half an inch on the ground. Schools closed and driving is not too good this morning.

I always try to do something on the Avanti every day, even if it is small. Today is one of those days. Took the paint peeling regulator cover off yesterday. I sanded, primed, and put on two coats of gloss black. Had it in front of the pellet stove all night and this morning it was nice and dry. So waited until the afternoon and put it on. Another clean and bright thing in the engine bay.

I will have to make a decision in the spring on what I am going to the engine bay in the short term. I know that when I get the car painted it will go back to the body color, which will probably be Avanti Red. When the car was painted green, the engine bay was painted flat black. The engine color was changed from black to red, and the fan from orange to black. I am sure the owner thought that it looked more modern.

In the short term (a couple of years at most) I do want to clean up the engine bay. Right now it is not very pretty. Especially bad is the flat black in the engine bay. It is flaking/peeling/pulling off. As you can see in the pictures it is a combo of red and black. So I think that I will repaint the engine bay flat black again. It will look better than red with the green exterior. Other reason is that the red paint is also peeling/flaking off. At least it will all be one color. The engine color is red, so I am just going to leave it as it is. I think I will pull the fan and paint it orange again. Other components such as the power steering pump, supercharger bracket, power brake vacuum unit will all be left semi-gloss black. My goal is to have a clean, but mostly original, engine bay.

I love Ebay....... Yesterday, I was able to get a lightly used deluxe transmission pressure gauge by Matco Tools for a total price of $50. I will use the gauge to check and adjust the transmission pressure at idle. I will let you all know what I find out when I do the check.

I also picked up a bottle of Lucas Transmission Fix. The bottle says that it stops slip, cleans and lubricates sticking valves for proper shifting, and completely stops most seal leaks. I have always had much success with Lucas products so will try it. It should help the tranny after sitting for so long, and I am sure that it is all gummed up. I do plan on replacing the transmission fluid in the spring. However, it does look like it has been serviced as the pan was clean, and I could see the cork gasket, which was also clean and fresh looking.

Here are some pictures.






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It is Saturday, January 23. Cool, but a nice day to work on the Avanti.

Spent a few hours today checking and cleaning. I checked the timing again after it was warmed up, it was fine at 4 degrees at 650 rpm and 24 degrees at 1600 rpm. Also checked the throttle/transmission linkage spacing with a correct size drill, it was still way too large of gap so made sure this time that it was set correctly at 17/64 inch. I also adjusted the idle and made sure that we were consistent at about 650 rpm at idle with the vacuum line attached. In gear it drops to about 600 so bumped it up a bit so now I seem to run about 750 rpm in N. Seems to be fine, I drop into D and R just fine now, no clunking or stalling. I also put in the pint of Lucas Transmission Fix. I drove forwards and backwards several time, actually like 20 times, to make sure that that we were shifting and moving OK. Everything seems great.

I also took the time to remove two old Rhode Island registration stickers. One from 72 and the other from 74. One interesting note. On the back of each of them, written in light pencil, was the mileage at the time of issue. The 1972 said 42,989, the 1974 one said 43,271. When I bought the car the owner told me that 44,070 was the original mileage. I am starting to think that I do have a 44K, and not a 144K car. One would be hard pressed to drive a car 140K in 9 years (new until 1972). To my knowledge I am the 4th owner of the car.

Finally, decided to put on the 1963 VA license plate. Seems fitting now that I am so close to getting the car back on the road.

Hopefully tomorrow it will be warm enough to mount the new rear view mirror. I am going to keep the lower mounting stud, but am going to mount the new mirror up high so it is more useful.






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It is Sunday, January 24th. Cold with lots of rain, up to 3 inches expected today.

Thanks goodness for the Avanti garage. It was nice and dry inside the temporary garage that we set up last month. So I decided to do a couple of little things just to get something done.

First order of business was to put on the new rear view mirror "button" near the top of the glass. Followed the instructions to the letter, but when I went to put on the mirror itself I popped off the tab. Fortunately there was enough cleaner/activator and glue to attach it again. This time I am waiting until tomorrow to put on the mirror.

I thought that it might be too cold inside the car for the button glue to cure quickly, so started up the car and let it warm up. Turned on the blower fan for really the first time (other than a few weeks ago just to see if it worked), and let her run. It is a little noisy and certainly slower than a new fan. But it seemed to work OK, the interior of the car got nice and toasty. So put on the button and then went to the engine bay to see if there was a oil port on the blower motor itself. I went to feel the motor and it was HOT, not warm as I expected it would be. I could not keep my fingers on it. So turned it off. I guess my next part search is the blower motor. And it looks to be a sealed unit, nothing to oil.

On a very positive note the car starts easily and runs great. I am getting very little oil smoke at start-up now. The car just needs to be run. I do plan to change oil again in a couple of weeks. It is black already from it first oil change a couple of months ago. It maybe has four hours running time.

No pictures today, nothing much to see.

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Ben, thanks. Glad you are still enjoying it even if things are starting to slow down.

It is Monday, January 25th. What a rain storm last night. It was coming down so hard it sounded like a freight train on the roof and windows. This was the same storm that hit CA and AZ a few days ago. By this morning it had gone, and we are left with blue skies and a temp of 62 degrees. We had a total of four inches in 12 hours. Sure glad that it was not cold enough to snow.

Decided to just do a couple of things on the Avanti. I got a note from a friend/mechanic and he said to drill a small hole in the end of the heater blower motor and put some oil in the sealed bearing. So figuring what the heck I drilled a small hole in the housing to the bearing. I made sure that I got all the debris out of it before I started the blower. So started the blower on low, and put in a few drops of light oil. The motor instantly picked up rpm. I let her run on low for about 5 minutes, the motor stayed cool. So then put it on high and let her run for about 15 minutes. I added a few more drops of oil, and she continued to pick up rpm and become less and less clattery. The motor was warm, but I could hold my hand on it. So it looks like this is a success for now. I will look for a spare motor over the next few months.

I then put on the rear view mirror, looks good. Made some adjustments, and of course, it came off in my hand. So tomorrow will pick up some adhesive, the stuff I had must have been old, surely it could not have been me!

Finally, I put some heat shrink tubing around the exposed wiring for the brake light switch connector. Looks better than the exposed connector. Then I did some cleaning of the interior and started putting back the console panels that I removed when I was playing with the wiring under the dash.

I did notice that the gas gauge has stopped working. Got under the dash, and the wires are still hooked up, so I may have a intermittent problem in the tank sending unit. Not a big deal right now.

This will be my last post for a week or more. We are heading out of town. We are going to visit another Avanti owner so will be able to do some "talking". Will take some pics of his car and post them when I return.

Here are some pics of today's activity.





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That rear view mirror looks about 3 times bigger than the original Studebaker mirror, that might affect how long the adhesive bond lasts. Be sure to clean the glass with lacquer thinner before the bonding operation. Old cigar smoke residue is tough to eliminate.


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It is Wednesday, February 3rd. We arrived back from Seattle just as the snow started to fall, made it home OK as the roads were blanketed with a couple of inches of snow. Always a great sight with everything covered in white. Woke up this morning with a good 8 inches on the ground. I did check on the Avanti and told her that we were back home.

In Seattle we met up with friends and set out to eastern Washington to see another Avanti. So up in the mountains we went and met Bill and Liz. They have a wonderful home in the Cascade mountains. Bill purchased his R1 in April of last year. He has been sorting out a few minor issues, but the car was in great shape. Right now he is focusing on preparing the body for paint. The car still has its original running gear and most of the interior. The front seats have been recovered. Bill is planning to put in new carpet. The car was originally Avanti Gray and will be going back to that color.

Here are a few pics that I took of Bill's Avanti.

What is next for the Green Hornet, well I am going to remove the battery and start work on the hinge attachment point, and I also plan to continue to clean up the engine bay and do some minor painting touch up to make the bay just a bit more presentable. I am not going to over do it. I like the look of a "used" and running engine.

PS: I have heard that a great fellow named Andy is procrastinating buying his first Studebaker. So Andy, life is passing you by, suck it up and get that beater and slowly bring it back to life. It is a great journey.








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It is Friday, February 5th. The super snow storm.

I have received several e-mails wondering what is up. It seems that a bunch of folks check in every day and are concerned when I do not have a new entry. I try not to bore folks, so really want to post only when I do something on the Avanti. But I guess that today is an exception.

For the past couple of days the weather forecasters have been predicting a massive storm heading our way. So Alice and I have been getting the farm ready to stand the assault. We had to make sure that the barns were all clean and tidy, we had enough hay and feed for the llamas and ducks, and we had enough wood pellets, propane, gas, and food to keep us at least a week, maybe more. The snow storm was suppose to be bad.

Well, now it is here, and it is bad, real bad. It started this morning with a light snow around 9 AM. We were in town, getting gas and food. When we got home around 10:30 AM it was just getting started. I took my first pic.

It has been snowing lightly and then hard, then very hard with wind for several hours now. I did snap a second pic about 5 PM, just before the heavy snow started to come down.

I have been out to the Avanti garage a couple of times now and have knocked the snow off the top of the garage. So far, everything is OK.

Right now the snow depth is about 12 inches, up to my calf. By this time tomorrow it is suppose to be around 36 inches, up to my waist. Now that is deep. With the wind we could see 60 inches in drifts. They are calling this the super storm and could be the worst storm or near it since records have been kept (back into the 1700s or before).

The snow is not suppose to pass us until late Saturday, around 11 PM. Looks like we will try to start to dig out on Sunday. I am sure that I will not be able to plow our driveway as it has fences on both sides, just no where to move the snow to. So my plan is to go across one of the pastures where we have a gate to the next door property. I hope my neighbor, with one of his huge farm tractors, will plow his road to the street.

So here are the two pics. Will post tomorrow AM and PM to show what is happening. Looks like the Avanti is garage bound for the next couple of weeks. I was looking forward to driving it on the road for the first time. Oh well, spring cannot be too far away.



Edited by unimogjohn (see edit history)

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It is Saturday, February 6th. Finally, the snow has stopped.

We got hammered, 23 inches on the flat, and most other places over 30. Drifts are over four to five feet. Lost power last night about 2 AM, and it is still out at almost 6 PM. We ran a kerosene heater for most of the day, and then got a generator going about 4, so now we have lights, pellet stove, refer, one computer. On dial-up for a computer connection as BB is down and so is the TV. The dish is under snow so it does not matter. Only thing we are missing is water to flush.

The Avanti garage got hit with a huge limb, it is bent, but still holding. A couple of the supports are bent from the weight of the snow and limb. I cleared off most of the snow, but the limb is pushing down on the top of the garage. I think it will hold.

I tried to plow with the little Kubota tractor for a while and got a little patch done so at least one of the llama could get out of the barn. It is going to take days to dig out. Will send pics when we get power back on.

Oh, had to use the unimog to drive over the snow so we had paths to follow otherwise it is quite a slog to move around.

Here is at least a couple of pics. Hope we get power tomorrow, but we do have enough fuel for a couple of days.





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Ray, we have ten years of llama fiber in the room over the garage. Want a sample? Alice does give some of it away to local spinner and visitors to the farm. She assures me that "someday" she will do something with it.

It is Monday, February 8th. The power came on last night, 43 hours without power. We maxed out at an average of 30 inches. Took almost two days for us to dig out. Today we were out with the tractor trying to help other dig out of their farms. We had a neighbor come over with his snowblower and helped us, so we wanted to return the favor.

Now for the bad news, another storm is coming and will hit tomorrow mid afternoon. I am afraid that the Avanti garage cannot take much more. The tree limb is pressing down on the roof, not enough to crush it, but they are predicting at least another 20 inches of snow tomorrow and Wednesday. So we have decided to move the Avanti out of the garage and into a cleared area. We will put on the hood and two covers. It may be out in the snow, but will not be damaged by the falling garage.

Looks like we will be without power again, the lines are just being broken by falling trees. So will sign off for a few days.

Here is what northern VA looks like under three feet of snow.











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I have enjoyed following your restoration. I admire your willingness to work under such adverse conditions.!!

My garage will sometimes go below 60 degrees, and I have no interest in working at that temperature. The thought of working in your conditions is the reason I moved to So Calif...!

However, I love your car and your spirit. Keep up the good work...

Thought you might like to see what people in So Calif do with their llama by products...... It might be your future...!

Llama Brew - Home

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Don, thanks, never saw that before, we do sell the llama "beans" and we use it too. It is great stuff, does not burn.

It is Wednesday, February 10th. Round two, another storm. Well, we pulled out the Avanti, but not all the way. It is the last 1/3 of the garage that was taking the brunt of the weight from the tree. So I worked an hour or so with the tractor and had the front and the side all cleared of snow. Ready to drive her out. Not! She started OK, but after about 30 seconds, she died, and I could not get her going again. So put on a tow strap and pulled her out a bit. We then put in two pieces of lumber to support the top ridge where it was taking the tree load. It was getting dark and snowing, so we were done, and left to see what the morning would bring.

In the morning the wind was howling, over 40 mph, a blizzard; and 6 more inches of snow. But the Avanti garage held her own, and we made it through another storm.

I also noticed that a fuel fitting is leaking on the pump, so that is just another little thing to do when it warms up.

Once the snow melts we will remove the branches and make repairs to the garage. I have taken pics of the damage for you. It is going to take a few weeks for this snow to melt, we got about three feet in places, drifts are 4 to 5 feet.

Oh, that is Alice rolling in the snow with Shadow, and Duey the duck. I think we are getting cabin fever.









Edited by unimogjohn (see edit history)

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I've really enjoyed reading through your experiences with your Avanti. I've been struggling to get my '63 R2 Avanti running properly for quite a while, and had lost some interest in it because it hasn't been enjoyable to drive.

I'm encouraged by your progress, and am planning to get moving again on my own project.

I know you haven't driven your car much yet, but so far, have you been happy with the quality of the carburetor rebuild?

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It is Wednesday, February 17th.

BJ, glad that you are enjoying the blog. Sorry that I have not been able to do to much on the Avanti over the past couple of weeks. Just too much snow and very cold. We still have over two feet on the ground, and our temps are 20 or more degrees below normal. I do go out and start it every day, I just love the sound of the engine. As soon as the snow melts, and we have a nice day, it will be on the road for a good test drive.

Dave T. rebuilt my carb and distributor. Both were is really bad condition. I am very happy with both rebuilds. My carb problem is with the throttle linkage, I believe that it needs to come apart, be cleaned and lubed. To do that I have to jack up the car, disconnect it from the tranny, engine, and its mounting on the rear of the engine. I think that once it is cleaned and lubed, it will operate easily, and I can go to lesser hard springs on the return. Right now the spring are so heavy (and need to be to get it to return to idle without sticking) that the throttle rod on the carb is being pushed out of shape. While this is not a big issue in the short term, it will cause major wear problems in the long term. So I have to get the linkage fixed.

As a little update, Studebaker Intl, has a sale going on of some parts that should be refreshed, so ordered a few things, and they should be here in a couple of days. They are more appearance items, so will post the before and after when they come in and I can install them.

Hope that you will be able get back started on your Avanti. Post some pics here too. I am sure that those following the thread would enjoy seeing it and what you are up to.

Here are just a couple before and after pics of the carb.



Edited by unimogjohn (see edit history)

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