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Avanti R2, 1963, refresh


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Thanks for the info John. It would not have been good if that spring had come apart at any speed.

Still Sunday. David Coco, trimacar on this forum, sent me a pic. Here is what he said. "How about a picture of Greg working? Drilling and tapping holes for top fasteners on rail for 1907 Autocar."

So here is a pic of Greg hard at work.

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It is Monday, August 12th, PM. If I was a mechanic working in a shop I would be fired. I worked over three hours and accomplished very little. All I wanted to do is remove the rear end of the spring from its shackle mount.

The nut came off with some Kroil and a significant amount of twisting with the breaker bar and long extension to get some more leverage. That done I figured it would be easy to take a long steel rod and my trusty sledge hammer to push the bolt out of the spring bushing. Not! No amount of beating could I that bolt to budge. Ah, an idea. Why not take my air hammer with a point edge and hammer out the bolt. So with 150 lbs of air pressure managed to get it to budge maybe a quarter of an inch. Then the air hammer gave up. OK, at least now I have enough room to use my air grinder to cut the bolt on each end to get the spring to drop. Well, got one side cut, and then the grinding disc was done. And guess what, no more discs. So I am done for the day.

If the rear is this hard I can only imagine what the front is going to be like.

On the good side, the top part of the shackle was evidently frozen tight. My banging and twisting dislodged it so it is now working.

And I paid for the springs last night so they will be on their way from NC today. Oh, Greg is not happy with me putting in a used spring. I am sure at some point I will get a "told you so" moment.

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The front is usually less problematic due to the various oil leaks. At the rear you have further the projection of water and mud which is rarely a positive factor for bolts.

The Biarritz I restored several years ago was a rust nightmare for the body. The frame was in a very good condition and I could remove the rear axle without problem. One leave was also broken so I had to buy a set of new springs.

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Tuesday morning, August 13th. Raining hard so will be heading off to see if I can find some U bolts and rubber cushions for the Avanti spring. Also going to pick up 3 gallons of Dextron auto transmission fluid as am going to change the transmission fluid when I get it back on all four wheels.

But, for your morning coffee, I have a Greg report.

"Been cramming in work on the Avanti and other things.

The next project on 5054 will be the installation of the rear quarter interior panels so that I can install that back glass. Photo of the initial stages of the upholstery pieces. My upholstery work never suits me.

Somewhat of an interruption of that project is the Harvester. In order to get it ready for the Ford museum meet in September it needed some work. Sunday a gaggle of us retrieved it from Burchill's. It was a nice event that included Frank Gable (with truck and trailer) and old friends Bob Metz and Phil Ritter who served as wingmen. A nice visit with Rob and Mike , Stoddard and Harvester traded places and we got in late. Boy's day out.

Now to get some things done on the old Termite Transfer. A component that's always been missing during my watch is the seat bottom, the panel that keeps your seat cushion and behind from falling into the spinning flywheel. I'm beginning a search for a sample in order to make a correct replacement. It should be the same for the '12 and up autowagons. If you know of any let me know.

There evidently is a small wooden tool tray under there too. I've got enough remnants to get that done.

That's about the latest."

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Still Tuesday, PM. Picked up the transmission fluid, ordered the U bolts, and bought the little cut off wheels.

Then got home and was able to cut the bolt for the rear shackle and the spring dropped. It's free!

Started attempting to get the front shackle undone. No go. No amount of twisting, cussing, etc could I get the bolt to budge let alone undone. I sent a note off to Wayne to see if he had a better air impact wrench than mine. I even put a jack under the breaker bar that was on the bolt. Nothing moved.

And to top it off there is absolutely no room between the frame and the nut to get a wrench on it. The bracket is totally locked in.

My plan now is to apply some heat to see if I can get some movement out of the bolt. If that does not work then I am going to have to cut it out.

And I am still having fun. I think.

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It is Wednesday, August 14th. No springs yet, maybe tomorrow. I did get down to Carquest and picked up the U bolts. They were a perfect match, $18 for the two.

I did talk to Wayne today. He has a commercial air impact gun that I can try. He recommended burning out the rubber or at least getting it really warm to break the bond of the rust. So will try that tomorrow. Will have the fire extinguisher at hand.

I am also going to take a wrench and thin down the head so I can get it on the bolt. I did see that Chris said that the body was put over the complete frame with running gear so no wonder the Studebaker installers had no problem in putting on the springs.

Still on the hunt for spring rubbers, but I know that Studebaker International has them. Not going to order until I get the spring to see if I also have to order bushings for them.

Here are pics of the U bolts and the shackle nut, and how close it is to the frame rail.

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Edited by unimogjohn (see edit history)
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Chris, pics are there now. Had trouble loading them. Our broadband has been up and down, and very sloooooooooow today.

If mine are frozen, yours must be like rocks. I would be scared to even look at them.

Oh, and I ordered a set of rear leaf pads that are poly, not rubber. So after I get the bad side done, I will replace the other side with the new pads just to keep everything balanced. I am sure I will have to order some more U bolts. But being an optimist I will start soaking the nuts with Kroil and use the little Dremel and wire brush to clean up the threads to see if I can save them.

Edited by unimogjohn
ordered new pads for both sides (see edit history)
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It is Thursday, August 15th. Today I thought that I would try "fire". Well, a lot of smoke and burning rubber but no movement with my impact gun. While it was still hot I sprayed in some Kroil and it was sucked into the shackle. I will let it sit and see if I can detect any movement. Will try again in about an hour.

I am still faced with getting a wrench on the back bolt if I can get it to turn. The Italians to the rescue.

In high school, some 50 years ago, I had a Fiat 600. Love the little car as it got almost 50 mpg on the freeway, about 35 in town. Gas was a whopping, 35 cents. I could go anywhere. I drove it for a couple of years and then traded up to a 1959 Austin Healy Sprite.

To the present. In my tool chest I still have a Fiat branded wrench from that car. It is 17 mm, and it fits the 11/16 nut. It is also a very skinny wrench, and I can get in on that bolt if it turns just a smidgen.

Tomorrow morning will pick up the commercial impact gun from Wayne. If that does not work, then it is cutting time.

Here are pics of the leaf spring pads, the Fiat wrench, and a Fiat 600 like the one I had.

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When I did my rear springs I just automatically cut the bolts off. From past experience I've never been able to get the bolt out of the bushing.

If it's any consolation the new rear springs will make a very noticeable and positive difference in the way your car rides. I've never had the occasion to drive another Studebaker Avanti other than my own but I will say that once the rear springs, shocks and all bushings front and rear were replaced the car was as comfortable as any touring sedan could be. I'm sure the sound deadening and sealing I did helped but the Avanti can be an extremely comfortable cruiser.

I'm sure you will feel the rear springs, no matter how frustrating, were a worthwhile project.

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Ernie - you are a font of knowledge on these Avantis (I'm not being facetious here). I have to ask, though, why in the world did you ever sell that '64? I believe they would have to bury me in mine if mine was ever as nice as yours! ;)

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Ernie - you are a font of knowledge on these Avantis (I'm not being facetious here). I have to ask, though, why in the world did you ever sell that '64? I believe they would have to bury me in mine if mine was ever as nice as yours! ;)

I thought I would never sell it either. Without going into detail I needed the money. I sold the 64, an 88, my highly modified El Camino, a 1962 Mercury Meteor S33, a Hemi Magnum and believe it or not my favorite of the bunch a Tuxedo Black 2002 Thunderbird,

That being said the Avanti wore me out and the reason I have the knowledge I have is I spent about 5 years working on that car without the benefit of the Internet. I did things two and three times which usually meant two and three times the cost.

My biggest disappointment was the interior kit that I purchased. The color began to come off within months and in some places while it was being installed, by me, BTW. So I had this new interior which took me months to put in including recovering the seats and it almost instantly looked worn. The vendor was not willing to do anything for me and the total cost of the interior was around $2500 in 1997. I had the door panels cleared along with the side panels in the rear to protect them from further deterioration and the back seat was never used so I cleaned it carefully but the front seats needed to be re-done.

Then began the "Great Transmission Saga" as it became to be known which I won't bore you with here but let me give you a teaser when I tell you that I personally removed and replaced a transmission in that car 7 times. Conservative estimate on the cost of the transmission saga $8-9,000. It began with a cracked flexplate and ended with a high performance TCI 200 4R GM overdrive. The final chapter of the saga occured two months before it was sold. I would tell people that when I would go to the garage to take it out for a drive I would have to remember to get in it and not under it.

The new owner uses my Avanti as a daily driver and has publicly stated that the car is a great running Avanti and he had quite a collection for comparison with most of his cars including other Avantis and Studes with extremely low original miles. He finished off a couple of minor annoyances and still drives it two years later. He bought it based on pictures and when he saw it in person he had an odd look on his face and I thought he was disappointed. On the contrary he told me "he never thought the car would be this nice". The day it left it ran the way I had always wanted it to.

But, as you know, we do what we need to do.

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Ernie- I hope you are still online here and can answer a question for me if unimog doesn't mind. I have been going crazy with the brakes and now have a pedal that goes about half of travel then firms up and ends up firm at 2/3. Is that normal for an Avanti on original brakes? I honestly do not remember the feel of the pedal it has been so long and my buddy helper says that is about normal for a '60's car with vacuum boost but I think it should be better.

Thanks,

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Ernie- I hope you are still online here and can answer a question for me if unimog doesn't mind. I have been going crazy with the brakes and now have a pedal that goes about half of travel then firms up and ends up firm at 2/3. Is that normal for an Avanti on original brakes? I honestly do not remember the feel of the pedal it has been so long and my buddy helper says that is about normal for a '60's car with vacuum boost but I think it should be better.

Ist question would be are the brakes stopping as they should at 2/3? If so I would adjust the plunger a little. Try it 1/2 turn at a time. No need to disconect the brake lines just pull the master cylinder away from the booster far enough to get at the plunger. You may need to hold it with a plier in order to turn the adjuster.

My memory of the original setup was play about 1/4-1/3 before the brakes started to grab. I converted to a dual master early on after popping a seal on a caliper and losing my brakes on an off ramp! Then I went to Turner fronts and eventually Turner discs all way around. With those mods pedal travel increased some but no more than 1/2 way down.

The calipers are shimmed so they sit centered over the rotor?

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I certainly hope that Bill can find a fix to his brake issues. I want to see that Avanti back on the road. I am sure that with Ernie's help he will solve the riddle. Bill, keep us posted.

It is Friday, AM, August 16th. Heading off to Wayne's place in a few minutes to pick up that impact wrench. One way or another the spring is going to drop today.

But before I head out, here is Greg's report.

"Another great day here at the Hyde Manor. The weather has that hint of Hershey in the chill air. Hard to believe it's just around the corner. Where has that year gone?!

The day job is still the Wright V8 connecting rod death march. So far so good. Don't think I've cut anything too small yeat. Latest effort is to make some tooling to allow me to trim the side tapers with a milling cutter.

Avanti 5054? I've gotten the rear quarter upholstery panels ready to install.

The IHC? The whole time I've had it, it's had a soft cylinder. Noticeable when cranking, I was never sure which one of the two. Made a trip to Rob's last night to borrow his compression gauge. Today I made a fitting to adapt the gauge to my spark plug size.

Tonight I tried it out. Compression readings: cylinder #1 shows 45 lbs. cylinder #2 is 30.

The engine, having horizontal cylinders, is really prone to pumping oil into the cylinders, and I'm sure that typical to the period, has no oil control rings. All these years and without an overhaul hasn't been good to it. Now it tends to smoke out the exhaust until the accumulated oil in the cylinders burns out.

With the compression pressure readings I can now begin the search for the cause for the loss and decide what I can do about it.

I've removed the valve cage assemblies and they are soaking over night in solvent. I'll start by hand lapping the valves to their seats. Initial inspection shows them to be reasonably good as found. I'll also try lapping each cage to the block to make sure no pressure is leaking by their seats. Upon reinstallation I should perform another pressure check to see if there's any change.

What I'd really like to know is what the compression pressure is supposed to be. It isn't in any literature I've ever seen and don't know anyone whose recorded it.

Had a nice surprise after work today. A local aviator type dropped by to visit in his Piper Cub. Belting in to leave, he bid me come along for a tour of the neighborhood. A beautiful day and who was I to say no. About a half hour we cruised over Mosby's Confederacy, low humidity meant we could see forever. Temple, take in your trash can.

And of course tonight it was time to feed the flying squirrels. They are pretty unpredictable. Sometimes only one or two, times like tonight they fly in two at a time. Like flying chipmunks, they light and scoot around the back of the tree. I understand it's an evasive manoever to escape their owl predators. Anyway, tonight they were landing and scampering all over that tree. One, now two have little problem with taking a peanut from my fingers during the feeding frenzy. Chirping, squeeking, chasing each other, it gets pretty frantic.

Tonight I added a new wrinkle to their program. Peanut butter crackers. At first they were afraid of them. Finally one of them took a taste and decided to hold it down with it's paws and lick it. When the others, and there were at least five, started to crowd in on the action, it took it in it's mouth and scampered up the tree. The others were still leery of the things, but when another did the snatch and run with one, it didn't take the others long to cash in on them. Funny, seeing those little things dart up the tree with a mouth full. Wish there was some way to catch this on film.

Well, enough shop for today. Time to head up the stairs and sit down. I'm reading a book that involves some ancestors. Members of the 18th Virginia Cavalry. They've just held off the Federals trying to capture General Lee's wagon train as they were retreating from Gettysburg. A train of wagons containing wounded and materials that stretched for eighteen miles, they were trying to recross the Potomac River to the safety of the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia but a swollen river and the loss of their pontoon bridge to Federal raiders prevented that. Their backs to the wall and General Custer's troops bearing down on them .....it's time for another exciting chapter."

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Still Friday, but PM. The battle has been won, and I have the wounds to prove it.

Picked up the commercial grade impact wrench from Wayne. Also took a tour of his 64 Corvette. It is coming along. He has the engine compartment all done and the engine wired up. He has the dash in with all the wiring completed. It really looks nice. His plan is to have it running by the end of the weekend so he can move it around under its own power. He is tired to pushing it.

Got back to the farm, procrastinated on the Avanti, by changing the oil on the 02 Trailblazer. With that done and having no more excuses I put the impact gun on the bolt and with 155 psi backing me up, I hit the trigger. Nothing! The bolt just laughed. Now where is that cut off wheel.

The grinding wheels are thin enough to go between the bracket and the shackle. However, the grinder cannot get all the way through the bolt as the case hits on the fender, bracket, etc. So you have to move it around to get it to cut through the bolt. After about fifteen minutes of sparks flying, and moving a myriad of positions, the front bolt finally gave up.

Now on to the back, This is going to be easy as it looks to have more room. Not! The bolt is deeper in the bracket than the front and there is only one angle to get to it. And the shield on the grinder does not allow it to go deep enough into the bolt. So I got my little die grinder out, made a makeshift mount for the wheel and after much struggle the back bolt was cut through. The spring gave up and dropped to the floor.

So the removal of the spring saga is finished. Now, onward to the new install when the springs arrive. I have no doubt that the installation will not be easy.

Here are some pics. You can clearly see the broken main leaf. I inspected the break, and it is a very old one. It has been this way for a long, long time.

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Still Friday, still PM, but I am done with car stuff for the day.

While I was under the car I again see a big pool of blood from the power steering. So decided that I am going to renew the power steering system with a rebuilt pump and all new hoses. I called Lee Helm at Bob's Studebaker Parts to see if they had all the hoses. He said that he has them on the shelf. So sending a check tomorrow, $180 which includes shipping. I have heard that his quality and fit/finish is very good. I will have to talk to Greg as he just replaced all of his on the black Avanti. I think that I have to drop the steering if I am going to get everything tight.

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Wow John - looks like that was a workout. I got to thinking (uh oh) and I was wondering if the fact that the spring bolts and bushings being frozen may have caused that spring to break? I'm not sure how much "give" the bushing point has, if any. Like a pivot point, if it was frozen then it might have put extra tension on the spring and caused the break. Just pondering, really.

If I ever get around to doing mine I think I will soak the bushings and bolts repeatedly for a week or two with Kroil, then take the car out a do a series of "hole shots" to see if the Avanti power frees up the stuck bushings. Or maybe take it on a "cowpath" country road, bouncing up and down over bumps!

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Roger is right. I am going to put on copper anti-seize on the entire length of bolts when I install them. It might help the next guy. And Chris, I would bet you that you will end up cutting them off like I did.

I did check the movement of the upper spring shackle bolt on the rear of the car, it moves freely so at least it is not frozen.

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For the next group to remove their springs use a Sawzall the blade fits nicely inside the brackets and slices through the bolts easily. Might take a few blades but I had my springs out in a little over an hour. Sorry john, I need to visit your blog more often.

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Well, I finally had a good day in the shop! Momma is gone for the weekend so I could play all day and I did just that. I had put the old Avanti back on her feet last night but it was too late to test drive the brakes, so I did this AM. I took ErnieR's suggestion and question on the Avanti brakes. Yes, they were stopping at 2/3 travel so I adjusted the plunger on the booster about 1/2 turn longer total and now the pedal engages sooner so now they are fully working at about 1/2 travel. I may fool with them a little more but part of me says it is just getting used to the car again after three years. Tomorrow I will spend some time cleaning her up aso she can be seen in public. One project success!

Then I turned to the '31 Model A we are taking to the Glidden in three weeks. In ran like crap in June on tour for Marty Roth and did not finish the week. Even when I got home it was better with some tweaking of the timing but still breaking up on acceleration. I bit the bullet and got a new distributor body from Brattons since the distributor never seated well in the head. That order came in Friday so I rebuilt the distributor put it in and fired the old gal up. She took right off and the engine runs up and down nice and smooth now! I may road test it this evening since it is a spectacular 83 degree sunny day here. Success on project two! She too needs a good cleaning for the tour and now I think I will have time to adjust the brakes too.....

The only thing I could not fix on the A was the rotor/cap gap. All the wisdom out there says it should be .025 from rotor to contact on the cap. I have about .080-.100 by eyeball. It still runs, and has always had that kind of gap yet has run well for years with plenty of power, in wet , etc. Other than having a longer jump for the arc what does the distance affect, in any distributor? This thread made me look at my rear springs as I put the tires back on Friday and I see where I have shot bushings as well in the Avanti rear springs. I think will enjoy the car for the rest of this season and deal with that later, thanks John for finding more work for me!!

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If the bushing is rubber, the bolt is clamping the inner tube which is vulcanized to the rubber. There is no movement allowed. If the bolt is not tight for one reason or another, the inner tube is moving. creating nasty noises.

Ah well, so much for my theory. No "hole shots" for me!

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Well, some plans are made to be broken. Instead of testing the A I cleaned on the Avanti for a little bit and then, like Chris, I just couldn't ignore the Call of the Wild so to speak! I fired her up and took a short ride for the first time in a loong while and it felt great!! I definitely have to set up the carb after Dave T.'s rebuild but it was still great to drive the Avanti again! She is very hesitant upon accelerate then clears and erupts so you are suddenly cruising smoothly at about 60, is overloading when decelerating to almost stall and idles well but sounds very burbly, bubbly rich although no black fumes out back. I may have to test her more tomorrow.....:D , gotta get it right you know.

I will try to remember pics too,

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It is Monday, August 19th, AM. There will not be any Avanti or car projects for me for the next week. Heading off to Seattle to see family and friends. But before we leave I am going to head to the local old time hardware store and pick up a couple of grade 5 bolts for the new spring so I will have them when they arrive.

But we have a weekend report from Greg.

"A good and busy weekend. Avanti 5054: Good news and bad. I finished the interior quarter panels, began the installation. Careful alignment and piercing the mounting screw holes with an ice pick. I scored bullseyes with the existing holes in the body every time.

Decided to proceed with the gluing of the vinyl to the window openings. That's when things went South. Stuffed with cotton like they did it, the result was nothing but wrinkles. The upper part of the panels follow the roof line and form a concave. The vinyl doesn't.

It's nice to have a sample Avanti nearby. Those panels, done by Phantom, are beautifully wrinkle free. I remember at the time of installation that they were vinyl over foam.

A call to Trimacar Coco, it is a product called scrim backed foam. With the foam glued to the cardboard backing and the vinyl glued to it must be the trick. So the panels came back out, and I ripped them apart to wait until I find a source for the foam. I hope somewhat locally, hate to think I need to mail order a bunch of it for two panels,

The old Harvester also received some attention. I pulled apart the valves for inspection and touch-up. They didn't look bad, but that's why I need friends like Mitch. Today he interrupted his busy schedule to perform an emergency valve job. While not bad for ninety-nine year old equipment, they did show the seats to be out. I felt good trusting them to his capable hands.

Reground and lapped in, they are now ready to put them back in the engine. I feel better about them now. It will be interesting to see if they improve the compression pressure readings. Nice job and thanks Mitch until you're better paid.

I really wanted to visit the Kinzer, Pa engine show on Saturday, but you can't be everywhere. It would have been nice to see the running of their 1913 engine, a single cylinder of 52 thousand cubic inches putting out 14 thousand foot pounds of torque I'm told. Maybe next year.

Finished with a nice meal by Barbara, a good weekend."

= Here is the event that Greg missed, me too. I will have to put it on the calendar for a visit sometime soon. http://www.roughandtumble.org/

And here is the engine he wanted to see. Impressive to say the least.

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Edited by unimogjohn (see edit history)
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"A call to Trimacar Coco, it is a product called scrim backed foam. With the foam glued to the cardboard backing and the vinyl glued to it must be the trick. So the panels came back out, and I ripped them apart to wait until I find a source for the foam. I hope somewhat locally, hate to think I need to mail order a bunch of it for two panels"

I don't use it, but unfortunately know what it is (I say that because I tried to use it once on a friend's hot rod seat, and disaster soon followed, I'm just a cotton and horsehair kinda guy)....and don't have any of it....

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Still Monday, PM. Headed off to the hardware store and picked up the two grade 8 bolts and nuts for the two ends of the spring to secure it to the body. And in today's mail a little box came, which contained the poly pads for the springs to mount to the axle. They are from Prothane Motion Contol. They look great. I did a test fit on the old spring and they are an exact fit. Looks like they are double the thickness of my old worn out and smashed rubber pads. For future reference they are item 7-1708-BL, f-Body SPG PAD (multi) up/lr 68-69. And they are made in the USA. Still no sign of the FedEx truck with the leaf springs. We will be gone anyway so hopefully they will come during the week and will be waiting for me upon our return.

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It is Friday, August 23rd. We are still having a great time in the Seattle area. We visited Joe and Kathy (packick on the forums) and spent some time riding around in his great cars. My favorite is his 1951 Packard, but his 1955 Buick Century was nice too.

And here is a report from Greg to keep you all interested.

"Puttin' in time on the IHC. Don't remember if I checked in since my visit with Mitch. Derailed his Sunday to perform an emergency valvectomy. Nice looking job of refacing the valves, they didn't take much to clean up, and then the cage seats. They seemed to be out some, but he did the best he could with slightly worn guides. Lapped in by hand they looked very nice. He tried to talk me into the modern multi angled seats, but they've been the single 45 degree for ninety-nine years, not need to change now.

Monday I got them installed and adjusted the valves. There was enough room between the valve stem and the rocker arm to throw a cat through. Checking the IHC owner's manual I found that they were pretty fussy about the proper clearance. "No more than 1/32 inch clearance". I found a yardstick with thirty-seconds and got them pretty close.

Then I took another compression reading. I'd been disappointed with the 30 and 45 pounds that I had, so now after all this drama I'd gotten it up to 28 and 30. Trimacar referred to this as a deprovement. And as friend Lee said at lunch when I told him the progress...."Well, is there anything else you're going to fix?"

With all this moral support, I then Tuesday evening held my breath (expect the worst and you'll never be disappointed), hooked up the battery, turned on the gas, set the spark and throttle, turned on the switch and pulled the crank twice.

Despite our best efforts, it still ran.

Yesterday evening I pulled it out of the hangar and drove it around to the garden hose. Then I didn something to it I hadn't done in the near thirty years I've had it. Gave it a bath. Pulled it back in, turned it off and pulled the plug on the oil pan.

During lunch today, we did a minor glue repair to the seat frame. Whatever/whoever knocked the tool tray out of position had cracked the wood. Now for Scott to find time to repair the remnants of the tray. He's already brought some aged poplar from home.

Tonight was make the oil gauge operative. Clogged and choked with gummy oil, I defied the odds and dismantled the gauge to gain access to the inside of the glass tube. New cork and paper gaskets and it's once again in place on the oil pan.

In order to try to curtail some of the exhaust smoke, I'm going to a heavier motor oil.

A search for 50 wt non detergent led me to the airport. They still make Aeroshell 100, a non detergent mineral oil in 50 SAE weight. Now that it's in I'll try running it again. Another consideration if I keep the Aero oil is whether to add some ZDDP or STP. Aeroshell 100 contains no zinc, but then again the IHC doesn't have flat tappets. We'll see.

Avanti 5054? well, ordered parts (alternator pulley, rebuilt voltage regulator, stainless trunk release cable and a carb overhaul kit) came in and await. Haven't yet gotten any scrimback foam.

And something off topic.

Once upon a time when I worked for White Post Restorations, I saw an act of nature. A wasp was flying along and minding his own business when it was overtaken by another bug. This thing wrapped it's long legs around the wasp and flew away with it. Some time later I happened to see this critter and got a good look at it. Long legs, fly like head with large eyes, a snorkel like mouth, and smallish wings. At the time it was content to be held in my hand, then flew away. That was thirty years ago or more. Never knew what it was.

I hadn't seen one since and have always wondered about it. Yesterday I saw another here at Hyde Manor. A search of a Virginia bugs site finally answered that question.

It's a Robber Fly. Known for stalking and attacking other pests. Zooms in for the intercept, grabs them, then stops by a local branch to light with his catch and suck their insides out. Mother Nature, she's a ****."

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It is Monday, August 26th, and still on vacation in Seattle. But while I am playing, Greg is hard at work. Here is his report.

"Weekend Report: Nice weekend for International Harvesting. Scott had jumped on the restoration of the underseat tool tray for me. Saturday was get it painted and installed day.

Scott with his usual attention to detail had studied the remnants. Originally darkened with a black finish, it was evident that the divider did not come to the top, stopped short. This determined by the paint in the relief. He of course made it like the missing sample. Nail placement, etc. It wasn't until I went to install the thing that I understood why. The divider was abbreviated to allow the workman room for his screwdriver. I also have been working on bringing up the color of the varnish. We'll see what I can do.

Today was a good opportunity to drive to Rob's to borrow my Prestolite tank. Might try lighting the headlamps, they're acetylene fired. We'll see. Otherwise, I'm accumulating information on the missing seat bottom. Glenn made time to document the one on the Henry Ford Museum exhibit 1912 model. He took time from the EMF car that he's also trying to have done for the Old Car Festival. Complicating the project is that there don't seem to be any two alike. A lot of random board widths and panel sizes. I'd like to make mine as authentic as possible.

And so it goes. Tomorrow starts another week."

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It is Thursday, August 29th, AM and raining. Back from our little vacation to the Pacific NW. Had a good time, but good to be home. Arrived home to find no Avanti springs. Am communicating with the seller to see what is up. Bummer, this is really putting me behind.

But Greg is still moving ahead on getting his IH ready for the show in Dearborn, MI. Here is his exciting report.

"IHC R US.

Still working on the old Termite Trap. My valve job didn't give the results I'd like. We needed to move the IHC out of the hangar and repeated tries resulted in a no start and several of us pushing it around. Out came the valve cages again for a closer look.

Using the old trick of pouring some solvent into the assembled cages, three of the four leaked. After some head scratching and phone consultations, I tried mounting a bar in the lathe, turned it so that the cage would be a tight fit on it, and checked the runout of the angled valve seat. They were out from .003 to .007 thousandths indicated. I set the compound and then skimmed them with a lathe tool.

Lapping them in, another leakdown test showed improvement on all but one. Repeated lappings led me to think that a coarser compound would help. Try to find coarse valve grinding compound. A search of all the parts stores, I couldn't even find it in a catalog. A trip to Lee's, he had some.

So for two night's I worked on the cage seats and finally last night the solvent leakdown test showed them good enough to try in the engine. That will be tonight. The more I work on the cages, the more I cut the less there is of them.

Meanwhile, Scott has been helping ..

There is a panel beneath the seat cushion that I didn't get with the truck. He'd make it for me if I had a pattern. Making it proved to be the easy part. The pattern was the hard part.

The IHC isn't a rarity in the antique car world, lots of survivors. Getting a good pattern not a problem I thought, so I approached some friends who had access to various examples, even had Coco make me up a list of owners so that I could make some calls. My pleas for help worked out. People went out of their ways to collect dimensions and photos. the result was that there are no two alike. Really. The panels were made from scrap lumber. Few similarities. Made from slats nailed to a couple stringers, hardly any two slats were the same width. Of all the panels, slats could measure from less than 2" to over 12" and on the same panel.

I gave all the information to Scott and said for him to choose the example that he liked and that his stock of old poplar would provide. He had my seat bottom done in no time. Then not to be satisfied with that, he noticed that the panel on the side of the seat box was a different color. I explained that when I got it, there were only broken pieces and I'd made a replacement and left it unfinished but it had aged.

Mixing up some stain, he worked it in with an artist's skill. And as a final touch, since there are traces of the pinstriping left elsewhere, he took a felt marker and a lead pencil and ghosted them in too. "Not to lie", he says, "Just to blend it in". He's a good man and he's certainly leaving his mark on the fleet."

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It is Saturday, August 21st. Still waiting on the Avanti leaf spring. Did talk to the seller and he said that it was spent to NC by mistake. He promised that it would be here on Tuesday. Speaking of Tuesday, I will be getting the Suburban and trailer ready for Greg. He is going to leave on Thursday morning and wants to pick the truck up on Wednesday for the trip to Dearborn. I hope that some of you will get to see him and his International Harvester speedwagon. If you do, make sure you stop and say HI.

I also thought you might want to see this video. I did not know that a Jaguar 120 set a major speed record in Belgium in 1953, which has not been broken since then. Here is the link.

Car Video, Automotive News, Reviews and Crash Tests - MSN Autos

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Darn! I was going to ask you to haul my Avanti to the paint shop on Tuesday. I stopped by MAACO today and got a quote - supposed to pull the chrome off and get the car over there Tuesday. Of course I'll have the usual worries and trepidation about whether I'm doing the right thing, is the guy charging too much, should I make him sign the estimate as a firm quote, etc. etc.

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It is Sunday, Sept. 1st. Just got home from taking the 1923 McLaughlin Buick up into the mountains of Virginia. Every year a number of the neighbors have fall parties for the folks in the neighborhood. We were invited to such a party today. It was on the back roads, one lane gravel roads up into the hollows. It was close by, but it was still about five miles off the main road. We got lost and had to return home for more directions, but finally we made it.

The farm was high up on the mountain. It has been in the same family for seven generations. The house was built in 1820 replacing a cabin that was built in the 1700s. Quite a place and still a working farm. These are the Virginia mountain people.

So we had a pig roast and everyone brought food. More that everyone could eat. And we had a local band playing mountain music. Took some pics. We even got to try some moonshine, or "apple pie" as they called it. It was really good, and everyone had a mason jar full.

At dark we headed back down the mountain. It was really dark when we got home. The car ran great and did not miss a beat.

I am uploading a video of the band playing. It will be on Youtube in a few minutes. http://youtu.be/ceFZoqNybjI

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Edited by unimogjohn (see edit history)
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It is Monday PM, September 2nd. Took the Jaguar out for a nice run this afternoon. The concours is in two weeks so I have to start prepping in about a week or so. It is pretty much ready to go.

Off tomorrow morning to pick up Chris and his Avanti. Off to the paint shop we go.

And for your evening reading, Greg has a weekend report for us.

"It's been a good long weekend.

With the Harvester starting and running well, I found time to work on Avanti 5054. I need to get the quarter upholstery panels in, so thanks to Coco and White Post Restorations stock, I had some scrim back foam padding. My first tries at the job resulted in Wrinkle City, so I decided to stray from the cotton wadding that was originally used. By gluing the foam to the cardboard backing, gluing the vinyl to the foam, the vinyl had an idea of how to fit into a concavity. Saturday was spent trying to redo the panels, Sunday too. Multiple attempts glueing and fitting, but I finally got decent results. I'm just not as good as the guys who did it all day long at the factory. The panels get screwed and glued into place. I'll wait until the quarter vent windows are ready to go in to complete the stretching and gluing of the vinyl. Next I'll spend some time renewing the original cardboard headliners. The rear slides into place before the back window goes in.

As for the IHC, today I've got the side and tail lamps working with new wicks and the refilling of the fonts with kerosene.

Also working are the acetylene headlamps. The Prestolite tank borrowed from the Stoddard, It's temporarily mounted and plumbed into the original system.

Now the plan is to not fix anything that isn't broken. For some reason it's trailing oil smoke. I guess I can't blame it, but I don't like it. I'm NOT going to take it apart to check the rings, etc. I did try 50 weight oil with some snake oil ring seal, but that doesn't seem to make any difference. I just guess it is what it is.

Plans are to leave for Dearborn on Thursday."

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It is Tuesday, Sept. 3rd, PM. Got up early and headed over to pick up Chris and his Avanti. Loaded up and got the car to Maaco. We had an interesting unloading. I thought I told Chris to put on the emergency brake and he though I said to take it off. Sooooooooooooo, when I removed the front straps, the Avanti when to the races. Down the ramp with Chris in hot pursuit and me holding on to the end of the strap. Thank goodness that we were on the flat. Chris grabbed onto the fender well and it split. But within fifteen feet we had it stopped and we both looked at each other in total disbelief. Oh well, no real harm done. The fender was cracked, now it is just a bit bigger by a foot.

Anyway, it is in the shop and will be there for three weeks or more. The head painter, with 20 plus years of experience, came out and went over the car with Chris. And the owner was there too. I cannot fault their customer service or interest in the car. I left Chris talking with the owner.

Got home and got the Suburban hooked up to the big enclosed trailer, and it is ready for Greg to pick up.

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Edited by unimogjohn (see edit history)
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I am glad to see I am not the only one who chases cars off of trailers. MY 47 Buick 4 door was loaded and we were unloading it. I hit the winch and it came tightere. Thought I put it in reverse but in actuallity it was in freewheel. Off the car came with me in pursuit. I thought it would stop at the end of the cable but it just took all 100 ft of the cable and drug it. Thank goodness the wheel wasn't 100 % straight as it was headed for a downslope with kids and cars a a house at the end. As it was it ended up in the neighbors yard about 6 feet from the wall of their living room.

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