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SeventhSon

Avanti Rescue

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Time to get after this freeze plug situation. I threw a bucket under the radiator petcock and let it drain while I got under the back end of the car and attached the rubber fuel line from the tank to the fuel line. After finishing that the bucket was nearly full so I emptied it into a large plastic container and continued draining the radiator. After that finally stopped (a lot of coolant in this system!) I moved under the car and removed the block drain plug on the left side, poked a scratch awl through the crust and drained the block. It drained green coolant until the end, then the rusty water started coming out. I have a feeling I'm going to see a lot of rusty water in the next few days.

I tried the right side block drain plug but it rounded off. Of course. That would be too easy, to have both drain plugs come out with no trouble. Oh well, tomorrow's another day! I'll get it then....

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Hi Chris, another one of your kin here and I am very relieved to see that your friends here have convinced you to give those freeze plugs some attention. Brian is correct about the fate of that Hawk's original power plant, as I was there, in the "breakdown" lane along John Hanson Highway that Saturday night as we returned home, or attempted to return home. I have never forgotten the sad noise emanating from that 289 as the block's iron molecules rearranged themselves into something inconsistent with internal combustion. Haven't thought about that night in many, many years.

There is a good deal more to the Gran Turismo story and R1lark's observation about Studebaker's V8's overheating is right on target.

I'm fascinated, BTW, with what your doing to the Avanti and how your documenting it here. And it's intriguing to imagine the answers to the mysteries that old girl conjures up. Got any previous addresses for her? Those and Google Earth might help explain the peculiar rust pattern. But then again, maybe she's entitled to her secrets. ;)

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Don, thanks for checking in and watching all the fun I'm having! I can't help but wonder what was going through someone's mind when they allowed a perfectly good engine to cook itself - typically one gets a fair amount of warning that an engine is heating up, especially when it really heats up. But, as we in the family know, there are other issues at play there. Ah, well....

My Avanti, according to the "build sheet", was sent from the factory to a buyer in Plattsburgh, NY, on Lake Champlain (explains the beginning of its rust problems). Apparently it was sold to a doctor. Then it ended up in the hands of an Air Force officer who was apparently stationed in South Carolina, then Texas. Then, it ended up in a man's collection in southeast Texas on the Gulf of Mexico. From Lake Champlain to the Gulf of Mexico, with many adventures (and a few secrets) in between.

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Not a good night for Avanti progress. When I arrived home tonight I was greeted by a balky garage door opener. Balky, as in inoperable. On the side of the garage with the only operable car in it. So, that meant I had to work on that before I could commence work on the Avanti. I took the housing cover off the garage door opener and fiddled around with the innards. The gears looked a little dry - then the main gear fell off onto someone's car (I am SO glad that 1) she told me to put that old blanket on top of her car and 2) the gear was plastic). I put everything back together and tried it out. It hardly worked. I took it apart again and greased the gears, then put it back together again. It works! The balky gear gets the grease!

By then most of the time for Avanti fun had passed. I still tried, and failed, to get anything accomplished on a) removing the right side block drain and B) removing any exhaust manifold bolts. So, I have decided to go to Plan B as far as the exhaust manifold bolts go. Now, what did I do with that grinder.....

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Well, the work creeps along. I had planned on running to Sears at lunch, then running home and trying to extract some bolts from the exhaust manifolds. Then I got the call - the garage door won't work again. So, I rush home, work on the opener - it works fine when I use the hard wired switch, no luck with the remote or the Homelink connection in the car. I rigged it up to use the hard wired switch for now - probably just put a new unit in as this one has just about run through its useful life.

So, tonight, after an hour and a half I removed a total of 7 and 1/2 bolts from the exhaust manifolds. 4 to go - a tough 4 to go...

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I moved under the car and removed the block drain plug on the left side, poked a scratch awl through the crust and drained the block. It drained green coolant until the end, then the rusty water started coming out. I have a feeling I'm going to see a lot of rusty water in the next few days.

Seeing your pics reminded me of a Cadillac I had, took out the block drain plug but nothing came out. Shoved a screwdriver in, felt like solid iron. Had to get a hammer and punch and really hit hard, then the rust finally broke and antifreeze everywhere. It took a lot of work to get that water jacket clean, good luck.

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Wow, I'm glad mine wasn't that tough! I can't wait to see what awaits me on the other side of those freeze plugs. Actually, I can wait....

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I've used the rust reformer in spray at my daughter's house on railings and patio furniture and indeed it turns black, and receives a very nice topcoat of the rustoelum. Since I can't bring sprays on the plane, I use the liquid here in Bolivia. It is sort of transparent on the first application, but a second coat or thick coat turns it black.

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Hey Richard - I'll have to slap another coat on and see if it turns black. Even though it doesn't (or hasn't) turned black it provides a nice surface for the top coat. The test areas I did look nice - can't wait to do the whole frame!

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Not much to report - another slow night working on the exhaust manifold bolts. I managed to grind off 1 and a half bolt heads, not really grind off, more like cut off, with my Dremel like tool. It's the only thing I can get in the tight spots with. Before I go any further on the manifolds, though, I think I may use the manifolds as "jacking points" on the engine when I replace the motor mounts, which I think I'll try tonight.

On an up note, I received the NOS exhaust manifolds on the stoop yesterday - they look nice! I was asking brother Brian about his but then I thought, "Jeez, why ask him to rummage through all his parts boxes and then if he still has them they may need the flange bolts replaced like mine." Plus, the NOS ones were very reasonable, so I went ahead and got them. Glad I did because they are very nice pieces. Now I have to find a spacer for the heat riser - I'm going to delete the heat riser from the setup because I don't think it's necessary. From what I have read it is only put there to stop carburetor icing, and I don't plan on driving the car in the sub-freezing temps.

No pics to post this morning - hopefully I'll have lots from this weekend, as I plan on putting in a lot of time on the car over the next couple of days. After I replace the garage door opener.....

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...and I forgot that this engine is supercharged, which may or may not change that potential icing dynamic.

It does not change it: the heat riser is used during the first minutes the engine is started to better vaporize the fuel in the carb.

The icing carb can happens during temperatures around freezing: humid air combined with the venturi effect in the carb can produce ice; a thermostatic air cleaner can help for that condition.

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Not much to report - another slow night working on the exhaust manifold bolts. I managed to grind off 1 and a half bolt heads, not really grind off, more like cut off, with my Dremel like tool. It's the only thing I can get in the tight spots with. Before I go any further on the manifolds, though, I think I may use the manifolds as "jacking points" on the engine when I replace the motor mounts, which I think I'll try tonight.

On an up note, I received the NOS exhaust manifolds on the stoop yesterday - they look nice! I was asking brother Brian about his but then I thought, "Jeez, why ask him to rummage through all his parts boxes and then if he still has them they may need the flange bolts replaced like mine." Plus, the NOS ones were very reasonable, so I went ahead and got them. Glad I did because they are very nice pieces. Now I have to find a spacer for the heat riser - I'm going to delete the heat riser from the setup because I don't think it's necessary. From what I have read it is only put there to stop carburetor icing, and I don't plan on driving the car in the sub-freezing temps.

No pics to post this morning - hopefully I'll have lots from this weekend, as I plan on putting in a lot of time on the car over the next couple of days. After I replace the garage door opener.....

Any chance you'll post pics of the manifolds before they get installed?

Intested in seeing what NOS Stude manifolds look like.:)

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Ah, I knew if I posted that I wanted to delete the heat riser I might get some informative replies. Maybe I should re-think that (I was trying to save the $65 for a new unit), and I probably will go ahead and order one from Studebaker International in the coming weeks - probably best to put the car back to the way the engineers designed it. Especially after reading that Wikipedia article that was mentioned above (thanks rocktown and Roger).

Yes, Bleach, I will post pics of those NOS manifolds tonight when I get home.

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Chris, I may have my old riser unit which i turned into a spacer if you want it. My research indicated it was installed to enhance motor warm up forcing the intake manifold to heat up quickly which in turn caused the choke to open. I installed an electric choke so i made a spacer out of mine and with the R3 manifold I don't need it. Also, I have an engine hoist you may use to install those engine mounts if you'd like, let me know.

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Man, I can't bear to hear the words "engine hoist" with this car. I hope I can loosen the transmission mount bolts, unbolt the old rubber motor mounts, and jack the engine up just enough to slip the old ones out and the new ones in. I remember doing that with Dad's Hawk, hope it'll work the same with the Avanti. I'll probably just get a new heat riser and stick it on there, just so it's all original. First though, a call to Dave Thibeault is warranted, for his thoughts on it. I have to talk to him anyway about getting new wheels and exhaust - maybe I can order that stuff and pick it up at the York meet. Thanks, I may be contacting you about that heat riser spacer!

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Here are the NOS manifolds. Sweet, eh? I just hope I can get the old ones off without resorting to the engine hoist my brother Brian has. The thought has crossed my mind a few times in the last few days - I can't bear the thought of pulling this heavy ass motor, though.

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I contacted Nimesh Solanki the other night about the fuel return line and asked him if that tiny little line was original. He said it was, 1/8 inch from the factory and having it keeps the engine from vapor lock and also provides pressure relief. I read something about that early on in unimogjohn's "Avanti Refresh" thread, someone said something about when the car is at W.O.T. (wide open throttle) the fuel pump has to have pressure relief or there will be power loss. And we can't have that, can we? So, I stopped by the store tonight and picked up a roll of 3/16" tubing, 25 feet long, with which to construct a new fuel return line since mine is toast.

I also picked up a quart of B&M Trick Shift (regular, NOT synthetic) to put in the supercharger. Nimesh told me a few weeks ago to use that - it's better than the usual F type fluid.

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Chris,

First I wanted to pass along that I've been following along since your first post and think that you've got the makings of a nice ride. You might think too at times that you have your hands full but it's nothing more that one step/task followed by another and before you know it you'll stand back and admire what you've accomplished. Great job so far. Now as far as the mounts go, I've replace motor mounts numerous times with nothing but a floor jack, a piece of 2 x 4 and raising it from the flat part of the oil pan and I would have to believe that it would work without issue for you too. And I should also point out that in each of those cases I did not remove the trans mount but I guess it couldn't hurt. I wish you luck and will be watching and waiting for the payoff when you can take it out for its first cruise. Scott...

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Finally, a couple of things I would like to accomplish this weekend (after I replace a garage door opener). The motor mounts, and freeze plugs would be nice to have done by Sunday night.

Also, since I was going to clean up the water jackets, I thought I would get a new water pump to install when (and if) I ever get to the topside of this car.

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Scott - thanks for your encouragement and reading about what I'm doing. It means a lot to have folks like you providing moral support, because as you probably know, it can be daunting at times. I sure hope those motor mounts go in "easy". Thanks again for your comments!

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Chris,

I'm really enjoying following your restoration! For what its worth, when I restored my 59 Buick I had the exhaust manifolds coated with Jet-Hot Ceramic Coatings in the original cast gray color. The coating is designed to reduce under-hood temperatures extending the life of neighboring components, they will also look better and not rust. Before the restoration the engine bay would get so hot after a drive that you almost had to use a cloth to open the hood...no longer the case, and they still look like new. I have several pictures of the coated manifolds on my restoration website.

Thanks again for sharing the progress on you Avanti

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Thanks Tom - I learn something new every day from folks like you. I hadn't heard of the Jet Hot coating before - I'll check out your restoration site. Thanks for writing! P.S. I love the '59 Buick - great car!

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