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John - thanks for your comments, it means a lot. Keeps me going - I sure will be glad when the heavy lifting is done and I can do a little of this and a little of that. I always enjoyed spending an afternoon with a car, just performing routine maintenance or fixing this or that. This one ought to keep me busy doing that sort of thing for quite some time!

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Well, my night job continues. I hope my wife doesn't get used to me retiring to the garage after dinner every night. Because I'm not gonna do it forever! This Avanti project has to reach a plateau soon, right? I hope so....

Last night I repaired to the garage and tackled the left rear brake shoes install. Things didn't go too bad - it took longer to attach the parking brake lever to the rear shoe than the rest of the job did. Well, almost anyway. After installing the shoes and giving them a "straighten up" knock or two I attempted installing the drum. No go. Hmmm, the eccentric adjusters are turned the right way, fully retracted. What could the problem be? Try again and again - no dice. Finally, the "ah" moment. The parking brake is stuck on. So, I unhooked the cable and the drum went on - snug, though. Next up, I guess I'll be soaking the parking brake cable to make it move freely. Yay!

I didn't get a shot filled hammer yesterday, maybe today. But I did order new tires for my new wheels! I'll have them mounted today. Tax refund is about done - wheels, tires, exhaust, and we're back to watching pennies.

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Chris, did you repack the rear axle bearings, and check the axle endplay? I haven't seen you mention either one (unless I just missed it...........).

The axle bearings in these rear axles are not lubricated by the rearend grease, but have to be packed by hand. Also, there are shims that adjust the rear axle end play, and that should be checked at the same time.

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No, I haven't gotten into that part of it yet. I think I am going to pay someone to do that for me. I peered into the area where the bearing is and it looked like the grease was pretty well packed in the bearing. Of course, it's pretty old grease. So, it will be a good thing to do in the near future - if I can get the car to run and move. Otherwise I am going to set fire to it. Just kidding....

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New tires! I finally found the right tires at the right place and that's one more thing behind me. I wanted a wider tire than the original size, in a black wall. I think a black wall looks more sinister - not as refined. Nothing wrong with refined, but you can't use the word refined to describe this car. More like rough. Or derelict. That's a good description - derelict. She's in rehab.

Anyway, I tried to get some nice American made rubber, but they don't make American tires in the size I wanted without white sidewalls. So I went with Korean made Kumho Solus KR21 tires in the size 225/70/15. When I saw them mounted I thought, "Wow, the diameter doesn't look as large as original." But, they are slightly larger in diameter than the original tire. I did some research on sizes before I bought them and the computations showed this size as being the closest to original, just wider.

I thought radials had a certain direction they had to be mounted on the car, but I did not see any indicator on the tire like I have seen on some radials in the past. I'll have to check into that....

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Chris,

Good question on the wheel color. My gut says black may not work......black wheels and black tires may look kinda bland?? I would think a color that would contrast more with the black tires might add more interest. An argent (silver) color maybe?

But then again, I've never been known to be a very good color coordinator. My wife doesn't choose my clothes each day, but close!

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Paul - I'm leaning toward the cream color that Studebaker painted their rims. You're right, it should have a little contrast, and a strip of light colored paint between the tire and wheel cover should make up for the lack of a whitewall.

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I thought radials had a certain direction they had to be mounted on the car, but I did not see any indicator on the tire like I have seen on some radials in the past.

Don't worry: some are directional, but most are not. Those which are have clear indications on the side regarding the rotation direction.

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Well, I stopped by Home Depot at lunch today and picked up a "dead blow" hammer, the kind Bill (wmsue on this site) and John (unimogjohn) told me about. Thanks guys, because it worked! I went home, wanting to take advantage of the fact that not many people are home to disturb, and tried it out. I told myself, "Don't forget to put the grease seal on before you try it, because you don't want to have to pull it off if this works." Then I promptly forgot to put the grease seal on. After I determined that the king pin was going to go in, I realized I forgot the grease seal, so I had to work it back off. Sigh.

Two things helped get the king pin in, things I will use on the right side to make that easier (I hope): 1. The aforementioned hammer. 2. Last week, as I was wrestling with the king pin installation, I decided to try a "backward" install. I took the pin off, pushed it down through the lower outer pin, and tightened the nut down. Then I swung the king pin up to the upper outer pin. I was startled to see the king pin was way off center of lining up with the upper outer pin. So much so that I thought I had something installed wrong. I checked everything - everything was in its correct place. Then I decided to see if I could "force" the pin to line up. I twisted the pin toward lining up with the upper outer pin. That's when I saw the lower control arm flex. Then it dawned on me (ok, so I'm slow), the lower control arm flexes - its supposed to. I was tending to think that the control arms were this rigid, solid unit. After all, they hold the front end together. No, they flex with the road, and the car!

With this knowledge I was able to position the floor jack on one side or the other of the control arm, jack it up some, and thereby flex the lower outer pin position to let the king pin line up better. So, today, I put the jack under the right side of the control arm and hammered the pin. It didn't seem to go. So I re-positioned the jack on the left side. I hammered the pin, then felt underneath where the pin would come through the lower outer pin. It was coming through! I hammered it some more, enough to get the nut started on the king pin. It's all over after that.

Experience. It's a wonderful thing to have.

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Good deal Chris! I like the fact that you put a great deal of thought into how to get past this problem, and then executed your plan and was successful. (Whole lot better than just finding a 3 lb sledge hammer and wailing away at the suspension -- you would be surprised what I have seen done to old cars.......and some of it by supposedly 'professional' mechanics.)

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Today is Saturday, April 7. Last night I got home too late from work to really work on the Avanti. So, this morning I finished the king pin install on the left side. It was so gratifying to finally get that spindle on - it means I'm making progress, and progress is good. I also installed the new shock absorber.

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Then this evening I installed the right side king pin. Last weekend I spent the entire weekend trying to install the left side king pin, with no success. Tonight I installed the right side king pin in about 3 hours or less.

Like I said, experience is a beautiful thing.

P.S. I love my new dead blow hammer!

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Hi Chris,

I have been reading your project blog, and have finally caught up with you. I like your approach to getting the Avanti so you can drive it. You have accomplished much in the past few months.

I have been thinking about acquiring an Avanti and your experiences have helped to introduce me to the car. I am a Packard collector, but I have always been attracted to these Raymond Lowey designed Avantis.

A couple of comments, if I may. I would strongly encourage you to pack the rear wheel bearings and install new inner and outer seals at this time. The primary cause of broken axles is neglect to the bearings. Old grease can be as bad as no grease at all. You are right there and eight more nuts and bolts and you will be there. It is a simple job now, and why go through the hub pulling experience again?

Also, I would drain the differential and put in new GL-5 85W-140 gear oil. Get the kind for limited slip if your car has it. You can use the same gear oil in your manual transmission. Getting that old stuff out now will give you peace of mind and satisfaction that the components are well lubricated.

Secondly, I believe that the castle nuts on the bottom of the spindles/king pins need to be secured with cotter pins, but you probably already know this and have not gotten around to it yet.

Good luck, and keep the postings coming. Great job!

John

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Pat, thanks, I got that from Studebaker Parts in Arizona for $35. A reproduction of the original Studebaker tool J-2044. nice to have if you're doing a Stude front end!

John - thanks for the comments. I'm glad you're watching what I'm doing. I agree, it's a good idea to get those bearings squared away now so I don't have to worry about them later! Paul suggested the same thing the other day and I got to thinking about it then. I have left the cotter pins off because the car is going to a shop with Studebaker experience next week so they can perform the alignment and other things they are expert at. So I left them off until they get all the aligning and torquing done. I'm going to give them a whole list of things, like the transmission and rear end grease, the rear axle bearings, etc. I hope they can get the car running and inspected actually. We'll see next week. Thanks again for checking in.

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Chris,

Glad to hear you have plans to take care of rear wheel bearings and gear oil jobs. I will stay tuned to watch you progress. I recently did a rejuvenation project on my 1955 Packard Clipper sedan. Nothing as extensive as what you are doing, but there is a tremendous amount of elasticity in the process, otherwise known as mission creep. If you are interested, I did a project blog on the PackardInfo.com website (Adventures with a 1955 Clipper). I also want to read the R2 Refresh blog.

Take care,

John

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"the car is going to a shop with Studebaker experience next week so they can perform the alignment and other things they are expert at"

This is good! They should be able to handle packing the wheel bearings, and adjusting the rear axle end play. A lot of 'modern' shops might be somewhat baffled at these older car maintenance procedures.

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John, you are so right about mission creep! I'm glad you all talked me into getting the rear end looked after. But, it's the right thing to do, the car sat around for many years neglected, so it really should have all the grease and oils changed and bearings refreshed, etc.

Paul, I'm happy I found this shop, upon the recommendation of Dave Thibeault, a premier Studebaker guy. I took my spindles and control arms to them a few months ago for rebuilding and I was impressed with the work they did. I also enjoyed talking with them and I realized the knowledge and experience they have about Avantis. I feel confident they will do a good job.

Thanks Roger, I'll be looking at all that stuff when I get the car back. I am going to give them all the cotter pins that came with the tie rods, etc.

Yesterday morning I found a couple of hours to continue the work. It's getting down to crunch time, as the car is going to move in the next week or so. I re-mounted the front stabilizer bar, utilizing a couple of new bushings I got from Studebaker Parts. The old ones were petrified, of course. I should re-build the whole setup, but that's a job for when the "hobby" part starts.

I also installed the right front shock absorber. Two down, two to go.

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Last night I hit it again, this time installing the new tie rods. When I took the spindles to the above mentioned shop I left one tie rod attached, as I could not get it released from the spindle. I asked them to just remove it, since they have more tools and expertise in such things. When I went to pick the parts up I noticed they had cleaned up the tie rod and the clamp, making the unit very usable, ready to put back on the car. I was impressed, even though I had new tie rods I was going to install. Well, last night, I was glad they had done that extra work, because as I went to put the tie rods together I could not get the new clamps to install on the new tie rods. After a frustrating time trying to utilize something that is probably made in, ahem, Asia, I remembered the nice cleaned up clamp on the old tie rod. I'll use an old Studebaker part any day over something new that doesn't fit!

So, the work progressed after that, with me utilizing the nice job the shop did on the one clamp. The other clamp I cleaned up myself (although I couldn't get it as nice as the shop did the other one). In the end both tie rods went on and another task is behind me.

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Well, it's set. The Avanti heads out of the garage and into the shop this Monday. I'm going to get the front end aligned and all the nuts and bolts torqued and get their input on what it will take to get the car running and inspected. There are lots of little things needed - like the rear bearings, the rear end and transmission grease, brake bleeding, etc. etc. I guess I need to make a list. I'll definitely have to try to nail down a pretty firm figure on cost, as I am trying to stay on a budget. It looks like I may even have to forgo a paint job (even a cheapie one) until next year. Looks like she's going to be the Maroon Marauder for a while to come.

Last night was a night for cleaning the disc brake parts. I didn't realize how dirty everything was and how many parts and bolts I needed to clean up. It took longer than I thought it would - when I removed all those pieces a few months ago I just threw them in a box to deal with later. Now is later - fun, fun.

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John Lawrence - I took a quick look at your Packard blog. It looks like it's going to be a good read - I've met several folks on this blog who have their own projects going on. I hope to soon have the time to check out all the fun stuff they're doing on their blogs, as well as yours. So many cars - so little time....

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Not too much progress tonight, and no pictures to speak of. I wanted to install the caliper mounting brackets and rotor guards on the front end but I realized I was short on some new lock washers. Thought I had a few but only had one - not enough to do the job. So I piddled around, stuck a new vacuum hose on the distributor, looked under the dash to see how difficult the heater hoses were going to be to get to, and finally re-installed the last vent tube/hose on the fuel tank. That's the one that comes from the top of the tank, has a short rubber hose, then a long metal tube that meets another rubber hose that disappears into the right side of the rear passenger compartment. Just behind the right rear window. I have no idea where it goes or what its purpose is - I assume its a vent. You can see it in the picture below, which I took just before I removed the fuel tank so many weeks and so much fun ago.

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Chris,

Thanks for visiting my blog. I will continue to visit yours and see what adventures you are into. The gas tank vent routes fumes to the outside of the car since the tank is located inside the car. This is an important part to have correct. Your blog and the R2 Refresh blog are getting me a real appreciation for the Avanti, and increasing my interest in acquiring one.

Take care,

John

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Thanks John - I just couldn't figure out where the vent hose went. It seems to disappear into the side of the car, I'm surprised it didn't just vent downward from the tank rather than laterally to the right side of the car. I appreciate you checking out what I'm doing and I hope you do get an Avanti someday - own a piece of history!

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Progress continues to march on. Last night I made a little more progress toward getting this Avanti back on the road - whew, it seems to never end! I keep thinking of things I need to do before I can move the car on Monday. Oh well, I'll just take it as far as I can.

In the effort to get mobile I began the install of the front rotors, starting with the left side. I got some lock washers yesterday at lunch - I bought a total of 3 washers. I need 8 washers. Nobody said getting older was going to be pretty - don't know what I was thinking, but now I have to get more washers at lunch today. What did I say I was going to pick up at lunch today? Hmmmm....let's see...

Anyway, the rotor guard went on nicely, with the 3 washers I bought and the one I had laying around. Then I installed the new rotor - nice! Ignore that Honda box in the background of one of the pictures - that is the box that contained one of the new rotors for my wife's Acura. Seems like we both have new rotors this month.

I also installed the supercharger belts and the fuel tank access panel. And I still have stuff left to do!

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Its a good thing you told us about the Honda box, otherwise you would be getting all kinds of questions on how you got a Honda Rotor to fit and is it cheaper then a stock one.

Looking good btw, I also enjoy following your progress.

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Thanks for checking in Bill. Yes, I thought I better clarify that I wasn't using a Honda rotor on my Avanti, although they are nice units. But they won't fit my car. I have been working away, I got the front rotors and calipers on, the right rear brake backing plate cleaned up and rust treated, the last stainless steel hydraulic line installed, along with the wheel cylinder, and the right side exhaust removed. Whew! Still lots to come in order to get her ready for her trip to the shop. I left the camera in the garage somewhere under the car and I'm not gonna go get it now - pictures tomorrow.

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It's been a few days since I had any time to post anything. I've been busy prepping the Avanti for its departure from the garage at home to the shop where the mechanics will go over her and fine tune things. Hopefully she'll come out of the shop ready to roll - running on the highways once again! That's my hope - let reality not get in the way.

So, I was able to get both front brake systems put together, the right side was a little tricky. That's the first side I did and I didn't have any good pictures of how the hydraulic lines fit together. You have a flexible line coming in from the main line, that meets a metal line at a bracket. The metal line goes to a caliper piston, then on the other side of the piston a jumpover line goes to the other caliper piston. It took a bit of turning this way and that before I had the correct configuration, especially where the bracket goes. One thing that helped the confusion was the fact that all the caliper piston assemblies come with bleeder valves installed. One of those bleeder valves has to be removed to accommodate the jumpover line. Of course, they don't tell you that - you're left to figure it out on your own. Also, you have to be mindful to remove the check ball that is under each bleeder valve. So, after navigating all that I believe things are together correctly. I hope.

I moved on to the left side, which went quickly because of what I learned on the right side. Then it was on to the right rear brake shoes and the last hydraulic line. Then I tried the exhaust pipe fit to the down pipe on the right side. It slid right on. All right! Then the muffler, and the final two pipes, all went on in rapid succession. I wish everything had been that cooperative!

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Yesterday evening was a mini-marathon of pulling together loose ends, I had to repair the fan shroud that had a chunk busted out of it (I'll have to remember to get a picture of the repair I did). I tried to buy a new one - even purchased it and had it delivered. But I sent it back, it was a disappointment, basically a homemade looking thing made out of fiberglass. Plus, I believe someone else had purchased it before and didn't like it either because they wrote all over it in magic marker pointing out all the flaws in it. I was kind of surprised the folks I bought it from would send it to me - I was offended they thought I would accept it. Oh well...

I managed to get the hood back on by myself without busting the windshield out, so I was happy about that. After that I was running low on steam, I swept up more pounds of crud that had collected under the car. Then I put the front wheels on and lowered her down to the floor on all four wheels for the first time in 4 months. And, for the first time in 4 months, I pulled the car cover all the way off and balled it up in the corner. She was coming back. Proud!

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Today I took the day off to make the move! I got up the regular time (actually I woke up 2 hours earlier than that), made some coffee and wrote a list for the shop. Then I grabbed some breakfast and hit the garage. First thing I did was remove the old Texas plate from the rear of the car, and put on the Virginia license plate. She's no longer a Texas girl - she's a Virginia damsel now. Then I installed the two little retainer screws on the the rear window latches - didn't want the windows flopping open as the move was going on. Don't know why those screws were missing but they were. Then I did a quick cleanup job on the inside - one of many cleanings in this car's future. I scrubbed off as much dirt and grime as I could, then saturated the vinyl with a vinyl renew product. I wiped everything down, and at least she was presentable. Yesterday I even used a wax/cleaner on the left rear quarter panel. I wanted to do the whole car but I ran out of time and steam.

By 10:30 I was ready to call the tow company. I called one I had talked to on Saturday - they said they would call me back with an estimated time of arrival. An hour later I still hadn't heard from them, so I called another company. He quoted me a flat rate, less than the first company, so I called the first company and canceled. Then I waited. And waited. And waited.

Finally I heard from the second tow company's driver - he blew a radiator hose and was just finishing up repairs. Was on his way. I went and got lunch. And waited. And waited. I called the company. He's almost there. I was about at the end of my rope when the tow truck arrived. He was apologetic, I half didn't believe the story about the radiator hose, but as I was talking to him I could smell the unmistakable smell of anti-freeze. He had had a blowout or boilover - no doubt. OK, all was forgiven. He quickly loaded up the Avanti and off he went with me following. We flew down the road - the quickest that Avanti has moved in about 6 months, I'm sure. We made it to the shop in less than 15 minutes, record time for this area. He unloaded the Avanti, took a picture of it, then took a picture of a nice classic Monte Carlo sitting on another rollback. Then he was gone, leaving me and my Avanti to begin the next phase in her rescue.

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Chris, she looks so sweet compared to when I saw her the first time. Now she is sitting proud. Great job. Can hardly wait until she rumbles up our driveway for the first time. Congratulations on getting her to this point. Keep us posted on the shops progress too.

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Thanks John - I don't think I would have made it this far without your encouragement and the other folks on here too. Hopefully I'll be rumbling up your driveway sooner rather than later! I'll let everybody know how it's going.

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