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SeventhSon

Avanti Rescue

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Today I continued to make progress. I decided to install the new stainless steel hydraulic brake lines, at least to the rear axle for now. I'm trying to take care of all the stuff that is easy to do since the front end is out of the car. That is sort of a double edge sword - I want the car mobile, that is with wheels and brakes all around, but man, it is so much easier to work on with no front end under it! No control arms, springs, shocks, tie rods, etc., etc. to get in the way. Just jump under there and get to work! Ah well, I think I'm going to be much happier driving the car around than laying underneath it.

So, I removed the old brake lines to the rear axle and installed the new lines. But first I removed the junction block and cleaned it up, first with a small wire brush, then in a bowl of warm water, Dawn dishwashing soap, and a little TSP (trisodium phosphate) and a toothbrush. Cleaned up nice and soon was back on the car. The new lines went in pretty smoothly - as I said last night, it's so nice to install clean, rust-free stuff. Next car I do I'm going to take it down to nothing and put all new stuff back on!

Tomorrow I guess I'll have to face the music - time to get the broken off exhaust manifold bolts out. Sigh....

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Just another small step tonight - I was able to find some bolts for the two broken ones on the front bumper brackets. I put them in - they're a little too long, I went a little long instead of too short. Ah well, they tightened up the bumper real nicely. After that I stared at the broken off exhaust manifold bolts for a few minutes. They didn't go anywhere. For the rest of eternity they will stay there until they turn to dust. Unless I get them out. I have said before - the right way is the hard way, or vice versa. The right way? Take the head off and let a machine shop drill the bolts out on a press. Simple.

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Well, last night I pondered over the broken off exhaust bolt situation some more. I haven't yet psyched myself up yet to pull the head, so I decided to leave it for now. I decided to treat the bolts with Liquid Wrench and some tapping with a hammer 2 or 3 times a day. Hopefully I will be able to penetrate the rust freeze if I keep soaking and tapping a few times a day for the next 2 weeks. In short, I want to exhaust (pun intended) all options before pulling the head, which will be a last resort. After a couple of weeks of soaking and tapping and maybe some heat, I will take a chisel and try to break the bolts free by getting the chisel to "bite" into the bolt and trying to knock it loose. I have had success in the past using that method, just not with super frozen bolts.

If I see any movement I will then utilize the method I mentioned previously, which is to weld a washer, then nut to the bolt and bringing it out that way. I'll just have to be patient and work on it for a while.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, work continues. Last night I just removed the nuts holding the right side spark plug wire harness on so I could replace the oil pressure sender flexible hose. Tonight I replaced the fuel pump and hooked up the rubber fuel line. I also attached a 2 foot rubber line which is the start of the fuel return line going back to the tank. Hopefully tomorrow night I will be able to fashion the return line using the metal line I got a few weeks ago. We'll see.

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Chris,

First, great job and progress being made. I do though have a thought that just rattled through my head after looking at the pictures just posted that prompts a question. Are the new belts going to get chewed up in short order from all that crusty looking rust? It could be just the view and things are cleaner than they appear, if not maybe taking the belt(s) back off and hitting the groves just a bit with some sandpaper might be in order. Again, just a thought. Scott...

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Scott - thanks for your comments. I have a new bottom pulley in the parts boxes that I got several weeks ago. I was concerned too that all that rust would chew up the belts. So, I'll be putting that on, the supercharger pulley has been through the blast cabinet when it was rebuilt, the fan pulley is not too bad, I'll wirebrush/sand that. That leaves the supercharger idler pulley that is all crusty - I've been looking for a new idler assembly but havn't found one yet. Maybe I can find one tomorrow at the York meet. Thanks for checking in - hope you're enjoying reading about this rescue operation!

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Well, I'm glad Scott brought up the rusty pulleys. I went through the parts boxes and found the pulley I mentioned in the last post. Turns out it is the wrong pulley - not the one I thought it was. It is the water pump pulley, not the crankshaft pulley. Arrgghh - old age is setting in...I thought I had the bottom pulley, not the water pump pulley. So I thought, "No big deal, I'll just get the bottom pulley, maybe even tomorrow at the York meet." Wrong! The bottom pulley is $195! Too much at this point in the budget. I'll just have to clean it up as best I can - it'll be fine. And I can put the new water pump pulley on when I install the new water pump in a week or so.

Also tonight, since I'm going to York, I checked out the king pins I got back in December. Before I had the king pin bushings installed in the spindles I checked the bushings on the king pins - they were a little loose. I thought, "Hmmm...probably because they are not pressed into the spindles." So I wanted to check the fit now that the bushings are in the spindles, and before I start re-installing the front end this month. They fit nice and snug, I'm happy to say. Not too snug, not too loose - just right.

And finally, I fit together the fuel return line that runs from the fuel pump back to the tank to relieve back pressure from the supercharger. Turned out pretty nice I thought.

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Chris, I used a thin and wide wire wheel (thin and wide to get deep into the Vs on the pulleys) on my electric drill to clean up the pulleys. Worked great. I think the wire wheel was less than $4. Have fun at York too.

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Chris, very nice work you are doing you are going to love love love your new ride, just hang in there you are doing great! Food for thought, how many miles are showing on the odometer? How many miles do you think are on this car/engine? If you decide to yank the head/s to get at the snapped off bolts would you rebuild the head/s? New valves/springs/seals those seals can be problematic. You are planning on a new water pump so yanking the water manifold is just eight bolts. You want to do something with the pulleys, Just sayin... also I have a blast cabinet if you want to gather up some stuff and clean it up you are welcome to use it or you can even leave it here and myself or Matt will clean it up for you its up to you.

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Thanks John, I'm going to make good use of the wire wheel method! I think everything will clean up pretty well too.

Brian, thanks for the offer of the blast cabinet - I didn't know you had all those goodies over there. I'll have to come over and visit my big brother and see what stuff I can get into. I thought about the whole thing, pulling the water manifold, pulling the head, then you should go ahead and rebuild the head, and since you rebuilt the one head you might as well rebuild the other head. Then it leads on to other stuff - never ends. I'll wait for now to rebuild everything - I just want to see if I can get the thing running and driving. That would be a huge accomplishment! Thanks for the encouragement, I've been fighting discouragement lately and asking myself why I'm doing this.

Well, I went to York today to see why I'm doing this, and was encouraged to see an Avanti that isn't in much better shape than mine (the red one below). And it's out there on the road! So there's hope for mine - that's encouraging. Actually, there were 3 Avantis there that were drivers, not fancy or restored, so that was good to see. Then there was the white one pictured below - very nice condition. Inside the exhibit building there was a sweet Lark - so nice. Immaculate. If I won the lottery I would have my Avanti restored, I would have that red Lark, and I would have a Super Hawk. Those would be the first three Studebakers in my 24 car garage!

In the parts building there were the usual tonnage of parts for all types of Studebakers. There was a fair amount of Avanti parts, but no real deals as far as prices. I did see a very nice rear bumper for an Avanti - near perfect condition. I went back to that several times and had to stop myself from going in over my head and buying it. It was $750 - I would have paid that for it if the budget wasn't already stretched. Sorry, I didn't get a picture - just imagine an immaculate rear bumper for an Avanti. Ah well, maybe another one will come along some day....

I saw Dave Thibeault and got my exhaust system, pictured below. He was the most popular guy in the place - always someone asking him something or buying something from him. One gentleman asked him about installing the trunk release cable. Dave asked him if the old cable was still in place. No. Well, you'll have to take the gas tank out. I asked him about how to change it out if the old one was still in place. He said to tie baling wire to the old one, pull the old cable out, fix the baling wire to the new cable and pull it back through. As I was coming home tonight I decided that would be my Avanti work for tonight, and that's what I did. The new trunk release cable is in place. Not all hooked up yet, but in place.

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A few more pictures. Brian, my Avanti is showing over 68,000 miles on the odometer. Not sure if that's correct, if it's turned over, or what.

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This weekend I decided to tackle the water pump, front engine rust, water expansion tank with thermostat, fuel lines from the fuel pump, etc. Not too bad of a weekend - removed the expansion tank and cleaned it up, replaced the water pump, wire brushed a whole bunch of rust and treated the areas with Rust Reformer. I cleaned up the supercharger idler pulley assembly, rust treated it and re-installed it with new plastic bushings. I also replaced the negative battery cable and ordered the positive cable, along with a new stoplight switch. I painted the expansion tank with Rustoleum, have to wait for it to dry to re-install it. Same with the new water pump pulley. I hope to do that tomorrow night.

I also pulled the alternator - as I was fooling around with it, cleaning rust off of it, I realized it wasn't going to hold on for long. When I spun the pulley it squeak, squeak, squeaked. Needs some attention - so I'm going to trade it in on a new one, along with the voltage regulator. I also fabricated a couple of new fuel lines, one running from the fuel pump to the carburetor, the other a return line from the supercharger. I need a bubble flare tool though - I'll have to look into one of those.

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Looking good Chris. One thing I noticed, the water pump appears to be upside down -- the weep hole normally points down. Probably not too big I deal I guess, but you wouldn't want the hole to plug up with grime.

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Fascinating journal...enjoyable. Back in the time I worked as a gas jockey, I recollect the issue of speedometer mileage popping up in conversation's. One point noted was the fact, when an odometer turns over the first digit will not align with the rest, in other words, all the number's don't appear even/level. Your rear bumper dosen't look to complicated, check into rechroming.

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I'm sure you're right Paul - I looked at it, turned it both ways and decided that I remembered seeing one with the weep hole pointing up. That one was probably installed wrong too! Ah well, that's what you get when an amateur starts messing around with things. In a couple of years, when I have the engine rebuilt, I will turn it around (if it doesn't fail first!).

Thanks for the comments Foggy norm, now that you mention it I do believe there is something to what you say. I will take a close look at the odometer and see how the numbers line up. My rear bumper is rough - on the left side (that confounded left side issue again) there are two holes rusted clean through. After I got back on Friday I was putting the new trunk release cable in and, since I had just seen a pristine bumper, I inspected mine. On the inner surface the chrome layer is actually peeling away. I grabbed the bumper in the middle and gave it a good pull and twist - it seemed to have way too much flex in it. I began to wish that I had seriously reached deep and bought the nice one I saw. Oh well....

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This how I do most of my wire wheel cleaning, then use one on the drill in smaller confines, finally one on my mini-grinder for the corners.

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These manifolds were "before"

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And here is "after" (the exhaust manifold, after wire wheel, got Rust Reformer and BBQ black hi-temp.)

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Well, tonight was a night to go backward, before I can go forward. I went ahead and flipped the water pump so that the weep hole was facing down, and in the process I cracked the mounting flange. My bad - I'm beginning to wonder about my ability to think things through, I've made a few mistakes on this car that I don't think I would have made in my younger days. Maybe I'm getting too old? Trying to do too much, too fast? Dunno, all I can do is slow down and think things through. It's not "the end of the world", just aggravating. Of course, anyone who works on cars knows how these things happen, ya just gotta roll with the punches!

So, JB Weld is on the crack, which is right at a mounting hole. I'm hoping everything holds and there are no leaks - I hope. Another thing I did was "back up" on the fuel return line that I installed a few weeks ago. After installing that I began to think more about it and I realized the line wasn't big enough. It was even smaller than the factory line. Again, my bad. So, I picked up the correct size tonight and installed it in place of the earlier line. Much better. Maybe now I can move forward and not make mistakes!

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P.S. I just stuck the expansion tank on temporarily, with the mounting bolts finger tight. When I get the radiator and bottom hose installed I will take the tank off and the new thermostat out and fill the block with 50/50 coolant mix, then install the thermostat and tank.

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Chris looking at your pictures I was reminded about something I will pass on to you to be recalled at the appropriate time. The lower radiator hose connection at the engine block is a ***** to get to after everything is installed. I put that hose on and tighten the clamp strategically exposing the adjustment screw on the hose clamp for future access with a screwdriver or nut driver before I get too far along in the re-install process.

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Thanks for the advice - of course, the radiator hose might as well be the "Queen of Spades" too, just like everything else has been on the #$/*&% car! There. I feel better now.

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Chris, it is good to see you making progress, a couple of small steps at a time will get you to the end of the road. I am still walking that road too, but I think I see the end just around the bend.

Re anti-freeze. You still have that old gunk in the heater. I would just us plain water and flush it a couple of times before you put in the new anti-freeze. Not going to freeze in the garage for sure this time of the year.

Edited by unimogjohn (see edit history)

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Hey Chris, don't feel too badly or get disappointed in whatever progress you make, learning curves with hands-on experience make great subject matter years after it's over, ha ! We bought a really nice looking street rod truck over here that had been built in a pro shop on the mainland over a period of more than two years, and I can count on something else needing tweaking, adjusting, tightening, replacing, or just plain "cussed" at every time I drive it. The Avanti will more than make up for your trials when you get to start using it, they are SO neat, great sounding and driving, and attention-grabbing- -you'll be proud you did it. Plus, it's fun remembering what all kinds of cars folks have asked you that it is- -Jag, Jenson, Volvo, Mercedes, Barracuda, etc, etc,. Hang in there, John

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Good idea John F., I hadn't even thought of that really. The water will give it a good clean out from all my rooting around in the block, along with the heater core gunk. Plus, I can check for leaks before I put anti-freeze in. Thanks!

John B., thanks for the encouragement - I need it! I haven't reached the point of hiding the household hammers yet, but I'm close. I just need to keep my mind on what you said, fun to drive and get lots of looks! By the way, at the York meet I saw those plastic headlight covers you mentioned a while back. Dave Thibeault had them on his table - $69 apiece. I told his wife, "Now I know where to get 'em!"

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Well, I didn't break anything. I think. I removed the voltage regulator, which I'm going to put with the alternator and send to Dave Thibeault for a rebuild. Rebuild on the alternator and convert the voltage regulator to a solid state unit. I cleaned up around the lifter valley cover, poured a little STP over the lifters, and put the re-chromed cover on. Looks nice! They did as good a job as could be expected on that chrome - the rust had attacked it pretty bad (imagine that, on this car). I removed the old, crusty rubber oil pressure line and replaced it with a nice new one. Another step done.

A few steps at a time, like they say, slow and steady wins the race. I'll take that!

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Made a couple of more small steps tonight, inching closer to the goal line. I moved to the left side of the engine compartment to install the exhaust manifold and change the plugs. I took a stainless steel bolt from the dozen or so I bought a few weeks ago and used it as a thread chaser. I just put a little machine oil on the bolt and hand tightened it in each bolt hole, working it back and forth until the bolt easily went in. I would remove the bolt during the process and wipe the threads clean, put a few more drops of oil on and continue the process. It made for an easier install when I put the exhaust manifold on - not too bad of an install.

Then I moved to the spark plugs, bracing myself for another fight for the threads to release. I was pleasantly surprised when each plug came right out, they were basically near loose. Yay! I figure the folks who got the car running in Texas probably removed them at some point and gently re-installed them. I then got my Champion plugs, gapped them at 0.034, and in they went. Progress, I'll take it.

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