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I came home at lunch today to pull the carb for rebuilding. Things went well enough, and as I was working on it and after I pulled the carb I could see where the gas smell was coming from. The base and inside of the intake manifold was wet with gas. In the pictures you can clearly see the gas inside the manifold (I had already wiped the carb mounting base off). All vacuum lines to the carb were, of course, hard and rotten, a couple broke right off.

Since the carb removal went smoothly I decided to push my luck and remove the gas from the tank. I placed an oil drain pan under the drain plug in the fuel line under the driver's door and removed the plug. The gas began draining into the pan and it soon became apparent that this fresh, premium fuel was going to provide very potent vapors. So, after a gallon or more drained out I replaced the drain plug and poured the gas in a gas can. By this point I was feeling about like the fellow we used to see who went by the moniker "High Test" and hung out behind the 7-11 huffing gas fumes. I decided that this was probably not the most sensible way to go about this part of the project and I vowed to complete the task a different way.

I've been checking out Studebaker International's catalog and I have found options as far as the brake rebuild. I'll probably go with the major rebuild kit which will have all the calipers, rotors, pads, cylinders, shoes, flexible lines, etc. It'll be all new, all original. Didn't do anything on the car tonight, but did devise a way to remove the rest of the gas from the car. I'll splice into the fuel line somewhere near the fuel pump with a 10+ foot section of rubber fuel line and run this out of the garage to the driveway apron where I will use a suction bulb or gravity to drain the rest of the fuel into a can, outside of the garage.

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Going a little off topic this morning to talk about my father. However, since he introduced all his sons to Studebakers I guess it's not too far off topic.

Once, when I was a little kid, I was watching my father clean out his wallet, getting rid of all those little slips of paper and receipts that collect and end up being useless. I spied a tiny black and white picture.

"What's this?", I asked.

"Oh, that's a ship I was on in the war that was hit by a kamikaze."

The picture showed a large ship with billowing smoke rising from it.

"Wow, you were on that?"

"Yeah, I was in the water at that point trying to keep from drowning."

My father went on to recount how the Japanese plane had been shot down and the pilot aimed his plane at the ship he was on in a kamikaze style attack. Over the years I would think about that picture from time to time and wish I knew more about the details of the attack.

As the internet became available I searched for Navy ships sunk during the war, there were multitudes of them. I asked my brother Brian, who had worked with my Dad for years, if he had any details. All he could tell me was that it was that the ship was a "Landing Ship Tank" or LST in Navy parlance. That narrowed it down and I was able to come up with 4 or 5 possible ships that it could have been. But without more information I could go no further.

A few years passed and I was looking through a bag of old pictures my mother had told me to take from her house. I found the little black and white picture my father had carried in his wallet all those years! Excitedly I ran for a magnifying glass. There was a number visible on the ship! I got my old list from the search years before and there it was: 738. I googled it, and found out the story.

Coming up: Part 2.

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December 15, 1944. 67 years ago today:

An invasion force is on the move, bringing men and materiel to invade the Japanese held island of Mindoro in the Philippines. Mindoro was wanted by American forces as a staging area for the re-taking of the Philippines.

My father, a member of the Army Air Corps, was on the LST-738, a navy ship slightly longer than an NFL football field, designed to carry heavy armament and other war materiel. The invasion force came under attack by Japanese planes not far from their objective. As the attacks from the Japanese intensified the commander ordered all men below deck. My father thought, "The hell with that, we're carrying airplane fuel!"

He stayed above deck. Japanese planes were attacking other ships in the invasion fleet. Most of the planes were taken care of by anti-aircraft fire from the ships. One plane, sputtering, made its way toward LST-738. The crew laid fire at it in a blistering attempt to "splash" her before she reached the ship. To no avail. My father watched the plane approach, the pilot obviously having trouble controlling it due to damage from so much fire laid upon it. My father thought the plane was too high and would fly right over the deck, but at the last moment the plane dropped and struck the ship just under the edge of the deck, flipped over and exploded on the deck. The explosion was white hot, my father went over the edge, either blown over by the force of the explosion or jumping over to get away from the fire.

He was in the water, unable to swim, flailing about, temporarily blinded. He grabbed hold of something and held on. Finally, a sailor in a lifeboat drew alongside him and pulled him into the little boat. He was saved, but still couldn't see, and wouldn't be able to for another 2 weeks.

Official accounts stated that the plane "drove" down into the ship and exploded. That contradicted what my father said, that the plane exploded on the deck. I found a book, "Attack & Conquer, The 8th Fighter Group In World War II", by John C. Stanaway and Lawrence J. Hickey that describes the events of the day. It quotes a young man, a Private in the Army, who was watching from a different vantage point on the deck of LST-738. He described the plane as a torpedo plane and said the the plane dropped its torpedo just before hitting the ship. That would explain the huge explosions and damage that caused the ship to be lost.

In a few months the war would effectively be over and my father was on his way home.

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Checked the mail last night and there was the new fuel pump from Studebaker International! Also, a letter from the dental insurance saying they would pay for my last visit, which is just about equal to what I paid for the fuel pump. So, I'm "even" on that deal! Love it when that happens!

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Kind of a light day on the Avanti today. Went to see my mother at the assisted living place and give her a gigantic box of candy for Christmas. I told her not to eat too much of it at one time. Right! She used to drive a '63 Studebaker Hawk. She loved that car. When I was 10 or 11 I went with my father and mother and a couple of siblings to look at the car when it was for sale. A body shop man owned it. It was flat black primer and was usually parked out on the street. A passing car got a little too close and hooked the rear fender well, ripping a 4 inch wide piece outward from the fender well. My father looked the car over and told the owner, "Fix that tear in the fender well and paint it and I'll give you 900 dollars for it.

The owner said, "Come back in a week." We went back in a week and the car was a beautiful dark Turquoise. The tear in the fender well was magically fixed, like it had never happened. Driving it home that first night on the Beltway (there's the Beltway again) we heard a "toot, toot". We looked and saw an Avanti flying by (they always fly by), resplendent in her multi-tone primer paint. Another Studebaker lover! This was in 1971.

I got to work on the Avanti some, removing the multiple screws hold the access panel to the fuel tank area. I wrung one off, have to drill one out, the rest came out ok. I placed three orders for parts this week with Studebaker International for a grand total of: A LOT!

More fun to come.....

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I just browsed over this new thread about redoing your Avanti, it brought back a lot of memories of restoring the few I owned years ago. I'll attach a few images of cleaning up metal under body parts like the "Hog Troughs". This was not difficult once the body is off the frame. I don't know if your plans have that extreme a job in mind but the photos might help planning your job. *It only takes removing 16 or 18 3/8" bolts and four strong guys to lift it off.

This is 63RQ1325 where it sat in my driveway for a summer while the chassis was being redone. Up on 4 used "Grease Drums" I got from gas stations that did lots of lube jobs. They were heavy wall metal and held the body very well. We used various fence post lumber and spare steel wheels to jack the body to they right height for working under it.

If the hog troughs are rusted thru on yours repros are available even in stainless steel if you want a permanent cure.

Post your problems as they pop up, a few of us older Avanti guys can aim you in the right direction.

Stude8

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Thanks Stude8, it's always great to have the wealth of knowledge from the guys who have already done one (or three!). The driver's side hog trough is rusted through on mine, the other seems OK. There is a couple of "how to" articles that I have found showing the repairs undertaken on these. On mine I am going to try to fix it without removal of the body, as I don't want to undertake a body removal at this time. Maybe in a few years...

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I worked some more on getting the fuel tank out tonight. I drilled out the final screw holding the access panel and removed it. Pretty much what I had expected to find, some surface rust on the tank, petrified vent hoses, and a filler hose dry rotted and cracked. I have a new filler hose on the way, I'll be glad to get that replaced. But first, the tank must come out for a cleaning and sealing (I have that kit on the way also). No telling what kind of damage I'll find inside, I'm hoping, hoping that it's not too bad. I'll find out soon enough!

Probably won't get to do anything on the car tomorrow, as I am having a work Christmas thing, expected to take most of the day. I'll just hit it all the harder the next day!

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Well.

That was fun.

Jeez, does the tank ever get empty??!! I drained it from the in-line drain plug on the fuel line. Then I siphoned from the tank itself. That was on 2 separate days. Then today, I cut the rubber line at the fuel pump and gas started pouring out. So I drained that into a container until it stopped. Then I cut the rubber line where it leaves the bottom of the tank. Nothing much came out. So I proceeded with the removal of the tank.

Did I mention how much fun that was?

Then, as I was removing the tank more gas came out into the interior of the car. I put the tank in the back of a pickup truck to carry to a work area.

At the work area I was pouring more gas out of the tank into a can.

I think it's empty now. Maybe.

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John, I got to thinking about it and I figured that since I had so much trouble getting all the gas out of the tank then maybe that means the baffles are still intact. Or maybe that's wishful thinking! I did hear a metal object knocking around inside the tank when I was shaking it around to get the gas out. I think that may be the sender unit arm. I'll find out in the next couple of days!

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Christmas came early! Lots of parts showed up in the last couple of days - now I have lots to keep me busy after the holiday crush winds down. Almost can't decide what to do first. I have to get that fuel tank squared away, rebuild the carb, install the fuel pump, change out the radiator hoses, replace the plugs, wires, points, rotor, cap, etc., etc., etc.

Then I have to completely tear down the front end and rebuild it! Ah, what fun...

Before I do much more, and since Christmas is upon us, I will spend a few days cleaning the old girl up, getting as much old grime and grease off her as I can so she smells and looks as well as can be expected.

A couple of pictures of the parts boxes - haven't even had time to break them open, but I'll share pics when I do!

Spongebob approves.....

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Well, I decided to disassemble the carburetor and begin that process. Hoo boy, what have I done??!! Sure hope I can get that back together! I rebuilt a Rochester 4 barrel on my '58 Cadillac a lonnnngg time ago and it ran well. Let's hope for the same results this time. Yikes!

I also decided to have a look inside the fuel tank and I was pleasantly surprised with what I found. The inside of the tank is the cleanest thing on that car! I have a feeling that there was a locking gas cap on the filler for the 20 some years that it sat and it was sealed up so no moisture got in. Why do I think this? Because that piece of metal that I mentioned in an earlier post knocking around inside the tank turned out to be the bottom half of a locking gas cap (last picture below). The tank is very clean inside, with the baffles intact. A pleasant surprise.

Well, time to go home and do some more cleaning on her. Supercharger is coming off this weekend and going for a service/rebuild.

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Chris, it looks like you dodged the rust bullet on that tank and sender. That will save you a few dollars for sure.

On the carb, does it have a plate on the front that says that it is a sealed carb? If not, what does the little id tag say? Sealing a carb is not hard, just follow the maintenance manual.

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Dale, precisely the question I'm asking myself. What I could see of the inside of the tank looked kind of like aluminum. I'm not sure if they had any aluminum in those tanks but I was sure glad to see the almost new look to the metal. I might go ahead and seal it in case there are any problem spots that I can't see. And yes, John, I did dodge one on that. I was glad to see it, believe me. On the carb, there is a plate on the front but all the text is gone. There is a little tag as well that reads 3507S. Not sure if that means "sealed". I'll check out the manual.

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Chris, yes, that is the correct carb. S is for sealed.

The 'S' does not indicate a sealed carb. The S was used with all the Stude AFB carb numbers. From the Avanti Parts Manual, following are the listed Avanti AFB carb numbers and applications:

3506S - R1 engine

3589S - R1 engine

3507S - R2 engine

3588S - R2 engine

3725S - R2 engine

3808S - R3 engine

3810S - R4 engine (front carb)

3811S - R4 engine (rear carb)

Note that the 3507S carb that SeventhSon has is a R2 carb, so it will be sealed.

The R1 and R4 carbs are not sealed, since they are not supercharged.

Hope this helps.

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Initial cleanup of the carburetor done, now time to get the little scrapers, Dremel tool, steel wool, etc. Whatever it takes to remove 50 years of crud and oxidation. But for now I'm going to go see what's in the parts boxes! I'll post some pics.

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Chris, the carb looks good already. Going to look brand new when you get her all cleaned up and the kit installed. I have a helpful aid when you are working on her. I get four long bolts and eight nuts, and put them through the four corners of the flange, with a nut on underside of the flange and a nut above the flange. Now you have made stilts for the carb to keep it off the work bench, and you can move the throttle plates without hitting the table. Makes it much easier to work on, at least for me.

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Great idea John! These are the tips one receives from those who have been doing it for awhile. I opened up the parts boxes and a bunch of fun jumped out! Or a bunch of work, depending on how you look at it. One step at a time, one step at a time....

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Well, another Christmas has past and it's time to get back at it. I hope everyone had a nice holiday and received some nice NOS parts under the tree!

I took a little break yesterday to enjoy the holiday and this morning I removed the supercharger and packaged it up for a rebuild. I removed the fluid first and it was more on the brown side of the color spectrum instead of a nice red hue.

I wrapped it up in lots of bubble wrap (it almost looks like I'm sending off the Christmas ham!) and boxed her up. She's on her way now!

Supposed to rain tomorrow so I think I will hold off until Wednesday to start on the fuel tank clean and seal. Can't wait to get that job done! I think I'm going to go ahead and put a new sender unit in. The original is close to 50 years old and I don't want to have to pull it back out next week or next year.

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Well, I decided I wanted a professional looking carburetor rebuild (that, and I didn't want to screw it up) so I packaged mine up and sent it off to Dave Thibeault. Frees up some time for me to work on other things. If it wasn't raining. Oh well, I can always get started on that front end tear down. Gotta get the core parts off and back for refund. Once I get the king pins out and a-arms off I'll take them to a machine shop for bushing replacements.

I also need to pull the rocker arm covers and lifter valley cover so I can take them to the machine shop for a clean-up and glass beading. Then they'll be off for re-chrome. At least that's the plan....

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I got around to pulling the right side front wheel off to see what that side looks like. The rotor spins much easier on the right side, nice and true, but still rusty and pitted. The left side is so warped that you don't need a run out gauge to see it! The brake pads are new on the right side too - someone's been there recently....

I have to get the car moved over - the right side is too close to the wall. I either need a full size floor jack to lift the front end and pull it over, or I could buy a set of those wheel dollies and move it all over the place. Except the front end is coming out in the next week or two and it won't have front wheels for a while. Probably go with the floor jack.

I also broke the bolts free on the intake manifold, same with the brake booster unit. Both will be coming off tomorrow evening in order to get to the rocker arm covers and lifter valley cover. As long as I'm going to have a new, shiny carburetor and supercharger I might as well clean up some of the rest of the top side. I'm also going to get a new supercharger bonnet for the carb. Hey, might as well try to pretty her up a little!

Also, I'm going to start on the fuel tank cleanup tomorrow during lunch.

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Started on the fuel tank cleanup today in between work duties. Man, that should be part of a workout program! Put the cleaner in, shake the tank up and down and all around for 20 minutes. Pour a couple of gallons of water in, shake up and down and all around. Pour out. Repeat. Then do it again. Then do the metal prep routine, pour it in and round and round and up and down the tank goes. After 10 to 20 minutes, rinse, rinse rinse (no hose available, so it's haul water in gallon jugs and rinse, rinse, rinse). A little sore, not too bad - a good workout though!

The inside of the tank looks good - clean. I ran out of light, so first thing tomorrow I'll blow dry the inside of the tank and do the sealer routine - pour it in, roll around and around (the tank, not me). Whew! I'll be glad to get that finished!

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I took the intake manifold off tonight in preparation of removing the rocker covers and lifter valley cover. I'm going to take them to a machine shop and have them cleaned and blasted, then re-plated. Hope that all works out...

I need to have a look at John's (unimogjohn) vacuum setup on his intake manifold. Mine has some plumbing fitting where all the various hoses hook up. I don't think Studebaker was using common household plumbing fittings for their vacuum hookups. Who knows, maybe they were!

I also removed the power brake booster to send in for core exchange. I ordered one today along with a bunch of other stuff. Hopefully that will be it for parts ordering for awhile!

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Chris, do you have a good closeup pic of the vacuum fittings on your car? I can compare them with an original R1 engine that I have. Yes, the some of the vacuum pieces (especially the tee, if I remember correctly) were sort of, as you say, 'plumbing type' :)

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Chris, the little oil pressure hose that goes from the back of the engine to the copper tubing for the pressure gauge is often bad/brittle. Now that you have some room to get at it I recommend replacing it pronto. If it leaks you will have a real mess on you hands. Not much money, less than $20 as I remember. All the vendors have it.

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I went to see John this morning to borrow a hub puller and buy a fender mounted mirror from him. It was the first time I got to see his Avanti he has been writing about on his "Avanti Refresh" thread. It was really great to see another Avanti road ready and running. He took me on a ride around the local roads - car runs nice, has a stalking tiger demeanor about her, like she's hunting a Corvette to eat. Ride is composed and easy as she rolls along the country roads, but it's always in the back of your mind that she can jump up and get nasty if spurred to it. Nice job you've done on that beauty, John.

I started on the removal of the rear brake drums tonight using the puller I borrowed from John. Right side wasn't too bad - drum is in good shape and shoes look like they were put on new 20 some years ago before she was parked. Cylinder looks like it had been honed too at that time, but it is now frozen. So, it all gets re-done now. Left side was the Queen of Spades, if you catch my drift - I couldn't get the retainer nut broken loose, damn near picked the rear end up off the ground trying to break her free! I'm hoping it isn't a left hand thread, anybody out there know?

I sprayed some Liquid Wrench on it and will try again tomorrow...

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Chris,

Both of the axle nuts have the same thread (as I tell my wife.....righty tighty, lefty loosey:)). Soak it good and try an impact on the one you can't get loose......but go easy with it.

Be careful on those rear wheel cylinders, they are an odd size on the rear of a disc brake Stude. Can't remember if new ones are available or not, since I usually just get mine sleeved with brass or stainless. NAPA has the kits for them, and sometimes those kits inlcude new pistons which is a rarity these days. (Not sure why some do and some don't; in fact I ordered about six kits one time, and half had pistons and half didn't - go figure!)

Pull the adjusters on the rear brakes, soak them, and disassemble/clean/lube them really good. Nothing worse on these back brakes then to get everything back together and relize the adjusters are frozen.

The rear axle bearings on the tapered axle Stude rear ends are NOT lubricated by the ring/pinion lube. They have to be greased with wheel bearing grease. Pull the axles, inspect the bearings/races, replace as needed, and grease just like you would the front wheel bearings. (Use a slide hammer to pop the axles out.........or I've heard of some people putting the drum/hub back on loose and only engaging the axle nut a couple of turns - and using that for a slide hammer. Never tried it myself.)

There is a 'inner' grease seal up in the axle tubes that you should replace while you are in there.

Don't forget to check/adjust the rear axle end play per the shop manual when you reassemble the axles and backing plates. This is done using shims between the backing plate and rear axle housing on one side only.

Also, make sure you 'center' the outer grease seal using the drum/hub assembly before you tighten it up. (I use an old hub minus the drum for this, but the drum/hub assembly will work well if you do it before you put the brake shoes on.)

My guess is that you already know most if not all of this.........but when you learn some of this the hard way, you want to share to help others avoid the long learning curve!

Edited by r1lark
spelin' :-) (see edit history)
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