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7son Chris, thank you for some great Christmas reading. I'd forgotten how much I like Avantis. When I was a kid, the mother of a pal of mine drove a brand-new one, gold with a red interior. She was divorced and very glamourous, so this exotic car suited her perfectly.

Much later, I had an old friend, Art, who had several fine post-war Studebakers (notice how nobody has just one, or not for long anyway). His favourite was a Gran Turismo. At one point, he thought he'd add an Avanti to his collection, so he and a friend swapped his GT and the other guy's R2 for a weekend. Art hated the sports car but it made him love his Gran Turismo even more.

I'll have to assume that Art was just too old, at 75, to appreciate the hard edges of an Avanti. A Corvette isn't every Chevy lover's dream either. A pillowy Monte Carlo or Caprice fits some wider, more mature butts much better. What's that say about me and my choice of a collector car?

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At one point, he thought he'd add an Avanti to his collection, so he and a friend swapped his GT and the other guy's R2 for a weekend. Art hated the sports car but it made him love his Gran Turismo even more.

I've driven an Avanti a couple of times, and rode in them also. For me (6'-4", and definitely not skinny:D), my '64 GT would be the car of choice for long trips. The GT has a lot more room to 'reposition' on a long trip. Of course, this is my opinion only.....others' findings may differ.

Edited by r1lark
grammer.......... (see edit history)
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Well, I applied the 2 foot Pipe 'O Leverage to her and she gave way rather quickly. Of course the drum is a different story - I hammered and hammered on the puller turn arm until someone yelled at me to stop hammering. So I left it under pressure and sprayed some of my favorite Liquid Wrench on her. We'll see how she does tomorrow...

Since I couldn't make headway with the brake drum I turned my attention to the bellcrank assembly, which is going to have to come off as well. I got a good start on that, so it was a fair night on the Avanti. Tomorrow, more fun and excitement!

Thanks for checking in Paul and Rob, your info and comments are always appreciated. May you and any others who are reading have a Happy New Year!

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Chris,

Dont' be afraid to put a lot of tension on the puller by really tightening the threaded portion. However.........to be safe, don't stand or kneel directly in front of the puller/drum. A lot of people put the nut back on (but of course not turned all the way down to contact the hub) to keep the drum/hub from flying off. I had a puller and drum come off and end up about 4 feet from where they started! Luckily I had taken a break and was in the house at the time, but I heard the 'pop' when it came loose.

Once you have put all the tension on the puller you dare, smack the end of the puller good a couple of times with a big hammer. Don't just keep wailing away with the hammer though, since this could damage the thrust block between the two axles. If it doesn't come off, put a little more tension on it, and smack it with the hammer a couple more times. It will eventually come off.

Edited by r1lark (see edit history)
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Thanks Paul, I'll give it another go today and try out your tips. I was hoping she would give way overnight, but nothing happened. I might take that puller off and put the nut back on - I don't want the drum to fly 4 feet because that would put it against my wife's car! And I don't want that!!

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Not too productive today, I removed the puller and put the nut back on so the drum didn't end up sailing through the wall, or my head, or my wife's car. John actually told me to do that but I had some slight brain fade and didn't do it. So, the puller is back on under extreme tension, and still the drum holds fast. I heated the drum where it fits on the axle to no avail. I decided to wait until tomorrow at lunchtime to continue banging on the puller turn arm, when fewer neighbors will be around to complain. Hopefully.

So, again I left it to stew while I turned my attentions elsewhere, removing the nuts holding the tie rod ends at the bellcrank. Of course, if I want to use my "pickle fork" to remove the tie rods I will punch a hole in the oil pan, so I have to come at it from a different angle. Just more fun in the garage!

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I had tremendous problems with the Renault rear brakes. The car had been in the mud for 25 years or so. The brake shoes were saturated with water, expanding them against the drums. No luck with extractors or heat. Twisting the adjusters may have helped a little (they were rusted too) but I finally had to pull them off the axles, put them on a support and hammer them out with a punch.

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I sent my supercharger away last week to Solanki Performance for a rebuild. Nimesh Solanki called me yesterday with what he found when he took the unit apart. The impeller had 2 vanes that had lost their tips, through deterioration or other means. Also, the race has a pit in it. Nimesh sent me an e-mail earlier today with a picture showing a nice used impeller next to mine. Big difference!

When I was looking for someone to rebuild the supercharger I was looking on Bob Johnstone's excellent Studebaker website: Bob's Studebaker Resource and Information Portal

and saw Solanki Performance. I remembered my brother Brian (a longtime owner of a '63 Avanti) talking about Nimesh and work he had done for him, and I was aware of the exceptional R3 clone Nimesh built and recently sold. So that's who I called. I'm glad I did - I'm impressed with Nimesh's knowledge and experience working on Avanti power plants.

I can't wait to see the finished unit!

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I thought tonight would be the night the brake drum would give up the fight, but I was wrong. I gave her a bit more tension through the puller turn arm and whacked on her a few times here and there. Nothing. It's a good thing I have plenty to do on the car because I can put some more tension on the drum, then go work on something else. Which is what I did again tonight.

I started on the front end tear down, which is lots of fun too! Made some progress, so I'm not complaining!

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The brake drum continues to hold fast. I gave her some more tension at lunchtime yesterday and soaked her with some more Liquid Wrench. This morning I borrowed an 8 lb. sledge to assist me in persuading the drum to give it up. So, I'll give it more tension at lunch today.

Last night I made a couple of more baby steps in the front end tear down and made a couple of calls to find out about parts and services. I called Dave Thibeault about the A-arm rebuilds and we agreed it would be cost prohibitive to ship them to him for the bushing replacements. He gave me some ideas on who to call locally to get the work done, so I'll try that out. I was going to take the pieces to a local machine shop to get them cleaned up and the bushings replaced, and I still might do that, I just wanted to find someone with Studebaker experience. Might be hard to find that - all the old mechanics are fading away....

I also called Bob Helm in Texas about possibly getting some engine chrome pieces. I mentioned in an earlier post that I wanted to get my valve covers and lifter valley cover re-plated, but after talking to a re-plating company I decided to see if there were parts available to purchase/exchange, as re-plating is a little more expensive than I had hoped. I think Bob can probably help me out with some parts - I'll know more after I talk to him tonight.

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Rebuilt brake booster showed up last night! Another box of parts arrived from Studebaker International a couple of days ago - talked to Bob Helm last night about the engine chrome and an air cleaner assembly. The air cleaner assembly is not cheap! I don't know if I can get that at this point - gotta check the budget and make a decision. I'd love to have it but...

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I continue to make tiny advances in the front end tear down. I was able to remove 1 tie rod and get the coil spring compressed in preparation for removal. But that's about it - hopefully I'll be able to make more progress pulling the worn out parts off in the coming week so I can send them in for the core exchange. Then I can take the A-arms and spindles to the machine shop for cleanup and bushing replacements. I have almost decided to go ahead and buy the air cleaner assembly...I don't know, I'm bleeding money!!

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I returned to the fuel tank sealing today, since I received the replacement sender unit a couple of days ago. I was really torn between sealing and not sealing. From what I could see of the inside of the tank it looked really clean, even shiny. It was what I couldn't see that concerned me. So, sealing the tank won out. I had already done the prep last week and on Monday of this week I had a heater blowing air into the filler tube to dry the tank. When I went to put the tank away on Monday I saw just a tiny bit of water left inside, so I left it until today.

I checked the tank when I took it out of the storage box today and it was dry, so I decided to go ahead and seal it. I put a brass plug where the fuel line petcock goes, stirred the sealant well, poured it in the tank and rolled, rolled, rolled it all around. Some spilled out here and there, which I wiped up promptly. However, I should have been wearing gloves, as my hands now resemble dirty concrete (and feel about the same!). So kids, always wear gloves when working with chemicals and distillates.

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Also, tonight I continued on the front end tear down, again making small steps forward. I went to remove the bolt that attaches the sway arm to the lower A-arm. Of course the nut was partially eaten by rust, thereby making what was once a 1/2 inch nut something a little less, just enough so that the socket slipped on the nut when trying to turn it. The vice grips, which were very helpful on the shock mount nuts, couldn't work because the whole bolt turned and the head of the bolt was rounded off as well. I tried the nut splitter, but couldn't get a good angle on the nut. So finally I turned to the trusty drill. Success! I removed the sway bar mount, removed the knuckle nut cotter pin, loosened the knuckle nut and called it a night. Whew!

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CHRIS, your post above sounds just like my day, last Sunday, in the company of a beautiful Buick. Hey, I needed that size of EZ-out anyway. My trials with a borrowed spring compressor were character-building but I did manage to get both steering knuckles reinstalled. This weekend, I'll be pulling two possibly seized brake drums and I've already got my 20-pound sledge hammer at hand. That's 9.072kg up here.

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Well, I made more progress tonight on the front end. I was able to remove the left side king pin - one more step to getting the core exchange parts sent back. Hopefully the supercharger will be coming back this week, some parts have not arrived yet so the re-assembly is being held up. Carburetor rebuild should be in progress - I'll have to check into that this week too. I'm still waiting on the stainless steel brake lines I ordered and hope to see those this week too.

I lost out on the air cleaner assembly I mentioned in an earlier post - I learned a tough lesson about posting. After I mentioned the air cleaner assembly someone jumped in and grabbed it, even though I had asked the seller to give me a day to think it over (and he said "no problem"). I feel I should have had first right to buy it since I was there first. A lesson learned....

Tomorrow, maybe I can finish the bell crank assembly removal and maybe even start on the other king pin removal. Hopefully that'll go a little easier since I just did one!

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A good night on the Avanti, I feel. I was successful in removing the bell crank assembly. It was a tough place to get to, with the engine tight on the topside obscuring the pinch bolt. My recently purchased mirror on an extending rod came in very handy, helping me see the bolt for removal. I had actually taken the nut off the pinch bolt several days ago but the bolt was frozen in place (imagine that) and I needed to get a socket on it to free it up. After the pinch bolt came out it was just a matter of wrestling with 50 years of rust, grit, grime, etc. to finally get her to give up the grip. One more part to go back for core exchange.

I then turned to the removal of the valve covers and lifter valley cover so I can send them for re-plating. I was happy to see the engine doesn't look too much like a sludge motor, pretty clean considering it's age. Must have had some good owners who looked after her and kept the oil changed. After I start running her and using the high detergent diesel oil in the crankcase I expect she'll get even cleaner. Hope so, anyway.

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Chris, you are making great progress. Soon you will be able to start putting things back together. Soon you will be rumbling down the road, that is after you get new tires. Keep up the great work. Enjoying the read and reminiscing about my Avanti's resurrection over the last two years.

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Not too much progress on the Avanti tonight, just removed the glass headlight covers so they won't get damaged as I carry jacks and wrenches and pipes, etc. back and forth to tear down the right side front end. Also got the right side up and on a jack stand and the wheel off in preparation for removal of the brake caliper and rotor and suspension parts. All that fun is next on the agenda!

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Chris, I keep up with yours, Unimogjohn's, and Mr. Zimmermans posts. We had an Avanti that I sold before we moved to Hawaii- -miss it so bad, but concerning your glass headlight covers- - It was suggested by some of the Nashville club that I put the re-pop plastic covers on mine since we drove it regularly, but I didn't listen. The Avanti fits perfectly around the rear bumper of a Ford Aerostar,(ouch) but the glass covers do not survive! The re-pops look nice, fit our car well after it was repaired, but I wish I had listened, cause few would ever have known and the hard to source glass ones would have still been alive. Great thread, these are fabulous cars, enjoy and be careful, John

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That is a remarkably clean engine, for its age.

Oh boy! famous last words!!

Before you fill it up with high detergent oil and "start her up" can I plead that you remove the oil pan and thoroughly clean out any deposits of sludge etc. High detergent oil will loosen any deposits of carbon or sludge in the crankcase with the possibility of blocking either the screen on the oil pump pick up or an oil gallery in the crankshaft or some other place in the engine. This can have disastrous and expensive results.

It may take an extra two or three hours but it can save an engine.

I remember being shown inside an Renault engine that had been regularly serviced by a "foreign car specialist" who washed down the exterior of the engine and kept the valve cover highly polished every service. Inside there was just room for the crankshaft to rotate. The lower engine was full of "ginger-bread"

I was told that was a really quite engine too, you could barely hear it running at tick over. Great sound absorber... inch thick grunge!

Problem was that the new owner changed to a high detergent oil. At the time I was working as sales manager for Penrite, the Oil Company that supplied the modern detergent oil. The new owner was blaming the oil for his engine "blow up".

oldcar

Edited by oldcar (see edit history)
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Thanks John and oldcar for the info. I wasn't aware that the glass covers were being made in plastic. The things you learn from the old car community! That may be a good thing for me to look into - when I was taking them off last night I was thinking about how fortunate it was they had made it through 50 years of adventures, not to mention the shipping of the car from Texas! And oldcar, I never even thought of that possibility, an oil pan full of crud! It will be a smart move to pull that pan and clean it up, and replace the gaskets and seals at the same time of course. Sigh, more work though...

Thanks again for the info John and oldcar!

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Well, I finally found a floor jack that seemed to have the ideal combination of heft and price so I grabbed one before coming home from work tonight. I was able to pull the car over about a foot, maybe more, enough to comfortably work on the right side front end. Well, not comfortably like lying on the couch with a large bowl of ice cream, but comfortably like not losing the feeling in your legs after 10 minutes.

So I began the right side tear down, seems awful familiar. Oh, that's right, I just did this on the left side! I hope to get the king pin out by this time next week and send all the parts back. Then, I think I'll take a slight breather from the front end fun and put the fuel tank back in, maybe change out the fuel pump while I'm at it. Then it will be back to the A-arm removals.

Battery is coming out and going in my company truck. When it comes time for start up I'll get the correct size and shape battery for the Avanti.

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Chris, that looks like the "man killer" jack I still have, only mine is green. Bought it in the 80s believe it or not. It is the heaviest jack ever, I can hardly lift it let alone pull it across the gravel driveway. It will serve you well for sure. Great job on the tear down.

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I agree on cleaning out the oil pan and looking in there for anything. Then don't be afraid of a good detergent diesel oil. They aren't really that good as cleaners. It is a slow but sure way to get it cleaned up a bit. Once you are going to drive it a bit, I'd put a bottle of AutoRx in it and run through its cycle with the diesel oil. That will help clean up and swell up the seals. Just don't use the 10 minute flushes. Those will clog things up easily.

I once had a customer come in with his old pickup. The oil came out as a plug and almost tar-like putty. We filled it with a 10W-30 CI-4 and told him to come back in a couple of days. Went through that process 3 or 4 times, then settled on a 20W-50 CI-4 once it was cleaned up.

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Thanks Richard, I'll do that after I see what the oil pan is like and I start running her. Tonight I received the old parts for my supercharger that Nimesh Solanki sent me. I showed the impeller on an earlier post, this time you can see the pit in the race. Not a good thing - I'm glad I sent it off to Nimesh before I even ran the car. Can't wait to see the finished unit! I also received the stainless steel brake lines that I was waiting for.

I continued with the right side front end, making a little more progress. Slow and steady, right? One picture below shows a spring spacer in the coil spring, they were in the other side as well. I wonder if they were put there because of weak springs or because someone got tired of dragging the front crossmember and oil pan on uneven surfaces. I like the Avanti "rake", the low front end and higher rear. Looks nice, I think...

Another picture shows all the crud that came off of just the king pin, spindle and rotor guard! The car will probably lose a few pounds of crud in the coming weeks.

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