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I began the cleanup of the control arms in preparation of painting them. I did the lower 2 tonight - that's all I had time for. Tomorrow I'll paint them and tomorrow night I'll clean up the upper arms. Might as well take advantage of this nice weather!

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I painted some pieces today at lunch to see how they take the paint and to compare the Rust Reformer spray on as opposed to brush on. I mentioned earlier that the brush on didn't dry black like the container said it would. So I painted a couple of areas (where the control arms bolt on) with satin black Rustoleum to see how the final coat of paint did over the brush on Rust Reformer. The paint applied well, we'll see how it drys and what it feels like when dry. The brush on Rust Reformer drys hard and feels like it is providing a solid base - it doesn't flake or turn to powder, even though it sort of looks like it would.

I painted the upper control arms with spray on Rust Reformer - I like that look much better than the brush on Rust Reformer. It doesn't matter, spray on or brush on, as long as they provide a good final paint base. Missed a couple of spots with the spray can - I'll touch those up.

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My carburetor came home! I was getting a little nervous and impatient last week because I hadn't heard anything. But then I realized that good work takes time. So, I took a deep breath and relaxed - it's not like I didn't have anything else to do on the car. When I talked to Dave Thibeault on Friday he said to call him back on Sunday, which I did, and it was ready!

What can I say, the man is a Master - the pictures speak for themselves.

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After the excitement of seeing the carburetor looking brand new again I decided to try to get a little accomplished. I got everything done on my list - I found the nut that fell down into the frame crossmember (although not the washer), I took a look at the black frame paint I applied this afternoon, I painted some Rust Reformer where the bell crank assembly goes, and I scraped and wire brushed the upper control arms, preparing for painting tomorrow. Not too bad....

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Well, the lower arms are painted as good as they're gonna be painted. I sprayed the upper arms with Rust Reformer earlier today, hopefully tomorrow I'll put the top coat on them. However, I can't proceed with the suspension re-install until I get a few things done first: 1. Fix the exhaust flange (yay!) 2. Replace the starter wire (yay!) 3. Re-install the starter (I'm getting tired) 4. Install the bell crank (is it break time yet?)

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I threw some paint on the upper control arms, then set about looking for some exhaust manifolds. I suppose I could work on mine to get the old frozen stud bolts out by drilling, then re-tapping. Or I could get someone else to do it. Or I could try to find new or serviceable used ones. I think I'll try that - I found a pair for a decent price, but I decided to ask my brother Brian if he had a set laying around first. He thinks he may, since he put R3 headers on his Avanti. I hope he still has his old ones - maybe I can work a trade...maybe brother??

Also looming - a crusty freeze plug I noticed while pulling the oil pan last week (you can see peeking out behind the starter in the third picture). Something I tried to ignore, even after looking at it a second and third time and seeing it weeping (no, it wasn't watching a tearjerker movie). I guess I can't ignore it any longer, especially since the starter and exhaust pipe are off. I'll just do this one now (the others aren't too bad) and plan on doing all of them in 2 years. If I'm not in the insane asylum by then....

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Chris,

If that one is weeping........the others may not be far behind. Another good reason for pulling all the core plugs is to see how much 'gunk' is built up inside the block's cooling system. A prime reason for Studebaker V8s running hot is this crud in the block. If it is there, use anything and everything you can to get it out - long cheap screwdrivers, hacksaw blades, metal rods, etc. Dig, dig, dig until you think you have everthing out, then get the garden hose with a nozzle on it and start flushing it out. Yes, it's messy but well worth it.

You are making great progress on this car -- I applaud you for the level of effort. Seems like you are spending at least a couple of hours a day on the car (me, seems like I'm lucky to spend a couple of hours a week :().

Keep up the good work.

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Thanks Paul - it gives me strength to go on knowing I have folks like you keeping up with what I'm doing. I try to do at least one thing on the car per day. Sometimes it's a little thing, sometimes I try to hit it pretty hard. I just keep running into all these fun things like starter wires and freeze plugs, etc. I guess that's to be expected though, on a 50 year old car. I'm 51 and could use some work too! I'll give the freeze plugs a good look, and probably decide to pull them all like you advised. I'll keep you posted - thanks again for staying tuned!

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I second what Paul said. Remove all freeze plugs and check for scaling and debris. Especially if you are going to remove the exhaust manifolds now. It will be almost like the engine is out on a stand! Well, not quite... Crosley's are well known for scaling and debris in the engines too, causing overheating.

Also if you take the exhaust manifolds off and have someone weld a nut on that broken stud, then once it is cool, heats the exhaust manifold red where the stud is, it should turn right out. Heat is the key to stud remove on exhaust parts. May be cheaper than buying another set of manifolds. That is if your brother can't find his and donates his to the 'cause'.

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Thanks for the input Dale. I definitely agree that the freeze plugs should come out, especially on the left side of the engine. The rear one is just about ready to go - probably wouldn't last a couple of hours of engine running time. The other two - not so bad. The right side freeze plugs are not too bad - I think someone may have replaced them at some point. One is still partially shiny and I can see the "diamond" service mark of the manufacturer on it. I was tempted to hold off on those but I think I will just go ahead and bite the bullet and do all six since I have the access now. It will be good to clean out the water chambers too.

The manifolds are pretty well busted, I probably could work those studs out on the left one but I don't think it would be worth the time (especially if, ahem, my brother may have a set he's not using). The right side is trouble too, as you can see in the pictures. Someone jerry-rigged the flange, using a too long stud and attaching the down pipe with a combination of an 11/16 nut backed up with a 9/16 nut. On the other side they took a torch and blew out a hole (you can see the leftover slag in the picture) and inserted a 9/16 bolt through the hole. So, that manifold is done, the other side is just about done, and new or good used ones are going on the engine. That way I'll be done with that part of the project.

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Chris, glad that you are going to pull the freeze plugs. I was worried about them too. It will be interesting to see what you find behind them. I would also do a good visual on your motor mounts also. The one I could see in the pics looked really cracked. Are performance manifolds a consideration if you cannot get "free" ones?

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You know Roger, you probably have a point there. I need to check into the heat riser situation when I order the freeze plugs, etc.

It is a good idea to use stainless steel studs, or never seize (not familiar with that though). I've already purchased the flange kit from Studebaker International though, and I'll just use that for now. I will check into a non seize coating though.

John, good to hear from you - yes, the motor mounts, like everything else, are hard and cracked. Probably should replace them too. Phew, talk about "mission creep"...lol. Oh well, do it now, or do it later, right? I did think about some headers of one type or the other, but I'm going into "conserve funds" mode now, so I'll try to do what I do best: accomplish more with less. P.S. Your Jag looks NICE!

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Chris, (this is big brother checking in) I agree you must replace those freeze plugs and after you put this car back together and look at how tough it is to get to the freeze plugs you will be pleased you did. Also, please replace those motor mounts I may have a pair because i converted to an R3 engine (clone) with a carburetor box requiring shorter motor mounts (for hood clearance). I will search for those along with the old exhaust manifolds. I also used to have a heat riser which i removed from my car since i went to an electric choke, except i took the heat riser apart and basically converted it into a spacer just to keep my down pipes lined up however, i wound up removing it because I discovered the down pipes i bought compensated for a removed riser hence one side of my exhaust was hitting everything slightly raised on the highway. Those exhaust manifolds and down pipes can be a constant source of annoyance if you don't fix them right the first time. You have come so far and accomplished so much don't pass over these few detail items which will come back to haunt you. Those freeze plugs for example will come out at the worst time. I remember the only time I ever heard dad use the f*** word in my whole life was when he loaned brother Dave his Hawk and it blew a freeze plug and since the car had gauges and not idiot lights Dave drove the car until the engine locked up! Dad was furious as his engine was forever cooked, literally. That began the ongoing swapping out of engines from the junkyard to keep him in transportation. I know you don't want to hear this but you will be glad you did when you are streaming down the road, wind through your hair, favorite music on the radio, loving life!

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Hey Brian, glad to see your post on here. I hope you have all those old parts, because I could sure use 'em! I totally forgot about the heat riser until Roger mentioned it - you get a wealth of info on this site. Yeah, I was trying to ignore the freeze plugs, the motor mounts, the rigged down pipe setup, etc., but like I said to John, do it now, or do it later. Now is much better, when all the stuff that gets in the way is off the car. And yes, it will be a secure feeling knowing that stuff is taken care of.

I had totally forgotten about Dave locking up the Hawk 289. I think I remember that Dave never got his hands on the Hawk again though! I know Dad spent a lot of time under that car - I think I have a couple of pictures of that Hawk I'll have to scan and post on here.

Thanks for checking in - hope to hear good news about any parts you may not need!

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Well, last night I tried to remove the exhaust manifolds (cue record needle scratching across a LP). It was what is known as a non-starter - all the bolt heads have been reduced by rust down to a size less than 9/16. No surprise there! So, I decided to fool around with the fuel line hookup at the tank, which I have left undone while I had fun with the suspension, etc. No deal there either, as I have the wrong size fuel line - the main fuel line being 3/8" (!). Man, that sucker's pulling some fuel out of that tank!

So then I decided to check out the fuel return line that runs from the fuel pump back to the tank. A tiny little line, probably about the diameter of a brake hydraulic line. Which brings me to the question of the day: is that the correct line size for the return line? I'm going to replace it as it is rusted through - it broke as soon as I started fooling around it, dripping gas out (yep, there's still fuel in the lines, apparently). I just want to put the correct size line back on so all the pressure ratios stay in line. There are a couple of pictures of pieces of the line below.

I ordered some bolt extractor sockets, along with a freeze plug installer - should be here soon. I have plenty to do while I'm waiting for them.

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You know, that's a funny (or sad) thing about this car. Wherever it spent 25 years sitting it must have had its left side to the source of moisture. Whether it was the Gulf of Mexico or a river or some source of moisture, it was to the left of this car, because everything on the left side of the car is beaten by rust. I was comparing the control arms - the lower control arms are specific to each side, they have a certain "cant" to them. The upper control arms, to the best I am able to tell, are identical, and I wanted to put the control arms back on the side they came off of. Just because. And I thought, "How will I tell which is left and which is right after I paint them?" The answer came to me pretty quickly - the left side control arm has much more pitting than the right.

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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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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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