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SeventhSon

Avanti Rescue

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Roger, I'm going to have to wait until I get the frame work done to straighten that tear in the metal. It needs to be heated and pounded straight.

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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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This is what keeps me going....

For a long time I was set on Avanti Red, now I am dead set on Avanti Gray. I'll be very happy if I ever get to see mine like this.....

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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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Since you are getting through all the bad exhaust hardware defects better be sure to buy some stainless steel replacement bolts and nuts so you don't have the same problems again in the future.

Stude8

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Since you are getting through all the bad exhaust hardware defects better be sure to buy some stainless steel replacement bolts and nuts so you don't have the same problems again in the future.

Stude8

or use "never seize"on the treads

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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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Chris, are you sure your Avanti was not used as a boat? Sure a bunch of rusty stuff.

I think at most are running without a fuel return line. I know that mine was disconnected and plugged at the fuel pump.

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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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