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GhostandTourCo

Getting the 1926 Studebaker Big Six Hearse running...

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I just purchased the 1926 Studebaker hearse listed in the previous thread and, as I've never owned a Studebaker of this vintage before, have a few questions about the engine. My Dad has a 1930 Dictator that he restored so I'm not going in completely blind. The engine is a low mileage (go figure) 354(?) cu. in., 75 hp "Big Six" and from what I can see, the electricals are completely roached. The car has been sitting for at least 20 years but prior to that time, actually ran and the former owner drove it around. When it was parked he put oil in each cylinder and every time the car was moved around the property, it was pulled in gear to crank the engine. The original gas tank was removed and re-furbished and was never re-installed but I have it. My main question is, realistically, what are the chances that I can get this old girl up and running again???

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Sounds like a great project - all it takes is time and money. That said, it seems that when I have time, I have no money - and when I have money I have no time. Time is easily conserved by having others do part of the restoration - but please now repeat 3 times: "It's only money"....

Again, it sound like a great project! Have take your time and have fun.

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Having looked the engine over when I was there, I'd say that the starter and generator are probably toast and will need replacement, not just overhaul. These parts are obtainable, so if that's the worst, it's not too bad. Let's hope the block hasn't cracked from sitting out through many New England winters with water in the cooling system. All of the parts seemed to be there, though some were in the back of the car.

The door bottoms and hood edges are rotted through, but some patching may do it. Much of the body wood, especially around the roof, will need to be made and fitted. It will be a big project, any way you want to look at it. But, we're here to help, so good luck! Where is it going?

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Gary, thanks for the reply. We're bringing it to New York state, we operate a tour company in the Adirondacks region and one of our highlights is historic ghost tours. Our plans for the hearse is to eventually make it into a tour vehicle for cemetery tours around town. Currently we're having trouble finding a trailer that can handle it though, she has a 158 inch wheelbase, longer than most rental trailers in our area. Hopefully we can come up with something...

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I have a 1928 Studebaker Big Six Victoria and have done some recent tuneup work to it. I am not certain the 1926 cooling fan is exactly the same as 1928 but if it is you should remove the fan assy and disassemble it to clean the rotating shaft section and inspect the unique internal self contained gear driven oil pump.

The fan is not simply rotated by the Vbelt pulley, it has a self contained oil pump that lubricates the rotation shaft bearing area.

If neglected this could easily sieze or self destruct and put the fan into the radiator. I'll attach a few images showing the internal parts to cleanup and relube.

Stude8

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Another starting condition to attend to is the one way chain driven starter clutch attached to front end of crank shaft. The large sprocket drives the outer case affair that engages three internal cam like clutch pawls. These having sat outside for years may need cleaning and lubrication for the starter to engage and crank the engine and also release properly when the engine starts.

Attached are more images of this item disassembled for reference.

Disassembly is rather tricky, there is an external contracting metal ring that is a devil to reinstall on hub and I had to rig up several small "C" clamps to contain it in place while deforming the hub ID metal enough to get it re-engaged, you will recognize the problem as you work with it.

Stude8

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Edited by stude8 (see edit history)

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Wow, thanks very much for the tips! According to Gary's observations the starter and generator both looked roached so will have to see when I get my hands on the car and start tearing it down. Clearly all the wiring will have to be replaced as well. Do you know any good suppliers for parts for this engine???

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Except for gaskets there are no sources I can think of for Big Six parts other than another parts car if you are lucky to locate one.

Hopefully the starter motor can be rebuilt, it has a gear reduction box where the chain drive sprocket attaches that will need to be disassembled to clean and lubricate but brushes are common to other period Delco motors and should be available if needed.

Here are some starter motor photos of mine being restored.

Stude8

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About the generator, it stands vertical at right front of engine and is driven from the timing gear case via a "Pin" drive coupling that uses a rubber biscuit between the "Drive' pins and "Driven" pins. These type couplings are still available from places like McMaster-Carr but are not exact fits. The diameter of the drive shaft is one variable and the generator input shaft is another. Mine had a substitute coupling on it and all I had to do was get some rubber belting and punch pin holes in it at the right positions.

Again except for the drive coupling the generator has common Delco parts internally with other 1920's models.

More images of my generator drive parts and the starter chain drive after being cleaned and reinstalled. Also a shot of the under the floor starter foot switch, I found a NOS one on Ebay!

Stude8

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Ultimately you will need to get down to the water pump, it will need at a minimum shaft packing seals for both the driven water shaft and the drive end gear within the timing case oil gallery. Also like on my GB engine the crankshaft protrudes through the timing case/water pump casting and the die cast zinc crankshaft bushing #24508 will be crumbling and need to be remade out of brass.

This is one part of the Studebaker design I wasn't happy with, everything in front is driven by the timing gear, cam shaft of course but also water pump, distributor and generator. So be prepared to do them all when you pull off the lower left front assembly.

Stude8

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I did make a digital drawing of the 24508 crankshaft ring for my machinist. Here is the .doc file.

*Sorry. .DOC is an invalid format on this forum. Send me your email address and I can send the images directly. studeracer_37@yahoo.com

Stude8

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Here are two shots of the engine in the hearse. It's the electricals on the right side that concerned me.

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Gary

Out of curiosity did you find the engine serial number on your visit? If it is a 1926 model it should begin with the alpha characters "EP". If it was different like EG [1918>1921] or EK [1922>1924] it would be earlier. I see it has an electric fuel pump bolted on above the steering gear box so it is likely earlier than 1928 when they added a mechanical fuel pump to the big six engine to replace the vacuum tank system.

I attached the Studebaker Big Six Series data page from Bill Cannon's book "Big Six Scrapbook".

Stude8

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I could not find the serial number on the block or one on the chassis or a body number tag. Where is the engine block number on a Big 6?

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Yeah, well, you can see from the photos of the day I was there that crawling under the car to search for tags was not high on my bucket list, LOL...

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That's funny Gary, I'm sure it wasn't lol. Thank you to you all for posting. Like I said, I'm new to pre-War Studebakers. Although my Dad restored a 1930 Dictator, I've never turned any wrenches on it as that project was done about 30 years ago. Stude8 and Gary, realistically, in your opinion does it look like this thing could be made to run or is it a boat anchor (Obviously assuming it isn't cracked or anything else catastrophic)? I'm hoping it doesn't have to be a complete rebuild as it's supposed to be a low mileage engine if that matters. I'm not new to working on cars by a long shot, this is the third antique car I currently own, just never anything this early before so it's a learning process.

Edited by GhostandTourCo (see edit history)

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IMG_1680copy.jpg?t=1328858914

You will find the engine number at the location indicated. It will have a prefix of either EP or perhaps ES if the engine is original to the vehicle.

You never did indicate whether you intended to join the ASC. Every person who has answered you on this thread is an ASC member. You have a long way to go with the vehicle and you will need all the help you can get.

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You never did indicate whether you intended to join the ASC. Every person who has answered you on this thread is an ASC member. You have a long way to go with the vehicle and you will need all the help you can get.

Absolutely! I'm sure the club is going to be a major resource in this case and I really appreciate all the information that's been shared so far. I'd like to learn all I can. As this Studebaker is going to be used as a tour vehicle for our customers, it's very important that it be made as reliable and easily maintained as possible as far as mechanicals. Along those lines we are also contemplating putting modern running gear into this old girl.

Edited by GhostandTourCo (see edit history)

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The car is save-able and worth saving. The chassis, axles, steel disk wheels, etc. looked OK. You won't know about the engine until you get it out and pull it apart. Mechanical and electrical parts are available through the very good network of owners of pre-war Studebakers (see Studeq's suggestion of joining ASC). But, these are mostly "mature" gentlemen, few of whom hang out on the Internet, except for some of us rogues. :D You'll need to make a lot of phone calls, but you'll meet a lot of interesting people who will help. I'll bet finding a complete replacement engine shouldn't be too difficult, if necessary.

Yes, the body needs work, but the pieces are all there and much-worse cars have been brought back to life. If you have the interest, time, and cash, it will be a great project. We're hoping you'll take up the task and go for it!

My car hauler trailer has a flat section 166" long, plus another two feet of ramp at the back, if you are still looking for a way to move the hearse. Where did you want it delivered?

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To Ghostandtour:

If you are serious about this restoration of the Big Six hearse you will be wise to obtain the Studebaker Parts manual and the Service Manual which have many useful illustrations and detailed instructions to repair various mechanical parts that will need attention for certain.

A reprint of each is available from Faxon Auto Literature, 3901 Carter Ave. #2, Riverside, CA 92501 phone 800-458-2734 www.faxonautolit.com.

They have the Big Six models from 1925-1928&1/2 all condensed into a single publication of each parts and service books. The original books were parts of a nine volume dealer set that is virtually impossible to find at this date.

Stude8

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