Gary_Ash

1932 Studebaker Indy car build

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I finally got the 1936 President transmission rebuilt.  I mis-ordered the needle bearing cages for the countershaft, but they finally got here.  Every thing got cleaned and painted, and I cut new gaskets.  I got almost everything back together except one of the bronze thrust washers wouldn't slip into position.  I gave it a couple of light taps with a brass drift to convince it to slip into place - but it broke in half.  Panic!  Where do I find a thrust washer whose part number (188009) appears in the Studebaker parts catalog only for 1936 and 1937 3-speed transmissions?  It turned out to be a common Oilite thrust washer, still in production, $2 each, but I had to buy a bag of 11 of them. 

 

I wiped out the inside of the case again, put the cluster gear and countershaft in place with a small diameter bar all the way from one end of the case to the other, then put in the main shaft and input shaft.  The countershaft then slid in easily, thanks to good advice from Jerry Kurtz.  With the transmission mounted on the bell housing, the right feel and sound happen when I shift the gears.  It all turns freely and smoothly now.

 

It's time to build the drive shaft.  It will take a standard SKF UJ369 u-joint at the front.  The rear axle flange is set up for old style u-joints.  It has a 5" diameter flange with six 5/16" holes.  I have the driveshaft from the 1928 GB-W car that the axle also came from.  Maybe this is an SKF 1330 u-joint, 1.063" caps.  I can't get the u-joint caps out of the flange.  There doesn't seem to be any way to grab them.  They are rusted in.  Anyone know any tricks to get stuck caps out?  Is this a "flame wrench" job?  Maybe I'll just take it to South Shore Bearing and let their drive shaft people attack it, then build me a new shaft.

 

The engine and transmission are exactly horizontal, the axle flange tilts up about 3 degrees, and there will be about 22" between the u-joints.  The driveshaft will have to tilt down at about 8 degrees to make up for the difference in heights.  If I subtract the 3 degree tilt at the axle, then the two u-joints have to take up about 5 degrees or 2.5 degrees per joint if they split it equally.  But, I may be subtracting in the wrong direction. I read all this stuff that says the axle flange and transmission flange should have their axes parallel.  Shouldn't I be able to run the axle where it is even if the axes are not parallel?  There are 6-degree shims in the axle now, and I have a set of 2.5 degree shims, so I can tilt the axle down, but I think that makes the u-joint angles worse.

 

 

transmission_rebuilt.jpg

transmission _installed.jpg

axle_flange.jpg

spicer u-joint 1928GBW.jpg

Edited by Gary_Ash (see edit history)

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After soaking the u-joint caps in PB Blaster for a week, they still didn't want to come loose.  The guys at the bearing shop were sympathetic but knew no secrets to getting them out, and their head machinist is going out for 6 weeks for a hip replacement, so I brought the parts home again, but I did buy a new Spicer 1310 u-joint.  Plan B is to use a new Spicer flange yoke which will take the 1310 joint.  I'll make an intermediate adapter plate from a 1/2" thick steel disk 5" in diameter to have 6 bolts to the axle flange and four 3/8" tapped holes to mount the new yoke.  Then I can have a new driveshaft made with standard yoke ends for 1310 u-joints and a slip section at the front.  Anyone need a 1928 Studebaker Commander driveshaft?

 

The hood pieces got trimmed and received 90° bends to accept the 46" long hinge.  There are about 25 rivets on each side.  My riveting technique is getting better, but it would be easier if Rosie the Riveter was here to hold the buck - or maybe she could do the riveting and I'll hold the buck.  I did replace the standard aluminum 1/4" rod with a stainless rod so that the hinges don't gall over time and the rod won't rust as it would with a plain steel one.  I've got the leather hood straps and footman loops to mount them, just need to cut some small slots in the hood to insert them.  The bulge over the carbs also needs to be formed and welded.   

hood_hinge_riveted.jpg

hinge_rivets_detail.jpg

hood_open.jpg

hood_assembled.jpg

Spicer_2-2-389.jpg

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We've had an extended harvest season up here so it's been a while since I checked out your progress Gary.... glad to see it's still moving along. My chassis is still sitting out in the pasture awaiting completion of my heated shop (yea, I know... I've been saying that for 3 yrs but I am making headway as well. The electrician that's hooking up my floor heating system is supposed to come and inspect things today) so I'm envious of your work. Yes, you do want the axis of the tailshaft  on the tranny and the input shaft on the rear to be parallel. I know it sounds strange, but if you look at a jacked up 4x4 and the angles they are running at, I think it will alleviate some of your discomfort. Running a shaft like that in a perfectly straight line is actually discouraged because the grease in the U joints won't move around enough to lubricate them properly. If you don't like the amount of shimming you have to do at the rear, perhaps you can alter the angle of the motor/trans slightly at the motor mounts ( up in front or down in rear), but compared to what goes in in trucks, I can't imagine your angles will be getting very steep.

Edited by whtbaron (see edit history)

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whtbaron is correct.  You must have the engine and diff angles the same.  The engine should be laying down at 3 or 4 degrees and the diff universal joint flange be facing up at the same degree so they are both in parallel.  The video below explains it fairly well.

The only time when the engine is installed with zero degrees is when the pinion in the diff is off centre so you still have 2 or 3 degrees difference to ensure longevity of the uni joints but the angle is horizontal not vertical. Jaguars with fixed centre independent rear ends are set up like that.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DDmz0tibVGM

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Hy Gary

Congratulation to your fantastic built. Such a great Car. 

I hope we can meet us one Day.

A lot to talk about 46!

Made some great races with the car.

Best regards

Thomas Kunz

image.jpg

image.jpg

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I waited for weeks for the Spicer 2-2-389 flange yoke to arrive - but I kept getting told it was backordered.  I finally switched to a very similar part,  Spicer 2-2-459, which arrived in 2 days, and I got an adaptor flange made from a slice of 5" diameter 1018 steel bar.  It fits the round flange on the rear axle like a glove.  Now, I need to take some measurements for the exact length and get the driveshaft made.  It will be able to use "plain vanilla" Spicer 1310 U-joints, which can be bought anywhere, on each end.  They will be easy to maintain and don't need to run immersed in oil with those domed covers.  At least there have a been a few improvements in U-joints in the last years, though not many.

Spicer_2-2-459_with_adapter.jpg

Spicer_2-2-459_and_old_flange.jpg

axle adapter flange 3.png

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Gary,




You are incredible and an inspiration to all of us.




I do have a suggestion. I hope you would not mind.




When you have a question like getting the stuck caps out of your universal, ask it on one of the active old car forums.




I would suggest the pre-war Buick forum. (They will probably shoot me.)




You have a lot of avid followers, but most of the old timers with the old timer knowledge are probably not interested in speedsters.




Just a thought.




Keep us inspired!!!!




Dwight


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To deal with the non-parallel alignment of the transmission output shaft and rear axle input shaft, I bought a different pair of axle shims, 4 degrees this time.  The Jeep off-road dealers stock these in (at least) 2,4, and 6 degree angles in various widths.  Now the shafts are parallel within a degree or so, with the transmission axis is about 2.5 inches higher than the rear axle.   

 

I had a local shop build a complete new drive shaft using a slip joint and two 1310-size U-joints with 2.5" o.d. steel tube.  She balanced the shaft, slip yoke, and U-joint assemblies on a big lathe with electronic sensors.  That's right - SHE - a young woman working in her father's driveshaft shop, in her senior year of a mechanical engineering program at our local university.   They had some monster drive shafts there from really, really big trucks and earthmoving equipment in addition to normal shafts from cars.  The parts fit nicely in place.  The drive shaft angles at the U-joints are about 6 degrees, a little higher than the recommended 3 degrees, so maybe the U-joints will wear out in 50,000 miles instead of 100,000 miles.  Let's see, that would be like running the Indy 500 race 100 times.  I think it's OK!

 

 

driveshaft-rear_flange.jpg

driveshaft-front_ujoint.jpg

driveshaft-20_5in_long.jpg

Edited by Gary_Ash (see edit history)
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Great photos, thanks. That is what my 1930 Hudson needs to eliminate the vibe.

 

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On 1/25/2017 at 2:38 PM, Gary_Ash said:

The drive shaft angles at the U-joints are about 6 degrees, a little higher than the recommended 3 degrees, so maybe the U-joints will wear out in 50,000 miles instead of 100,000 miles. 

 

Sounds fine to me. What really wears them out is running with no axis offset. The needle bearings, if they never move because the driveshaft runs perfectly straight (see the first example in Mike6024's illustration), will carve or pound little groves in the cross. Eventually this destroys the joint. Old oil-bath u-joints with plain bushings didn't care about this at all.

 

 

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Yes, Dale, it's because I am trying to move the body skin along and it's not going well!

 

After getting the hood pieces and side panels formed and louvered, I started in on the pieces for the cowl and cockpit area.  These need to be "saddle" shaped, so the metal has to get stretched two ways.  I (naively) thought I could just use the angle iron cockpit frame as the form, but I didn't really have enough to get the sweep over the cowl and around to the sides.  Recognizing I was over my head, I got in touch with Fay Butler in Barre, MA, and drove out there to discuss the issue and enlist his help.  Fay has a great shop, teaches metal forming, does projects, and trains apprentices.  What he suggested - and we began - was stuffing the cockpit frame with blocks of 2" rigid insulation foam and using a pneumatic sander to shape it to the curves.  I need to add on enough rigid foam to make the curve in front of the driver.  I have to convince Fay that I am not really a candidate to become an apprentice body former at my age - I just need to get THIS body done.

 

Fay told me about how Harley Earl introduced the concept of precision sweep curves to body design and showed me his sets of curves.  These are number such that a #11 curve has a depth of 11/8" over a 60" length.  A steeper #50 curve has 50/8" or 6.25" depth at the midpoint of 60" sweep.  The trick is to use the sweeps over most of the surfaces and then blend the curves together.  While I have a wood body buck allegedly used for the restoration of the tail of the #37 car, he urged me to also fill in this form and use some sweeps to blend the surfaces.  I'm going to have to reconstruct and entirely new body buck to do this. 

 

In order to get more detail of the cowl shape, I went back to visit Bob Valpey's #37 car last week, took more measurements, and lots of photos.  I hope I got enough photos to reconstruct the cockpit and rear body area using some 3D modeling software (Remake). 

 

Meanwhile, life has intervened and I've been distracted by serious house remodeling projects, demanding consulting clients, and some health issue of my in-laws.  

 

Anyway, here are some photos of Fay at work and the front cockpit frame partly filled with foam.  I also included a shot of Fay's giant Yoder power hammer, the one he uses for serious metal shaping.  It will stretch or shrink rapidly.

 

 

Fay Butler - Yoder power hammer.jpg

Fay Butler shaping.jpg

Fay Butler with foam.jpg

tail body buck with sweep.jpg

shaped foam midway.jpg

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I am sure when Gary has some good progress to report, he will share it here, as he has done in the past.  I also am ready for an update and hope to see a fully skinned Indy Roadster body.

Al

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Like the swamp monster emerging from the ooze, I'm poking my head up again.  The whole issue of shaping the body sheet metal has proved to be a real challenge.  While Fay Butler's suggestions about filling in my cockpit frame with insulation foam blocks would eventually get me the shape I need, I decided it had some significant limitations.  Principally, I couldn't be doing any other work on the car until the cockpit sheet metal was done and I could take the frame back.  Also, a solid buck doesn't let you see the space between the buck and sheet metal and foam isn't usable for welding on.

 

I made a trip out to Wray Schelin's shop in Charlton, Mass. (Worcester area) where he runs Proshaper.  He teaches aluminum and steel body forming, and while he used to build cars for people, he tries to avoid that now since a number of his customers kept running out of cash in the middle of projects.  Wray suggested that I build a separate form for the cockpit using 1/4" cold-rolled steel rod, ditto for the tail section.  That way, one can see how closely the skin fits the buck and then the aluminum pieces can be welded together while clamped to the buck.  And, I can get my cockpit frame back for other work.  Makes sense!  I'll sign up for a course there and make arrangements to form the sheet metal in the shop once I build new steel bucks.   Here are some bucks in Wray's shop (first two pics).

 

The big hurdle I have been struggling with for years is getting the shape of the cowl in front of the driver just right.  From the driver's side of the car, the body opening curve up, around, across the car at an angle, then curves down and around on the passenger side, a complex 3D snake.  I stared at a lot of old drawings and photos but couldn't see how to extract the snake.  I finally went back to a set of three photos I have from the rebuilding of car #18 by Mike Cleary back in 1978.  He had taken the pictures to help out Stan Smith Sr. in restoring the body of the #37 car.  I blew the photos up as large as I could, drew in sets of evenly spaced parallel lines, and then found the intersection points of the snake with the XY (top), XZ (side), and YZ (rear) views.  I had a few other photos and hand sketches from Mile's work to be able to establish the correct scale.  After weeks of work, I finally had XYZ coordinates of the snake every few inches along the curve, plotted them up in Excel.  

 

I was then perplexed about how to actually form a steel rod into the snake shape.  Fortunately, I put the curve into my 3D CAD program.  One day, as I kept  looking at the curve from various angles, I realized there was one direction of view that placed most of the snake into a single plane, not an X-, Y-, or Z-axis plane, but a plane rotated on two of the axes.  When I looked at the projection of the snake, I could finally see that the drivers curve was on a 10" radius and the passenger's curve was on an 9" radius.  I got out my grandfather's long beam compass from his 1913-vintage drafting set, drew up the curves on a piece of plywood, and got 100 ft of steel rod.  I used the grooved rollers in my shear/brake/slip roll sheet metal machine to roll the rods to the radii, and have begun MIG welding things together.  I made small weld preps on the rod ends to get full penetration and have been grinding the joints smooth.  

 

Along the way, I had a laser cutting shop make a couple of Harley Earl-style "sweeps" from 1/8th inch acrylic, a #11 and a #50.  They were intended for the layout and refinement of the tail section, but I was pleasantly surprised that the #50 sweep actually fit the front hoop shape of the cockpit.  When you look carefully at car bodies, there are no truly flat areas - sweeps are used to define the curvature.

 

Anyway, I am re-energized that I have conquered a barrier and making useful progress again.      

Proshaper_steel_buck.jpg

Proshaper_steel_buck_2.jpg

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snake_side_view.jpg

cowl_curve_layout1.JPG

front_hoop_layout.jpg

wire_prep.jpg

sweep_fit_50.jpg

Edited by Gary_Ash (see edit history)

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I think I found a way to post interactive 3D models here.  Let's see if this works.  The link below will take you to the Sketchfab website and show you a 3D model of my engine.  You should be able to spin, roll, zoom, etc.  What do you think?

 

https://skfb.ly/6wnLK

Edited by Gary_Ash (see edit history)
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Yes, that works. Another way is to post an .stl file. Windows 10, for example, includes a basic 3D file viewer called 3D-Builder, which allows rotation and so on. Here is an example of one I have been playing with: a snouted grommet as used on the 1930 Dodge 8.  SnoutedGrommet_Small.stl

 

Once the file is open, click in the Tick, Import Model, and you can manipulate it further.

 

Edited by Spinneyhill (see edit history)

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I've been slogging away in the garage forming up all the steel bar pieces for the cockpit buck and welding it together.  The curves with radius of more than 12" or so I formed on the rolls of the 3-in-1 sheet metal machine, the longer radius parts, like 18", 24", 32", and more, I hand formed on a small Eastwood rod bender and matched them to curves printed out from the computer.  Once I had most of the "snake" formed, the hard part was hanging it in space and linking it up to shorter pieces that defined the side openings of the cockpit.  The finished buck is very close to the originals, and the differences will never be noticed.

 

I was assembling this and welding it together on the garage floor, spent a lot of time getting down on my knees, standing up to grab tools, lying on my belly, working stooped over, and swinging the grinder around all of the welds to smooth them.  I took a break to run the snow blower around the driveway for an hour and a half this afternoon, so I am one tired and sore puppy!  This is not a job for old men like me.  It feels good to get the buck done, though.  Compare to photos of the original in the post above.  I'll be going to Wray Schelin's metal forming class in the beginning of March to form up the aluminum and weld it together..

 

Studebaker_Indy_car_buck3.jpg

Studebaker_Indy_car_buck1.jpg

Studebaker_Indy_car_buck2.jpg

Eastwood_rod_bender.jpg

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I couldn't help dragging out the box of heavy duty aluminum foil and laying a few sheets on the buck.  It was a useful exercise as it gives some clues about where metal has to be shrunk and stretched.  Shrinking is better as the metal gets thicker; too much stretching and the thinned metal is difficult to weld. 

 

I've started some drawings for the tail buck.  I have the old plywood and timber one that I bought some years ago, but it doesn't have enough detail to suit, particularly the cockpit sides.  I'll make a new one from steel rod.  The original cars had formed "buckets" for the seats where upholstery was placed.  I'm thinking of using modern race car seats since they can be adjustable and better suited to seat belts.  In any event, it will be some work to figure out the shapes from some 1978 photos of one of the original cars (#18).  I'm not sure why someone cut a large hole in the top of the tail.

 

 

Indy car buck foiled 1.jpg

Indy car buck foiled 2.jpg

indy_tail_side_fwdsm.jpg

indy_tail_top2_sm.jpg

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I am at Wray Schelin’s ProShaper shop in Charlton, MA for 4-day course in body building for cars.  I brought the wire form buck for the cockpit. This class has been divided up on various projects, but 3 or 4 guys have been helping makes pieces of the skin.  Some are new to the craft, others experienced.  Wray is an expert’s expert and a good teacher.  There is lots of good equipment in the shop, but Wray pushes using simple hand methods for much of the work - like beating on aluminum sheet into a stump or leather sand bag, checking the approximate fit, and planishing out the lumps and wrinkles on the English wheel.  The shapes of the pieces are gradually adjusted until they fit closely to the form without too many clamps.  Wray has then trimmed the parts for a tight fit and TIG welded them together.  I am hopeful that we might get the entire cockpit welded together by the end of today!

 

 

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