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57 Studebaker Commander 4 door sedan


jazzer3

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Hello my name is Jay and I am going to be the new owner of a 57 Commander 4 door. The car has been inside unmoved since 1976 and is in fairly good shape but does have some rust over the headlights and in the front fenders just in front of the door. The interior is driver quality perfect and I'm sure the original paint will clean-up nicely.

As with all our cars I will try to keep everything as original as possible, going over the brakes,fuel system, etc. making sure it is safe and dependable but the rust on the front fenders is going to stay for now but if I find structural issues that rust will be repaired.

I need to find a rear windshield for the car, it is completely gone, kids,

I would appreciate any information on sources for a rear windshield.

Thank you,

Jay

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Welcome Jay!

If you don't find one closer there maybe one at the family farm. I put one in the machine shed rafters 35 years ago and it may still be there. I would have to go 60miles to look but I can make the trip in the next couple of weeks if needed. I'm located in the Pittsburgh area. Cost for the glass would be free; gas to go and look (and if it is still there and you want it) is $20) There maybe some other parts such as rear doors, dashboard and ??. Yours for scrap metal prices if you want them.

Ken

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Thank you Ken, I am very much interested. I was making a place in the shop for the car today, I had decided I needed no more projects when this car became available in my hometown. I always wanted a Studebaker so I got one.

There is no hurry on the glass as I will be going over mechanical items first but at your convenience if you do have a rear window a trip across state will be no problem. Although I don't have the car in my shop to fully evaluate the condition I told the family I am driving it to the Outer Banks In June.

No need to make a special trip just yet the car will be out of the weather, I'll just need to take a shake-down run before the middle of June so any time before that I can take a ride out west.

I will post some photos of the car before we remove it from the garage, it has been there since 1976, and more photos as it gets cleaned -up

I want to buy any Studebaker specific books that will help in getting the car on the road, any suggestions.

Thanks,

Jay

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rbk thank you for the greeting. I have been messing with old cars for a long time, but this is my first Studebaker. I am anxious to get it into my shop and see what needs to be done. My brother had a 62 Lark and I remember that car to be "peppy"

Jay

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Thanks Brad, I just joined the club. I was surprised when I clicked onto the AACA Studebaker thread and found little mention on the newer cars.

Jay

Jay,

The window is yours if it is still there and good condition. I'll try and check it out over the Christmas holiday and will let you know for sure if it's available. A shop manual and a parts manual are good to have and are available from Studebaker International and other vendors at a reasonable price. Studebakers are not that complex but do have some differences that you'll need to know about. A catalog from Studebaker International is handy to have to know what's available parts wise and their cost.

Ken

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Jay,

Our Keystone Region Chapter of SDC is having our Christmas Banquet this Saturday in Lancaster, PA. Call Nancy Pfahler if you would like to meet some great people and share an exceptional meal. (717) 314-7730. I think reservations need confirmed by noon on Tuesday.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thank you all, I appreciate any information, I like input. Today is going to be dedicated to making room in the shop for the Studebaker and tomorrow I would like to move it. I have joined the Studebakers Driver Club and now have a shop manual, studying it I believe I should clean the oil-pressure relief valve before firing up the 38 year idle engine.

Ken unless something would become available closer, which I doubt, If and when you would have time let me know and I'll plan a trip to Pittsburgh.

The Vin number for our car is #8456300 under the hood we have 57B W4 1200. Does our Vin number indicate an early 57, I see shock absorbers might have changed through the year. Also what differences are there between the Custom and Deluxe.

The car was driven up until the rear window got smashed and was then put in the garage but something did make a mess on the back seat, I got under whatever it is and lifted it, it came up off the seat clean but I didn't feel like messing with it too much, when it gets to the shop with some proper cleaning equipment we'll take care of it.post-39071-14314290366_thumb.jpg here are some photos I will try to document the removal from garage.

Thanks,

Jay

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Jay,

I was at the farm today and the rear window is still in the rafters where I put it 40 years ago. I wasn't dressed to move it or had a vehicle that could carry it so it still there. Let me know when you will be coming for it and I will get it down and bring it to my home in Indiana, Pa. There are some other pieces of the car there such as right side doors, dashboard and ?. let me know if you have any other needs.

Ken

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Thanks again Ken, I would want to do this at your convenience so you tell me when. I would bring my Jeep Cherokee so I don't know what else would fit, and would not want to take anything I don't need as someone else might.

I see there is a Studebaker meet in York, PA in March, I'm hoping to know about everything I'll need by then and maybe eliminate some shipping costs.

Happy New Year,

Jay

Ken, I will travel to wherever is easiest for you so you don't have to worry about moving it.

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Jay,

Saturday concludes the swap meet at York and things start shutting down between noon and 2:00 PM. Just a heads up.

There will be a drawing for a '51 Land Cruiser at 2:00 PM. Details here: http://www.sdckeystoneregion.com/

You will want to either be there on Friday or very early Saturday if you want to have the opportunity to peruse the whole venue and get to meet some of the experts you will soon be getting to know.post-40447-143142917124_thumb.jpg

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Thank you for the heads up, our daughter lives in Lancaster so I'll stay there for a few days, she says it is close to York and she hasn't lied to me for a while. Hopefully I will get to meet some of you fellows.

I have the transmission pan down and cleaned the screen, is there anything else I should check or do while the pan is down?

Thank you,

Jaypost-39071-143142920591_thumb.jpgThe Chrome is cleaning up nice also. I asked this question elsewhere but How does one remove very-old petrified masking tape without damage to the original finish.

post-39071-143142920597_thumb.jpgHere is a photo of the only key I found in the car, It does fit into the ignition, door, and trunk lock but doesn't turn in any the number on the key is WL471 and is an Ilco blank. does this key resemble any Studebaker keys in use?

Thank you,

Jay

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Jay,

I hope I left you my contact information in the private message area. if not let me know and I'll try and do a better job. The key in your picture is for a locking gas cap. It maybe for a Studebaker accessory locking cap. It matches the appearance of the locking cap on my car.

Ken

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  • 1 month later...

Hello out there I haven't done much to the Studebaker due to the winter becoming like winter, but I removed the carburetor, distributor, fuel pump, valve covers and had them at home to work on. The carb, distributor, and fuel pump are ready to install, I need to paint the valve covers, what finish should they have.

Before the snow hit I made a tool to turn the oil pump and pumped oil through the engine, I had removed the oil-pressure sending unit, the oil-filter cannister and lines and the oil-pressure relief valve. As I got clean oil I blocked up the openings starting with the pressure relief valve and ending with the oil filter port on the left front. Then I continued priming and turning the engine via the fan blade until I saw fresh oil at the rockers, while doing this an oil pressure gauge was showing about 50-55. I covered the valve train with newspapers and went home.

I bought the production order sheet from the Studebaker Museum and got the key numbers for our car, I gave the numbers to a friend and he cut me keys, I was so excited I had to walk to the shop yesterday to try them and now have working keys, that's a load off the mind. I took the plug wires from the car apart, the wire is still good but the terminals were only crimped on and there was some evidence of corrosion, I used the boots and terminal ends over the only thing I soldered the ends on. Looking at the spark-plug boot can anyone tell if these are the original boots? post-39071-143142978945_thumb.jpgThat snow on the hill is why I walked, my Jeep sits way down there

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Jay,

I'm planning on going to York on Saturday of the meet. If you're going to be there that day I can bring it along. Otherwise just give me 3-4 days notice and I can usually make it available for you to pick up.

Ken

It may be just that I am becoming an old curmudgeon, but it IS truly heart warming to see that someone (you) is willing to help another without expecting compensation. I sincerely salute you for "doing the right thing!".

Bob

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Bob I feel exactly the same.

When I first looked at the 57 Commander I told the owner I wanted to check on the internet to see what the worth of the car might be, as I was leaving he called me back and told me if I wanted the car It would be $500.00, I told him I was going to offer more than that and I could get that much for it at the scrapyard.

so I was feeling very thankfull for his generosity, then, as soon as I posted I needed a rear windshield Ken responded immediately offering one for free.

My Studebaker experience thus far has been rewarding, and I thank all for your interest and advice,

Jay

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hello, This is a commander update. Ken delivered to me one rear window for the commander and I got a new rubber. Reading the shop manual on rear window showing the men with rubber mallets makes me wary. I am thinking about farming the installation out but worry about the experience of the shop with this type installation.

The valve covers are painted, the valves all checked good, I need to get number one up to TDC and get the distributor in it's proper location. The fuel pump, carburetor, distributor and wires, water pump have to be installed and then we get a battery in there and see what happens

post-39071-143143022997_thumb.jpgI spent very little time on the rear seat using the can of cleaner shown(it is so old it had no "schpritz" and I had to poke a hole in the can, don't do this at home) a fingernail brush and a dull knife scraped sideways.

The hubcaps are as good as i can get them and i let all those parts on the trunk hoping those guys that live in the tree and make cookies show up.

Jay

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Got some work done on the Commander today. The valve covers are on, carburetor installed, fan and pulley in place, oil filter and lines all tight. New throttle return springs seem to be correct. Number one is up top there is oil in the engine, next it will get primed and the distributor put in it's proper location. Then the fuel lines then the battery.

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Then a prayer and we'll see what happens,

Jay

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The Commander was running yesterday and sounds good, topped off the transmission fluid and today I start replacing brake parts. I talked to the people at the glass shop and they can install the rear window when I am ready. post-39071-14314305529_thumb.jpg

Happy Easter,

Jay

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Hello, the Commander's rear brakes are in place and has a new master cylinder, the rear mounting bolt for the master cylinder fought all the way out. The front brakes are next. Each day after doing mechanical work I play for a bit cleaning things.

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The masking tape is impossible. I have the right front fender cleaned a bit but no photos.

I have been firing it up every day and letting it run until warm, all the gauges work, no turn signals but I haven't looked under the dash yet.

I saw some Goodyear radials at Walmart that were reasonably priced and looked like a good size, I believe I will take them five wheels.

Jay

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The front fenders of the Commander have the typical rust most cars of 20th century Pennsylvania had to expect. I don't want to get into extensive bodywork and would like to preserve the car as it is as much as possible.

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This rust is never going to get worse and I would like to stabilize the area without welding in patches and matching paint. I would like to put some kind of backing up-underneath the fender then applying some kind of clear acrylic.

Opinions and or suggestions appreciated.

attachment.php?attachmentid=42683&d=1428509703&thumb=1This is inside the right rear dogleg, the plan here is POR 15 and fiberglass cloth built up in layers. I have done this in spare-tire wells and it worked fine.

attachment.php?attachmentid=42684&d=1428509813&thumb=1attachment.php?attachmentid=42685&d=1428509844&thumb=1I do plan on welding here to rebuild this body mount. Note remainder of curb-feeler there is a complete on on the rear, are they factory.

attachment.php?attachmentid=42686&d=1428509964&thumb=1attachment.php?attachmentid=42687&d=1428509990&thumb=1The hood is lookin scary!

attachment.php?attachmentid=42688&d=1428510053&thumb=1Cleaned these brake parts this AM but it is so damp and cold compared to yesterday my hands were killing me, arthritis ya know.

Going to Lancaster for a few days to watch the Grandsons will be anticipating reading here on Friday night just what to do with those front fenders.

Thanks,

Jay

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  • 4 weeks later...

The Commander is off the jackstands temporarily and went for a few rides around our property totaling about three miles. Everything in the driveline seems to be working OK, now I need to make a tailpipe and do some rust repair, then it gets new tires and the rear window installed.

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Jay

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  • 3 weeks later...

Some rust repair was necessary and I needed to see, a four foot florescent light suspended on ropes works well.

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Seeing is not a problem, here is what needs fixin.

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The new mount is welded in but the bottom of the new mount is made from one piece of 3/16" steel verses the original which appeared to be two pieces of thinner stock.
Had to rush home so no photos of what got done yesterday but it was a good day of progress. I wasn't sure what i was going to use to replace the mount but there is quite a pile of cut-offs that are kept for these problems. A short piece of 2" X 4" steel tube cut up provided the uprights for the mount. The rounded corners of the tubing closely match the radius of the original mount.

Jay

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The body mount is only 1/8" and not 3/16" as I posted yesterday and the piece used for the floor measured .072". I got a good weld along the pinch weld just in front of the door and tied as much surrounding metal as possible into the body support post-83135-0-29135600-1432482324_thumb.jpost-83135-0-16317100-1432482335_thumb.jpost-83135-0-89507800-1432482353_thumb.jpost-83135-0-20886500-1432482491_thumb.jpost-83135-0-50194200-1432482444_thumb.jpost-83135-0-88228700-1432482508_thumb.j

Not exactly factory but strong.

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After buying seam sealer and undercoating to finish the job a spot just below the firewall insulator looked suspect so the tools came out and a piece 3 inches by 8 inches was welded in.  I didn't grind any welds smooth as they were solid and looked good enough to me with a little dressing.

  Now the interior gets a good cleaning and put back together.

Jay

 

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...

I've driven the Commander about 100 miles so far.  It drives nicely on the road but there may be some transmission issues.  I did drop the pan and clean the screen but maybe should have done some additional cleaning.  It seems to me that it doesn't go into a lower gear until after you pull-out from a stop, it might struggle a bit on some starts especially if uphill and will then downshift after moving.   The more it is driven it seems to work better and I suctioned out a pint of trans fluid and added a pint of sea-foam to see if things work better.  I did have the carburetor off but was careful not to disturb linkage adjustments, this is the first older car with an automatic transmission we have had since a 56 Plymouth back in 1976 and I'm not used to all this linkage and adjustments

  Thank you Ken for the rear window and Mary Ann and Bill for a straight front bumper.

Although the transmission may require removal I am tickled at hoe the Commander works otherwise and deem it worthy of finding a carpet kit, the painted steel front floor should be covered.

Thanks all,

Jay

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