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Technical Studebaker steering

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by dmclassic, Apr 13, 2017.

  1. dmclassic
    Joined: Apr 11, 2017
    Posts: 5

    dmclassic

    I have a 51 Studebaker champion with a chev 400 small block. I want to upgrade to a better steering system ie rack and pinion or possibly convert to a gasser straight axel. Does anyone out there have any ideas or experience with Studebakers?


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  2. Hnstray
    Joined: Aug 23, 2009
    Posts: 11,899

    Hnstray
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Quincy, IL

    I have two now, and have had other, Studebakers. The steering system is not one of my favorites, but I would point out the '51 up Stude suspension/steering is nearly identical to what Chevrolet used in millions of '49 thru '54 passenger cars.

    My point being, when all parts are in good condition, it drives reasonably well, especially for the period in which it was designed. The conversion to rack and pinion is fraught with geometry pitfalls and for the effort (and expense) involved, does not offer any certainty of improvement, as 90% of the original suspension is still in place. Rack and pinion systems, which I like, are not a silver bullet to vastly improve any suspension/steering system by simply converting to one. A straight axle is no better, just different.

    There are other, more extensive, options that would improve on that but are controversial on this forum.

    Ray
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2017
  3. Ray is correct here. I have owned a driven several king pin Studes. Funny when they went to true independent on the larks they continued with the king pin on the Hawk and Avanti series cars. Ilike the feel of them myself.

    I got a good box and column from a Lowey/hawk series car if your box is shot.
     
  4. 32n343windows
    Joined: Jun 21, 2016
    Posts: 27

    32n343windows

    Thank heaven for experts. The Avanti used a modified Lark frame and suspension.
     

  5. Well you would know. I never worked on one.

    I pulled the new suspension parts from a '64 when the guy that owned it went with a pinto suspension, uh Mustang II. They are the parts that went on my '53 lowey with the exception of the disc brakes. I still own the discs and if that is modified lark it was modified to king pin and center steer. :rolleyes:

    But you are correct thank gawd for experts.
     
  6. Hnstray
    Joined: Aug 23, 2009
    Posts: 11,899

    Hnstray
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Quincy, IL

    All Studebaker passenger cars (including Avanti) used essentially the same design from 1951 through the end of production. There were wheelbase differences to accommodate the various models, and X members in a few, but the front end was never significantly changed.

    There were disc brakes on some later models in that period, but brakes are not steering/suspension.

    Ray
     
  7. But they are nice disc brakes. :D
     
  8. Hnstray
    Joined: Aug 23, 2009
    Posts: 11,899

    Hnstray
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Quincy, IL

  9. dmclassic
    Joined: Apr 11, 2017
    Posts: 5

    dmclassic

    Thanks Ray. This car has already converted to disk brakes it was built about 20 years ago to run at the salt flats. It ran there once. The guy that built it used Toyota hubs and twin puck calipers to covert to front disks. It has. Lark steering box. The problem I've got is a lot of play in the steering. It seems to be primarily in the bellcrank and drag link.


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  10. 48jeep
    Joined: Apr 3, 2009
    Posts: 66

    48jeep
    Member

    Studebaker International carries the parts to rebuild the bell crank as well as the whole suspension if you are so inclined. By the way, the Corvette used the same type of design until 1963.
     
    Hnstray likes this.
  11. I think I probably have a set of control arm bushing and king pins around here if I look. my experience with them is that they feel a whole lot better with new king pins and control arm bushings.
     

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