Friday, October 23, 2015

53' to 63' Dash

The 53' dashboard was somewhat tweaked (I hope his knee healed well) and frankly, I could not visualize modifications and repair that would result in a dash that I liked.
There was a Studebaker meet here in Henderson and I went shopping. Not much there for me, but I did score a 63' fiberglass dash complete with the steel crossbar and brackets. 

The amazing part of this is that it bolts into the '53 Starlight perfectly. No changes in the cowl in 10 years.

With the dash pad (rag) removed, I have been cleaning and blocking the unit with 80 grit. There are a few imperfections and way to many holes, but this is going to be cool!

My instruments don't fit and I don't do radios so the concept is to overlay the dash with black walnut.

I found a supplier in Vegas and picked up a nice plank to fab the overlay. 

Everything is a project but this is not a bid job and I do have the time. The 34' Chevy is peeking out the garage door.

I really don't do much wood but with a piece as nice as this I think I can succeed. There is enough here to do this job twice.

Click on the pictures for a larger view.

This is a nicely figured piece!!

I hope to have an engine mount presentation in the next couple weeks to answer the questions I had before starting this project.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Steering Column

The Commander was a 3 spd o.d. and the column doesn't lend itself to the GM automatic. After a diligent search for an automatic column jacket that was closer than London, I decided to use an aftermarket column with shifter as I did in the Model A.

The Stude steered fine and the wheel position was very acceptable but no shifter and worn out turn signal switch. Basically this involves cutting the .762" steering shaft to 1 1/2' above the box and adapting the 1" DD column to it safely. 

I chose a Gearhead u'joint (clampable) #UJ012 (804548) 1"DD to 3/4" 36spline because of the clamp design and strength.

This is a HD joint that is a clamp on the splined end.

Removing the column jacket exposes the upper worm bearing and must be protected. A Nat 343185 seal fits perfect to the shaft and the internal bore of the worm gear retainer.

Now the fun begins, you must ream the internal splines (.720 I.D.) to the size of the unmachined shaft (.762).
My Machinist is 250 miles away I found an adjustable ream I had never used and 6 hours later with blisters and bloodletting we finally got to .757".
I know Dick will be amused but got'er done. Actually had to cut off the threaded nose of the ream as it was expanded since it bottomed on the internal u-joint.

I'm now close enough to emery the rough shaft to a final very tight fit. I actually wedged the joint open with a small chisel to the final fit.

The seal is installed and the final fit takes a while with the emery. A small groove is needed on the shaft for the 5/16" bolt to pass through the joint.

The seal is important, but I felt a second dust shield was necessary so after digging around in my junk box, I used a tie rod shipping protector on the 1.4" housing. Things will stay clean enough now.

Trimmed, bored, and internally cleaned its a drive-on primary shield for the housing. Looks a little strange but I'm satisfied.

Back on the car. this is going to work fine. When I am certain that all is well, I'll drill and tap a 12/24 set screw through the joint and one wall of the shaft (tube) and we'll be all peachy for safety.

I feel a 28" auto shift column will be fine and it will mount in the original Stude bracket. I'll have a shifter, late GM turn signal harness, genuine chrome with tilt.....what else do we need. It is also serviceable!!!!