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Old 04-18-2013, 06:22 PM   #53
kellymac530 OP
motorcycle addict
kellymac530's Avatar
Joined: Feb 2010
Location: so. cal.
Oddometer: 1,052
On another thread I posted something about my '49 Studebaker truck and someone asked me about it. I looked at my posts thinking I had posted a thread about my old beast but I had not.

So here it is.
In Sept of 2011 I bought a 1949 Studebaker C-cab pickup off of Ebay for $580.00 USD. It had been in a barn in Norther California for 30+ years and was filled with mice nest, turds, and piss. It has a few spots with some rust but is mostly sound and solid. The rust spots are sadly from those very mice nest and their pesky piss. Very corrsive stuff. Everywhere there is rust through there was mouse nests on top of that area.

Anyway, It should have had the 170ci Champion straight 6 in it but sometime back in the late 50s or early 60's someone put a 1952 Stude 232 v8 in it with the 3 on the tree and the OD trans.

I debated deeply about what to do since the motor was in doubtful condition. I debated just buying a rebuilt Chevy Blue Flame OHV 6 and stuffing that in mostly because I love the sound of a L6 with glasspacks and I hate just being typical and dropping in a crate 350 Chevy. Not my style. Not that there is anything wrong with a good 350, just not what I want to do with a classic.

After joining the Studebaker Drivers Club I got connected to a BUNCH of great folks and found out that Stude parts are quite readily available and even quite affordable thanks to a loyal following and a desire by a few to really keep the classic history alive.

There are many NOS suppliers and many new repop and even OE stuff still in production. A GREAT old guy named Bob up in Visalia loves his Studes and talked me into keeping it Stude powered and offered me a running 1963 Stude 289 V8 out of a Lark for free, yes for free, I just had to come up there and pick it up in person so he could meet me. It had good compression and ran great when he pulled the motor out of the car in early 2010 and the car only had 40k on it.

My only problem was that on Stude's the flywheel is mounted with bolts that push in from the front of the crank and go through the flywheel with nuts on the flywheel side. Of course, the donor motor was an AT car and mine is manual so the bolts need to be longer, and yes, the pan and rear main bearing cap needs to be removed to swap to the longer bolts. I start down that slippery know the one, "since I ALREADY have to pull the oil pan I might as well just put in NEW bearings"...and that leads to rings and that to a valve thing I know I have racing valve springs, a 3 angle valve job with porting and polishing, an Ed Iskenderian race cam, milled heads for a small bump in compression, and by most of my more experieneced Stude buddies about 275 hp. Not bad for a non supercharged motor of that small displacement.

I replaced all wheel bearings and seals. new leaf spring shakles. Greased all bushings and pivit points. I pulled the brakes all apart and while the shoes were in good shape the drums were rusty and the wheel cyclinders were very corroded and springs were junk. I said parts were easy to find and overall cheap...except 3/4 ton specific suspension and brake parts...N/A. No where. I decide to get creative. I sit down with the Bendix book and start looking at wheel cyliders and springs and find a few things that I can make work. My new springs are a bit stiffer than OE, but I also am running a 2 pot 1" Corvette MC with a 7" dual disc vacum booster so no issue. The wheel cylinders were honeable and I found some Dodge rubber cups and boots caps that worked with some minor trimming on the dust boots. I ran all new brake lines hand bent by me. I turned the drums and re-arched the old shoes to match the drums. AHH working brakes.
The trans seemd fine and the oil showed no particulates or slimey, milky anything so I just put in fresh oil that is ok to use with brass bushing trans's. The same for the diff, worked fine, just fresh oil.

Again, new problem. No one ever hooked up the OD and the FD ratio for the HD 3/4t PU is 5.66:1....ouch. 3 speed and 5.66 gears...wooo hooo top speed of 70 ish and that is screaming the motor.

Back to work, I search all over the country and burn up many favors of mine and buddies favors trying to find this cool old Timken split center diff gears in the VERY rare 4.11:1 ratio. No luck. NA. Zip Zero Ziltch Nada. Do I swap it out to a typical furd 9" or GM 12 bolt and get a driveable truck on the road or do I leave the very cool OE 5.66 rear end and just not freeway drive???? While I am usually a function OVER form guy, this rearend is just TOO cool, so I left it and just deal with a 55 mph road cruising speed and quick shifting. But it WILL pull house right off of its foundation if neccesary.

The fuel tank is bad and lines junk, also the brake booster takes up part of the space the tank sits in and I do not like the filler neck running through the cap and old rubber boots, so I find a larger capacity tank that fits between the frame rails and mount it behind the diff. All new fuel plumbing as well. This solved another issue because the sender was 6V on the stock tank and the new one is 12V.

That brings us to electrical. Originally the truck was A} 6V and B} Cloth braided wiring...add mice and 62 years in the mix and guess what? Yep pretty much all bare wires through out the trcuk. Back online to the Painless site and start reading and I end up with a copy of the Painless kit for half of the price and I spend 2 weeks building and organizing and running the harness. While bulb sockets are not usually 6 or 12V sensitive, mine were mostly bad anyway so off to the Dorman supply and get a bunch of bulb sockets and now everything electrical is new. I did not HAVE to go to a 12V system, but I have never had good success with 6V cranking over higher compression motors and the generators are expensive to rebuild on these so I pick up a GM single wire alternator and weld up my own brackets to mount it.

The carb linkage was terrible butchered by the original swappers so I completely fab and weld up my own and simplify it. I also can not use the stock radiator in its form and having a honeycomb brass radiator rebuilt that is corroded is VERY expensive. $750-1500.00. I can not do that. So off to the computer and the Summit Racing site with a bunch of measurements and I find an aluminum crossflow tig welded nice radiator for cheap and I fab up some mounting brackets and use some coat hanger wire to make the hose shapes and head to my local AP store to find some hoses I can make work...4 hours later and alot of flipping hoses around and eyeballing I find to that I can make work. Cooling system looks factory...sort of.

Interior, hmmm. I want it to be old styled and even a patina'ed overal, but I want the interior to be comfortable. I decide to paint the dash up and rebuild the gauge cluster. I take the cluster apart and paint all of the interior parts up, clean all glass and chrome, fit the new amp gauge and fuel gauge, buut cut them into the stock cluster so they look relatively unobtrusive and decent. I make the shifter knob out of a vintage white Schwinn bicycle grip and a piece of a Yamaha YZ handlebar with a 5/16" rod coupling welded into it. I have the stock seat, but it a non adjustable style. It has no sliding tracks. It sets on pins that you can select 3 positions from by lifting and moving the entire seat fore or aft but the seat back is mounted by a hidge to the cab so it never moves forward it just angles more or less. Not acceptable since my daughter LOVES this truck and wants to be able to drive it sometimes. Back my Stude site buddies and a guy offeres me a good seat that had the optional upgrade sliding track adjutable seat frame in worn but useable condition for a hundred bucks, I just got to pick it up in Kingman Az. Benefaction in the deal, he has a '49 3/4 ton green Stude truck in restored condition that he would love to give me a ride in...worth the 4.5 hour each way drive just for that in my book.

I decide, it's only money, just have the seat re-upholstered. Not bad I pick a caramel color of hd marine grade vinyl and some simple vintage style verticle pleats sewn in. After installing it and realizing it sits too far forward and kinda high for a hot rod truck I remove the rear seat back spring frame and cut a piece of plywood the right shape and get a piece of firm 3" thick egg crate foam and spray glue it to the ply then restretch the seat vinyl back over that and staple it to the, very comfortable, less bouncy, and because you slide back 2 or 3 inches you get lower in the cab because of the seat base having a slope to it...tons more comfortable on the legs and pedals as well as cooler looking and feeling seat.

I then take out all of the interior panels and sand everything down and paint the dash and glove box and metal door panels Rustoleum almond color and the main dash board and interior door frames a custom mixed color that I made by using the quarts of Rustoleum industrial paints. Very cheap at HD, 8 bucks a qt I think. I used 2 parts of safety red and 1 part safety orange and got a color very close to Chevy Hugger orange which is my favorite color. Reddish orange and almond interior with a caramel seat...I like it.

Now the wheels....argggggh. It had 3 useable OE rims on it and one mismatched wheel that had a different offset and back space so I could NOT use it. Now what. I search every Stude salvadge on the planet and everybody I knows personal circle of friends backyard stock and NO ONE has the 3/4 wheel I need. Now what? It of course has an obsolete and rarely used "Big 6" bolt pattern and even finding someone who has wheel jigs to drill a blank is hard to find...alas I find one guy in Wisconsin who build Nascar wheels and wheels for guys converting military Duece and a halfs into off road trucks...they use the bolt pattern I need. I am not super fond of the shapes he has but I am out of options. I order some custom rims for $175 each shipped and then have them powder coated the same color as my interior. The perk here is I can run more common sized tires and go tubeless rather than split ring tube type. I only order the fronts for now in a small size and buy some Coker antique repops in Wide White Walls.

Finally I stare at wood stake beds for months and decide I do not many of them {My truck had some kind of service or stake bed originally that had been cut off} for a farm truck turned hot rod look I am going for so I decide to build something wierd. I hand shape 2 -4" x 6" x 8' pressure treated green lumber to fit the top of the frame rails. There is a hump for the axle that I needed to scribe and trim out to make the lumber sit flat on the frame rails. I bolt those down. I then use the same green PT in 2"x6" cross ways and screw those down using 4 3" galvanized wood screws in each one. The gives me a perk running everything in the opposite direction than most beds. There is now a pocket that is 32" wide and the entire length of the bed down the center that I plan to make an aluminum ramp that slides in and locks in place so I can load any bike with ease, walk or ride it right up a wide, strong and hidden away ramp that is always there. Driving home and see a fellow biker stranded, slide out the ramp and load him up to drive him home. I also bought 2 full sticks of 2"x3"x.250"x20' sticks of angle iron that I plan on welding a perimiter frame around the bed to make it stiffer and stronger and be able to weld it down to the frame.

So I still have some things I want to do to him, but not too bad for now...oops, all of that high RPM hiway driving I was doing at constant 4500 rpm and I spun a rod bearing...he is still up on jacks right now, but when my neck heals up I have a new crank and a few rods so I can re-rebuild the motor. Yep, I got the crank and rods from the Bob that gave me the motor...yep, same price. Great guy.

Well here are a few pics as proof that he exists, no pics no proof right. BTW, I say "he" because after I drug him home a little neighbor girl says "Kelly, your truck looks like Oscar the Grouch, green with rusty eyebrows" so after so much trouble he fit the Grouch and so Oscar he is.
Meet Oscar
earky on:

more recently:

Notice the very cool old Timken diff. My dog even loves this old truck, but since she is a terrier I think it is because of the mouse

BTW, that sound mat makes a TON of difference on an old vehicle if you plan on driving it much with heat and noise. It will get all covered with the carpet kit I recently got for him.
it is easier to ask for forgiveness than permission
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