Thursday, 12 July 2012

Spring Work on the '64 Studebaker Daytona.

Hello Stude fans, welcome to the first 'How I did it' article on 'The Oily Rag'. I called it that instead of 'How To', as I might not do it as described by workshop manuals or others, but it will give you an idea of what to do, or what not to do ;-)
My '64 Daytona needed the rear spring shackle rubbers, (front only), replacing, a straight forward job I thought, made all the easier with my new four post hoist - a piece of cake ! Well, the Gods of Engineering must have heard me and thought they'd teach me the lesson - 'there is no such thing as an easy job'. During the week I had gone through the process in my head - (1) jack up the body and rest on jack stands under the chassis rails, (2) remove rear wheels & jack up the diff to take the weight, (3) undo the bolt holding the bush, and rear shock absorbers from bottom plate (4) lower the jack and the spring leaves out of the spring hangers,(5)  replace the rubbers, (6) jack back up, (7)  re-install bolt, tighten - finished, Ha!
I did indeed complete items 1 through to 3, and started on item 4 by lowering the jack, but did the spring neatly lower as well - No, I couldn't even lever them out of spring hangers - what the blazes !!!!!  I approached this job like I do with brakes, 'one side at a time' in case I don't get back to it for week and the memory fades, so I can use the undisturbed other side as reference - However, in this case I had to unbolt and lower both sides to get the front of the leaf spring low enough to work on removing the bushes.

Left hand side rear (front) spring shackle - you can see why I'm replacing them.
The LHS bolt was difficult but I did get it out - After I had removed the nut on the inside between the hanger and the chassis, I turned the bolt anti-clockwise with the socket and it unthreaded itself about 1/2" out of the inner bush sleeve, then stopped coming any further. I got a shifter, (crescent wrench for my US Buddy's), closed it around the bolt shaft between the head and the bush and whacked it with a hammer until the bolt came out of the sleeve. Rough I know, but it was about the only thing I could do - Note: use some else's shifter ;-)  The RHS bolt had seized onto the inner sleeve and just would not come out at all, so I used a thin cutting disk on my 4" angle grinder and cut the bolt between the spring hanger and the bush ends - there's about   3/16" - 1/4" clearance, more if you leaver the spring eye to one side while cutting. Support the leaf under the spring if you use this method as it can spring down when the bolt cuts through and jam the grinder

The RHS bush removed by cutting the bolt with a grinder.

IMPORTANT NOTE AT THIS POINT ! Watch the brake hose from the body to the Diff housing. Don't let this take the weight of the diff - put blocks under the brake drums as a safe guard. 
This is the maximum I stretched the flexible brake line.
I lowered the Diff with the springs as much as I could bearing in mind the brake hose length, but the front spring eyes were still to high to clear the hanger and chassis to allow access to work on the bushes. I used the jack handle leaved off the hand brake cable chassis mount to force the spring eye down so I could slide a piece if 4" x 2" timber between it and the top of the underside of the spring hanger - This was the perfect clearance I needed. Removing the RHS bush tapped out pretty easily with a drift and hammer, the LHS did not ! I made up a puller by machining out a 6" piece of pipe so as the bush would slide through, (Bush OD 1.5"), that would butt up against the spring eye, then used a piece of 3/8" threaded bar with large washers. The idea is that when the nut is tightened on the rod it will pull the bush through the eye into the machined pipe. Well that's the theory, the bush wouldn't budge, even heating the eye didn't help, the washers just collapsed - bugger! So I resorted to brute force after liberally dousing it in WD40, I also drove a screw driver between the spring eye where it curls back onto the spring leaf, to try and give the bush a bit more clearance. The trouble with springs is, well, they're springy, they have a tendency to absorb the energy of the hammer blow, so you get no where fast. In desperation I drove a screw driver blade between the outer bush sleeve and the spring eye, several hits and levering broke the grip and the bush started to come out of the eye - lucky I guess.
The installation of the new LHS bush.
 The installation of the new bushes was fairly easy, the RHS tapped in, as the old one had come out. The LHS required pressing in with my failed removal puller, but it redeemed itself by working a treat squeezing the new bush into place. Finishing the job by bolting them back into the hangers took a bit messing around too, I used a jack under the rear of the spring trying to push the front bush back into alignment, along with levering the rear spring hanger forward with the jack handle I finally got the bolt in.
LHS bush installed ready to bolted back into spring hanger.

IMPORTANT NOTE AT THIS POINT ! Both front spring hangers have two shackle bolts holes, one about 1" above the other. On LHD vehicles use the lower bolt hole on the LHS front spring hanger, and the higher one the RHS - on RHD vehicles do the opposite. 

Aligning the shackle bush to insert bolt.
On the side where you use the higher bolt hole tape the nut to an open end spanner and slide in behind the chassis and spring hanger, then line up with the bolt and screw in using a ratchet socket - if it does drop off you have to chase it out of the hole with a long screw driver. There was a bit of swearing at this point. The side where you use the lower shackle bolt hole is worse, the position of the bolt won't allow you to use a spanner to hold the nut, I ended up using duct tape to stick the nut to a pair of long nose pliers, even with this method it took twice as long as the other side, and six times more swearing. BUT ! they were in  Yah !!!!!!

Bolt insertion - now to put the nut on, easier said than done!

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