First I stripped out seats and then constructed a heavy cardboard shield to protect the rest of the interior from welding and grindiing sparks. Next I cut out the drive shaft tunnel, you can see it was modified before. Here you can see the two piece shaft and then I put the one piece shaft in so I can plan clearances.
It's been a long time since I provided an update. This winter will be dedicated to the interior. I plan to replace the existing seats that came from a Mercury Sable with seats from a 2004 Chrysler Sebring convertible. The Sable seats do not tilt forward which makes back seat access difficult. The added bonus is the Sebring seats have an integral shoulder harness which will make our Stude safer. In addition to the seats, I will be cutting out the old drive shaft tunnel amd making a bigger one so I have more clearance. The two piece drive shaft works OK, but even with that I had clearance issures around the U-Joints. So once the new tunnel is in I will be going back to the one piece unit. I also will be improving the stereo system to work with my Ipod and changing out the windshield wiper motor.
These pictures show before, then everything stripped out and then a test fit of the new seats.
When the carrier/support bearing and shaft were installed the exhaust had to be dropped about an inch to gain clearance. Once it was all done I took it back to Superior Radiator in Marysville to have the exhaust adjusted. They do great exhaust work too, in addition to their cooling system work, and a lot of rodders go there. They reshaped the head pipes and got the mufflers up tight where they should be. It also gained clearance around the bearing support. Here is the finished product.
The result is a great success. I can now romp on it hard with no interference and she sits nice and low the way I like it!
The carrier bearing is from a Chevy van, and brackets were fabricated to hang it from the remaining parts of the original crossmember that Studebaker had installed. Up to this point I had only been using it to hang exhaust from. Initial installation resulted in the ears of the u-joint yokes moving enough to contact the tunnel edge under hard accelleration. Some careful work with a long steel shaft dented the tunnel enough to gain the needed clearance.
In order to get the drive line angles correct, we needed to install some wedge shims between the rear-end housing in the springs to tilt the pinion down. Unfortunately, with the bracket for the Air-over-leaf installed, the locating pin through the springs was too short. This made it necessary to fab a longer one. Here you can see the springs dropped apart, then back together with the shim installed.