When we last left our hero/Studebaker it was sitting higher than desired after having the springs de-arched. After a quick removal of the springs (man I love my air compressor and impact wrenches!) they were delivered to the spring shop along with pictures of how it looked and how I wanted it to look. A week later I picked them up and they were nearly flat. In my rush to get them installed I forgot to take a picture of them, so you will have to believe me when I say they had almost no arch. Remember also that an extra leaf was added for strength and the springs have been clamped in front of the axle. After the install I am pleased with the stance. See before and after pics below. The next step will be to get custom airlift type shocks that will allow me to raise it for serious driving and also make adjustments when carrying extra passengers or junk in the trunk. Compare pics 1 and 2 to the one in the previous entry. Pic 3 shows the installed springs and you can see a slight negative arch with the car on the ground. I will eventually trim the U-bolts.
Got my spring bushings changed, man what a chore. I am sure they are the original bushing from 54+ years ago. The spring shop changed the ones in the springs, but I had to do the rear ones that were in the frame. Had to have my buddy make a special pusher tool on his lathe, then used grade 8 fine threaded rod and some high nuts to pull the old ones out and then push the new ones in. But they are done now. Got my springs back from the spring shop, they definitely have less arch to them. But after we installed them the y did not lower the car as expected. My goal is to get it as low as it was with 2 inch lowering blocks, with just the springs. So out they came again and are back at the spring shop having more arch taken out. They will be plenty strong with the extra leaf. And should I need to raise the car, I plan to install air shocks with an on-board compressor for when I have a load or need the car a little higher. In the pictures below are the re-arched springs, the stance with the 2" lowering blocks before and the stance with the springs installed. I will see if the next spring mod will bring it down where I want it.
I held off until after the New Years Day Rod Run to get started this year. After this week-end I am committed. First thing on the list is get the leaf springs redone, so this weeks project was to get them out of the car. I did not think this would be a big deal, but have since discovered that they have not been out of there in 54 years! The U-bolts and shock bolts were no problem, my new impact wrench made quick work of them. The spring eye bolts and bushing were another story. I could get some of the nuts off, but the bolts were rusted solid inside the bushings. Fortunately there was a little clearance on the side of the spring and I had room to get the Sawzall in there. These are grade 8 bolts and I went through about a blade for each bolt, but finally have the springs out. I still have some bushings in the frame to deal with, that will be another days project. This week I will take the springs to the spring shop to be de-arched and have a leaf added. I have new bushings and will also have them R&R those.
It's looking a little bare under the car now.
I made a pretty good score on Craig's list and picked up a Dakota Digital sir system controller along with a Vair 380 compressor and 8 valves along with some other fittings. I will order some air springs this week too.
My project for the coming winter will be making the rear suspension more robust and also adding air bags for ride height adjustment. If money and time allow I will also move to the front and put airbags up there. I had thought long and hard about what to do, and though the idea of a triangulated 4 bar did appeal to me, I have decided to go a simpler route. I will remove the leaf springs and have them de-arched and have the 2nd spring replaced with a thicker one. Then I will mount airbags on top of the springs in front of the rear axle. Between the airbags and the thicker leaf, this should take care of the axle wrap-up I have been experiencing. I will create a compartment in my trunk above the axle to place an on-board compressor and air tank. If there is room I will move my battery there as well. I will also strip the interior out of the car and remove the drive shaft tunnel and form larger one to give more clearance around the shaft. I will be able to do most of this work myself instead of having a chassis shop do it. This will save $$ and will also give me the satisfaction of doing it myself. I will post plenty of pictures and narratives once I get started
My new fuel rail covers have arrived. I had them custom made by Afterthoughts Auto (http://www.afterthoughtsauto.com/). I like the way they look, maybe could have gone with bolder lettering. Now people will really be asking "What kind of motor is that?"