Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Tony S

Chassis swaps

Recommended Posts

I was wondering what needs to be done to the chevy, caprice or Monte carlo chassis to use it under my 78 Avanti ll. I am thinking of doing the car over or selling it and one of my bigest gripes is the lark front steering and the way they destroyed the engine pipe to stop it from hitting the pitman arm. The Chevy chassis appears to have a lot of advantages over the Stude?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My advice is forget it. The Avanti bodies are different...especially the floor pan. I'm not saying it can't be done...as long as you have lots of time, patience, engineering capability and very deep pockets...most anything can be done.

If you want the Chevy chassis under an Avanti...buy an '87 or later car.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was wondering what needs to be done to the chevy, caprice or Monte carlo chassis to use it under my 78 Avanti ll. I am thinking of doing the car over or selling it and one of my bigest gripes is the lark front steering and the way they destroyed the engine pipe to stop it from hitting the pitman arm. The Chevy chassis appears to have a lot of advantages over the Stude?

A lot of work for little gain. However, if you really want a newer, better chassis go with a Morrision or other chassis builders that are designed for a Stude. Morrision build a Stude chassis as do others, so as long as you are going to try to improve the chassis, get one that is designed to be better. They'll fix you up with C5 or newer 'vette components or better. Not cheap, but unless you can fabricate and have the facilities to do it, the Chevy won't be cheap either.

Secondly, a 2 1/2" exhaust can be installed and while the appearance is still goofy, you'll need a lot of engine to develop a serious restriction. Ask the man that owns one.

While the 80's suspension is a modest upgrade, my 83 with all new components and KGB shocks is a very road-able setup. I'll let you know when the 74 stroker hits the road as it is all new underneath with Delrin control arm bushings and urethane sway bar bushings.

Personally, the only way I would consider doing what you are considering is to bite the bullet and spend the money to get a setup that will really make a difference. The chebby is a stopgap solution at best and IMHO, a waste of time and money.

But as Bruce says, it would be much easier to sell yours and buy a later model. But drive one or an 80's Monte Carlo first, it might make you keep yours.

JMO, Bob

Edited by Avanti83

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest dapy

My 1989 is mounted on a Chevy Caprice chassis which required substantial modification of the front and sides of the fiberglass body.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ok. That answers that question. I have the ability and equiptment but I am lacking in the "Do I really want to do this"? department. Since the body tubs are modified I really don't want to get that involved.I thought if it was a straight swap I could have had the chevy frame and running gear all done and just drop the body on and do the troughs at the same time. Is there an easy way to quicken up the steering. I thought I saw something about a pitman arm somewhere??

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's not a pitman arm...it's called a "quick steering arm" and it takes two of them. Somewhere about 1977-1978 Avanti Motors ran out of the original design steering box and converted to a steering box from a forklift...which hurt the turning radius. Steve Blake, after he purchased the company, had different steering arms made to help restore the steering performance. You can buy the quick steering arms from Studebaker International...they cost roughly $100-$115 apiece.

I have them on my '70...they make some difference but not a whole lot. If you want them, I would wait until you want to rebuild the entire suspension and do it then. If your car has never been rebuilt, the suspension is probably due anyway. The Studebaker chassis has lots of grease fittings and requires regular servicing...few owners gave it that after a few years. I wouldn't be surprised if the kingpins, tie rods...everything under your front end required rebuilding. Don't be surprised if your coil springs are sagging...not uncommon at all.

I'm not trying to scare you...just letting you know what you may be looking at. The good news is everything under that front end is available...either new or rebuilt from the really outstanding vendors we have that support our cars. You can buy the parts you need as a kit for a discount and when done, you can trade in many of the old parts back in for some credit to offset at least some of the costs. That keeps the parts "in the food chain" for others down the road.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just went through everything in the front end. All new bushings, springs Turner brake kit . The king pins and everything else are in great condition. Who ever owned it made sure the fittings were all greased. The steering just feels slow and truck like and the steering radius is lousy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In that case the quick steering arms might be of some help...but consider this...you're comparing the handling and suspension of a 1953 design Studebaker chassis to that of modern cars you've become accustomed to driving. My SUV has a tighter turning radius than my Avanti. It's just years of progress in automotive engineering.

The quick steering arms will reduce the steering wheel turns lock-to-lock but it won't reduce the steering radius itself. The steering geometry itself isn't changed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I haven't had the opportunity to crawl under a 85-90 model. Did those models also have the hog troughs, or was the GM frame wide enough that it eliminated the need for them?

Also, had anyone looked into Art Morrison frames? His web site doesn't specifically mention Avanti, but I'm sure his group would be able to put a frame under anything as they do frame unibody cars as well. I'm just wondering if he makes any for less than 10 K.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No hog troughs on the Monte Carlo style- that would be an 87-88 avanti. I haven't looked at a caprice framed car but I am sure it is the same.

The rear frame rails are modified as well from the monte carlo- just after the rear axle hump they cut and rewelded them heading closer together. This leaves a bump of frame sticking out which is why you often see these cars with wheels sticking out of the rear fender wells- to get anything of width on the rear you have to go wider outwards. The wheel wells are effectively smaller than on 63-85 models.

ezihe9.jpg

There was a 63 on craigslist a few years ago that supposedly had a g-body frame grafted to the studebaker at the firewall. Never got any pictures of that but it is a plausible swap.

Art Morrison has made a frame for an avanti. See this page: http://www.speedhunters.com/2010/06/car_builder_gt_gt_a_visit_to_art_morrison/ 3/4 to the bottom, "1962 avanti". Laurie Peterson I believe is from Canada Custom's Hot Rods. (https://www.facebook.com/CanadaCustomsHotRods) They have a few scant pictures of a 63 on their facebook page like this one https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=396027933832225&set=a.300242223410797.53723.299685203466499&type=1&theater. . I have been meaning to email them to see if they would comment on fitment/price of the frame. I bet it was expensive.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was just reading this old posting.  I see Fatman shows a hub to hub suspension app  for 1928 to 1964 Studebaker cars which I would think would cover to 86 Avanti.  Has anyone gone this route?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, geb said:

I was just reading this old posting.  I see Fatman shows a hub to hub suspension app  for 1928 to 1964 Studebaker cars which I would think would cover to 86 Avanti.  Has anyone gone this route?

No Avantis for the 1986 model year.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
35 minutes ago, 64studeavanti said:

IIRC, the 78 already has the forklift steering box and the "quick" steering arms. 

It would have the forklift steering box but the quick steering arms were introduced under Steve Blake's ownership around 1983 or so in an effort to restore the steering to original specs.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 9/6/2013 at 9:39 PM, Red350DropTop said:

No hog troughs on the Monte Carlo style- that would be an 87-88 avanti. I haven't looked at a caprice framed car but I am sure it is the same.

The rear frame rails are modified as well from the monte carlo- just after the rear axle hump they cut and rewelded them heading closer together. This leaves a bump of frame sticking out which is why you often see these cars with wheels sticking out of the rear fender wells- to get anything of width on the rear you have to go wider outwards. The wheel wells are effectively smaller than on 63-85 models.

ezihe9.jpg

There was a 63 on craigslist a few years ago that supposedly had a g-body frame grafted to the studebaker at the firewall. Never got any pictures of that but it is a plausible swap.

Art Morrison has made a frame for an avanti. See this page: http://www.speedhunters.com/2010/06/car_builder_gt_gt_a_visit_to_art_morrison/ 3/4 to the bottom, "1962 avanti". Laurie Peterson I believe is from Canada Custom's Hot Rods. (https://www.facebook.com/CanadaCustomsHotRods) They have a few scant pictures of a 63 on their facebook page like this one https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=396027933832225&set=a.300242223410797.53723.299685203466499&type=1&theater. . I have been meaning to email them to see if they would comment on fitment/price of the frame. I bet it was expensive.

Supposedly those rear rails were cut off, swapped left to right, then re-welded!:o.....VERY determined folks at the Avanti factory back then!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...