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Zedman

Replacing Frame

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Hi All- I have an Avanti II 1981 model that is having the body lifted from the frame. At this stage we have the body supported up high enough to see through from one side to the other above the amidships  frame rails . The idea is to replace the frame with a good short wheelbase 109" Lark unit (I already have this available) and convert it according to the specs diagram and direct comparison with the original. No repair will be done to the original because it is rust damaged and is serving as a donor for all the body mounts and the big 'X' member so it will end up chopped up anyway. If anybody has any advice to offer on the project, I'd really appreciate it before we bog into it. The rear body 'Perches' and tubular Crossmember are likely to be replicated as I know they are pretty ugly, but I aim to utilise as much original componentry as possible / if viable. Fuel lines and brake lines are truly 'fubar' and will be replicated. The car has stood for 17+ years and is remarkably good everywhere else and has low mileage. I have had it running but not for long and was too scared to drive it due to the non existent strength of the rear frame (I don't know how it's still standing up !). One query I have is relating to the orientation of the Upper Control Arm Inner shafts. Should I rotate these at the time of rebuild to compensate for front crossmember sag (loss of Camber angle) or is that only a problem with Studebaker engined cars? I will be replacing the Timing chain and believe many of the camshafts in these era 305 CID's were soft - any advice on checking this is welcome also. My body man will be replacing the non existent passenger side Torque Box before the final lift so as to provide more rigidity during the process. Both will be replaced with Stainless Steel units from Classic enterprises. Where welding is required can anybody advise me on anything salient on that topic like welding rod composition etc.

Regards-

IMG_20190124_130250.jpg

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I can't help you on your frame questions but I would encourage you to consider a crate engine rather than doing anything with the 305.  You'll get far better performance from the car.  There are a number of crate engine choices from different suppliers in various performance levels.  You can go with better choices of intake manifolds, carburetors, cylinder heads...you name it.  You could also add fuel injection or if you really want to enhance it...get a GM LS-engine.  

Of course...it all costs money.  You have to decide what you want from the car and make a plan.  With most car reconstructions...and the Avanti can be one of the worst in this way...you will find issues you didn't know about before you started and you'll change you mind part way through about some things and make changes.

I really recommend you think things through, make a plan and stick to it.  Expect for costs to rise from your initial expectations...it's just the way it goes.  

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You do not have to "replicate" the tubular rear crossmember.  There are vendors that make these in steel and in stainless steel.

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Very impressive undertaking!....I like the crane type lift you're using to raise the body, and it looks like you have a nice shop to work in!:)

I've replaced original Studebaker Avanti frames with frames from Studebaker Larks twice....I lucked out the first time and found a solid Lark convertible frame that already had the "X'..... The second time I had to cut the "X" off of the Avanti frame and transfer it.

By the way, I have a left over "X", from another job already cut out, if anyone needs it.

Beware of using Lark type rear leaf springs ....You need to use leaf springs made for an Avanti as there was a change in spring centerbolt location....Using the Lark springs will alter the wheelbase about 1/2", and the rear radius rods will not then fit (Please don't ask me how I know!!!:o)

And it's sooo much easier to change out those pesky troughs with the body off the frame like you'll have it!....It's not very hard to duplicate those rear 'kick-ups'. (frame-to-body mounts)

Any good muffler shop can replicate that tubular rear crossmember............Best of luck!......Ed C

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I have been involved in Avanti frame swaps a couple of times in a restoration shop where I worked.  I do not envy anyone doing it and I wouldn't undertake it again.  

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21 minutes ago, studegary said:

I have been involved in Avanti frame swaps a couple of times in a restoration shop where I worked.  I do not envy anyone doing it and I wouldn't undertake it again.  

It's always good to hear your positive comments Gary!!:wacko:

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17 minutes ago, mfg said:

It's always good to hear your positive comments Gary!!:wacko:

It was not meant to be a positive or negative comment.  It is just my realistic and honest personal opinion.

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First off, I'm not a qualified welder but I've done a fair amount of various car projects that require SS and SS to steel welds. I use my Century MIG welder with about an 80/20 gas mix and 308 SS wire. My welds are solid and penetrate well enough to give good strength. I like using 308 wire as it runs well and penetrates in both SS and steel/SS welds.

A couple of thoughts on the frame. Is it just the bottom plate or into the hat section. I've repaired two frames, an 83 and 74 that was mostly bottom plate. There were a couple of sections of the hat that required required a couple of repairs that extended about an inch or so up into it. Repairing the bottom plate and frame sections including the rear cross member were much easier than replacing the entire frame. If the damage is limited to the bottom plate and a few lower sections of the hat portion you may want to consider repairing the existing frame.

Good luck with your project.

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Hello all and thanks for your thoughts and advice. I did not mention this before but I have been presented with a time crunch- my body man has been given notice to vacate his premises at the end of his lease. We need to get this job done; period. On the subject of the engine I expected suggestions to get rid of the 305 but my priority is getting the car driveable with what it came with and the least expenditure. I may not even get the chance for a partial rebuild after all. For that reason the 305 is being retained and so will the exhaust. I expected the Torque Boxes would be a MIG prospect being thin materials and thanks for the advice on that score- I will pass it on. Interestingly, I was sent Stainless units by Classic Enterprises (and charged accordingly) despite actually specifying Mild steel. Stainless will be fine, but a bit overkill 'cos we don't salt our roads here in sunny Australia. I was actually hoping to be able to repair the chassis rails at the rear but the corrosion was awful (from the sellers photos) and I started looking for alternatives. as far as welding is concerned I am looking for advice apropos welding on the frame- can anybody give me any info on the nature of the steel there? I knew what I was in for when I bought this car and It was a dead-set bargain even considering the crappy frame and shot radiator. Some of you guys might recognise one photo from Craigslist. Thanks MFG for the spring advice- I will be using the old springs as-is for now but if I get a chance I'll clean 'em up and re-bush. The Gantry was of little value because the lift height is limited.  We jacked it up sequentially.

12. Mon 28Sep15 Avanti arrives a Russels' Workshop.jpg

20. Wed 30Sep15 Rear end corrosion.jpg

0000e0e_7TtRCrEEyi3_600x450.jpg

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If I may borrow from JFK's speech about going to the moon, "...and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard... "  No doubt, he was talking about frame replacements!  ?

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WOW!:o....The bottom plate looks healthier than the upper "hat" section!!

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17 minutes ago, mfg said:

WOW!:o....The bottom plate looks healthier than the upper "hat" section!!

The New Jersey reg. plate helps to tell the story.  Keep in mind that a 1980 is 39 years old now.

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21 hours ago, Jim78 said:

If I may borrow from JFK's speech about going to the moon, "...and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard... "  No doubt, he was talking about frame replacements!  ?

 

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Yep, that fits my mentality fairly well- 

18 hours ago, studegary said:

The New Jersey reg. plate helps to tell the story.  Keep in mind that a 1980 is 39 years old now.

The vendor's father owned it in NJ. When his dad died, the vendor inherited it and drove it across the US to Sacramento and parked it for 17 years. Whilst the car was well sheltered and kept cocooned, the tin worms continued their work. I swear, the interior still smells new.

19 hours ago, mfg said:

WOW!:o....The bottom plate looks healthier than the upper "hat" section!!

It's still standing up!!?? (thank God)

18 hours ago, studegary said:

The New Jersey reg. plate helps to tell the story.  Keep in mind that a 1980 is 39 years old now.

tragic isn't it....?. I also have a 61 Hawk off its frame too, but at least it isn't Fibreglass.

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Is this the car advertised for 16,000 that said it needed frame work! It was strange because the ad said a lot of work had been done to the car.

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On 2/19/2019 at 10:28 PM, NHcamper said:

Is this the car advertised for 16,000 that said it needed frame work! It was strange because the ad said a lot of work had been done to the car.

No, it wouldn't be the car you' described.  My car was advertised in early 2015 or possibly late 2014 with a lot of really good photos. It was located in Roseville, Sacramento California. The advertised price was $6000 USD and nobody would bite on it because the ad stated frame was shot over the rear axle and beyond and the radiator needed replacing (had a hole too big to fix) . The owner inherited it and parked it for 17 years. He did nothing else to it and was keeping it out of sentimentality. I secured the car for a significantly lower sum and my agent shipped it off to a freight forwarder in Long Beach- thence on to Australia. Since the prices for Avanti II's has gone nuts since then I consider myself fortunate to have gotten  this one irrespective of the task I have  at hand. It is my humble belief that all Avantis of whatever iteration, are likely to be extremely valuable eventually.

00707_6i3p26d7Ho6_600x450.jpg

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I know what you mean. I bought mine in Aug. 18’ and the first day I drove it around my hometown someone wanted to know if it was for sale. I’m sure after you have it all done you won’t part with yours either lol. Best of luck and happy motoring.

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I have done it many times 

IMG_5707.jpeg

IMG_5706.jpeg

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Well done Brad- You are obviously well practised at this task..... any advice noteworthy?

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