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Gunslinger

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Posts posted by Gunslinger

  1. Small block Chevys used that oil fill pipe until the late '60s or very early '70s. More than one auto maker used a similar oil fill pipe over the years, but it seems to me that if the "mechanic" can't tell a small block Chevy from another make, maybe you shouldn't be taking your car to him. Someone insisting Avanti's were made in Canada can be forgiven as it's a common myth, but not knowing a small-block Chevy from another make is something different. Something like 100 million have been made so it's something that anyone with any amount of experience should know.

  2. Your car likely had the Studebaker single reservoir master cylinder that the early Avanti II's all had. The brake light switch is threaded into the nose of the master cylinder and has two prongs with wires on them. That is assuming that your car hasn't had the master cylinder replaced and upgraded to a dual reservoir design by a previous owner.

    If your car has been upgraded, it will probably have a mechanical brake light switch somewhere under the dash attached to the brake pedal lever, or attached to the floor where the brake pedal arm can impinge on it to activate the brake lights.

    If the brake system has been totally overhauled, maybe the switch was left out? Did a shop do the work? They may have upgraded the master cylinder and not installed a switch. I would think you should be able to trace down the wiring and find some unattached leads for the brake lights.

  3. I don't think any manufacturer can sidestep any regulations. There used to be an exemption for "low volume" manufacturers, like Avanti during the early years, but even then the exemptions were temporary and allowed small companies additional time before having to comply.

    To have a dedicated chassis for the Avanti would be great, but many problems exist that only large amounts of capital would fix. The expense of designing a chassis is one thing, but it is very time consuming and expensive to certify it for the federal approval...would a small company like Avanti be financially able to send numerous cars to the government for crash tests? When you only build and sell maybe 50-100 cars a year the costs would have to be spread out among all cars sold and few could afford to buy one. That doesn't even include the deign and certification of mandatory safety items like airbags, fuel tanks, bumper systems, proprietary windhshield and side glass designs, etc. The big companies can spread the costs over a large number of vehicles to minimize the impact of these expenses. Small companies have to adapt existing platforms so they can piggyback on the federal and state certifications at little to no extra cost.

    All that being said, I would love to see a dedicated Avanti chassis so we wouldn't be dependent on GM, Ford or whomever for a basic vehicle Avanti Motors has to adapt the design to and be at their mercy when models are changed or discontinued. I love my '02 Avanti, but it gets tiring at times to have to explain it's not "just a re-skinned Camaro" as one ignorant rice rocket owner contemptuously said. It's so much more than that.

  4. Joe, glad to see you're happy with the interior. I wanted to stop by the upholstery shop while it was being done to see it, but was unable (I've been out of town and won't be back for another day or so). It looks great.

    To anyone else interested, Joe took his car to a great shop in Frederick, MD...Joe's Upholstery. They did the interior on the '63 R1 I owned some years back and did the interior of one of my Corvettes. They do absolutely great work...and Don, the owner is a first-class guy to deal with.

    Hope I get to see your car again in person soon, Joe.

    Bruce Blum

    Frederick, MD

    '02 Avanti

  5. I have Cooper tires on one of my Corvettes and they're excellent tires. Cooper is also one of the biggest makers of private label tires. My '02 Avanti has BFG G-Force tires on it and they're very good tires as well. My intent for when they eventually require replacements is to buy Michelin Pilots for the car, though they are expensive, but in line with other makes of the same specs.

    Several years ago one of the big car magazines (either Road & Track or Car and Driver), did a comparison test on high performance tires. They compared one of the big name brands (which one escapes me) against a Pep Boys brand performance tire that was made by Cooper under their name. The testing was using the same car. The big name tire had slightly better performance numbers on the track for handling, braking, etc., but only very slight measureably better numbers. They concluded that money being no object, the name tire would have been their choice and for the real world, the Pep Boys tires was a far better performance bargain for the big difference in cost.

  6. Are you looking for a strictly performance tire or a touring style tire? A lot depends on how you plan on driving your car (I used to sell tires).

    Most tire technology today, especially for performance, is geared toward the 16", 17" and bigger diameter tires. It's much more difficult to find performance tires in the 15" sizes that match up to the others today.

    If you decide on a 70 series instead of a 75 series, you do have some good options. If you want white letter tires, an excellent way to go is the BFG Radial T/A. I've heard good reports on the Firestone Firehawk as well, but dollar for dollar, I think the BFG is hard to beat. I've heard less positive experiences with some of the Goodyear tires.

    If you want a whitewall, as I did on a '69 Corvette I own, I bought Cooper Touring tires...the Lifeliner SLE...an excellent tire and I've been very pleased with them.

    If you want redline tires, look at Coker Tires. They have excellent products but aren't inexpensive, but redline tires give a car a really sharp look.

    If you want blackwalls, it doesn't much matter!

    There are some excellent private label tires out there as well...all made by the big manufacturers. There isn't any Mom and Pop or backyard tire makers. Many private label tires (like Pep Boys own) are made by Cooper. The disadvantage to private label tires is if you travel a lot and have a tire problem that would require a warranty replacement, etc. If you can't find a dealer in that brand, you're out of luck.

    I say stick with the major brands for the most part...Michelin, BFG, Cooper, Goodyear, Firestone, Dunlop, etc. Go with companies like Coker if you want the vintage look or the redline tires...they even make goldline in some sizes.

    Let us know what you decide on.

  7. I've been made aware of a big annual all makes car meet on July 15. From what I understand there is usually about 600 cars that show. It's in Freelton, Ontario, about 65 miles west of Buffalo, NY.

    If anyone is interested in going, it's held each year at the Four Seasons Family Nudist Resort! You won't need to pack much...an advantage since our Avanti's don't have a huge amount of storage space.

    Sounds like a great club cruise to show off our Avanti's!

    Take lots of sun block!

  8. I think the suggested list price is highly inflated to give dealers manuevering room for making deals and for trade-in allowances. When I bought my '02 Avanti the sticker price was $83K. I got it for way, way below that, and an excellent trade-in allowance for the car I had.

    Face it...no matter how much we love our Avanti's, they are less than than a blip on the radar screen of vehicle sales numbers. Compare that to sales of Corvettes, particularly the new Vette Z06...try and find a deal on one of those. You'll be paying a premium over the sticker price for one. Avanti's simply don't have that phenomenon happening to them. We own a cult car with a small but pretty much self-sustaining resale market.

    All in all, not a bad cult to be a member of.

  9. I'd replace the cable, just on general principles. At that age, and especially with the rust you mentioned, it looks like it will break at some point, and you can just about guarantee it wil happen at the most inopportune moment, such as having a trunk full of items that keep you from going through the access hatch to unlock it.

    It for the fear of that happening why I never locked the trunk on the '63 I used to own. I intended to install an electric trunk lock but never did before I sold the car some years back. Doing that is an option for you and keep the cable lock as a backup.

  10. I can't say myself as it's been a long time since I owned my '63, but if you don't already have a shop manual, I'd suggest getting one and seeing what the factory procedure is for replacing the pan gaskets. That should be the definitive answer to your question.

  11. I agree...the Edelbrock is an excellent carburetor. Very reliable and simple to adjust and holds its adjustments (try that with a Holley). I also don't see why using the Edelbrock as is inside an enclosed air pressure box like an R3. An original R2 AFB carb was specially sealed to be able to withstand the blower pressure and not leak and the R3 didn't use a sealed carb. If it's in a sealed enclosure, the pressure is equalized inside and outside the carb, so there should be no pressure leakage problem. Down the road if the Edelbrock needs rebuilding, it should be simple compared to being a sealed unit.

  12. I'm not knowledgeable enough to address the steering noise, but as to the oil leakage, there's an old saying: Studebakers have left their mark on this world...generally, every place they've parked.

    Oil leaks are common to Stude engines. The oil pan on the V8 has something twelve or thirteen seals around it, and after some years and miles, it's very common for them to shrink and allow gaps for oil to leak through.

    What you can try, at least for the short term is what helped me on the '63 R1 I used to own...use a can of Bearin' Seal or similar rear main seal leak stopper. It cut my leak down from very bad to merely minor until I was able to rebuild the motor and install all new gaskets and seals.

    You should be able to order a gasket set from NAPA or other full-line parts supplier. If not, try Kanter's or some of the Studebaker suppliers that advertise in Avanti magazine or SDC"s Turning Wheels.

  13. I found the source for the conversion kit for Corvettes, which should be able to be adapted to an Avanti by someone with the talent. It's for '68-'82 Corvettes (three part numbers depending on year). It's for converting from a three speed automatic to a 200-R4, 700-R4 or 4L60 GM transmissions.

    The supplier is Eckler's (Ecklers.com), one of the biggest supply houses for Corvette parts and accessories. The three part numbers are 34799, 34800 and 34801. The cost of each kit is $114.99 and you use the original shifter handle. Their catalog states you can get a better and fully detailed description of it on their website.

    I would think if you have an Avanti with a TH350 or TH400, this would work by modifying the console bezel carefully.

  14. There's a source for shifter indicators for '68-'82 Corvettes converted to 200-R4 or 400-R4 transmissions that have the 1-2-3-O detents. It won't fit an Avanti without modifying the console as the indicator is flat as opposed to the curved one an Avanti has.

    I'll see if I can find the information on the supplier and post it.

  15. That's about right for fuel economy. The '63 R1 I used to own got about the same with a/c, automatic and a 3.31 rear axle ratio. That's also in-line with what contemporary car magazine reviews reported when the Avanti was first available.

    There are those who have done the automatic overdrive and 5- and 6-speed manual transmission swaps, maybe someone will respond. I know one who has done the 6-speed swap, but that's in an '83 Avanti II.

    As I once saw in a Frank and Ernest cartoon..."Do you want to whimper about fuel economy or do you want to be King of the Road?!"

  16. How many miles are on the car? The Prestolite dual point distributor is well known for wearing out bushings and that can create a situation as you describe. The base plate moves with the advance...maybe something is not right with the installation of the new one.

    The Edelbrock carburetors are excellent carbs. One problem may be the distributor vacuum advance is not hooked up correctly to the carb. The Edelbrock comes with ported and full-time vacuum ports...you should have your vacuum advance connected to the ported or part time vacuum port. The Edelbrock owners manual should tell you which is which and then cap off the other port.

    Other things to look for...

    A vacuum leak. Since you changed the carb, maybe it's leaking around the base gasket.

    The carburetor may need re-jetting due to the altitude as well as not being matched to the cam profile of the engine. I have a Corvette that has a higher lift than stock cam and the carburetor required re-jetting as it was in a lean idle condition from being mismatched to the new cam. It wouldn't hold an idle at all. After re-jetting it ran beautifully. Edelbrock carbs, as good as they are, were not made matched to Studebaker engines, much less a 7000 foot altitude. They are pretty much a generic match to a small block Chevy or similar with a mild cam.

    What size Edlebrock carb? Not over 600 cfm. Putting a 750 cfm carb on a stock small displacement engine can definitely cause poor idle quality and bogged down take-offs. It would be good at high rpms, but is a mismatch for a street engine.

    A plugged PCV valve...it can cause many headaches.

    Hope this helps. It sounds like something simple. Just use basic diagnostic procedures and zero in on the source of the problem.

  17. I can recommend Paul's for chrome plating. A friend has a '63 Lincoln 4-door convertible and sent them all the chrome from the car. When it was returned, it was very carefully packed and the chrome plating was magnificent to say the least. They were not inexpensive by any means, but Avanti's have far less chrome than a contemporary Lincoln.

  18. A dual master cylinder would not look stock, but would look normal to anyone not familiar with older cars and single master cylinders. I believe the dual master cylinder used on Avanti II's was a contemporary Mopar unit. I'm sure someone else here knows the proper application if I'm wrong.

    I remember years ago you could buy anti-roll bars through JC Whitney...I believe they were ADDCO units and maybe they still have them even if they don't list them anymore. They may fit other makes as well but I remember they listed them for Studes and Avanti's. Avanti came with them originally so I don't know if they were an identical replacement or an upgrade. For all I know ADDCO may have been the original supplier for Stude anyway.

    There have been a few people who have installed rear disc brakes on Avanti's, but I don't know if it's a completely engineered kit that's available or someone took it upon themselves to experiment. I wish I knew more about it but again, hopefully, someone else here may have better information.

    To my way of thinking, there is only so much one can do with the old Stude chassis to upgrade it. It may be strong, but it's old technology and no one is in the business of making high performance Studebaker parts...be it chassis, suspension or drive train. Most of what's out there is geared toward restoration. Most improvements are adaptions of current technology, though there is the upgraded disc brake kits for the front. When there were only 4643 Stude Avanti's made, and even fewer Avanti II's on the Stude chassis, it simply doesn't make sense for a performance company to invest big bucks into developing performance parts for such a miniscule market. The enthusiasts who own the cars do it themselves by trying different things...many just one-off experiments or custom shops that will do it for an owner for big money.

    You can do some standard hot rod tricks, better tires, adapt modern technology to the cars and chassis, but that's really the extent of what's reasonable. You also have to keep in mind that many changes in any car's suspension and chassis can upset the car's center of gravity, handling, etc., in a negative way and make for an unsafe vehicle. At low speeds and gentle driving it may make little difference, but ramp up the speed and certain road conditions the car can then bite you in a hurry. See what happens to some of the SUV's that have been equipped with oversize tires and rims and how many end up rolled over or off the road because the changes were beyond the vehicle's design envelope. Not to say you can't make changes, but to gain something you necessarily have to give up something. You want to improve safety and performance, not sacrifice it. If you have to sacrifice something to gain what you want, make it nothing more than work, sweat and as little money as necessary to accomplish it.

    I'm off my soapbox now.

  19. First...thank you for your service to America. You are well appreciated and your well being is a big concern for all of us.

    You've already identified a lot of good upgrades...the brakes, dual master cylinder, etc. There are a few other performance upgrades to consider, though they will add some considerable expense but I think they're worth considering.

    Instead of the stock cast iron intake manifold, you might try and locate an original Offenhauser aluminum 4 barrel intake..I see them occasionally on Ebay and big swap meets they show up. These are better than the stock Stude unit and being aluminum it weighs less and sheds heat faster. I also understand you can take an intake made for the small block Mopar and it can be adapted to work, but I have not seen them myself. I believe a Stude enthusiast has made adapters to accomplish this.

    If you change the intake, get a new Edelbrock Performer carburetor...it's an updated clone of the original Carter AFB and is an excellent unit to use. Another advantage of the Edelbrock is the linkages should hook up without modification. Actually, one of the best street carbs ever is the Rochester Quadrajet, but they're no longer made and even good rebuilds are expensive, plus you would need an adapter to use it with a square bore intake as it is a spread bore design. By changing the carburetor, you would likely need a new air cleaner as the diameter of the carb's opening is a good bit more than the original AFB. You can use a modern air cleaner base and still use the original chrome aire cleaner lid. Also get a low restriction K&N air filter element or equivalent.

    Something else to consider is to have a good radiator shop build you an aluminum radiator assembly...one with as many cooling fins per inch as possible. Your original radiator is likely not up to standards anymore and a new aluminum core will transfer heat more rapidly and save some weight on the front end of the car. Avanti's are nose heavy to begin with, so a weight savings and increased cooling efficiency is a no brainer in my view if you're not interested in a completely stock museum piece. Take advantage of new technology.

    For the interior, I'm assuming you're going to install new carpeting. Get a good heat insulator on the floor and firewall before installing the carpeting. Corvette specialty catalogs carry the stuff and it will keep heat out of the interior. If you're not concerned about originality, consider replacing the stock gauges with new one's from Auto Meter, VDO, or Stewart Warner. Besides a more modern appearance, they will be more reliable and accurate. The original gauges Stude used weren't all that accurate...read reviews from when the Avanti was first introduced and many mentioned how the speedometer and tach were inaccurate. It's difficult to rebuild the original tach sending unit and almost impossible to find a replacement these days anyway.

    If your car is air conditioned, you might get a new Sanden compressor...smaller, lighter and more efficient than the original York or Eaton compressor, plus it's designed for the current R-134A refrigerant rather than the old R-12. While you have the car apart, go ahead and upgrade everything you can.

    You can also install the quick steering arms available. A good improvement.

    Most of what I've mentioned will add considerably to your costs, no question. It will also make for a much more responsive and comfortable car as well. I'm sure others have ideas as well to consider.

    Hope these ideas are useful to you. Stay safe and get the job done.

  20. Most sources I've seen state the R1 was about 240 horsepower and the R2 about 290 horsepower, with the R3 at about 335. To the best of my knowledge none of these were official Studebaker claims since they said the Avanti had "more power than you could use".

  21. I was relaying what I had read about the supercharged Silver Anniversary cars...I have no personal experience with them. I know what you mean about the Buick Grand Nationals...but GM spent lots of engineering time and money to integrate the car's management system with a factory turbo installation. I'm guessing the Avanti factory more or less simply bolted on a supercharger to the stock GM engine without regard to the compatibility of the on-board electronics with forced induction not included in its design parameters. Just a supposition on my part. Since Avanti Motors was having financial issues at the time it seems logical they wouldn't have spent a lot of effort (read that money) on such issues, or it may not have even been thought about.

    Considering the rarity of the Silver Anniversary cars and how far automotive technology has advanced, I wouldn't hesitate to buy one of these cars if it was priced fairly. Any issues related to the blower installation could be rectified, I'm sure.

  22. I don't have a dollar value for you as Avanti's seems to be all over the map when it comes to that, but all Avanti's are desireable, though I am a bit less than objective here. The silver Anniversary models can bring a bit of a premium as they were very limited in production...and that is from an automobile that is already a very limited production car. I remember the factory wanted to build fifty of them and I believe the final number was something like twenty-seven plus two prototypes.

    My understanding is that the Silver Anniversary cars were a bit problematic mechanically due to the supercharger installation not well matched to the computerized nature of the engine. The electronics of the era simply weren't sophisticated enough to deal with the forced induction. You could always take the drive belt off the blower and drive it that way.

    Check Ebay Motors and Hemmings for some idea of asking prices. That should be of help. Hope you have a winner there.

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