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Posts posted by WayneC

  1. Hi! I have a 1980 Avanti , its an automatic ,my Neutral Safety switch went out, and I am having a hard time trying to replace it, it looks like a chevy switch,does anybody know where I can find one or what type of car I should replace it with ,I would appreciate any help , Perry

    Wish I could help directly, but here's some thoughts.

    I think the shifter is pretty much the same as the original Studebaker Avanti, and that original neutral safety switch attaches to the shifter bracket and (via short linkage rods) to the shifter lower lever, so it might be a Stude switch... if you have an Avanti parts book, it is #1558650 starter cut-out switch, illustrated on page 90 as item 0853-1. It is essentially a small squat cylindrical switch (rubber-coated as I recall) with a couple of levers at one end and a wiring pigtail at the other. If that sounds right, I'm not sure where you can get one, but I'd start by calling Nostalgic Motors 1-800-avanti1 and Studebaker International 1-317-462-3124. I didn't find the switch at their websites, but they will probably know if they are to be found. If not, then you may have to search junkyards looking at mid 60's Chevy's and Ford's (since the original Borg-Warner tranny was used on Ford's) and/or improvise.

    I have a rather funny story involving that switch and a 66 Avanti I owned back in the 70's...

    The Avanti's transmission seals were starting to go, so the tranny slipped in the morning on cold days, mostly noticed in reverse, until it got warmed up, and I wasn't anxious to pay for an overhaul. One snowy sunday night I came home half in the bag after partying and decided to park right beside the shelter of the house in about 3 or 4 inches of snow rather than in the backyard (the detached garage was full of project cars) so I wouldn't have to shovel as much in the morning if the snow collected even more. The next morning it was quite cold and there was about 6 or 7 inches of snow on the ground. Before going to work I decided to get some odds & ends together in the garage to be dropped off at a vendor's shop, so before doing that I started the Avanti and turned on it's heater so it could warm up and keep me toasty on the way to work, and proceeded into the garage through it's side door.

    After puttering around in there about 10 minutes, there was a horrendous CRASH and the whole center front of the garage caved in about 4 feet!!!

    My Avanti had slammed into the center post between the thin-metal garage doors!

    It seems that several gremlins had bit me: 1) I had inadvertently left the tranny in "drive" when I shut the car down the night before, 2) unbeknownst to me, the "starter cut-out switch" had apparently failed sometime previous, and when it fails you can start the car IN GEAR, which I had just done, 3) the cold morning meant the choke kept the engine running at an increasingly faster clip as the engine oil warmed, 4) The tranny seals took a while to warm up and take hold... when they did, the tires jumped the end of the frozen snow ruts I'd formed the night before and the car lurched forward 30 feet until it rammed the post between the 2 closed overhead garage doors. Luckily none of the projects were damaged, and the Avanti only suffered some cosmetic damage, but I had to spend considerable time at a later date replacing the garage center post and straightening and repainting the doors (although they still retained enough waviness to continually remind me of my stupidity).

    BTW, that 66 Avanti used the Stude switch, but I think it also had a Borg-Warner tranny, not the Chevy turbo 350 or 400 trannies that came later.

  2. As far as LOOK, yes these rims did wonders for the

    look of the car, and I feel have brought it out of "old school" into the more current

    trend.  Also I have read quite a few articles on rims sizes, and the optinum sizes

    seem to be 17 and 18 inch for a car of this size and weight. 

    I am interested to read what others think as well.


    They do look nice!!! I'd be very careful, though, because that is a radically different size... as I recall, in the past I've even had trouble with 215/70-15's or 205/75-15's (can't recall which) on 7" Magnum 500's in an Avanti II if I hit a bump while turning (interference with the left front fender wheel opening, not good for the fiberglass or paint). It's always possible that particular car was out of spec, of course, or those particular tires didn't conform to the norm for their size... I think I ended up with 195/75-15 on the front of that car.

    Closest to original size is 205/75-15, I think. Your new tires are almost an inch and a half less in diameter, which helps clearance, but 1.6 inches wider (ie, they stick out about a half-inch further even with your current backspace, and extend inward a little over an inch further).

    What sort of lugs do your new wheels use? If they are a recessed lug (pass through the mag wheel), possibly you could find a taller lug to use in conjunction with some sort of a wheel spacer drilled to same diameter as the wheels to accept the lugs.

    There are some wheel adapters that hide/recess the old studs/nuts and provide new studs for the wheel, but they'd have to be considerably more than a quarter inch thick (generally they are 0.6 to 1 inch thick, thick enough to recess the old stud & nut)... ie, could be used if the wheels had more backspace.

    Seems to me that any substitute rotor setup that would provide the needed clearance to the steering link would be essentially the equivalent of using adapters or spacers. Either method would push the wheel/tire further out of the wheel opening and risk fender opening damage.

    But hey, you're a draftsman... measure it all up and stick it on your computer and you can check any combination of tire & wheel size for clearance under turn & jounce conditions!

    Have you considered using a narrower wheel & tire of the same design for the fronts?

  3. I'm interested in the experiences you guys have had with replacing your trought. WHere did you get them? what did you pay? Aluminum vs stainless (I'm almost 100% decided on steel). How was the customer service experience? etc... Thanks in advance, I'll keep the board posted on progress.

    Can't help you directly, but here is a website with a little info:


    Apparently he's been through it, and invites email questions, which you can initiate on his home page:


  4. 1980 Avanti's came with 350ci engines; you may be thinking of 1970... I can't recall specifically, but some Avanti's had 400ci engines in the very early 70's. GM made 400ci engines from about 1970 to as late as 1980. One way to tell a 400ci block is that nearly all of them have casting provisions for 3 freeze plugs on each side rather than the 2 that are normal on smaller displacement engines, although only 2 freeze plugs were machined on some of the 400ci blocks (but, see below).

    Every Chevy small block has a 6 or 7-digit casting number on top of the engine's bellhousing "collar" on the driver side; the stamped numbers on a small pad extending out in front of the passenger side head indicates the vehicle VIN (for Chevy-produced vehicles, not Avanti's) along with codes for place and date of manufacture, horsepower, and transmission type. The 3951509 block casting had only the standard 2 freeze plug provisions, and that 400ci engine was last produced in 1980.

    It's always possible, of course, that the engine currently in the car is not original to the car, in which case the casting and stamped numbers might help identify it.

  5. My 87 Avanti looks as if the front fenders cracked behind the wheel openings and have been repaired. I have been told that Kelly had a problem with cracked front fenders on his early Avanti's. <_<  Is this true and what caused them to crack?

    Exactly where is the cracking (ie, when you say "behind the wheel openings, do you mean inner fender inside of the wheel openings, or wheel opening lip, or the area between the wheel openings and the door, or around a body mount)?

    Most cracking around the wheel wells is likely caused by a poor choice of tire size, resulting in a clash between the body and the tire (hitting a bump while turning into a driveway, etc). You'll know it if that's happening to you, but it may have happened to a prior owner, who then got rid of the tires and repaired the damage.


    Try these insurers, and ask for an "agreed value" policy (as opposed to "actual cash value or "stated value"); note that most of these will have some restrictions, such as minimum age of the car, your driving experience, how the car is garaged, annual mileage, limit you to collector car activities/events; all will require pictures and/or appraisals to certify value:

    Hagerty (800) 922-4050 (said to be attractive when you own multiple collector cars)

    American Collectors Insurance (800) 360-2277

    Great American "Classic" (not collector insurance; will do "agreed value", but no driving to work/school daily)

    Grundy (800) 338-4005

    JC Taylor (800) 345-8290

    Frankly, I've been too lazy to check them out myself, so I can't personally recommend any of them, but Hagerty and American Collectors seem to come up often as insurers of choice for collector cars. Great American will write "agreed value" policy for non-collector cars if the car is not regularly driven to work or school, but the price will be higher than for a more-restricted collector car.

  7. Does anyone know of a trick to make their removal and insertion a bit easier?

    I haven't tried this, but I can envision fashioning a tool out of a short length of rubber tubing and a fat wooden dowel, such that the dowel with perhaps about an inch of tube extending from it's end (glued onto the dowel) could be pushed down onto the bulb, turned, and pulled out; reverse for installing. The tube, of course, would need to be enough smaller than the bulb to grip it. A dowel with a rather small suction cup on one end might be another approach.

  8. Isn't the AII bolt pattern a small Ford pattern?  Does anyone know the stock wheel size and what can fit in the wheelwells?

    What about 17" wheels?  Anyone know where I can find data on what fits in this size?

    Questions coming out all over,



    Can't give you a definitive answer, but here's a few of my thoughts.

    Avanti II (Prior to the Monte Carlo chassis in the mid-80s) uses the stock Ford 15" pattern for early 70's big-block Shelby Mustangs and full-size Fords; the Magnum 500 wheels used on Avanti II's were 15x6, I believe... unfortunately I'm not at home to go measure mine, it's possible they may have been 15x7, but 15x7 should fit, and I'm pretty certain 15x8 would be too wide.

    The fit of the front wheels is particularly tight, and I think 7" may be the widest rim that will fit there; 195/75-15 tires fit without rubbing anything, 205/75-15 may or may not, and 215/70-15 may or may not; larger/wider sizes likely won't. Front tires are prone to hit the wheel opening near the upper forward section with the tread while turning and hitting a bump (like entering a driveway), and rub the frame at the rear inside of the front tires during hard turns.

    Can't tell you for certain what/whether 17" wheels will fit, but I suspect you could find some combination that will. Here is a website where you can play with combinations to compare dimensions:


    But, not every tire has the exact dimensions as others in the same size, and that can matter when tolerances are close.

  9. Hello, could someone tell me what standard size ring and pinion should be on my stock 1987 avanti. It is somewhat sluggish off the line and I thought about changing the ring and pinion gears to help with this. I do not know where to find out what size I already have to be able to shop for different gears. Has anyone changed out gears before to help with this porblem? Help is needed.

    I can't answer directly, but I think your car has a GM 10-bolt differential (count the bolts around the outside of the rear of the differential case) and I would guess the standard axle is a 3.08. You can determine your present ratio by lifting the rear wheels off the ground with a floor jack or two, and with the transmission in neutral, put a mark on the driveshaft and on the outside of a tire, then rotate the driveshaft slowly until the tires make one revolution (someone else needs to watch the tire mark), counting the differential revolutions (better yet, rotate the tires ten times while counting driveshaft revolutions, then divide the driveshaft revolution count by 10).

    I think higher ratios of 3.42, 3.73, 4.10, and 4.56 are available for your differential. Bear in mind that changing the differential ratio will cause speedometer error, and your highway mileage may suffer.

    Any good driveline shop should be able to make the change.

  10. I have a 1987 Avanti convertible. The master cylinder needed replaced, so I purchased a 1987 Monte Carlo master cylinder. It was not the same set up as the master cylinder on the car.  What master cylinder would a 1987 Avanti take?

    I don't know if this info is pertinent, as I don't have an 87 (mine are 71 and 80), but I sometimes write part numbers in my Avanti parts book when I see them, and I have these by the master cylinder entry:

    NAPA 36259 (NAPA parts stores)

    EIS 64874 (industry standard number, brake suppliers/wholesalers might have them)

    Might be worth looking to see if either might be the one you need.

    Or, sell me your car and let me worry about it :>)

  11. Do you have a Stude Avanti shop manual? That has a wiring diagram, and the same harness was likely used for a few years of the Avanti II, with additions for new/different accessories. Unfortunately it leaves out most accessory circuits. There weren't, to my knowledge, any diagrams published by Avanti Motors for the Avanti II cars.

    I've seen the Stude diagrams alone for sale on eBay, in paper color reproduction ($20+ shipping) and on CD ($6 + shipping), but I think for the price you'd be better off with the shop manual since it has much more information than just a wiring diagram.

    I do have a booklet of xeroxed hand-drawn sketches of partial wiring diagrams for some circuits of various year Avanti II's that was put together by an individual "E.J.J. 3rd", titled "Avanti II Electrical Circuits Block Diagrams" copyrighted in 1990 and sold via an ad in the AOAI magazine, I think (about 25 pp). I can't recall for certain where I got it. Unfortunately there is no contact info in the book, and it contains only partial diagrams (apparently sketches the author had made while chasing problems), for circuits like the antenna, radio, power locks, burglar alarm, cruise control, etc.

    You might try contacting some of the parts vendors to see if they know of anything (Nostalgic, for instance)

  12. I'd suggest the older large Recaros, like the ones used as an option in Avanti II's of the late 70's & early 80's. You just need to go to a salvage yard and look around, as those seats (I want to say Recaro "C" seats, but I'm not certain) were used on a wide range of cars, including Mercedes, BMW sedans, Cadillac Allante, etc. If I'm not mistaken, you can even still buy adapters for them new from Recaro for the Avanti.

    Another possibility would be Jag XJ40 seats, which are very comfortable, not quite as firm as the Recaros.

    Here's a link to an Avanti recently on eBay that had Recaros:


    Here are some links to seats now on eBay(or recently sold) :






    Tell us what you're looking for in terms of color and material. I have a very nice pair of Recaro (I think) seats in a very dark brown (almost black) soft woven material that I'm not sure I'll ever use, because I also have another tan leather set (from an Allante) I hope to make use of in a long-term project car.

    One problem with seats is that they are expensive to ship (heavy and bulky) so it's probably best to find some within driving range. Recovering them can be very expensive, too, but may be necessary to complement your car, and new foam cushions may be hard to find.

  13. here's a some numbers I had written down for the rears, but I've had the numbers quite a few years now so I'm not sure they're still valid:

    Koni 8240 (F?) -1012 (502)

    Koni 82-1425

    Gabriel 26177

    Monroe gas 5831

    Sears Classic gas 91103

    One owner reported using shocks for a 70's Camaro by inserting the crossbar from his old shocks into the upper mounting hole on the Camaro shocks.

  14. Here is what an Avanti steering wheel normally looks like:

    http://www.avantiparts.net/UCBlack698.jpg (on a 69 Avanti)

    It uses the "blades" in the two spokes to operate the horn.

    When an aftermarket steering wheel is installed, normally it comes with an adapter hub with a decorative plastic external round hub cover that has an emblem or name of some sort on it, and that center hub is depressed to sound the horn, ie, the hub is a horn button. The adapter bolts to the steering column, the wheel to the adapter, and the horn button/hub cover generally snaps into place on top.

    Nardi Classico is an aftermarket wooden wheel commonly used on Avanti's, it looks like this:


    One of the most common aftermarket wheel makers is Momo, who offers a wide variety of styles; they use the center hub as the horn button. See them at this site:


    (click on "Momo", then "steering wheels", then pick a style from the drop-down list)

    Yet another maker is Grant:


    You may have to remove the hub and the steering wheel to figure out what your car has in the way of horn provisions. If no attaching screws are present, generally the decorative hub cover either is pried up, or you press down on it and rotate it in relation to the wheel to free and remove it.

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