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RQB 2897


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The springs are mounted just as they came from the factory as both my 74 and 83 are that way. I saw an explanation once but can't recall if it was in the manual or else where. The spacers are also present on my 74 with the OEM Mag 500 wheels so that is also correct. I can't imagine them there for no reason but again no idea.

The springs are identical side to side as I replaced mine in the 74. If you chose to switch them side to side it shouldn't be an issue. If you look for replacements, they are not inexpensive so try pricing them locally to save shipping. I got a great deal from my local heavy truck supplier that took the time to find them in their catalog.

Be careful about using overload shocks as the upper shock mounts are not made to support heavy loads that air shocks or other shocks of that type can impose.


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About 1971 Avanti Motors changed the rear brakes and drums. It's possible that changed necessitated the use of spacers but that's just a guess.

I agree about being careful about using overload shocks. The shock mounts simply aren't designed for that. That's just a bandaid for fixing the leaf springs themselves. Look into having the springs re-arched and new bushings installed. The other alternative is install new leaf springs...either steel or composite.

Sagging springs....both front and rear...are not uncommon on Avantis...particularly the front.

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IIRC, I read that the difference in the spring bolt height was to compensate for the driver's weight, so the ride would be level with the driver only.

The 3/16 spacer may be necessary due to the length of the wheel studs. The Magnum 500 lug nuts are closed end. Without the spacer, they may bottom out without fully tightening. I recently installed Turner brakes on my Avanti, and I had to shorten all of the studs on the rotors about 0.090" because of the lug nuts. I didn't want to use a spacer since it would bring the tires closer to the fenders.

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Thursday my son came over. I had him take a look at everything from a different perspective. All his

double checking of what I had found and he had no solid idea either.

Until he measured the rear inner wheel tubs to body and found the body to be 1/2" wider on the RR than the LR.

How that happened is pure speculation but accounts for the majority of the wheel/tire offset to the

left issue.

So in a matter of 2 hours we completely removed the springs, sway bar and all attending components.

Only broke one U-bolt in the process.

The springs are as close to the same as possible. Same length, same arch and angles on the ends, and

same amount of deflection under load. Going to clean and reinstall everything today if possible. Going to swap them side to side and re-check everything again. If there is still an issue the process of

doing whatever after that will be easy as everything will be clean and the process will be easier to

accomplish the second time around if needed. More than willing to repeat the procedure to get it right. Appreciate the input. I'll report back with the results.

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I can say from experience that not all Magnum 500 wheels are identical...even in the same 15"x6" size. The wheels on my '70 are all 6" width but two have a different offset than the other two by about 3/8" or so. It wasn't recognized as such until I installed the Turner Brake kit on the car...the front rims scraped the new calipers. I have to keep the other two rims on the front that clear. I can only guess that the two pairs of rims came from different production lots. That is likely the reason why some have reported that the Turner kit can't be used with Magnum 500 wheels and some report no issues at all. Avanti Motors would have had no reason to check them as all cleared the original Dunlop design calipers.

Maybe it's possible after Avanti changed the rear brake setup they may have discovered an occasional issue with some rims and used spacers as necessary. Again...just a guess, but Avanti Motors was known for doing unusual things to get around a problem at minimum cost.

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While starting to clean the springs for re-installation I noticed something. Seems the end bushings,

especially the front one on the drivers side, was dry and cracked. Checking further the rubber wasn't

supporting the bolt sleeve and was actually loose inside the bushing. When under load the inner sleeve was displaced by over 1/2" letting the car tilt to the drivers side. The passenger side was

deteriorated but not to the same extent.

So my son and I removed all the spring bushings for replacement. Any suggestions who is the best


And since we snapped-off one of the u-bolts I got a set of new ones for safety sake.

Going to be very cold here for the next 2-3 days or so, highs in the low 30's, lows in the mid teens,

wind chill in single digits, so I'll have to wait on parts anyway.

I'm fairly confident that new bushings and swapping the springs side-for-side will correct the left

leaning stance.

We carefully measured the wheels. Exactly the same offset and back spacing on both. Possibly the

completely shot spring bushings, along with the 1/2" body anomaly will account for the seemingly

offset rear axle location. Going to find out for sure.

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I guess one of us should have mentioned that anytime one pulls the springs out to check the bushings but you did that any way. My guess is that they all come from the same source so whichever supplier you use should be fine. Just be sure they are new not "old" stock. Time and storage are not kind to these type of items.

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Years ago I replaced all the bushings, front and rear, in my '68 Charger R/T with polyurethane ones.

The ride stiffened-up considerably. But the stiffness, squeaking, and "twitchiness" of the ride and

handling became too much to enjoy the car except under hard driving conditions. I didn't want to have

to drive that way constantly so vowed to not go there again.

#2897 is a GT type of car and I want to maintain the ride qualities inherent in the design and

production, limited though they may be. This is a cruiser type of car for me and I want to enjoy it as much as possible. So stock replacements is the direction I am headed. I doubt I will ever push the car to its limits anyway. Appreciate the heads-up though.

Ordering all new rear bushings including sway bar and torque arms today.

Been there and done that many times before.

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Got everything fully dis-assembled last night. Only sheered-off one other bolt. The left front upper

control arm bolt sheered off at the end of the turned-down area where the threads are. Going to have

to cut the shoulder area back and weld on a grade 8 bolt for threads. Not difficult, but irritating.

Everything going back together with anti-seize so the next owner doesn't have to deal with this issue.

In the process of cleaning everything and waiting on the new bushings.

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Still waiting on suspension components. Unbelievable how dirty and gritty everything under the back of the car is. Cleaning everything left an 1/8" coating of dust on the car and everything in my shop.

Took the better part of yesterday just to clean-up the shop, my work benches, and desk areas.

Starting on the hog trough cleaning, sealing, and painting today while waiting on my parts order.

Nice day though with expected highs in the mid 60's through this coming week.

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I've had the "rust and dust" coating in my shop several times! Just part of the fun. Then you can spray some paint down there so you can get a nice coating of over spray on everything you forgot to cover up....

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How true, how true.

Suspension parts arrived Saturday afternoon.

I got a 7/8" barrel/ drum sanding kit and cleaned and polished the insides of the

spring eyes.

Long story short. With a little axle bearing grease, my son and I had the bushings

installed in less than 10 minutes using only a piece of aluminum plate as a spacer

and my 6" bench vise.

Did them during half-time of the early NFL ball game.

Yesterday I got the control rod bushings replaced. Only took about 15 minutes. Used

the drum sanding kit on them too.

Can't imagine how this could have been easier.

Starting reassembly later today.


Edited by boogieman
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When you replaced the bushings I hope that you didn't use the axle grease on the rubber to help press them on. The axle grease is really hard on rubber suspension components.

A white petroleum lubricant like "Vaseline" Will work as well or better and won't harm the rubber. It also works well when assembling plumbing.

Charlie RQB3921

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Used a small amount of WD40 for lubrication.

My oldest son came over yesterday afternoon to help in the reassembly. All went smoothly and well.

Get it all buttoned-up and back on the wheels and on the ground about 8:30 last night.

Have to do some more checking as the car is still 3/4" to 1" lower on the left. And every contact

point between the frame and rear suspension has been replaced. That needed to be done anyhow.

Not sure where to look now.


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  • 1 month later...

Stump the experts today.

I have owned and worked on over 300 cars in my 50+ driving years.

Ran across a situation the other day I can' figure out.

I removed the rear wheels, wheel spacers and brake drums to disassemble the rear suspension

and replace all the bushings, etc.

Put it all back together in reverse order.

Brake drums, wheel spacers then wheels.

Started the car, put it in reverse, no movement. Locked up tight.

Emergency brake released. Checked and rechecked.

Wheels won't turn even with the trans in neutral.

Removed the wheels. Axles turn freely. Mounted the wheels without spacers. No turn.

Remounted the wheels with spacers. No turn.

Wheels off, axle turns again.

With the wheels and spacers mounted just hand tight, no turn.

I am at a loss having never seen this in 50+ years of cars.

Nothing replaced, nothing added, nothing changed, no turn.

What am I missing?

The car looks odd suspended in mid-air unable to move under it's own power.


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It sounds like it has something to do when the lug nuts are tightened down against the rims and maybe causing a problem within the drums or axle assembly. Something isn't fixed in place properly and seems to be pulling against the drum from the inside.

Try putting only one wheel on at a time and check both sides. You might be able to narrow it down to one side or the other. If only one side is causing the problem, carefully look at how they're each reassembled and maybe one isn't done properly.

As Andy Granatelli said: "Everything is basic". Go back to the beginning, one side at a time and check the assembly.

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I am at a loss having never seen this in 50+ years of cars.

Nothing replaced, nothing added, nothing changed, no turn.

What am I missing?

The car looks odd suspended in mid-air unable to move under it's own power.


I'll bet you'll want to kick yourself when you find it!

We've all done it; something simple we've overlooked, even though we know better. I agree with Gunslinger, start at the beginning and look for that one thing you just can't seem to see.

I recently spent way more time than I care to admit trying to bleed the air out of new caliper on a friend's SUV I had just replaced. It didn't dawn on me until someone else pointed out that it was the right caliper but on the wrong side; the bleeder was on the bottom and air was trapped at the top...I just couldn't see the forest for the trees!

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Getting to the bottom of this mystery but no definite answers.

Tried every combination of brake drums, wheel spacers, and wheels on both sides of the rear.

Same results any way tried. With the lug nuts hand tight the rear locks-up.

Finally found and used large washers the same thickness of the brake drum mounting flanges

and thick washers to simulate the wheels when mounted.

Everything turns freely in that configuration. Put the brake drums back on and it locks-up again.

Checking the drums against each other they measure the same.

No visible interference between the drums and the backing plates, or the drums and brake shoes.

The axle shafts have minimal and acceptable end play so no movement there.

Both axle seals intact and no leakage there.

I did use brake cleaner and an air gun to clean the accumulated residue from the shoes,

backing plates, and drums, so no changes there.

Still locking-up with the drums in place. What have I missed or overlooked?

Any thoughts as to why the drums have gone south?

I am at a loss again.

I did discover the need for the wheel spacers though. Without them the lug nuts bottom out on

the shoulder of the wheel stud. The spacer moves the wheel outward so this is not an issue.

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You should call Jon Myer at Myer's Studebaker...there's very little with Avantis he hasn't run across at some point. He's an enormous wealth of information and probably knows more about them mechanically and repair-wise than anyone. His number is 740-674-4897.

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With the wheels off and the brake drums on, you can turn the axles freely? I assume the shoes are dragging slightly or not at all at that point.

These are the same drums you had on originally?

If all those things are true, I don't see how that could happen.

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I could be 'way off on this, because it's been many years since I've taken the rear drums off myself, and I'm having trouble visualizing the parts, but my guess is that it might have something to do with the axleshaft to hub key.

I think there's only one spot where the key mates with the drum, otherwise the drum could possibly cock and jam on the brake backing plate when the wheel nuts are snugged (ie, the orientation of the drum on the axle shaft must be in a particular position, whereas the wheel can go on in any of 5 orientations). Take a drum off, look at the mating line circle around the axleshaft where it enters the axle housing (as best you can) and I think you should see the end of a key sticking out, which should mate with a keyway in the drum's center hole. Perhaps snugging the drum down (when the wheel lug nuts are snugged) cocks the drum slightly and causes it to drag/jam.

I could be very mistaken and the key/keyway is so obvious that it cannot be a problem and you know positively both drums are installed correctly, but it's the only simple explanation I can come up with.

Edited by WayneC
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With the wheels off and brake drums on, the axles do turn until the lug nuts are hand tight.

Then everything locks up, no turn.

Shoes dragging slightly as they should.

Not an e-brake issue or the drums would not go over the shoes.

Same drums I took off, same spacers, same shoes, same wheels, same everything except

spring and suspension bushings.

My car is a '79. Standard Chrysler/Jeep 8.25 axle and brake components.

There is no keyway on this axle.

The axle bolts to the flange on the axle housing. Axles were not removed.

Seals and bearings in good usable condition.

The drums sit flush with the axle flange. I measured the wheel stud lengths and the center hub

of the axle where it protrudes beyond the drum face.

Measured again with the wheel spacer on. All exactly the same.

Looks like I'll be calling Jon tomorrow.

I'm stumped.

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More thoughts...

Normally, front shoes are the shorter of the 2 shoes (less brake lining area), and/or sometimes narrower... is it possible you reversed the shoes when you re-installed them? There usually are raised "bumps" in the backing plate that properly position/align the shoes, so if you reversed wide and narrow shoes, you could cause interference between the drum and the wider shoe.

"Started the car, put it in reverse, no movement. Locked up tight."

...were the rear wheels back on the ground, or were you doing this while the car was still jacked off the ground? Posi rear ends give power to the wheel with the most traction, I'm not sure what they do when neither wheel has traction (equal power to both, or no power to either?). Yet, you do state that the wheel turns until the lug nuts are finger-tight, so it would seem that tightening the lug nuts is causing the stoppage (have you tried just pressing against the outside face of the drum without the nuts in place, while turning the drum, to see if that pressure prevents the drum from turning and perhaps learn by sound or feel where the rubbing or interference occurs

"Tried every combination of brake drums, wheel spacers, and wheels on both sides of the rear."

...Did that include placing the spacers inside of the drum rather than outside? (i.e. is it possible those spacers were inside the drum rather than outside... there may be marks or corrosion patterns that tell you where they were).

Seems like there ought to be a way to gently/incrementally snug the lug nuts, turning the drum each time, until it rubs something (just before it locks up), and then figure out by sound or feel what it's contacting (like perhaps the edge of the brake shoes) that keeps it from turning when the lug nuts are tightened further.

Edited by WayneC
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