Studebaker Garage


1959 Lark - Restoration

            The following Maintenance/Restoration was completed  to get this vehicle ready for a Safety Inspection & keeping it safely on the road each year

1 Inventory Checked  all parts and made up list of missing parts, cost and vendors Missing Starter & some minor parts
2 Inspect & rebuild brakes  Put vehicle up on jack stands, removed front tire first, inspected brakes which were basically like new. Cleaned the drums and repainted outside. Removed shoes, springs , clips and wheel cylinder parts. Inspected for cracks, cleaned, reinstalled and readjusted. Did one wheel at a time to ensure it went back together properly. Once I located a rear wheel puller we removed the last nuts and turned it around and put back on the axle so we can ensure that the wheel puller didn't damage the axle threads. it was tight but we managed to remove one at a time, rebuild all brake parts and reinstall the Brake drums We needed a heavy duty wheel puller as this vehicle was parked for over 18 years and the rear drums were seized on the axle. Need brake cylinder rebuild kits for all wheels
3 Remove, Inspect and rebuild Master Cylinder Removed Master cylinder from the Car which is located on the frame directly under the driver's side floor pan. Cleaned up, re-primed Master Cylinder and re-installed, Bled all air from brake lines while topping up Master Cylinder  
4 Removed old engine Removed all excess parts from Engine, put in logical sequence on table as we took them off. Removed Hood, Radiator wasn't on the vehicle but needs to be removed along with Fan/Water Pump. Lifted up front Carpet, Removed Front Access Panel and removed Bell Housing bolts. Went underneath engine and removed exhaust and plates and remainder of Bell Housing bolts. Removed Engine Mount Bolts along with any other parts that would impede engine removal. Removed Auto Trans flex plate bolts (6) from rear of engine. Head wasn't on the engine so we got 4 head bolts and hooked two chains with minimal slack in them and proceeded to lift engine while  pulling engine away from Transmission slowing. It came easily away and left the Torque Converter on the Transmission  You require an Engine Hoist and chains for this job along with at least one other person for safety reasons. We did it outside in good weather so we weren't limited do to ceiling height in garage.
5 Purchased Rebuild Engine Purchased in Toronto 185 Cu in Champion Engine, rebuild 6 years previously. Inspected motor and it had been rebuild and put away. Al Jordan inspected engine and indicated it was in great shape and he would be able to inspect it for completeness and missing parts at his garage Engine was in great shape but was not put together properly. Al Jordan disassembled it and rebuild engine ensuring all parts were properly installed, all tolerances and clearances were correct.
6 Installed Rebuild Engine Once engine was ready for pickup, it was moved back to vehicle's location and  we proceeded to reinstall engine. Found that with the new engine that we were unable to reconnect the engine to the transmission. It was due to the new engine being installed in a 1955 Standard Transmission and the center hole in the rear of the crankshaft was too short. We proceed to drill out the hole only to the length of the knob on the Torque Converter. Installed the engine and it fit good and we were able to reinstall Flex Plate Bolts, Engine Mounts  and Bell Housing bolts In 1955 Studebakers the Borg -Warner "Flightomatic" Automatic Transmission was not used. Although the engine was originally from a 6volt car there was not problems as all Studebakers were 12 volt equipped from 1956 onward. 


Installed Engine parts Reinstalled all Engine parts in sequence as taken off. Inspected for serviceability and replaced as required
8 Installed Engine Head Installed Head but found that it leaked coolant. Current head was warped and would need a replacement or have this one shaved. Found replacement Head installed and torques as per manual sequence. Bought new one from SASCO for $25. Cheaper then cost of  machine shop work. Need a good Torque wrench for this task
9 Installed new Tires Put up on Jack Stands and removed. Took to Garage and got four new whitewall all-season tires installed. Stock Studebaker rims for 1959 were only 4.5 inches wide and will properly only fit P195/75 R15 tires
10 Installed New Exhaust Purchased Tailpipe and NOS Muffler and installed complete exhaust system
11 Drained & Inspected Fuel tank Put vehicle up on Jack Stands and drained Fuel Tank. Removed tank using floor jack with piece of plywood 2 ft x 2 square to disperse pressure. lower to the ground after removal of the 3 bolts attached to the frame. Remove fuel sender and used flashlight to inspect tank interior. Fund to be in very good condition. Installed new fuel sender and reinstalled tank. If in doubt get tank pressure-checked to help ensure no pinholes and get tank sealed if is in salvageable condition.
12 Inspected Fuel Tank Sender Found cork material to be old and too saturated with gas to float properly. Bought replacement unit Do not use any type of sealant at all on the cork gasket for the Fuel sender unit.  It will plug up your fuel line and create all sorts of problems getting it cleaned out.
13 Installed Front Fenders

When installing fenders ensure you use proper spacers as required to get the proper spacing so doors can open without interference. Gap should be uniform from top to bottom. approx 1/8 in

Gap should be uniform from top to bottom. approx 1/8 in
14 Installed Radiator  Got pressure-checked and found serviceable. Used new bolts (6) and installed. Installed new upper and lower radiator hoses and refilled with 50/50 antifreeze mix. If having difficulty getting bolts to line up use cargo strap to get fenders in the proper position so all holes lineup for easier installation. Note proper radiator bolt bolts are round off at the bottom with a tapered end for ease of installation.
15 Installed Front Clip Installed Front Bumper Brackets and Bumper. If you have Bumper guards to install use from 1959-61 model years only
16 Installed Autolite Generator and Voltage Regulator


Installed generator and initially installed Delco-Remy voltage regulator which didn't work.  Found an Autolite Voltage Regulator in the parts received and the generator worked fine once proper Voltage regulator was installed. Ensure you don't try and install Delco-Remy to Autolite parts - will not work. Cdn Built Models used Autolite only for this model
17 Installed Starter No starter was received in the initial purchase.  Due to installation of the Flightomatic Transmission and 185 engine which was initially from a 3 speed car we able to track done an Autolite Starter from a 1960 Lark which properly lined up with the Torque converter to turn the motor. Make sure to use proper Starter bolts to attach starter to Bellhousing.  If too loose it will eventually wear-out the teeth on the flywheel/torque Converter and start to grind.
18 Installed new spark plug wires, Distributor Cap, points, condenser and rotor. Gapped spark plugs to .030 in and installed new Champion J-7 Spark Plugs Adjusted the points gap to  .016 in
19 Started and Timed Engine Had initial problems due to not being able to time motor due to lack of clockwise turning space with the distributor when  timing with timing light. Moved all wires anti-clockwise one space and this allowed us to turn distributor clockwise enough to get the motor idling properly while having timing properly in line with  No- 1 cylinder. I also checked Vacuum pressure to ensure it was at maximum to get the best efficiency.
20 Sanded all surface rust and primered Preparing this vehicle for painting took many hrs of removing the stainless and bumpers. taping and masking all wheels and windows to ensure no paint gets on parts that do not need painting. Initially painted with 2 coats of grey primer and sanded to ensure the surface was smooth while allowing the Base coat to stick. Used Black Lacquer - Limco 3 with a ratio of 8 parts Limco 3, 4 parts - Reducer and 1 part - Hardener. Used a HVLP Gun with an in-line  water separator. Use garage with plastic sheets used for a make-shift paint booth, Painted 2 coats while using 600 grit wet sandpaper between coats on any imperfections.  Car still needs a proper paint job but is very presentable at this time. If you are unsure about taking on this part of the restoration project then get in done in a proper paint shop.  Good paint jobs cost alot of money but are well-worth it if you are all thumbs with a paint gun and don`t take the time to do it right.
21 Installed all stainless and emblems Reinstalled all stainless while ensuring all lined up properly Take your time to avoid new scratches
22 replaced transmission fluid Took out for test run and found transmission was slipping.  Drained transmission to find fluid very dirty. Dropped Transmission pan and cleaned it out while inspecting and cleaning metal filter. Replaced with Dexron ATF. Adjusted shift rods as necessary to get smooth operation. Always replace old ATF to ensure smooth operation. Remember to check in Park with engine running. Never overfill.
23 Retimed Engine After taking out for initial test runs found engine was overheating. Retimed and rechecked Vacuum. Checked thermostat for proper operation.  Worked better after checking all of these parts. Also Checked Anti-freeze to ensure it was sufficient and of the proper strength
24 Install seat belts Due to lack of pre-drilled factory seatbelt holes for this make of yr/model had to use 1964 Studebaker as ref to drill holes in proper spots to ensure proper placement and security of seatbelts. Ensure to use large 2 inch flat washers that are supplied to provide extra strength to your installation
25 Replaced front & rear shocks Have a helper if available for ease of replacement. Jacked up rear/front part of frame and installed rear/front shocks Part # Rear 800930 and Front 800694.  Do each side/shock separately. Oil & Reuse bolts as necessary. Car rides alot firmer and passed Bounce test - Press down car body over each shock and look to see if it firmly returns to original position in one bounce only.
26 Replaced Master Cylinder

Have a helper if available for ease of replacement. Jacked up front part of frame and removed Master Cylinder.  Need pan to catch old brake fluid. Remove old Master Cylinder and install new one in reverse order. Replace copper washers 185164 to ensure no leaks at rear of Master Cylinder. You need to prime your new Master Cylinder at the bench prior to installation to ensure it will work properly once installed. Once installed you need to bleed all of the brakes starting off at the farthest rear right Brakes . I jacked up car and removed wheels one at a time while installing new Brake Bleeders valves Wagner 92411 to make it easier as they have longer shaft to allow for the 3/8 in wrench  and ease of attaching bleeder hose. Once bled all 4 wheels and topped up Master Cylinder took out for road test. Car stops alot quicker but had to set up brakes better to ensure they don't pull you to the left or right



Replaced Wheel Cylinders

Front - Wagner WC19237 x 2

Rear - Wagner WC36180 x 2

All Brake Hoses - 

Front - 519637 x 2

Rear 1543003 x 1

& Front Brake shoes - 1560104

Use Dot 3 Brake fluid only

Brake cleaner - spray can


FRONT WHEELS - Once you have the front wheels off the ground pull the front drums and proceed to remove the brake shoes keeping notes on where all of the parts came from. This is time to buy yourself some large brake pliers in order to remove all of the springs without busting your knuckles. Have a drop pan under the wheel to catch any brake fluid that may come out once you remove the Wheel cylinders (1 inch). I inspected all brake lines to ensure they were serviceable and I replaced the Brake hose. I reassembled everything in  the reverse order that they were taken off and did the same on the other front wheel. When installing the brake shoe adjusting screw ensure that it is free as we had to take them apart and lube them so they would work. Ensure that the drum is on finger tight and then back off the nut one slot and insert a new cotter pin. Wheel should spin freely and drum should not be loose. Adjust the brake shoes by having a brake shoe adjusting tool. Tighten up until they are tight and back off 5 clicks until the wheel spins freely. Same adjustment on both sides. Bleed both brakes

REAR WHEELS - You will need a drum puller for this job. Ensure to firmly mount the puller on the studs while ensuring that you put the nut back on the axle (just enough to hide the threads) so you don't strip the threads in your attempts to remove the drums. If unable to get the drums off go out and get a good drum puller where you can use a hammer as this is the only tool that may work.  Remove brake shoes (replace if necessary) and replace wheel cylinders as per the front wheels. These wheel cylinders are slightly smaller (13/16 inch) and install the same as the front except they attach to a metal brake line. In regards to the Brake hose there is only one in the center just about the differential. Remove the large clip with a set of pliers and remove the hose from the tee & line that goes to the Master cylinder. Ensure all lines/hose are tight and reassembly brakes and reinstall brake drums as per front wheel setup ensuring that drums spin freely while being firm. Bleed both rear brakes, adjust brake shoes, check for leaks & remount wheels and take for road test.


After 58 years they were due for replacement. Replaced everything except rear Brake shoes which were barely worn. Old wheel cylinders were all rusty and seized due to old fluid in lines so it was good time to replace them. Total cost was around $150





Reupholster both Front & Rear bench seats Bought some nice Grey Tweed Material off of EBay and got 2 yards for around $50 The seats are Tweed on top and grey Vinyl around the sides and outside borders.  

Both Seats turned out very nice as I got them done at a Professional Upholstery Shop for $850  Some things are best left to professionals if you want a nice job





1959 Lark