Can you remove the inner fender wells on a stepdown?

in HUDSON Posts: 36
I am giving serious though to pulling the head off my poor old 51 Hornet. I did a compression test today that more or less told me there is a strong likelihood of burned exhaust valves. The engine seems tight in other respects and has 35psi of oil when hot, so I am thinking of popping the head off and taking a proper look inside. I don't know if the engine has ever been apart before, the head gasket has gold paint on it. 

If I do need to do a quick and dirty valve job, I'll want access to the gallery, especially #6 as that is the non-compressing cylinder.  Someone told me that the inner fender sheet metal can be pulled out. A cursory look suggests that it can be done, and I really don't want to take the manifolds off if I can avoid it. Is there anything special that needs doing or watching here?  Do you just block the hood up with a stick or something, since the hood prop would have to go?


  • SuperDaveSuperDave Senior Contributor
    Posts: 3,343
    Make sure you prop that HEAVY hood up well!   Yes you can adjust valves with the manifolds in place.

    Live in the past.... it's cheaper.

    49 Commodore Eight Convertible

    Melbourne, Florida

  • LanceLance Member
    Posts: 656
    You can remove the dust shield on the passenger side with little problem as it is bolted to the fender on an offset to accommodate getting at and removing the side valve cover plates. You aren't able to do this as easily on the driver side . This however  still means taking off the tire and unbolting the inner dust shield at the body to frame brace and the radiator support channel. Dave's suggestion is well taken. Get a 2X4 to help brace the hood .
  • Geoff C., N.Z.Geoff C., N.Z. Senior Contributor
    Posts: 3,447
    Sorry, but it will be extremely difficult, if not impossible to do a valve job without removing the manifolds.  
    If you're stuck in a hole, stop digging.
  • Ol racerOl racer Senior Contributor
    Posts: 2,388

    You could get some valve grind compound and a suction handle then 'Lap' the valves to improve compression. However, if a valve is burnt may need manifold removal.

  • BillUSN1BillUSN1 Member
    Posts: 272
    Hamilton Fuel Injection
  • Geoff C., N.Z.Geoff C., N.Z. Senior Contributor
    Posts: 3,447
    Good luck trying to  do a valve job without removing g the manifold!
    If you're stuck in a hole, stop digging.
  • bob wardbob ward Senior Contributor
    Posts: 1,016
    Its a PITA to remove the inside fender and prop the hood, alternatively its a PITA to remove the manifold. 
    BUT adjusting the valves over the fender with the manifold off is way easier than trying to do it through the wheel well with the manifold on.
    Lockyer Valley, Queensland
  • KdancyKdancy Senior Contributor
    edited March 2 Posts: 2,208
    In 1972 I had a 49 Commodore coupe with a hornet motor. I took off the passenger side inner wheel well and drove it that way. Those valve were adjusted on a regular basis. Why? I was young and dumb! Still dumb but not too young-----
    53 Super Wasp Coupe ready for restoration
    53 Studebaker Coupe Custom
    64 Champ pickup
    Wellborn, Fl
  • ski4life65ski4life65 Expert Adviser
    Posts: 921
    I have done them also without much hassle. Maybe it is harder Down Under because of the steering on the right side?
  • Geoff C., N.Z.Geoff C., N.Z. Senior Contributor
    Posts: 3,447
    It's relatively uncomplicated to simply adjust the tappets, quite another to  do a valve grind with the manifolds on.   R.H.D.  makes no difference on r.h.d. Step-downs. 
    If you're stuck in a hole, stop digging.
  • onerare39onerare39 Expert Adviser, Moderator
    Posts: 971
    Removing the inner fender does give you a little more room to work.
    1984 x 1488 - 2M
  • duncanduncan Expert Adviser
    Posts: 787
    Good one John. I am just a tad to big to fit that way.  Ray
  • 52hudsonman52hudsonman Member
    Posts: 20
    removed mine on my 52 wasp to adjust the valves
  • Jay GJay G Expert Adviser
    Posts: 322

    Or you could do what I had done.  With the triple Webers the inner fender panel must be modified and pushed out toward the tire or they will not fit.  Bent Metal did the modification and incorporated a removable panel in the fender so I do not have to remove the inner fender panel to adjust valves or access the carbs.  Works great, he does great work.  But maybe a bit more expensive than removing the inner panel, however, now that it is done it is almost a pleasure to adjust the tappets.....except for those darn headers....


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