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View Full Version : 53 Commander vs. 54 Champion parts swap



lelshaddai
08-08-2017, 07:04 PM
Started the disassembly of the 53 Commander Coupe. I am pulling every part off that will swap to the 54 Champion body and frame. I have looked in the body and chassis catalogs to get some information but I want to confirm. I have both radiators out. They hold the same liquid amounts and are the same dimensions. Seems the 54 Champion will work with the 53 Commander V8? Correct? Front springs , will 54 champion springs work in the 53? The 53 springs may rust pitting but no flaking. They look good. The Champion springs are excellent. Need to swap? The brakes on the 53 are already both 11 inch and from a newer car so I will switch those. Emergency brake swap OK? I am moving the dash, trim and interior over. Any other parts that may not swap out that I am missing?
Jim

Corvanti
08-08-2017, 07:15 PM
others will be along with more/better info but if the Champion was "original", it came with a 170-6 so the springs and suspension may need some upgrading for the heavier V8.

if i recall correctly, the '54 frame is slightly thicker than the '53. that's good.:)

62champ
08-08-2017, 07:18 PM
The V8 is 200 lbs heavier than the I6, so those springs will make it look like it is going down hill an level ground. Radiator outlet for the six is probably smaller than the eight and you really do not want less flow when it comes to coolant. Finally, you can haul those '53 brakes to the local metal recycle yard - the '54 brakes are much better than the earlier ones. Good luck.

lelshaddai
08-08-2017, 07:22 PM
The 53 brakes were already swapped with newer brakes by previous owner. Front and back are 11inch and self adjusting. I will keep those.

lelshaddai
08-08-2017, 07:24 PM
I can swap the springs and radiator, just that the 54 parts are a bit better condition. Yes, the 54 Champion is stock. The 53 Commander has a 289 with flight o matic.

StudeRich
08-09-2017, 02:45 PM
The 53 brakes were already swapped with newer brakes by previous owner. Front and back are 11inch and self adjusting. I will keep those.

You may have mis-remembered or did not measure, because the CORRECT Rear Drums for the 11 Inch Front ones would be 10 Inch, definitely NOT 11 Inch.

I am not saying that you could not HAVE 11 Inch rear drums, it is just that if you do, they would belong to the Front Disc. Setup, not the 11 Inch Front DRUM Brake system and not stop correctly with Front Drums.

lelshaddai
08-09-2017, 04:18 PM
6615266153One thing is true. They are new style brakes with the adjusting wheel. I did measure the brakes. Outside to outside is almost 12 inches. Fronts are the same size. The Drivetrain came fro a 63 or newer. Did I not see that some of the newer cars had 11 in front and back?

Mike Van Veghten
08-09-2017, 04:39 PM
Just in case someone says the dash is different...it's not. "ALL"...of the 53 -54 dash boards will interchange...fact. Even the 55 dash will interchange as long as the early 55 dash is used.
I was told different sometime back, by a few people. Found out for myself...not true.

Mike

StudeRich
08-09-2017, 04:56 PM
6615266153One thing is true. They are new style brakes with the adjusting wheel. I did measure the brakes. Outside to outside is almost 12 inches. Fronts are the same size. The Drivetrain came fro a 63 or newer. Did I not see that some of the newer cars had 11 in front and back?

NO, none of the Cars had 11 Inch Front and Rear.
Those rears are probably the correct 10 inch INSIDE where it counts for a 259 V8 without 289 Finned Drums.

lelshaddai
08-09-2017, 05:27 PM
I think you are correct. The front measure almost 13 inches on the outside. 1 inch bigger than the rears.

lelshaddai
08-09-2017, 05:31 PM
Did the Commander have a square and red "S" embossed on the interior rear dash area?

StudeRich
08-09-2017, 08:49 PM
I think you mean the Speaker cutout hole on the Package Tray behind the rear seat, Yes but no Red Paint unless the entire shelf was Red.

lelshaddai
08-09-2017, 08:59 PM
Is that normal to have? My commander has it and my champion does not

StudeRich
08-09-2017, 09:12 PM
It's just a '53 thing, just like the rear seat armrest, the leaded weld at the base of the 'C" Pillar, the missing #3 frame crossmember, and the Eccentric adjusted Brakes!

My '54 has a different Package Tray/Shelf than my '53 Starliner.

lelshaddai
08-10-2017, 11:08 PM
Are the rear and front springs really different between the 53 Commander and 54 Champion? The manual stats the front springs are the same by name/brand but it mentions they have different free length. The manual also states the Champion and Commander rear springs to be the same size and same number of leafs(4). I have seen some springs with five. I am trying to read the parts books and manuals but do not have a clear answer. Also the radiators appear to be the same, same dimensions, 3 row. If I do not need to swap these parts it would be nice, especially the front coils. Are the part numbers on them somewhere? Getting conflicting information.
Jim

S2Deluxe
08-13-2017, 06:28 PM
Are the rear and front springs really different between the 53 Commander and 54 Champion? The manual stats the front springs are the same by name/brand but it mentions they have different free length. The manual also states the Champion and Commander rear springs to be the same size and same number of leafs(4). I have seen some springs with five. I am trying to read the parts books and manuals but do not have a clear answer. Also the radiators appear to be the same, same dimensions, 3 row. If I do not need to swap these parts it would be nice, especially the front coils. Are the part numbers on them somewhere? Getting conflicting information.
Jim

Jim please forgIve me, for making a statement that seems, it should be so blatantly obvious that it's likely not that much help? Although I don't have my parts catalog handy at the moment, I can say that if it doesn't list springs for 4H and 5H C&K bodies under the same part # as those for 14G and 15G C&K bodies? They are different parts!


others will be along with more/better info but if the Champion was "original", it came with a 170-6 so the springs and suspension may need some upgrading for the heavier V8.

if i recall correctly, the '54 frame is slightly thicker than the '53. that's good.:)

As I understand the Studebaker chassis situation, at least as it applies to the '53 & '54 C&K models, it is that the Commander (4H & 5H) models have slightly thicker frames than the Champion (14G & 15G) models! From '55 on, all models used the same thicker steel in the chassis. However people have now been installing V8s in these chassis for nearly 65 years. Not much endures such an expanse of time, without some degree of deterioration! Not all of which is easily detectable. The #3 crossmember or batwing, as it is often referred to, which was mentioned previously, would be a benefit no matter which chassis it is used on, wasn't installed on the C&K bodies until the '54 model year. I'd expect the '54 Champion chassis to be fine with any level of sane street horsepower you plan to use with it!

Mark

StudeRich
08-14-2017, 12:33 AM
Trust me, you cannot use Champion Six Front Coil Springs in a V8 Car, there is a difference between a "Lowered" Car and "Flat" Coil Springs.

Some people can deal with Lowered, but when you drop a V8 into a 6 Cylinder Car, the Coils bottom because those springs were made to support around 200 Lbs. less, so you end up "riding on a Rail!"

Been there, done that. :(

lelshaddai
08-14-2017, 12:41 AM
Thank you. I picked up a V8 set of coils and a 5 leaf set of rear springs. They will be replaced. Just want to do this correctly.