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CrazyCars
06-28-2018, 10:34 PM
I own a 1964 Commander with the, I believe, 170, 6 cylinder engine. I am in the process of rebuilding this power plant and I noticed several suppliers, including Studebaker International, cut off engine parts for the 6 cylinder engine, such as pistons and rings, at 1963. Is there any difference between the 1963 and 1964 , 6 cylinder engine? Any reason why 1963 motor parts wouldn't work?

Studebakercenteroforegon
06-29-2018, 01:10 AM
1964 model six cylinder pistons are different. They were an autothermic design (slipper) and the ring widths were thinner.
Thus ‘64 model six cylinder pistons and rings were very different from the earlier design.
I believe it is common to substitute the early pistons when rebuilding a ‘64 - both from the obvious availability issue and that the ‘64 pistons were known to crack.

CrazyCars
06-29-2018, 08:54 AM
Thank you for taking the time to help! Much appreciated!

PackardV8
06-29-2018, 10:03 AM
1964 model six cylinder pistons are different. They were an autothermic design (slipper) and the ring widths were thinner.
Thus ‘64 model six cylinder pistons and rings were very different from the earlier design.
I believe it is common to substitute the early pistons when rebuilding a ‘64 - both from the obvious availability issue and that the ‘64 pistons were known to crack.

I just checked the catalogs from my two largest Stude parts vendors. Neither offer the '64 Champion pistons.

Both have pistons for '39 - '58 and '59 - '63. What are the differences?

jack vines

Studebakercenteroforegon
06-29-2018, 11:53 AM
I just checked the catalogs from my two largest Stude parts vendors. Neither offer the '64 Champion pistons.

Both have pistons for '39 - '58 and '59 - '63. What are the differences?

jack vines

The difference between ‘39 - ‘58 Champion pistons and ‘59 - ‘63 pistons is pin height.
Now, it may seem strange that the ‘39 - ‘54 pistons (170 cubic inch) and the ‘55 - ‘58 pistons (185 cubic inch) would use the same piston. Among the many changes made for the 1955 185” engine was a slight increase in deck height to accommodate the new longer stroke. I am sure they didn’t do these changes just to use the same pistons, but dimensionally that is how it worked out.
Then, for 1959 models, the change back to 170 cubic inches did require a different set of pistons, to accommodate the shorter stroke in the newer raised block.
This also required a new crankshaft, since the main bearing diameter had increased for the 185” engines, so a shorter stroke crankshaft was created for the ‘59 up 170”.

PackardV8
06-29-2018, 12:14 PM
Thanks for the reminder.

Anyone else remember hearing the South Bend legend as the reason Studebaker spent money they didn't have in 1959 to give up on the 185" and get back to 170"?

Story goes they'd heard the upcoming Ford Falcon and the Plymouth Valiant/Dodge Dart were going to have 170" engines and marketing thought that was a magic number and the Lark had to be there to compete as an economy car.

jack vines

skyway
06-29-2018, 12:34 PM
...and THAT is a sad story!

6hk71400
06-29-2018, 01:18 PM
Thanks for the reminder.

Anyone else remember hearing the South Bend legend as the reason Studebaker spent money they didn't have in 1959 to give up on the 185" and get back to 170"?

Story goes they'd heard the upcoming Ford Falcon and the Plymouth Valiant/Dodge Dart were going to have 170" engines and marketing thought that was a magic number and the Lark had to be there to compete as an economy car.

jack vines

Jack,

If I remember correctly, there was in an older thread that had a promotion film on the 1959 Lark. Churchill stated the "new" 170 cubic inch engine was for the new Lark. Correct me if I am wrong but I think Bob Palma (maybe a little tongue in cheek) said they could not say new with the older 185, in that post.
At least that is as I remember the thread so that is my story and I am sticking to it ;)

Bob Miles
Different by Design
Different by Delight!

TWChamp
06-29-2018, 02:00 PM
OK, so in 1959 Studebaker started buying Ford Falcon 170 engines. Now it all makes sense. LOL

studegary
06-29-2018, 07:20 PM
I believe that with the Lark being a lighter car than the 1958 sedan that it replaced, Studebaker felt that they could do fine with an 8% smaller engine. The Lark VI was promoted for economy. You had the Lark VIII for power/performance.

Jeff T.
06-30-2018, 12:07 PM
A couple of years later Studebaker was re-engineering the six back to a 185 with a two barrel carb for a bit more power added to the economy of the engine.

Jeff T.

PackardV8
06-30-2018, 01:03 PM
I believe that with the Lark being a lighter car than then the 1958 sedan that it replaced, Studebaker felt that they could do fine with an 8% smaller engine. The Lark VI was promoted for economy. You had the Lark VIII for power/performance.

Agree completely, the Lark VIII is a completely different car than anything offered by the competition and should have been vigorously promoted as low-price-high-performance. We all know, a Lark, as it should it have been equipped with a 225hp 289", T85 overdrive, TwinTraction, would hold its' own with any sedan sold in 1959.

OTHOH, the Lark VI, especially when automatic, is grievously underpowered. Granted, the 185" gave only eleven more horsepower, but that's 12% and sorely needed.

As to economy, having owned both the 170" and 185" in similar weight vehicles, the fuel mileage is essentially the same. Studebaker gained nothing tangible by going back to the 170", so it would seem to be an image-driven decision. A race to the bottom, as it were.

jack vines