View Full Version : Opinions wanted

10-28-2006, 05:56 PM
I have a '55 President with a 259 engine. It smokes bad when cold,
but not bad when warm. the compression is between 108, and 120 on the cylinders. two are 108, 3 are 115, and 3 are 120. Oil consumption is
around 100-150 miles per quart. I've been a hot rodder for 40+ yrs.
I have a 1976 cadillac with a '500 with 68k miles that I could swap
into the Stude, but part of me wants to keep it as mich Stude as
possible as long as possible. I know it would be cheaper to swap
the Caddy, but this is the first car I wanted to keep original as long as I can. All comments are welcome!

James K. Clark
East Tenn
'55 Stude Prez. 2dr Hdtp.
Don't take yourself too seriously!

James K. Clark

Anne F. Goodman
10-28-2006, 06:00 PM
Keep It Stude Powered. Just my opinion. Better a smokey Stude than a transplant. Last resort when no Stude parts available. But its your baby to do with what you wish. Thanks for letting me get that out.

Mabel 1949 Champion
1957 Silverhawk
1955 Champion
1958 Transtar

10-28-2006, 06:23 PM
James, I don't want to say it's a "no-brainer", but I think you ought to keep it Stude-powered. By the time you adapt the Caddy engine, you'll wish you'd just refreshed the Stude.
There are those here that will tell you how you have to check this and true that and spend several thousand to make it "new" again. I'd suggest you have the valves done, pop the pistons out, hone the bores and slip new rings on and put it back together. That's what I did with the Transtar's well-worn V8 a decade ago and it's still going strong after many, many more miles. And my approach is not something new - it's born of dealing with many experienced, VETERAN Studebaker owners & mechanics.
Don't get snookered into wasting money on hardened valve seats either. New guides? Maybe - IF, they're really needed.
I keep preaching that these are NOT small block Che**y engines and so you don't have to just assume that it's totally shot and everything needs to go back to new again. Not that many listen tho. Vendors and machine shops have THEIR best interests at heart - not yours[}:)]

Miscreant adrift in
the BerStuda Triangle!!

1957 Transtar 1/2ton
1960 Larkvertible V8
1958 Provincial wagon
1953 Commander coupe

10-28-2006, 06:37 PM
I have to agree with Anne and Mr. Biggs. The Cad. Motor is no Spring Chicken and at 68,000 miles I would want to at least freshen it up before I put it in. What Trans. and diff. do you plan to run behind the Cad. motor? If you are dead set on the Cad do it but I think that the Cad will cost more before you are done. You asked for opinions and now you have mine.:) Whatever you decide to do enjoy it and keep us posted!:)


10-28-2006, 06:54 PM
A moderate freshening of the engine should suffice for most use.
That's way easier overall than doing a swap, and probably as cheap or cheaper.

10-28-2006, 08:55 PM
Honeing and new rings, maybe valve guides? I think you'd have half or a third as much in freshening the Stude as you would in adapting the Caddy.
My opinion; your call.

Brad Johnson
Pine Grove Mills, Pa.
33 Rockne 10
51 Commander Starlight
53 Commander Starlight
previously: 63 Cruiser, 62 Regal VI, 60 VI convertible, 50 LandCruiser

John Kirchhoff
10-28-2006, 09:03 PM
The previous owner of my Hawk did a very shabby job of putting a chevy engine in it. Fortunately it wasn't chopped up too much and I put a Stude engine back into it. There's something to be said for having an engine where everything fits where it's supposed to and you don't have to fabricate everything from a-z. I agree with the other guys and putting the caddy engine in isn't going to be as easy and trouble free as some would lead you to believe. Those kinds of projects tend to be very time consuming because it's like pulling a loose thread out of a sweater. Pull it out and then there's another one and another one and before long you have nothing but a rag. Making the little things fit and work such as wiring, radiator hoses, fuel lines, lines for pressure gauges, fan shroud, throttle connection, gear shift mechanism, drive shaft, battery cables, exhaust pipes and such can take more time and effort than cobbling up some motor mounts and setting the engine in. I guess the 500 ci caddy swap is one of the easier ones from what I've heard, but I'll eat my hat if the heavy stude block and forged steel crankshaft isn't stronger and tougher than what's in the caddy despite the difference in displacement. If you could talk to someone who's made the swap before would certainly be helpful, good luck!

10-28-2006, 09:47 PM
Thanks for all the input so far. I'll qualify my thoughts on the
engine swap. I've built, or helped build about 20 rods. This is my hobby. My first engine swap was a 1956 c---y into a 1953 Stude.
champion coupe in 1960. The cutting, and welding are fun. plus I
have a 472 setting in my forty f--d deluxe coupe with 103.000 miles in the clock, and it cranked 156 to 160 compression tests. I like
the thought of too much horse power, but somewhere deep inside is
a thought of keep it all Stude. Keep your opinions coming Thanks.

James K. Clark

James K. Clark

10-28-2006, 10:32 PM
James, There is a shop down the street from me in Paramont CA called Baker Automotive. They do a lot of 500 inch Caddy to Stude swaps. They put one in a friend of mine's 55 Champion C. This one had a 6-71 GMC on it. The guy calls himself the country butcher, retired now but my 53K with a 232 would beat it in the 1/8 sometimes, 1/4 forget it. The Cad is to trouble prone with their timing chain setup, dist. and oil pump hanging on the outside. Their breathing sucks (pun intended). Bad manifolding. Do yourself a favor and keep the Stude.

10-28-2006, 11:08 PM
I would encourage you to keep the Stude mill, it just seem fitting.
It may not be cheaper to swap by the time all the issues are delt with, BTDT. Its your car however, to do with as you will.

Riverside, Ca.
1957 Provincial X2
1958 Transtar
1963 Lark. F.S.

10-29-2006, 01:19 AM
Alan, I used to live in Paramount. Seems I remember seeing that Baker place. Where is it exacltly?:)

Miscreant adrift in
the BerStuda Triangle!!

1957 Transtar 1/2ton
1960 Larkvertible V8
1958 Provincial wagon
1953 Commander coupe

10-29-2006, 11:08 AM
Bob, It is just south of the 105 freeway 1 block. Just go south on Paramount off of the 105 to the first corner, take a right, it is on the right or North side of the street. Right across from Cal Areo Surplus. They have been there for 35 or 40 years. The guy used to race Studes out at Santa Anna Raceway back in the 50's.

10-29-2006, 01:35 PM
OK. I certainly know where Cal Aero Surplus is. Man - back when all the aircraft makers were going strong, was that ever the place to buy hardware!!! Any kind of fastener you can imagine and that many more that you can't - all for sale by the pound! NEW Drills of every size and description - by the pound![:p][:p][:p]

Last time I was in there, it was a bad rendition of Harbor Freight.[V]

Miscreant adrift in
the BerStuda Triangle!!

1957 Transtar 1/2ton
1960 Larkvertible V8
1958 Provincial wagon
1953 Commander coupe

10-29-2006, 02:00 PM
My opinion, fwiw: If you've got a pretty nice old Stude that you drive on occasion, I would suggest rebuilding the original engine. You may be able to get by with using new rings in old bores, pistons, maybe not. Same with the crankshaft--you may not need a regrind, just new std inserts. BUT have it checked! Don't assume anything and start buying parts UNTIL you have disassembled and inspected the engine for wear. Then, when you've got parts that are up to spec, assemble it CLEAN, so you don't end up with dirt particles embedded in the bearings. As far as the swap goes, some people might do it thinking it is the EZ way, simply because they have this car Z and that engine X already lying around. Even though engine overhauls are time-consuming and costly, so is a successful swap, by the time you get it all worked out. If it is a car that will garner lots of attention or actually drive it, you don't want it cobbled up--good workmanship is essential. I only would advocate this swap if you are going forward with a serious and thorough street-rod style restoration, where the cars' chassis has been completely gone through,simply because people are generally more critical of modified cars. [:0]

10-29-2006, 02:09 PM
I recently took two cranks into a well-established engine rebuilder to have them checked out. One was a '58 "Packard" crank--the bearings looked decent when I tore the block down. The other was a 350 Xhevy that had been lying around for years that came out of an engine that had self-destructed. When I went to pick up the cranks--they'd turned the Stude Crank .010 undersize, and left the Chevy crank standard and polished the journals. Several years ago, I stopped and looked at a 69 Xhevy Bel Air 2-dr post that was for sale. Had a decent body. Asking price, not bad. But, when I popped the hood--there was a used 500 Cadillac, instead of the small-block I expected to find. The car suddenly lost its' appeal to me--and bear in mind that I've got a Xhevy truck with a Cad engine, and I consider it a good swap.

10-29-2006, 04:42 PM
If you want to breathe a little power into your old President, why not drop in a 289 Stude with a Paxton Supercharger? These were available from the factory originally. I don't know about '55, but they were available till '64 anyway. Ask Ted Harbit about this motor. He spanks the competition on a regular basis with one.

In this way, you have the best of both worlds. A guy toy, and a classic original.:D[8D]

Oh! Almost forgot. How about a picture? There's a sticky showing how to do so.

Lotsa Larks!
K.I.S.S. Keep It Simple Studebaker!
Ron Smith

10-29-2006, 07:39 PM
I too am a long-time hotrodder, and have shoved Chevys, Fords, Caddys, Buicks, and Olds engines in various 20s and 30s vehicles over the last 45 years. A few years back I bought a 1947 Studebaker M pickup with plans to make another hot rod. It came badly butchered with one of the worst installations of a recent Olds engine I have ever seen. About the same time a friend said hey, I have a Stude V8, why not put that in the truck. With the advice of Ted Harbit, I built the little 259 with larger intake valves, minor porting, a R2+ cam, and so forth. The little truck scats pretty good and I really enjoy driving it. My advice? Keep the Stude engine. You want horsepower--talk to Ted or one of the other people racing Studes. I think you will be surprised at the amount of "go fast" you can get out of that original engine.

10-29-2006, 08:09 PM
Gentlemen I really appreciate all of the comments. At the present time
I think I'll take the advice of the majority. and refresh the old 259.
It holds 40 lb of oil pressure at 40 mph it is suprisingly quiet for
a Stude. The heads have been off for they have been painted turquoise,
with gold valve covers. the block has a good coating of crud. I'll pull the heads, and pistons, and if I don't find too much bore taper,
or any serious scratches in the cylinders I'll re-ring it,and give it a set of new of rod bearings, assuming the crank is ok. I already have
motel reservations for South Bend, and if I can convince the wife, we'll bring the Stude too. Again I really appreciate your input.

James K. Clark
Eastern Tn.
'55 Prez Starlight Hdtp.
Don't take yourself too seriously!

James K. Clark

10-30-2006, 09:47 AM
Your compression is good, oil pressure is good, and sounds as though it is a good dependable engine. What I'd suggest is install new valve seals. they're easy to do and may accidently slow oil consumption. The rubber umbrella seals will harden after sitting for long periods and allow oil to pass by. It'd be an inexpensive way to find out if that's a cure. They're the same as sbc.I'm sure ya know it can be done without pulling heads. You may want to also step up to teflon seals. This process should only take 4 to 6 hours. I've done it on 3or 4 Stude engines that had the same things goin for it you have, but smoke rather badly. Your engine just seem in too good a condition to do a tear down. You may know, in the 52 to 54 era there were Studeilacs, and I'm sure someone here can share the specfic and quite interesting details of this. I saw one in South Bend in the early eighties at the N&A swap meet.
Hope this helps.

10-30-2006, 05:51 PM

I think if you ever went to one of the Pure Stock Muscle Car Drags and heard sounds that a Stude engine can make, and see in person the times that a Stude engine can do, then I believe you would be very content to leave the Stude engine in the President. It really is a very good engine and when they are 'cut loose' they are awesome to hear. Don't take my word for it, go see them in person.

Tim K.
'64 R2 GT Hawk

11-01-2006, 12:13 PM
What Tim said...[:p] Hear here -> The PSMCD It'll AMAZE you (just as it befuddles the Big Block Brand Xers - they get to hear a Stude's exhaust note quite well when they're trying to catch up on one![}:)]) what that little Stude can do and how melodically it can sing![:0]

Miscreant adrift in
the BerStuda Triangle!!

1957 Transtar 1/2ton
1960 Larkvertible V8
1958 Provincial wagon
1953 Commander coupe