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View Full Version : 53-64 C and K Frames



Don Stone
11-18-2006, 12:06 AM
This is my first shot at getting onto a forum, so please bear with me. My son and I co-own a fair 63 GT (white 4-speed) and a 53 coupe (Champion, with a worn-out 305 Chev). Our original plan was to sacrifice the 63 frame, engine, trans, fenders, seats, dashboard, and so forth to make an updated 53. Some of us (primarily my son) don't care for that square roofline.

I have heard that the 53s had the thin gauge frames. Was that just the Champions, or both, Champions and Commanders? What year were the frames made with the 11 ga. steel? Is the thin-gauge frame really a problem? I am not looking forward to tearing apart the 63, since all it needs is brake lines and cylinders, seat covers in the front, and a new ezhaust.

I would just like to hear from somebody who has had experience with using later motors in the 53s that had the lighter frames.

Also, what are the best choices of motors/transmissions for the 53? The Chev motors are probably easier on the frames than the 289, since they are lighter. Anybody have any experience with putting a 4.3 liter V-6 in a Stude?

Thanks
Don Stone
Amarillo, TX

Swifster
11-18-2006, 12:24 AM
The 4.3L would be an easy swap. It uses the same mounts as the SBC. The difference in the frame thinkness will only be an issue if the frame is serverely corroded or you plan on 600-700 HP being sent to the wheels. If this is going to be a cruiser, either Stude of Chevy engines would work fine. I've also thought about using the Buick 3.8L as well. Good luck with your project.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Tom - Lakeland, FL

1964 Studebaker Daytona

Michigan Speed - www.michiganspeed.com
Club Hot Rod - www.clubhotrod.com
LS1 Tech - www.ls1tech.com

Swifster
11-18-2006, 12:24 AM
The 4.3L would be an easy swap. It uses the same mounts as the SBC. The difference in the frame thinkness will only be an issue if the frame is serverely corroded or you plan on 600-700 HP being sent to the wheels. If this is going to be a cruiser, either Stude of Chevy engines would work fine. I've also thought about using the Buick 3.8L as well. Good luck with your project.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Tom - Lakeland, FL

1964 Studebaker Daytona

Michigan Speed - www.michiganspeed.com
Club Hot Rod - www.clubhotrod.com
LS1 Tech - www.ls1tech.com

bams50
11-18-2006, 05:24 AM
How about fixing up the GT some, selling it, and using that money to buy the parts you need? Brakes and exhaust aren't that big a deal... You should come out money ahead, and a servicable Stude wouldn't have to be trashed...

Welcome, and good luck!

Robert K. Andrews Owner- IoMT (Island of Misfit Toys!)
Parish, central NY 13131
http://www.cardomain.com/ride/2358680/1

bams50
11-18-2006, 05:24 AM
How about fixing up the GT some, selling it, and using that money to buy the parts you need? Brakes and exhaust aren't that big a deal... You should come out money ahead, and a servicable Stude wouldn't have to be trashed...

Welcome, and good luck!

Robert K. Andrews Owner- IoMT (Island of Misfit Toys!)
Parish, central NY 13131
http://www.cardomain.com/ride/2358680/1

Dick Steinkamp
11-18-2006, 12:29 PM
I have a '54 Starliner with a Chevy V8. Stock Stude front and rear suspension and brakes. No frame (or other) probs. Rides and drives fine. The 54's and up did have that additional wing shaped center crossmenber which helps. You might want to add one to your '53. (the 54's and up also had the much better brakes...you might think about upgrading your '53 brakes if you haven't done so already).

Robert's idea is a good one!



http://static.flickr.com/100/292046667_cc1661ba0e_m.jpg

Dick Steinkamp
11-18-2006, 12:29 PM
I have a '54 Starliner with a Chevy V8. Stock Stude front and rear suspension and brakes. No frame (or other) probs. Rides and drives fine. The 54's and up did have that additional wing shaped center crossmenber which helps. You might want to add one to your '53. (the 54's and up also had the much better brakes...you might think about upgrading your '53 brakes if you haven't done so already).

Robert's idea is a good one!



http://static.flickr.com/100/292046667_cc1661ba0e_m.jpg

Roscomacaw
11-18-2006, 12:57 PM
Of course, the Champion frames WERE of a lighter gage - so that's a consideration. Later C-K frames WERE improved in some ways - heavier gage metal among them. Supposedly, the 64s were the best that were made. (Frames, I mean)
The ONE place to check on any of these is the place where the front cross-member is riveted to the side rails AND at the top of the spring towers, where the upper A-arm bolts on. These are the two trouble spots and cracked frames HAVE been found from time to time but it doesn't seem like a raging epidemic at this point in time. There's a good fix for frames that are ailing in this regard that involves cutting some plate steel patches and having them welded to reconnect and strengthen the cracks.
My first vote would be for a Stude engine to go into the Champion, but if it HAS TO be a brand X, I think a V6 might be more tractable with an eye towards economy if you plan on putting alot of miles on it. Of course - there's LOTS of 350-ized C-Ks out there. It takes some engineering but so does anything of this nature.[:I]

Miscreant adrift in
the BerStuda Triangle!!

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

Roscomacaw
11-18-2006, 12:57 PM
Of course, the Champion frames WERE of a lighter gage - so that's a consideration. Later C-K frames WERE improved in some ways - heavier gage metal among them. Supposedly, the 64s were the best that were made. (Frames, I mean)
The ONE place to check on any of these is the place where the front cross-member is riveted to the side rails AND at the top of the spring towers, where the upper A-arm bolts on. These are the two trouble spots and cracked frames HAVE been found from time to time but it doesn't seem like a raging epidemic at this point in time. There's a good fix for frames that are ailing in this regard that involves cutting some plate steel patches and having them welded to reconnect and strengthen the cracks.
My first vote would be for a Stude engine to go into the Champion, but if it HAS TO be a brand X, I think a V6 might be more tractable with an eye towards economy if you plan on putting alot of miles on it. Of course - there's LOTS of 350-ized C-Ks out there. It takes some engineering but so does anything of this nature.[:I]

Miscreant adrift in
the BerStuda Triangle!!

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

rangerrick
05-16-2007, 10:55 AM
I just finished swapping a 4.3L into my 55 Commander coupe and am Very Happy with the results!!! Not only does it drive and handle well, I lost at least 150-200 lbs. up front. Then engine was rebuilt stock with a computer friendly street Camshaft, Headers,Holley intake and Holley projection TBI. The original Dana 44 rear end was used and clutched to make it possitraction, the trans. is a 7000R4 and a new 2 peice drive shaft and intermeadiate bearing was used. The front end is the Phantom kit from Slick Street stuff and the disc brakes up front and rack and pinon steering make it easy to control and steer with the 14.5 " Mahagony wheel instead of the large 17" it came with. Since most of the fabrication was done at a shop on a lift I can not asy this is an easy task, nor cheap either as I now have a $17,000 Studebaker including my purchase price. The only cutting was welding to the original v8 mounts 3" aft and solid's to the side of the block. It was something I had too do, period!!! I've always loved the 53-55 Stud Coupes and now I own one and it's my pride and joy, my only regret is my Grandad isn't here to enjoy it as well. Funny he never owned one but always admired them and said they were ahead of their time!!! With the hood down the only give away is the tilt wheel and the lokar floor shift, I wanted to keep the shift on the column but room under the hood is limited in that corner due to the battery box headers and steering linkage.

I still have the 259 with two spun rods and 3 speed manual trans with O/D I hope to sell to a Purist some day, but I can promise you this I will never put the old Boat Anchor back in the coupe, I think if Studebaker was still making cars today they would be putting fuel injected V6 engine under the hood like the rest of the manufactures do.


Where the Hills is Shingletown anyway???
Regards,
Rick

rangerrick
05-16-2007, 10:55 AM
I just finished swapping a 4.3L into my 55 Commander coupe and am Very Happy with the results!!! Not only does it drive and handle well, I lost at least 150-200 lbs. up front. Then engine was rebuilt stock with a computer friendly street Camshaft, Headers,Holley intake and Holley projection TBI. The original Dana 44 rear end was used and clutched to make it possitraction, the trans. is a 7000R4 and a new 2 peice drive shaft and intermeadiate bearing was used. The front end is the Phantom kit from Slick Street stuff and the disc brakes up front and rack and pinon steering make it easy to control and steer with the 14.5 " Mahagony wheel instead of the large 17" it came with. Since most of the fabrication was done at a shop on a lift I can not asy this is an easy task, nor cheap either as I now have a $17,000 Studebaker including my purchase price. The only cutting was welding to the original v8 mounts 3" aft and solid's to the side of the block. It was something I had too do, period!!! I've always loved the 53-55 Stud Coupes and now I own one and it's my pride and joy, my only regret is my Grandad isn't here to enjoy it as well. Funny he never owned one but always admired them and said they were ahead of their time!!! With the hood down the only give away is the tilt wheel and the lokar floor shift, I wanted to keep the shift on the column but room under the hood is limited in that corner due to the battery box headers and steering linkage.

I still have the 259 with two spun rods and 3 speed manual trans with O/D I hope to sell to a Purist some day, but I can promise you this I will never put the old Boat Anchor back in the coupe, I think if Studebaker was still making cars today they would be putting fuel injected V6 engine under the hood like the rest of the manufactures do.


Where the Hills is Shingletown anyway???
Regards,
Rick

sbca96
05-16-2007, 11:14 AM
If you are worried about the 53 frame, you can add a later stiffener
crossmember from a Hawk. It goes under/across the a-pillars. Also it
could be fabricated if you can not find one from a wrecked car. Now
that I think about it, this is the crossmember I used to mount a 700R4
transmission, so you could use the Hawk you have as a guide to create
a crossmember that stiffens the A-pillars and supports the rear of the
700 transmission. You can also add stiffeners to the area between the
spring pockets and the front crossmember (you are adding), this is the
area prone to cracks front hard launches. Save the rare 63 4-speed GT!

Tom

'63 Avanti, zinc plated drilled & slotted 03 Mustang Cobra 13" front disc/98 GT rear brakes, 03 Cobra 17" wheels, GM alt, 97 Z28 leather seats, soon: 97 Z28 T-56 6-spd, Ported heads w/SST full flow valves, 'R3' 276 cam, Edelbrock AFB Carb, GM HEI distributor, 8.8mm plug wires

sbca96
05-16-2007, 11:14 AM
If you are worried about the 53 frame, you can add a later stiffener
crossmember from a Hawk. It goes under/across the a-pillars. Also it
could be fabricated if you can not find one from a wrecked car. Now
that I think about it, this is the crossmember I used to mount a 700R4
transmission, so you could use the Hawk you have as a guide to create
a crossmember that stiffens the A-pillars and supports the rear of the
700 transmission. You can also add stiffeners to the area between the
spring pockets and the front crossmember (you are adding), this is the
area prone to cracks front hard launches. Save the rare 63 4-speed GT!

Tom

'63 Avanti, zinc plated drilled & slotted 03 Mustang Cobra 13" front disc/98 GT rear brakes, 03 Cobra 17" wheels, GM alt, 97 Z28 leather seats, soon: 97 Z28 T-56 6-spd, Ported heads w/SST full flow valves, 'R3' 276 cam, Edelbrock AFB Carb, GM HEI distributor, 8.8mm plug wires

studeclunker
05-16-2007, 01:37 PM
Hey, RangerRick! I know where Shingletown is! It's on the opposite side of I5 from me!:D You're about fifty-five miles from Lewiston, my little hole in the nowhere wall (LOL)!

Didn't mean to hyjack your thread there, Don. Many of the suggestions you've heard here are viable. I'd go along with the V6 if you're so prejediced against the original engine. The newer engine shouldn't weigh much more than a Stude six. There should be more power too. Are you related to Lionel Stone? If so, you should have a good supply from your relations store-house. The fellow is always advertising any number of useful items in the TW.

Biggs, Dick and Robert are three of the best sources of information on this forum. They will steer you right. Good luck.

http://i16.photobucket.com/albums/b18/Studeclunker/december%2006/HPIM0234.jpg http://i16.photobucket.com/albums/b18/Studeclunker/56%20Parkview%20Wagon/56wagonleftfrontclipped-1.jpg
Home of the famous Mr. Ed!
Lotsa Larks!
K.I.S.S. Keep It Simple Studebaker!
Ron Smith
Where the heck is Lewiston, CA?

studeclunker
05-16-2007, 01:37 PM
Hey, RangerRick! I know where Shingletown is! It's on the opposite side of I5 from me!:D You're about fifty-five miles from Lewiston, my little hole in the nowhere wall (LOL)!

Didn't mean to hyjack your thread there, Don. Many of the suggestions you've heard here are viable. I'd go along with the V6 if you're so prejediced against the original engine. The newer engine shouldn't weigh much more than a Stude six. There should be more power too. Are you related to Lionel Stone? If so, you should have a good supply from your relations store-house. The fellow is always advertising any number of useful items in the TW.

Biggs, Dick and Robert are three of the best sources of information on this forum. They will steer you right. Good luck.

http://i16.photobucket.com/albums/b18/Studeclunker/december%2006/HPIM0234.jpg http://i16.photobucket.com/albums/b18/Studeclunker/56%20Parkview%20Wagon/56wagonleftfrontclipped-1.jpg
Home of the famous Mr. Ed!
Lotsa Larks!
K.I.S.S. Keep It Simple Studebaker!
Ron Smith
Where the heck is Lewiston, CA?

bams50
05-16-2007, 04:57 PM
quote:Originally posted by studeclunker

[size=3Biggs, Dick and Robert are three of the best sources of information on this forum. They will steer you right. [/size=3]


I would add Tom (scba96) to that list also.

Robert K. Andrews Owner- IoMT (Island of Misfit Toys!)
Parish, central NY 13131
http://www.cardomain.com/ride/2358680/1

bams50
05-16-2007, 04:57 PM
quote:Originally posted by studeclunker

[size=3Biggs, Dick and Robert are three of the best sources of information on this forum. They will steer you right. [/size=3]


I would add Tom (scba96) to that list also.

Robert K. Andrews Owner- IoMT (Island of Misfit Toys!)
Parish, central NY 13131
http://www.cardomain.com/ride/2358680/1

rangerrick
05-16-2007, 08:07 PM
I can only add one thing to my previous post. #1 You don't need a 350 Chevy, the 262 V6 kicks ass and lots of parts available and it thinks its a 283 anyway!!! It's same bore and stroke as the 350 just two less hogs to feed!!! Be prepared to spend twice the amount of money you originally thought you would, Period!!! Unless of course your building a Rat Rod....I built a Classic Studebaker and have wide whites and pie pan moons! Find a good soilid coupe, and avoid all cars for sale Titled Rat Rod Period!
I could have bought a new Mustang for $17,000 with a EFI V6, my money and I'll take the Stude anyday!!! I always wanted a 55-56 T-Bird until I met the 55 Stud with simular styling to the Bird and the 55 Belair but a lot more Heart. Yeah it may be running Brand X, that means Extra in my book even if its now a ChevyBaker, I truely Love this car the most just the same!!! I'm a disabled aircraft mechanic of 20yrs. and this is the last Hot Rod I've got in me and I have No regretts building this car! Good luck in you and your sons building a Coupe, the Dana 44 rear can be possied for about $300 extra in the rebuild and will handle most small blocks, hell it's a Jeep rear end!

Where the hills is Shingletown anyway???
Regards,
Rick

rangerrick
05-16-2007, 08:07 PM
I can only add one thing to my previous post. #1 You don't need a 350 Chevy, the 262 V6 kicks ass and lots of parts available and it thinks its a 283 anyway!!! It's same bore and stroke as the 350 just two less hogs to feed!!! Be prepared to spend twice the amount of money you originally thought you would, Period!!! Unless of course your building a Rat Rod....I built a Classic Studebaker and have wide whites and pie pan moons! Find a good soilid coupe, and avoid all cars for sale Titled Rat Rod Period!
I could have bought a new Mustang for $17,000 with a EFI V6, my money and I'll take the Stude anyday!!! I always wanted a 55-56 T-Bird until I met the 55 Stud with simular styling to the Bird and the 55 Belair but a lot more Heart. Yeah it may be running Brand X, that means Extra in my book even if its now a ChevyBaker, I truely Love this car the most just the same!!! I'm a disabled aircraft mechanic of 20yrs. and this is the last Hot Rod I've got in me and I have No regretts building this car! Good luck in you and your sons building a Coupe, the Dana 44 rear can be possied for about $300 extra in the rebuild and will handle most small blocks, hell it's a Jeep rear end!

Where the hills is Shingletown anyway???
Regards,
Rick

sbca96
05-17-2007, 01:26 AM
Thanks Robert (bams50)[:I], I do what I can.;)

Tom


quote:Originally posted by bams50
I would add Tom (sbca96) to that list also.

sbca96
05-17-2007, 01:26 AM
Thanks Robert (bams50)[:I], I do what I can.;)

Tom


quote:Originally posted by bams50
I would add Tom (sbca96) to that list also.