View Full Version : 289 overhaul

11-26-2006, 10:46 PM
I am about to have my 289 overhauled at a local engine rebuilder. I have read in this forum that only a good Studebaker rebuilder is capable of doing the job right. Why is that? What's so different that any rebuild shop can't do a good job on a Studebaker? Is there a trusted rebuilder in the Kansas City area?


11-27-2006, 12:41 AM
Alan, there's just little things about a Stude engine that having some prior experience with will prove to be beneficial in the end. Maybe even critical. Sure, it's just another V8. And by that broad interpretation, any slug-slider ought to be able to fit one together. But they've been out of the mainstream as far as rebuilders go for 4 decades now. Even if you found an oldtimer what "put one together one time", he'd hardly qualify as expert.
From what I've witnessed over the years, if you take a rebuilder a shop manual to work with, they'll either scoff that you would insult them by suggesting they didn't know what they're doing OR they'll accept it graciously and never even look at it when they put your engine together.
Actually, the recent publication "Some thoughts on restoring a Studebaker" by Chuck Lampman is probably better than a shop manual since it is written from a point of view of a Stude engine having been around for some time. Further, it points out things the shop manuals never addressed because said thing were only realized over time and to some extent with improving technologies.
Do you know how to turn a wrench? Why not do it yourself? You've got a "support group" right here at your keyboard!:D

Aside from that - I can't help you with a shop to recommend in the KC area. Hopefully, someone else will.[:I]

Miscreant adrift in
the BerStuda Triangle!!

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

11-27-2006, 09:02 PM
Alan, I encourage you to check with other local SDC members. They are going to be the most knowledgeable about who has experience rebuilding Stude engines in your area. I support what Biggs says and would just like to reiterate by saying that there isn't anything that is fundamentally different about a Stude engine, but there are several minor things that need to be watched. Over the years, I've heard of several engines where the plug that is in the distributor silo was forgotten and not replaced. This leaves the engine with little or no oil pressure. There are also some minor modifications that can be made that will make the rebuild better, like gluing or staking the soft plug at the rear of the camshaft to prevent it's coming out when you don't want it to. I have an engine right now that was rebuilt ten years ago, has 50,000 miles on the rebuild and is still strong, but the bolts in the crankshaft flange were installed backwards because whoever did it didn't remember to put the bolts in before the crank was installed in the engine. I could go on, but I hope you get the picture.

Tim K.
'64 R2 GT Hawk

11-28-2006, 12:54 AM
Alan, I don't know of anyone in the KC area, but there is an SDC member about 150-170 miles south of KC that does almost exclusively Stude work in his garage, he has a large inventory of Stude engine parts, and does quality work. if that isn't to far away email me off line and I will give you his contact info.

http://im1.shutterfly.com/procserv/47b6ce23b3127cce8d0f1fc7bd4900000000400CcNWTlozYsb http://im1.shutterfly.com/procserv/47b6dc03b3127cce970d7aafd15f00000010100CcNWTlozYsb
Studebaker Fever
60 Lark
51 Champion
Arnold, Missouri

11-28-2006, 01:24 AM
The little things are what could kill your freshly rebuilt engine - its not hard to find examples of Stude rebuilds gone bad. As noted, the Stude engine has been out of most rebuilders experience for 4 decades. Most mechanics are not all that interested in learning the peculiarities of the Stude engine when they will likely never encounter another one in their entire career. My engine isn't dead, but it did have some avoidable issues from the mechanic(s) who worked on it before I owned the car. The latest *discovery* was that the last mechanic left the locking plate under the center crankshaft damper bolt flat instead of bending it up to lock that bolt in place - which allowed the bolt to turn and back out ~ .500" over the miles before I bought the car. I caught this semi by accident while replacing a pulley. Left unchecked I guess my damper would have flown off the end of the crankshaft and broken or damaged the crankshaft snout. All that over an expendable $5 part improperly installed. If you are not interested or able to take on the engine rebuild, then it is very worthwhile to seek out the enthusiast rebuilders who do know what the Stude engine needs.


New Stude guy! Long time hot rodder
'63 Avanti R2 4 speed with interesting plans

11-28-2006, 02:15 PM
Thomas - what likely would have happened is the front flange would've crept up the snout - allowing incredible crankshaft end play and that leads to AWFUL consequences!!![xx(]

Miscreant adrift in
the BerStuda Triangle!!

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

11-29-2006, 07:56 PM
Further to Thomas' comments regarding the fact that it has been 4 decades since the last Stude engine left the factory, I think it behooves us as restorers to make auto machine shops aware of any idiosyncracies our favourite engines have. A case in point: some years ago there was an antique car tour here in Vancouver, BC. One of the cars was a beautifully restored 1910 Packard. It was one of those instances where the car was finished the night before and had only been run long enough to put it on the trailer. About 20 minutes into the tour the engine stopped abruptly. What happened was the valves had seized in the valve guides. The reason? The machine shop had rebuilt the engine using modern tolerance guidelines. The expansion rate of 1910 metal was considerably different from modern materials. That is not necessarily an issue with our engines, but I think any shop that assumes they know it all and won't accept at least a list of tolerances for Stude engines is a good one to stay away from.


11-29-2006, 08:05 PM
along this topic is my recent experience with the machine shop rebuilding my 289. He line bored the block which in turn caused
the cam and crank gear tolerence to be to tight. He did call me
and fully admitted that it was his fault and that he should have
looked up the tolerence in his Avanti manual. He is fixing it at
his cost.
I have found that it is hard to even have a shop admit screwing
something up==

53commander HDTP
53 Champion HDTP
61 Cursed Purple Hawk
64 Champ long bed V8

Dick Steinkamp
11-29-2006, 08:23 PM
I think some of the things mentioned here are the type of things that motivate folks to install a SBC in their Stude (not that anything is wrong with that, of course [:o)]). ANY machine shop can rebuild a SBC. It does take some additional skill to PROPERLY rebuild a Stude engine.

If a newbie hears several horror stories about folks spending twice the amount it takes to rebuild a SBC to rebuild their Stude engine THEN to have it not run or come apart because of something special about the Stude engine unknown to their machinist, they would tend to pick the "safe" route. I guess I would too.

Seems to me that those that are proponents of Stude power would develop...

1. A list of those "things" that a machinist needs to watch out for (or make the list more readily available if it already exists)

2. Publish a list of shops that are known experts at rebuilding a Stude engine.

Dick Steinkamp
Bellingham, WA

11-29-2006, 11:14 PM
A list like that would be great! I can handle rebuilds of the big 3 and have done many; but would shy away from a Stude for exactly the reasons you said... cost wouldn't bother me, but the various pitfalls would probably prevent me. I could, as you say, go with a SBC; plenty of parts, cheap to build, any shop could handle it, and best of all for me- FAMILIAR. But I'm interested in getting to know Studes- and some sort of list would be great... I know I can always count on you here to see me through, but I'm not the type to run back here every 5 minutes for help, and am liable to mess something up [}:)]

If a list ever comes about, I'd be willing to pay for it! Till then, I'll be right here doing my sponge act......;)

Robert K. Andrews Owner- IoMT (Island of Misfit Toys!)
Parish, central NY 13131

11-30-2006, 01:17 AM
I ran into one of these instances of mechanics' ignorance just yesterday.

As a few of you know, Ken Pyle is rebuilding my Lark's 259. Upon teardown, he discovered that the last rebuilder had sleeved the old valve guides instead of simply replacing them - probably because he didn't know Studes have replaceable guides.

Now, this didn't harm the engine. But it did no doubt create extra expense and effort for the last guy who owned the car. And it's one of those things that could have been avoided if a real Stude guy had done the build.


Clark in San Diego
'63 F2/Lark Standard

12-04-2006, 12:59 PM
Contact Vern Edigar in Halstead, Ks. He wheels and deals in stude stuff and is a very knowledgable mechanic.

12-04-2006, 04:44 PM
I have a situation right now with the rod pinch bolts that I had installed by a "Stude friendly" machine shop. Two of the piston/rod assemblies were oriented incorrectly. When I removed the nuts on the pinch bolts there were no threads. I also could not take the nut and install it on the other end of the stud to work as a puller because it had been mushroomed with a hammer. The nuts appear to have been installed with an impact wrench. Now I don't trust the six pistons and rod that Iv'e already installed in the block.

Darryl C. Lewallen Clarkesville, Ga.

12-05-2006, 01:00 PM
I'd be worried too![V]

Miscreant adrift in
the BerStuda Triangle!!

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

12-05-2006, 03:14 PM
Definitely stay with engine builders that know that particular engine. If you want to build a Pontiac, you're in the same boat. But yeah, almost anyone can build a Chevy.

Stude fan, Brand X owner