PDA

View Full Version : TELL ME ABOUT THE 51 COMMANDER AUTOMATIC TRANNY!



51studer
01-21-2005, 03:01 AM
I hate transmissions and have no luck with shops working on them. My truck has been in the shop twice with it's tranny and I haven't seen it for 2 months. I hate auto shops also, I am constantly getting crapped on by them. I need to know if this transmission is easy enough to work on myself, if not, where in California can I take it, and can you tell me any good information about it.

N8N
01-21-2005, 06:36 AM
What transmission do you have? I wasn't aware of a stock '51 truck being available with an auto, but then again I'd be willing to be surprised. Anyway, if it is a later FOM or Powershift look for someone familiar with 60s Fords, they are similar. If the early style DG tranny that was also used on Jaguars so I'd look for a shop that's worked on a lot of British stuff for that one.

good luck

nate

--
62 Daytona hartop
64 Daytona convertible (in boxes)
http://home.comcast.net/~njnagel

Roscomacaw
01-21-2005, 12:11 PM
Stude trucks didn't get the option of an automatic tranny until about 54 or 55. BUT, in the event someone transplanted one to your truck, we'll have to know if it's REALLY a '51 Commander automatic or a later Flight-o-matic. The later tranny (which was used in some Stude trucks)is basically the same as a Ford-o-matic of the same era. The earlier Stude auto was a superior tranny to the Flight-o-matic. In fact, it's superior ways (making it more expensive) were the reason the cheaper Flight-o-matic was switched to in '56.:(
That earlier tranny was built FOR Studebaker by the Detroit Gear division of Borg-Warner. That Stude dropped that tranny in '56 means that there's damned few tranny mechanics around that still know how to work on them. There WERE a couple European car makers that built the thing under license thru the early 60s - but again, anyone who worked on them back then is likely not doing so now.[V]
There ARE still a few specialized guys that will take them on for overhaul, but they've got months for turnaround time and they don't work CHEAP.[xx(]
It's NOT easy to work on and I recommend you think about a tranny swap as an alternative. There's adaptor kits to hang a GM 700R4 or 200R4 on a Stude V8. This might be the way to go. Besides, you'd get overdrive in the deal. Figure a built tranny and the adaptor kit will set you back about 11 or 12 hundred bucks. And you'll have to engineer a rear mount and an adapted drive shaft as well. [:I]

Miscreant at large.

cosmo
01-21-2005, 07:03 PM
well i took my 63 manuel trans to this trans shop in la. i was a little lerry about the place at first but they have this guy there i think his name is rick he did really good work on my trans. i didn't have any complants about it yet. www.aagearsandshafts.com talk to a guy named george. tell george that ray sent you " the guy who brought in the T10 trans" he will remember me i just tlked to him today.

Roscomacaw
01-21-2005, 08:26 PM
Cosmo, there's a whole world of difference between automatic and manual transmissions. Then there's the little detail of where you live and where 51 Studer lives. The shipping costs on a tranmission would be outrageous![:0]

Miscreant at large.

BRUCESTUDE
01-23-2005, 12:08 AM
:DI rebuilt a friend's '52 Commander engine a couple of years ago, and I sent his DG auto to a place in Tacoma, Wa.that specializes in old stuff. When I delivered it, he knew exactly what it was at first glance, a good sign! Anyway, it took a couple of months and cost $1400,[B)] it would have been closer to $1100 except the front pump was beyond machining and he had to hunt a good one down. Afterwards, the car ran and shifted excellent!
Of course, freight from Calif. would be prohbitive, so I'd call around to the different area chapters to find a shop, that's how I found this guy.(Casey's Trans-plant, Inc 253-584-8028, Tacoma, Wa.

Brucestude

51studer
01-26-2005, 06:17 AM
Well You guys, thanks for the replys. I don't have a Studebaker truck though, I can dream. I have a 51' Studebaker Commander State. I am currently cleaning all of the mechanical parts that have set for 38 years with all the fluids left in everything. All of my engine parts are from LIONEL STONE (who is a great person). The process of cleaning all of the parts is tedious, but fun. Anywho, the tranny to my knowledge is one of the first trannys that Studebaker used as an "Automatic" that worked as a manual. It has 3 input shafts from the torque converter and supposedly can be shifted with no problem like a manual. It has an overdrive soleniod and a governor; Don't like the idea, but that's another story. Now that we all know what car I have and what year, and the tranny is original equipment, please someone help. Sorry about the truck thing, I was venting about my 73 Dodge truck tranny problem in the first post.

Roscomacaw
01-26-2005, 11:44 AM
I think you're mistaken about that tranny. NO Stude automatic (including the Detriot Gear automatic that Stude used from 1950 to 1956) had overdrive. None. BTW, your tranny should be a DG-200 whereas the Champions had a DG-150. They were the same basic tranny 'cept that the 200 was a little beefier to handle the increased HP of the V8.
There's always been a bit of confusion over this early automatic and the standard shift W/OD that Stude used. This is because Studebaker referred to their OD tranny's as being "Automatic overdrive". It was "automatic" only in that all you had to do to get overdrive was to lift your foot off the gas pedal once you'd achived a speed of 30MPH+. You still have to work the clutch and shift the gears like almost any manual trans vehicle.
On this Detriot Gear automatic, it WILL have a thing called a "governor" on it and it MAY have an "Anti-creep" solenoid on it as well. NO overdrive tho. It's a 3-speed automatic that starts out in second gear unless you force a first gear start by starting out in the "low" range and then manually shifting to drive once under way OR by tromping the gas pedal from a standstill.
This IS a marvelous tranny when it works right. It had safetys built into it to avert the fears of folks who mistrusted automatics when they were still a novelty. For instance - what other auto do you know of that you can shift into reverse while you're doing 75 MPH on the freeway??? [:0] This is because this Detriot Gear (henceforth referred to as a DG tranny) has safety's engineered into it to prevent catastrophic things like self-destruction when reverse is accidentally selected. That was another reason for the Anti-Creep system. Folks were afraid that their car might wander into an intersection because they were used to being able to leave their foot off the brakes after they'd come to a stop with a standard shift car. The "Anti-Creep" system held the brakes applied until the accelerator was actuated.
It also features a "lock-up" torque convertor. This is to say it has a clutch of sorts INSIDE the torque convertor that gives basically direct drive once the car's in 3rd gear. This avoids the loss of power that a slippery torque convertor has. It makes the DG capable of delivering the same economy as a (non-OD) standard shift tranny can.
Anywho...... There are damned few shops that will even LOOK at a DG nowdays because they DON'T have the experience and they DON'T know where to get any parts.[V]
While parts are readily available - most shops aren't gonna go looking for them and even if YOU take them the stuff, since they're not versed in this tranny, they're still not gonna touch it.
There's a guy up by Sacramento that still does these. I'm sure there's a few more in this state. I know of two DGs recently done by the aforementioned repair guy (semi-retired) where the owners were happy with the work. The overhauls (he didn't have to remove them or reinstall them) cost in the neighborhood of $1500-$1700.[:0]

Miscreant at large.

Commander51
01-29-2005, 05:15 AM
It's NOT easy to work on and I recommend you think about a tranny swap as an alternative. There's adaptor kits to hang a GM 700R4 or 200R4 on a Stude V8. This might be the way to go. Besides, you'd get overdrive in the deal.

Mr. Biggs

Any idea where to find those adaptor kits?? The prior owner of my DG200 poured money into it and it's still not right...
Thanks!

Roscomacaw
01-29-2005, 08:52 AM
Myers Studebaker in Duncan Falls Ohio has GM trans adaptor kits. BTW, guys are using the GM[8D] 200R4 with success as well.

Miscreant at large.

Transtar60
01-29-2005, 08:58 AM
Here are a few vendors

http://www.steeltechsolutions.com/

http://www.myersstudebaker.com/New%20&%20Repro%20items.htm

And theres another guy in Minnesota whos link I am always loosing.

Transtar60
01-29-2005, 09:55 AM
Heres the third link:
http://www.transmissionadapters.com/studebaker_to_chev%20install.htm

I havent purchased any of these yet but soon!

51studer
02-01-2005, 03:04 AM
Thanks all. Mr Biggs, you are very knowledgable thank you. I think I will look into the tranny adapters. Id like to get a 4 speed manual in there, maybe a 5 speed if I can. Does anyone know about that kind of swap. Maybe sometime I'll get the old tranny rebuilt but for as much as is costs, I'll go for a swap. Let me know guys.

51studer
02-01-2005, 10:59 PM
Hey all. What do you think about just switching to a Studebaker 3 speed overdrive manual tranny I was just told by a couple of guys today that it would work just fine. Figure I want a manual anyway, most likely cost a bit less and a manual is much easier to work on.

Sonny
02-02-2005, 02:32 AM
I'd say that would be a capital idea Studer! You can have a 4.09 rear end in the thing, it will pull like hell in the 3 low gears, but with that 3 speed w/OD, it'll cruise all day long at 60-65. The OD transmissions are fairly easy to come by, (plus you'll need a relay and a little wiring as it's an electric setup), and not too hard on the budget. [^] I would NOT use the plain 3 speed, [8] the OD is the key here. ;)

Sonny
http://RacingStudebakers.com

Roscomacaw
02-02-2005, 11:55 AM
I have to throw in with Sonny here! A 3spd OD will afford you REAL versatility in driving. You can have the ass-kick take off of lower gears at the rear AND have easy hiway cruising with the OD advantage.[:0]

Geez! I wonder why you rarely SEE a standard shift Stude that came without Overdrive[?][?][?] Could it be that that lowly loser of a car company might have had a good idea or two??;) You bet!

What would make it EASIEST for this transplant is that you find a Stude 3spd OD tranny FOR a V8 (T-86, NOT T-96). Through 1957, Stude used a 2-piece driveshaft such as what's in your 51. from '58-on, they used a 1-piece shaft which would require other mods to the car's floorboards to accomodate it.
Of course, you'll need the proper bellhousing, flywheel and clucth linkage. ALSO - you'll need to drop the oil pan and pull the rear main cap so you can change the 6 bolts that hold the flywheel. This is because those special bolts are of different length between auro tranny cars and stick tranny cars. You'll need the longer bolts to hold the Stick shift flywheel on. Of course - you'd have to address these bolts no matter WHAT stick shift tranny you chose to go with!

Miscreant at large.

51studer
02-09-2005, 05:16 AM
Thanks guys. I figured They weren't pulling my chain. I'll keep in mind the bolt issue. All in all, I just figured the manual was a cheaper way to go and still keep it a Studebaker. And as far as I'm concerned, I can effect the way the car can kick @$$ with a stick. And an overdrive to boot. Freeway speeds all day. I'm hoping to be able to get to 110+ MPH to show Studebaker is still alive and what was the beginning of hot rods. Drive it love it and prove it.[}:)]

Roscomacaw
02-09-2005, 11:32 AM
While I like an automatic-trannied Stude, the 3spd O/D is really the ultimate in driveability. Yes, 4-spds are fun. So's a 5spd O/D (in a truck)such as Stude used at one point.
But once you get accustomed to driving a Stude with the 3spd O/D in it, it feels like anything else you drive is lacking.
I like your spirit here! I've always held that a fast Studebaker with an alternate powerplant just proves how fast that powerplant can go - it does little to perpetuate Studebaker's own legacy. [V]Studebaker's engines were as much a part of a Studebaker as the interesting styling of the sheet metal.[:0] Sadly, not many take that point of view.:(
Stay true to your goal here and make us all proud. Fairly certain that they're not real accurate, I've nonetheless buried the speedo needles on my Transtar and 60 Lark ragtop a time or two.[}:)] It's exhilarating for sure!:D I can't imagine what it's like to do close to 200 on the salt flats but a Stude can be coaxed into doing that too![:0]

Miscreant at large.

Roscomacaw
02-09-2005, 04:32 PM
NEWS FLASH! Just this morning, I got lead to a fella that KNOWS the DG transmissions REALLY well and will rebuild them. He's in the Los Angeles area. He knows the later Flight-o-matics as well. E-mail me if you want contact info.

Miscreant at large.

51studer
02-17-2005, 12:59 AM
Hey guys. I had another question about the 3spd O/D manual tranny. I was told that I need to get a different rear end to go with the tranny due to my 3.54:1 rear gears. I don't think it's a problem considering the tranny gears are tall anyway until you get to the O/D gear. What do you all think?

1949commander
02-17-2005, 07:43 AM
Keep in mind that the most old 3speed transmissions only have a 2.5-1 first gear. That is much taller than say a modern 5 or 6 speed manual that commonly have 3.5-1 or lower first gear to go along with 3.55 axle. With a V-8 you would be ok but with a Champ 6 it would require lots of clutch sliping to get going.

Restore it, don't replace it.Keep the Studebaker reproduction industry going

51studer
02-23-2005, 03:15 AM
So basically the first gear is a freeway ratio? Meaning I will have practically zero acceleration out of first. Or is the first gear made for torque? What does this mean? Yes it is a 232 V-8 .060 over, and going to have 259 high ratio heads installed with a triple- 2BBL. setup possibly. Get back to me.

Roscomacaw
02-23-2005, 06:46 PM
I have the '51 shop manual in front of me. The Commander tranny that came with this model (talkin' standard shift OD here) had a 2.57 to 1 first gear. This was usually coupled with a 4.56 rear axle. Such allowed for a right sprightly takeoff while OD allowed relative loafing at speed (and remember, we didn't HAVE the superhiways we have today!)[|)]

Miscreant at large.

51studer
02-24-2005, 01:59 AM
Yes but I have an auto tranny rear axle right now and I thought it was a 3.54ish to 1. I don't know, you tell me what you all think.[xx(]

Roscomacaw
02-24-2005, 09:44 AM
I understood what you were saying, and yes, it's likely it's a 3.54 ratio rear.;)

Miscreant at large.

51studer
06-14-2005, 04:57 AM
Ok guys, all said here, sorry I'm flighty with my ideas and there are many in my brain, just can't come up with a solution. Newer 5 speed stick tranny w/adapter taller gearing with the shorter gearing rear vs. Stude stick tranny that I MAY be able to scrounge up somewhere and find all the parts necessary to convert. Then on top of this, which stick stude tranny to get. It's all got to be fabricated anyways, so I don't really care which route, I just want a nice rod to blow non studes away with a stude powerplant and not spend thousands of dollars. Prices of both options including parts could help with the descision please. Yes I am doing all the work so there is no labor cost involved here. [8D]

Chicken Hawk
06-14-2005, 10:27 PM
quote:Originally posted by 51studer

Ok guys, all said here, sorry I'm flighty with my ideas and there are many in my brain, just can't come up with a solution. Newer 5 speed stick tranny w/adapter taller gearing with the shorter gearing rear vs. Stude stick tranny that I MAY be able to scrounge up somewhere and find all the parts necessary to convert. Then on top of this, which stick stude tranny to get. It's all got to be fabricated anyways, so I don't really care which route, I just want a nice rod to blow non studes away with a stude powerplant and not spend thousands of dollars. Prices of both options including parts could help with the descision please. Yes I am doing all the work so there is no labor cost involved here. [8D]


I have a good T86 overdrive transmission for a '51 but again where are you located?

Ted

Bunzard
06-15-2005, 12:50 AM
51Studer, Would you be interested in a perfectly functioning, used automatic from a '64 Stude w/259? The price with shipping would be far less than the rebuild prices being quoted.

51studer
06-15-2005, 04:11 AM
Well, I'm in southern california. I really want a manual to convert to. I know the stude auto is an amazin peice of work, but I love to be able to dump that clutch and feel the power shifting gears. It is also much more reliable for the most part/ and I can tackle a rebuild without worry.[8D]