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View Full Version : GM V/6 in a 53 Commander



Jim King
03-11-2007, 05:22 PM
Hello all; I'm not new to Studebakers and read this forum everyday, but seldom post on it. Has anyone any information or experience with installing a GM V/6 in a '53 or '54 coupe. Was wondering if there were any pitfalls concerning this other than the usual problems one faces with a motor transplant? Thank you in advance, Jim King Redding, Calif

Swifster
03-11-2007, 05:44 PM
The easiest V-6 to use will be the 4.3L unit from the GM trucks or vans. These are basically a 350 minus two cylinders and they use SBC mounts and front accessory drives. The next best option would be the 3.8L Buick just because of all the aftermarket support it gets.

But if you are not supercharging or turbocharging this engine, it would be just as cheap to run a 350. Hot Rod ran an article a few years back that was titled '3/4 350'. This was a mild build up of a 4.3L bored .060 over (270 ci) that got 301 HP on the dyno with a 9.1:1 compression ratio.

A Vortech supercharger was run on it next and it made 475 HP with 9 lbs of boost. They upped the boost to 12 lbs, made 501 HP and puked a head gasket at 6400 RPM's. Have fun an let us know what direction you go.

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Tom - Valrico, FL

1964 Studebaker Daytona

http://i74.photobucket.com/albums/i280/Swifster/1965_Studebaker_Commander_front198x.jpg

JDP
03-11-2007, 05:56 PM
I sold Buick turbo V6 powered 53 coupe a few years back. More power then a R2 Studebaker and 200 lbs off the front end. Lots of room under the hood.

64 Commander 2 dr.
64 Daytona HT
63 Cruiser
63 R2 4 speed GT Hawk (Black)
63 Avanti R1
63 Daytona convert
63 Lark 2 door
63 Lark 2 door #2
62 Daytona HT/ 4 speed
62 Lark 2 door
60 Lark HT
60 Hawk
59 3E truck
52 Starliner
51 Commander

Dick Steinkamp
03-11-2007, 06:28 PM
Don't do it, Jim [xx(]. You'll be saying "I coulda had a V8" [^].

(BTW, Jim has an absolutely beautiful M15 with a full flow 289 in it. Jim did all the work and it's PERFECT)

http://thenobot.org/images/s2d/s2d_01.jpg

Jim King
03-11-2007, 06:35 PM
Thank you both. Good advice. J.D.P.' did you install the Buick V-6 yourself? Any problems with oil pan clearance , etc.? Did you run an auto, and if so, which one. How was overall performance. Was the motor set up towards the radiator, or sat back to about the same spot in regards to the firewall as would the V/8 be. Thank you both, Jim King

S2DSteve
03-11-2007, 10:41 PM
I put a Buick Turbo 3.8 liter V6 and TH350 in a '53 Starliner years ago (actually re-installed one that had been crudely installed by a previous owner). Used a crossmember type mount underneath. I fabricated it, but I think Speedway has a universal mount that should make it a lot easier. Also used an electric fan. Fit real nice-plenty of room between the engine and radiator. Only clearance problem was the left exhaust manifold and the Ross steering box. I ended up notching the manifold. An "SL" gearbox would have solved the problem, but I didn't know that then.


http://i165.photobucket.com/albums/u57/S2DSteve/Convert071.jpg


Steve Hudson
The Dalles, Oregon
1937 Dictator Streetrod
1949 "GMOBaker" 1-T Dually
1953 Commander Convertible
1954 Champion Coupe

Swifster
03-11-2007, 11:11 PM
quote:Originally posted by Jim King

Thank you both. Good advice. J.D.P.' did you install the Buick V-6 yourself? Any problems with oil pan clearance , etc.? Did you run an auto, and if so, which one. How was overall performance. Was the motor set up towards the radiator, or sat back to about the same spot in regards to the firewall as would the V/8 be. Thank you both, Jim King


Jim, just about any late model GM transmission should bolt up to the 3.8L. These engines were bolted up to the 4L60E in the Camaro and Firebird. If I remember correctly, the Grand National used the BOP version of the 200-4R. A 700R4 would also work. These are all 4 speeds with an overdrive 4th gear.

A Turbo 350 with BOP bellhousing would also fit. The 3.8L has been made since the early '60's and came with a variety of transmissions, including manuals and AMC units used in early '70's Jeeps.

Good luck.

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Tom - Valrico, FL

1964 Studebaker Daytona

http://i74.photobucket.com/albums/i280/Swifster/1965_Studebaker_Commander_front198x.jpg

JDP
03-11-2007, 11:18 PM
Was it my old car ?

http://www.stude.com/sold/53a.jpg

64 Commander 2 dr.
64 Daytona HT
63 Cruiser
63 R2 4 speed GT Hawk (Black)
63 Avanti R1
63 Daytona convert
63 Lark 2 door
63 Lark 2 door #2
62 Daytona HT/ 4 speed
62 Lark 2 door
60 Lark HT
60 Hawk
59 3E truck
52 Starliner
51 Commander

studeclunker
03-11-2007, 11:41 PM
You gentlemen are all aware that Studebaker actually made a V8 engine that will fit in that car without the hassle of modification? It's an excellent engine and if you have the money to put in a Buick ersatz, why not spend most likely less money and put in what BELONGS in the car? It'll be easier to maintain for one, and won't have any complications in installation. Probably for the cost of chopping and dropping the Buick in there, you can turbocharge the Stude as well.

Put a Studebaker in your Studebaker. It increases the value and probably the pleasure of ownership.

http://i16.photobucket.com/albums/b18/Studeclunker/studebaby/54wagonblue-2.jpg http://i16.photobucket.com/albums/b18/Studeclunker/56%20Parkview%20Wagon/56wagonleftfrontclipped-1.jpg
Lotsa Larks!
K.I.S.S. Keep It Simple Studebaker!
Ron Smith
Where the heck is Lewiston, CA?

Swifster
03-12-2007, 01:10 AM
Ron, I'm looking at numerous options for my '64 Daytona. Both of the GM V-6's are on my radar, as is a GM 350. I have an interest in putting a 289 in it, but the cost of rebuildable 289's is begining to climb. Like yourself, we have budgets too. I can get either V-6 for close to, if not nothing. GM crates can be had for less than $3000. In my case, motor mounts are a Studebaker part and the engines just drop in.

If I can find a 289, the typical price is $500 or more for a rebuildable core. Add in the cost of rebuilding and it becomes the most expensive of the bunch (not counting the cost of supercharging the V-6's). The sad truth is I can build a 4.3L V-6 without the S/C and make more power for less money than a 259. I'm all for putting a Stude motor in my Stude, but I need a Stude motor first. Have a spare 289 laying around that you'll ship for nothing?

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Tom - Valrico, FL

1964 Studebaker Daytona

http://i74.photobucket.com/albums/i280/Swifster/1965_Studebaker_Commander_front198x.jpg

Jim King
03-12-2007, 08:48 AM
Thank you all; Some very good informaion here. Don't know if I'll do it: just wondering about what one might face in this change. Thanx again, Jim King

studeclunker
03-12-2007, 12:53 PM
As several people can attest, Tom, I'm not adverse to giving away equipment. As to paying four to six hundred dollars to give said parts away is just ludicrous. If you really want a rebuildable 289, yes I have one for you. Making sarcastic and annoying comments is not a good way to get it though. There is also a rebuildable motor in Frumpy that I'd be willing to part with as well. At this rate my '52 Commander's future in in danger. I'd like to get homes for as much of her as possible. This motor is correct for a '53 (I believe the carb was different).

Jim, if you are willing to go to the trouble to put a Studebaker motor in your car, I have several for you to choose from. Since you're only thirty miles or so away, shipping isn't going to be a problem either. These motors will all require considerable work. Still, they probably won't be that much more than the ersatz you are considering and would be a better choice (IMHO). If you want one, just click on my name to the left and send me a message.

http://i16.photobucket.com/albums/b18/Studeclunker/studebaby/54wagonblue-2.jpg http://i16.photobucket.com/albums/b18/Studeclunker/56%20Parkview%20Wagon/56wagonleftfrontclipped-1.jpg
Lotsa Larks!
K.I.S.S. Keep It Simple Studebaker!
Ron Smith
Where the heck is Lewiston, CA?

Swifster
03-12-2007, 01:49 PM
Ron, not being sarcastic, just honest. I'm certainly not expecting free parts. But costs rise on certain things and this includes engines. I'm not restoring the car as much as looking to have some fun with it. If this is with a Chevy, Buick, Ford, Chrysler or Studebaker, fine. If it's with a tractor motor, so be it.

I've mentioned the possibility of Stude power in my car before. I haven't ruled it out. But I'm not paying large dollars for an engine, and then more to ship it (especially to finally find the crank is scrap). I understand your desire to spreed the word of Stude power, but some of us don't want to pay a premium to do the same. If I can toss a Chevy in my car at less of a cost, why not?

I think you'll also find that the real problem is the guys claiming to be all Studebaker tossing out or scraping good cars or parts because they can make more money this way (I can think of a Wagonaire in ND that's going to be suffering this fate). These are more important to worry about than if I put a V-6 in my Daytona.

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Tom - Valrico, FL

1964 Studebaker Daytona

http://i74.photobucket.com/albums/i280/Swifster/1965_Studebaker_Commander_front198x.jpg