View Full Version : Lots of Studebaker work this weekend.

07-04-2010, 09:38 PM
And part of the previous week, too. Mostly, it involved moving nearly all the outside-stored Studebakers, either under their own power, or with a tractor pull, so I could mow the grass where they sat. Plus a few other vehicles. My count is 21, plus some that never got moved. No, I don't have a problem. Nine moved under their own power, and the remainder were tractor pulls, and most of the tractor pulls were cars or trucks lacking an operational engine, or an engine at all.

Anyway, one of the last ones I moved, yesterday, was a '64 Daytona hardtop that I bought on eBay from San Luis Obispo in California. This was originally a Powershift car, judging by the factory cutout in the floorboards, though maybe it was a 4-speed. No stump on the column. Anyway, it now has what looks like a '62 Champ 259 with a T85 overdrive transmission, and a Hurst floor shifter. It started pretty readily, but ran rough. Today, I figured I'd check it out a bit. I did a compression test, and they were all over the map, from about 90 to 150 psi. Figured I'd check the valve clearances, and found they were nearly all too tight. I set each one to .023, which is a little on the loose side, but I figured there might be carbon on the valves or seats, so I wanted to allow for it to get worn off. The plugs were real clean, but I think I changed them the last time I worked on it. I buttoned it back up, and started it once more. A vast improvement in idle quality! It's about as smooth idling as any V8 Stude I've owned.

I took it out for a short hop up the road to my neighbour's place, and it seems to have gobs of power. I kept my foot in it in low gear, and both back wheels were spinning, and the rear end was fishtailing from side to side. This is on gravel, mind you, but the power was there, no doubt about it. I was sure happy with the performance, I can tell you. No blue smoke, either. Overdrive wasn't working, but I did have free wheeling.

I had the hoist free, so I put it up in the air to have a look underneath. Frame and floorboards look pretty good. A little rust in the front passenger floor, but really not serious. I noticed the speedometer cable had a severe kink in it where it passed by the shifter. I pulled it out of the transmission, and, no pinion gear on it! Which means somebody was thinking; the cable would not have lasted many miles trying to turn with such a kink in it.

In order to un-kink the speedo cable, it seemed to me the best course was to raise the entire shifter body. First, I took it all apart. It's a Hurst Dual-Pattern with Synchro-lock, whatever that means. The shifter was all covered with spray-on undercoating, so I cleaned that off, washed out the old grease, and lubed it lightly. The mounting bracket was apparently made for the application. The main piece, to which the shifter bolts, has an ear that mounts on the top left bolt that secures the extension housing (overdrive case) to the transmission. Bolted to the bottom of that was another small bracket with an ear that mounts to the lower left bolt of the same group. Lastly, there is a strap from the top right bolt of that group to a hole on the top flange of the main bracket.

Raising the shifter body on the bracket, by drilling a new pair of holes, looked like a futile exercise. I could only get about an half-inch, and it would require a nut to be ground flat on one side to clear the top flange of the bracket at that. But it looked as though it would be easy to bend the main bracket at the front mounting ear, which would swing the rear part, which carries the shifter, up about an inch. So I clamped the front mounting ear in the vise, and used my welding torch to heat the existing bend area cherry red. This is quarter-inch stock we're dealing with, here. Once hot, I reefed on the back end of the bracket, and moved it what I figured was enough. Strictly eyeball. I bolted the modified bracket up to the transmission, and bolted the shifter to it. Well, I had to open out the hole in the floor some more, first. The previous cut was a ragged mess, anyway, so I made it neater. It will all get a cover on it eventually, anyway. I still had to cut a notch in the main bracket to clear the speedo cable, but the cable now passes just below the shift levers, while resting on top of the left exhaust pipe. A heat shield is in order there!

Needless to say, the bottom small bracket no longer mated up to the holes in the main bracket when bolted onto the transmission (nor did I expect it to). I bent it a bit so it laid parallel to the main bracket, clamped it to the main bracket, and made a couple of tack welds with the MIG welder. Took the assembly out, and finished the weld by running a couple of nice beads with the stick welder. The top brace won't present a problem. Then I trimmed some excess metal off the lower bracket area, not that there is a "lower bracket" anymore, it's all one piece.

That's about as far as I got today. Still to be done: install shifter, and adjust shifter rods, install an OD lockout cable and bracket, find a speedo cable pinion and install that, wire solenoid and governor, and install a kickdown switch, and wire that. That will basically complete the overdrive transmission install that was begun a previous owner.

07-04-2010, 09:48 PM
Hey Gord. How cold was it there today? When was the last time you had snow??
Just kidding, we had a cool day here today!
Good Roads

07-04-2010, 11:47 PM
Sounds like a full weekend to me. Did people run the T85 because the gear ratios were better than the four speed? I know they are supposed to be tougher than the T86!


07-05-2010, 08:50 AM
Hey Gord. How cold was it there today? When was the last time you had snow??
Just kidding, we had a cool day here today!
Good Roads

very funny Brian... this morning at my house it was 5degrees when I woke up, furnace coming on actually woke me up...I'll be in some real nice weather for the summer though. junior

07-05-2010, 01:11 PM
An interesting report, Gordon. I'm sure others enjoy these reports as much as I do, but don't post. Good reading; thanks. BP