View Full Version : 57 Transtar - Project Start

04-06-2012, 12:00 AM
(my first Post) I am just getting started with a 57 Transtar. I am new to Studebakers, and, therefore, your help getting me over the learning curve is much appreciated. First off, I am having trouble identifying my engine. I looked at the engine ID tables, but it is not making sense to me. From what i have been able to tell the engine codes are engraved (not raised letters) on the top, front, Driver side of the engine. I believe it reads "VA41818", See Picture. What is an engine like this worth? I am considering replacing it with a modern GM V8. (I like what Sdude did with his Transtar.)

04-06-2012, 03:14 AM
Does it run? I have also recently acquired a '57 Transtar. Good luck.

04-06-2012, 04:57 AM
I would stay with the Stude powerplant if you can! Studebaker made a very solid and reliable V8 powerplant that can be rodded and hopped up! Nothing out-there sound like a solid lifter Studebaker V8!!!!!!!!!!I

Skip Lackie
04-06-2012, 06:58 AM
I suspect the letter A is actually a 4 -- or should have been. V441818 would make it a 259 from a 1959 passenger car.

04-06-2012, 07:06 PM
it should run. it ran about 10 years ago when it was parked and tear down started.

04-06-2012, 08:22 PM
It will run...put it in and fire it up.
Big welcome to the site. You should be really excited with that good of a starting point. Looks really nice.
No problems from me if you do decide to go with a GM...but that said, I just got a '49 C-cab on the road and I am REALLY glad I stuck with Stude power even though it is not the "stock" motor from my truck...much much better.

Mrs K Corbin
04-27-2012, 10:56 AM
Another Transtar here..... 57 V8 Auto....
oldwood, your's looks better than mine!
I've got mine running/driving but not well...

04-27-2012, 08:50 PM
I've got a 289 stude V-8 in my '57 transtar. It is a magnificent engine. forged crank, forged rods, forged rocker arms, machined combustion chambers, nearly indestructible with proper maintenance, will run all day at highway speeds. Be different, seems like everyone has an old truck with a chevy V8.

04-28-2012, 08:15 AM
Progress Status: I wired the motor to a wiring diagram I found on the web...... I have spark, and i believe i have the distributor aligned (top dead center and firing order). When i started pumping fuel to the carb it started to leak gas. It looks like i need seals (time for a rebuild kit????).

04-28-2012, 08:51 AM
If it's been sitting for a lenght of time, the carb IS gonna want attention. Primarily, the leather of the accelerator pump will have shrivelled and hardened to the point of uselessness. Gaskets can shrink too. But assuming your fuel pump isn't some high-performance thing that blasts out 10 or 20 PSI, the float-needle duo in the carb is likely the source of a leak. And it may be that it's just as simple as a bit of dirt or debris that's blocked the needle from doing it's job. It's pretty easy to check, and if that IS the glitch, an in-line fuel filter will keep it from happening again.

BTW - your truck - your choice, but I vote for keeping it Stude-powered. Studebaker's OWN engine is as much a part of the Studebaker legacy as is the sheet metal that usually upstages it.

04-28-2012, 10:00 AM
"Studebaker's OWN engine is as much a part of the Studebaker legacy as is the sheet metal that usually upstages it."


I don't have a problem with engine swaps into Studebakers, since it keeps them on the road and out in front of the public. But your statement is the best reasoning I've heard for retaining the Studebaker engine! Glad you chose to come back, you add a lot to this forum.

04-28-2012, 11:26 AM
Thanks Paul. That's always been my reasoning. We all make noise about keeping the marque alive - think nothing of lavishing on the bucks to keep the unique and admired sheet metal in motion - and yet can so easily dismiss the powerplants that were unique as much as the sheet metal was. Outta sight, outta mind, I guess. It's all about the outward image.
Sure - they used electrical components from Delco or others - trannies by Borg-Warner, axles by Dana-Spicer, brakes by Wagner-Lockheed and so on and so forth. But the thing that gave them life was certainly as much a point of pride to the company as was the avant garde stylings. Of course, these are just the uninformed meanderings of an aging and grumpy old fart.

And please - I refuse to even entertain the old ruse about them having chosen GM powerplants in the end. If one thinks they did that by CHOICE instead of necessity, one knows nothing of the company's history. ;)

Edit to add.... Those of you "veterans" here with alternate-powered cars know me well enough to know I'm not degrading your decision(s). But I have been making the case for Stude-powered Studes since before the days of even the old newsgroup. What someone chooses to do with THEIR Studebaker is 100% up to them. I only want to remind folks that the engines are as much a part of the legacy as the attractive exteriors.

Deaf Mute
04-28-2012, 01:11 PM
Here is my Daughters '57 Transtar with an Avanti engine & transmission in it. It was almost a "junker" when she purchased it.
The complete story is in TURNING WHEELS September 2002 issue on page 7 (with a photo on the back cover)
Keep the Stude power plant in it. You will be glad you did.
And now Vintage Air had a neat (almost) bolt in AC unit for it! I have started a '49 pickup project with the small 6... no, I won't be racing my Daughter!

04-28-2012, 01:57 PM
Sharp-lookin' machine! I need to get some fresh paint on Pete this summer!

04-28-2012, 05:54 PM
I actually just brought a 259 home today going to put it into my 49 2R.

04-29-2012, 01:12 PM
Glad to see your working on your '57. I've been detailing my new engine(new to me) to swap into my 57 Transtar. Mine might not be a V8 but its still a Stude engine. Anybody can drive a Ferd or Chebby.

04-29-2012, 01:15 PM
cove and oldwood - good news on both fronts! I just gave away a core V8 that's gonna end up in another Transtar.

05-14-2012, 10:07 PM
Progress Status: I got the carb. leak fixed and fired it up. Blew a bunch of rust out of the pipes. It felt great to hear life breathing in that V8. Now I need the radiator, valve cover gaskets, alternator/generator, and some time..... Then comes the brakes....

What are the recommendation for the Generator/alternator? someone recommended a single wire alternator replacement??????