View Full Version : Engine: V8 swap for a 1948 landcruiser

07-04-2012, 09:59 PM
Hey there everyone. This is my first post here. I have just picked up a 1948 studebaker landcruiser. It is running and driving. I have started to strip the paint off to see what shape the metal is in. It is near perfect and all original steel.

I want to swap out the straight 6 for a ford 360 ci motor. The reason for doing this is because of the positive group 6v system and reliability. Is a v8 swap easy for these older studebakers? What are the main things to worry about? Is it a straight forward job to complete?

On a side note, is it easy to take my positive ground 6v to a 12v negative?

Thanks again for your help and sorry if this question has been asked a bunch of times.

Don Jeffers
07-04-2012, 10:04 PM
Why not do the 6v to 12v conversion first. It will need to be done anyway if you put the Ford 360 in.

The 12v conversion has been covered here lots of times. Use the search Forum search function and get the threads on the various ways it has been done.

How about a photo of your 48 Land Cruiser?

07-05-2012, 02:17 AM
Actually a Car like yours with the "Plannar" suspension (cross leaf) and not built for a V-8 like the '51 and newer Studes were, is not a good candidate for a V-8. When working properly a Positive Ground 6 Volt works just fine.

If you insist on wanting a 12 Volt for a stereo or something, then just switch it over, that certainly will be easier than changing the entire drive train from the radiator and engine to the rear end.

07-05-2012, 02:28 AM
Unless you have done a few engine swaps already, I think this would be neither easy nor straight forward. You don't mention anything but the engine. The transmission and rear end certainly won't be up to the task. The brakes are barely adeguate for the 6 cylinder. The springs after 60+ years probably aren't adeguate either. The cooling system would have to be considered. etc, etc. I drive a 51 Champion as a nearly daily driver. There are no problems or reliability issues with either the drive train or the 6 volt system. I think you would be introducing more reliability issues with the swap than in keeping it as it is (properly maintained of course). The Land Cruiser is a wonderful car to have. Good luck with it. Keep us posted.

07-05-2012, 06:34 AM
With a good, solid car which is running and driving, I would be keeping it as original as possible. I have never for a moment considered switching the 1947 Champion (which I have owned and driven for 39 years) to a different engine, nor changing the electrical system. The car had a major body job in 2000, and an complete engine rebuild in 2003.

07-05-2012, 08:36 AM
Another option may be a modern Six; maybe out of a Chevy TrailBlazer or even just a 1960's to '70's Chevy Six if the OP wants to stay with a carb. I personally like the Ford 240/300 truck motors but not sure if they'll fit into a 1948 LC without major work.

07-05-2012, 08:37 AM
We're just saying your reasons for the swap don't justify the changeover and expense. The six volt systems worked for 40+ years before high compression engines required the change. Most people working on an older car, if they replace things like starter and battery cables, just grab 12 volt items off the shelf.
6 volt systems require very thick gauge cables.
The Commander series Studebakers (which your Land Cruiser is) had larger brakes, and transmissions, and rear ends, and will hold up fine. But don't expect a modern driving experience , or stopping distances. If you do, the car in front of you will be smashed.
The cooling system wasn't pressurized, and wont cool your V8. So, that will have to be changed......added expense.
A common mistake many make when they first get a collector car, is they let the enthusiasm end grandiose plans get the better of them, and start tearing into the vehicle .
The problem is they tear apart a little here, sand things to bare metal there, and before they know it the driveable car they had is no longer driveable.
Now they have a garage ornament that they keep throwing money at once in a while, but they don't have a collector car now to enjoy. That's the reason you bought the car in the first place.
If you go to sell the car in the future, will the buyer share your vision of the modifications you put into the vehicle? Most likely not. Don't expect to recoup any of the expenses you put into it for your personal upgrades.
If you go into the purchase realizing these things, and are still ok with that, then by all means, heck if you want to put TWO V8's in it, then you should !
But if you want something to tinker on and drive and enjoy right now, you are already there. Make a plan, do one fender at a time, one door, etc, keep it drivable, and have fun.

07-05-2012, 10:46 AM
Thank you guys for helping me se the light. I was thinking about doin the swap because I have heard that the 6v systems are not reliable and very hard to get parts. After more research here and everyone's responses, thank you very much everyone, I have come to see that they are not bad at all and very easy to work on. I don't want a stereo and all that other crap. I want a car that I can cruise around in once a week to the local hotdog joint. There is a cruise nite there once a week. I don't need to go fast and take turns at 90 mph. I have my 67 mustang for that. So my direction for this at is the repaint, new interior, and new exhaust system. Everything else is workin perfectly.

On a side note, I have notice it is EXTREAMLY hard to get parts for the landcruiser. Were there not many made? Where can I get some parts for this beauty. I have the studebaker catalog but there are only a handful of parts.

Thanks again for all the valuable information and helping me to make the right choice. This car is way to clean and complete to chop an ruin. I will get pictures up after work today. Sorry if the sentences and spelling is terrible. Wrote this on the cell phone.

07-05-2012, 12:33 PM
What parts do you need? Ask here on the Forum.

If the body in great shape, that is most of the battle. Some of the Land Cruiser (longer wheelbase Commander big 6) parts are more difficult to find but that is primarily a sheet metal problem like fenders and the like, because the Big 6 was longer than the Champion 6. As in any old car, there are bits and pieces of trim and ornaments that might be difficult if missing, and more so because the Land Cruiser was the top end model and not as common.

07-05-2012, 01:09 PM
The extra length in a Land Cruiser compared to a Commander is at the rear doors. The major parts which are different are the rear doors, driveshaft, and presumably things like brake lines, parking brake cables and tailpipe etc. The Land Cruiser, being the top-of-the-line model, does have some of its own trim items. Your parts book will specify "Y" for items unique to to this model, or which are not shared with all Commanders. Parts specifying "W Y" are shared with all Commander 4-door sedans. Some parts on your car also are shared with Champions.

07-05-2012, 02:18 PM
Congrats on listening to the good advice of the forum experts and on deciding to keep it stock.

X2 on not getting tangled up in your underwear focusing just on "Land Cruiser". Probably 90 to 95% of the parts you might need are common to all Studes or to the Commander series. Other than a few sheetmetal and trim parts, nearly 100% of the mechanical and electrical parts are available from our Stude vendors here.

jack vines

07-05-2012, 03:42 PM
Yes what Greenstude and PackardV8 said, when looking for mechanical parts you have a 1948 Commander.
There is no problem getting most parts from a Studebaker Vendor at: studebakervendors.com ...there may be one closer than you think! :)

07-05-2012, 06:03 PM
Your six cylinder Commander engine soldiered on for years in the truck line. If you ever need any engine parts they are readily available.

07-05-2012, 10:03 PM
Thank you all for the wealth of knowledge. I have some homework to do thanks to all the very helpful and knowledgeable people. This forum is fantastic!

As a side note, is there anyone close to the Tampa FL area?

07-05-2012, 10:04 PM
And I am working on those pictures.

07-05-2012, 10:37 PM

07-05-2012, 10:49 PM
That car looks so clean it might be better to simply restore and maybe install a few safety updates like a dual chamber brake master cylinder, seatbelts, etc. Even the concours car show judges typically don't ding a vehicles with those obvious safety upgrades.

07-06-2012, 06:22 AM
Bill (Green Stude) is exactly right in that the extra length of the Land Cruiser over a Commander is in the rear. I was alluding to the Commander flathead six being longer than the Champion flathead six, so Land Cruiser/Commander front sheet metal won't interchange with a Champion, but Land Cruiser/Commander will interchange. Bill, by the way, has an extremely nice 1947 Champion 4 door, recently driven from Moncton New Brunswick to the North East Zone meet in Rutland Vermont, and back. Besides that--Bill is near an auspicious milestone--almost 40 years ownership of the same Studebaker. (and yes, that trailer hitch on it has been used)

Need4steed, that is one pretty car you have which doesn't appear to need much of anything, and as long as you have a working overdrive, and consider adding seatbelts and renewing the entire braking system just to be sure (or upgrading to a dual circuit master cylinder) that should be a really fine ride. Having a workshop manual is important as there are many differences from more modern cars, from king pins to chassis lubrication points. The suspension is different, but quite effective. Of all the Land Cruisers, I'm not quite sure if the 1948 or the 1954 is my favourite--possibly the 48 because of its suspension and interior.

Another voice for keeping 6volt stock. Most problems with 6V are in the grounds (hidden corrosion where they bolt on), and not having the proper grounding straps, or the right sized 6 volt battery cables, or old wiring no longer making a good connection. I can think of several 6 volt Kaisers and Studebakers that start at the first touch of a starter button like they did when new. Likely that is one good project to do--test and replace the 6v wiring. It will make everything including the gauges work better, and any original wiring that has not been renewed before is likely past its 'best by' date and losing its coverings