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mjeansonne
08-17-2013, 09:10 AM
I know for some I am committing blasphemy, but after years of consideration, I am thinking about putting a late model G.M. engine into my 1963 Champ Pickup. I lost my left leg in an accident some years ago and was no longer able to comfortably operate the clutch in the Champ. So at that time I decided to convert to a 700R4 transmission. Since the engine blew, I believe because of my inability to properly operate the clutch, I purchase a used 259 V-8 and installed it in front of the 700R4 transmission. I have never completed the project though and really don't know how reliable the 259 may be. I have the entire front clip off the truck, so I could work on it easier and now need to decide if I should continue with the 259 or swap to a late model G.M. engine. Even though I have a freshly rebuilt 289 in our Hawk, at the last minute I decided to attend the International Meet in Colorado Springs using our 2007 car instead of the long trip in the Hawk. It occurred to me that if the smallest part failed on the Hawk, we could be on the side of the road for days waiting on replacement parts.

My question is: has anyone done a late model G.M. (post year 2000) v-8 swap into a Champ pickup? Would like to find someone who has done such a swap so that I can talk to them and decide on the feasibility of such a project.

krob
08-17-2013, 11:22 AM
I can't help you with the engine swap but I'm sure it is possible. I'm just not sure that increased reliabily is a reason to do so. The possibility of internal engine failure on both engines would be about the same if they are in equally good condition. The accessory systems are what generally fail. Things such as water pump, fuel pump, and distributor. Would the 13 year old parts on a 2000 year engine be any more reliable than similarlly aged parts on a Studebaker? For $300 you could carry a replacement for these systems for a Studebaker and they would work in the Hawk or the truck. You may not have to do that for the newer engine but you'd still have to find someone to install them. There is some reluctance by allot of service garages to work on modified vehicles because they don't know exactly what they will be getting into. For long trips I take my new car just for the comfort factor, but its not as much fun. If my German built car or the Studebaker breaks down on a weekend away from home I could be stuck for 3 days reguardless of which car I drive.

Ken

SN-60
08-17-2013, 11:25 AM
In this day and age of cell phones and AAA....are breakdowns really the worry that they used to be?

shifter4
08-17-2013, 11:37 AM
Since you already have the transmission swap in hand , the simplest thing is to do
is to finish it out . As stated , the Stude V8 is very reliable , and the likely failures would be
in the same components that would fail in any other vehicle .
Carry a spare water pump , fuel pump, a set of points ( or easily convert to electronic), etc , and ride on.
I always carried at least one front wheel bearing as well .
Carry a roster , and you'll find an SDC member along the way to help out .

SN-60
08-17-2013, 01:32 PM
Since you already have the transmission swap in hand , the simplest thing is to do
is to finish it out . As stated , the Stude V8 is very reliable , and the likely failures would be
in the same components that would fail in any other vehicle .
Carry a spare water pump , fuel pump, a set of points ( or easily convert to electronic), etc , and ride on.
I always carried at least one front wheel bearing as well .
Carry a roster , and you'll find an SDC member along the way to help out .

Good point on the spare wheel bearing. A Friend once made it from Boston to South Bend for an International SDC Meet in His '38 Commander sedan....the r/f wheel bearings went out on Him...but He made it to South Bend before they let go.....so it really was no big deal! (At the time)

PackardV8
08-17-2013, 01:43 PM
It occurred to me that if the smallest part failed on the Hawk, we could be on the side of the road for days waiting on replacement parts.
There are excuses and there are reasons. Back in the day, we drove our Studes cross-country without a second thought.

We just did 2500 miles round trip to the IM. Every hundred miles or so, there was a less-than-ten-year-old-BrandX on the side of the road with the hood up or being loaded onto a roll-back.

The car in which I was riding had a SBC conversion "for reliability." The only part which failed was the SBC water pump. Fortunately, the failure was just noisy, so it could wait until we got to a hotel parking lot. It was much more difficult to change than a Stude water pump would have been.

As previously mentioned, an all-new Studebaker V8 should be as reliable as an all-new Chevrolet V8. Swapping in a used engine of any make is a leap of faith. We used to do it all the time. Sometime, they ran forever, sometimes they didn't.

Bottom line, there's enough room under the hood of a Champ to swing a cat by the tail. A SBC V8 or V6 looks lost down there. No real problems and it's been done dozens of times. If you buy a complete engine with all accessories, including AC and PS, your swap will be many times easier. It's all the little stuff which takes forever and costs a lot. Most of the 2000-and-later engines will have EFI and crank-triggered ignition. One with a TBI will be much easier to get up an running than one with individual port injection.

Suggestion - find a local rod shop which does this sort of swap every day and ask what they'd charge. The learning curve on the first complete TBI swap is pretty steep.

jack vines

sals54
08-17-2013, 04:07 PM
I'm sorry to burst the bubble of so many die hard Studebaker enthusiasts, but many of the new engines are indeed MUCH MUCH MUCH more reliable and better built, than the old Stude engines. How many people would consider driving their Stude powered cars or trucks 300,000 miles with not much more than oil changes and a new fan belt once in that time? ? ? ? ? ? The Stude engine would blow its guts all over the road with that sort of abuse. And that's not to mention the gallons of oil the Stude engine would leak all over the driveway, roadway, parking lots, garages, stop lights, stop signs, friends' driveways and all the other places our Studes love to leave their "mark". My 03 Silverado has 275,000 miles. It has never so much as left one single drop of oil ANYWHERE ! ! ! ! The new computer driven engines are superior in almost every single way compared to the old engines. The machining, the build quality, the ability of the computer to manage changes in temperature, climate, fuel quality, elevation and driving habits of its owners, make these new cars better than anything built back in the day.
And that doesn't even touch the matter of the transmissions. We'll save that tirade for another time.
Sorry, but its true. And thats from a guy who for 42 years has driven a Stude powered Studebaker more for pride than practicality.

Now, that being said, how many of us will use our Studes as a true daily driver putting on over 30,000 miles a year.? ? ? ? Not many I dare say. If you're using your Stude as a recreational driver, than by all means keep it Stude powered. Its a great power plant and great fun to drive and still very dependable for that purpose. Just don't forget to drive it. These car last longer when driven regularly instead of sitting for most of the year, then only taken out once in a blue moon.

BobWaitz
08-17-2013, 06:01 PM
Heretic! You're like that political party, religion, and race I hate all rolled into one! (Have I covered all the forbidden topics there?)

Yeah, modern engines are great. I have 160,000 miles on my F-150. It runs like new and uses no oil. I like the Stude V-8, too. I have the 700R4 behind one. It allows for easy around-town driveability and 70 mph highway cruising. It also uses a F*rd shorty starter. Starters are a long-term consumable. When it goes I can get a new one in any parts store in the country. I also have a Mallory unit on the V8 which allows for instant and reliable starting. If you really want a modern engine, that's fine too. The SBC has been done to death. If you REALLY want to do that, take Jack's advice and find a rod shop that does a lot of engine swaps. Personally I'd find a totalled modern pickup and get a late model engine out of one of them as the donor with all the latest EFI and traction control. Luckily you're down south so there should be plenty of 2WD truck in the yards there. Everything up here is 4WD.

Warren Webb
08-17-2013, 06:36 PM
It's gratifying to see that the loss of your leg hasn't dampened you. If one of my Champs went down with a blown engine I would no doubt go the route that Sal & Bob recommend with one from a totaled truck (or car). Perhaps a big block like a 454 that'll have globs of torque with it, a serpentine belt drive, modern low power loss a/c compressor, ect. The Champ has room for just about anything you can think of with the possible exception of a V-10 from Ford or Dodge. Let us know what your gonna do & send pictures!!

mjeansonne
08-18-2013, 02:07 PM
Thanks to everyone for their thoughts and suggestions.

I do believe in the reliability of Studebaker engines and have driven them for over 30 years. I have also rebuilt my fair share of both 6 and V-8's and can attest to their reliability and simplicity. I have always bragged on their reliability and have always boasted that on a second's notice I would drive it from Louisiana to Acadie' (Nova Scotia)! But as I get older and mechanics along the way get younger, I find that unless I can work on the car, I run the risk of my trip being interrupted while I repair whatever is broken on the Studebaker. Not only am I missing my leg, but also have rather advanced Spinal Stenosis at 4 levels... I have to lay down on the ground to work on anything beneath the car and its hard enough to do at home, much less on the side of the road! I just can't do it anymore!! And that pains me more than you can imagine to even admit I can't!!!

This is not an easy decision, because I know more about a Studebaker engine than I do about a GM engine! I proudly tell folks that Studebaker had an overhead valve V-8 before either G.M. or Ford!! I have thought of all the reasons I shouldn't that have been mentioned already... along with some reason that haven't been mentioned. But practicality dictates that in order to fully enjoy my Truck on a daily basis and be able to use it to maybe in fact drive to Acadie', I need to consider the state of mechanic ability on the way to where I'm going. 20 years ago, you could pull into a mechanic's shop on the road and have them adjust your carburetor. I am having a hard time, here in my hometown, finding someone who can adjust the Edelbrock I have on the Hawk. There just isn't anyone left that knows how to adjust a carb!! 20 years ago, that wasn't a problem. By the way, the Hawk is a daily driver and I sometime drive it over 150 miles one way, on a regular basis!

So back to my original question... Has anyone done such a swap or do you know of someone I can talk to that has?

junior
08-19-2013, 08:54 AM
Thanks to everyone for their thoughts and suggestions.

So back to my original question... Has anyone done such a swap or do you know of someone I can talk to that has?

There are at least 4 forum members that run LS series engines in their Studes ...so it can and has been done...BUT I`m sure it`s not cheap. Bob Waltz`s suggestion of finding a late model truck to swap everything over into your Stude is probably the least expensive method, but still it`s labour-intensive, and if you`re not doing the work yourself the $ start adding up real fast. If you want all new components then you could go this route:

http://store.chevroletperformance.com/store/SelectProd.do?prodId=8188&redir=true&manufacturer=GM&category=LS3&name=LS3%20E-ROD%20emissions%20package%20(for%20automatic%20transmissions)&model=<!--19244805-->

but once again, $$$ and lots of shop time involved. I don't know what else to suggest. Cheers, Junior

Swifster
08-19-2013, 10:17 AM
As mentioned, a few guys run LS engines. I would think these are 'bolt in' swaps. But these all use electronic transmissions such as the 4L60E. Using a 700R4 isn't an option. The kick down cable has no where to attach. There are brackets that mount to the engine and move the area of attachment to the same place as the old SBC. Different vendors, including GM, sell stand alone harnesses for both the engine and the transmission. You can get a low mileage 5.3L V8 out of a 2WD pick up or SUV cheap (relatively speaking). Swap out the cam and intake from a LS6 and you'll have 400HP. Depending on the engine, you made need to swap to a 'fly by wire' throttle pedal (GM sells this too). This my sound complicated, but it's really not.