View Full Version : Help, really quick engine swap needed

09-26-2006, 09:21 AM
Gday all from down under. I have a '58 President with a 289 in it. had it for 2 months, damn thing spun a bearing. Somehow I managed to find a running 259 to put in. Did that, but after the first run found it also had a sun bearing, BUGGER. The bad part is that I have 4 days before the car is in a wedding. So I need help in finding a quick engine swap. Remembering that I'm in Australia, & therefore don't have the resources Americans do. How hard is it to do a Chev engine/trans swap? or Chrysler? Or even Ford? It is only going to be for a short period of time. After the wedding I will be putting the rebuilt 289 back, but NEED it running for the wedding. Please help guys.

09-26-2006, 11:10 AM
The only quick cure I know of would be a temporary fix. That would be a .001 or .002 thousands undersize rod bearing. I would polish that rod journal with crocus cloth ( not sure about spelling) This should get you thru the wedding unless the crankshaft is in really bad shape. You might want to check rod journal with a micrometer. As far as doing an engine swap (Chev,Ford, E.T.C.) that seems like a pretty big job to do in four days.[8]


09-26-2006, 11:31 AM
Just about anything (from another car or truck) would fit in there - with lots of engineering!:( There's no Close fit you could grease in there and drive off. You're gonna have to figure out front and rear motor mounts, linkages, wiring, hoses, driveshaft, exhausts, etc., etc..[:0]
Maybe if you had a dedicated, innovative team and adequate facilities - you MIGHT pull off a transplant in 4 days, but there's always one little detail or so you don't recognize until the last minute.
You'd be WAY ahead to dig that 289 out, address it's problem and reinstall it. No "engineering", just knuckle-skinning and swearing. It'd go back in just like it's supposed to.
BTW - the Stude parts vendors here could overnight bearings to you for less than the cost of a fit-up of a BrandX motor!;)

Miscreant adrift in
the BerStuda Triangle!!

1957 Transtar 1/2ton
1960 Larkvertible V8
1958 Provincial wagon
1953 Commander coupe

09-26-2006, 11:18 PM
Was it a rod bearing or a main bearing that spun? Does it still have
oil pressure? How many miles does the car have to move to be in the
wedding? Reason I ask is, if its a rod bearing, you can remove the
spark plug wire, and loosen the plug to release compression in the
cylinder on the firing stroke. This will cut the noise WAY down and
might allow you to still use the car for the wedding, as long as you
keep its usage to a MININUM!!! Just keep in mind that doing this is
going to cause MUCH wear on the rod and crank, and could result in an
engine failure DURING the wedding (something exciting to talk about
years later?). Its a last minute lame solution I know. Champs idea
is better (saves from damage), Biggs idea is also good, if you can get
that 289 rebuilt real quick! Swapping the engine from another brand
car is not going to happen in 4 days - not a chance. Unless you have
a running 65-66 Studebaker Lark laying around.;)


09-27-2006, 08:07 AM
hi , dont waste your time doing a engine swap in my opinion, its quicker to fix the engine you have , parts are available from the aussie stude club vendors who have provide quick service . a spun bearing in two stude v8s is a bit strange,another problem might be the cause of this, was this car bought of e bay recently , if so it sounds like a 1957 president I worked on many years ago in Dubbo .Nsw. Black by any chance , regards from roger


09-27-2006, 11:33 AM
If your crankshaft is in good shape that temporary fix I mentioned earlier might last a long time. Maybe[?]


09-27-2006, 07:17 PM
Thanks everyone for your very helpful input. I haven't removed the sump yet so have no idea whether it is the rod or main bearing that has died. It has breat oil pressure still, we found a bloke from the Stud club that had a spare 259 in his shed. It was only down at Goolwa, I'm in Murray Bridge, so an hours drive for such a hard to find thing is fantastic. Apparently it is rebuilt, (the other one was too though) he has lent it to us till we get either of the 259 or 289 we have here repaired. I pulled the 2nd motor out last night, & am having a mate put the 3rd one in tonight, as I am in the city overnight & can't do it. I find it hard to beleive that in 2 motors we have the same thing happens. Is this a common thing to old Stud motors?

09-27-2006, 07:20 PM
Sorry forgot to mention about the car. It is a black & white one, I didn't buy it off of ebay. Bought of a bloke in Adelaide, he aslo bought from a bloke in Adelaide, & I'm the 3rd owner of it.

09-27-2006, 08:08 PM
I havent heard of Studebakers being known for spinning bearings, it
can happen to any engine. If it happens to a rebuilt one, than it was
assembled wrong. A rod bearing is LOUD and sharp metallic sounding,
it will increase with load. A main bearing is a low deep sound, and
can get quieter when the engine is warm. A rod bearing noise will be
noticeably quieter with the spark plug wire on that piston removed.


09-27-2006, 09:04 PM
Wow, glad to hear you found a solution! I read this thread and wished I could come and help you get her going for that wedding!

Good luck, and let us know how the wedding goes!! [8D]

Robert K. Andrews Owner- IoMT (Island of Misfit Toys!)
Parish, central NY 13131

09-28-2006, 02:31 AM
hi again, I would like to suggest you join the SA studebaker club, one of the members in Adelaide stocks parts including bearings , I have owned many studes over the last forty years and only had one bearing problem due to a low oil level, so they are no worse in this respect than any other car , I would prime the oil pump before starting the engine after a rebuild, it can be done by removing the distributor and using a power drill in reverse with a long screw driver blade inserted into the drill ,other end into slot of the oil pump, this will circulate the oil around the engine. thanks for the info on your President , its different than the one which i was thinking about, not many 58s in Australia, regards. roger


09-29-2006, 08:24 PM
Gday again. The replacement motor for the replacement motor finally got finished last night. Fired it, and guess what... yes the 3rd Studebaker motor in this car in 2.5 weeks that has a stuffed bearing, but to top that this motor that was apparently rebuilt 2,000 mile ago also has a bad head gasket leak into the combustion chamber, therefore a bad misfire too. I guess the wedding car thing got screwed. Hows that 3 motors all of them with stuffed bottom ends. The 2 replacement motors were supposedly rebuilt not long before they were sold to fit to this car... NO WAY I"M LETTING THAT BLOKE EVEN REBUILD MY BIRO.

John Kirchhoff
09-29-2006, 10:39 PM
Three bad engines in a row....It appears you Aussies are hard on Studes and that worries me. My fiance is from Australia and she has her heart set on driving the Hawk. She does like hauling hay with my 1 ton Dodge flat bed...I wonder if I can convince her to drive it instead of the Hawk????

All those spun bearings makes me wonder. A loose or worn rod bearing usually knocks like crazy and beats the tar out of the rod bearing and skins up the crank. Stude cranks are forged steel and are much tougher than ordinary cast iron cranks in most big three cars. I had a rod bearing go out on a Chrysler industrial engine which has a forged crank. I don't know how long I ran it knocking because the engine sets behind the grain tank on the combine and I couldn't hear anything. I noticed it when I just happened to get off to do something. When I tore it apart, all that was left of the rod bearing was the badly battered steel shell but the crank journal wasn't hurt at all. A little crocus cloth and she was good as new.

A spun bearing is usually the result of no oil, yep, done that too but we won't talk about that one. With really tired pre-62?-63? V-8s you can have a full crankcase of oil but still run out of oil with extended high speed reving of the engine. The hollow rocker arm shaft has a hole drilled in one end (left front, right rear) where oil is pumped past the bolt holding it, where it then flows through the shaft and out through more holes to lube the rocker arms. The older engines have something like a 3/16-1/4" (something like that, been a long time) hole where the oil enters the shaft. On an well worn engine, the rocker arms are worn and let excess oil bleed around the bushings into the valve covers. This excess volume of oil overwhelms the drain hole at the back of the head where oil drains back into the crankcase. Oil ends up pooling in the valve covers. If the valve lifters are loose, excess oil will build up in the valley between both heads. Under normal circumstances, the oil drains back into the crankcase through another hole at the rear. If you get a lot of blow by in a worn engine, high reving increases the pressure from the crankcase coming through the hole and hinders the ability of the oil to flow through the hole. You end up having oil build up here also. Soon all your oil is upstairs with nothing down below and she runs out of oil which turns your high speed run into a slow walk home. Putting a brand new oil pump on an old worn engine only compounds the problem as it just pumps oil out of the crankcase even faster. Stude was aware of the problem and on later model engines put a much smaller hole in the rocker arm shaft (I think 1/8" but don't quote me) to reduce the volumn of oil entering the valve covers. On my '51 I brazed the big hole shut and drilled a smaller one in its place to reduce the flow. I believe they also increased the size of the drain hole in the lifter valley. Can't remember about the drain hole in the heads. I suspect these rebuilt engines had new or rebuilt oil pumps installed on engines with loose rocker arms and lifters. A fallacy is believing high oil pressure is good and low pressure is bad. I know something about hydraulics and pressure is nothing more than the result of volume pushing against restriction. As long as you have enough volume, an old worn engine with 20 pounds oil pressure on a good day is likely getting every necessary part lubed sufficiently. Conversely, a rebuilt engine with too tight rod and main bearings and too tight lifters and rocker arms is going to show wonderful pressure...until she locks up. Or if you really think you must have high oil pressure, block the oil flow to the lifters and rocker arms. That'll make your oil pressure gauge look happy but not for long. Here's something you "high pressure" fanatics can chew on. My Kawasaki motorcycle has a roller bearing crankshaft with plain bearing camshafts. Normal oil pressure is 1.8-2 pounds psi. Yep, you read right, 2 pounds tops. And this is an engine that redlines at 8