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Thread: 1955 Commander - Lifter Valley Breather???

  1. #1
    Commander Member
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    May 2016
    Los Angeles, CA

    1955 Commander - Lifter Valley Breather???

    Hello all,

    Need some education on this breather/vent that is mounted at the rear of the lifter valley cover. (see pictures)

    The part looks like a breather for the lifter valley and the PO had a rubber hose that ran through what looks to be a mini filter (with the name Carter on it btw), all the way back UP above the intake manifold then attached to a rear port located at the bottom of the carburetor (Stromberg WW).

    The breather part does not have any recognizable markings on it, only a "A" on it.

    In looking at pics of other Studebaker V8s, I see that the hose/tube that comes from this breather part is usually metal and curves DOWN below the cylinder head to "who knows where", instead of back up and into the carburetor like the PO had it. Many of the pics I see do not show me where this breather tube ends up, only that it curves down and behind the cylinder head and ends up on the underside of the engine.

    Can anyone share pics of their set up, and help explain to me how this system works and why the PO would run it this way? Pics below:

    IMG_2698.jpg IMG_2699.jpg IMG_2700.jpg Breather Tube.jpg

  2. #2
    Golden Hawk Member BobPalma's Avatar
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    Mar 2005
    Brownsburg, IN, USA.(NW suburban Indianapolis)
    What you have there is a later Positive Crankcase Ventilation System (PCV), EJ. The item that looks like a small fuel filter is a PCV Valve. It sounds/looks like it was connected properly as you found it.

    The earlier road draft tube extended down to below the engine. BP
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  3. #3
    President Member 345 DeSoto's Avatar
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    Jun 2013
    Skaneateles, NY/Port St.Lucie, FL
    Looks like an old LA Mandated PCV system. It's not needed anymore...

  4. #4
    President Member bensherb's Avatar
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    Jun 2015
    Tracy / Goleta Ca.
    The PCV valve you have there should rattle, if not, clean it out with carb cleaner. Then put it all back where you found it; it should flow tward the carb and be closed tward the valley pan (crankcase). It's a far better system than the open road draft tube dripping oil on the road and your driveway. The PCV valve was standard equiptment on most vehicles by 1962. I believe it took Studebaker until 1964 to make it standard but it was an option earlier than that.

    The PCV system helps to evecuate pressure from the crankcase by introducing a source of negative pressure to draw fumes into the intake to be burned while at low rpm. At high rpm the vacuum drops and the system works much like the road draft but still offers positive flow and the fumes still go into the engine to be reburned. At this point, pressure and fumes are also released through the "breather" which in early systems is usually open to atmosphere but in later systems is vented to the air filter side of the carb letting fumes be pulled into the intake there to be burnt. At low rpm the breather lets fresh, low pressure, air into the crankcase to replace the gasses being evacuated through the pcv valve. The valve acts as a check valve in the event of an intake backfire or overpressure on the intake to shut off the flow of that pressure or flame to the crankcase.

    Without the PCV system, with just a road draft tube, crankcase pressure must build to the point it can be forced thru the tube. Unfortunetly at this pressure it can also often push past seals creating leaks. It will also let vaporized oil cover anything around the tube as well as letting the gasses into the atmosphere and dripping oil that has condensed in the tube drip on the ground. Many have an oil condenser built into them to return oil to the crankcase, but they're not very efficient, especially once the tube gets dirty.

    On my '62 I removed the road draft and replaced the open breather caps. The new breathers are closed and breath thru hoses running to breather filters inside the air filter canister, there is one on each cylinder bank. I also have two pcv valves, one at the rear of the valley pan similar to yours and one at the front that is ducted into the lower crankcase. This system works quite well and has eliminated all overpressure problems I experianced at rpm with the road draft tube. The next step would be to add an active scavenge system.

    A good crankcase evacuation system is especially valuable in vehicles with forced induction.

  5. #5
    Silver Hawk Member
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    Sep 2005
    Washington, DC, USA.
    Minor correction to bensherb's history: positive crankcase ventilation was required on all cars sold in California in 1962, and all cars sold in the US in 1963. It was a Federal requirement.

    In the 1970s, a number of cities and states mandated retrofitting some pre-1963 cars with PCVs. The design of those aftermarket units and the way they were attached varied considerably.

  6. #6
    Speedster Member 56GH's Avatar
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    Jul 2011
    Sarasota, FL
    My 1962 GT Hawk final assembly date in South Bend was 4-25-1962 for sale to Pasadena, CA. The production order shows POSITIVE CRANKCASE VENT for $4.52.

    Plate 01-13 of the Chassis Parts Catalog shows the PCV valves on a 1963 6 and V-8. The respective part numbers seem to indicate that valves were available from 1961-1964 and varied in type. The 1961-1962 models seem to have been special orders. I'm also guessing like the others on the Forum that you have a later valley cover on your 1955 Commander V-8.

    Attached is a rather poor picture of my installation (it's tough getting in there.) The valve is an AC P/N 5648895 but I have no way of knowing whether or not it's the correct one or not since I couldn't find reference to it on the web. The plate number 0102-22 adapter that you show in shots #1 and #2 in your original post is also on my car and the hose runs from there, through the valve and into the back of my 2-barrel carb. The engine seems to run fine.

    IMG_2775 2.jpg
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by 56GH; 03-12-2018 at 06:46 PM. Reason: New photo
    Bill L.
    1962 GT Hawk

  7. #7
    Golden Hawk Member StudeRich's Avatar
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    Dec 2005
    Ferndale, WA, USA.
    Quote Originally Posted by 56GH View Post
    /Cut/I'm also guessing like the others on the Forum that you have a later valley cover on your 1955 Commander V-8./Cut/
    Post Number 1 is an Original Studebaker New York and Calif. required PCV System used on '61 to '63 V8's.

    jhicban: You "MAY" find from your Engine Serial number, that you have a newer replacement engine 259 or 289 from another Car in your '55, or at least Part of one.

    The Engine in Post number 6 "Had" a correct Factory PCV setup for a '62 but Now has a AC "Replacement" PCV Valve for the original Carter.

    The "Adapter" in Post #1 allows a '51 to '63 Lifter Cover to have a Draft Tube OR a PCV System.

    On the other hand, the '64 Lifter Cover had a threaded bushing welded in for a Threaded PVC on the Lifter Cover end and a Hose fitting on the Carb. end. This makes it BACKWARDS flowing, to most commonly available PCV's.
    Last edited by StudeRich; 03-12-2018 at 07:59 PM.
    Second Generation Stude Driver,
    Proud '54 Starliner Owner

  8. #8
    President Member bensherb's Avatar
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    Jun 2015
    Tracy / Goleta Ca.
    Quote Originally Posted by StudeRich View Post
    On the other hand, the '64 Lifter Cover had a threaded bushing welded in for a Threaded PVC on the Lifter Cover end and a Hose fitting on the Carb. end. This makes it BACKWARDS flowing, to most commonly available PCV's.
    Quite correct! Thanks for mentioning that Rich. That "backwards" PCV valve works out very nice and cleanly too, with the bare minimum of hose needed. Unfortunetly they aren't commonly available; if you don't already have one you need to use a barb fitting and more hose to install a common one, which is a bit clumsier looking.

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