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Thread: 1950 2R5 Engine Swap or Overdrive Installation: Recommendations Requested

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    Champion Member sampsonka4's Avatar
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    1950 2R5 Engine Swap or Overdrive Installation: Recommendations Requested

    I recently purchased a 1950 Studebaker 2R5 pickup with the original Econ-O-Miser 169.6-cu.in. engine (80-85hp) in good running condition, although it does not have overdrive. Also included in my purchase was a (as represented to me) good-running, but not used for many years, Power-Plus 245-cu.in. engine (100-102hp) with overdrive installed; the Power-Plus is currently sitting on a wooden pallet.

    I would like to get more top-end, highway speed drivability and would like to get this group's thoughts on whether to:
    1. Swap the engines for the larger 245-cu.in. and overdrive, or
    2. Keep the good-running 169.6-cu.in engine, but install the overdrive from the larger engine


    In scenario #2, should I expect to see a noticeable and material difference going from the 80 to 102hp engine? If the difference is negligible, my gut instinct is to keep with the known (and tested) smaller engine installed, and also save some labor money versus doing a whole engine swap.



    I welcome and appreciate any thoughts/ideas/experience on the above question.


    Thanks in advance!
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    If you want to keep it all Stude, I would use the 245 and OD. I hope you got the bell housing and support plate for it. I do not see anything on the back of that engine on the pallet. Other wise I would drop in a 4.3L Chev. V6 and S10 T5 5 speed. Oh! Oh! incoming, better get back to the Racing Studebaker Site.

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    Go to a overdrive trans first. See how you like it.

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    Remember you need to recenter the trans on the 170 if you swap it from the 245. I'd think it's easier to install the 245/OD combo and you'll end up with 20% more power if you can get it running first.

    Personally, I drop in the 4.3/5-speed but that's just me.

    Bob
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    Champion Member sampsonka4's Avatar
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    Bob, thanks for the reply. Would I need to make major modifications in order to get a 4.3L V6 engine installed? I have decided against doing a frame swap to an S-10 and would like to keep the truck as most original as possible (but willing to change the engine/transmission for better ride). Thanks again!

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    Generally a 4.3 into any pickup is a pretty straight forward install but it would still require new mounts, trans cross member and a conversion to 12V. I think the 245 upgrade sounds like the best alternative if it runs well and it will keep it close to stock.

    The personally comment in my original post is because I'm an old SBC guy and have generally been guilty of putting any number of them and their off spring into any number of vehicles. As you plan to be essentially be close to stock, I'd use the bigger stude engine if I could and plan to upgrade the brakes as a possibility. An acquaintance did do the S10 chassis swap with a 455 Buick as power and built a great truck which he has since sold but his comment on a chassis swap was If he had to do it again he would have used a Dakota chassis for the wider front track.

    IAC, it sounds like you would like a driveable vehicle so again, I'd see if the 245 was a decent engine as a start otherwise a quick search with Google will show you how to index and install the OD on your 170.

    Bob
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    Champion Member sampsonka4's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sweetolbob View Post
    Generally a 4.3 into any pickup is a pretty straight forward install but it would still require new mounts, trans cross member and a conversion to 12V. I think the 245 upgrade sounds like the best alternative if it runs well and it will keep it close to stock.

    The personally comment in my original post is because I'm an old SBC guy and have generally been guilty of putting any number of them and their off spring into any number of vehicles. As you plan to be essentially be close to stock, I'd use the bigger stude engine if I could and plan to upgrade the brakes as a possibility. An acquaintance did do the S10 chassis swap with a 455 Buick as power and built a great truck which he has since sold but his comment on a chassis swap was If he had to do it again he would have used a Dakota chassis for the wider front track.

    IAC, it sounds like you would like a driveable vehicle so again, I'd see if the 245 was a decent engine as a start otherwise a quick search with Google will show you how to index and install the OD on your 170.

    Bob
    Thanks again Bob, very much appreciate the color and advice. I'm new to all of this and this is my first Studebaker!

    Regardless of engine, I plan to upgrade the existing drum brakes with Turner disc brakes, which it sounds like is consistent with what you recommend.

    For background, I had initially planned to do a S10 chassis swap, but am now leaning more towards driving the truck a bit first to see what I like / dislike before possibly making such a huge change to the truck.

    Honestly, I (incorrectly) thought installing a 4.3L V6 would require a frame swap. If I'm understanding your post correctly, I would have to modify/beef up the existing frame to install a V6, but would not have to swap the frame for a newer truck, correct? Is there any reason then to go with a Chevy V8 350 over a V6, or is that a step-change in modifications over the V6?

    Also, I should have clarified that the previous owner did convert the original 6V to 12V with a Painless wiring kit, so that has been done.

    Thanks again!

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    The Commander six with overdrive makes that 2R5 a snappy performer. Quiet, smooth-running engine, with stump-pulling torque. I'd brace the engine right on the pallet, and hook up a battery and do a compression test. Since it's been sitting for years, give each cylinder a shot of oil, first. Normally, one does a dry, then wet (oil) compression test, but since it's been sitting for years, the "dry" compression is likely to be extremely misleading. The wet test will tell you if there is anything majorly wrong.
    Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands

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    President Member TWChamp's Avatar
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    The surprising thing is the Commander larger 6 engine gets the same good fuel economy as the smaller Champion 6.

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    One question: is the O.S. transmission for the Commander 6, or the Champion 6 that's in the truck? I think there's a difference. Plus if you don't have the driveshaft and everything else for the O.D. you've got to buy or fabricate them. I got lucky with mine, as I robbed a junkyard truck for everything I needed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mrs K Corbin View Post
    One question: is the O.S. transmission for the Commander 6, or the Champion 6 that's in the truck? I think there's a difference. Plus if you don't have the driveshaft and everything else for the O.D. you've got to buy or fabricate them. I got lucky with mine, as I robbed a junkyard truck for everything I needed.
    To add to this, be aware that the Commander 6 will not simply drop in to a truck previously equipped with the smaller Champion 6. Aside from the driveshaft (which can be shortened), there are a number of other parts (radiator, throttle and clutch linkage, shift linkage, motor mounts) that are different because of the larger/longer Commander engine. All of these would be available if you had access to a Commander engine-equipped parts truck, either in a junk yard or your driveway. It's still a lot easier than fabricating a bunch of stuff.

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    Champion Member sampsonka4's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skip Lackie View Post
    To add to this, be aware that the Commander 6 will not simply drop in to a truck previously equipped with the smaller Champion 6. Aside from the driveshaft (which can be shortened), there are a number of other parts (radiator, throttle and clutch linkage, shift linkage, motor mounts) that are different because of the larger/longer Commander engine. All of these would be available if you had access to a Commander engine-equipped parts truck, either in a junk yard or your driveway. It's still a lot easier than fabricating a bunch of stuff.
    The OD transmission is originally from the Commander 6 and is currently attached to it on the crate (out of sight in the picture).

    I had planned to shorten the driveshaft to fit the new O.D. transmission, but was not aware of the other additional parts you mentioned above; thank you for bringing that to my attention. I'll see if I can find a Commander engine-equipped parts truck as you mentioned.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sampsonka4 View Post
    Honestly, I (incorrectly) thought installing a 4.3L V6 would require a frame swap. If I'm understanding your post correctly, I would have to modify/beef up the existing frame to install a V6, but would not have to swap the frame for a newer truck, correct? Is there any reason then to go with a Chevy V8 350 over a V6, or is that a step-change in modifications over the V6?
    Either the 4.3 or 350 would be less weight than the original 6's. I doubt that you would need to stiffen the frame as you would probably be driving it more like a truck than a performance vehicle. The 4.3 is just a shorter package so there is potentially less interference issues. If Bob could put a Buick 455 in one, although a 55 model, a 350 should fit.

    Anytime you get into a frame swap the degree of difficulty increases but the gains are, of course, better handling, better brakes and generally better parts availability.

    I continue to think as long as you can get the truck up and running with what you have then you will have a feel for what you like and what is lacking. Then you can plan how you want to upgrade, if at all. There are any number of S-10 frame swaps on youtube and probably a number of Dakota frame swaps as well. Take the time to look them over, assess your skills and plan from there.

    The last thing any of us wants is to have a member get in over his head and dump a project.

    Bob
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    Quote Originally Posted by sweetolbob View Post
    Either the 4.3 or 350 would be less weight than the original 6's. I doubt that you would need to stiffen the frame as you would probably be driving it more like a truck than a performance vehicle. The 4.3 is just a shorter package so there is potentially less interference issues. If Bob could put a Buick 455 in one, although a 55 model, a 350 should fit.

    Anytime you get into a frame swap the degree of difficulty increases but the gains are, of course, better handling, better brakes and generally better parts availability.

    I continue to think as long as you can get the truck up and running with what you have then you will have a feel for what you like and what is lacking. Then you can plan how you want to upgrade, if at all. There are any number of S-10 frame swaps on youtube and probably a number of Dakota frame swaps as well. Take the time to look them over, assess your skills and plan from there.

    The last thing any of us wants is to have a member get in over his head and dump a project.

    Bob
    As usual, SOB makes excellent points. Agree, the best way to assess what is needed is to drive the truck regularly and make note of your use and the shortcomings therefor. A 2R5 with overdrive can keep up with traffic, barely. The brakes, with all new parts, prudently driven, are sufficient to hobby use. So there are many here who would say no modifications necessary.

    Then, there are those of us who change things because we want to and we can. Where your budget, needs and talents fall, only you can decide.

    A couple of clarifications for the OP.

    1. The Champion six is lighter than the two GM Vs mentioned.
    2. Any post-WWII V8 can be bolted into the Stude C-cab engine compartment. I installed a Packard V8, which is among the longest/tallest/heaviest extant.
    3. The Stude truck frame is sufficiently strong, as the rear wheels will spin early on.
    4. As to a frame swap; if one has to ask can it be done and what/how, maybe an indication of maybe don't go there.
    5. Modifications are a slippery slope. Naturally, PS, PB, AC all come up as "might as well while we're in there." and the cost and degree of difficulty increases exponentially. Then, once all the money and time, it's still an old truck and will never drive like the new ones for the same money.
    6. There's always a beautifully done completed truck for sale for about half what it will cost you to do yours to the same quality and condition. It may not be done exactly how you'd want it, may not be your choice of color, but it will be half the cost. Decide if you want the building experience or the driving experience.

    jack vines
    PackardV8

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    President Member TWChamp's Avatar
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    I have a tranny with overdrive that came out of a 1953 Champion. I bought it to possibly install it in my Model A, but that won't happen, so it's for sale.
    Model A's are fun, but if I need more speed I'll just drive my Studebakers with overdrive.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TWChamp View Post
    I have a tranny with overdrive that came out of a 1953 Champion.
    Car or truck? IIRC, the cars use the light duty T96 and the trucks got the medium duty T90.

    jack vines
    PackardV8

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    All good suggestions. One other option that has not been mentioned is to put a Stude V8 in it. As with the Commander 6, a V8-equipped parts truck would make it an easy swap.

    I know you didn't miss the suggestion to take it slow and drive the truck as is before you start removing parts -- but left unstated was the fact that all of us here have seen dozens of restorable or hot rod-able Studes reduced to near-junk status by botched modifications. (Take a look at ebay -- they come up all the time.) These are usually caused by folks whose skill levels don't match their grandiose ambitions. If you like doing mods and the challenge of fabricating parts (like SOB and PackardV8 above), then go ahead -- but don't try to do it all at the same time. You'll find plenty of help here for whatever you choose to do.
    Last edited by Skip Lackie; 08-14-2018 at 07:05 AM.

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    President Member TWChamp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PackardV8 View Post
    Car or truck? IIRC, the cars use the light duty T96 and the trucks got the medium duty T90.

    jack vines
    It was in a car that got rodded.

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    President Member BRUCESTUDE's Avatar
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    If the OD and 245 go together I'd use that set up; the 245 is a great motor for trucks! My buddy had a 3/4 ton 2R with the 245/OD set up, and he drove that thing all over Seattle, and beyond occasionally.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BRUCESTUDE View Post
    If the OD and 245 go together I'd use that set up; the 245 is a great motor for trucks! My buddy had a 3/4 ton 2R with the 245/OD set up, and he drove that thing all over Seattle, and beyond occasionally.
    Thank you for the suggestion. Just to confirm I'm understanding the possible configurations correctly, it is possible to use a car 245-cu.in. Commander with matching OD in my truck, but I could not use the car OD with my existing 170-cu.in. Champion motor, correct? I wasn't clear where the mis-match poses a problem?

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    Actually with a few small mods, a champion car engine will fit. Myself, I am not sure of the Commander, as it may hit the firewall.

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    I'm happy with my stock set up of Commander 6 w/ OD behind. Very seldom need 1st gear or any downshifting. OD w/ 4.55's out back give comfortable 55 mph in the travel lane....

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    Quote Originally Posted by sampsonka4 View Post
    Thank you for the suggestion. Just to confirm I'm understanding the possible configurations correctly, it is possible to use a car 245-cu.in. Commander with matching OD in my truck, but I could not use the car OD with my existing 170-cu.in. Champion motor, correct? I wasn't clear where the mis-match poses a problem?
    Although there were "HD" 245 engines for truck use, the car and truck versions are identical externally, and they are essentially interchangeable for modern driving. Truck transmissions originally came with different gearing, but a car OD trans will fit fine with the right bell housing. You might want to consider the purchase of a 49-56 truck parts book -- it would make clear what engines, transmissions, and bell housings will fit each other.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Skip Lackie View Post
    Although there were "HD" 245 engines for truck use, the car and truck versions are identical externally, and they are essentially interchangeable for modern driving. Truck transmissions originally came with different gearing, but a car OD trans will fit fine with the right bell housing. You might want to consider the purchase of a 49-56 truck parts book -- it would make clear what engines, transmissions, and bell housings will fit each other.
    Thanks Skip, I just ordered the parts manual for this truck and will have a great reference. I appreciate your thoughts and suggestions.

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    Although it will take some note-taking, the parts manual will show you which assemblies can be interchanged. Basically, a different bell housing is required for each engine-transmission combination. However, the car and truck transmissions share many parts -- but you might need a car parts book to know that. A hint: part numbers unique to trucks start with a 6 or 16. Parts that were first used on cars often start with 5 or 15 -- but they often were used on trucks, too.

    FYI: Jerry Kurtz (jerezstude on this forum) rebuilds Stude transmissions and also can modify a truck trans with easier-shifting car gears.

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