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Thread: 65 Commander Axel / Brake help needed

  1. #1
    dcoffield
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    65 Commander Axel / Brake help needed

    I've just recently (2 years ago) acquired the 65 Commander my dad has had since 1976. It's the one made in Canada with the 283 V8 and powerglide automatic.

    My question is, are the rear end, brakes, and front spindles similar to any other make of car or do you have to get Studebaker specific parts? Are the wheel bolt patterns unique or can you use Ford/GM/Chrysler wheels?

    Anyone ever put disk brakes on one of these?

    It only has 44K miles and I would like to get it to daily driver status.

    Thanks for the help, Doug.

  2. #2
    President Member Rerun's Avatar
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    Disk brake conversions are available from a couple of vendors. I have used, and would highly recommend the kit from Jim Turner at www.turnerbrake.com for the front. A rear disk conversion is now available, too, but I don't have any experience with that one. I'm not sure that rear disks would be necessary for a daily driver. Note that you will need to change or modify your master cylinder for use with disk brakes.

    In order to use the disk conversion, it will be necessary to have either wheels from a disk brake equipped Stude (slightly different wheel) or a Ford or Chrysler wheel. New steel wheels are available through most tire retailers. I used 15 X 6" wheels NWRA#40273 or Hayes #82552 which were $37 new. These are listed for a Ford Ranger P/U. I also understand that wheels from late '70s through '89 Chrysler RWD vehicles also work.

    Jim Bradley

  3. #3
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    Thanks, that's exactly what I was looking for!

    So I'm going to need the new wheels to clear the disk brake caliper? and the wheel you listed will clear it?

    I'm tempted to put a larger chevy small block in it since it should fit in place of the 283. Anyone know if I will run into problems with the trans or rear end with a bigger engine (say 350 or 400)?

    Doug

  4. #4
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    First off its not a powerglide tranny(unless someone changed it out over the years). Its the same basic Borg-Warner Flightomatic tranny used in the Studes, just has an bellhousing to fit the McKinnon engine.

    It will take a lot more power than a 350 to cause it harm, Provided its in good shape to begin with.

    The wheels Rerun mentions are the same ones advertised in TW.
    They are the base(non fancy) wheels 15x6JJ used on Ford Ranger and Broco II 4x4's. They fit just fine and you can use the original size lugnuts and full size wheelcovers.

  5. #5
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    Ok, McKinnon engine and Borg-Warner trans. Now I've made a lot of assumptions by looking at the equipment, but it looks a lot like a chevy engine. Is it based on a chevy block? Chevy parts seem to fit it. I guess I just assumed that in 65 they got their engines from Chevy.

    Is the transmission similar to a powerglide? The shift pattern is the same PNDLR?

    Doug

  6. #6
    President Member Rerun's Avatar
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    Yes, the wheels that I mentioned will clear the calipers. The 6" wheel will also give a much better fit for your tires than the narrow Stude wheels. I would recommend 205-75 R15 for the best modern approximation of the original tire.

    I don't know which wheel Studebaker used in '65, but it is possible that you could already have the "disk brake" wheels. They can be identified visually in that they have a circular ridge stamped in them about an inch or so out from the lugs where the small hubcaps attach. If I recall correctly, they are 5" wide.

    Does anyone know for sure which wheels were used in '65 production? Did they go to the disk brake style for all cars, or continue to use two types according to the brake option?

    Jim Bradley

  7. #7
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    The wheels do have the raised ridge for the small hubcap. So it's possible I'm good on wheels, then.

  8. #8
    Silver Hawk Member N8N's Avatar
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    Rerun, there were both 4.5" and 5" wide "disc brake wheels." However ISTR that in '65 or '66 they switched to 5" wheels for all cars but I can't remember what year.

    In any case I'd measure a wheel before assuming they're good. If you read the specs for most new tires the mfgrs. usually don't recommend anything wider than a 195 on 4.5" rims.

    nate

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  9. #9
    Golden Hawk Member Roscomacaw's Avatar
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    The wheels were indeed, all, the type that could accomodate disc brakes for the 65 & 66 models. They were all 4.5" wide until somewhere in the '66 models when they went to a 5" wide version. If you've got the 4.5" variety, 195X75-15s work really well.

    The "McKinnon" IS, in fact, a Chevy engine at heart. So were the two different 6s they ended up using in 65-66 models. The proximity of the McKinnon plant (in Canada) was basically why they used those engines.

    The Flight-o-matic has NO lineage to a Powerslide. The FOM is actualy a 3-speed tranny that's set up to start in second gear. You can experience 1st gear by romping on the gas pedal from a standstill or by manually selecting low for take off and then shifting to "D" once you get to 10MPH or so.

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    1957 Transtar 1/2ton
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  10. #10
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    So does the McKinnon have the same connection to the transmission (bolt pattern and flex plate) that a sbc engine does? I have no plans to change the transmission but might up size the engine at some point.

  11. #11
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    The McKinnon uses the same bellhousing-no problem there. What hasn,t been brought up is the rear end. if its a 27,it could be too weak for that bigger SBC. A Dana 44 is a bolt in,I think.

    Hawks,Larks,and other critters!

  12. #12
    Golden Hawk Member Roscomacaw's Avatar
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    Yup, a 350, or such, would bolt right up. What Studebaker did was engineer a new bellhousing to adapt the FOM that they'd been using since '56, to the Chevy engine rear. Also entails a different ring gear arrangment as far as the torque convertor part is concerned but will bolt right up to the Chev crankshaft. The throttle pressure is controlled by a cable on the ChevyBakers whereas it was a piece of linkage and levers on Stude-engined cars, so the ChevyBaker FOMs ARE peculiar to ChevyBakers.

    52Hawk mentioned the type 27 rear which, while probably OK for the 283 2bbl, might well be marginal for anything bigger ...... unless, of course, you have a light foot[}]
    There's also a chance you DO have a type 44 rear axle and maybe even Twin Traction (similar to Positration). It could also be a flanged axle rear which would be a bonus too. The earlier Studes used tapered axles wherein the rear hub and brake drum had to be removed together with a special type puller. (Back in the 60s, this wasn't such a special tool as lots of cars had used tapered axles for years - but in this day and age they're a bit of a relic) If you HAVE flanged axles - and it's a fair possibility you do - it's alot easier to service the rear brakes.(Which by the way - flanged or not - would be adequate in conjunction with a disc brake upgrade on the fronts)

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    1957 Transtar 1/2ton
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    1958 Provincial wagon
    1953 Commander coupe
    1957 President 2-dr
    1955 President State
    1951 Champion Biz cpe
    1963 Daytona project FS

  13. #13
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    Ok, great. I'm clear on the engine and transmission.

    How do I identify what I have for a rear end?

    doug

  14. #14
    Golden Hawk Member Roscomacaw's Avatar
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    Looking at the case of the rear, there's what I call "gussets" - where the case accepts the axle tubes. Scrape away the grease on these gussets and you'll find either a 27 or a 44 cast into the metal.
    There may well be tags attached to the rear cover bolts that tell you what ratio the gears are and MAY even indicate that it's a Twin Traction rear. If there's no such tags, remove the oil filler plug and look straight in. If you see a ridged metal thing just a half inch inside the filler hole - that's the TT clutch pack. If not - it's not TT.
    The ratio of the gears is also stamped into the perimeter of the ring gear. But you'd have to remove the rear cover to see that. Of course, you can pretty much guess what the ratio is by jacking up the rear of the car, marking the yoke with respect to a fixed point on the axle housing and marking the edge of one drum with respect to a spot on the backing plate and turning the driveshaft by hand until you make one complete revolution of the drum and noting what number of turns and fraction thereof that it takes of the yoke to produce one full revolution at the drum. The common standard ratios you're likey to encounter are 3.07, 3.31, 3.54, 3.73, 4.10, 4.27 & 4.55 Being your car's a V8 automatic, I'd bet on 3.31 but it could be different.[8D]

    Here's a pic of the "44" as it's cast into the gusset of a case:
    http://images.andale.com/f2/115/106/...0_S2400398.JPG

    and here's a pic of what the TT pack looks like thru the filler hole:
    http://images.andale.com/f2/115/106/...7_S2400396.JPG

    Miscreant at large.

    1957 Transtar 1/2ton
    1960 Larkvertible V8
    1958 Provincial wagon
    1953 Commander coupe
    1957 President 2-dr
    1955 President State
    1951 Champion Biz cpe
    1963 Daytona project FS

  15. #15
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    Well carefully crawl under the car (or have it put on a lift).
    The Dana 44 will have a 44 cast into one of the reinforcing ribs for the center section. Cant remember which one just right now, but one of the ribs will have the model # cast into it.

  16. #16
    Golden Hawk Member Roscomacaw's Avatar
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    See above photo! It was Right lower gusset (web) in the case of the rear that's shown.[^]

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    1957 Transtar 1/2ton
    1960 Larkvertible V8
    1958 Provincial wagon
    1953 Commander coupe
    1957 President 2-dr
    1955 President State
    1951 Champion Biz cpe
    1963 Daytona project FS

  17. #17
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    Ok, I just crawled out from under, brushed the grass off of my back. There is a little metal tag that has '43-13' on the first line and '3.31' on the second line. So that would make it a 3.31 ratio. What does 43-13 mean (if anything)? I haven't found a number in the casting gusset. I'm looking at the rear of the axel, on the lower gussets. It's a little harder to see on the front of the lower gussets but I don't see anything there either. I've used a wire brush and rag. I might need to take a screw driver to it, to make sure it's not filled in with goo. Are there rear ends that didn't have the number in the casting?

    It's all pretty wet. Does that mean I'm in need of a new gasket?

    I'll give it another look, and post a picture if I can't find anything.

    Thanks again,
    Doug

  18. #18
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    Either I'm looking in the wrong place or there is no number in the casting. I've put up some pictures so you all can take a look and tell me what I have.

    Car
    http://www.dougs-stuff.com/Studebaker/DSCN2522.JPG

    Axel
    http://www.dougs-stuff.com/Studebaker/DSCN2523.JPG

    Tag
    http://www.dougs-stuff.com/Studebaker/DSCN2524.JPG

    Thanks again.

  19. #19
    Golden Hawk Member JDP's Avatar
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    It's a type 44, the two numbers are just the tooth count on the ring and pinion that give you that 3.31 ratio. looks like you should change the gasket and pinion seal.

    Studebaker On The Net http://stude.com
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