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View Full Version : Got a rebuilt 259/289 with automatic transmission?



JimC
09-25-2012, 11:55 PM
I've noticed over the last few weeks that the '63 is starting to blow a noticeably increased amount of oil and crud from the tailpipe. When you look at the pavement behind where I always park there are a series of little streaks directly behind that one side, and so it's becoming more and more likely that a rebuild is in my future (The motor has 103,000 miles on it and has never been rebuilt, so it's probably overdue!). With the fact that I'm going to have to service the transmission too, it might be a "winter project" (if I can find someplace to do it!).

Anyway, I'd hate to be without a motor for the several months it will likely take me to get this all done, and since my '60 is going to need a motor and tranny anyway, I'm toying with the thought of trying to find a decent engine/transmission combo that I could drop in the '63 for the winter and spring (or for good!) while I rebuild the other motor.

So, does anyone have a lead on a good motor mated with a decent automatic transmission out there? I'm not exactly made out of money, so while I'd love a freshly rebuilt motor, I'd really take anything that works well. I'm pretty sure this wish is right up there with wishing for world peace or a competent politician, but hey, you never know what's out there if you don't ask! :D

PackardV8
09-26-2012, 12:01 AM
Your project, your money, your decision. However, swapping a worn motor in and then swapping again for your rebuilt engine is a lot of labor.

A professionally rebuilt Studebaker V8 is about a $3000 bill. A pro rebuild on the automatic depends on who you find to do it, but usually runs around $1,000.

Yes, we've all done it for less. Some of us many times. If you don't have the shop space and the experience, it's an uphill battle to do it right when not made of money.

jack vines

Roscomacaw
09-26-2012, 10:29 AM
I understand the thinking - after all, we live in a motoring world with an ingrained SBC mindset. That said, 103K should result in a nice-running, broke in (not brokEN) Stude V8. The most successful Stude racin' guy on earth once told me that folks typically spend WAY more than they'd have to when fixing [what's wrong] with a Stude V8. In fact, he told me this when HE was in the Stude part biz. Imagine someone that candid and honest. Someone with THE credentials to make such a call.
Yes, you can spend as much as you want. But it sounds like rings and valve seals are all you really need.

RadCruiser
09-26-2012, 10:41 AM
I was actually thinking of swaping my 64 cruiser to a 350 with a 5 spd. I have 289 with 40k miles on it, motor was rebiult about 1000 miles back when I first got the car. Trans I didnt touch besides put new fluid in it, but it doesnt leak and is just a 3 spd auto. Ive put 2k into the motor, so for a decent offer I could let it go and start looking for a chevy block

PackardV8
09-26-2012, 12:48 PM
That said, 103K should result in a nice-running, broke in (not brokEN) Stude V8. . . . it sounds like rings and valve seals are all you really need. Agree in theory, disagree in practice.

In central CA where it's usually nice and warm, with a Stude which saw long trips most every time it started, which gots Shop Manual scheduled maintenance, then yes 100k it needed only need rings and valve stem seals.

On the other hand, in the northern tier where there is six or eight months of below freezing weather and every start washed the cylinder walls with choked gas and the school teacher drove it mostly the ten blocks to and from school and got oil changes by random, then she gave it to her teenage grandson until it died, that engine with less than 100k miles was completely trashed and only the block, crank and heads were re-usable.

Bottom line - if one knows the locale and the history of the use and maintenance, then mileage a reliable indicator of what a used Studebaker engine might look like inside. Otherwise, not always.

evilhawk
09-27-2012, 09:46 PM
really? 100k and these motors are dead? Seems kinda low to me. I mean, I know tolerances and such were not as good as they are now, but still 100k seems pretty low mileage to have to rebuild. I had a 1970s Chevy pickup with a 350 that had 160k on it and still ran well...

PackardV8
09-27-2012, 10:34 PM
really? 100k and these motors are dead? Seems kinda low to me. I mean, I know tolerances and such were not as good as they are now, but still 100k seems pretty low mileage to have to rebuild.

Yes, as I just said, mileage is at best only a vague indicator of engine condition. How many miles a Studebaker will last all depends on where it was driven, who drove it, how they drove it and who and how it was maintained.

No, 100k miles is not low for '50s-60s engines to need a rebuild. As you said, tolerances and machining continually gets better, but read the Studebaker Shop Manual and tolerances were incredibly loose. Back in the day, OEMs used cheap cast piston rings, umbrella valve stem seals which hardened and fell apart, motor oils weren't as good as today. Having one run 100k miles was the exception rather than having one run forever as is the case today.

Maybe, we'd better also remember in the northeast and midwest, most Studebakers, indeed most all cars rusted out long before they covered 100k miles. Up into the '70s and '80s, it wasn't unusual to see four-year-old cars and trucks with gaping holes rusted above the headlights and in the bottoms of front and rear fenders.

Bottom line - the OEMs had no interest in making cars to last. The idea was make the buyer have to have a new one every three years. Do it by changing the styling, offering more horsepower, or more bells and whistles or just make it fall apart.

jack vines

JimC
09-28-2012, 12:10 AM
really? 100k and these motors are dead? Seems kinda low to me. I mean, I know tolerances and such were not as good as they are now, but still 100k seems pretty low mileage to have to rebuild. I had a 1970s Chevy pickup with a 350 that had 160k on it and still ran well...
The motor runs and sounds wonderful. Truth be told, the only reason I'd entertain a rebuild is because if I'm going to take the engine apart to do rings anyway, why not do the whole stinkin' job right so I don't install the motor, only to pull it 20,000 miles later when something else goes bonkers.

Having said that, I do want to take a look at the valves before I pass any final judgement. If the rings are fine and all I need is a valve job, I'm certainly going to put a major rebuild on hold (though I would still be in the market for an engine/tranny for the '60). Like I said, the motor runs smooth as silk, and you almost hate to monkey with a good thing. (plus, valves are about a billion times easier than a full rebuild.)

Bob - I actually agree. Having thought it over for the last few days, I'm hoping it's something as simple as a valve seal issue. I guess I won't know till I look.

Jack - Your wisdom and insight is, as always, highly regarded. I've assisted my dad (who was a professional mechanic during my youth) on a few motor rebuilds, so I'm fairly confident I could get it done. Space consideration is a good point, as I currently have more projects than I have garage space. I asked my wife if I could degrease parts in the bathtub and she just stared at me. I'm not good at picking up her subtle signals, so I'm hoping that means "yes". <G>

Rad - That's a really tempting offer. I have to laugh, because there are several other Stude things I'd love to get my hands on, and they're all up near the new England region. From a shipping standpoint, that's about the longest haul from my house that's possible while still being in the continental US. Still, it's worth consideration. I'd love a 289. (I'd really love an R2, but that's another story altogether! :D)

evilhawk
09-28-2012, 12:37 PM
Hmm this almost makes me think twice about dropping a 63 289 in my Hawk as it has 90k on it. It seems to run smooth and starts up quickly. I had the heads off and the cylinders looked nice and clean. Ah hell, Ill run it till it blows then rebuild it with a turbo.

JimC
09-28-2012, 11:45 PM
Sam,

For what it's worth, I have complete confidence that I could probably run this motor another 100,000 miles without "needing" to do a full rebuild. It seriously runs every bit as good as the modern V6 in my van. I only "want" to do a full rebuild because from my perspective, if I'm going to pull heads and do rings, why not just just pull the whole motor? I have at least two oil leaks on the lower end of the motor anyway (not counting what the fuel pump spatters around) that would be nice to attempt to solve, and I'm one of those people who installs new curtains in a room which ultimately leads to remodelling their whole house, if you catch my drift ;)

But hey, you're right, that 289 is probably on it's last leg. I have a lot of family in Central Minnesota. I'm sure I could have my brother in law take that disaster waiting to happen off your hands and bring it down here so I can give it a proper burial. I might even pay you for that nightmare if you ask real nice. See what a nice guy I am?!?! :D :D :D

Dick Steinkamp
09-29-2012, 10:38 AM
I've noticed over the last few weeks that the '63 is starting to blow a noticeably increased amount of oil and crud from the tailpipe. When you look at the pavement behind where I always park there are a series of little streaks directly behind that one side,

That sounds to me like it's running too rich...and perhaps the heat riser valve is stuck closed.

If it has dual exhausts, the heat riser will channel the right side exhaust through a jacket in the intake manifold and out the left to warm the mixture. If the heat riser valve is stuck closed (common), it will never allow exhaust to come out the right side tail pipe. "Crud" coming out the tail pipe is generally (dirty) water from condensation in the exhaust system. It can be combined with black soot which is generally from an over rich mixture (engine still cold, choke stuck, float level too high, etc). If it is "marking" the pavement right under the tailpipe tip, and if the inside of the tailpipe is full of soot, it is almost certainly over rich.

Blue/gray smoke (and a quart of oil every 500 miles or less) would be a sign of oil burning. With our Studes, the first thing to go are the valve seals. When these go, you will first notice the oil burning under high vacuum conditions (rev from idle, trailing throttle down hill, etc). Replacing them is an easy 2-3 hour fix with the engine in the car.

Have you done a compression or leak down test?

evilhawk
09-29-2012, 11:15 AM
Sam,


But hey, you're right, that 289 is probably on it's last leg. I have a lot of family in Central Minnesota. I'm sure I could have my brother in law take that disaster waiting to happen off your hands and bring it down here so I can give it a proper burial. I might even pay you for that nightmare if you ask real nice. See what a nice guy I am?!?! :D :D :D


I almost fell off my chair laughing after reading this comment! ;)

1962larksedan
09-29-2012, 11:26 AM
Yes, as I just said, mileage is at best only a vague indicator of engine condition. How many miles a Studebaker will last all depends on where it was driven, who drove it, how they drove it and who and how it was maintained.

No, 100k miles is not low for '50s-60s engines to need a rebuild. As you said, tolerances and machining continually gets better, but read the Studebaker Shop Manual and tolerances were incredibly loose. Back in the day, OEMs used cheap cast piston rings, umbrella valve stem seals which hardened and fell apart, motor oils weren't as good as today. Having one run 100k miles was the exception rather than having one run forever as is the case today.

As you stated and too; most cars below the 1980's didn't have de facto low numeric final drive ratios either. In other words; quite a few 1960's Chevy's had 3:36 gears with Powerglides (1:1 top) along with 14" tires so they were screaming their guts out if cruising @ 65 MPH.


Maybe, we'd better also remember in the northeast and midwest, most Studebakers, indeed most all cars rusted out long before they covered 100k miles. Up into the '70s and '80s, it wasn't unusual to see four-year-old cars and trucks with gaping holes rusted above the headlights and in the bottoms of front and rear fenders.

Bottom line - the OEMs had no interest in making cars to last. The idea was make the buyer have to have a new one every three years. Do it by changing the styling, offering more horsepower, or more bells and whistles or just make it fall apart.

jack vines

So very true. I'm a Wash DC native and it wasn't unusual to see a 4 YO car with rotted through quarter panels, etc. and this was in the mid 1970's.

JimC
09-29-2012, 08:23 PM
That sounds to me like it's running too rich...and perhaps the heat riser valve is stuck closed.

If it has dual exhausts, the heat riser will channel the right side exhaust through a jacket in the intake manifold and out the left to warm the mixture. If the heat riser valve is stuck closed (common), it will never allow exhaust to come out the right side tail pipe. "Crud" coming out the tail pipe is generally (dirty) water from condensation in the exhaust system. It can be combined with black soot which is generally from an over rich mixture (engine still cold, choke stuck, float level too high, etc). If it is "marking" the pavement right under the tailpipe tip, and if the inside of the tailpipe is full of soot, it is almost certainly over rich.I didn't even think about checking the heat riser. Thanks for the idea!

But if it were stuck in the shut position, no exhaust would come out that tailpipe? I couldn't tell you for sure whether the exhaust output matches that of the other side, but I know I put my hand under both pipes and felt exhaust from both. I do know that the fuel mix is a bit rich, which I should have adjusted a long time ago. I think I've ruled that out so far just due to the imbalance in exhausts.


Blue/gray smoke (and a quart of oil every 500 miles or less) would be a sign of oil burning. With our Studes, the first thing to go are the valve seals. When these go, you will first notice the oil burning under high vacuum conditions (rev from idle, trailing throttle down hill, etc). Replacing them is an easy 2-3 hour fix with the engine in the car.

Have you done a compression or leak down test?I'm not seeing all of those signs, but I do go through a bit of oil. (Maybe a quart per 1,000 miles as a daily driver - I attribute some of that to the two smallish oil leaks. As it is with most of my car questions, I haven't actually had time to go to my garage yet to actually test the compression or look at anything. I thought I'd amass a pile of things to check, and knock them off the list one by one.

57pack
10-03-2012, 09:37 PM
Hello, Don't know if you'd be interested, I'm probably too far away. I will have a Studebaker 289 with a flightomatic from a 1962 Hawk that was running this past spring. Open to a reasonable offer if there is still interest.