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1966 Studebaker Commander Transmission

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  • 1966 Studebaker Commander Transmission

    I recently purchased the 1966 Commander that was on Craigslist in Sacramento. https://sacramento.craigslist.org/ct...421921674.html

    The previous owners bought the car in 1969 and it shows a little over 104,000 miles. It had been sitting for about 20 years before a friend of theirs helped them get it running and put it up for sale. There is no rust on the body but it needs a few small blemishes worked and new paint. There is only surface rust on the frame and some rust flaking under the rubber floor mat that has me a little worried, but I did not see any rust from underneath. The engine runs good (needs a tune-up) and the front end is tight but it is harder to steer than my late model cars; this is probably just a sign that I haven't driven a Studebaker in over 25 years. The only thing wrong with the interior is the wind lace, a 1" crack in the dash near the radio, the kick panels and the panel under the rear window. The seats and door panels appear as new with the stock woven nylon/vinyl seats. I had to fix some wiring problems and address brake issues, but it is now a safe driver. It still needs some work to make it a reliable driver, and then I will turn my attention to some of the cosmetic flaws.

    The next problem that needs attention is the transmission; it has a T86 3 speed (no overdrive) that makes a loud knocking/clanking sound in first gear that increases in frequency as the speed increases. Once I shift to second and then third the noise is gone. I have a couple of questions:
    1) Does anyone have an idea what might be wrong with the transmission based on this sparse description?
    2) Does anyone know of a good transmission shop in the San Francisco Bay Area that could repair the transmission? I have never torn into one, only done R&R.
    3) Does anyone have a good 3 speed transmission that would fit a 1965-1966 283 V8 that I could use as a replacement? Preferably within a 100 miles of the Bay Area; or one that the seller is willing to ship.
    4) Ideally I would like to put an overdrive transmission in the car, but would need everything that goes with the overdrive: solenoid, governor, kick down switch, pull-cable, drive shaft, OD wire harness etc… Again it would need to be relatively close to the Bay Area as I don’t think shipping all of that would make sense. Again, I would want one that the seller is pretty sure is in working order.
    5) The car has a 3:31 non-Twin Traction rear end. How would this gearing work with an overdrive transmission?

    Thanks for any help,
    Ken Shuey

  • #2
    If I were going to replace a T-86 3 Speed, I would definitely find the T-86 Overdrive replacement, that would totally TRANSFORM this '66 283 into a different Car!

    The Engine Wear, Fuel and Oil savings even lower noise level of the Overdrive, are well worth whatever it costs.

    It will be good with a 3.73, or at the HIGHEST a 3.54 to 1 Ratio, WAY too Doggy in my opinion with that 3.31.
    I have a '65 Cruiser 283 with 3.73 that works Great.

    The 283 has less Torque than the Stude. 289 that most of us are used to, and would have a hard time getting started pulling those High Gears.

    Repairing this one will cost as much as a good used replacement, probably more.
    Last edited by StudeRich; 01-03-2018, 11:10 PM.
    StudeRich
    Second Generation Stude Driver,
    Proud '54 Starliner Owner

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    • #3
      I have often thought that changing to a 4 speed from the era (Borg Warner t10 or Muncie) would make for great improvement. Since every one is hit with the 5 speed idea to get the "overdrive" on the highway, 4 speeds are plentiful and relatively cheap in my part of the world. I did this conversion to a 64 Pontiac with a 283 back in the 70,s and left the automatic rear end in. Dont know what the ratio was but I was turning 1700 RPM at 70 miles an hour and had enough pick up in the first 3 gears to keep me happy, especially compared to the powerglide I took out. Only problem with this set up was heat in the winter. The heater at "low" engine rpm could not keep up with the wind chill of driving 70 mph in the frozen north. Froze for 2 winters before I dealt it. Has any one done this conversion to a 65 or66?
      Bob
      Bob
      Welland Ontario
      60 Lark Convertible
      64 Daytona
      sigpic
      "They were meant to be driven ... so keep on cruizin"

      Comment


      • #4
        Ken, sent you a PM regarding your car.
        Mike Sal

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        • #5
          Ken glad to see someone picked that car up. It looked almost to good to be true for that kind of money. Had thought of buying it having it shipped back here to Mn. But shipping costs would have killed any kind of profit on it. If I where you I would find a 5 speed used in some of the mid 80's chev 1/2 ton pickups. You may need to change out the bellhouseing not sure on that but would try to get the whole set up from the truck from the block to the rear end. That way what ever you need you would have. This way you would have a good starting gear and overdrive when in 5th.

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          • #6
            Ken, had the front fenders been patched? The front side trim is missing from them and there appears to be some type of non-standard badge instead of the "283" badge.

            I had asked the seller to share the car info with me for the registry, but they never replied.
            Mike Sal

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            • #7
              Not related to the transmission, but the car probably needs a complete/correct front suspension/steering lubrication (thrust washers most important). This may greatly help your steering effort needs.
              Gary L.
              Wappinger, NY

              SDC member since 1968
              Studebaker enthusiast much longer

              Comment


              • #8
                Mike,
                As many had noticed, the front fenders appear to be from an earlier Studebaker with the trapezoidal badge. I asked about the change and the person representing the owners did not know why the fenders were different. New trim and emblems came with the car, so I will add them before I have it painted. It also came with manuals; I found a receipt for the shop manual from 1969 for $12!

                Ken
                Ken Shuey

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                • #9
                  I think the 5 speed suggestion would be the one I would go for. I have a 700r4 transmission in my '65 Cruiser with the 283 and it works great if you want an automatic.
                  Joe Roberts
                  '61 R1 Champ
                  '65 Cruiser
                  Eastern North Carolina Chapter

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    The fenders appear to be '65 I can't see why anybody would have changed them, except if they were left over from the factory and put on the '66 or maybe for export or just left over factory parts. The date of assembly may shed some light on the issue. Early in 1966 may have used some 1965 parts. In the Studebaker Gold Portfolio book 1947 - 1966 by R. M. Clark displays a 1966 Studebaker Commander with all the new bells and whistles for 1966 however the car displayed is a 1965 Commander with dual headlights and a 65 grill. The emblem on the side of this "66"/"65" is the parallelogram similar to the Chevrolet bow-tie logo mounted horizontal on the fender.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by pinehurstbob View Post
                      I have often thought that changing to a 4 speed from the era (Borg Warner t10 or Muncie) would make for great improvement. Since every one is hit with the 5 speed idea to get the "overdrive" on the highway, 4 speeds are plentiful and relatively cheap in my part of the world. I did this conversion to a 64 Pontiac with a 283 back in the 70,s and left the automatic rear end in. Dont know what the ratio was but I was turning 1700 RPM at 70 miles an hour and had enough pick up in the first 3 gears to keep me happy, especially compared to the powerglide I took out. Bob
                      I took the 3 speed overdrive trans out of my 66 Daytona & installed a 4 speed (T-10) in it's place. I don't know the math but 1700 rpm @70 mph sounds terribly low. The T-10 in 4th gear is 1:0 to 1, no overdrive. My Daytona has a 3:31 residing in it now instead of the 3:73 it had before but the rpm's it turns I would say are around 2600 @ 60 mph.

                      As far as the 65 fender is concerned both my 66's have single headlamps. The Cruiser was built in December 65 & the Daytona the middle of February 66. Neither have dual headlamps, especially the Daytona being 409 V-8 numbers from the last one built so "using up parts" wasn't the thing then. I would look the backside of the fenders for the 65 molding holes being welded up or (worse yet) just filled with plastic body filler. They would have been located just above the horizontal beauty line back through the middle of the door handle & back to the quarter extension ending parallel near the middle of the tail lamp, not down low as on 66's.
                      59 Lark wagon, now V-8, H.D. auto!
                      60 Lark convertible V-8 auto
                      61 Champ 1/2 ton 4 speed
                      62 Champ 3/4 ton 5 speed o/drive
                      62 Champ 3/4 ton auto
                      62 Daytona convertible V-8 4 speed & 62 Cruiser, auto.
                      63 G.T. Hawk R-2,4 speed
                      63 Avanti (2) R-1 auto
                      64 Zip Van
                      66 Daytona Sport Sedan(327)V-8 4 speed
                      66 Cruiser V-8 auto

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                      • #12
                        The noise could be as simple as a linkage adjustment. If low gear is not fully engaged it will make a knocking sound. Check that before you pull the tranny.
                        1962 Champ

                        51 Commander 4 door

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Warren Webb View Post
                          I took the 3 speed overdrive trans out of my 66 Daytona & installed a 4 speed (T-10) in it's place. I don't know the math but 1700 rpm @70 mph sounds terribly low. The T-10 in 4th gear is 1:0 to 1, no overdrive. My Daytona has a 3:31 residing in it now instead of the 3:73 it had before but the rpm's it turns I would say are around 2600 @ 60 mph.

                          As far as the 65 fender is concerned both my 66's have single headlamps. The Cruiser was built in December 65 & the Daytona the middle of February 66. Neither have dual headlamps, especially the Daytona being 409 V-8 numbers from the last one built so "using up parts" wasn't the thing then. I would look the backside of the fenders for the 65 molding holes being welded up or (worse yet) just filled with plastic body filler. They would have been located just above the horizontal beauty line back through the middle of the door handle & back to the quarter extension ending parallel near the middle of the tail lamp, not down low as on 66's.
                          In direct drive, to turn 1700 RPM at 70 MPH in a Stude, it would have to have about 50" tall tires, or about a 2.3 to 1 ratio rear end. With a 3.07, in direct drive, with 27" tires, a Stude will move about 52 MPH at 2000 RPM, and about 70 MPH at 2700 RPM.

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                          • #14
                            I’ve had two cars with clanking in first gear, a 1941 DeSoto and a 1960 Morris Minor. In both cars, it to my loss, it was a chipped first gear.
                            sigpic1957 Packard Clipper Country Sedan

                            "There's nothing stronger than the heart of a volunteer"
                            Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle
                            "I have a great memory for forgetting things" Number 1 son, Lee Chan

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                            • #15
                              The OP's problems with first gear are likely the cluster gear, or the first gear's gear. One or both of the two likely has a chipped or missing cog. It is easy to determine by popping the cover and watching the gears go round while turning the input shaft by hand. However, it is obviously necessary to remove the transmission.

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