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Transmission options 53 Commander

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  • Transmission options 53 Commander

    Soon I will begin the restore of my 53 Commander. The car has a 63 full flow 289 and Flight o matic. The frame was altered for the one piece driveshaft. The car was badly rusted so I purchased a rolling chassis to move all the components from one car to the other. My question is the new frame is set up for the two piece driveshaft. I have two working transmissions, a second gear start flight o matic (I do have the first gear module, but do not know how to install it) and a first gear start DG250M. I have the drive shafts and bell housings for both. What are the pros and cons of using either transmission?
    51 Studebaker Starlight State Commander Coupe
    53 Studebaker Starlight Regal Commander Coupe
    62 Volvo PV544 Sport

  • #2
    lelshaddai, just experience talking here, but I am taking the DG250M out of my 55 and putting in a 350 Turbo GM transmission. The 250 starts off in low for sure, goes a few feet, almost swoons thru 2nd (for about 10 feet and then goes into drive)....even trying to go uphills. It has made the most terrifying noises and crashes I've ever heard without seeing parts or fluid on the road when taking off GENTLY in drive, so I always select low to take off. It shook so hard it feels like you've been hit by a truck, but seen absolutely nothing on the pavement yet. I assume it is either the lock-up thingy, or as another fellow told, the rear pump. Whatever, it is coming out of there ! On flat or downhill roads, it's OK as far as smoothness goes, but any incline at all that slows the car down, you have to floorboard it to get it to select 2nd. Very distressing on our steep hills and 15 to 30 mph speed limits here in town. And yes, before you ask, the bands are adjusted per the manual, the fluid is type F at the right level, and all the mounts, u-joints, and center carrier bearing are new. No suggestions about what YOU should do, but that's what I've experienced since Sept. 2016. Oh, my Dad's old Lark with the Flightomatic was totally trouble free, and if you wanted to"move out" a little quicker, we drop'd it into Low.

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    • #3
      Do you know for certain that either or both of these transmissions operate correctly? Have you driven the 53 to test it?
      RadioRoy, specializing in AM/FM conversions with auxiliary inputs for iPod/satellite/CD player. In the old car radio business since 1985.

      17A-S2 - 50 Commander convertible
      10G-C1 - 51 Champion starlight coupe
      10G-Q4 - 51 Champion business coupe
      4H-K5 - 53 Commander starliner hardtop
      5H-D5 - 54 Commander Conestoga wagon
      56B-D4 - 56 Commander station wagon
      60V-L6 - 60 Lark convertible

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      • #4
        The flightomatic definitely works. It was in my rusted 53 but it drove well.
        51 Studebaker Starlight State Commander Coupe
        53 Studebaker Starlight Regal Commander Coupe
        62 Volvo PV544 Sport

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        • #5
          A little off the subject but, I'd try to stay with the 2 piece driveshaft. Clearance problems can develop with a 1 piece at a stock or lower ride height. I've run a 2 piece in hot rod 53/54s with no problem.
          Dick Steinkamp
          Bellingham, WA

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          • #6
            Originally posted by lelshaddai View Post
            The flightomatic definitely works. It was in my rusted 53 but it drove well.
            What about the DG250M? Have you driven a vehicle with that exact/specific transmission installed and determined that it works properly?
            Last edited by RadioRoy; 04-13-2021, 10:18 AM.
            RadioRoy, specializing in AM/FM conversions with auxiliary inputs for iPod/satellite/CD player. In the old car radio business since 1985.

            17A-S2 - 50 Commander convertible
            10G-C1 - 51 Champion starlight coupe
            10G-Q4 - 51 Champion business coupe
            4H-K5 - 53 Commander starliner hardtop
            5H-D5 - 54 Commander Conestoga wagon
            56B-D4 - 56 Commander station wagon
            60V-L6 - 60 Lark convertible

            Comment


            • #7
              Strictly a personal observation. I find it surprising that you would have the poor experience driving a DG 250 behind a 289. I understand very well the issues that you are talking about. The lockup torque converter will only shift down by kicking it into passing gear. The extra torque of the 289, in my experience, gives a much more satisfying driving experience then with a 259. With and upshift dependent on throttle position (18-35mph) a light foot on the throttle makes for a premature upshift and torque converter lockup. Jaguar, in it's later use of the DG250, incorporated an upshift retarder, which effectively prolonged the top gear upshift. I reread the initial question and, correct me if I'm wrong, but you seem to be talking about a 259 behind the DG 250.

              Before I go farther I think that it's important for us to understand what you are looking for out of your setup.

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              • #8
                This car has a 1963, 289 with four barrel carb.
                51 Studebaker Starlight State Commander Coupe
                53 Studebaker Starlight Regal Commander Coupe
                62 Volvo PV544 Sport

                Comment

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