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Brand X motor swaps in Studebaker 53-61 C-K bodies

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  • Brand X motor swaps in Studebaker 53-61 C-K bodies

    I wondering how many guys have installed brand X motor and transmissions in 53 to 61 Studebaker coupe and hardtops what you did & what you wouldn't do again

    Was the motor & trans combo a fairly easy swap
    how the car preformed with the swap as expected any overheating problems
    or computer problem if it applied

    Since my stock 53 Commander coupe has no drive train just the stock rear end
    I want to go with a newer brand X motor
    this way i'm not taking away a stock Studebaker V8 that could be used for a stock restoration

    This option is about price & a no problem drive train
    so if i want to jump in the car and drive to Bonneville to be a spectator and back home i can do that
    I'm not interested in building a race car just something to cruise in and a long haul if i choose

    pro and cons welcome Thanks

    The Bonneville Studebaker C - K history has had more Chevy Ford V8 & flathead and Chrysler V8 motors in them the Studebaker's
    Last edited by powerhawkeye; 02-04-2011, 12:58 PM.

  • #2
    I am debating on putting a Mustang Cobra/Mark VIII 4.6 DOHC engine in a Stude. I have also considered a 5.4 blown Lightning engine.
    Jamie McLeod
    Hope Mills, NC

    1963 Lark "Ugly Betty"
    1958 Commander "Christine"
    1964 Wagonaire "Louise"
    1955 Commander Sedan
    1964 Champ
    1960 Lark

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    • #3
      Since I got my 53K in 1958 it has had at least 10 different engines in it, with a mi rad of transmissions. You tell me what you want to work with and I will tell you how to install it.

      Comment


      • #4
        a Chrysler big block fits well with great modification in between a C/K with a Nova sub-frame with the exception of the oil filter (needs cutting of a crossmember), finding a solution for headers that will clear the frame rail, and the steering column/box (fenderwells play a great role!). I also had to run a truck (rear sump) oil pan. We are using a radiator from a 64 Cobra that is 6 inches thick and has many, many fins per inch so overheating isn't a problem, but involves modification of the original mount. With custom motor mounts hood clearance isn't an issue with a regular dual plane intake and carb. The cost of a BB MoPar is minimal (, but parts are a little more expensive than any type of Chevy. They say that early Hemis drop right in stock frames and I know of a good many studes with SBC engines of all types, but I have the only BB MoPar powered C/K that I know of that still exists and there may be a reason for that... The only other one I know of was a dirt track car in the 70s...
        Alex Nelsen, certified Studebaker nut.
        Driving a 1954 Champion Coupe powered by a Chrysler 383.
        Lizella, GA

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        • #5
          this shows you the Nova stub
          http://a7.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphot..._4436982_n.jpg

          When we got the car. The engine now sits 2" lower and 4" farther back.
          http://a2.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphot...5_175291_n.jpg

          How the engine sits now.
          http://a6.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphot..._7264641_n.jpg
          Alex Nelsen, certified Studebaker nut.
          Driving a 1954 Champion Coupe powered by a Chrysler 383.
          Lizella, GA

          Comment


          • #6
            I have a 2000 LS1 from a Pontiac TransAm in my 53, it had a 350 Chevy in it before that. You can follow my engine swap from the 350 to the LS1 in the link in my signature. A very similar swap could be done with a 5.3 Chevy truck motor for less money than the all aluminum LS1, LS2, LS3, LS6 etc. Performance would be nearly as good. My car is totally dependable, starts and runs instantly, just like a modern car. It gets 27+ mpg on the freeway at 65 mph with the AC on. The swap was not simple, but not that bad either and well worth the cost and effort. I'd be happy to answer questions or give more details.

            Pat
            Pat Dilling
            Olivehurst, CA
            Custom '53 Starlight aka STU COOL


            LS1 Engine Swap Journal: http://www.hotrodders.com/forum/jour...ournalid=33611

            Comment


            • #7
              Time for true confessions here. I have had a Stude powered 54 Coupe for as long as I've owned the car. 259 to 259 hi perf to 289 to 289 Avanti power. Transmissions have been Automatic to 3spd od, to 3 spd od T85,to T10 4 speed. I have loved all of them for different reasons through the last 40 years. All through those decdades I have hated with great passion, the belly button SBC conversion. For the one reason that it had been done so many times, and it had simply become "the thing to do". I have to admit that now I am beginning to waver on the engine swap idea. I have a 5.3 LS engine and auto trans which was given to me. I could sell the Avanti 289 and 4 speed for 3 times what it would cost me to install the 5.3. The only question remaining is.... could I live with myself ??? As a hot rodder, I say "yes", but as a Stude power lover, I think my head may explode from the turmoil.
              sals54

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              • #8
                I have a 1990 vette TPI in my 54K. The one thing that no one has mentioned is the conversion to a one piece driveshaft. That will require the tunnel to be enlarged somewhat when you use the GM tranny.

                I'm quite happy with the outcome as I used the TPI motor, 700R4 and 8 3/4 GM posi narrowed with 3:42 gears. That gave me a GM bolt pattern to match the front disc brake conversion I made.

                Since that conversion, I've also made some changes to my 83 Avanti with a well built SBC, 200R4 tranny and 4:10 posi Dana 44.

                The reason I bring it up is just the experience factor. Now Then! If I were to start the build in the Stude from scratch I'd do exactly what Pat suggested. Get an LS1 in your favorite flavor with the matching transmission including all of the computer and wiring and bolt it in. If you read the right books it will take four connections to make the assembly think it's at home.

                Now, the rear end. Don't do what I did, keep the Studebaker bolt pattern with choice of rear end, Dana, Ford 9" or Mopar. Then buy a set of front brakes or a complete set from Jim Turner. This thing needs to stop as well as it goes. Mine stops fine but I did it before I knew about Turner brakes and it would have saved me a ton of effort and planning.

                Just read the articles about the new LS1's in any rod magazine and the choice is obvious unless you are going for a traditional look. It solves another issue. Hood clearance and no problem with the distributor close to the firewall. Just be sure to see that the accessories are mounted for clearance.

                JMO

                Bob

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                • #9
                  I have done a few sbc conversions to 50 studes , that is tight , the 53 and up is much roomier, any engine will fit in any car , within reason, really all revolves around your abilities with tools and fabrication, and the check book. None are snap and lock, with the engine and tranny in place , that is only the beginning, much more to do to make it all work. LOts of great fun in the process of doing and learning, enjoy, Allen

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                  • #10
                    I will repeat what has already been said. "Please yourself". It makes sense to go modern, and
                    the sbc is the easiest and the cheapest. It's a very simple swap. I put a 327 in a 53 coupe
                    a lot of years ago and drove it a good while,trouble free. I put a early 90's Mustang 4-cyl
                    and auto, in a M-5 and drove it 12 years. However, when opening the hoods, there was
                    always something missing. It was the "WOW' appeal of having a Studebaker V/8. I know
                    the feeling Sal has. But for me, I love the look and feeling of Studebaker power.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by sweetolbob View Post
                      I have a 1990 vette TPI in my 54K. The one thing that no one has mentioned is the conversion to a one piece driveshaft. That will require the tunnel to be enlarged somewhat when you use the GM tranny.


                      Now, the rear end. Don't do what I did, keep the Studebaker bolt pattern with choice of rear end, Dana, Ford 9" or Mopar. Then buy a set of front brakes or a complete set from Jim Turner. This thing needs to stop as well as it goes. Mine stops fine but I did it before I knew about Turner brakes and it would have saved me a ton of effort and planning.

                      Just read the articles about the new LS1's in any rod magazine and the choice is obvious unless you are going for a traditional look. It solves another issue. Hood clearance and no problem with the distributor close to the firewall. Just be sure to see that the accessories are mounted for clearance.

                      JMO

                      Bob
                      Since the entire drivetrain of my car is 67 MoPar B-body we have converted to a one piece drive shaft and our transmission tunnel is that from a GM 2nd gen F-body automatic car. Since it has a Nova front stub and rotors for a 1st gen Camaro/68-74 Nova are impossible to find with a Ford pattern, we had custom axles made. Also I forgot to add that we had to run our fuel line through the motor mount. There was a tie we considered parting out our 89 Range Rover to use the injected 3.9 liter rover engine or my grandmother's 91 Lincoln Continental for the detuned Windsor engine. I liked the retro, torque monster, gas guzzling of a big block MoPar which was already in the car!
                      Alex Nelsen, certified Studebaker nut.
                      Driving a 1954 Champion Coupe powered by a Chrysler 383.
                      Lizella, GA

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        My '54 C now has a 350 GM engine, 700R4 transmission, Dodge 8 3/4 rear end, with a Mustang II front clip.

                        I don’t understand Sweetolbob's comment about having to enlarge the tunnel, but I'm sure he is 100% correct... there must be some difference between my 350 and his 1990 vette TPI that I don't know about.

                        When I purchased my car, it was partially because it already had the 350 engine in it. I later replaced the existing 350 tranny with the 700R4, and added the Mustang II sub frame.

                        I DID NOT WANT a 350, but I DID WANT a car that I could modify in other ways (with a clear conscience,) and I chose not to do what I wanted to do to an original car.
                        I did not know at that time that a 700R4, or similar transmission could have been matched to a Stude engine. I’m not sure that knowledge would have made all that much difference, as I would have felt compelled to have at least a 259 or 289 engine, anyway… in a ’54… so, an engine swap of some kind or another would have taken place, regardless.

                        I actually planned to scrap the 350 engine, and go with something more, “different,” because, like Sals54, I had (still have) a dislike for the Belly Button engines, simply because most everybody goes that route. During the build process on the car, common sense came into play, and it was decided to keep the BB engine, ‘cause there was, otherwise, absolutely nothing wrong with it, it was already in the car, and like it or not, there are many practical reasons for using it.

                        But, back to the point of answering your question, powerhawkeye... most any manufacturer's engine... INCLUDING STUDEBAKER(!) will allow you to,... "jump in the car and drive to Bonneville to be a spectator and (get you) back home,..."

                        "This option is about price & a no problem drive train."

                        "No problem drive lines," can only be had at a relative price, regardless of who designed the drive line... you get what you pay for, whether newer, more modern, or well (re)built older.

                        If I were building my car today, I would be hard pressed to decide between a Studebaker engine, backed by a more modern overdrive transmission and drive line, or anything other than a GM engine.

                        If the engine in my car were to crater tomorrow, I would likely look for a (modern) Chrysler Hemi engine/drive line, simply because it's not a GM thing, and so many folks would choose to go another route. <G>

                        (6 cylinder Hemis are available, and would be something both different, and practical!)

                        You? All you have to do is figure out what YOU want to do, and DO IT!
                        Last edited by Studedude; 02-04-2011, 06:14 PM.
                        sigpic
                        Dave Lester

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                        • #13
                          Posted by studedude
                          I don’t understand Sweetolbob's comment about having to enlarge the tunnel, but I'm sure he is 100% correct... there must be some difference between my 350 and his 1990 vette TPI that I don't know about.
                          I should have been more clear in my explanation. The tunnel area I'm talking about is not the large tunnel section from the firewall to the rear of the 700R4 but the smaller section from the larger section to the rear seat. There just did not appear to be enough room for the 65 Impala drive shaft I installed so I raised that small section about an inch or so.

                          The area in yellow is what I replaced. Your results may vary.



                          Bob

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by sweetolbob View Post
                            Your results may vary.
                            See? I knew you were right!
                            sigpic
                            Dave Lester

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Studedude View Post
                              See? I knew you were right!
                              Thanks Dave, but as most know, my correctness is closer to Jim McCuan's tag of "Never in doubt but seldom right"

                              Bob

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