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High speed rear end/axle and overdrive transmission?

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  • High speed rear end/axle and overdrive transmission?

    Parts help?

    Ok, I have heard of the overdrive transmission, but yesterday I was talking to my father-in-law about getting rid of the 49 commander and he said "do what you want... but that 49 has a high speed rear end/axle and that is worth more than the car"

    Can someone explain this to me? Like, for instance... why is this high speed axle desireable and is it something I really should keep? I just want to sell the 49 so I can make room for the other 40 I got from Sam.

  • #2
    If you didn't have overdrive, a highway geared rear axle ratio would compensate. 411 would be a stump puller, 331 would be highway. Some trucks, some M15's had a two speed rear axle, which would be very desireable.
    Dave Warren (Perry Mason by day, Perry Como by night)


    • #3
      Well, I guess I need to determin what "high speed rear axle" means. Everything I have found on the wonderful net says a high speed axle is a 2 gear/speed axle. I am not sure what it would be doing on a 49 commander then if they are for trucks????

      I am not so sure I need to put that on my 40 commander sedan. I will confirm what it is... odds are, I am selling it. The 40 I am working on has an overdrive transmission. Do I really need a high speed axle too?


      • #4
        No. The overdrive would work best with a "lower" speed rear axle. You would really notice it on hills and would be in and out of overdrive .... not the relaxed drive that Studebaker had in mind.
        Dave Warren (Perry Mason by day, Perry Como by night)


        • #5
          In the mid 70's a friend I grew up with bought an old Studebaker to chase around town in.It was just a plain-jane car,but it had a V8 and a 3 speed.I'm thinking Lark for some reason.It had a knob sticking out from under the dash,the previous owner told him it was a Columbia 2 speed rear,and to just leave it alone.He said it was useless for everyday driving.The cable was even frozen in place from lack of use.We put it on the lift at work and freed everything up,and found the guy was right.That car was stupidly fast,and if you shifted the rear into high at under 60 the engine didn't want to carry the load.He did have a couple of close calls with the car,pulling away from his brothers Corvette with the Corvette doing 115.All on bias tires in a brick that handled like a brick.We always felt it was something put in by somebody along the line,but there were signs of a rod/lever control put there before the cable.


          • #6
            Interesting, so it was, no doubt, added after market to turn the car into a rocket.
            I don't know why my father-in-law wants me to keep it then... he said it would fit the 40 commander and is a Studebaker part. I think at this point it is pointless to go that fast... I will be happy with a simple overdrive transmission.

            I guess I have only one question left then... take it off and sell it seperately from the 49 or try to sell the car as a whole? I really would like to have the space it is occupying, regardless of value. Any fair offer would be accepted then on it.

            I will definitely clarify though what my f-i-l means by high speed rear axle. If it is what he says, I am sure someone with a Stude truck might want it. As I have absolutely no intent on using it to race with.


            • #7
              Back in the day of bad roads, non-synchro transmissions and low powered engines, most cars were geared down below 4:1 to pull everything in top gear. A high-speed rear end was just anything geared above 4:1.

              The Columbia two-speed axle was usually added to 1930's - early 40's Ford cars and could be considered an overdrive turned sideways and mounted in the rear axle. The early Ford crowd would definitely pay big bucks for one.

              Medium and heavy truck two speed axles were always low and lower; usually 6:1 and 8:1 or thereabouts because the engines of the day needed all the gear reduction they could get to get over the mountains.

              jack vines


              • #8
                We always felt the Columbia was added,that thing was just way too high geared for any practical use around here.We never looked into it,the car was just a nothing car back then.It was a 15 year old rusty used car that he paid $100.for to run around town in.The main road through town is a concrete road,it retains the cold better than asphalt,so a lot of salt was used on it.Not many Studebakers survived long around here.My grandfather sold them and said on a quiet night you could hear em rust.


                • #9
                  In my younger days the "columbia butts" were all the rage for Ford V-8's. To take full advantage of the gear ratio you needed the power provided by the V-8 engine which is the reason they were usually found on Fords. I doubt a Stude 6 would have enough power to fully utilize the high gear ratio but maybe some one gave it a try. I would agree with your Father in law that if it is a real columbia rear end then it it is probably worth some bucks to an early V-8 restorer. I'd put a few feelers out to the Ford clubs and see what kind of offer you get for it.


                  • #10
                    I second what Jack Vines said. Without O/D that car would typically have a 4.11 and with O/D a 4.55 to 4.89, so by todays standards they were all stump pullers! The rear axle is nothing special (probably a dana 23 or similar) honestly I don't think it would be worth very much at all. If I were you I wouldn't hesitate to sell the car. Just my two cents.


                    1962 Daytona
                    1964 Cruiser
                    And a few others


                    • #11
                      Thanks guys, I am still waiting to hear form my f-i-l just exactly what it is as I am not climbing under the car any time soon if I can help it.
                      Irish, I hope you are wrong as I could use the money for restoration on my 40's. Either way... the 49 must go. If I can't find a home soon, it is going to the crusher. I just don't have the space.


                      • #12
                        Just some closure... the rear end is as suspected... my f-i-l said it is a Dana 333 or something like that... the only brand Studebaker used.
                        So I will close with one last question:

                        Should I pull it to put on one of the 40's? Both 40's I just purchased alreay have overdrive transmissions according to Sam... so is it redundant/necessary to have the high speed rear end? My f-i-l insists I won't ever see one of these again. Is he "remembering" wrong? he seems to think the high speed rear end is soemthing special?

                        Guys, any help or recomendations would be awesome... Even after all of the research, I am left scratching my head... do you use a high speed rear end with an overdrive trans or what?

                        Thank You much for any and all help!


                        • #13
                          NO. Stick with the overdrive and the Dana that came with it. If you pull the "high speed" unit, look for some tags attached to it that might tell you what it really is.
                          Dave Warren (Perry Mason by day, Perry Como by night)


                          • #14
                            If you could take some pictures it would help identify the rear end. A Columbia axle should be easy to spot. I suspect the car just has a higher than normal gearing. Like the stick shft 64 Plymouth I had with a 2:73 ratio. A dog from a stop light, but cruised effortlessly on the interstate.

                            "In the heart of Arkansas."
                            Searcy, Arkansas
                            1952 Commander 2 door. Really fine 259.
                            1952 2R pickup


                            • #15
                              Thanks guys, this was making me anxious. I don't want to dissappoint the f-i-l, but the cars are mine now, especially the two I just bought from Sam. I will stick with the overdrive tranhy in the original set up.

                              I will list the 49 on craigs list and talk to some of the closer clubs, like Pittsburgh etc... I don't want to scrap it, but I also don't want to spend a lot of tiem pulling off the trim, etc...