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  • Rebuilt engine request

    Bad news from Mike the Mechanic today. He says to start looking for a rebuilt engine for my '63 Champ. Without tearing it down he suspects the low oil pressure issue is due to a bad oil pump, bearings, crank etc. Pressure is about 45 lbs. at start up then drops to 0-5lbs. Engine starts rattling like crazy after a few miles. He doesn't want to do the rebuild himself. He says go ahead & drive it gently. It currently has a 259 that was pulled from a late '57 Commander that previous owner had rebuilt 15 years ago. Decisions, decisions. It's fine on short trips for now. I really like this truck & would like to keep it a few more years. Whaddya think?

  • #2
    Your mechanic appears not to be to good. To know there is a major problem with your engine and telling you to continue driving it knowing that the more you drive it the worse the problem will become is irresponsible advise, in my opinion. Continue driving it and the engine and components will suffer more damage and likely result in spending more money to fix then other wise would be the case.

    You can try looking around for a good running engine, but those are few and far inbetween. It's really hard to say just what shape it would be in unless you can see and hear it run, which is usually not the case.

    Unless you get real lucky and find a good used one, your best bet would be to stop driving the truck immediately and plan on rebuilding your engine. If Mike the Mechanic doesn't want to do the job, I'm sure there is another competent mechanic some where locally that would. It may cost a little more, but having a fresh rebuilt engine is the best way to go. Just make sure the shop is reputable, experienced with Studebaker engines/can read a shop manual, and the machine work done is minimal, enough to clean up any ware problem within the engine.
    Bo

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    • #3
      What Bo says...also, 2 and 2 is not adding up to four here. Mike may be a good mechanic but not comfortable with Studebaker engines. Is this the same truck that was banged up in a accident not long ago? Besides the body work, was there other trauma that caused some parts to be replaced under the hood? For example, was there any lines knocked loose like the oil filter return line? Could it be that the restrictor fitting on the return line was replaced with a standard fitting lacking the reduced restrictor I.D.? Did you wake up one morning to find your oil pressure suddenly gone? ...Or, did this happen over a period of time. There are several reasons for loss of oil pressure, few that would cause scrapping the entire engine. If you are not mechanically skilled to investigate further...look for someone who is. Someone with knowledge and an eager attitude would be a plus. I can't name them right off hand, but there are some SDC members from Myrtle Beach, Georgetown, and your area that could help you find a good mechanic.
      John Clary
      Greer, SC

      SDC member since 1975

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      • #4
        This condition could be a lot of things, if there is no obvious "hard metallic sound Knock" like a Rod Bearing, a drop in Oil Pressure like that is very often cam bearings, these get "forgotten" on a quicky "Overhaul" and eventially will fail.
        StudeRich
        Second Generation Stude Driver,
        Proud '54 Starliner Owner

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        • #5
          Thanks,guys.

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          • #6
            One other area to look at is the bottom of the engine oil pan. Through the walk of time, the bottom of the engine oil pan often has been mistakenly used to jack up the front of the truck. If that happens, depending on how much it was caved in, that reduces the amount of oil that would be drawn into the pick-up screen. That will reduce the output pressure and volume of the pump, therefore starving the components that require that pressure resulting in component failure. Through the walk of time I've seen this more than one would think. Hope this helps.

            Dan Miller
            Auburn, GA

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            • #7
              jclary wrote -
              ""Mike may be a good mechanic but not comfortable with Studebaker engines.""

              This IS a funny comment..!
              Sorry to get, "sorta" off topic, but this statment is like the "Studebaker" cast iron is harder than everyone elses...! Bunk.!

              A good shop is a good shop and the other way around. The shop that did all of my short block work...had never done anything to a Stude engine previously..! After I got everything home and did a good once over...NOTHING is off or wrong. His little bag of goodies...ALSO included the "hidden" pipe plug.!

              To add to that, the shop that did all of my head work...had never done any Stude work...! He made me a coupla pieces of tooling, specific...to the Stude head.. One of them...I'll bet few, if any even know about the possible error that most shops make.

              So...to say a shop NEEDS to know Studebaker engines, is ridiculous statement. They/he just needs to be good at what they do...understand engines..!

              Mike

              P.s. - Matter of fact..."I"...have never done a Stude engine rebuild previous to all of my head porting, roller cam, adjustable cam drive designing, shortblock work and assembly, previous to the work I've done since my first Stude (Lark, 2dr. wagon).

              Sorry for the rant...but I hate all this "Stude is wonderfull and really odd" stuff. It's just an internal combustion engine that has a coupla qurks that MANY engines of the day had..

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              • #8
                My comment was not intended to be a slam at non-Studebaker mechanics. Rather, I do know some good mechanics that concentrate on what they are familiar with and don't go out of their way to to work with anything else. I have a friend that is as good a diesel mechanic as there is in the country. He is also a big Ford nut and could just about assemble any kind of Ford engine blindfolded. He often jokes that the sorry GM stuff made him a good living for years.

                Back in the 1980's, when I did a complete rebuild on my 259...he would come by nearly every evening to see how I was doing. He was a great help. It was the first Studebaker engine he had ever helped rebuild. He jumped in and assisted with the excitement of a kid with a new toy. While we were working, he would comment about things that reminded him of similar engines, and quick to complement the design in areas that impressed him.

                My statement was more about attitude and the willingness to investigate, diagnose, and correct the problems. Someone who quickly suggest ripping out and chucking an engine just because it has low oil pressure is not the person I want working on my engine. I figure someone with that attitude either don't want my business, nor does he deserve it.
                John Clary
                Greer, SC

                SDC member since 1975

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                • #9
                  A poster on this NG (SN: cutitup) mentioned on 01/13/2013 that he has a low mile, rebuild 259 with tranny for $1500 (thread was titled "259 Rebuild"). Do a search for him and pull up his recent postings. If it is as he says, that may be just what you are looking for.

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                  • #10
                    Or pull the engine and bring it to me at York. Come to South Bend for the May meet and pick it up. PM me if interested. Jim

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                    • #11
                      Did you try turning the idle up?

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                      • #12
                        is it possible there is a non-Studebaker mechanic ??

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by jackb View Post
                          is it possible there is a non-Studebaker mechanic ??
                          I would not take a Harley to a Honda shop for repair, and would prefer not to take a Stude motor to a mechanic who has never worked on one. If not possible, I'd try to find a good, all around mechanic. Some folks are simply parts changers, and modern technology encourages that. For example, it's easy to find a mech who has swapped Toyota motors out with low mileage motors from Japan (where few motors are driven enough to wear out due to vehicle use laws there), but harder to find a mech who has actually worked on a Toyota motor. I had "Wayne's Engines" in SoCal do the machine work on a 56J motors he late 1990s; no complaints, except they installed an oil galley plug where one wasn't supposed to be. Luckily I noticed it during reassembly. In Louisville KY about 5 years ago, my favorite machinist (excellent mech, now deceased) rebuilt a Stude 289 and left the pressure relief valve installed when hot tanked. The motor was returned to the customer, who installed & tried to run it. A long, nightmarish story followed. The 289 I rebuilt last year was hot tanked by a guy who did not remove the galley plug ( same plug many folks forget to put back in). The oil galley for that side of the motor was full of gunk, I had to use a rifle bore brush and spray carb cleaner to clean before reassembly.
                          If a person has no experience with Stude motors, I prefer they not use mine to learn on. There ARE a few particulars that are important for the mech to be aware of. And too, there are mechanics and there are parts changers.

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                          • #14
                            I totally strip the block and heads of plugs before getting them cleaned. I get them back looking like new castings. My machinest is is a retired auto shop teacher that has a shop behind his house. Just 3 doors down.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by DieselJim View Post
                              I totally strip the block and heads of plugs before getting them cleaned. I get them back looking like new castings. My machinest is is a retired auto shop teacher that has a shop behind his house. Just 3 doors down.
                              Hi Jim, having personal experience with a 56J you restored many years ago, I would bring an engine to you for rebuild, with total confidence.

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