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Anyone double-up flexplate for torque converter on 289?

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  • Clutch/Torque Converter: Anyone double-up flexplate for torque converter on 289?

    Hi, 57 GHawk, 289, Flightomatic; wondering if anyone has simply used old flex plate ( with a NEW flex plate) instead of the smaller diameter “ reinforcing plate”? Am sure I saw that recommended on here a few years ago but darned if I can find that thread! 0.098” vs thinner 0.072” flexplate; maybe reason enough to “ stick with how they built it”. But considering frequent “.cracked flexplate “ comments I see on here, also tempting to just double it up and leave out the reinforcement plate.....
    Also, why are the bolt holes “ off “ for the crank pattern? That little piece isn’t going to affect balance. And the flex plate hat a “ T” stamped in one side. Can only go one way to match up with odd crank bolt pattern I guess; curious. Thanks. Now to find some grade 8 , 1/2” bolts for the dang thing, only set of bolts I’ve lost ( and not found :-) after 7 years! Protected them well!!! Not lost, just put away where I wouldn’t lose them....somewhere.

  • #2
    Curt Lagasse in Edmonton made some flex plates out of high-grade steel circular saw blades. I don't know if doubling up would help. The usual prescription for cracked flex plate is to be sure that the bellhousing is properly dial-indicated to the engine block, so that the engine crank shaft and transmission input shaft have neither axial or angular misalignment.
    Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands

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    • #3
      My uncle did that with his Avanti 30 years ago and didn't have a broken flex plate again. The car is still going strong. The same crank is used for manual transmissions with longer bolts so the holes are offset for balancing the heavy flywheel. I'm sure it was cheaper just to set the holes to align on the flex plate than to re-drill the crank.
      Rob

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      • #4
        Thanks guys

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        • #5
          Shop around for an earlier one, they are something like .080 thick, the late ones are only .060

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          • #6
            I was visiting South Bend a few years back and was talking with Ed about special tools and he mentioned how there was a special tool for aligning the torque converter to bellhousing before tightening the torque converter to the flex plate. He said the use of this tool prevented the cracking that so many experience. The tool can be seen in the shop manual under torque converter replacement, in the automatic transmission section. How many have removed and replaced a Studebaker torque converter without this tool?

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Skybolt View Post
              I was visiting South Bend a few years back and was talking with Ed about special tools and he mentioned how there was a special tool for aligning the torque converter to bellhousing before tightening the torque converter to the flex plate. He said the use of this tool prevented the cracking that so many experience. The tool can be seen in the shop manual under torque converter replacement, in the automatic transmission section. How many have removed and replaced a Studebaker torque converter without this tool?
              I looked that up in the Shop Manual, and read how to use the tool several times. Considering gravity, I cannot get my mind around how it centers the TC, after rotated twice. IMHO, the only way it could possibly locate or maintain center would be if the engine was standing on its end. Perhaps reading about other auto makers' installation procedures of the same transmission may be helpful. I never had a broken flex plate, but was advised to double them, long ago by Lester Schmidt.
              Last edited by JoeHall; 11-25-2017, 09:07 AM.

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              • #8
                When the engine is running, the crankshaft certainly isn't 'centered'. It's being pushed down by gravity and by combustion. So when checking bell housing alignment or centering a torque converter, the engine should be horizontal.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Dwain G. View Post
                  When the engine is running, the crankshaft certainly isn't 'centered'. It's being pushed down by gravity and by combustion. So when checking bell housing alignment or centering a torque converter, the engine should be horizontal.
                  Hahahahahaha
                  Jerry Forrester
                  Forrester's Chrome
                  Douglasville, Georgia

                  See all of Buttercup's pictures at https://imgur.com/a/tBjGzTk

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Dwain G. View Post
                    When the engine is running, the crankshaft certainly isn't 'centered'. It's being pushed down by gravity and by combustion. So when checking bell housing alignment or centering a torque converter, the engine should be horizontal.
                    If you look it up in the Shop Manual, as mentioned in post #6, then I'd be interested in hearing your opinion.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by JoeHall View Post
                      I looked that up in the Shop Manual, and read how to use the tool several times. Considering gravity, I cannot get my mind around how it centers the TC, after rotated twice. IMHO, the only way it could possibly locate or maintain center would be if the engine was standing on its end.
                      No this is not true, gravity has NOTHING to do with this, IF using the Tool, no need to stand the Engine on it's end unless you are NOT using the correct Tool.

                      Think of it this way, the Circumference of the tool is precision machined to fit snugly into the Hole in the Converter housing, THIS takes all the load of the Converter Weight off of the 6 Screws that screw into the Converter, you already have the 6 Shouldered Crankshaft Bolts secured to the Flexplate, so now with the Converter bolts slightly loose they are Forced to Center in the other set of Flex plate Holes, and you tighten them to the Torque setting.... DONE and Centered!

                      That is, IF you have a Centered Converter Housing to Crankshaft Centerline.

                      FYI, I have used the J-Tool as I worked at Two Studebaker Dealers, a Post Studebaker Stude. Repair/Resto Shop and a Post Studebaker Large Stude. Parts/Vendor Store.
                      Last edited by StudeRich; 11-25-2017, 10:19 PM.
                      StudeRich
                      Second Generation Stude Driver,
                      Proud '54 Starliner Owner

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                      • #12
                        So this centering tool, Rich, is it basically a stepped disc with the smaller step sized for close fit in the rear bellhousing hole, and a center hole and stub to support the pump drive extension on the converter? That wouldn't be too hard to make up on a lathe.
                        Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands

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                        • #13
                          That's pretty much it Gord, it even has 2 "Ears" on the Housing end with bolt Holes to screw to 2 of the 4 Tranny bolt holes.
                          The "Hub" on the other end, is machined on it's I.D. to fit over the Converter Hub.
                          StudeRich
                          Second Generation Stude Driver,
                          Proud '54 Starliner Owner

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                          • #14
                            Rich,
                            Looking at the tool, and its' two bolt mount provision is what I meant about gravity. By slipping the rear snout of the TC into it, the tool is then supposed to hold the TC perfectly straight, in order to center itself in the flex plate after two rotations. Any flex in the tool, mount, or fit onto the snout holder would allow the forward end of the TC to drop (give way to gravity).

                            I guess the tool is a lot beefier than it looks in the vague picture in the Shop Manual, and there must be a clamping provision on the rear snout mount. If there is no clamping provision, I wonder how many times the tool can be used before it becomes out of calibration. IIRC, there is not a lot of clearance between the TC bolts and the holes in the flex plate, so it must be pretty close to center, or else the bolts would not go through.
                            Last edited by JoeHall; 11-26-2017, 09:14 AM.

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                            • #15
                              The J-6310 tool, or maybe it should be called a fixture, is cast iron, no moving parts, and machined for a slip-fit to the bellhousing and torque converter. It weighs about 8 lbs.
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