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  • Transmission / Overdrive: 5 speed

    I'm trying to do a little research on my spare time and cant seem to come up with much of anything. Does/can anyone give me any info on the 5 speed manual transmission that Studebaker offered in the Champ trucks? Just trying to learn a little bit about history. Even just pointing me in the right direction would work.

    Thank you all

  • #2
    um...all I know is those transmissions have a non-standard shift pattern, and I'm not talking a dog leg first gear...Im talking STRANGE shift pattern. cheers, junior

    https://www.google.ca/search?q=stude...2sJFnCskvy9LM:
    sigpic
    1954 C5 Hamilton car.

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    • #3
      They were New Process model 540, originally offered in bigger Stude trucks and many other trucks, too. Subsequently offered in Champs after a couple of good customers requested them by special order. Very big and heavy, and only offer about a 17% OD ratio. Clunky to shift, but lots of wow factor.
      Skip Lackie

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      • #4
        Use a 3550 from a late 90's Mustang. Almost a drop in for a Champ and you can get them for less than $1,000.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Skip Lackie View Post
          They were New Process model 540, originally offered in bigger Stude trucks and many other trucks, too. Subsequently offered in Champs after a couple of good customers requested them by special order. Very big and heavy, and only offer about a 17% OD ratio. Clunky to shift, but lots of wow factor.
          Agree, Skip. FWIW, the NP540 was offered with either a direct 5th or as an 18% overdrive 5th; since the overdrive version is an indirect top gear, it can be noisy at highway cruise.

          It's unclear as to when the NP540 was first offered in pickups; I once looked at buying a late '50s C-cab short box with that transmission and a shift pattern plate riveted on the dashboard. The seller claimed it was a factory special order, but we've heard that before. Without the production order, it's just unknowable.

          jack vines
          PackardV8

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          • #6
            From one of our many Forum discussions/Turning Wheels articles about these New Process 540, Direct and the 540 Overdrives, we did determine the 1956 Transtar 3/4 Tons were the First Studebakers to use them from the Factory.

            The Direct Ratio 540's were used almost exclusively in 2 Ton and larger Transtars.

            A rather important difference is, the Champs had no Band Parking Brake, since 1/2 and 3/4 Ton Trucks use the Rear Service Brakes for Parking.
            The 1 Ton and Larger "C" Cab Transtars have 2 Holes drilled and tapped in "Bosses" to mount the Band Brake, which CAN be drilled in the same "Bosses" in lighter Truck Cases.

            These appear tough enough and weigh enough to handle the Torque of a Cummins DIESEL!
            And yes I know that Studebaker Diesels used Clark Transmissions with their little 3 and 4 Cyl. Detroits.
            StudeRich
            Second Generation Stude Driver,
            Proud '54 Starliner Owner

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            • #7
              I owned a 62 Champ half ton with a 289 and that 5speed OD trans. I'd have to say that its not a good choice for a light duty truck. To big, heavy and clunky to shift. It has an odd shift pattern that takes some getting used to. Also it seemed to me, the floor had to have a huge hump in it to fit that trans. You didn't need to use first gear. I always started out in 2nd, sometimes 3rd! As has been said, the OD is only 18% so it didn't lower the rpm's that much. The 5speed Od trans is much better suited for a larger truck. I got pretty good shifting it, but no one else who tried to drive it could shift it without problems. A T-85 3 speed OD is a much better choice for a pickup.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by StudeRich View Post
                From one of our many Forum discussions/Turning Wheels articles about these New Process 540, Direct and the 540 Overdrives, we did determine the 1956 Transtar 3/4 Tons were the First Studebakers to use them from the Factory.

                The Direct Ratio 540's were used almost exclusively in 2 Ton and larger Transtars.

                A rather important difference is, the Champs had no Band Parking Brake, since 1/2 and 3/4 Ton Trucks use the Rear Service Brakes for Parking.
                The 1 Ton and Larger "C" Cab Transtars have 2 Holes drilled and tapped in "Bosses" to mount the Band Brake, which CAN be drilled in the same "Bosses" in lighter Truck Cases.

                These appear tough enough and weigh enough to handle the Torque of a Cummins DIESEL!
                And yes I know that Studebaker Diesels used Clark Transmissions with their little 3 and 4 Cyl. Detroits.
                The 63 Prototype Crew Cab Diesel has a NP540 OD in it. At 75 mph, purrs along rather nicely.

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                • #9
                  I’ve had several of the OD 5 speed trucks. While they are tricky at first, they are fun to drive and as said above, love to cruise at 70 mph. I don’t like driving those trucks faster than that anyhoo cuz of the straight axle and brakes.
                  BTW there’s one for sale near me for cheap. I’ll try to find it.
                  sals54

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                  • #10
                    I have an NV4500 5 speed in my '96 Ram, V10 and I think it is a great trans, good ratios, easy shifting etc. At approx 200 lbs it may be a good fit for your Champ and there must be some in dismantling yards as it was also used behind the Cummins equipped vehicles. I think OD is overdriven approx 25%.
                    Luck,
                    Bill

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                    • #11
                      Here's the 5 speed OD Champ for sale on CL just north of San Francisco. Cheap... $600 for a running driving truck. I remember when the transmissions were selling for more than that.

                      https://sfbay.craigslist.org/nby/cto...741757609.html
                      sals54

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                      • #12
                        I wonder if the Sliding Rear Window is what he thinks makes it a "Camper Special"!

                        That Champ is a 3/4 Ton 7E12-122, much heavier duty and rarer than a 1/2 Ton, also the Last Year for the "Good" through the floor Pedals.
                        StudeRich
                        Second Generation Stude Driver,
                        Proud '54 Starliner Owner

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by sals54 View Post
                          Here's the 5 speed OD Champ for sale on CL just north of San Francisco. Cheap... $600 for a running driving truck. I remember when the transmissions were selling for more than that.

                          https://sfbay.craigslist.org/nby/cto...741757609.html
                          If I were still in Calif. I'd be on the road to get it! Still, I have one here already & use the heck out of it. It tows my water trailer when fully loaded at 6000 lbs without a problem. Stock brakes were a weak spot until I installed one of Jim Turner's new disc brake kits for the 3/4 ton truck. Now braking is not a factor of concern. Mine was overheating but after a though block cleaning & Filled with Evans coolant that problem is gone. The only thing left to take care of is vapor lock when temps outside exceed 95. Plan there is fuel injection from FEtech. Elevation here is 5400 feet while a 120 mile trip takes me to the Colorado river so the drivability & mixture adjustment from the F.I. kit is a big plus.
                          59 Lark wagon, now V-8, H.D. auto!
                          60 Lark convertible V-8 auto
                          61 Champ 1/2 ton 4 speed
                          62 Champ 3/4 ton 5 speed o/drive
                          62 Champ 3/4 ton auto
                          62 Daytona convertible V-8 4 speed & 62 Cruiser, auto.
                          63 G.T. Hawk R-2,4 speed
                          63 Avanti (2) R-1 auto
                          64 Zip Van
                          66 Daytona Sport Sedan(327)V-8 4 speed
                          66 Cruiser V-8 auto

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