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TH200-4R swap into 56 Sky Hawk

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  • Transmission / Overdrive: TH200-4R swap into 56 Sky Hawk

    I just acquired a TH200-4R from a 1987 Cadillac with 68k miles. I want to install it in my 1956 Sky Hawk. Can someone who has done this share what they did for an adapter, flex plate, torque converter, cross member and shift linkage? Is it a good time to change to a one piece drive shaft? Guidance would be greatly appreciated. This is my first post in the forum. I am looking forward to spending some quality time here. Gary

  • #2
    Gary53, there are adapters available, and some of the more knowledgeable guys will tell you all you need to know, but please keep notes (and pics) and keep us posted about your change-over. I am considering doing that to my 55 Commander coupe too. Thanks, John

    We had a Sky Hawk for several years, loved that car !

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    • #3
      Originally posted by j.byrd View Post
      Gary53, there are adapters available, and some of the more knowledgeable guys will tell you all you need to know, but please keep notes (and pics) and keep us posted about your change-over. I am considering doing that to my 55 Commander coupe too. Thanks, John

      We had a Sky Hawk for several years, loved that car !
      Hi John, Will do. I am amazed by the knowledge and helpfulness of SDC people.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Gary53 View Post
        I just acquired a TH200-4R from a 1987 Cadillac with 68k miles. I want to install it in my 1956 Sky Hawk. Can someone who has done this share what they did for an adapter, flex plate, torque converter, cross member and shift linkage? Is it a good time to change to a one piece drive shaft? Guidance would be greatly appreciated. This is my first post in the forum. I am looking forward to spending some quality time here. Gary
        Adapter - A couple available. Folks on this board. Phil Harris, Fairborn Studebaker are two locations.
        Flex plate - Will come with the adapter, as will a converter/crank adapter.
        Torque converter - many to choose from, including the one currently installed in the trans.
        Cross member - Will need to make one yourself.
        Shifter - Up to the owner..! Many available. Check into Summit or Jegs. You probably wouldn't like one I have in one of my T-200-4R equipped Studes.
        Drive shaft - Yes. Some crossmember modifications will be required.
        Starter - Small Ford. Instructions in adapter box.

        Mike

        P.s. - Excellent trans. choice.
        Last edited by Mike Van Veghten; 01-20-2019, 07:41 PM.

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        • #5
          With the 200-4R I'd stay with the two piece drive shaft. That trans will require a very long shaft if replaced with a single shaft. I used a 4L60 in my '62 Hawk, and a 700R4 in our '53 (I put a TH350 in the '53 thirty years ago and recently swapped to the 700r4); they (TH350, 700R4,4L60) are 3" longer and the drive shaft is at the limit of what the driveline shops I could find will make in a 3" diameter shaft. Anything larger in diameter wouldn't fit the '53 tunnel.

          I made my own adapter, it's very much like the Myers or Fairborn adapters, but I incorporated rear engine mounts in it to replace the stock one that will go away with the stock crossmember and bellhousing to make room for the GM trans. I also made a new crossmember to fit under the new trans to replace the removed one. Both our cars have the "Wing" crossmember; I'm not sure if yours does or not, we added it to the '53; I used it for the rear trans mount, if the trans doesn't reach it an adapter plate can easily be made to reach. You will use the torque converter that belongs with the trans. I used a pre '85 GM 168 tooth flexplate, but a spacer/adapter is needed to fit the Stude crank, (a modified to fit flexplate/spacer will come with the commercial adapters). I used a Ford 5.0 small block starter.

          For a shifter our '53 has an '80s model GM steering column, that has been adapted to the stock steering box, it has the stock GM shifter in it. My '62 still has the stock Stude column. I used the first/reverse standard trans shift arm and linkage rod to attach to, and shift, the GM 4L60 trans. I do have a late model GM tilt column with the correct shifter for the 4L60, I plan to install some time in the future.

          For a trans cooler I used the in radiator cooler in our modern radiators as recommended/INSISTED by our trans builders (two different ones). They would only warrenty the trans if used with the factory type in radiator cooler.

          Click image for larger version

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          • #6
            Originally posted by bensherb View Post

            For a trans cooler I used the in radiator cooler in our modern radiators as recommended/INSISTED by our trans builders (two different ones). They would only warrenty the trans if used with the factory type in radiator cooler.

            [ATTACH=CONFIG]78184[/ATTACH]
            First time I've heard of this...did the builders give a reason? Not that it relates directly to me as all my vehicles are manual trans, just wondering out loud. cheers, junior
            sigpic
            1954 C5 Hamilton car.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by junior View Post
              First time I've heard of this...did the builders give a reason? Not that it relates directly to me as all my vehicles are manual trans, just wondering out loud. cheers, junior
              Not "bensherb", but I believe that the built in type acts as more than a cooler. It is more correctly a tempering unit. It can heat cool transmission fluid as well as cool hot transmission fluid. Or in other words, it works to keep transmission fluid at a more consistent temperature.
              Gary L.
              Wappinger, NY

              SDC member since 1968
              Studebaker enthusiast much longer

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              • #8
                Just a thought but will the Cadillac have the correct bolt pattern for the swap. I know most of the 2004R's had both BOP and SBC bolt patterns. Does the Cadillac also have the same dual patterns as I would think the adapter setup uses the SBC pattern.

                You'll be very happy with the swap. Bob

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                • #9
                  !987 Cadillac RWD models Fleetwood used the Olds 307 engine

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by acolds View Post
                    !987 Cadillac RWD models Fleetwood used the Olds 307 engine
                    Perhaps my memory is not correct on this, but I believe for 1987 the Cadillac Fleetwood was FWD and did use the 307 and the Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham was RWD and used the Chevrolet 5.0 or 5.7 litre V8s.
                    Gary L.
                    Wappinger, NY

                    SDC member since 1968
                    Studebaker enthusiast much longer

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by studegary View Post
                      Not "bensherb", but I believe that the built in type acts as more than a cooler. It is more correctly a tempering unit. It can heat cool transmission fluid as well as cool hot transmission fluid. Or in other words, it works to keep transmission fluid at a more consistent temperature.
                      Exactly. The issue is too cool can be as bad as too hot evidently.

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                      • #12
                        FWD and RWD transmission cases are totally different animals...

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                        • #13
                          If you use an in tank cooler and also use a remote cooler then plumb them so the hot oil will pass thru the remote cooler first then the radiator in tank cooler. This will allow the oil temp to be stabilized correctly and will provide extra cooling on those extreme hot days.

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