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Can 1965-1966 cars with automatic drive be push started?

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  • Transmission / Overdrive: Can 1965-1966 cars with automatic drive be push started?

    Hi folks,
    During our last meet, one of the cars had charging problems, hence starting problems.
    The owner was very puzzled when I told him that his car (1955 Champion Starliner) could be push started, even with an automatic drive.
    I'd like to write a summary about this for all automatic Studebakers. I'll include also towing recommandations.
    I found most of the data in my Chilton or Motor but I don't have a thing about the cars built in Hamilton during the last two years.
    I assume they were still equipped with Flightomatics and B-W 35 but I'd like to know for sure.
    Thanks in advance for confirming this or not.
    BTW, while doing some reserch about this, I found that the last automatic american car that could be push started was the 1969 Chevrolet Corvair with Powerglide. This came as a shock as I thought that this feature was still available in the late 80's.
    Nice day to all.

  • #2
    It might be in the shop manual. It was also in some owners manuals. It involves about the same procedure but I would not advise anyone to do it unless you are out in the middle of nowhere..

    .You probably know this but- It is a pretty dangerous operation these days, as there are more people about and cars on the road. People are too busy to realize what you are doing. A car not running is dangerous while in tow, or being pushed. Nobody's pushing on my nice bumper! . One huge issue is the fuel pump pumps and pumps. When finally lit off, it can blow the exhaust system apart.


    • #3
      In the days before perfect bumpers, my first car (1955 Champion coupe) refused to start when I was leaving university. My dad came to help me troubleshoot. Spark was good. It was turning over well. Gas was being pumped. Mystery. My dad pushed my car with his 1963 GT. Old tire in the middle of the two cars, quickly roped on. My car started at about 25 mph and a few hundred feet. Mystery was: It always started before and after that. Never did find any issue. (I am guessing it cleared out some excess fuel.)


      • #4
        An Automatic Transmission has to have a Rear Pump in order to be able to build enough Pressure to engage Clutches and Bands to turn the Engine.

        As far as I know all Studebakers with Automatic have rear pumps and can be pushed or towed to start.

        If someone could take a few minutes to look for a rear Pump at the Aluminum Case Model 35 Parts Catalog I would be sure about ALL Flight-O-Matics and Studebaker Automatic Drives, as I don't know that one it could be the exception.

        It is ALWAYS much preferred to Push Start a Car though, Tow starting is very tricky and can be dangerous.

        My answer to the whole concept is: "forget it, just use Jumper Cables!"
        Second Generation Stude Driver,
        Proud '54 Starliner Owner


        • #5
          Thanks for your replies and your concern. Of course, I would use this trick only on cars in perfect state and on a remote road, which was the case during the last week-end. I checked the B-W 35 parts catalog and it has a rear pump, so I can safely assume that all Studes can be push started.
          Nice day to all.


          • #6
            Easy way to test it? Find a long downgrade on a lightly-used road. Stop at the top, shut off engine, and then coast down hill in Neutral to gain some speed, shift to Drive, and see what happens. You are using gravity to "push" the car. All the same, as far as the transmission knows.
            Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands


            • #7
              This is a case where hills can be your friend. Growing up in hilly Seattle we were never far from the salvation of a nearby hill. Unless you were at the bottom of the hill, it was seldom much of a problem getting it to the top of the hill, and let gravity do the rest.


              • #8
                According to my 1961 Owners Guide, "In cars with an automatic transmission press and hold
                the accelerator pedal halfway down, wait until you are moving at 20-30 miles an hour, then
                move the selector lever to D or L position".
                For flat towing it says to put selector in N and do not tow the car over 30 miles an hour or
                further than 15 miles.


                • #9
                  Thanks for the details, Paul. This is consistent with what I found so far.
                  Nice evening to all.


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by gordr View Post
                    You are using gravity to "push" the car.
                    Shouldn't that be "using gravity to "pull" the car"? LOL. OMG I can't believe I just said LOL. And OMG.
                    Jerry Forrester
                    Forrester's Chrome
                    Douglasville, Georgia

                    See all of Buttercup's pictures at