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Champion 6 to Commander 6 Conversion

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  • Engine: Champion 6 to Commander 6 Conversion

    Will a Commander 6 bolt in place of a Champion 6, and assuming it will not, what would it take to make it work? This is merely hypothetical...exploring possibilities.
    Mike Davis
    Regional Manager, North Carolina
    1964 Champ 8E7-122 "Stuey"

  • #2
    Car or truck?
    Skip Lackie

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    • #3
      It's a hypothetical application, but I'm thinking car. What are the differences between the car and truck versions of these two engines?
      Mike Davis
      Regional Manager, North Carolina
      1964 Champ 8E7-122 "Stuey"

      Comment


      • #4
        The trucks came with both Commander and Champion 6s from 1949-60, so all the parts necessary to swap from one engine to the other can readily be obtained if you can find a parts truck that came with the desired engine. And there are a lot of things that are different: radiator, clutch and throttle linkage, motor mounts, bell housing, drive shaft, front springs, Pitman arm, and many of the accessories like starter and generator.

        Have never owned any Stude car older than a Lark (so am not expert!), but I understand that Commander and Champion cars had a lot of things that were different, including the frame, brakes, etc. This makes the swap more than just finding a different set of external attachments. Again, the right parts car helps a lot.
        Last edited by Skip Lackie; 07-08-2019, 04:18 PM.
        Skip Lackie

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        • #5
          Once the cars got a V-8 in 1951 the bodies were the same, but earlier when the larger cars had the Commander engine the distance from the firewall to the nose was longer on Commanders. A Commander engine could be made to go in a Champion, but you would have to make room for the longer Commander engine.
          "In the heart of Arkansas."
          Searcy, Arkansas
          1952 Commander 2 door. Really fine 259.
          1952 2R pickup

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          • #6
            Originally posted by 52-fan View Post
            Once the cars got a V-8 in 1951 the bodies were the same, but earlier when the larger cars had the Commander engine the distance from the firewall to the nose was longer on Commanders. A Commander engine could be made to go in a Champion, but you would have to make room for the longer Commander engine.
            What Howard means is, installing a Commander Six in a car built with a Champion Six would require either cutting out the firewall or moving the radiator to the trunk. The Commander Six is larger in all dimensions. Alternatively, move the radiator support forward and extend all the front sheet metal; in addition to the assorted chassis, brake and linkage changes already mentioned.
            "All attempts to 'rise above the issue' are simply an excuse to avoid it profitably." --Dick Gregory

            Brad Johnson, SDC since 1975, ASC since 1990
            Pine Grove Mills, Pa.
            sigpic'33 Rockne 10, '51 Commander Starlight, '53 Commander Starlight "Désirée"

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            • #7
              So it would be a rather extensive process. A lot of folks have swapped out the Champion 6 for a V8, either Studebaker or a Brand X, and I was wondering if just upgrading to the bigger 6 might be a simpler solution even if it did not provide all the umph of 8 cylinders.

              Thanks for the thorough responses, guys!
              Mike Davis
              Regional Manager, North Carolina
              1964 Champ 8E7-122 "Stuey"

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Skip Lackie View Post
                Have never owned any Stude car older than a Lark (so am not expert!), but I understand that Commander and Champion cars had a lot of things that were different, including the frame, brakes, etc. This makes the swap more than just finding a different set of external attachments. Again, the right parts car helps a lot.
                We know the Commander engine fit in the 1960 Champ, so how cool would it be to take a 59/60 Lark with a cratered V8 and drop in that heavy metal Commander - it would push a little Lark down the road pretty good...

                Comment


                • #9
                  Personally, while we're "speculating"...if I were going to launch a project to build a Champion with some real "get up & go!"...I think I would seriously look at some of the very light weight modern V6 or even turbo fours on the market. Even better, would be to fit the Champion body onto a different chassis altogether. If there are still some trucks using a true frame, perhaps a truck chassis.

                  Some creative metal work would need to occur for outer body support wings, getting the wheels to line up with wheel well openings, etc., but whacking away at a firewall, or fabricating engine mounts, to make a big hunk of cast iron engine fit is a big task in its own right.

                  In terms of performance, there's a lot of vintage SBC powered cars that would have a hell of a time keeping up with today's new small displacement engines(Toyota, Honda, KIA...) cruising down the interstate at over 80mph getting fuel mileage unthinkable a few decades ago while the driver is in cool air-conditioned comfort and on cruise control.

                  I think it would be cool to have all the benefits of a modern power plant with all the cool closed loop fuel injection gets you with a computer and all its sensors, etc., providing precise fuel/air ratio in real time, with a great rack & pinion steering, abs four wheel disc brakes, air conditioning, etc., etc. ...that is my speculation, but if you want to build one and claim IT'S ALL STUDEBAKER!...then you are free to ignore my suggestion.
                  John Clary
                  Greer, SC

                  SDC member since 1975

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by 62champ View Post
                    We know the Commander engine fit in the 1960 Champ, so how cool would it be to take a 59/60 Lark with a cratered V8 and drop in that heavy metal Commander - it would push a little Lark down the road pretty good...
                    Now THAT'S what I'm talking about! LOL
                    Mike Davis
                    Regional Manager, North Carolina
                    1964 Champ 8E7-122 "Stuey"

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      John, your point is well taken. As you speculated in closing, it's my preference to keep it "all Stude", but there are sometimes overarching factors to consider. Power, economy, and reliability are strong motives.
                      Mike Davis
                      Regional Manager, North Carolina
                      1964 Champ 8E7-122 "Stuey"

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        We pretty much covered a lot of the "Engine" changes necessary, but to do this depending on Car, Truck and Year, the Clutch Housing, Flywheel, Clutch, Transmission and Differential also need to be addressed.

                        By far the easiest swap would be into a Truck, since they had this 226 or 245 Commander Six all the way from '41 to 1960.
                        StudeRich
                        Second Generation Stude Driver,
                        Proud '54 Starliner Owner

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