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3 speed overdrive hookup questions

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  • 3 speed overdrive hookup questions

    just bought a 3 speed overdrive tranny for my truck and it came from behind a car 170 flat head. I never saw it hooked up and am wondering about its connections and how the thing works. now it looks like it has 2 solenoids that are electric on the overdrive plus it takes a push pull cable hookup to operate it? each solenoid just has a couple inches of wire connected to them and there was no harness with the unit. what do these solenoid wires connect to and when should they get power? guess what Im asking is how does this thing work???? my truck is 12 volts and this tranny came out of a 6 volt car I believe , will this be a problem? can a 3 speed overdrive tranny be changed from column shift to floor shift and if you have the parts? is this a big deal? can you still get parts for the overdrive unit if needed and who has them? thanks again guys. will be test firing my new "used " motor hopefully today while its sitting on a trailer. will try and post some vid of it running. Gregg

  • #2
    A transmission from a Champion car cannot be used in a truck; at least not without making custom mounts and driveshaft. Champion (6 cylinder) cars used a Warner Gear T96 transmission. It is a small, light-duty unit, and barely adequate for that application. Commander cars (V8 or big six) and pickups used a T86 or T90 transmission, which is a stronger unit with bigger gears.

    The solenoid is the cylindrical unit on the left side of the tranny case, behind the shift levers. The governor is the smaller cylindrical unit mounted further back on the other side, and it is simply a centrifugal switch that enables the overdrive operation once driveshaft RPM reaches a set point.

    In view of all your posts, Gregg, I'd suggest you try to hook up with a more knowledgeable Studebaker person fairly close to you, and see if you can arrange to swap the car parts you have for the truck parts you need. There are enough people street rodding Studebaker pickups that intact drive trains should not be that hard to come by. Try posting your general location (city, state, region), and maybe somebody near you will respond. Also look up and join your local SDC chapter; you may find a mentor there who does not participate on this forum.

    Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands
    Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands

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    • #3
      thanks Gordon for the advice, in viewing all my recent posts you must also have noticed that I had my concerns about the car tranny going into a truck and asked that same question I believe yesterday which no one responded too. I also have a current question posted about swaping my bell housing from my old motor to the new block because I was considering running my old 3 speed. I have never been one to wait around for others to come and help me or find stuff for me. I have learned everything I know by researching and diving in and doing. if I come across a system I dont understand I ask questions and then take it apart. I bought this truck last saturday which had been sitting for almost 20 years(since 1982) with water on the pistons and hope to be driving it by next weekend with a motor swap, complete brake rebuild, major floor repair, and all DMV work done.

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      • #4
        Gregg, I salute your ambition. It's hard to judge another person's experience and skill level over the Internet. The nature of the questions you asked raised a red flag; that you appeared to be quite a green hand when it comes to the mechanical peculiarities of Studebakers. If you have good general mechanic's skills, it won't take you long to come up to speed on the Stude-specific stuff.

        If you want to install the '54 engine and it's matching transmission in your truck, go right ahead. It won't wreck the truck, but you will have some fitment issues to overcome. You can expect to have to fabricate spacers or special front motor mounts. I might be able to scare up a pair of truck-type front engine brackets for the 170 for you; they look like the car brackets, but are longer. You may also have to fabricate an adaptor to mount the car bellhousing to the frame crossmember. Studebaker did not normally use a mount of any kind under the transmission, you know. And you may have to have a slightly longer front driveshaft section made.

        None of this will be particularly hard to do, and the truck should drive fine that way, as long as you don't expect to be grinding up steep hills with a heavy load on it, which might well kill the transmission. Using it in a "collector car" capacity should be perfectly fine.

        You can get a 12 volt solenoid for the existing overdrive; the governor is merely a switch, and can remain as-is. Swap in a 12-volt generator or alternator. The six-volt car starter can remain as well, and will last fine unless you have to crank the engine for an extended period.

        Hope this helps.

        Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands
        Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands

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