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1954 232 engine start up (HELP)

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  • 1954 232 engine start up (HELP)

    Hi, I started my rebuilt 232 engine tonight and have a question about oil pressure. At idle I have 20 psi and at 16-1800 rpms I have 30 psi. The shop manual states at 40 mph there should be between 20 -40 psi of oil pressure. My engine guy who knows nothing about Studebakers is concerned that is not enough. He suggest that I run a straight 40 wt oil instead of the 15w 40 that is in there now. Any suggestions would be appreciated. I also videoed the start up of the engine that I hope to post later. Thanks for you comments.

    Domenic Manera, Fire Chief
    City of York Fire Department
    York, SC 29745
    1954 Regal Starlight Coupe

  • #2
    I think your oil pressure is just fine. Run it with 15W40 Rotella T and you will be OK.


    • #3
      How long had the engine run when you took this reading? Would you say it was completely up to operating temperature?

      [img] [/img]
      Dwain G.


      • #4
        I'm a-gonna try this again... I had what I thought was a very good reply ready to go and I lost my connection to the outside world after I hit "post."


        I'm going to ask the same question as Dwain, what's the engine temp at which you're seeing these readings? I agree that those readings are "acceptable" but they are lower than I would expect for a fresh rebuilt engine with the engine cold. All the Stude V8's I've had would pop the OPRV even at idle when cold and running 15W40, so you'd be seeing about 50 PSI or more at all times. Hot I would see 15-20 PSI at idle and 45-60 PSI cruising. These were all later 289s so the readings might be higher than you can expect from your engine; I seem to recall that the earlier engines used a weaker OPRV spring.

        If these readings are cold, they might be acceptable but like I said they are lower than I'd expect from a freshly rebuild engine. Might want to check and make sure that you're not bleeding off pressure somewhere like rocker shafts, that infamous pipe plug behind the distributor, or maybe a stuck OPRV. Also before going too nuts might want to confirm the readings of your dash gauge with a known good mechanical gauge.

        good luck,


        55 Commander Starlight
        55 Commander Starlight


        • #5
          My 51 runs at 40 when worm at road speed


          • #6
            This isn't it is it? Sure sounds good!


            • #7
              My '53 232 pins the pressure gage at startup, enough to blow oil out the connections to the oil filter. After half an hour driving, at 60 mph it's putting out between 15 and 20 lbs oil pressure. It's been doing this for 30,000 miles.

              The consensus seems to be that as long as you have some oil pressure, it's enough. If the set screw behind the Distrubutor got left out, you don't have any pressure, if the pump is bad or the relief valve is bad, things get funny, but if you've got steady oil pressure, that's good enough.

              Don't worry about it.

              Tom Bredehoft
              '53 Commander Coupe
              '60 Lark VI
              '05 Legacy Ltd Wagon
              All three Indiana built OD cars