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Chevy 292 in 1940 commander coupe?

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  • Chevy 292 in 1940 commander coupe?

    I'm stuck in my project. The 1940 studebaker frontend is the most over engineered, obtrusive thing I've ever come across. The steering is huge and in a horrible location to make for an easy motor swap.

    I originally wanted to go with a SBC, but it would require me to use fenderwell headers. I'm not into that look, so it's not really an option. I've considered a Mustang II frontend swap to get rid of the frontend and steering altogether, but I don't have the moeny or facility/tools to make that work. Even went as far as to consider an entire chassis swap with a dodge dakota. But after reviewing that, it didn't seem like a real good idea.

    So now I'm on to my next idea. What about using a Chevy 292 inline 6 cylinder? I'm thinking it should eliminate most of my problems and allow me to use the stock frontend as well as a TH-350 transmission. There's also plenty of hop-up parts available for this motor.

    My biggest concern is the length of the motor and whether it will fit in the engine compartment without having interferance with the front cross-member or radiator support. Also possible radiator interferance (I can use a mustang radiator and move it forward somewhat within reason).

    Has anybody attempted this type of swap before or have any advice on where I should go from here?

    Looking for 1939-1940 Commander coupe running boards.

  • #2
    I might as well jump right in and ask the first question anyone here is going to ask. What's wrong with the Commander six it had? Or, is your intention to rod this at any cost?

    Brad Johnson
    Pine Grove Mills, Pa.
    '33 Rockne 10, '51 Commander Starlight, '53 Commander Starlight
    "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.
    '33 Rockne 10,
    '51 Commander Starlight,
    '53 Commander Starlight "Désirée",
    '56 Sky Hawk

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    • #3
      Post some pics of your steering dilemma.

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      • #4
        FWIW a 4.0 Jeep 6 cyl. wont fit either.It will,however snuggle nicely in a '53 C
        Mono mind in a stereo world

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        • #5
          My first pick for a rod engine with an inline 6 would be a Vortec 4200 used in the Trailblazer (275 HP). These also are usually maited to a 4L60E transmission which has OD. But this just depends on what you're looking for. If this is an old school type rod, I'd keep the Stude 6 and hop it up with stuff from Cathcart's. Add a 3-spd with OD and it's 1950 all over again.

          Remember, hot rodding means engineering your own way of doing things. I've seen Pre-War Studes with V8's, including SBC's, so it can be done. It's just not a bolt in swap with a prefabbed kit available.

          ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
          Tom - Mulberry, FL

          1964 Studebaker Daytona - 289 4V, 4-Speed (Cost To Date: $2125.60)

          Tom - Bradenton, FL

          1964 Studebaker Daytona - 289 4V, 4-Speed (Cost To Date: $2514.10)
          1964 Studebaker Commander - 170 1V, 3-Speed w/OD

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          • #6
            I understand the engineering aspect, I'm an engineer by trade. But the function of engineering is to fill the need effciently while still being cost effective.

            Few of the other options I've mentioned would be cost effective. Many might even result in worse performance due to weight, steering geometry, spring rates, etc.

            The reason I'm not going with a Stude 6, is because the car didn't have one when it came to me. The cost of a rebuild on one compared to a SBC or more modern I6 would be unreasonable for the end result.

            Rodding is about using what you have available or what is readily available. The 250 and 292 were used for many years. I have a fresh rebuilt TH-350 sitting in the car already, so it makes sense to use a motor that would let me use it.

            Traditional isn't necessarily my goal, but it would be a cold day in hell when I'd put a computer controled fuel injection system in a car like this. The newer trailblazer engine might be a consideration, but I'm sure I'd have to come up with some sort of fabricated manifold to switch to carburation.

            I'd love to use the SBC I've already built for it, but the interferance with the steering column and box is a pretty big obstacle to overcome without some really really ugly fabricated headers.

            The only real concern I have about using a 250 or 292 is the length of the motor. With the larger size of the TH-350 compared to the original trans, It's going to push things forward a bit already. I'd hate to have the engine extending in front of the headlights if it's too long.

            I'm posting a few pictures of the steering/suspension setup. Also the clearance issue when I had a SBC in it. The only option was fenderwell headers at that time. I'm not big on fenderwell headers.

            I do appreciate the suggestions. I've been wracking my brain over the best approach for the last couple months.

            Picture when it had the SBC in it (note steering shaft location at rear):


            Picture at front (no possible way to route downward primary at cylinder #1 or #3):



            Picrure of suspension steering set-up:





            Looking for 1939-1940 Commander coupe running boards.

            Comment


            • #7
              Fatman offers a kit for this application, which is easy to install. Just get rid of that old technology. Also if you plan to use the SBC, there are probably 30 if no more different (driver side)exhaust manifolds for the SBC. Maybe I've simply been fortunate, but I've always been able to find something that will solve a clearance problem. 68 and up Chevelle/Malibu use a manifold design which solves many issues. There are many part numbers, but the genereal design is the same.
              Tempestan

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              • #8
                quote:Originally posted by tempestan

                Fatman offers a kit for this application, which is easy to install. Just get rid of that old technology. Also if you plan to use the SBC, there are probably 30 if no more different (driver side)exhaust manifolds for the SBC. Maybe I've simply been fortunate, but I've always been able to find something that will solve a clearance problem. 68 and up Chevelle/Malibu use a manifold design which solves many issues. There are many part numbers, but the genereal design is the same.
                Tempestan
                I'm a bit hesitant to go and throw $1800+ at a fatman frontend after already spending nearly $3k on a SBC rebuild. I'd like to be on the road within the next 6-8months and chucking money at this car $5k at a time is really going to crimp my enjoyment of food in the belly and a roof over the head.

                If running an inline for awhile will get me on the road while I can at least prepare to hemmorage massive amounts of money for better parts, I'm all for it.

                I'd most likely attempt the Dakota chassis swap before I'd fork out the money for a fatman front. I could buy 2-3 dakota parts trucks for the price of one mustang II frontend, and I'd still have the benefit of rack and pinion steering and independant suspension.

                I'm hoping that the inliner might work out. If not, I'm to the point financially where I might decide to bail on the project.



                Looking for 1939-1940 Commander coupe running boards.

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                • #9
                  Trump, several people have had good luck using a Cavalier steering rack in later-model Studebaker frames. I'd be inclined to leave the suspension alone, but graft in a Cavalier rack. That should free up a lot of room for exhaust pies.

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

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                  • #10
                    trump, I see a lot of things that you can do. The first and cheapest would be to put the steering box out side of the frame and use a Vega or similar side steer box that you can get new for less than $150. Get the Flaming River SS u-joints and some 3/4" DD stainless shaft material. I could go crazy after looking at those pics. Stainless a-arms, Aldan Eagle coil overs. Got to slap myself with some fender welting, starting to salivate.

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                    • #11
                      What Gord said.

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                      • #12
                        quote:Originally posted by Alan

                        trump, I see a lot of things that you can do. The first and cheapest would be to put the steering box out side of the frame and use a Vega or similar side steer box that you can get new for less than $150. Get the Flaming River SS u-joints and some 3/4" DD stainless shaft material. I could go crazy after looking at those pics. Stainless a-arms, Aldan Eagle coil overs. Got to slap myself with some fender welting, starting to salivate.
                        I've considered this and the cavalier option as well. The vega box idea ended when I started to consider the very potential ill-effects of bump steer. I'd also have to create some sort of center-link that would work with an outboard mounted steering box.

                        And I realized that if I mounted the box inboard I'd just be pushing the clearance issues from the front to the middle. Might work if I rigged up a cross-steer system of some sort, but in order to keep safe geometry, that box would have to hang pretty low below the frame rails.

                        The cavalier rack and pinion seemed pretty good at first, but I've had a hard time finding a manual rack. Seems all of the ones I can find are power racks and I don't want to run power steering.

                        Kicked around the idea of a reversed corvair box and drag-link system as well. I'm not sure if I'd trust it with the weight of this car.

                        Are there kits that allow mounting independenant suspension without having to use an integrated cross-member such as the Mustang II set-up? I'm fine with leaving the front X-member, but adding true independant suspension without having to re-do the front cross member sounds attractive.

                        As for all the fancy stainless stuff and coil-overs... not really my cup of tea, especially when I'm hesitant on forking over money on a relatively basic mustang II front.

                        I've put a 1940 ford on a S-10 chassis before. It was a giganic pain in the butt to get it to sit right, and required a lot of modification, but when I think about it, most of the issues revolved around the rear of the chassis and the kick-up near the firewall. The biggest issue I had up front was squeezing a mustang radiator between the frame horns.

                        I'm starting to consider just lopping off the front of an S-10 in front of the front kick-up and do a clip swap. I'd avoid the issues in the rear and should be able to work out the radiator issue because the grille would should sit above the front frame rails. Replacement parts are cheap and I could use a lot of the readily available S-10 V8 swap parts.

                        Brainstorming outloud at this point........



                        Looking for 1939-1940 Commander coupe running boards.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          You didn't put up any pics. that I could see the complete workings of the steering but Speedway Motors also has a rack that sits outside of the frame and runs only one arm to the center or side. There is a way to do this to warm the cockles of a CASO's heart. We just have to figure it out.

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                          • #14
                            It appears you've got the motor (oops- engine), Trans and everything needed to put the car on the road. It looks to me the best solution might be a custom made set of headers. #1 appears to be the most difficult. I solved the problem with Chevy truck headers slightly modified. Your's looks like running the #1 and #3 back and then down to join #5 and #7 and collect under the engine could work. Either jetcoat or wrap with header tape to reduce heat, and raise efficiency. Even a custom shop should be less than your other options. JMHO

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                            • #15
                              Well.... I'm going to go out on a limb here. I found a scrap yard south of town that is scrapping a '89 S-10 today. I told him to save me the frontend for $100. I'm supposed to pick it up tonight or tomorrow morning.

                              Once I get it here I'll start check on the possibility of using it for a swap. I'm thinking that it might just work. I'm willing to spend $100 on a chance that it will work. Taking a chance and ending up lucky just might be a better option than shelling out $1800+ for a new front. Besides, S-10 frontend parts are dirt cheap and pretty much available everywhere. They are well proven and can take a pretty good beating. Disk brakes to boot!

                              I'll keep everybody updated. If this works out like I hope, it should go really fast and be very easy. (Famous last words, right?)

                              Looking for 1939-1940 Commander coupe running boards.

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