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  • Engine swap assistance

    Ok fellow Studenuts,

    Here is my problem with my 57 Champion flathead with 27,000 original miles. Some of you have guided me in the past and I value your opinions. Some of you who know me from eons ago know that I have been a purist. All attempts to solve my knocking problem have proved to no avail. A friend at school has given me, yes-given me a crate 4 bolt main GMC 350 with four speed tranny.

    I have anguished over this choice and given current monetary situations the most cost effective method is to change engines. I would keep this engine and restore at a later date. This would give me the horsepower to make SDC meets and keep up with traffic and not worry.

    Any advice in pointing me in the right direction will be greatly appreciated. I can also hear Gary and Tom P. in NY both gasping.

    Thanks, everyone!!!

    1957 Studebaker Champion 2 door. Staten Island, New York.
    1957 Studebaker Champion 2 door. Staten Island, New York.

    "Education is not the learning of facts, but the training of the mind to think." -Albert Einstein

  • #2
    If this is a sedan, and I assume it is, I would think that the place to start would be to start with a pair of engine mounts from a 65-66 Lark type. Then you'll have to fabricate a tranny mount and driveshaft... the rest is mostly wiring. Now whether this will all fit and clear all the '57 stuff I don't know. Also don't know what shifter will work, but I did pick up what I believe is a 55-57 Chevy Hurst shifter recently which I have yet to test fit in a C-K. Don't have a sedan/lark to try it in...

    nate

    --
    55 Commander Starlight
    http://members.cox.net/njnagel
    --
    55 Commander Starlight
    http://members.cox.net/njnagel

    Comment


    • #3
      quote:I have anguished over this choice
      quote:I would keep this engine and restore at a later date.
      Hi, FlatheadGeo,

      That is the politically correct way to approach the problem on this SDC site. However, once you get a taste of V8 power, that teeny flathead will be yard art. Don't know what rear gear you have, but guarantee it will need to be replaced to withstand the V8 torque and to lower the cruise RPM. Depending on the first gear of your Muncie or Saginaw 4-speed, a 3.07 or 3.31 would be good starting points. The easiest rear end swap is a Dana 44 out of another Stude V8 automatic, adding the Fairborn flanged axles. If you do a search here, you will find a dozen threads of alternative choices.

      Have fun!

      jack vines

      PackardV8
      PackardV8

      Comment


      • #4
        You might want to fully describe your problem here, and what you've done so far, and see if you can get a few more ideas of what to look at to fix the knock.

        If you still hit a dead end, as much of a hot rodder as I am, the cheapest and easiest way out of your problem is to get another flat head six.

        If you go ahead with the swap, Nate's idea of starting with Chevy/Lark mounts is a good one, but they most likely won't be a bolt in. You'll have to position the motor for clearance (steering box, firewall, radiator, tunnel, etc), set the proper angle of the motor/trans for the right pinion angle, carb angle, etc., THEN see where the front mounts end up. Then fabricate a new trans cross member.

        Then there is cooling (electric or mechanical fan, shroud, hoses, radiator big enough, etc.), throttle linkage, shift linkage, clutch linkage (major), exhaust (generally major to make a header for the left side due to clearance problems with the steering box and reach rod), drive shaft, electrical, fuel delivery, new rear end, new brakes.

        Then there is sorting it out after you get it up and running and find that the drive line is making weird noises or it doesn't cool or 50 other problems that can easily come up with a swap.

        There are far more failed and abandoned swaps out there than completed ones....for good reasons.

        It can be done for sure. It will probably take more time and money than you think, however, and a lot more headaches.





        Dick Steinkamp
        Bellingham, WA



        Dick Steinkamp
        Bellingham, WA

        Comment


        • #5
          Thanks for the comeback, gentlemen.

          I have had the car for approx. twenty years and am the third owner. Car came with 25,000 miles and I documented it back to the original owner in Brooklyn. It always seemed to have a slight knock in the engine. It now has 27,000 miles with the following done: new radiator, fuel pump and rebuilt generator and carb, nos oil pump was installed along with new freeze out plugs. My friend and I have replaced the rod bearings from the oil pan. I don't know if the camshaft is worn or out of round. I had the head gasket replaced. Car is all stock at this point. I have nos dana rears and will have to ascertain if one is a 44. Car has been to local meets and some in NJ. It has appeared, along with other Studes, in a local paper.

          New dash instruments are to be installed. The oil light seems to be problematic because it always shows low oil pressure even with the change in oil pump. The old oil pump was toast when removed.

          The flat six is simply too slow for today's driving. I have new front springs and nos gas tank to be installed. The drive shaft, as mentioned, will need to be changed.

          My friend and I will be doing most of the work with a former student's father who is a welder.

          I have driven many Studes with the flat and ohv six and this is the first one that has been problematic since almost the very beginning.

          This has baffled me since I know of someone in the Nash club who never changed oil, just added and the car ran ok, albeit it did smoke. My car has no smoking problems, starts right up and the low oil pressure light usually glows when I'm off the gas. The knocking is very bad at 40-45 mph and seems to disappear under acceleration.

          This is about all I can remember at this time.

          Thanks, again for the advice.

          George





          1957 Studebaker Champion 2 door. Staten Island, New York.
          1957 Studebaker Champion 2 door. Staten Island, New York.

          "Education is not the learning of facts, but the training of the mind to think." -Albert Einstein

          Comment


          • #6
            If you only drive it 2,000 miles every 20 years, I would do nothing.

            If the oil pump was "toast" when you replaced it, chances are more than the rod bearings are shot. I'd pull the engine, tear it down, and measure clearances. It has to come out anyway if you want to do a swap. If you find mains or other clearances way out, rebuild the 6 and put it back in. It may not be the BEST choice for high speed driving, but EVERY car is a compromise in some way.



            Dick Steinkamp
            Bellingham, WA



            Dick Steinkamp
            Bellingham, WA

            Comment


            • #7
              FlatheadGeo, I agree completely,
              quote:The flat six is simply too slow for today's driving.
              However, Dick gives good advice above, so be realistic. At the risk of being too forthright here, if a group of guys cannot solve a knock in a Champion six, is their undertaking an engine swap likely to be more successful?

              FWIW, if a knock
              quote:seems to disappear under acceleration
              it is unlikely to be a major mechanical part, such as bearings. These get louder under acceleration. Have you checked the U-joints? Once, on a Champion 6-cyl, a wrist pin bolt came adrift and the wrist pin knocked louder than would have thought that little bit of clearance would cause.

              As always, your car, your money, your decision. If it were me, I'd do the swap.

              thnx, jack vines.

              PackardV8
              PackardV8

              Comment


              • #8
                George - It will take a lot of time, effort, frustration and money (even with a free engine) to make that swap.
                I would suggest repairing the engine you have or get a simialr replacement. Then you could add some hop-up items to the flathead engine.
                My first guess was timing gears. They can make an awful racket when they are going bad. They usually sound like a rod knock. Have the timing gears in your engine been checked?
                I have owned three Studebakers with Chevrolet V8 engine conversions. It is not as simple a transplant as it may appear at first. A 350 or 400 engine does make a nice driver, however. I just can't see doing that to your car.

                Gary L.
                Wappinger, NY

                SDC member since 1968
                Studebaker enthusiast much longer
                Gary L.
                Wappinger, NY

                SDC member since 1968
                Studebaker enthusiast much longer

                Comment


                • #9
                  quote:Originally posted by PackardV8

                  FlatheadGeo, I agree completely,
                  quote:The flat six is simply too slow for today's driving.
                  However, Dick gives good advice above, so be realistic. At the risk of being too forthright here, if a group of guys cannot solve a knock in a Champion six, is their undertaking an engine swap likely to be more successful?

                  FWIW, if a knock
                  quote:seems to disappear under acceleration
                  it is unlikely to be a major mechanical part,[u] such as bearings. These get louder under acceleration</u>. &lt;snip&gt;

                  thnx, jack vines.

                  PackardV8
                  Hey Jack, I believe you may have inadvertently reversed the observation regarding (rod) knocks.
                  Once while on vacation I had to nurse a badly knocking engine over 4 hundred miles home, it rattled like the beejeebers at any constant speed, so I resorted to repeatedly accelerating up to 70 mph and coasting down to 45, hundreds of times (and 'bout drove my passengers completely bonkers) but it made the trip. I swapped in new rod and main bearings in my gravel driveway and drove it for a couple of more years before it started rattling again, then I did it yet again, but with not quite as good results, but by then it had over 300k miles on the original engine, never did break or let go, and I finally just drove it to the wrecking yard.

                  If I owned a similar '57 Champion , my choice would be, to be on the look out for a complete Commander or President "parts car", and then rebuild/swap everything needed to Studebaker V-8 power.
                  The advantages of using all Studebaker V-8 parts, is that such things as exhaust pipes, belts, hoses etc. would all be easily replaceable in the future, with no need of "adapting", "custom fabrication" or "machining" required to assemble, repair, or to replace parts in the future.
                  Even a 259 2 bbl w/FOM would be a dramatic improvement over the old flat 6.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Hey, Jessie,

                    As they say on TV, "your results may vary." However, whether the speed is constant or varied, the bearing clearance was the same and the engine had to make the same number of RPMs and power to get you home. By varying the speed and load, you did have a constantly differing perception of the knock and it did give the feeling of actively managing the situation. Was that up and down loading the thing which got you home, we'll never know.

                    Is it the general consensus of this forum pin/rod/main bearing knocks get quieter the faster the engine is revved and the heavier it is loaded?

                    thnx, jack vines

                    PackardV8
                    PackardV8

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Not consensus, but personal experience, low RPM, quiet engine, high RPM knocks, rattles, thumps, whatever. At 500 to 1500 my '60 289, while seemingly with different compressions ran quiet. Once it reached 1800 there was a guy inside with a hammer trying to get out. At 2500 he was on his way out.

                      So NO. the engine gets louder the faster and heavier loaded. Not quieter.

                      [img=left]http://www.alink.com/personal/tbredehoft/Avatar1.jpg[/img=left]
                      Tom Bredehoft
                      '53 Commander Coupe (since 1959)
                      '55 President (6H Y6) State Sedan
                      (Under Construction 564 hrs.)
                      '05 Legacy Ltd Wagon
                      All Indiana built cars

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Here's a couple things I have heard:
                        Early flat head sixes were know for piston slap, which was a result of a poorly designed wrist pin angle. Another type of knock was from the timing gear lash.
                        Both these phenomena were associated with the same engine of a friend who had it diagnosed many times. they apparently do not have any effect on the operation of the engine (to a point), only the peace of mind of the owner...

                        Bob Johnstone

                        http://www.studebaker-info.org
                        55 President State Sedan
                        64 GT Hawk
                        70 Avanti (R3)
                        64 GT Hawk (K7)
                        1970 Avanti (R3)

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Check oil pressure with a gauge to determine actual pressure. Noise at float which disappears or lessens under load could be a main bearing problem.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Gentlemen,

                            Thank you all for your advice including the one that we can't find the actual source of the problem and may attempt an engine swap. Believe me I have been considering this for a couple of years. Studegary knows my opinion on trying to keep a Studebaker all stock. But, times have changed and I no longer feel comfortable not being able to keep up with traffic. I don't intend to drive the car harder, just safer and safely. Even if that means that I must upgrade brakes, cooling, etc. Gary, I can just hear Bobby Heinson right now and Herb Keller needling me about my past mantra: "It ain't stock!" I drove them crazy years ago.

                            The old saying "Where there is a will, there is a way" will guide me in this endeavor, both mechanically and monetarily. After all, I have until next July 4th to finish.

                            Thank you all for the advice, opinions and encouragement.

                            George

                            1957 Studebaker Champion 2 door. Staten Island, New York.
                            1957 Studebaker Champion 2 door. Staten Island, New York.

                            "Education is not the learning of facts, but the training of the mind to think." -Albert Einstein

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Hi, George,

                              FWIW, we all can sympathize with
                              quote:times have changed and I no longer feel comfortable not being able to keep up with traffic. I don't intend to drive the car harder, just safer and safely. Even if that means that I must upgrade brakes, cooling, etc.
                              Dick's caution bears repeating:
                              quote:There are far more failed and abandoned swaps out there than completed ones....for good reasons.
                              It can be done for sure. It will probably take more time and money than you think, however, and a lot more headaches.
                              Over the past forty-five years, I have owned driven and modified more Studes than I can count. I would agree with you, literally not a single part of the drive train or braking system or safety restraints on a '57 Champion is safe when trying to keep up with current metropolitan expressway traffic. However, to accomplish your goal, you'll have to jack up the body and replace every part underneath. There is no logical stopping place. HotRodMagazine recently featured a beautiful '57 Corvette, and there was not one original piece on the car.

                              The 350"/4-speed will shred the rear axle, outrun the brakes and tires, the suspension won't handle the cornering loads wider tires will generate. Every part underneath will have to be beefed up and/or replaced with better/stronger/newer.

                              To get some idea of the scope of what you are attempting, take it to an area rod shop and ask them for a quote. You'll come away with wallet in a pucker and certain your team can do it for less. You can, but it will still take twice as long as you think, cost twice as much as you will admit to your wife and still won't drive as well as a used Honda.

                              Dick and I have been there, done that, got the files, got the smiles. As I said earlier, I'd do the swap if I were in your situation. Dick and I are just trying to make you aware of the magnitude of what you are undertaking. Keep the forum apprised of the progress.

                              thnx, jack vines

                              PackardV8
                              PackardV8

                              Comment

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