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  • Transmission / Overdrive: automatic conversion

    I was thinking about putting a GM automatic in my 60 hawk with standard OD. Myers Studebaker parts sells a conversion kit. Is there someone else that you would recommend? and Will the drive shaft fit, is there some other that will interchange, or do you have to have one custom made?
    Thanx, Yogi
    Last edited by Yogi; 05-01-2020, 09:49 AM.
    '60 Hawk

  • #2
    Does your Hawk already have an automatic transmission?

    Never mind. I see that the Hawk has a standard transmission. I didn't see that on first reading of the post.

    Unless an AOD is installed, the rear axle ratio will have to be changed.
    Last edited by RadioRoy; 05-01-2020, 12:09 PM.
    RadioRoy, specializing in AM/FM conversions with auxiliary inputs for iPod/satellite/CD player. In the old car radio business since 1985.

    17A-S2 - 50 Commander convertible
    10G-C1 - 51 Champion starlight coupe
    10G-Q4 - 51 Champion business coupe
    4H-K5 - 53 Commander starliner hardtop
    5H-D5 - 54 Commander Conestoga wagon
    56B-D4 - 56 Commander station wagon
    60V-L6 - 60 Lark convertible

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Yogi View Post
      I was thinking about putting a GM automatic in my 60 hawk with standard OD. Myers Studebaker parts sells a conversion kit. Is there someone else that you would recommend? and Will the drive shaft fit, is there some other that will interchange, or do you have to have one custom made?
      Thanx, Yogi
      4L80, 200R4, 700R4?
      You will need to do a lot of fab work.
      Crossmember, driveshaft shortening, linkage work, TV cable setup.
      Not for the timid, but a nice swap when all done and sorted out.
      HTIH (Hope The Info Helps)

      Jeff


      Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please. Mark Twain



      Note: SDC# 070190 (and earlier...)

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      • #4
        Not for the timid, but a nice swap when all done an.d sorted out.
        Agree, Jeff.

        Fairborn Studebaker also has the adapter.

        If you're going to buy an aftermarket rebuilt transmission, go with the 200-4R. It has the better ratios. If you're planning on gambling on a U-Pik, the 700R4 is less common than in years past. The 4L60 and 4L60E are more readily available and can be made to work with aftermarket controllers.

        Bottom line, if the car will see a lot of highway miles, an overdrive automatic transforms the driving experience. If it's a hobby car which doesn't get out on the interstate very often, live with the Borg-Warner and put the $3,000 a professional build and install will cost someplace else.

        (This is where we will get the true story of a member who found a brand new rebuilt tranny in the U-Pik on half-price day, his brother-in-law is a NASCAR mechanic so installed it for him and a friend has a driveshaft shop and owed him a favor, so the whole shebang only cost $269 and a six pack. Your experiences and results may vary.)

        jack vines
        PackardV8

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        • #5
          Phil Harris at Fairborn Studebaker has the best adapter kit, hands down, and is priced competitively. Go with the best, you will not regret it.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Yogi View Post
            I was thinking about putting a GM automatic in my 60 hawk with standard OD. Myers Studebaker parts sells a conversion kit. Is there someone else that you would recommend? and Will the drive shaft fit, is there some other that will interchange, or do you have to have one custom made?
            Thanx, Yogi
            Since you asked; "...you would recommend?.... Unless you have a strong personal connection to that Hawk, like you bought it new, sell your Hawk to someone that wants a standard/OD and buy another Hawk with AT. In the end, it will be less hassle, work and probably expense.
            Gary L.
            Wappinger, NY

            SDC member since 1968
            Studebaker enthusiast much longer

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            • #7
              Sounds like Studegary has the best advice. I think I will discard that idea. I was listening to the shiftless family members. It seems that no one can shift for themselves these days.
              Yogi
              '60 Hawk

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Yogi View Post
                Sounds like Studegary has the best advice. I think I will discard that idea. I was listening to the shiftless family members. It seems that no one can shift for themselves these days.
                Yogi
                OTOH, I just passed on a very interesting and reasonably priced Stude because it was an automatic. The overdrive is the best thing Studebaker ever had going for it.

                jack vines
                PackardV8

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                • #9
                  Jack,

                  Six of one half a dozen of the other. I've always taken them the way I found them and learned to like them all. I admit though as I've aged the automatics a lifesaver especially in heavy stop and go traffic. On the highway I don't see much difference between tall 3.07 geared auto and 4.10 and OD.

                  Yogi,

                  Buy another car for the family and drive the OD car yourself.

                  Bill

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Hallabutt View Post
                    Jack,

                    Six of one half a dozen of the other. I've always taken them the way I found them and learned to like them all. I admit though as I've aged the automatics a lifesaver especially in heavy stop and go traffic. On the highway I don't see much difference between tall 3.07 geared auto and 4.10 and OD.

                    Yogi,

                    Buy another car for the family and drive the OD car yourself.

                    Bill
                    Hi, Bill,

                    Agree, with the right rear axle ratio a Stude automatic can cruise down the road at a comfortable RPM. IIRC, Joe Hall once put a 2.56 in a '56J. However, those tall-geared automatics are a dog with fleas when asked to sprint off from a stop. That's where the 4.10, 3.90, 3.73 can make the small Studebaker V8 feel strong. Back in the day, I won many races with a TwinTraction Stude with an overdrive 4.10 when the bigger engine cars were automatics or straight 3-speeds with taller gears and a peg leg.

                    jack vines
                    PackardV8

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                    • #11
                      That is absolutely Right Jack, a little Performance is just SO much fun, it's hard to give it up, I agree.

                      On the "Other hand", if I remember correctly, both Joe and Bill have confessed to driving like little O'l Ladies!
                      StudeRich
                      Second Generation Stude Driver,
                      Proud '54 Starliner Owner

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                      • #12
                        Guilty as charged Rich! But every once in a while I still get the urge, just not as often.
                        Bill

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                        • #13
                          My 64 Hawk with a 289 and powershift is a slug off the line with that 2nd gear start. Even if I manually shift it 1,2 drive it is not much better. It has a 3:31 rear end. Is there anything I could change to give this car more pep off the line?

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by jostanton1 View Post
                            My 64 Hawk with a 289 and powershift is a slug off the line with that 2nd gear start. Even if I manually shift it 1,2 drive it is not much better. It has a 3:31 rear end. Is there anything I could change to give this car more pep off the line?
                            If you keep the OEM transmission, rear end ratio is a trade off. More take off power, i.e. with a 3.54 or 3.73, means higher RPM at road speeds. Less take off power means a more relaxed motor at road speeds. To me, a 3.07 is best all around, but that's because I am not as much into romp and stomp as cruising at this point in life. To have both low end power and relaxed cruising RPM, you need overdrive. I have OD in all three Hawks, 3 speed/OD in two, and 700R in the other car. But before I'd convert to 700R again, I'd just live with a 3.07. If it's all about speed, just about any kid in an Asian brand X car can run off and hide from most Studebakers anyway. Relax and cruise!

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                            • #15
                              My GT had a 3speed OD when I got it. It was fine with a 3.54/1 rear axle and I liked it , but the clutch was killing my bad knees. I was planning to change the clutch to hydraulic, but before I got to it the three speed ate itself. It disolved the countershaft bearings and shaft and lost a couple gear teeth.

                              Since I already had two more of these transmissions in the same condition, I decieded it would be easier to install a GM, AOD trans.

                              I made my own adapter plate similar to what is sold, but mine incorporates engine mounts that are lost when removing the stock bellhousing. I also made a crossmember to replace the stock belhousing mounting member.

                              I used a 4L60 which needs no electronics, that is what the "E" in 4L60 E is for. I bought the trans from a rebuilder for $700, and a torque coverter for $100, both with free shipping. I did have a drive shaft made, a one piece, for $200, and used a Ford small block starter $40. For the shifter I just used one of the stock 3 speed shifter links and arm on the steering column. I used an after market TV cable which is super adjustable, $16 on ebay. All in all, the most difficult part of the whole swap was bending oil cooler lines to go to the front of the car.

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                              Oh! I did have to make my own lower belhousing cover. The stock GM ones don't work with the starter mounted on the left.

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