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1963 GT Hawk clean or rebuild engine and if rebuild...

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  • 1963 GT Hawk clean or rebuild engine and if rebuild...

    Stude mentors,

    I inherited my 63 GT Hawk from my father. The car had sat for many years before I got it and started fixing it up a few years ago. Brought it in to do some work and found the freeze plugs were leaking. Opened them up and the engine is the packed with the gunk that is apparently common. Not surprised as I have had overheating issues that I band-aid fixed by adding an electric cooling fan. I got advise from Russ Ware on how to clean out the engine and my mechanic is game to give it a try (remove start, freeze plugs, water pump and manifold and get at it with wire etc).

    If that does not work the other option is to rebuild it. Engine runs well and was rebuilt in the 90s and then rarely driven. I am in San Antonio and have a machine shop that specializes in older engines, however they want 3500 to disassemble and reassemble the engine--crazy right. At that point I would want to buy new parts and rebuild it, and if I do that I would want to add some power. Performance wise thinking of R1 cam, half dish pistons, and r1 valve springs. Anything else I should buy? Is it worth the risk of not buying all new parts since the engine has very low miles on it (despite sitting for years) and seeing what it looks like when they tear down?
    Thank you

  • #2
    Likely no reason to tear it down. Just flush block and if no other issues, you are good to go.
    78 Avanti RQB 2792
    64 Avanti R1 R5408
    63 Avanti R1 R4551
    63 Avanti R1 R2281
    62 GT Hawk V15949
    56 GH 6032504
    56 GH 6032588
    55 Speedster 7160047
    55 Speedster 7165279


    • #3

      It depends on how radical you want to go. The attached information will give you technical data to build your engine however you like it. Pick and choose from the following!
      Bob Johnstone's Studebaker and Avanti Page (R3 / R4 technical Data ) (

      Good Luck

      1963 Studebaker GT Hawk R1 63V-33867
      1964 Studebaker Avanti R1 R-5364
      1970 Avanti II RQA-0385
      1981 Avanti II RQB-3304


      • #4
        Flush out the coolant passages and check the ignition and fuel systems. Then drive it and see if something else needs to be done and just do that, not a complete rebuild.
        Gary L.
        Wappinger, NY

        SDC member since 1968
        Studebaker enthusiast much longer


        • #5
          Be sure to install brass freeze plugs to eliminate that issue in the future!


          • #6
            Your mechanic is a brave soul! it's one messy job but well worth doing. a pressure washer will come in handy now. replace the drain plugs at the rear of the block, use brass plugs. your performance plans are good but i would add in a little head work,in your case minor valve pocket cleanup you may a pair of heads with little room or material for a 3 angle valve job.back cutting the valves is also helpful. the head work is tedious and time consuming but well worth the effort. Luck Doofus


            • #7
              DITTO! It is getting way too expensive to do recreational overhauls!!


              • #8
                If the motor was rebuilt in the. 90s, including hot tanked, it's hard to imagine the block is now full of crud. Unless someone did not use coolant, and instead only used hard water or something. I rebuilt the 56J in 97, and again around 2015. It was clean as a pin, throughout, including the water jacket in the block. Still, if it's running OK, likely all it really 'needs' is the block cleaned.OTOH if you 'want' to hop it up, you could clean the block while it's out for hop up, which is gonna equal about same as a rebuild anyway, except maybe more $.