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  • Clutch / Torque Converter: 1950 Champion Studebaker - Clutch

    Good Afternoon All,

    We're new to the Studebaker world and my son has a 1950 Champion Studebaker. The clutch won't engage so I can't shift it into gear. Any thoughts on what might be causing this?

    Also, it looks like there is a place to add fluid under the driver side floor mat. Is this for the transmission? Does this affect the clutch at all? What type of fluid should I use?

    I also need to change the oil. Any tips on this, filter, type of oil?

    Thank you,
    Mark


  • #2
    The Clutch may not be Releasing because there is too much movement of the Cross Shaft and it's Coupling Sleeves going from the Clutch housing to the Frame for the Clutch Pedal. An oblong worn or cracked "Coupling Sleeve" may be the cause.

    There is also a possibility that the Clutch Adjustment Rod needs adjusting for MORE Release.

    You or your Son will have to get "down and dirty" and check this out.

    It helps to wear Safety Glasses and WATCH under the Clutch Linkage while someone presses the Clutch Pedal to look for Lost Motion.
    Be SURE to use sturdy Jack Stands and Block the Rear wheels if on the Ground, so there is No movement to be Safe.

    The Round Cover on the Driver's Floor is the Master Brake Cylinder excess, for Probably DOT 3 Brake Fluid.

    The difference between this Classic Car and a Modern Car, is you look for the simple easy problems FIRST, do NOT tear things apart first, thinking the Worst! It is usually EASIER than you think!
    Last edited by StudeRich; 04-30-2021, 12:50 PM.
    StudeRich
    Second Generation Stude Driver,
    Proud '54 Starliner Owner

    Comment


    • #3
      StudeRich, thank you for the information we'll do this and see where it goes.

      Comment


      • #4
        You are Welcome, and Hey!; Welcome to the SDC and to the SDC Forum Mark!
        StudeRich
        Second Generation Stude Driver,
        Proud '54 Starliner Owner

        Comment


        • #5
          Does it not engage, or disengage? the way you say you can't put it in gear makes me think you meant disengage, what it should do when you push the pedal to the floor. If it won't disengage, follow Rich's advice, then this.

          If the clutch linkage appears to be working as it should, it could be that the clutch disk is stuck to the flywheel and pressure plate. It happens a lot when cars sit for a few years. If this is the case, the first attempt to free it is to get it to a location where you have lots of space in front of you. Plan on at least 50 yards to be safe, more is better. Put the car in first, push the clutch in, brakes off, and start the car. You WILL be moving! once you have some speed, say 10 or 15 MPH, with the clutch pedal still to the floor, SLAM on the brakes. That usually will brake the rust bond that has happened. Oh yeah, make sure you have good brakes first!

          If you really mean it wont engage, you should be able to put it in gear, but the car will not move. In that case, there will need to be more diagnosis.
          Ron Dame
          '63 Champ

          Comment


          • #6
            I have owned two 1950 Champions over the years. I got them both for cheap money because the clutch would not disengage.

            Same trouble both times - broken clevis pin on the linkage going into the bell housing. The pins can break, but the ends stay in place, so it looks like the pin is OK. Also, as Rich already said, that collar that the pins go into can have its holes torn.

            There is a Zerk fitting on the clutch housing that never gets greased. You should grease it.

            This is shown in the chassis parts catalog, which all the Studebaker vendors have, and is an invaluable tool. You should get the three books;
            -chassis parts catalog,
            -body parts catalog,
            -and shop manual.
            Last edited by RadioRoy; 05-01-2021, 08:42 AM.
            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

            Comment


            • #7
              Until you've had some run time and determined the condition of the engine, oil blow by and pressure, etc, it's hard to go wrong with initially using Shell Rotella-T 15w40 designed for diesel engines; then stick with that or adjust as experience dictates.

              Assuming it has a factory or dealer installed oil filter it should be a Fram type C4. Click image for larger version  Name:	fram C4.jpg Views:	0 Size:	18.6 KB ID:	1892495

              Fram filters have been falling out of favor, as other brands have eclipsed their quality.
              Here's a listing of alternatives for the replacement cartridge.

              https://www.oilfilter-crossreference...onvert/Fram/C4
              "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

              Comment


              • #8
                Often the Champion engine will use a Fram C-3 filter. The C-4 filter was used on the Commander engines.
                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

                Comment


                • #9
                  Hey All, thank you all for you advise and support. We did get get it jacked up and crawled under it to get a better look. Mechanically the clutch looks like it's doing what it's supposed to do. We push it down and it seems to be working. We haven't driven it in about a year. We do have it in a heated garage and start it periodically over the winter. We don't take it out from about October through April. Wisconsin winters are not kind with all the salt an calcium that's put down.

                  Should we try freeing the clutch from the flyweel? Just to clarify, when we start the car, push the clutch down and try to put it in gear it just grinds.

                  Thank you again for all your help -
                  Mark

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Yes try that. roll it to a safe place. Engine off, put it in gear. Clutch to the floor, brakes on, start the car. If it does not break free, then drive up to about 10 MPH, clutch pedal on the floor, and hit the brakes hard. That usually will do the trick.
                    Ron Dame
                    '63 Champ

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by stewie View Post
                      Hey All, thank you all for you advise and support. We did get get it jacked up and crawled under it to get a better look. Mechanically the clutch looks like it's doing what it's supposed to do. We push it down and it seems to be working. We haven't driven it in about a year. We do have it in a heated garage and start it periodically over the winter. We don't take it out from about October through April. Wisconsin winters are not kind with all the salt an calcium that's put down.

                      Should we try freeing the clutch from the flyweel? Just to clarify, when we start the car, push the clutch down and try to put it in gear it just grinds.

                      Thank you again for all your help -
                      Mark
                      OK, let's get the terminology straight! Your clutch seems to remain engaged even when the pedal is depressed. Clutch "engaged" means it is able to transmit torque from the engine to the driveline. That is your normal driving state. Clutch "disengaged (also "released")" means the engine can turn freely without moving the car.

                      Moving on, what is the problem then? You cannot shift into first gear when you depress the clutch pedal. Like Ron says, the clutch disc may be stuck to the flywheel or pressure plate by rust, or maybe even gummy oil leaked in there over the years. His solution should work in that case. If the car was working normally when it was parked for storage, it's a good bet that is the cause, too. You also might have just a little drag on the clutch when the pedal is depressed, or the transmission input shaft may simply be spinning freely after the clutch is depressed, and causes a grind, even though the engine is no longer driving it. I have cars that tend to do that. One trick you can try is to attempt to shift from neutral into second gear. If the input shaft is just free-spinning, the second gear synchronizer will brake it to a halt, and it will then easily go into second. Then you quickly shift to first, and drive off. You probably should check the amount and quality of the oil in the transmission in this case.

                      If the clutch linkage is actually broken, or badly out of adjustment, the pedal won't feel right; most of the pedal stroke will be wasted just taking up slack in the linkage, and there is not enough travel left to fully operate the pressure plate. There should be an inch or so of "free travel" at the top of the pedal stroke, during which the only resistance you feel is that of the pedal return spring. Once the free travel is taken up, you should feel the effort to move it increase steadily as you press the pedal further. If the clutch pedal goes easily right to the floor when you press on it, then there is probably a broken clevis pin, as suggested by Roy.
                      Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands

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                      • #12
                        Gordr, thank you for the info. Using the correct terminology the clutch is engaged. To add I should change the transmission fluid. If I understand this correctly, the drain plug is on the flywheel and I just need to line up the flywheel so the drain plug is facing down for the oil to drain out. Does that sound right? What type of transmission fluid should I use and is there any type of filter I need to change?

                        Take care,
                        Mark

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          The drain plug is on the transmission and another if you have O/D. There is no drain plug on the flywheel as there would be on the Torque converter for automatic. Manual transmissions have no filter. I like using Red Line MT 90.
                          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

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                          • #14
                            Ok, thank you, I do have the O/D. So you're saying there is 2 plugs that need draining, correct?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Yes, there should be a drain plug on the transmission and the O/D. There are fill plugs as well. You should get a shop manual to ensure you fill correctly. IIRC, you fill the O/D first. Loosely insert fill plug. Then fill trans.
                              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

                              Comment

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