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Best gear for mileage?

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  • Best gear for mileage?

    I'm getting a Dana 44 Twin Trac ready to swap into my '55 Commander that has a '56 289 4 bbl. and 3 Spd. OD. My original rear end had 4.27 gears which were a bit steep for 289 on the highway even in OD. The TT comes with 3.07's which I'm thinking may be a bit too tall and I'll be lugging the engine. Seems the most common 3 series gear is a 3.54. What would give me the best compromise between performance and mileage, stick with the 3.07 or a 3.31, 3.54 or 3.73?

    Analog man in a digital world.

  • #2
    What performance are you looking for, highway cruising or 0 to 60?
    3.07 is one end of the spectrum so wouldn't be a compromise.
    I'm looking forward to trying my 1953 289 with 3.07 TT; going for long haul speed and economy.
    Will let you know in a month or two.
    "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


    • #3
      I would initially run the 3:07 as a test. If you don't like it, there are a couple of things you should do before you change it. Hook up a vacuum gauge and a choke type cable to your distributor so you can change the timing while at cruising speed based on your highest vacuum reading. Denote your initial timing setting at that point. Then see how well your car starts and idles and accelerates at the new setting. You may have to recurve your distributor to make the engine perform at both low and cruise rpm. My 71 ford truck is very heavy but it is powered by a 302/2 barrel with C4 trans and 2:50 rear gear. I have a recurved distributor and my truck starts great, accelerates great and cruises just fine.


      • #4
        The Stude engineers pretty much knew what they were doing when they chose gears for various uses. When straying more than one or two ratio steps from the OEM, the compromises are more than the gains. A 3.07 in overdrive would be a 2.14 in OD and that is much too high. I wouldn't go any lower than 3.73. Stude used 3.90 gears with the OD and a 3.07 with automatic, even with all the torque of the '56 Packard engine in the Golden Hawk.

        thnx, jack vines



        • #5
          I'm with Jack on this one. Years ago my 63GT with a T-85OD ran a TT 3.54. Great highway cruising but if you spend any time in town its brutal on clutch disks. When the 3.54 went south I replaced it with a TT 3.73; still fine cruising and no clutch problems for years.

          I'd say go with a 3.73, and fine tune it with tire diameter.


          • #6
            2;14 is pretty close to the 2:29 used in 79 firebirds, and that was a smog motor. I remember a 3:23 was considered a performance ratio in 60's mopars. I have a 3;54 with an overdrive A833 and I'm considering a higher ratio if I can find it. I have a low compression smogger small block mopar, and I'm smokin the tire off the line with ease. If a 289/3:54 can't get off the line very easily, ya better have me take a look at it...


            • #7
              quote:Originally posted by buddymander

              /Cut/ If a 289/3:54 can't get off the line very easily, ya better have me take a look at it...
              Different power curve, different weight, different Trans. that's why it says "Dodge" on the nameplate, it is not a Studebaker!! [:0]
              Second Generation Stude Driver,
              Proud '54 Starliner Owner


              • #8
                It's in a Hawk. And I'd say the ratios are very close. I can't see condemning an idea when there are so many variables, and it costs almost nothing to try. I would time the engine to run the 3:07 at cruising speed and then see if the curve can be made compatible with low speed driving. It sounds like a few people have had bad experiences with gear ratios and blame their engine's performance all on that, instead of the tuning of the engine.


                • #9
                  My dad's '61 Hawk came with a 3.07 and a 2bbl..
                  Always got about 18 mpg...
                  (Until his kid started messing with it[:0]).

                  HTIH (Hope The Info Helps)


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

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


                  • #10
                    My 59 Hawk is a 3.07 TT automatic with the original 259. WCFB, dual exhaust, Delco window distributor still running points. Routinely gets 22+ MPG if I don't push it past 65. I have a first gear start valve body with a six cylinder governor (helps with the bad downshift) to get me moving. When that tranny finally blows I will go to a modified FMX. HOWEVER...I get sick and tired of people crowing about wanting better gas mileage... If that is such a major concern, sell your Studebaker and buy a Kia.



                    • #11
                      I am pretty sure any of you that say you have successfully run 3.07 gears, have not done that with an Overdrive, which is the situation on the '55 Commander in question.
                      Second Generation Stude Driver,
                      Proud '54 Starliner Owner


                      • #12

                        Tex E. Grier


                        • #13
                          I wouldn't expect anybody who has run a 3:07 w/overdrive; successfully, to even want to voice their opinion on here, now that the idea has been condemned by so many, who, as far as I can tell, haven't even tried it. I, myself, have had a lot of experience with tall gears; like 2:29, 2:43, 2:50, and all of those vehicles were heavier than a Studebaker Hawk. I don't understand what the motivation can be to NOT run the 3:07 since the gears are already in the housing. It depends on the tuning skills of the owner and the internal condition of the engine. Plus the diameter of the tire, weight of the flywheel, driving habits, and expectations of the owner. My tall geared cars and trucks all came off the line very satisfactorily, but I also took the time to dial them in for low end performance. As far as factory guys knowing what they're doing; tell me why my mercedes came with 3;97 rear ratio and 3.97 first gear as well. I put in 3;07 and first gear was still pretty useless. Can we encourage Hippie to do a little experimenting? For me, that's the main reason I keep coming back to this forum; to see what other ingenious studebakerers have tried. I really appreciate the pics some have posted of their progress; I know how difficult it can be to post pics. As long as Hippie understands that he will probably have to experiment with his tuning to make this something he can live with, he should try it. Further, I encourage anybody who has succeeded at this to not be afraid to post on this thread.


                          • #14
                            My granddad has been running a 289 with overdrive and 3.54 gears for the past 30 years in his '57 Hawk.. We put a clutch in it a couple of years ago. One clutch in 30 years of regular driving isn't too bad.

                            It's got bias plys on it, and it'll leave 15+ feet of black streaks if you want it to. It'll also cruise down the highway and get 22 MPG.

                            Matthew Burnette
                            Hazlehurst, GA


                            • #15
                              We have a '60 Lark with a 259 2 barrel and a 3 speed OD and 3.07 gears. If you are primarily running on flat ground it may be OK, but in hilly and mountainous areas it is a royal pain. It's next to impossible to hit a gear where you can maintain any speed. We put in a 3.73 and love it. Made it a completely different car.