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65 Commander Axel / Brake help needed

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  • 65 Commander Axel / Brake help needed

    I've just recently (2 years ago) acquired the 65 Commander my dad has had since 1976. It's the one made in Canada with the 283 V8 and powerglide automatic.

    My question is, are the rear end, brakes, and front spindles similar to any other make of car or do you have to get Studebaker specific parts? Are the wheel bolt patterns unique or can you use Ford/GM/Chrysler wheels?

    Anyone ever put disk brakes on one of these?

    It only has 44K miles and I would like to get it to daily driver status.

    Thanks for the help, Doug.

  • #2
    Disk brake conversions are available from a couple of vendors. I have used, and would highly recommend the kit from Jim Turner at www.turnerbrake.com for the front. A rear disk conversion is now available, too, but I don't have any experience with that one. I'm not sure that rear disks would be necessary for a daily driver. Note that you will need to change or modify your master cylinder for use with disk brakes.

    In order to use the disk conversion, it will be necessary to have either wheels from a disk brake equipped Stude (slightly different wheel) or a Ford or Chrysler wheel. New steel wheels are available through most tire retailers. I used 15 X 6" wheels NWRA#40273 or Hayes #82552 which were $37 new. These are listed for a Ford Ranger P/U. I also understand that wheels from late '70s through '89 Chrysler RWD vehicles also work.

    Jim Bradley
    Jim Bradley
    Lake Monticello, VA
    '78 Avanti II
    sigpic

    Comment


    • #3
      Thanks, that's exactly what I was looking for!

      So I'm going to need the new wheels to clear the disk brake caliper? and the wheel you listed will clear it?

      I'm tempted to put a larger chevy small block in it since it should fit in place of the 283. Anyone know if I will run into problems with the trans or rear end with a bigger engine (say 350 or 400)?

      Doug

      Comment


      • #4
        First off its not a powerglide tranny(unless someone changed it out over the years). Its the same basic Borg-Warner Flightomatic tranny used in the Studes, just has an bellhousing to fit the McKinnon engine.

        It will take a lot more power than a 350 to cause it harm, Provided its in good shape to begin with.

        The wheels Rerun mentions are the same ones advertised in TW.
        They are the base(non fancy) wheels 15x6JJ used on Ford Ranger and Broco II 4x4's. They fit just fine and you can use the original size lugnuts and full size wheelcovers.

        Comment


        • #5
          Ok, McKinnon engine and Borg-Warner trans. Now I've made a lot of assumptions by looking at the equipment, but it looks a lot like a chevy engine. Is it based on a chevy block? Chevy parts seem to fit it. I guess I just assumed that in 65 they got their engines from Chevy.

          Is the transmission similar to a powerglide? The shift pattern is the same PNDLR?

          Doug

          Comment


          • #6
            Yes, the wheels that I mentioned will clear the calipers. The 6" wheel will also give a much better fit for your tires than the narrow Stude wheels. I would recommend 205-75 R15 for the best modern approximation of the original tire.

            I don't know which wheel Studebaker used in '65, but it is possible that you could already have the "disk brake" wheels. They can be identified visually in that they have a circular ridge stamped in them about an inch or so out from the lugs where the small hubcaps attach. If I recall correctly, they are 5" wide.

            Does anyone know for sure which wheels were used in '65 production? Did they go to the disk brake style for all cars, or continue to use two types according to the brake option?

            Jim Bradley
            Jim Bradley
            Lake Monticello, VA
            '78 Avanti II
            sigpic

            Comment


            • #7
              The wheels do have the raised ridge for the small hubcap. So it's possible I'm good on wheels, then.

              Comment


              • #8
                Rerun, there were both 4.5" and 5" wide "disc brake wheels." However ISTR that in '65 or '66 they switched to 5" wheels for all cars but I can't remember what year.

                In any case I'd measure a wheel before assuming they're good. If you read the specs for most new tires the mfgrs. usually don't recommend anything wider than a 195 on 4.5" rims.

                nate

                --
                55 Commander Starlight
                62 Daytona hardtop
                http://home.comcast.net/~njnagel
                --
                55 Commander Starlight
                http://members.cox.net/njnagel

                Comment


                • #9
                  The wheels were indeed, all, the type that could accomodate disc brakes for the 65 & 66 models. They were all 4.5" wide until somewhere in the '66 models when they went to a 5" wide version. If you've got the 4.5" variety, 195X75-15s work really well.

                  The "McKinnon" IS, in fact, a Chevy engine at heart. So were the two different 6s they ended up using in 65-66 models. The proximity of the McKinnon plant (in Canada) was basically why they used those engines.

                  The Flight-o-matic has NO lineage to a Powerslide. The FOM is actualy a 3-speed tranny that's set up to start in second gear. You can experience 1st gear by romping on the gas pedal from a standstill or by manually selecting low for take off and then shifting to "D" once you get to 10MPH or so.

                  Miscreant at large.

                  1957 Transtar 1/2ton
                  1960 Larkvertible V8
                  1958 Provincial wagon
                  1953 Commander coupe
                  1957 President 2-dr
                  1955 President State
                  1951 Champion Biz cpe
                  1963 Daytona project FS
                  No deceptive flags to prove I'm patriotic - no biblical BS to impress - just ME and Studebakers - as it should be.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    So does the McKinnon have the same connection to the transmission (bolt pattern and flex plate) that a sbc engine does? I have no plans to change the transmission but might up size the engine at some point.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      The McKinnon uses the same bellhousing-no problem there. What hasn,t been brought up is the rear end. if its a 27,it could be too weak for that bigger SBC. A Dana 44 is a bolt in,I think.

                      Hawks,Larks,and other critters!
                      Oglesby,Il.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Yup, a 350, or such, would bolt right up. What Studebaker did was engineer a new bellhousing to adapt the FOM that they'd been using since '56, to the Chevy engine rear. Also entails a different ring gear arrangment as far as the torque convertor part is concerned but will bolt right up to the Chev crankshaft. The throttle pressure is controlled by a cable on the ChevyBakers whereas it was a piece of linkage and levers on Stude-engined cars, so the ChevyBaker FOMs ARE peculiar to ChevyBakers.

                        52Hawk mentioned the type 27 rear which, while probably OK for the 283 2bbl, might well be marginal for anything bigger ...... unless, of course, you have a light foot[}]
                        There's also a chance you DO have a type 44 rear axle and maybe even Twin Traction (similar to Positration). It could also be a flanged axle rear which would be a bonus too. The earlier Studes used tapered axles wherein the rear hub and brake drum had to be removed together with a special type puller. (Back in the 60s, this wasn't such a special tool as lots of cars had used tapered axles for years - but in this day and age they're a bit of a relic) If you HAVE flanged axles - and it's a fair possibility you do - it's alot easier to service the rear brakes.(Which by the way - flanged or not - would be adequate in conjunction with a disc brake upgrade on the fronts)

                        Miscreant at large.

                        1957 Transtar 1/2ton
                        1960 Larkvertible V8
                        1958 Provincial wagon
                        1953 Commander coupe
                        1957 President 2-dr
                        1955 President State
                        1951 Champion Biz cpe
                        1963 Daytona project FS
                        No deceptive flags to prove I'm patriotic - no biblical BS to impress - just ME and Studebakers - as it should be.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Ok, great. I'm clear on the engine and transmission.

                          How do I identify what I have for a rear end?

                          doug

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Looking at the case of the rear, there's what I call "gussets" - where the case accepts the axle tubes. Scrape away the grease on these gussets and you'll find either a 27 or a 44 cast into the metal.
                            There may well be tags attached to the rear cover bolts that tell you what ratio the gears are and MAY even indicate that it's a Twin Traction rear. If there's no such tags, remove the oil filler plug and look straight in. If you see a ridged metal thing just a half inch inside the filler hole - that's the TT clutch pack. If not - it's not TT.
                            The ratio of the gears is also stamped into the perimeter of the ring gear. But you'd have to remove the rear cover to see that. Of course, you can pretty much guess what the ratio is by jacking up the rear of the car, marking the yoke with respect to a fixed point on the axle housing and marking the edge of one drum with respect to a spot on the backing plate and turning the driveshaft by hand until you make one complete revolution of the drum and noting what number of turns and fraction thereof that it takes of the yoke to produce one full revolution at the drum. The common standard ratios you're likey to encounter are 3.07, 3.31, 3.54, 3.73, 4.10, 4.27 & 4.55 Being your car's a V8 automatic, I'd bet on 3.31 but it could be different.[8D]

                            Here's a pic of the "44" as it's cast into the gusset of a case:
                            http://images.andale.com/f2/115/106/...0_S2400398.JPG

                            and here's a pic of what the TT pack looks like thru the filler hole:
                            http://images.andale.com/f2/115/106/...7_S2400396.JPG

                            Miscreant at large.

                            1957 Transtar 1/2ton
                            1960 Larkvertible V8
                            1958 Provincial wagon
                            1953 Commander coupe
                            1957 President 2-dr
                            1955 President State
                            1951 Champion Biz cpe
                            1963 Daytona project FS
                            No deceptive flags to prove I'm patriotic - no biblical BS to impress - just ME and Studebakers - as it should be.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Well carefully crawl under the car (or have it put on a lift).
                              The Dana 44 will have a 44 cast into one of the reinforcing ribs for the center section. Cant remember which one just right now, but one of the ribs will have the model # cast into it.

                              Comment

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