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How do I determine if a 289 is full flow or not?

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  • How do I determine if a 289 is full flow or not?

    I have a chance to buy a 289 4bbl. How do I identify if the engine is a "full flow" or not? What is "full flow"? Does this have something to do with the oiling? What was the first year a 4bbl 289 was offered? What else should I look for on these engines (eg: headgasaket leaks, cracks etc)? Was there any particular year of 289 that was better than others? Any that were worse than others? Also, the owner of the engine has a 3speed/od that is in excellent condition. If I buy this trans, can I use the same bellhousing if I come across a 4 speed trans later on? How much hp can the 3 speeds handle?

    63 Lark 2dr Sedan

  • #2
    The full flow filter is down ,way down, on the block's R back side.Look, for the filter, below and behind where the dipstick TUBE inserts into the block. That is the location of my full flow oil filter.


    • #3
      Full flow simply means that all of the oil is cycled by the oil pump through the oil filer before being fed to the bearings, valve train, etc. Partial flow filters were generally mounted on the top of the engine and fed by steel tubing and/or short flexible hoses. They filter some of the oil, but some of it is fed directly to engine moving parts. Full-flow V8s became standard equipment midway through the 62 model year, so later Stude engines are more desirable, especially for a daily driver or a high-performance application. Partial flow engines (or even engines with no filter) are perfectly adequate for collector cars that are only driven moderate distances each year. We all tend to change the oil in our collector cars pretty frequently, anyway.

      I don't have ready access to my older parts books, but I believe the first 289/4-bbl combination was in 1956. The Warner 3-spd/OD trans is an excellent trans that reduces engine revs by about 30% and increases gas mileage by almost that amount. It will handle all the horsepower that a factory-equipped 289 can provide. If you're gonna add a lot of performance equipment, you might want to consider using a Warner T-5 5-spd or even something stronger. This is a conversion that others have figured out how to do. But even if you don't need it, go ahead and buy the OD trans. The market for them is strong.
      Skip Lackie
      Skip Lackie


      • #4
        Speaking of full-flow... in my pre-Studebaker life I hopped up a 41 F**d flathead. I converted it to a full-flow system using a kit from Motor City Flathead. This kit remanufactures the bottom of the Melling oil pump to take the oil out through the side of the pan instead of up to the top of the motor. My question is, what brand of oil pump did Studebaker use and could a similar add-on system be for my 1960 289?

        60 Hawk. 49 2R5, 39 Champion
        Bob Shaw
        Rush City, Minnesota
        1960 Hawk -
        "The farther I go, the behinder I get."


        • #5
          I would have to see what the Ford set up looked like, but with a little work it might be made to work. The Stude is similar to the SBC but not identical.


          • #6
            What Curt said, but need to add that some full-flow engines that were mounted in trucks came from the factory with a block-off plate in place of the filter housing, and were fitted with the earlier partial flow canister set-up mounted on top of the engine.
            Identifying your engine is best done by checking the numbers stamped into the block at the front of the lifter valley, provide those numbers and someone on here will be able to identify exactly what engine you have.
            The older partial-flow blocks are not to be scorned, as they usually prove to have had better quality control in the casting and machining, resulting in more uniform and thicker cylinder walls.
            And if numbers matching originality of appearance is not a concern, with a little home-grown machine work the earlier blocks can be converted to a full-flow configuration. (I do not however, think that this modification is worth the effort)