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Overdrive Installation

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  • Overdrive Installation

    I've been studying the overdrive manual transmission that's in the trunk of my Lark, ready to be installed in the car. It's a 1963 Lark 6. The solenoid has three electrical connections on it. One is labelled "8", the other two seem to be unmarked. The top contact is the one labelled "8". The bottom contact is already attached to the governor. Am I correct the the top contact ("8") is the one that is the power connection, and the middle contact is for the distributor wire.


    Punxsutawney, PA

  • #2
    The solenoids with three connections have both ends of the operate coil brought out. Usually, they are stamped "4" & "8".
    The ignition ground, for kickdown, is "6".
    There are good diagrams at: .
    Mike M.


    • #3
      OK. Thanks! The diagram for the 1962 Lark 6 seems to show what I have. The transmission itself came with a label that said "1958 to 1964 Lark", so I don't know what year it is. The diagram for the 1962 Lark definitely shows the red power wire being attached to terminal "8" on the solenoid. Since the governor is already attached to the bottom one (#4), then the middle contact must be the one to the ignition points. I hope it works!!

      Punxsutawney, PA


      • #4
        That hookup assumption sounds right, Mark. One reason the that tag said '58 to '64 is because it was starting in 1958 that Stude did away with the relay in the overdrive system. The 3-wire solenoid is compatible only with the later (non-relay) system. '58 transmissions also have the longer tailhousing with a slpined tailshaft sticking out instead of a short housing with a fixed yoke on the end. This is because '58 was the first year of single-piece driveshafts in Stude cars.

        BTW, '64 models had TWO wires to the governor and reverted to a two-wire solenoid. That distinguishes them from 58 thru 63 systems.

        Do you have the control cable, the kickdown switch and the harness to complete the installation?

        Miscreant at large.

        1957 Transtar 1/2ton
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        No deceptive flags to prove I'm patriotic - no biblical BS to impress - just ME and Studebakers - as it should be.


        • #5
          The transmission is now in the car, but it's not hooked up yet. I could not find the "official" overdrive lockout cable, but I believe I have something here that will work. It says "throttle" on it, but I think I might be able to ignore that!
          The kickdown switch is a different problem. I do have the kickdown switch, but the car has no provisions for hooking it up. I was told that the car would have the place to put it, but I don't see anything that would hold the switch. I believe its supposed to be mounted on the firewall just above the gas pedal. My bracket, however, does not have the hole in it for the kickdown switch. I have figured out what I have to do to wire it all up (looks really easy). I'm not worried about the wiring harness, because I believe I can make that up in a few minutes. The difficult part is how I'm going to mount that switch. I suppose I could just mount a switch under the dash for now until I can fabricate some sort of bracket on the gas pedal rod.

          I put a tach in the car the other day. Geez! 3000 RPM at 55 MPH!? No wonder it sounds like it's about to take off at 65 MPH! That overdrive ought to make it drive great.

          Punxsutawney, PA


          • #6
            It should look just like this. There is a red wire dangling in the middle of the firewall that is the power wire to the kickdown switch.

            Dwain G.


            • #7
              SASCO has NOS cables, maybe 500 of them.

              Studebaker On The Net
              64 R2 4 speed Challenger
              63 R2 4 speed GT Hawk
              63 Daytona Convert.

              JDP Maryland


              • #8
                Until you can locate the correct linkage, be inovative... find a small pushbutton "momentary" switch capable of handling that voltage and descretely mount it on your shift lever. That way you can "kick-it-down" with the push of a finger. I know it may sound kinda'
                dumb, but I've seen early paxton super chargers people have wired the pulley clutch that way. Oh well, just a thought.
                Dan Miller


                • #9
                  quote:Originally posted by LarkMark

                  I could not find the "official" overdrive lockout cable,
                  Here's one...


                  Dick Steinkamp
                  Bellingham, WA


                  • #10
                    I wonder why my Lark doesn't have that linkage that's in the picture, since it states that it's used with and without overdrive. Mine must be the cheapest Studebaker Lark ever! About the only thing is does have is a heater and reverse lamps, and a left side rear view mirror. (Didn't even have a glove box!). It's definitely missing the place for the kickdown switch.

                    Our Durango has a push button on the shift lever to control the overdrive, so I actually was considering doing something like that to the Lark for the kickdown switch. A plain DPDT switch ought to work. I'll hit Radio Shack in the morning and see what they have in stock.

                    Thanks for the E-bay link the overdrive lockout cable. Maybe I'll put a bid on it and see what happens.

                    Punxsutawney, PA


                    • #11
                      No glovebox huh! That must be a Standard. Does it say Studebaker on the front fenders instead of Lark? When I copied that illustration I didn't bother to read the text. There is a different part # for the cross-shaft linkage on an OD car. Does your cross-shaft go across the firewall behind the engine, not under the engine like my 63S Standard w/AT?

                      Dwain G.


                      • #12
                        If you want to wire the OD control simply, dispense with the circuit that grounds the points through the kickdown switch, to connection #6, on the solenoid. Just letting up on the gas pedal will allow the OD to shift in or out.
                        Switching +Bat to connection #8 on the solenoid controls OD, (SPST). Wire a fuse in line. I think it's best to use a simple relay, so you can use a light duty switch, and wires to it.
                        If you use the governor connected to #4 on the solenoid, OD will be automatically disengaged below governed speed, (25 to 30 mph). That will prevent leaving the circuit on when parked; and should prevent engaging OD in reverse.
                        You can wire connection #4 to ground and have full manual control. The driver will have to use his head, instead of the governor.
                        Mike M.


                        • #13
                          The throttle linkage in my Lark looks just like the picture in the above listed diagram, but it doesn't have the bracket for the kickdown switch.

                          The car didn't come to me with the labels for the front fenders, but I found that a "Studebaker" sign fits the holes in the front corner of the left front fender. I can't figure out what sign was on the right front fender; those holes don't line up with anything I've seen at York or Reedsville. This car has no trim on it at all. At first I thought that the previous owner had just lost it all, but now I'm believing that the car just never had any. I didn't see any evidence that any trim ever existed except for the holes in the front corner of the front fenders. I found a "Studebaker" label in the trunk of the car for the left front fender that had been epoxied to the car since the little pins had corroded off the back of it.

                          Considering that I live in the "Endless Mountains" of Pennslyvania, I'm going to be needing to take it out of overdrive a lot. I think I'm going to try to hook up the ignition grounding wire, but maybe I'll try it without it first and see if I like it. The #4 wire to the governor was already there when I got the transmission, so it's already hooked up! Since I've never driven a car with an old fashioned overdrive, my question is, how long does it take for the shift to occur? How long does one have to let up on the gas pedal before the shift it complete? Can you ruin anything by stomping the gas pedal if the shift isn't complete yet? These are all questions that I'm sure will be answered as soon as I hook the thing up and drive it !!! Hopefully it warms up enough today to work on it (it's 24 degrees out there at the moment!).

                          Punxsutawney, PA


                          • #14
                            It shifts in less than a second. It just won't shift under load.
                            There's a ground on connection #6, only when OD is engaged. You can use it for an indicator light instead of the ignition ground circuit, if you like.
                            Mike M.


                            • #15
                              I got it all hooked up and running. The overdrive works great. It's just what the car needed!

                              The only problem is that on a long downhill, the gearshift jumps out of gear (3rd). The old one (non-overdrive)never did that. The old one was tough to shift into first, however.

                              For the kickdown switch, I wound up using a (temporary) DPDT switch mounted below the dash right next to the steering column. I'll make a bracket later for the switch that is supposed to be on the accelerator linkage.

                              I hooked up the ignition wire on the kickdown switch too. I ran it without it, but I like it better with the wire connected because it shifts faster (no need to let up on the gas).

                              I used an old throttle cable for the lockout cable. It works fine too. It's out of a military truck, I think, because it's olive drab!

                              Thanks for all the help getting this thing working right. With the price of gas taking another big jump today, I'm sure it'll be good for gas mileage. Plus the car is so much more pleasant without the roaring engine noise!

                              Punxsutawney, PA