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  • Fuel System: R-4 Engine

    I recently read a very nice article sent to me that was in issue 154 of Avanti Magazine.

    A fellow in Florida with an R-1 Avanti claimed he recently pulled that engine and replaced with an original R4.

    First the only 'recently' available R4 engine was the one member Paul Johnson was selling some years ago, and was on display in the Studebaker Museum, I wonder if the fellow in Florida purchased this engine?

    Second point, and one I am sure many would love to have answered.

    If this is in fact an out of the crate un-modified R4..........how in the world can it run with 12-1 compression on todays pump grade fuel??? My R1 has major issues with pump fuel.

    I hope some one, even the owner can shed some light on this issue.

  • #2
    No engine is going to run on pump gas with 12:1 compression. You'd need around 105 octane fuel or water/propane injection.

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    • #3
      how in the world can it run with 12-1 compression on todays pump grade fuel??? My R1 has major issues with pump fuel.
      Yes, an R4 could be made to sorta run on pump grade fuel, barely. Your R1 has 10.25 C.R. and a 260 degree camshaft. The R4 has 12:1 C.R. and probably has the standard 276 degree camshaft. With the 276, or even more so if it should be equipped with the optional 288 degree camshaft, the longer camshaft duration lowers the dynamic compression ratio to close to the same as an R1. With a professionally recurved distributor and careful tuning, it could be driven to shows.

      Naturally, with the 288 degree camshaft, and retarded timing of the recurved distributor, it would have no low end torque, would idle roughly, get about six miles per gallon and need a 4.56 rear gear and a 2.20 four-speed to be drivable even if only to shows.

      Still want to drive that rare and magic R4? Then, spend the $7 a gallon on race gas and be able to give it the tune-up which would make it about as quick and fast as the average R2. It would still only get about 8 MPG, but would be a lot more fun than trying to make it run on pump fuel.

      jack vines
      PackardV8

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      • #4
        I guess all this Monday morning Q-backing will have to wait until and if that fellow named Bill Amantia would care to weigh in on these questions.

        Indeed, for all intents and purposes, that Avanti with R-4 is nothing but a trailer queen, or museum curio, save for a steady diet of Sun race fuel..and Jack forget the cheap gas of 7 bucks...........here in the NE 110 leaded is over ten bucks.......long live the hobby:-(

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        • #5
          I talked with the owner of, by all outward apperances...a real R4 that was installed into an Avanti at a Stude show in So. Cal today.
          He said he HAS to mix race gas, about 75%/25% pump gas to keep the detonation at bay.

          The engine has been in his familly since the early 70's. His dad came upon it, and bought it...cheap..! It was apparently pulled from the car it was in and set into a corner for some time. It was then sold (to the current owners dad) because....it was in the way...!

          The only odd thing was the fuel line. Everything else "appeared" correct.
          It's not a stock or unmodified engine though. The current owner said the original owner drag raced the car (with the R4) back in the late 60's/early 70's. and modified a coupla things.

          Pretty cool in any case.

          Mike

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          • #6
            I don't know if I would call it a museum piece, race engine is more like it. My parents had a 67 Corvette with 427 and tripower which ran north of 10.5:1 compression. It was fed Sunoco 260 for about 54 cents a gallon and even during a gas war!! It was driven regularly through the 70's before it was sold. Anyway, I think the R4 would fall into the same category, but nowadays if you can afford to regularly drive it on the street, you should be able to afford the fuel to feed it, or just take to the strip.
            1964 Studebaker Commander R2 clone
            1963 Studebaker Daytona Hardtop with no engine or transmission
            1950 Studebaker 2R5 w/170 six cylinder and 3spd OD
            1955 Studebaker Commander Hardtop w/289 and 3spd OD and Megasquirt port fuel injection(among other things)

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            • #7
              You missed the point of my assertion. He pulled the R-1 which was able to be driven like 'most'cars. Then he removes the engine and places an R4 in it's place. An engine that in todays world can not be driven on the street on normal pump gas from the local gas station on the corner. So if he is not able to to infuse the car with race leaded fuel, how can the car be driven and enjoyed? With 12 to 1 compression, that car can not be driven on the street with 93 gas....so when I said for all intents and purposes it is a museum piece I spoke the truth...and why in the world would the owner risk taking to the track and racing such a rare car (with R4)...what happens if he blows the engine? Hey money does not grow on trees, and where will replacement parts come from, if available at all? So yes the fellow has a trailer queen or static display IMHO. One other thing, Sunoco race gas is not easy to find even if one possess deep pockets, your example while relevant in the 70's bears no relation to todays world. And as an aside, I remember Hess 'high test' 101 gas selling for 32.9 in the mid 70's
              Originally posted by PlainBrownR2 View Post
              I don't know if I would call it a museum piece, race engine is more like it. My parents had a 67 Corvette with 427 and tripower which ran north of 10.5:1 compression. It was fed Sunoco 260 for about 54 cents a gallon and even during a gas war!! It was driven regularly through the 70's before it was sold. Anyway, I think the R4 would fall into the same category, but nowadays if you can afford to regularly drive it on the street, you should be able to afford the fuel to feed it, or just take to the strip.
              Last edited by Hawklover; 05-30-2011, 07:34 AM.

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              • #8
                You missed the point of my assertion. He pulled the R-1 which was able to be driven like 'most'cars. Then he removes the engine and places an R4 in it's place. An engine that in todays world can not be driven on the street on normal pump gas from the local gas station on the corner. So if he is not able to to infuse the car with race leaded fuel, how can the car be driven and enjoyed? With 12 to 1 compression, that car can not be driven on the street with 93 gas....so when I said for all intents and purposes it is a museum piece I spoke the truth...and why in the world would the owner risk taking to the track and racing such a rare car (with R4)...what happens if he blows the engine? Hey money does not grow on trees, and where will replacement parts come from, if available at all? So yes the fellow has a trailer queen or static display IMHO. One other thing, Sunoco race gas is not easy to find even if one possess deep pockets, your example while relevant in the 70's bears no relation to todays world. And as an aside, I remember Hess 'high test' 101 gas selling for 32.9 in the mid 70's
                Actually, I got your point. I know a few places here that sell race fuel at the pump. If I were so inclined, I could go to the Gas City here and put 100 octane into my tank or if I don't mind a trip, I could go to the older Marathon and do the same. As to racing it at the strip, there was one that was raced in the group of Studes at the PSMCD in a Lark the past couple of years, which brings me to my point that these days if you can own it, drive it, and race it, you should also be able to feed it.
                1964 Studebaker Commander R2 clone
                1963 Studebaker Daytona Hardtop with no engine or transmission
                1950 Studebaker 2R5 w/170 six cylinder and 3spd OD
                1955 Studebaker Commander Hardtop w/289 and 3spd OD and Megasquirt port fuel injection(among other things)

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                • #9
                  You know, my R1 will not run even on 100 no lead, still pings....only 110 TEL gas will satisy my beast...:-(
                  Originally posted by PlainBrownR2 View Post
                  Actually, I got your point. I know a few places here that sell race fuel at the pump. If I were so inclined, I could go to the Gas City here and put 100 octane into my tank or if I don't mind a trip, I could go to the older Marathon and do the same. As to racing it at the strip, there was one that was raced in the group of Studes at the PSMCD in a Lark the past couple of years, which brings me to my point that these days if you can own it, drive it, and race it, you should also be able to feed it.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Does anyone know who in Florida put a crate R4 engine in their Avanti? I cloned my 1963 Avanti R1 engine using NOS parts but it was definitely not a crate engine. Frank Ambogio here in Florida also has a version of an R4 engine in his black Avanti but again it is not a crate engine. The only other person I know of that got into building an R4 engine is Ed Desilva in Miami and he has two Paxton's on it.

                    My car runs fine on 93 pump gas. I built it to run that way.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      The other bombshell is the R2 on my Lark, which has had the thin steel headgaskets, the thick composition gaskets, and a supercharger in both applications, has been running 87 on my daily driver for the past 10 years without any pinging. This is an engine where Studebaker recommended 93 octane in the tank. The heads were milled before I got the car, and it has had a .030 overbore as well, but it's done just fine on the regular gas. The only downside is a probable loss in power, which it still has in spades, and I adjusted the distributor to run on regular fuel.
                      1964 Studebaker Commander R2 clone
                      1963 Studebaker Daytona Hardtop with no engine or transmission
                      1950 Studebaker 2R5 w/170 six cylinder and 3spd OD
                      1955 Studebaker Commander Hardtop w/289 and 3spd OD and Megasquirt port fuel injection(among other things)

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by StudeMichael View Post
                        Does anyone know who in Florida put a crate R4 engine in their Avanti? I cloned my 1963 Avanti R1 engine using NOS parts but it was definitely not a crate engine. Frank Ambogio here in Florida also has a version of an R4 engine in his black Avanti but again it is not a crate engine. The only other person I know of that got into building an R4 engine is Ed Desilva in Miami and he has two Paxton's on it.

                        My car runs fine on 93 pump gas. I built it to run that way.

                        I don't think Frank Ambrogio has an Avanti. But he does have a twin 4 barrel, overdrive 56 Golden Hawk that's pretty cool. Shannon Bruffett has a black '64 Avanti with an R3 that was swapped in "back in the day" using a crate engine.

                        BTW, it's been about 6-7 years since I saw and rode in your 'R4' Avanti.. That exhaust note still hasn't left my memory.
                        Last edited by mbstude; 06-01-2011, 09:35 PM.

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                        • #13
                          It's not a stock or unmodified engine though. The current owner said the original owner drag raced the car (with the R4) back in the late 60's/early 70's. and modified a coupla things.
                          Frank Ambogio here in Florida also has a version of an R4 engine in his black Avanti but again it is not a crate engine. The only other person I know of that got into building an R4 engine is Ed Desilva in Miami and he has two Paxton's on it.
                          In a technical discussion, correct terminology is a requirement for understanding and agreement. We need to remind ourselves there are far more Studebaker V8s which had 2x4bbl carburetion added than there were ever R4s built. For the new guys among us and those of us old guys who sometimes use shorthand, your opinions may vary, but here's how I remember it:

                          1. An R4 was built by Paxton for Studebaker and had clearly defined specifications - 2x4 carburetion, R3/4heads, 12:1 compression forged pistons, 276-degree cam and so on. It has a Studebaker-assigned serial number clearly identifying it as an R4 and there ain't that many.
                          2. There are R4 clones, built to identical specifications, other than serial number and should be identified as such and there ain't that many.
                          3. There are, however, many other Studebaker engines having had 2x4 carburetion added, but they aren't R4s or even R4 clones and should be identified as such.

                          jack vines
                          Last edited by PackardV8; 06-01-2011, 09:52 PM.
                          PackardV8

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                          • #14
                            What Jack said.
                            The R4 was a high compression NA version of the R3. It was designed in another era fuel-wise, and car culture- wise .
                            In those days it would have been a mini version of the Z 11 Chevy , or Stage iii Mopars , or Ford/Pontiac equivalents.
                            Nasty and bitchy on the street even then.
                            Bill H
                            Daytona Beach
                            SDC member since 1970
                            Owner of The Skeeter Hawk .

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                            • #15
                              Here is a picture of the engine that was in the R4 at La Palma on Sunday, very impressive!

                              Mark
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