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  • Engine: New owner, new member

    Just picked up a 55 speedster. Came looking for a good forum and this one was the top of the list so here I am.
    I have been wrenching and modifying cars for decades but this is my first classic project.
    I don't have a lot of details on the car. The guy I am buying it from bought it in it's current form from someone else so his story is not too clear. He says they rebuilt the motor and on the first startup everything looked good until they revved the engine at which point he says it lost oil pressure. I'm not sure if he meant the pressure only dropped when the engine was revved or if it just completely lost oil pressure after it was revved and never came back. The latter seems much more likely to me. He said the oil pan is off so I'm thinking I'll pop the end caps and make sure all the bottom end bearings look healthy. If so I'll probably throw the pan back on put some oil in it and try to get it to fire so I can get a firsthand feel for what's going on. I thought I'd check in here though and see if you guys knew of anything common I should look for.
    I am completely unfamiliar with these motors.
    I did just order a FSM off ebay so that will be a big help once it shows up.

  • #2


    Body and interior for the most part are in great shape. There are pretty eaten rust spots just in front of and behind the doors on both sides. I think I should be able to clean that up pretty easily though.


    This is my project of the last few years.



    1989 Toyota MR2 with a 1995 20 valve much more advanced version of the motor that came out of it originally. Running 11:1 compression and turbo. Everything on the car was done by me.

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    • #3
      Welcome to the Studebaker forum!
      The car doesn't appear to be a Speedster as I believe that a Speedster only came as a hardtop (no roof pillar) however it does have the side stainless steel trim like a Speedster. As for no oil pressure, I don't have a lot of experience but the oil pump is driven by a shaft that is attached to the ignition distributor. You can remove one bolt and pull the distributor up and see if a shaft is hanging below the distributor drive gear (pay attention to the rotor direction so that you can reinstall the distributor without having the gear a cog or two off). This shaft should have a flat spade that fits inside the oil pump. This may not be a likely culprit, just something that came to mind.
      sigpic
      In the middle of MinneSTUDEa.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Milaca View Post
        Welcome to the Studebaker forum!
        The car doesn't appear to be a Speedster as I believe that a Speedster only came as a hardtop (no roof pillar) however it does have the side stainless steel trim like a Speedster. As for no oil pressure, I don't have a lot of experience but the oil pump is driven by a shaft that is attached to the ignition distributor. You can remove one bolt and pull the distributor up and see if a shaft is hanging below the distributor drive gear (pay attention to the rotor direction so that you can reinstall the distributor without having the gear a cog or two off). This shaft should have a flat spade that fits inside the oil pump. This may not be a likely culprit, just something that came to mind.
        By roof pillar do you mean the pillar between the front and rear window?
        Looking around Google most of the speedsters definitely don't have that pillar. They also have a different hood ornament. I did find this one though that matches mine.
        http://blog.vandm.com/2010/06/manly-...-vandmcom.html
        If I didn't understand you correctly maybe you can clarify what you mean by roof pillar.
        Thanks for the tip on the oil pump. I was talking to a friend who is much more familiar with the older American cars and he mentioned this and said it was common but wasn't sure if that's how mine was. I will check it before anything just to make sure it looks healthy.

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        • #5
          Howdy, and welcome to the Forum and to Studebaker land!

          Concerning oil pressure and the distributor, Milaca is right - the tang on the end of the distributor shaft must engage the oil pump, or there will be NO oil pressure. Many folks new to Studes will drop in the distributor, engage the drive gears off the cam, but fail to go the extra step and engage the drive tang on the shaft with the oil pump. Without doing this, the engine will gladly fire and run, but pump no oil!



          In this photo you can see the gears that drive the distributor, and then the shaft that goes down to drive the oil pump. To get this to engage, you hook up a remote starter and bump the engine over gently while applying light downward pressure on the distributor cap until you feel the dist "thunk" into the oil pump. It will drop a good 1/2" when this happens.

          There are a couple other things to look for that can cause a lack of oil pressure in a newly-rebuilt Stude V8. One is an oil gallery plug at the very rear of the engine - in fact, it's located inside the hole that the distributor drops into. If this is left out during the rebuild, there will be no oil pressure in the block. The other thing to check is the oil pressure relief valve, located on the side of the timing gear housing. This valve consists of a plunger and spring, and can become lodged in its bore. You can see this assembly called out as part #s 0117-1, 3, 6 & 7 in the attached engine parts diagram.

          As for the difference between a hardtop and a sedan, here's a photo of a hardtop '55 Speedster:



          See how the glass has no thick metal frames around it? That's a hardtop - when you roll down all the windows, there's no center pillars supporting the top. Your car has these pillars, making it a sedan. I suspect someone has "transplanted" the Speedster trim onto your car sometime in its past. If you'd like to find out what model your car really is, get the numbers from the data plate on the firewall, inside the engine compartment, and post them here. It looks like this:



          Glad to have you here!
          Attached Files

          Clark in San Diego | '63 Standard (F2) "Barney" | http://studeblogger.blogspot.com

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          • #6
            Before you fire it up again, too, check the flexible hose at the rear of the Pass side head. This hose connects to a thin copper line that feeds the pressure gage on the dash. if it ruptures, it will dump all the oil in the engine in seconds. Our general practice is to replace it unless we know it's new.

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            • #7
              Awesome, thanks guys. I'll post back once I get the chance to look it over a little more.

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              • #8
                Welcome! What part of Colorado are you from?
                Carey
                Packard Hawk

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                • #9
                  It does look like a 1955 President or Commander coupe to me. No Speedsters were originally built as coupes. One lemon-Lime one has been built by a club member. The coupes are actually more structurally solid than the hardtops and there are less rattles.

                  The side trim is optional, but the front top fender spears were usually limited to Presidents.

                  The dash and interior would be the biggest clue: Two large instrument clusters with chrome dash and horizontal lines - Champion, Commander, President.

                  The President Speedster would have a turned dash panel with fibreglass dash and diamond shaped leather upholstery.

                  Since many parts are interchangeable, the car could be made up from several different years and models.

                  Enjoy - either way, the 1955s had one of the best service records (few quality complaints), updated brakes, updated wiring and increased horsepower. Of course, the side trim makes it go faster!

                  I just noticed that there is a name below the window: Commander or President?
                  Last edited by 55s; 06-19-2011, 09:49 AM.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Dads Baby View Post
                    Welcome! What part of Colorado are you from?
                    I live in Carbondale. Between Aspen and Glenwood Springs.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by 55s View Post
                      It does look like a 1955 President or Commander coupe to me. No Speedsters were originally built as coupes. One lemon-Lime one has been built by a club member. The coupes are actually more structurally solid than the hardtops and there are less rattles.

                      The side trim is optional, but the front top fender spears were usually limited to Presidents.

                      The dash and interior would be the biggest clue: Two large instrument clusters with chrome dash and horizontal lines - Champion, Commander, President.

                      The President Speedster would have a turned dash panel with fibreglass dash and diamond shaped leather upholstery.

                      Since many parts are interchangeable, the car could be made up from several different years and models.

                      Enjoy - either way, the 1955s had one of the best service records (few quality complaints), updated brakes, updated wiring and increased horsepower. Of course, the side trim makes it go faster!

                      I just noticed that there is a name below the window: Commander or President?
                      Perhaps it's just my misunderstanding of the modles then. I was under the impression that the speedster was the only car in 55 that got the president title.
                      I believe it says President on the side. I am going over to look at it today and see if I can get it over to my house. If nothing else I'll grab a couple more pics and get a little more info.

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                      • #12
                        engine oil pressure.

                        You can make an oil pump shaft (just a long rod with the proper tang on the end) and spin the oil pump with a drill. Mechanical gauge will show the pressure. Lets you check that system without cranking the engine.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by oldguy View Post
                          You can make an oil pump shaft (just a long rod with the proper tang on the end) and spin the oil pump with a drill. Mechanical gauge will show the pressure. Lets you check that system without cranking the engine.
                          Great idea thanks.
                          Looks like It will be sometime this week when I get it over to my house.
                          Also looks like it's a presidant coupe and just my misunderstanding of the modles.

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                          • #14
                            "55 President Regal coupe painted a non-original blue
                            All '55 Regals had that side trim--Champion, Commander- and President
                            Speedster side trim says Speedster on it with a special Speedster only badge--and in some cases-- but not all- has President also above the stainless butterknife trim

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                            • #15
                              Almost non-existant Oil Pressure

                              Since this is a recently rebuilt Engine there is a very good chance that someone left the Oil Gallery Plug in the Distributor tower (hole) almost hidden behind the Core Plug out of the Engine on assembly, which causes the Oil to the Camshaft to dump into the Pan, of course losing most of the pressure.

                              This often happens when non-Stude. familiar Machinists or Mechanics try assembling them.
                              StudeRich
                              Second Generation Stude Driver,
                              Proud '54 Starliner Owner

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