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Tranny change from automatic to later 3 spd od

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  • Transmission / Overdrive: Tranny change from automatic to later 3 spd od

    The auto transmission in my 55 K body turns out to not be the original.
    I am looking at alternatives and came across a 62 or 63 Lark (owner can't remember which) which has a V8, with 3 speed manual OD and twin traction.
    How difficult would the change to the manual transmission be. I currently have a bare frame to work on.
    Additionally, at some time in the past the 55 had been converted to a manual OD transmission and then converted back to the non-original auto.
    Thanks for the help.

    The car (Speedster) had a 250M originally. If it had that I would just rebuild it. However it has the 200M which I am unsure of the condition and will not spend the $ to rebuild. I am looking at an overdrive auto or manual to replace it so just trying to gather ideas and experiences.
    Last edited by 5brown1; 11-17-2011, 04:36 AM. Reason: More info

  • #2
    Automatic to Overdrive

    It would not be considered difficult to someone who had some mechanical expertise, a Studebaker Chassis Parts Catalog, a Studebaker Shop Manual, a very good or rebuilt Transmission, clutch Housing, flywheel, pressure plate, Clutch Disc, throwout bearing, driveshaft, Standard Shift steering column jacket, shift linkage, O.D. throttle bellcrank & kickdown switch, O.D. Wire Harness, clutch linkage, pedal etc. etc.

    The biggest challenge would be converting it from a two piece driveshaft with center support to a one piece shaft, cutting out part of the center support crossmember.
    This would be simplified if the Auto. Trans. in there now, is not the original '55 Detroit Gear 3 band Studebaker Automatic Drive, short tail, but a long tail Borg Warner Flight-O-Matic from a '58 to '66 Stude.

    Oh, the '62 and '63 Overdrive Transmissions are not significantly different from each other.

    If you do not already have all these pieces, a Coupe or Hardtop (C or K) parts car with manual or Overdrive would be a huge help.


    Jeeze, that poor Car must be saying: "Humans!!!! Man I wish they could make up their %$#@&^*+! MINDS!
    Last edited by StudeRich; 11-16-2011, 09:54 PM.
    StudeRich
    Second Generation Stude Driver,
    Proud '54 Starliner Owner
    SDC Member Since 1967

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    • #3
      Alternately, just accept the car as it is or rebuild and sell it, then buy what you want.
      John Clements
      Christchurch, New Zealand

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      • #4
        Maybe I haven't been clear. The car is going to get a new transmission and I can do the work myself. All the parts mentioned above are now on the prospective donor car. Will the complete Lark setup from bell housing to tail shaft work with the current 259? I would put in a floor shift rather than deal with the steering column. I am assuming that I would need to find a clutch pedal and linkage but the mount is already on the frame.

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        • #5
          The Lark bell housing will work on your current engine. You will need to align it per the factory specs. You will also have to change the flywheel bolts to use the Lark flywheel/clutch assembly. After the engine and trans are in place, you should be able to figure out the rest using factory parts. The floor shift is a bit of a challenge with an overdrive, but there are some examples on the forum that you can find witha search.
          "In the heart of Arkansas."
          Searcy, Arkansas
          1952 Commander 2 door. Really fine 259.
          1952 2R pickup

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          • #6
            Yep, you can do it. You may have to alter the rear floor in the drive shaft tunnel area to get enough clearance. It may clear at static ride height, but there is a possibility of the drive shaft hitting the floor if you hit a bump.

            That being said, I am wondering if customizing a Speedster in this way is a good idea. If the car is real nice, would it not be worth more done up strictly stock? Speedsters are pretty desirable cars, after all. If the car is a real basket case, though, I suppose it doesn't matter.
            Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands

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