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Overdrive stops working when engine is hot

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  • Overdrive stops working when engine is hot


    I have a 1955 commander custom 2 dr sedan 16g8f2.It is 1 of only 1400 built, was built in vernon, calif mid august of 55.

    Recently I started to have problems with my overdrive. When i get it the car drive it down the road, it works fine, and stays in overdrive. But after the car has reached its operating temp is when I start having problems.

    Everything is fine rolling along in overdrive, when i reach the speed in which the overdrive kicks out, that is fine also.

    But it wont go back into overdrive when i reach 25 mph. I look at the amp guage --nothing.

    It will work perfectly when cold but not hot.

    I checked all connections- all tight. Put a new overdrive relay on a few years back when this started to happen. I also rewired the overdrive harness 2 years back.

    The overdrive unit and the tranny were rebuilt last year. I have never replaced the solonoid, or the governor, and don't want to keep throwing money at it.

    When I purchased the stude back in 96, dual exhaust was put on it. They ran the pipe about an inch from the starter... that finally went out, and had her rebuilt. It also sits about 2 inches from the overdrive solonoid.

    I am thinking the heat is really taking a toll on it, and am going back to single exhaust since I only have the 2 bbl stromberg carb.

    What do you guys think it is?

    Also, how do i replace the governor and solonoid, as well as the solonoid seal? I dont want to cause damage to the rebuilt tranny.

    Any leads on an overdrive harness for a 55 commander with no lockout switch?

    I appreciate all your help and advice.

    Have a nice day.


  • #2
    I see your problem, apparently all '55 Commanders had the reverse lockout switch and you have eliminated it or changed transmissions.

    I think the lengths would be the same on the '56-'57 Sedan 1540310, and I am pretty sure they have no lockout switch, I would check the relay location between the 2 though. The other prob. is 6 volt usually has heavier gauge wire.

    Actually the best person to talk to would be the manufacturer, that would be Carl & Herman Thoms at Studebakers West 650 366 8787. I'll bet Carl would fix you up with a custom harness without the rev. L/O wires if none will work!

    Studebakers Northwest
    Ferndale, WA
    Second Generation Stude Driver,
    Proud '54 Starliner Owner


    • #3
      I had the same problem w/a '52 Commander that I recently sold. I changed the governor, and that seemed to cure it. Of course, I did all kinds of other checks and replaced wiring etc in the process before I got to that point.
      You might be able to find some used parts to "borrow" and try out before you buy replacements.


      • #4
        you can also put heat shield on the exhaust very easily.


        • #5
          you can run a temporary ground wire to the governor with a toggle to the governor and when it starts acting up you ground it that way and see if it is a governor problem. i did that on my hawk and it worked well until i got the governor replaced.

          Erin Hays
          1961 Hawk
          1962 Lark
          1963 Wagonaire


          • #6

            So far as replacing the Gov, Solenoid, and Sol seal, really not a big deal.

            The solenoid is held in be 2 bolts. After removing the bolts, you give the now loose sol. unit a partial twist to disengage it and pull it out. Reinstall is the exact opposite.

            Once its out you can see the dime sized seal up in the trans housing. Screw driver to remove (probably destroying the seal), and the correct sized deep socket to gently drive in the replacment.

            Governor is a bit more involved; use a pipe wrench to spin it out on its threads.

            To add to what others suggest, I've never had a Gov go bad, and before removing it, I'd suggest removing and opening up the Sol to look for corroded, or trans oil soaked, or otherwise temperature sensitive, electrical connections and points.

            Good luck.

            PS, my GT Hawk has run duals and a T-85 OD trans for years with no exhaust heat related issues.

            Gary K