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1950 Champion With Stuck Transmission

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  • Transmission / Overdrive: 1950 Champion With Stuck Transmission

    My daughter drove home from school and parked in her usual spot in the driveway. The next time she got in the car it wouldn't shift into reverse. Of course the resident Studebaker mechanic was out of town when this happened. When I got home, I just had a few minutes to take a quick look and found this:
    • The shifter will not move into reverse
    • All other gears select normally
    • Car will not move with clutch disengaged
    • Battery dead

    I connected the charger and pulled the overdrive fuse. As I pulled the fuse it sparked and I didn't hear the relay or solenoid click. Perhaps the relay is stuck closed. That's one thing I'll check in the morning.
    A little background - The overdrive engage speed seems to have slowly increased in the last couple weeks, and I had one previous report of not being able to shift into reverse. Of course, I was out of town then, too, but at least it cleared itself that time.
    Has anyone seen anything like this before? Any ideas on what to look at first on the gearbox?


    1950 Champion Sedan - Kid Car

  • #2
    Since overdrive and reverse can not be engaged at the same time, I think you are on to something. As far as a cure, someone more experienced than me will have to chime in.
    "In the heart of Arkansas."
    Searcy, Arkansas
    1952 Commander 2 door. Really fine 259.
    1952 2R pickup


    • #3
      Sounds like the problem is in the OD electrics. One way to confirm that, would be to leave the fuse out, pull the OD handle out, and drive it around in conventional drive a few days. If no more problems, and reverse is OK, that pretty much only leaves the electrics. Good news about that would be, any & everything can be swapped out (and there ain't much) without removing the tranny.


      • #4
        Sounds like the governor is stuck in the OD position, or else the wire to the governor has chafed through to ground, and is keeping the relay energized all the time, hence the dead battery.

        Car will not move with clutch disengaged? You mean it won't roll with the clutch pedal to the floor, or it won't roll with the pedal up all the way, or both?

        I had an OD pile up on me in a '54 Champion many years ago, and I think that was the symptom, too. Locked right up. Could not get reverse because the sun gear and planets were chewed up and welded together.

        Suggest you get one person in the car to step on the clutch, and two others to rock the car to and fro for a while, and see if anything breaks free. If it does come free, ensure both the OD and transmission main case are full of oil, and drive the car gently to see how it behaves. But my guess is the transmission will have to be torn down. Fortunately, T96 overdrives are easy to get.
        Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands


        • #5
          Very good, you guys!

          The OD relay is stuck closed and the OD was still engaged. Jacked the rear and that took enough load off to release the OD. Drives great. Now it's time to put a new relay in. I'm happy that I don't have to field strip the transmission, youngest daughter is happy that she doesn't have to beg Mom for the Expedition, and I can spend another week out of town with a clear conscience.

          Thanks for all the ideas!

          1950 Champion Sedan - Kid Car


          • #6
            To: Stratohammer,----Your Daughter drives a '50 Studebaker Champion to school?.............How Cool!!!!!!!!


            • #7
              Originally posted by SN-60 View Post
              To: Stratohammer,----Your Daughter drives a '50 Studebaker Champion to school?.............How Cool!!!!!!!!
              That is cool...

              1950 Commander Starlight Coupe
              Regal Deluxe Trim
              Automatic transmission
              46k original miles, 4th Owner


              • #8
                YUP..... I have a bypass wired to mine, and If I leave the bypass on....... NO REVERSE!
                Overdrive electrics should be the culprit.