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Clutch choice for engine swap?

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  • Clutch / Torque Converter: Clutch choice for engine swap?

    I am in the midst of swapping a '61 259 into a '51 Commander, which used to have a 232. The clutch and flywheel that came with the 232 are basically junk. I wanted to use the original bellhousing so I could keep the original overdrive transmission; later bellhousings have too large a center hole. So I centered the old bellhousing on the new block, and the old dowel pin holes were close enough to use as-is. Bonus. I bolted on the '61 flywheel and clutch, which are both in fine condition. Uh-oh! The 232 bellhousing is too small to accommodate the later clutch cover.

    Is there a lower-profile clutch cover in the Studebaker world that will bolt up to a 12-volt flywheel, AND have clearance in the old bellhousing? Or can I use a '56 - '57 bellhousing, if they are roomier than the '51 - '55?

    I do have an N.O.S. small V8 clutch on hand, but I would have to re-drill the flywheel. Laying out the holes to get them exactly in the right place would be a challenge, but I think I can handle it. Or will a 12-volt ring gear mount on a six-volt flywheel? I might have a decent, non heat-checked small flywheel on hand, too.
    Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands

  • #2
    Gord, as you know, the early small diameter clutch will survive with normal driving. Why not consider just using that? You say you have one good small flywheel and the original one can probably be resurfaced as well. I do them all the time which are ugly going in, but grinding on a proper flywheel surfacer makes them good as new. Doesn't take long, doesn't cost much. Usually $25-50 will git 'er done.

    jack vines
    PackardV8

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    • #3
      I may well wind up doing that. Will the ring gears interchange? The car is also going to 12 volts, per owner's request, so I would like to use a 12 volt starter.
      Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands

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      • #4
        Your results may vary, but I've used 6 volt starters on 12 volts with success. If the engine is well tuned, the starter doesn't have to spin long, plus it will spin VERY fast.

        jack vines
        PackardV8

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        • #5
          Oh, I know that. Just figured I could do it "right" for a change.
          Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands

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          • #6
            That's so refreshing, doing it "right". Wish the guys at the garage next door would take a lesson. They installed my pertronics and coil, wired the coil backwards, then boosted my 6V car with a 12V booster pack. Two weeks later, I've replaced the voltage regulator to get it charging again, re-wired the coil and it now runs about as good as it did before I sent it to them for "improvements". Waiting for a new dizzy from Dave Thibeault and then the 4 bbl goes on. Whew! May as well do it myself...with help from SDC, of course. You guys are terrific.
            Dave Warren (Perry Mason by day, Perry Como by night)

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            • #7
              Yes Gord I have had a '53 6V coarse toothed Ring Gear installed on a New '56 V8 Flywheel by getting it heated in an industrial oven and tapped on with the reverse done to remove the '56 fine toothed Ring Gear.

              That was a long time ago, now the Car is back to the 12 Volt setup due to 12 to 1+ Compression 289 3/8" popup Pistons.
              StudeRich
              Second Generation Stude Driver,
              Proud '54 Starliner Owner

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              • #8
                Well, I looked through my stock of flywheels and bellhousings, and the only six-volt flywheel with the small clutch I can find is the one that came out of the car, which is scored and heat-checked. So I guess I will have to take it off the 232, and have it machined.
                Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands

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                • #9
                  Gord, I stuck a 259 in a 63 Lark sedan that previously had the OHV-6, then cobbled together the clutch, bellhousing and T-86 OD from parts friends gave me. I wound up with one of those older bellhousings and realized the clutch wasn't going to spin without hitting points on the inside of the housing.
                  Being the cheap-o I am, I ground down those spots with a stone on my drill AND used some washers between the housing and the back of the engine! I know, I know... shame on me. :-) It worked and I drove that car many miles without trouble.

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                  • #10
                    Well, I dug out the 232 flywheel, and cleaned it off with a disc sander. Really wasn't that bad, so I installed it and new old rebuilt clutch disc and cover I had one hand. So the bellhousing is buttoned up. Now to give the transmission a quick go-over, and I can install the whole assembly in the car.
                    Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands

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