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Borg Warner DG-200 transmission rebuild - need advice from the pros

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  • Transmission / Overdrive: Borg Warner DG-200 transmission rebuild - need advice from the pros

    Hello Stude Fans,

    I bought a 1954 Land Cruiser. She's all original - totally unmolested. The Borg-Warner DG-200 needs a rebuild. Before I bought the car, I called around and found a place that would do it. They said, "oh, yeah, nothing to those. Bring it in, we'll do it. $1500-$1800". I factored that little problem into the bargaining price, and I drove home with it. The drive home was so excellent. I love looking down the hood at the big chrome bird. I've always wanted a totally bitchin' 50s car, and now I have one. Back to the transmission. The more that I read on here, the more I realize that the transmission rebuild isn't as easy as I thought. A locking torque converter that needs to be cut in half, scare parts and few people that really know how to work on them. I even had one guy tell me to convert it to a "4 on the floor". No way I would do that, the car made it all original for 62 years, it will stay that way as best I can. Plus, a Land Cruiser is a family car, LONG wheelbase, 4-doors, big V-8. She's made to slow cruise on the highway, not lay rubber at the stop light. The automatic transmission is part of who she is, and I'm not going to change that. Here's the options I'm considering:

    1) Find an expert to rebuild the DG. I've talked to some vintage Jag people that know this transmission very well. The best price I can find is $2995. Plus, I'll have to build a crate and ship a $200 transmission across the country.

    2) I've been told that I have to change the bell-housing and an electrical component or two, but a Borg-Warner 8 will fit. And inside, they're constructed very similar to a Ford FMX, which everybody can work on. I've also been told that the DG-200, while a finnicky sucker, is better quality than the Model 8, which they cheapened in later years.

    What are your thoughts?

    Thanks!!!

    Tony Peterson

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  • #2
    The rebuild is probably pretty basic and any good re-builder should be able to do it. As far as cutting the torque converter in half to rebuild it, not a problem. Converter shops do it every day. Most converters are welded together. Talk with your original shop and let them confirm what they are going to do and the cost. If they seem to know what they are doing, you should be OK. No rocket science to a Studebaker BW transmission.
    If it worked well enough to drive home, it's probably just soft parts that need replacing.
    sigpic1966 Daytona (The First One)
    1950 Champion Convertible
    1950 Champion 4Dr
    1955 President 2 Dr Hardtop
    1957 Thunderbird

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    • #3
      Tony
      We rebuild the DG transmissions here in York, Pa. Our cost for a rebuilt DG 200 is $800. One will be available in South Bend in May. As far as the converter is concerned the only place I know of that has the expertise and the parts for the DG is Fatco. If you need more information PM me.
      Jerry Kurtz

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      • #4
        Why does it need rebuilding?

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by jerezstude View Post
          Tony
          We rebuild the DG transmissions here in York, Pa. Our cost for a rebuilt DG 200 is $800. One will be available in South Bend in May. As far as the converter is concerned the only place I know of that has the expertise and the parts for the DG is Fatco. If you need more information PM me.
          Jerry Kurtz
          Jerry, you bet I'm interested. I just sent you a PM.
          Thanks a lot! Tony

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by 70Avanti2 View Post
            Why does it need rebuilding?
            It was slipping when I bought it. I filled it up with oil and it was better for sure. It's leaking everywhere (from multiple spots) and it locks the torque converter up at very low speeds. I basically want it gone through.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by thunderations View Post
              The rebuild is probably pretty basic and any good re-builder should be able to do it. As far as cutting the torque converter in half to rebuild it, not a problem. Converter shops do it every day. Most converters are welded together. Talk with your original shop and let them confirm what they are going to do and the cost. If they seem to know what they are doing, you should be OK. No rocket science to a Studebaker BW transmission.
              If it worked well enough to drive home, it's probably just soft parts that need replacing.
              Thanks. I'm still feeling it out right now. I can't seem to find anybody locally that knows much about them. I've found a few people throughout the country, but nobody here.

              Comment


              • #8
                This might be a case of premature diagnosis. Very common among those who are new to Studebakers. You know to check the fluid level idling and in DRIVE, right?

                You might drive it a bit and let the seals swell up a bit before tearing it apart. If someone takes it apart and does not know what they are doing, things could go from bad to worse fairly quickly.
                RadioRoy, specializing in AM/FM conversions with auxiliary inputs for iPod/satellite/CD player. In the old car radio business since 1985.

                17A-S2 - 50 Commander convertible
                10G-C1 - 51 Champion starlight coupe
                10G-Q4 - 51 Champion business coupe
                4H-K5 - 53 Commander starliner hardtop
                5H-D5 - 54 Commander Conestoga wagon
                56B-D4 - 56 Commander station wagon
                60V-L6 - 60 Lark convertible

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                • #9
                  Trans stop leak will help soften the seals also.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Also know that the Torque Converter Has a Drain Plug and you can drain both the Pan and Converter and install the correct Ford Type "F" Valvoline ATF.

                    Getting new clean Oil and getting rid of possible incorrect mixes of who knows what Fluids could do it a world of good!

                    If it were mine, I would buy the Trans. Pan Gasket from a Studebaker Vendor and remove the Pan, clean it and the filter screen, replace the Pan and Gasket, then refill with Type F and see if that makes an improvement.

                    I would consider adjusting the Throttle Pressure Rod near the outside of the
                    Transmission per the Shop Manual to increase the Pressure to make it stay in Second Gear longer and stop the slipping on the 2nd. to High Gear shift.

                    If that does not work, you move on to adjusting the Bands before committing to a $2-3,000.00 complete overhaul that it very well does not need, especially if it has less than 100,000 Miles on it.

                    The VERY worst case would be a re-seal Job with external Seals AND Internal Clutch Drum Seals included.

                    FYI: The "GOOD Stuff" Trans Leak improver, is the Trans-X Brand additive.

                    I own a '54 Land Cruiser, so I also know they can be made to "move out" quite quickly using the Low Range and Manually shifting and holding Second by flooring the accelerator, shifting from Low to Drive and above 35 MPH shifting back to Low, locking it in Second up to a very good speed before the final shift to Drive getting the High Gear Lockup.
                    Try this on an Interstate good for 60 to 70, not on your 25 MPH Residential Street however, or you could get into serious trouble with the Law!
                    Last edited by StudeRich; 04-18-2016, 02:26 AM.
                    StudeRich
                    Second Generation Stude Driver,
                    Proud '54 Starliner Owner

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by StudeRich View Post
                      Also know that the Torque Converter Has a Drain Plug and you can drain both the Pan and Converter and install the correct Ford Type "F" Valvoline ATF.

                      Getting new clean Oil and getting rid of possible incorrect mixes of who knows what Fluids could do it a world of good!

                      If it were mine, I would buy the Trans. Pan Gasket from a Studebaker Vendor and remove the Pan, clean it and the filter screen, replace the Pan and Gasket, then refill with Type F and see if that makes an improvement.

                      I would consider adjusting the Throttle Pressure Rod near the outside of the
                      Transmission per the Shop Manual to increase the Pressure to make it stay in Second Gear longer and stop the slipping on the 2nd. to High Gear shift.

                      If that does not work, you move on to adjusting the Bands before committing to a $2-3,000.00 complete overhaul that it very well does not need, especially if it has less than 100,000 Miles on it.

                      The VERY worst case would be a re-seal Job with external Seals AND Internal Clutch Drum Seals included.

                      FYI: The "GOOD Stuff" Trans Leak improver, is the Trans-X Brand additive.

                      I own a '54 Land Cruiser, so I also know they can be made to "move out" quite quickly using the Low Range and Manually shifting and holding Second by flooring the accelerator, shifting from Low to Drive and above 35 MPH shifting back to Low, locking it in Second up to a very good speed before the final shift to Drive getting the High Gear Lockup.
                      Try this on an Interstate good for 60 to 70, not on your 25 MPH Residential Street however, or you could get into serious trouble with the Law!
                      What StudeRich said.

                      We have loads of N.O.S. parts in stock for these D-G autos. Never sell anything apart from seals and basic service items. A superb piece of engineering.

                      Chris.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by RadioRoy View Post
                        This might be a case of premature diagnosis. Very common among those who are new to Studebakers. You know to check the fluid level idling and in DRIVE, right?

                        You might drive it a bit and let the seals swell up a bit before tearing it apart. If someone takes it apart and does not know what they are doing, things could go from bad to worse fairly quickly.
                        Yeah, I agree. It needs to have somebody tinkering with it that knows what they're doing. It's leaking from multiple orifices, so I think it needs to be resealed no matter what. Yes, I did my research on the tranny and I checked the fluid levels with the engine running, foot on the brake, and selector in LOW. As StudeRich indicates, I used ATF. I do think the pressure rod needs to be set.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by StudeRich View Post
                          Also know that the Torque Converter Has a Drain Plug and you can drain both the Pan and Converter and install the correct Ford Type "F" Valvoline ATF.

                          Getting new clean Oil and getting rid of possible incorrect mixes of who knows what Fluids could do it a world of good!

                          If it were mine, I would buy the Trans. Pan Gasket from a Studebaker Vendor and remove the Pan, clean it and the filter screen, replace the Pan and Gasket, then refill with Type F and see if that makes an improvement.

                          I would consider adjusting the Throttle Pressure Rod near the outside of the
                          Transmission per the Shop Manual to increase the Pressure to make it stay in Second Gear longer and stop the slipping on the 2nd. to High Gear shift.

                          If that does not work, you move on to adjusting the Bands before committing to a $2-3,000.00 complete overhaul that it very well does not need, especially if it has less than 100,000 Miles on it.

                          The VERY worst case would be a re-seal Job with external Seals AND Internal Clutch Drum Seals included.

                          FYI: The "GOOD Stuff" Trans Leak improver, is the Trans-X Brand additive.

                          I own a '54 Land Cruiser, so I also know they can be made to "move out" quite quickly using the Low Range and Manually shifting and holding Second by flooring the accelerator, shifting from Low to Drive and above 35 MPH shifting back to Low, locking it in Second up to a very good speed before the final shift to Drive getting the High Gear Lockup.
                          Try this on an Interstate good for 60 to 70, not on your 25 MPH Residential Street however, or you could get into serious trouble with the Law!
                          I LOVE your posts, Rich. I've read a lot of them, and everything I've seen is very informative. I do think the pressure rod needs to be adjusted. What's the best service manual to use in order to learn how to service and set the transmission properly?

                          My DG-200 is leaking from several spots. Regardless, it needs to be resealed. I've been told that it needs to be pulled in order to reseal it. Wouldn't it make sense to go through it completely if it's going to be pulled from the car?

                          Thanks for any information.

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