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1957 Transtar--been off the road for 25 plus years

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  • Engine: 1957 Transtar--been off the road for 25 plus years

    Hi, posted my pics on the "member pics" area of my truck---trying to make it road worthy---need to get the 259 engine running first of course.

    I learned to drive on this truck---so has the memories for me---just not sure where to start---seems monumental!


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  • #2
    Welcome back and that's a fine truck with many memories for you. Wish my grandfather's '55 had stayed in the family.

    When awakening a Stude from storage, always begin with the brakes. You're in MN and the humidity there will almost certainly have rusted the master and wheel cylinders and the lines. Usually, it's less expensive in the end and certainly less work just to replace them all.

    Stude engines usually survive long storage. Begin by draining all the fluids, flushing the radiator and cooling system.

    jack vines


    • #3
      Hi Jack,
      I looked back and 3 years ago I said the same thing--that I was going to revive this truck--and here I am 3 years later and nothing. It's funny, I restore old motorcycles and my space is limited and for some reason the huge endeavor this is scares the living crap out of me. Plus, of course, trucks are much bigger than bikes. I have this thought of me loading my restored bikes on this baby and take it to bike and car shows--would be fun! I really really want to get it back on the road if for no other reason for my dad, brother, and sister to see it running again. I really don't care if it ever gets restored to brand new---just want it running and driveable. If some day I get the urge to go further, I can always do that. The body isn't that bad.


      • #4
        I think many of us do the same thing, make a list that's so long it seems impossible. You will drive yourself nuts thinking about doing it all at once. So just do one thing at a time, start small, simple good luck nice looking truck.


        • #5
          Maybe more of the question is this---since I don't really have the space---should I just remove the engine and tranny from the frame and take care of that first?


          • #6
            Jeff where in Mn are you? If your not a member of the local SDC you should join. There is a lot to be said for the help you can get there. If space is limited I would pull the motor and move the truck aside so you have room to work. Have you tried to just get it running as is?


            • #7
              Hi--I live in Oakdale. I am pretty sure it doesn't run---I remember around 30 plus years ago that it was parked because my sister drove it with the parking brake on--was not good--burned up the engine. The truck is in North Dakota so my thought was to go get the engine and tranny out of it and bring it back to the cities. I could pull it out and then put the body back in the barn where it is now. I know brakes would need work as well--plus different tires. Do you know of anyone that would work on the engine and tranny for me if I didn't want to do it? Is it an annual membership because back in 2013 I had this same thought about getting it going and here I am again in 2016, no further than I was at that time. So, this time I need to act upon my impulse. Who do I get ahold of for being a member?


              • #8
                Maybe instead of pulling out the engine and waiting, possibly find a good engine and tns to stuff in there when you pull that one out. Get good brakes and your on the road Nice looking truck, like it is.
                My 1st car. "A TRANSTAR"

                Somewhere between Culture and Agriculture
                in the Geographic center of Tennessee


                • #9
                  Originally posted by jsmith1107 View Post
                  Do you know of anyone that would work on the engine and tranny for me if I didn't want to do it?
                  I-90 runs from there to here. PM me if you get serious. If you want a 259" done correctly, with all new wear parts, budget for $3,000 and at least three months time.

                  When deciding which way to go, make a realistic budget and decide what you care to do yourself. CASOs have patched them up for years and re-used old parts, but for that to be the way to go, labor has to be free. It takes the same labor hours to R&R and clean the long block. Once clean, it actually takes less shop time to build a new engine than to patch junk. For example in the heads, in the bad old days, we would knurl worn guides, regrind used valves and lap them in the seats. In the block, we'd ream out the ridge, scrape the carbon out of used pistons, hand-hone and hope. New parts go in quicker and the difference will last as long as you own the truck.

                  It's only been in the past few years we've learned to use diamond hones in the cylinders, to line hone the main bearing bores and square deck the block. For forty years, if the connecting rods weren't bent or blue, they went back in. With today's technology, it's obvious they all need the big ends reconned. We never used to balance anything less than a full-race build. Today, we balance everything,

                  Bottom line - They've run without all this forever, but spinning over a correctly machined engine, the difference can be felt with the hands; just so much freely and smoother.

                  jack vines

                  jack vines


                  • #10
                    Thanks again for the response---I would love to say "yep let's do it" but unfortunately for me even though this truck has memories my analytical mind gets in the way as well. So, $3000 would include all parts and labor? Let me ask you this and I myself hate this question when people ask me about motorcycles--what do you think this is worth if I get it road worthy or restore it? But, that's what I am going to ask--remember, this is my analytical side of my brain asking this. My memories side says do it but I can't without having some info---yes, I know it is generally said that it is worth what someone is willing to pay you. haha

                    Ok, acronym alert---what is CASO's? You are definitely a mechanic just by looking at your post---I have worked on truck/car engines but it has just been small things. I totally get what you say about technology being better today and being able to lengthen lives on engines, etc. It definitely helps.

                    So, I have asked you a couple of questions AGAIN--thanks so much for the info so far--just need a little more!



                    • #11
                      Hi Jeff, CASO = cheap a** Studebaker Owner
                      sigpic1957 Packard Clipper Country Sedan

                      "There's nothing stronger than the heart of a volunteer"
                      Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle
                      "I have a great memory for forgetting things" Number 1 son, Lee Chan


                      • #12
                        haha, thanks for the clarification--going to be hard to forget that one!


                        • #13
                          Without a good evaluation from a good experienced Studebaker person, I believe this speculation is a little premature. Due to running with the hand brakes on, "Burned up," is a rather vague term. First of all, these trucks are relatively simple in terms of vehicle construction. More (in focus) pictures showing the chassis, floorboards, and lower cab corners where they tend to rust, would help evaluate the body and chassis. Fortunately, this truck was built after the lousy asphalt impregnated cloth insulated wiring was changed over to more durable, and flexible wiring. Therefore, unless the rodents have chewed it away, your wiring might be salvageable.

                          Checking the engine for the ability to rotate, getting it cleaned up, lubricated, and started, might allow you to determine if it really needs an extensive rebuild, or just components repaired. I once bought a Hawk that had sat for several years. I drove it home smoking like a mosquito sprayer. I rebuilt the brakes first. After installing a new battery, oil change, points, condenser, rotor, spark plug wires, spark plugs, distributor cap, oil/air filters, carburetor rebuild, I drove the car for years with no additional serious work.

                          If you get into working on the truck, by the time you become familiar with it, I'll bet you will find that what might seem daunting, will be easier than twisting twin carburetors out of the frame rails of some motorcycles you have worked on. Whatever happens, I'm wishing you the best.
                          Last edited by jclary; 08-03-2016, 03:29 PM.
                          John Clary
                          Greer, SC

                          SDC member since 1975


                          • #14
                            Jeff most of the engine builders that I knew have gone to the big engine shop in the sky. But I know there are a few left in the St Paul- Oakdale area. Depending on how bad of shape it's in it may not need that much.


                            • #15
                              So, $3000 would include all parts and labor?
                              All new pistons, rings, bearings, valves, guides, reground cam, lifters, crank, rods on your long block.

                              And no, there's no way it ever makes any financial sense to restore an old truck. It's an emotional decision which can have lasting benefits. Every time I look at my Stude truck, I get a very real pleasure out of the beautiful styling. Same thing about going a cruise or a week in Las Vegas; it's just how one spends disposable income, not about an investment which pays a profit.

                              jack vines