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Whats the Good, Bad and Ugly on Studebaker 259's?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by plym_46, Apr 1, 2007.

  1. plym_46
    Joined: Sep 8, 2005
    Posts: 4,018

    plym_46
    Member
    from central NY

    Will be looking at a truck project in a couple of weeks. Seller says it is a 259 with an adapter plate for a gm auto. Anybody know the strengths and weakness of these motors. I know they can be replaced with SBC's cause that is what Studie did, but I kinda wanna keep it stock based if possible.
     
  2. Builtforsin
    Joined: Feb 2, 2007
    Posts: 181

    Builtforsin
    Member

    It isnt a straight swap with a SBC actually. Studebaker did it in 65 and 66 because the Plant in Southbend closed its doors and they didnt make studebaker engines anymore.

    As for the 259, pretty good as far I know. Studebaker engines can be hopped up pretty decently.

    sorry, as for strengths.. Nothing really special that sets it apart from any other 50's OHV V8. Same with weaknesses. They don't have a super great oiling system and parts arent as redily available as a small block chevy but parts are available still.

    They did some pretty impressive stuff with them back in the 60's with the R-series engines. Check out the studebakerdriversclub.com forum, alot of very knowledgable studebaker guys there too.
     
  3. I know that they were designed to run off the tooling from the old 'kettering' cadillac. The major castings are different, but I believe a lot of parts interchange. When Studebaker shut down in the Sixties, a lot of their parts inventory was bought up by enthusiasts. So, there are a lot of parts available, especially for post 1960 cars. A few years ago, someone was advertising NOS 259 cranks in the studebaker drivers' club newsletter.

    Joining the SDC would be a real good idea. A lot of those guys are real cool, and will be pretty stoked to help a guy doesn't just swap an SBC in when he wants a power upgrade.

    Studes tend to be pretty short stroke motors. My dad was telling me about some guys in limited hydros that would wrap their little studes (I think they were 232's) waaayyy up.

    There are some guys who race 289's with some success. A guy named Ted Harbit ran (still runs?) 10's with a very close-to-stock 289 longblock with 2 turbos in an all-steel 3000 lb (give or take) car. There was another one or 2 guys that ran 289 Avantis way faster than you think they should at bonneville.

    Hope .02 helps.

    -bill
     
    timmy2times likes this.
  4. tstclr
    Joined: Sep 20, 2006
    Posts: 313

    tstclr
    Member

    I have this bad boy on my engine stand waiting to be cleaned up, mated to my T10 and bolted into my 63 Lark 2dr Sedan:
    [​IMG]
    They run well with Edelbrock's 500cfm carb. All Stude V8's have steel cranks, high nickel content blocks, gear driven cams and solid lifters. You can still get NOS cranks for 65 bucks! They can also be converted to 289's by swapping cranks and pistons. The 259 loves to rev and I hear they'll respond well to a Paxton. Parts are readily available. Stick to a later 259 with full flow oiling. Early units were partial flow. Cadillac intakes will fit but the port match is very poor. You'd swap a Caddy intake for show, not go. You can get valley covers from Vintage Speed and vintage Offenhauser valve covers show up on Ebay from time to time. Weaknesses: they are HEAVY. No one makes headers but you could run Avanti cast iron headers (expensive) or make your own.
    Oh, these engines also sound sweet with glass packs!
    Tons of tech info at www.racingstudebakers.com
    Todd
     

  5. The 259 is one tough little customer. ALL real Studebaker motors came right from the factory with forged steel cranks and rods. They are supposed to have higher nickel content castings, but dunno for sure about that as yet. They can be easily punched out and converted into a 289, although the 289 cranks have become "unobtainium" lately. They DO have an excellent oiling system, although earlier V8 engines ran a partial flow oil filtration system. Stude engines have been known to be able to withstand high RPM without benefit of 4-bolt mains, even under supercharger/turbo pressures. However, the stock valve train setup will be the limiting factor.

    The '65 & '66 Studebakers ONLY, made in Canada after operations ended in South Bend, did have 283 McKinnon Chevy engines, as per Studebaker specs., although some 283 Chevy and '65/'66 Stude 283 engine parts do not readily interchange. Dropping a V8 Chevy motor into a pre-'65 Stude is not necessarily an easy drop in.

    Studebaker built engines had nothing, zip, zero, Nada, interchangeable with ANY early brand-x engine. No major casting, part or portion of any early brand-x motor is a bolt-on for a Stude engine. Studebaker designed and built, (in their own foundry), every single V8 that was put into their cars, until '65. Although the early Caddy intake can be adapted, (somewhat), to a Studebaker V8, it's doubtful that it would do much, if anything, for performance.

    Obviously SBC engine parts are more readily available, (as they are more readily available than ANY engine on the planet). However, V8 Studebaker performance parts are still "out there" and are still comparatively, reasonably priced. It costs more to built ANY Ford or Mopar than any bellybutton motor, so there can be no surprise or fair comparison when considering putting together a high performance Studebaker engine.

    Stubebaker engines are usually classified as small blocks, the largest bore being 304.5, as offered by the factory. However, the Stude motor is actually a "tween" size block, being physically larger than a small block, but not a big block, (such as the Ford 351 Cleveland). Therefore, of course a Stude block is about 72 pounds heavier than a small block Ford or Chevy. BUT, it's strength and capabilities are far superior to any comparable cubic inch Ford or Chevy factory offerings.

    If you would like to get all of the high performance Studebaker information that you can handle, join us at http://racingstudebakers.com/v-web/bulletin/bb/index.php

    We're ALWAYS glad to give a helping hand with ANY Studebaker. Studebaker powered or "other" powered, always welcome....
     
  6. plym_46
    Joined: Sep 8, 2005
    Posts: 4,018

    plym_46
    Member
    from central NY

    Thanks for you infomative reply. I'll see how the deal works out and then maybe visit your site in earnest.
     
  7. mtkawboy
    Joined: Feb 12, 2007
    Posts: 1,213

    mtkawboy
    Member

    Machinest friend of mine ran a Lark at the drags in the mid 70's with a blower on it in NHRA SS/IA. He made a block plate to hone the cylinders, bolted it on and said it did nothing, the block was so stout. He made adaptors out of epoxy and ran an a Chevy small block Edelbrock Victor intake on it, used a C4 Ford automatic on it {said they came with it}. Ran 11.2's back then, he passed way, his name was Bob Dwyer from Ft Lauderdale, diabetes got him. He also ran a 55 stocker earlier, called the Crockagator. He loved Studebakers
     
    timmy2times likes this.
  8. Flat Ernie
    Joined: Jun 5, 2002
    Posts: 8,406

    Flat Ernie
    Tech Editor

    Check out SDC & Racingstudebakers.com.

    Although for some reason, Sonny, I've been banned from Racing Studebakers....can't access anymore....& have sent a couple emails to you, but no response. Username is same as here - flat ernie
     
  9. tommy
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 14,757

    tommy
    Member Emeritus

    [​IMG]

    The best thing about them is watching all the know-it-alls scratch their heads trying to figure out what it is. The only people that know are the ones that have had one or worked on one in the past. They all guess Olds and Cadillac. It's fun to watch the gears turning in their head.

    This is a 55 259. I don't like to wring it too tight but it makes good power in my light P/U. I try not to be hard on the equipment.
     
  10. Flat Ernie
    Joined: Jun 5, 2002
    Posts: 8,406

    Flat Ernie
    Tech Editor

    I'm a Stude novice, but from what I've read, they are strong engines that will rev well.

    Not a lot of speed parts out there - I've got a 2x2 like Tommy has in the pics, but doesn't fit my '53 due to hood clearance issues - not much fits the shovel-nosed cars...

    There are a couple decent cams for them - all based on the R1/2/3 cars of the '60s.

    The 289 in my '53 is a strong runner & has loads of low-end torque.
     
  11. Paul
    Joined: Aug 29, 2002
    Posts: 15,523

    Paul
    Editor

    yup, what Tommy said
    of course it helps if it's in a hoodless hot rod

    surprisingly I get Buick a lot too
    or "a Studebaker? I didn't know they made a V6"

    I've only had one person guess mine exactly, year and size.
    but I helped him by painting the block silver and valve covers orange,
    stock colors for a '61
     
    timmy2times likes this.
  12. chevnut
    Joined: Jun 29, 2006
    Posts: 978

    chevnut
    Member
    from Corona, Ca

    My very first ride was a Stude. 1941 Commander non-running more door. A surprise Birthday present from my wife. I attempted to restore this but parts are really hard to come by. No one makes replacement panels and never ever touching any kind of metalwork i sold it for a Chevy. IMHO, Pre-war Studes looked better to me. Other models made after never really got my interest.
     
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  13. rixrex
    Joined: Jun 25, 2006
    Posts: 1,433

    rixrex
    Member

    two years ago got the 53 Studebaker goin with later 259 innit..in Texas summer it can be 105 and 140 on the pavement..I was running stock two barrel and having problems with vapor lock,choke choking,inconsistant idle,etc..there is enough meat on stock two barrel manifold to cut it out larger for four barrel carb..put new Edelbrock and alternator on there and have been driving it every day since..strong engine, slushy stock automatic..the GM trans conversion should be great, I want to convert to 700R4 myself..am going to build another 259/289 for 51 bulletnose project and Kanter sells complete engine kit for 1400.00, new cam even....
     
    timmy2times likes this.
  14. sweet!! i guess i should hang on to this full flow 259 i've been trying to sell.
     
    timmy2times likes this.
  15. tommy
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 14,757

    tommy
    Member Emeritus

    [​IMG]

    Did you measure with the Stude Stromberg WWs? They were made for hood clearance on the Studebaker. Air cleaners are a challenge but there are solutions.
     
  16. DEEPNHOCK
    Joined: Jan 3, 2005
    Posts: 313

    DEEPNHOCK
    Member

    Actually, the Stude V8 (259 and 289) are LONG stroke, small bore engines. You can bore them .060" any day, .090" almost all the time, and some have even gone .120". ALL V8's came with forged cranks.
    There is NO connection with the Cadillac V8 engine other than the engineers and designers cohabitated on a government project in the forties. There is basically nothing that swaps with a Caddy engine without tweaking. The intake manifold can be made to bolt on, but the port mismatch sucks. Looks only. Most only did this to get the dual quad setup from Caddy on a Stude. The valley pan can be made to work if it is an aftermarket aluminum finned job...
    But....
    The Stude V8 is a stout, if heavy, piece.
    They can be made to run very quick, and the performance hard parts can be had from a number of Stude specific aftermarket sources. You just have to know where to look, and who to ask. Prices for Stude stuff is on par with Ford stuff. Not as cheap as a Chevy small block, but not as bad as a Porsche:rolleyes: ..
    The joy of building up a Stude engine for a Stude is worth it when the Stude crowd stops by and looks.. If they see a belly button motor in there... They'll walk right on by...
    Stude engines are no harder to build up than any engine. The few quirks they have are easy to deal with (shims for crank end play, gear driven cam, external oil pressure relief valve... Small stuff.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    For some info, try going to:
    http://racingstudebakers.com/
    Good place to learn up on Stude performance...
    Jeff:cool:


     
  17. Flat Ernie
    Joined: Jun 5, 2002
    Posts: 8,406

    Flat Ernie
    Tech Editor

    Yeah - Deepnhock actually machined some spacers that moved the carbs out further so the forward carb could get an aircleaner horn on it for someone else on here...pics on Deepnhock's website somewhere. Doubtful that would clear - the intake is pretty tall compared to my 4bbl...
     
  18. MrCreosote
    Joined: Jul 23, 2009
    Posts: 283

    MrCreosote
    Member
    from USA

    I sonic tested something like 8 blocks to find one that I could bore 3/32 out to R3 size.

    Didn't even come close* so I used my B57 R4 block which had freakishly aligned cores. It was said that Studebaker hand selected 304.5 blocks and there is NO DOUBT they are something very special. They also have the Keystone "88" stamp which no one seems to know what it means but is usually associated with "something good."

    I think all the "you can bore them out 1/4" come from the 1st series of engines, the 232 which had a smaller 3-3/8" bore size. Although I've never seen a 232 or tested it, I would put my money on Studebaker "boring" the 232 to get the 3-9/16 bore of the 224, 259, and 289 while the 304.5 was yet another overbore of 3/32.

    The misinformation is so bad, that it took years for people to realize if you do a 1/4" OS on a 3-9/16 bore, you end up breaking into the main oil galleries.
    ____________________
    * - Not possible if you want to maintain .100 min wall - the core shifts are substantial and all over the place from block to block. A .060 OS block I tested had something around .080 to .090 min wall. And the earlier non full-flow 3-9/16 blocks were no better as was also claimed to be true. The state of affairs from which this "information" came was "if you don't cut air, you're good!" And from bench racing pundits of course.
     
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  19. k9racer
    Joined: Jan 20, 2003
    Posts: 3,091

    k9racer
    Member

    As silly as it sounds C T Automotive in Calif used a Studebaker crank that was modified to be used in a small block chevy.. In the early 60s I used a studebaker power in my figure 8 car. It had the correct torque for low r p m and never ran hot. They were cheap too.
     
    stillrunners likes this.
  20. DEEPNHOCK
    Joined: Jan 3, 2005
    Posts: 313

    DEEPNHOCK
    Member

    Yeppers.. All Stude V8 cranks (except the McKinnon V8's in '65/'66) were forged.
    Too bad they are scarce today....ie: expensive...


     
  21. rustyironman
    Joined: Mar 26, 2011
    Posts: 479

    rustyironman
    Member

    Wow. Old thread resurrected.

    Stude V8 is a good engine. I've got probably 20 hanging around. Run them for years. Have a Hawk with its original engine never been torn down and still has excellent compression and oil pressure at 80k miles. Yes, it leaks some as well, 60 year old seals leave a bit to be desired.

    The engine itself in as manufactured form is quite good. The early 1951-52 232ci had some teething issues, but after that they are about as reliable as any engine.

    Biggest Warning: if working on one stay away from plain "white box" road and main bearings. I don't care who they came from (vendor big or small), but these plain white box ones are from China (or formally Taiwan made) and the babbit bearing lining comes loose from the shell backing and you will end up with oil that looks like metallic paint in about 2,000 miles. Many of those in the Studebaker Drivers club Have refused to ever print this in their technical section of the club magazine due to "conflicting interests" of those selling them and their involvement within the club.
     
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  22. This is a good read.
     
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  23. DEEPNHOCK
    Joined: Jan 3, 2005
    Posts: 313

    DEEPNHOCK
    Member

    OK... I'll play devil's advocate here...
    Tell me who makes a better bearing than what is being sold by the evil Stude vendors?
    Sources, please. I tried to buy Clevite bearings, but they are no longer made.



     
  24. rustyironman
    Joined: Mar 26, 2011
    Posts: 479

    rustyironman
    Member

    I never called any vendor evil.

    Never said ALL the bearings were bad. Just the "white box ones".

    Chuck Collins, Phil Harris, and Dave Thibeault, will still supply bearings in a Non-"White box". Yes, they are F-M's made in Mexico. Not the old Clevite, but a hell of a alot better then china.

    The "white box" Bearings are the ones sold by Lionel Stone (when he was around), Kanter, and currently by the "largest" Studebaker vendor. The reason I mention Lionel is many of his engine parts (Pistons I know for a fact) I think ended getting sucked up by egge, whilst John Erb got the rest.

    FYI, RPM wholesale who supplies most all the 'smaller studebaker vendors', still has Clevite bearings listed in my latest 2015 update, however they are priced even wholesale what most CASO's would choke on. Why would any Studebaker vendor order the high priced discontinued-stock ones when nobody wants to pay over $60 a set.....

    I have no desire to start any kind of disagreement. If you truly desire Clevite Brgs, let me know, I have a good stash.
     
  25. DEEPNHOCK
    Joined: Jan 3, 2005
    Posts: 313

    DEEPNHOCK
    Member

    Apologies... "Evil Vendor" is just a slang term used on the Stude forums for years... Just like CASO...
    I meant no disrespect.

    I do like Clevite 77 bearings.
    Do you have one or two complete sets for a 289 in "std" size?
    Let me know at DEEPNHOCK at gmail dot com

    Thanks ahead of time.
    Jeff
     
  26. MrCreosote
    Joined: Jul 23, 2009
    Posts: 283

    MrCreosote
    Member
    from USA

    Wow, so many great bits of information.

    Yep, Stude cranks are all forged. (I think old Mopar are too) We were comparing Stude to Chevy forged cranks, holding them with a wire and ringing them. The Chevy ringed "better" but not by much. You can't go wrong with a forged crank.

    Are the F-M bearings AP? Didn't know about the white box. Wow...

    Cranks are not expensive (at least when I'm trying to sell them.) They go cheap on ebay (not even $100) and yes I have over a dozen of them mostly Hurwich Iron and gave up on selling them.

    The most critical thing to get right in rebuilding a Stude is the piston pin to rod taper pinch pin. They are extremely uncommon and no one has any previous experience with them. If you don't get a good set when tightening, they will loosen and the pin will slide out. Very critical. But if you use common sense, you shouldn't have a problem.

    I don't know if anyone could make it out, but the port/chamber plugs in my avatar are from R3 heads.
     
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  27. DEEPNHOCK
    Joined: Jan 3, 2005
    Posts: 313

    DEEPNHOCK
    Member

     
  28. DEEPNHOCK
    Joined: Jan 3, 2005
    Posts: 313

    DEEPNHOCK
    Member

    259 cranks are still cheap, but 289 cranks (NOS) are getting real hard to find (read that $$$).
    I spent $400 + freight for a NOS 289 crank...4 years ago.
    Have been hoarding decent used ones....



    Cranks are not expensive (at least when I'm trying to sell them.) They go cheap on ebay (not even $100) and yes I have over a dozen of them mostly Hurwich Iron and gave up on selling them.
     
  29. southerncad
    Joined: Feb 5, 2008
    Posts: 785

    southerncad
    Member

    :)You asked for the "good" and they sound great with twice pipes and some small turbo or glasspack mufflers
     
  30. MrCreosote
    Joined: Jul 23, 2009
    Posts: 283

    MrCreosote
    Member
    from USA

    I guess for a rust free NOS 289 crank, there is some premium relative to Hurwich Ironand used. I think I saw a good used 289 crank do $60 on ebay. And there was a guy who recently want $300 for a 259 short block I think that never got bids. I've been trying to sell blocks/heads/complete engine rebuilding cores locally in SW PA on CL to like NO AVAIL - there is ZERO interest. The only block I sold was for a mock up in a high class 53 custom rod.

    RE: White Box bearings. I assume everyone knows there were sets made with undersized mains. The typical error was one of the 5 mains would be undersized. Don't remember the exact statistics on this, but I believe I had a set of STD where the front thrust main was .030 US - that amount is visible to the naked eye. There could have been other US amounts and different bearings - but usually just one of the mains.

    What does CASO mean?
     
    kidcampbell71 likes this.

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