In 63 Studebaker went from partial flow to full flow oil filtration.
Does anybody know what other modifications if any were made to the
Studebaker V8 that would result in the engine sounding a bit different
than the 62 and ealier engines? Just seems that every 63 and 64 V8
I've heard or driven seem to be smoother with less internal sounds such
as tappet, etc. than the 62 and earlier engines I've listened to and
driven. Any ideas?
-63 GT Hawk
-56 Sky Hawk
The 63 and 64 engines are generally a little quieter; the 62 and
earlier engines seem to have a bit more tappet sound, not
objectionable, just different. I'm wondering if the switch to full
flow filtration required tighter tolerances to ensure higher uniform
oil pressure. I do know that 62 and earlier engines were supposed to
have hot oil pressure at 2000 RPM at anywhere between 20 and 40
pounds;l 63 and later engines were 30-50 poinds.
At some point the oil pressure relief valve spring was changed to a
heavier one; not sure if that makes a difference or not. I also do not
recall when that change took place but I thought it was prior to 1963
I believe most of the other mods made had to do with oil drainback, not
At some point the rocker arm adjusters and pushrods were changed as
well, maybe that is some of the difference?
The rocker arms and pushrods certainly could make a difference, as the
sounds I hear on the 62 and earlier engines is valvetrain related.
Perhaps changes in the oil drainback may have resulted in slightly
higher pressure. Who knows!
N8 you'll be interested in this: (from Jet Thrust news)
"There are many misconceptions about the components of an Avanti engine.
Many people think that every part of those engines were a special high
performance part. I think this happens because it is common for the big
three to produce special heavy-duty parts for performance engines. They
do this because the standard bread and butter engines are engineered
(read that cheapened) to be suitable for no more than standard use. This
saves them a lot of money. Let’s use the venerable Small-block Chevy as
an example. An engine in a Caprice will have a thin wall two bolt main
block, a cast crank, light duty connecting rods, small port and valve
light weight heads, a very conservative cam, and a thin tooth type
timing chain on a weak aluminum/nylon sprocket. The special high
performance Small-block will typically have a thicker high nickel four
bolt main block, forged crank, stronger forged rods, free-flowing large
valve heads, performance cam, double row roller timing chain, and a few
other special items. This also holds true for Ford and Chrysler.
Studebaker did not have the financial resources to produce the variety
of parts required in order to make their engines application specific.
Given the quantity of units produced, it might not have been cost
effective anyhow. Consequently, they engineered their engines for worst
case scenarios and light duty applications resulted in gross over
design. Some heavy-duty parts were added as the need arose just as a few
special performance parts were manufactured as needed. All Studebaker
V8’s have a forged crank, a thick high nickel block, and adequate
This brings us back to the Avanti engine. By 1962, the big three were
producing 400 plus cubic inch engines. Studebaker needed a performance
engine for their new Avanti that would compete with the big three but
could not spend much money on it. According to Otis Romine, work on
hopping up the existing engine was already underway when Andy Granatelli
showed up with a supercharger in hand hoping to sell it to Studebaker. I
don’t know who is responsible for the final product but I believe they
combined information learned from the Holman and Moody compact stock car
59 Lark project with input from Andy. They simply hot-rodded the
standard production engine knowing it was plenty strong enough to
withstand this type of use. This article will examine what was done to
make more power. It is surprising how many of the components came right
from the parts bins. Some of these are easy to spot by nature of their
early part numbers. What follows is a rundown of the engine parts and
where they came from.
Block Initial high RPM testing revealed an oil drain back problem. It
seems the window in the valley was too small and in the wrong place for
oil to drain properly. Revising the casting solved that problem. Along
with that, a host of other changes were made to update the block. A
full-flow oil filter was added, drain holes for the heads were enlarged,
and the freeze or core plug holes were bored through for use with
industry standard cup plugs. These changes were put into production in
mid 1962 for the entire V8 engine line. That’s right, the only
difference between a full-flow 259 and an R2 block is the ID number
stamped ahead of the valley cover. The parts book shows a separate
number for an R1/R2 block only because all blocks were supplied fitted
with pistons. The Avanti pistons are different than standard 289
production items, as are the 259 pistons. The bare blocks are the same.
Pistons The intended use of the Avanti engines necessitated a new
piston. That was also an item that could be redesigned and manufactured
cheaply. The standard piston used 1950 technology for its design. The
new R1/R2 piston was made with then current industry standard design. It
is a flattop piston made with a high strength cast aluminum material and
has a non-full, slipper style skirt. It is lighter and stronger than the
standard piston plus has less operating friction. It also raised
Connecting Rods These are used as is from the standard production engine.
Crankshaft This also was used as is from the standard engine. The 289
crank did change in mid 62 at the same time the block did. The length of
the snout on the front changed slightly and possibly a minor balance
value change. If you use an older crank in your Jet Thrust engine, check
the snout length in assembly with the vibration damper so you don’t
bottom the bolt on the crank and get the rotating assembly balanced. The
tri-metal bearings used in Avanti engines were actually put into use in
all engines beginning in 1961.
Vibration damper This is an R engine only part. With increases in power
you get increases in crankshaft deflection. The new damper better
canceled that deflection. Evidently the engineers felt that the saucer
type damper was at its limit in a standard engine. The damper on a Jet
Thrust Lark or Hawk is the same basic part as on an Avanti with a V-belt
groove cut into the inertia ring for driving the water pump and
alternator. The timing cover also changed slightly with the damper. A
degreed timing plate replaced the single pointer.
Camshaft This is another item that was produced specifically for the
Avanti engine. The camshaft is the heart of a performance engine and it
is relatively inexpensive to alter the profile of the lobe. The R1/R2
camshaft (1557663) is conservative by performance standards but it was a
dramatic improvement over the standard cam. To this day, it is a very
good street performance cam for any Studebaker V8.
Timing gear The aluminum timing gear (1685777) actually was a heavy duty
part used on police, taxi, and truck applications starting in 1961.
There was also one produced for six cylinder applications.
Cylinder heads R1 (1557571) and R2 (1557580) heads were new for 1963
part numbers but were used on all engines. The difference between these
two heads is the combustion chamber size. They gave an R1/R2 engine
10.25 or 9.0 to 1 compression respectively. On a dished piston 289,
those figures dropped a point and a half. The ports are the same as the
1955 and later heads.
Valve train The valve springs on a standard V8 will only control valve
movement to about 5000 RPM with the stock cam. With the more aggressive
profile of the Avanti cam, a stronger spring was needed. The spring that
was used is about 25% stronger than the standard one. It allows the
engine to spin up over 6000 RPM before valve float will occur. That
spring (188645) came right from the parts bin. It was used on the
President Eight. The intake valve (683876) is a standard production item
dating back to 1955. The exhaust valve (683875) also dates back to 55
but it is only used in heavy-duty applications. It is made of better
material than the standard part so it can better tolerate heat. The rest
of the hardware (i.e. Pushrods, rocker arms, and tappets) are standard
Ignition Prestolite was already building a high performance, dual point,
counter clockwise rotation distributor for Chrysler. It was easy for
them to put these internals in a Studebaker housing. This was supplied
in all Jet Thrust engines.
Intake manifold and carburetor 1962 was the end of the line for the WCFB
Carter four barrel. The current AFB was replacing it for all the
customers Carter supplied. Studebaker was one of those. This required a
revision of the carburetor pad on the current manifold casting and it
was used on the entire line from 1963 to the end. There are two versions
of that basic part. 1557843 is used on all the standard engines and the
R2. It can be identified by the two small slots below the carb between
the left and right chamber of the intake. 1557472 is the same manifold
without those two slots.
All four-barrel engines used an AFB from 63 on. The standard engine used
a small CFM sized version but I don’t recall what size it was. The R1
used one that flows about 500 CFM. The R2 uses a special built sealed
unit with foam filled floats.
Miscellaneous The valley cover on an R series engine is different from
the rest by the fact that the breather hole was eliminated. The
crankcase is ventilated through a tube added to the side of the oil pan.
That was also an R series only item. The other addition was a windage
tray added to the oil pan. There were a few other alterations to
accommodate the supercharger or other external equipment.
As you can see, the vast majority of these engines are nothing special.
The standard Studebaker V8 was a good engine to begin with. There is no
such thing as an Avanti block, head or crank as there would be with a
Corvette. A few years ago, a friend from Chicago needed a block for his
63 R1 Avanti. He called asking me if he should buy a used one from
another Avanti for $400 or a late 259 block for $50. I told him they are
both the same, buy the cheaper one, and to save the damaged original so
he had evidence of the correct serial number. If the casting numbers
were close enough, he could have restamped his number in the replacement
block. Service blocks were not stamped so the installer could transfer
the original number. None of that was important to this person and the
259 block worked fine.
Andy Beckman compiled this list of the first use of JT engine parts
Part # 683875 683876 Valve first use 1955 259 E28 and heavier trucks.
188645 Valve springs Commander six and the President eight from 1936 on
1545072 Head gasket 1958 V8's with 8:1 head
1685777 Timing gear 1956 heavy duty equipment
Studebaker On the Net http://stude.com
Actually this camshaft went into the parts book in 1959, perhaps to
legitimize its use at Daytona. It was good for a 259 or a 289 but too
much for a 232 with 259 heads. It was also incompatible with 51-54 lifters.
This is really fascinating! Absolutely amazing what can be done with a
baisically sound desing to begin with. I especially found the comments
regarding the vibration damper interesting, Also interresting regarding
comments on the valve train/camshaft and cylinder head changes.
John Poulos wrote:
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