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Four Speed Avanti!

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Well, I guess I've talked myself into converting my '63 Avanti (63R1379) from Powershift to four-speed manual transmission!:o

I'm a bit hesitant to do this, as there's really nothing wrong with the automatic trans that's in the car now, however, I've always 'yearned' to own  an R2 four speed Studebaker Avanti!

Acquiring a Studebaker four speed setup from a '62 GT Hawk parts car has set the wheels in motion......I sent the flywheel out to be re-surfaced today, and will contact Dave Thibeault soon for a new clutch assembly & release bearing......also possibly one of his 'top shelf' Hurst Competition Plus Avanti shifter kits!

If anyone out there has an extra Studebaker Avanti (or 109" wheelbase Studebaker Lark) four speed driveshaft, I'm interested!

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Consider going to a speed shop and having an aluminum driveshaft installed...less rotating mass with increased performance.  It won't be as inexpensive as a used unit but I don't believe you'll regret it.

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Or just get a new steel driveshaft made at a local driveshaft shop near you.   I got several Avanti driveshafts made at a shop near me for about $150, including u-joints.  or maybe slightly more...  still under $200.  

 

 

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Good suggestions on the driveshaft!.....I really don't want to deal with a possible driveline vibration later on as a consequence of using a 'tweaked' 55 year old shaft!

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You can really do it right if you're willing to buy a first class ticket...install a Tremec 5-speed.  Even better performance and fuel economy...but forget about fuel economy...would you rather whimper about economy or do you want to be king of the road?  :P

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I just finished making this conversion myself.  Man oh man am I gald I did!

The job is very straight forward, essentially all bolt in, no holes to cut nor brackets to weld.

To make it a bit easier, my engine was in bad shape and had to come out.  This made it easier in that the flywheel bolts are different (longer) than the flex plate bolts.  To change, you will need to pull the pan and rear bearing cap.  Not impossible in the car, just a pain.  

The brake pedal is different but get the clutch and brake pedal as a pair, they are shared with Larks that have hanging pedals.  There were several Larks at Chuck Naugel's that had them.  

You will need to use a Borg & Beck pressure plate unless you get a 62 GT bellhousing, even them you will need to do some serious machine work.  At least I did.

 I had a local shop rework my driveshaft and supply me with a splined yoke for under $300.00 with sales tax included.

 If I had a better budget, I would have gone 5 speed but the spare engine I bought to build came with a T10 as well as bellhousing and flywheel.  Get the correct Hurst shifter linkage from Jon Myers or Dave Thibeault if you go T10.  I went cheap and am paying for it later.  There really isn't a Hust bolt in kit but Jon and Dave have it worked out.

By next week I should have some pictures posted.

Ken

Edited by Kennie B.
Forgot Dave

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On 10/18/2017 at 4:18 AM, Gunslinger said:

You can really do it right if you're willing to buy a first class ticket...install a Tremec 5-speed.  Even better performance and fuel economy...but forget about fuel economy...would you rather whimper about economy or do you want to be king of the road?  :P

Excuse me, I'm a Baby Boomer and want it all!

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7 hours ago, Kennie B. said:

Excuse me, I'm a Baby Boomer and want it all!

Well...that's better than being a snowflake that wants it all without earning it and being offended by the suggestion they do earn it.

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19 hours ago, Kennie B. said:

I just finished making this conversion myself.  Man oh man am I gald I did!

The job is very straight forward, essentially all bolt in, no holes to cut nor brackets to weld.

To make it a bit easier, my engine was in bad shape and had to come out.  This made it easier in that the flywheel bolts are different (longer) than the flex plate bolts.  To change, you will need to pull the pan and rear bearing cap.  Not impossible in the car, just a pain.  

The brake pedal is different but get the clutch and brake pedal as a pair, they are shared with Larks that have hanging pedals.  There were several Larks at Chuck Naugel's that had them.  

You will need to use a Borg & Beck pressure plate unless you get a 62 GT bellhousing, even them you will need to do some serious machine work.  At least I did.

 I had a local shop rework my driveshaft and supply me with a splined yoke for under $300.00 with sales tax included.

 If I had a better budget, I would have gone 5 speed but the spare engine I bought to build came with a T10 as well as bellhousing and flywheel.  Get the correct Hurst shifter linkage from Jon Myers or Dave Thibeault if you go T10.  I went cheap and am paying for it later.  There really isn't a Hust bolt in kit but Jon and Dave have it worked out.

By next week I should have some pictures posted.

Ken

Hey, I'm glad that you're happy with this conversion....I probably wont make the move till next spring....in the meantime I'll be rounding up necessary parts.

I too will pull the engine/ auto transmission as an assembly....The engine in my Avanti  hasn't been touched in 25 years, and it probably could at least use an oil pan cleanout and new rear engine oil seal.

One modification I'm thinking about making  is going with a hydraulic clutch release bearing kit....Jegs and Summit offer these for the T-10, and although they're a bit 'pricey', they supposedly provide much smoother clutch action.....And I was never very crazy about  Studebaker Avanti factory mechanical clutch linkage, as I've had to repair/beef-up a few of those units in the past, with varying degrees of success!.....Take care!

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If you go hydraulic on the throw out, find the best one.  My business neighbor builds hot rods.  A few years back, he and a client decided to go to a hydraulic  throw out bearing.  Unfortunately the seal failed a few hundred miles from home and when the flywheel, pressure plate and friction plate get even a hint of oil, show's over.  If you really want to go hydraulic, use a slave cylinder working on the regular linkage.  Lose a seal and at least you can still limp home.  I thought about it but decided to control the potential for mission creep by using stock.  So far, I like it.  Not as good as my son's WRX but not bad at all.

Edited by Kennie B.

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On another aspect, the clutch.

The pressure plate that came with my engine/transmission combo needed serious surfacing and I had found many issues with other components so decided to go with a diaphragm spring rather than a Borg & Beck.  While it works beautifully, there is some work required to get clearance to the bell housing...and that is with the early GT that has the GM bolt pattern.  The later one used on the Avanti is out of the question.  If you want a diaphragm typt pressure plate, go with a fabricated bell housing.

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On 10/20/2017 at 11:06 PM, Kennie B. said:

On another aspect, the clutch.

The pressure plate that came with my engine/transmission combo needed serious surfacing and I had found many issues with other components so decided to go with a diaphragm spring rather than a Borg & Beck.  While it works beautifully, there is some work required to get clearance to the bell housing...and that is with the early GT that has the GM bolt pattern.  The later one used on the Avanti is out of the question.  If you want a diaphragm typt pressure plate, go with a fabricated bell housing.

Interesting information!....And I will be using the GM style bolt pattern Studebaker ('61-'62) clutch housing.

Do diaphragm pressure plates require less pedal pressure?

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If you do decide to go hydraulic, here's a couple of posts that show how I adapted an OEM GM hydraulic setup into the 74 with the T-56. Nothing says something similar wouldn't work with other setups including after market units. If I were to use a four speed, I'd strongly consider the hydraulic TO bearing but heed KB's advice on the best you can find. Most newer cars with manual trans, I believe, use hydraulic TO bearings so the technology is sound.

My setup is on the stiffer side of clutch actuation, very much in line with muscle cars of the 60's and 70's. More leverage would reduce effort.

http://forum.studebakerdriversclub.com/showthread.php?67658-T-56-in-a-74-Avanti-Part-1-Clutch-Hydraulics

http://forum.studebakerdriversclub.com/showthread.php?68211-74-Avanti-Clutch-Master-Cylinder-Mount-T-56

If the pictures don't show and you need a look, I can email or post same.

Bob

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Hey Bob, you're information & pictures (we love pictures!) are EXCELLENT!!...I didn't 'catch' this on the SDC Forum, as I haven't looked at it much since telling Premier Novak he could "shove" HIS forum several months ago! :o

When and if Clark Novak and his cronies fade into the sunset, I may consider re-joining!

Anyway, thanks again, and when I take my '63 Avanti out of mothballs in the spring, I'll no doubt be in touch with you as I attempt this conversion. :)

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If you decide to go ahead let me know, I'll add what I can. Always appreciate your expertise.

Bob

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