View Full Version : Swap 3.0L V6 Into Studebaker PU?
01-23-2009, 12:46 PM
I have a 1950 Studebaker 2R10 3/4T pickup which I want to upgrade the engine and transmission on, while saving the full-floating 5.57:1 rear axle and the matching dually-look wheels. The OEM engine is an 80hp 170CID 4.00in stroke L6. A 3.0L Vulcan with an OD transmission seems ideal. The 3.0L is much sturdier than a 2.9L Cologne. Comparing the OEM L6 with the 3.0L, power is almost doubled, and piston speed in OD is almost halved. Transmission choices are a beefed-up A4LD 4 spd OD auto or an M50D-R1 5 spd manual, both of course 2WD. I plan some towing, running the auto in 3rd or the manual in 4th (both 1:00 ratio), which calculates out to 2,800 revs/mi and 1,500 ft/min piston speed, both reasonable. When towing, I would cruise at 50-55 mph on the level.
I think I should prefer the manual, because of potential problems with converter lockup and unwanted shifts up or down between 3rd and OD. Also, if the engine and transmission are not a matched set from the same donor vehicle, the manual doesn't care, whereas the auto needs compatible kickdown mechanism etc. I understand the manual is sturdy, needing only upgrading of the 3 rubber plugs, but that the auto needs a lot of the internals upgraded (torque converter etc, plus of course a transmission cooler) to be sturdy. All 3.0L's have computerized engine management, but I assume I should stay with as early an engine/transmission combination as possible to reduce potential computer problems.
Donor vehicles combining the Vulcan 3.0L with a manual 2WD are scarce. Lots of 3.0L Aerostars, cheap, but all with auto, and only half with 2WD. Lots of Rangers, moderately priced, most with 2WD, some with 3.0L's, but of those almost none with manual. The 3.0L limits me to Aerostars 1988 on and to Rangers 1991 on.
Question #1: Are my thoughts on 3.0L Vulcan and A4LD vs M5OD-R1 correct?
Question #2: Do I need to get a matched engine and transmission from a single donor vehicle to avoid computer and other compatibility problems? For an auto, I assume the answer is yes. For a manual, no. For either, the transmission must come from a 3.0L so the bellhousing will fit. Correct?
Question #3: What should I look for in a donor vehicle? At what model year do I start getting into computer system issues such as ABS etc? Though I can learn, I am not computer literate on autos.
Question #4: For a M5OD-R1, other than the rubber plugs, slave cylinder, and clutch, what needs upgrade? What do parts and labor usually cost for overhaul? What is usual price for a good used unit? Can I do an overhaul myself (I have done engines but no transmissions).
Question #5: For an A4LD, what needs upgrade for the various model years? What do parts and labor usually cost for overhaul? Can I do an overhaul myself (I have done engines but no transmissions)?
I am a 75 year old retired engineer, and over the past 15 years have done my own minor and major mechanical work on an MGB, 1954 Austin-Healey, 1948 and 1953 Bentleys, and currently have a 1935 Rolls-Royce. So, I am accustomed to picky work. The Studebaker is refreshing in its simplicity! I will much appreciate any comments and answers you may have, and thank you in advance. Regards, Phil B.
01-23-2009, 01:02 PM
Okay Phil, first off I'd like to say Welcome!
I personally own a '93 ranger with a 3.0L and 5 speed. I've upgraded a lot of engine related parts (go fast parts) and it seems to have given new life to the little guy. My truck is very light weight so the 3.0L performs well.
But, for something as large and heavy as that truck, I would not recommend the 3.0L. It will struggle as it does not produce its power down low. Its main power doesn't really feel like coming on until about 3,000rpm. I highly suggest a 4.0L V6 from the rangers. Also, I suggest that you work with the M5OD-R1 transmission. Just remember to put a healthy clutch in there. The 4.0L (OHV) does not produce a whole lot more horsepower as the 3.0L, but it produces a hell of a lot more torque. And it does it down low, which well really help gettin that studi rolling.
01-23-2009, 01:15 PM
If you're set on using a ranger engine, I'd definately use the 4.0. The 3.0's torque curve is far from ideal for a heavy truck.
Use the M5OD - No way a A4LD would last in something that heavy, even if it was "beefed up" (I didn't know this was possible with an A4LD??)
The earlier the better. 90-92 4.0's don't have EGR (exhaust gas recirculation) and CPS (camshaft position sensor) systems whereas later ones do. I've never set up a standalone EEC-IV (ford's fuel injection system 83-94) but I've heard it is alot easier than a EEC-V (95+). Basically you just need a complete donor to take the wiring harness out of and add/subtract from it as needed.
But I have to ask, if it's a 3/4 ton, why don't you just put a 302, 351, 390, 460 etc in it? Or a 300 straight six? If it's to be different I can totally understand that.
01-23-2009, 01:19 PM
That is true Phil, are you already convinced on using a Ranger Chassis?
01-23-2009, 03:18 PM
he has 5.57 gearing in that truck. the 3.0 would just LOVE that, as it is a revver. going from 80 HP to 145 HP will be a noticeable kick in the pants, and who needs low down torque when you have gearing like that? what he needs is high end power to make better use of the gearing. a 4.0 will be all clapped out by the time he reaches overdrive.
phil, it would seem that youve done your research well. youve got a pretty good idea of which direction your going.
i too would do with the M5OD as it is a very strong transmission and is much more reliable than the auto trans, especially since you plan on towing.
i would try to locate a '92+ engine as that is the year they switched to a roller cam. keep in mine that you can also use a 3.0 from a taurus as its the exact same engine. it just requires a few simple mods to switch it to RWD format.
you will need a transmission originally backing a 3.0 since it has a unique bellhousing bolt pattern that isnt compatable with any other RWD ford engine. aerostars did occasionally appear with 5 speeds, so that may be an option if you can find one.
stay with '94 and down model year vehicles as this will keep you out of the OBDII range. EEC-IV is much easier to swap. the engine and transmission dont need to match, but you need a computer for an auto if you plan on running an auto and a computer for a manual if you plan on running a manual.
01-23-2009, 03:32 PM
...the 3.0 would just LOVE that, as it is a revver.....a 4.0 will be all clapped out by the time he reaches overdrive.
Says the resident 3.0 lover/defender/protector/salesman lol :D :D
Just kidding. You'll get all kinds of opinions here, and thats usually a good thing.
Have you considered a 2.3 turbo?
01-23-2009, 03:54 PM
Like I said before, the 3.0L is a strong engine... for its size. And Wicked is right, it will rev without blinking an eye. But, with the weight of a '50s era 3/4 ton truck you're going to be pushin the gas pedal hard on that little guy. I just think that if you're going to do a swap, you might want to gain a little more out of it. Don't get me wrong, I love my 3.0L, but weight is an issue (even with proper gearing, there's only so much you can do). If you are going to be hauling anything, you might want to step up to a larger engine. You calculated 2800rpm at 55mph with a direct drive. So, if you were driving in OD with the manual, you would be at about 2200rpm. While cruising, you will probably see better fuel mileage with a 4.0L V6 than with the 3.0L tryin to work hard to overcome weight and increased wind resistance.
Also, what tire size will you be running? 5.13:1 gears sound pretty mean and powerful for a stock ranger sized tire, but if the tires are larger (like some older HD pickups) you might not have that much leverage.
I still don't know why everyone thinks that old cars and trucks are heavy. A '49' Stud PU only goes about 2900 lbs. I had a full size Plymouth wagon with the 413 that was about 3300 lbs. My huge '37' La salle only went about 3700 Lbs and you could have a picnic in the back seat. I worry about how close the frame rails are. Hate to say it here on a Ford type forum but the cheby's were more adaptable to fitting in a lot of the early frames, just a fact of life. If a Ford motor, I'd go with the 4.0 if towing is planned on as you say. Glad to see some fresh ideas on swaps.
Dave - Kind of a retired mechanical designer
Food for thought
01-23-2009, 07:28 PM
But, for something as large and heavy as that truck, I would not recommend the 3.0L. It will struggle as it does not produce its power down low. Its main power doesn't really feel like coming on until about 3,000rpm. I highly suggest a 4.0L V6 from the rangers.
Thanks for the welcome to the forum and for the comments! Though the envelope size and payload capacity is much larger, curb weight on a 1950 3/4T Stude PU is about the same as for a modern Ranger, about 3,100 lb. Not as much soundproofing, emissions controls, and safety equipment. No creature comforts either.
I guess I didn't emphasize the axle ratio enough. Comparing the Stude's 5.57 axle and 215/85R16 tires against a Ranger with a 4.10 axle and 215/70R14 tires, a 3.0L with M5OD-R1 turns up 2,958 rpm @ 60 in OD vs 2,310 in the Ranger, 28% higher. Shifted down to 4th for towing, the comparison is 3,697 vs 2,969. Because of the lower gearing, a 3.0L in the Stude is thus equivalent to 1.28 x 3.0 = 3.84L in a Ranger. So, I think I already am fairly close to complying with your recommendation of 4.0L.
As to when the torque comes on, at 60, the Stude will run at 2,800 rpm in OD and at 3,700 rpm in 4th, both high enough to be on the good side of the torque curve.
Again, thanks for the good information. Phil.
01-23-2009, 07:35 PM
as secondsecondsuv pointed out, i am a bit biased towards the 3.0...but thats because it really is a good motor. it cant be beaten for reliablility, and it tends to get a little bit better fuel economy than its big brother.
you are correct with your gearing assumptions. those gears with your planned tire size will give you lots of pep and keep the 3.0 up in the revs were it really thrives...it sounds like a good setup.
towing with a 3.0 is a non-issue. mine has towed over 3,300lbs on more than one occasion including logging plenty of highway mileage. as long as you only plan on 50-55MPH, you'll be golden.
01-23-2009, 07:37 PM
Oh, so you run 2800 in OD. Then you're right in the little guys powerband. I had no idea the old trucks were so light. All those large axles and heavy built frames mislead me. Thanks for the clear up. I won't flame MAC, I agree with him about the chevrolet small block swap. Prices will be a lot cheaper and more available... but you lose the uniqueness since the SBC is about as common as a BIC lighter. I'm just curious (and a little intrigued) out of all the engines/trans combos, why a Ford 3.0L?
01-23-2009, 08:41 PM
It's too bad that towing is what you are after....
Because If you want a rev-happy motor in there, I'd swap in the SHO motor!
01-23-2009, 10:10 PM
nothing personal but my dad bent down the bumper twice pulling 8000 lbs on a trailer 60 miles w/ the 3.0, how the a4ld took it i havent a clue, maybe the fact that its 4wd has something to do w/ it...either way, towing is not an issue as the torque curve almost matches the hp curve on a 3.0, and my gears are 3.48, his gears would pull a house off the blocks. i thought he was crazy at first but the more i read the more it made sense, just realize that parts are hell to find for a 3.0, i would know...and as for why 3.0? easy, power to weight, he isnt looking to tow 18 wheelers, just looking to upgrade and double the power looks pretty good. that and the larger displacement engines dont quite rev so high, and also drink gas for the power, especially when sittin on higher rpms all the time.
01-23-2009, 10:32 PM
Then use a 2.3T setup, its going to fit much easier and will have more torque/horsepower than a 3.0L and still be rev friendly along with the benefit of being extremely durable.
Have to take opposite view of the characterization of the Cologne 2.9L V6 vs. the Vulcan 3.0. My German Ford has well over 350,000 miles on its 2.9L, the heads and pan never having been off since it left the factory. Almost electric motor-smooth, it has a much wider actual RPM spread to its serious torque delivery range than the Vulcans. OTOH (according to Sven Pruett) the German Scorpio 2.9L engines were cammed differently and balanced to much tighter tolerances than Ford used for the Ranger 2.9L engines(a Ranger 2.9L in our family bears that out also). This Scorpio's 2.9L is bone stock and still pulls hard, right up to the 6200 RPM redline. The stock 3.0L Vulcans I've driven definitely got smoother in the later versions, but lacked the solid low RPM torque delivery I've seen from the 2.9L V6. My Scorpio gets 27-28 mpg @ constant 90mph highway cruising, presuming, of course, that all the other traffic is traveling that fast. Have never used it for towing.
The V6 commentary aside, if you could get a non-granny-1st gear manual trans, with deep overdrive 5th(to compensate for your truck's low axle ratio), I'd sure suggest a Ford 300" six-cylinder engine. Rangers require some mods to fit them up, but it should be almost a drop in to your Studie. If you have it balanced right, it shouldn't have any problems with 4000 RPMs, and would be very under-stressed cruising anywhere from 1500-3000 RPM all day long, whether towing a a couple of tons or not. If equipped with a relatively mild cam, your truck's light weight should help you get even better fuel mileage than the Ford trucks get with the 300". A 300" Ford 6 will be the replacement for the original 226" 6 in my Willys truck(c.3500lbs).
Ford's marketing department stated different RPMs for the 300-incher's torque peak, but (on good authority, from one who certainly knew, RIP) it was actually always @1800 RPM, at least until the EFI versions arrived in the late-1980s. In stock form they make big torque from just above idle to about 3400 RPM. There's also a fair amount of aftermarket 'performance enhancement' pieces available for that engine series, even without making one into a temperamental race motor.
BTW the Ford 300" six has the same bellhousing mounts as the mid-1965-on Ford small block V8s, so there's a lot of different trannies to choose from. Even a Ford AOD-style 4 speed overdrive automatic can be built to do the job; their 3rd gear is a direct 1:1, and 4th gear IIRC is about .67. The 4R70W version-on of that trans got lower 1st & 2nd gears, not that you'd need them with a 5.57 axle ratio.
A forum that has a bunch of information on the Ford inline 6-cyls is http://www.fordsix.com/forum/ They even have a discussion group that includes Studebaker 6-cylinder engine owners!
Changing tire sizes is a relatively inexpensive way to adjust cruising RPMs also.
Probably not what you wanted to hear... and none of this may be news to you; just thought I'd pass it on. Have fun with your Studie pickup... they do have a special nature about them.
02-11-2009, 08:45 PM
the only prob is the 300s drink gas, my buddies 4wd f150 w/ 5 speed (94 model) and 245s only got 13mpg at 55. torque wise, a 300 inline six is basically a tractor motor w/ a torque band almost all the way up. virtually indestructible as well as long as they are maintained (like all things...)
02-11-2009, 09:05 PM
Nah, you don't even have to maintain them. My buddy has one that leaked oil so bad they would let it run out of oil till it overheated and then fill it up with used tractor oil and have another go around. They did this for 50,000 miles before finally fixing the oil pan gasket. Now it's got over 200,000 miles on it pulling grain wagons around and the thing still runs great.
And I don't know how many times I've heard of kids inheriting the truck and being pissed that it only has a 6 and trying to destroy it, only to find out that it is impossible. No other engine runs without oil or coolant like a ford 300.
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