Torque Converter

I finally got my torque converter back from the re-builders. He took a long time, but was very reasonable on the cost considering all the problems he had getting the ring gear off so a new one could be put on. In the end he had to split the converter to get the old ring off. The plus side was that we got to see the internals and they all looked good. So he welded the new ring gear on, welded the two halves together, checked for leaks and balanced the unit.

Unfortunately I was so keen to get the torque converter installed that I forgot to get some photos. Basically I removed the bellhousing, bolted the flex plate and reinforcer ring to the crank, and then mounted the torque converter loosely to the flex plate.

I then used the above torque converter alignment plate to center the back end of the unit. I believe Myers Studebaker will rent this item out if you need it. Fortunately a Studebaker buddy had a duplicate of the rental unit made up which I was able to borrow.

I decided to fit the trans to the engine beforehand to get the gears lined up so that when I am under the car with only wiggle room, it will be easier to slip into place. My first step was to put in two guide pins in the top bolt holes.

Next I put the trans on a floor jack. Some time ago I had a flat steel plate (about 10″ X 18″) made up with a pin to fit a floor jack. With the jack handle removed it is easy to slip under the car. I can then use the speed lift handle to move the trans into place.

With the modified jack I am able to line up the input shaft with the torque converter. I rotated the torque converter so that the two tangs were horizontal and the gaps up and down. I then used a thin screwdriver to slip past the trans input shaft seal and rotate the tangs up and down so they would fall into the slots on the torque converter.

Here it is starting to go in with the top guide pins engaged. You notice the cable from the trans. This is the ’66 version of the Flight-O-Matic with the cable carb to trans control. The shift lever is the same mechanical type. This is a water cooled trans. You can see one of the brass oil line fittings on the right of the trans.

After lots of wiggling I got the trans within an 8th of an inch of the bellhousing. I then used the mounting bolts to bring things together. After this I pulled the trans back and set it aside for installation later on. In the meantime the engine needs to be installed.

A big day! The engine is finally installed. Following instructions from the manual I put on the two front engine mounts and left the rear mounts off. I then got the engine sitting on the front two mounts with the bellhousing a bit off the bat wing cross member. I then got under the car and installed the two rear mounts. The upper bolts on the mounts could be torqued to 50 ft lbs, but I had to use a long wrench and do my best to guess for the lower bolts.

Here is the look under the car. The jack has the trans in place so it can be slid in forward. It’s a process of up a bit, move ahead, up a bit…. making sure the input shaft slips into the torque converter. I did put in guide studs in the upper holes to help with the alignment as it slid forward. Some trans shaking and pushing ahead is needed.

Got it close enough to get the bolts started. I pulled the unit up to the bell housing and then removed the bolts, put on lock washer and a dab of blue lock tight and re-installed them.

There was enough room to use a torque wrench to get the required 45 ft lbs on the two uppers and one lower bolt. The bolt in the shot can only be wrenched using a stubby or a regular length socket. I tightened it up as much as I could with the 6′ wrench. It should be somewhere above 30 and maybe as good as 40. The lock washer and lock tight should hold fine. No idea how Studebaker expected the mechanics to get the correct torque on this bolt.

Next – now lets see what needs to be done to get a driveshaft in place.

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