The Studeblogger

Sunday, July 27, 2008

That damned transmission spacer.

It's a little piece of metal that's one of the most overlooked bits in Studedom - the transmission mount spacer, better known as Part Number 523427 (when it's known at all).

This little bit of metal doesn't appear in the Shop Manual, but it does show up in the Chassis Parts Manual, on page 19 in the Engine section, called out in the illustration as Group # 0101-40. On left-hand drive cars (for countries that drive on the right side of the road) with automatic transmissions only, this spacer is placed between the driver's side transmission mount and the transmission cross-member; it imparts an angle to the transmission output shaft to decrease vibrations under load. It's prescribed for use in all cars from 1961 through 1964.

Most Studebakers that have had transmission work have, over the years, lost this part. Or, it may be installed on the wrong side of the car - mine was, thanks to the illustration in the Chassis Parts Manual that shows it mounted on the passenger's side of the transmission! (And in fact, if the car is right-hand drive, the spacer does go on the right side of the car.)

Unfortunately, despite our best efforts to get it on there correctly, my crew and I installed the spacer on the wrong side of the car. Today I spent the last day of my vacation under Barney, getting it out of there with the intention of swapping it to the correct (driver's) side.

Well, I did indeed get it out. I don't own a transmission jack or a four-post lift, so this is a driveway effort, and it was rough going, compounded by the fact that I was constantly cussing myself for being so stupid :) By jacking up the trans with a 1" plank on top of my floor jack's saddle, then loosening all of the cross-member's mounting bolts, I managed to get enough space between the transmission mount stud and the cross-member to wiggle the spacer out.

"Installation is the reverse of removal", as the saw goes, but in this case... not quite. The transmission mount stud on the driver's side of the car is actually 1/2" longer to accommodate this spacer, and pry, pull and sweat as I might, I could not clear the stud from the x-member. Short take: no way was that spacer getting on there the way I was trying to do it.

About 4:30, I decided to button the car up and seek help from the SDC Forum. One of the forum members had, a month or so ago, posted about solving this same problem (a missing spacer) by welding together a stack of washers and cutting a slot to slide the spacer around the trans mount stud (kind of like using body shims). I might go this way and cut a slice out of the Stude spacer to accomplish the same thing; haven't quite decided yet. Stay tuned...

BTW, if you're R&R-ing your trans and you find this spacer missing, you can get one from SASCO, Studebaker International, Chuck Collins or nearly any Studebaker vendor.

Update: I did in fact saw out a slot in the spacer and got it under the car last weekend (8/2). It slid right around the stud and I lowered the trans and torqued everything down to spec. With 600 pounds of Studebaker V8 plus trans sitting on top of it, it shouldn't move... but I have an original spacer that I'll most likely have the transmission shop slide in when appropriate. (Let them bust their knuckles on those stupid mount-to-bellhousing bolts!)

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