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First Start 170 Champion engine

F-D Zernia

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For Everyone,

    I started my Weasel engine two weeks ago and would like to share the process. 
    A few things went wrong but nothing catastrophic. 
    The distributor and starter were tested on the bench with fresh points, cap and coil. ( I’m still working on the best coil to use ) I found an excellent explanation on points ignitions on YouTube. The site is Uncle Tony’s Garage. He is a vintage Mopar drag race guy but very entertaining. And the information is spot on. 
    I did break in on a run stand that we built to simulate frame dimensions of the hull. Engine is a fresh rebuild .30 over and mounted with radiator, transmission and I only wired the ignition and starter. This way nothing in the wiring can cause trouble. 
    The engine builder sent a seasoned employee to complete the initial start and tappet break in.      The oil gallery’s were primed with 2 quarts of break in oil with ZDP. This was injected in the oil pressure gauge line with a can that used compressed air to move the oil through the hose. As the oil was being pushed through I slowly turned the crankshaft by hand using the driveshaft yoke on the transmission. This primed everything including the oil pump. Then another 3 quarts were poured in the crankcase. 
    The engine turned over good but would not light. We did get it started but it ran with a miss. Ran 10 minutes turned it off and address a leak on the valve cover. Got the 20 minutes at 2000 RPM for cam break in but it wasn’t right. Later I found the problem. The firing order in the TM9-772 page 160 is incorrect. This order works for a Studebaker car but the car rotor rotation is counterclockwise. With the addition of the Weasel distributor support my rotation changed to clockwise. I moved the wires and it runs properly. 
    The correct firing order is 1-5-3-6-2-4 with distributor rotation clockwise. 

    Something’s I did differently. My carburetor is a new universal carb from a vendor in Daytona, Florida. The customer service is outstanding and everything was explained before I purchased. The wrong throttle arm was sent and when I called to say my linkage didn’t fit well the new part was immediately sent. I will send more information after driving the Weasel before completely endorsing it. 
    I have pictures to send but they keep loading inverted. I will post them later.  
    I will post more as time goes on. I did find more vendors for parts in the Studebaker community. 
    When this started for us we joined the Studebaker Drivers Club and this Forum. The Studebaker members are a wealth of information and curious of Weasels. It has been beneficial and I will pass information on from this group too. I have learned the Studebaker cars are all 6 volt and the distributor points are not the same. Plug wires are longer. And we are aware of water pumps and carburetors. 
Good night all 


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this was a great find. Dave Yamulla is marketing a new exhaust pipe. It is a good fit. I only adjusted for one bolt on the oil pump housing. It barely touched. My old pipe was dented to clear that bolt too. Now the indentation is not as great. 

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@F-D ZerniaBZ on your first engine start.👍 It is a real shot of motivation to hear an engine start for the first time. Make sure your engine header pipe is as close to OEM as you can possibly make it. It is such a tight/close fit once the engine is lowered down in the hull. One last thing, you were talking about shared commonality between the Studebaker Cars and the Weasel, the Weasel oil dip stick (gauge) is indeed different to the civilian equivalent. Totally interchangeable but the level markings differ markedly.


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John, thanks for the heads up on the dip stick for a car. You are correct. I bought a gently used dip stick and as you said the marks are not the same. I did not realize that was the case. I bought it because the breather cap is so good. 
    Things from the Studebaker vendors that I have purchased new I will share. Some I believe to be a good find. IMG_2958.thumb.jpeg.8588f076522785c9f2c32240f994f76b.jpegShown here are replacement parts for the exhaust manifold.
    On the left is the often troublesome exhaust heat riser parts. In the Studebaker car world this seems to be a concern. I see people testing if it is working or not. It can be the cause of an ill running engine. 
    On the right is the stud kit for the exhaust header. Note the brass fine thread nuts rather than steel. 
    Also available are the brass nuts to fasten the exhaust manifold to the block. These can also double as carburetor bolts in some places. 
 These are from; StudebakerParts.Com

    Other parts I purchased from this vendor would be, intake / exhaust manifold gasket, the original style. The lock bolts for the piston wrist pins, there are 2 different ones to choose from. The NOS connecting rods for shell bearings. 
    If you check the website and look at the listing for engine parts there are quite a number of helpful items. Keep in mind there will be more than one family of straight six engines. Be specific. Ours is the Champion flat head. There is also a big six and 1960’s Champion overhead valve.



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Another thing we did was purchase a new drain plug for the oil pan. This I found in stock at a vendor called; Studebaker Intl. in Indiana. 
IMG_2975.thumb.jpeg.7ba4dfbfd203c3e21f7516d7b9ed52ab.jpegIMG_2974.thumb.jpeg.5ce85b6e95d6f51a007807a6afac8e6e.jpegI was able to drill it on center and use hot melt glue to secure the magnet in the hole. Originally I tried to drill the magnet but it was extremely hard and eventually split in two pieces. That is when I decided to glue them in the drilled hole. Now it is similar to the drain plug on the final drive and transmission. It is a powerful magnet and difficult to keep on center when installing. It tried to stick to the sides of the drain hole. I think it might be difficult to line it up through the access hole in the bottom of the hull during maintenance. It may be less work to change oil through the fill pipe with a suction device. 
    Visible in one picture the magnet is coated with oil that includes small steel particles from the original break in. I expect this to be from the tappets and cylinder walls. No big pieces were found as of yet. 


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