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Studebaker engine side plates, water manifold

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Yes, I heard that, too, a few months ago.  Let's see if the guy I heard it from steps forward.


I presume we are talking about the 1928-33 President engine at 337 cubic inches.  The water manifold plate is a stamping about 35 inches long.  I have seen an engine with a replacement plate hogged out of billet aluminum to the same shape as the stamped part.  It seemed to work, but I wondered about the differential expansion from a cold engine to a warmed up one.  Here are my calculations for a sheet steel, stainless steel, and aluminum cover.  Is the difference enough to make the plate move enough to get leaks?  Maybe with an unpressurized system it wouldn't be too bad, but a leak is a leak and it leaves an ugly trail.  I guess a plate could just be machined from A36 steel bar, too, to better match the expansion.  It's also easy enough to weld one up from sheet, though I'm not sure how well welds hold up in hot water. 


water manifold length 35 in 889 mm
temperature cold 70 °F 21.1 °C
temperature warm 180 °F 82.2 °C
temperature difference 110 °F 61.1 °C
Coefficients of thermal expansion        
Cast iron 5.8 x10-6 in/in/°F 10.4 x10-6 m/m/°C
Sheet steel, 1008 7 x10-6 in/in/°F 12.6 x10-6 m/m/°C
Stainless steel, 304 9.6 x10-6 in/in/°F 17.3 x10-6 m/m/°C
Aluminum, 6061 13 x10-6 in/in/°F 23.4 x10-6 m/m/°C
Growth in length, cold-to-hot        
Cast iron 0.022 in 0.565 mm
Sheet steel, 1008 0.027 in 0.685 mm
Stainless steel, 304 0.037 in 0.940 mm
Aluminum, 6061 0.050 in 1.271 mm
Difference, block to manifold        
Sheet steel, 1008 0.005 in 0.120 mm
Stainless steel, 304 0.015 in 0.375 mm
Aluminum, 6061 0.028 in 0.706 mm



1931 Studebaker engine.jpg

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Well, David tracked it down quickly...


I need one for my 1931 Pierce Arrow, please let us know when the time comes to pre-order this.


The one on my car works pretty good but was totally homemade and just slightly interferes with the throttle advance linkage from the starter button, if these are forthcoming I will grind some clearance and use it until the new ones are available.

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      Wow, how timely is this?!  I just pulled the manifold off of the side of the engine of my mother's 1928 President FA second series yesterday.  Her's is in pretty good shape but I'd like to change the distribution plate to brass or copper so that rusting is never an issue again.  As I recall, there was someone in the Antique Studebaker Club who advertised in the Review that offered these things in brass or copper.  When I checked this month's edition of that publication I could not find the ad.  I'll check in some old Reviews and see if I can figure out who was manufacturing and selling them.  

     My urgency is that Mom is in her last days on this this plane.  We wanted to have her two antique cars in her procession.  I might just slap it back together and deal with it after Mom has gone to Heaven.  Incidentally, Mom and her President are the same model year.



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On 3/15/2019 at 10:21 AM, Mark Wetherbee said:

Well, David tracked it down quickly...


I need one for my 1931 Pierce Arrow, please let us know when the time comes to pre-order this.


Well, guess I just lost a sale!  I have three used ones available, guess their value will depend on how expensive the new reproduction ones are......


But I'm happy that they're going to be available, for everyone's sake...

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Greetings!  I located a gentleman in the Antique Studebaker Club who has patterns, plans, and dies for these things but he doesn't have any in stock.  He plans to reproduce them within the next six months.  I asked him if I could post his contact information here and he requested that I not do so because he already has a long list of customers.  However, if you REALLY need one and you can wait for a while, I'll be glad to pass your contact information on to him.  There will be no monetary consideration on my behalf because I'm just happy to help folks keep their cars healthy and on the road.  Please send me a private message:  jimmasone@bellsouth.net


Best wishes...


Jim Masone

Atlanta, GA/Birmingham, AL

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Studerex showed the dies in post above.

He maybe in possession of those dies.

Dave Murray (Pierce Arrow guy) used to make these but he told me that he gave the dies to someone

and does not remember who.


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Sorry but we did not discuss a price point.  He's a smart, professional, respected, and well-connected source who is dedicated to the hobby.  Point being, I know he is aware of the scope and scale of the demand.  I don't think doing a run of these things is as easy as we might imagine.  I got the impression that he needs to make some changes to the tools that he has so that the manifolds can be run on modern production equipment, thus keeping the cost under control.  


Here's what I would propose:

  • Let's all be patient and let the man work in peace to do what he needs to do to build a product that he will be comfortable selling
  • In the meantime, I'll be glad to facilitate compiling a list of customers
  • When he is ready to go into production I strongly suspect that he will follow up with his known customers and he will likely advertise in the appropriate publications and on the web

I have set a reminder for myself to follow up in six months if I haven't heard anything before then.  Please feel free to reach out to me if you haven't seen any movement on this issue by September of 2019.


To crib Mr. Trimacar's quote above, "If we can't be patient then we shouldn't be working on old cars."  Truer words have never been spoken.  I'll add my truism which is "Good things are worth waiting for."


Hope this is helpful.

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  • 1 year later...

Greetings!  Hope everyone is staying safe and healthy throughout this public health crisis.  Hopefully the end will soon be in sight.


I have located a shop in Birmingham, AL who can/will reproduce the baffles in stainless steel.  If anybody needs just the baffle, message me at jimmasone@bellsouth.net and I'll fill you in on the specifics.   

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  • 4 months later...
On 3/14/2019 at 3:46 PM, studerex said:

Be patient.



Its been almost a year since the post on this subject and I'm trying to help a fellow hobbyist in Australia, Frank Touts, who is currently having his 1928 President FB motor rebuilt. My question is, are the dies you have for the water manifold useable for the FB Motor? If so, any updates on how close you are to producing these? And if not, do you know who may have a FB water manifold, Oil pump housing, and I believe he is also in need of the main camshaft gear, a new cam as the distributor gears on the camshaft are stripped. He can be contacted at touts@rocketmail.com if anyone reading this can assist him in his restoration. Time is of the essence as his engine is in the shop waiting on these parts.

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  • 2 months later...

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