Pierce-Arrow -V- Seagrave straight 8 comparison

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    I have noted lots of chat about and regarding a comparison of the Studebaker and Pierce-Arrow straight 8 engines (not so much comparing the Pierce-Arrow and Seagrave). I have a 1944 Military Seagrave pumper truck and would like to know a bit more about the heritage of its engine. Does the engine share a similar engine block with its Pierce-Arrow big brother. What is the bore, stroke and horse power on the Seagrave? If anyone has information that relates to the Seagrave straight 8 I would sure like to chat.



    It’s basically the same as a late series big did motor. It’s a 385 if my memory serves me. Same bore as the other eights, has a stroker crank. A 1944 motor could even be a leftover block from the car run. Check the casting codes.


    did- cid


    Ed, What you suggest is what I had thought also. When you say stroker crank. If is is stroked, what would the stroke be, what would the HP change be? It seems that I heard from someone else that the Seagrave straight 8 engine is over 400 CID. If what I have heard is a myth, I would sure like to put that story to bed! I just do not have experience with this engine to know for sure. I may actually try to run this engine later this spring. It is 100% complete and appears to be very runable.



    Ed, Another question, where and what am I looking for to check to see if the engine, in my Military fire truck, is a “left over”” car block?



    I have never seen an eight block listed as anything larger than 385, even on the later Segrave ads. I have never seen an eight installed later than 1948 on a fire truck but they may have been installed later. The blocks can be marked several different ways, inside with black paint stencils. Not always, post a photo with the casting numbers on the side of the block.


    Here are a few pictures of the Seagrave (Pierce-Arrow designed 8) engine. I will try to take some very specific pictures of detail if I know where to look.



    Next picture


    Last picture


    The 366 cid engine has a 3.50″ bore x 4.75″ stroke. The 285cid engine has the same bore but a 5.00″ stroke crankshaft. So, it has a longer stroke crankshaft, as built by Pierce or later, by Seagraves.

    I have seen a late 1950’s 8cyl Seagraves fire truck, and I think a mid 60’s one as well. They did not have Stromberg EE-3 carburetors, or any of the same make of generator, starter, distributors, etc.

    Your engine looks like it has a lot of Pierce items, so it might be left-over production car engine converted to fire truck use by the use of the dual distributor setup, and Seagraves’ dual spark plug cylinder head.

    Did you drop the oil pan and inspect it, the oil pump and a few of the connecting rod for dirt and crud, ?? I’d highly recommend dropping the pan, cleaning it, the oil pump and pump pickup screen before starting the engine after a long sit without being run.

    Greg Long


    “The 285cid engine has the same bore but a 5.00″ stroke crankshaft. So, it has a longer stroke crankshaft, as built by Pierce or later, by Seagraves”

    You meant 385 cid?

    I agree some casting numbers would be interesting.


    Hello Dave and Greg, Thanks for your responses about the P-A – Seagrave 8’s. I have been in touch with several fellows on the “Just Old Trucks” forum. From my original data tag, it is not what I was told it was when I purchased the truck. It turns out to be a 1941, closer to Pierce-Arrow times. The truck is one of 20 ordered by the government for Corps. of Engineers service leading up to WW2. I was told that the truck was part of a group of 20 trucks shipped to Pearl Harbor, ultimately to see service during the attack. That information will be confirmed soon…I hope.



    According to SPAAMFA magazine articles on Seagrave, the 8 was available through 1959.


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