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Rear transmission leak- 1939 Ford

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Chris, Jun 28, 2012.

  1. Hey guys, I have a 1939 Ford three speed that I put in my 34 Ford. I went through it myself and it shifts excellent. It is leaking out of the back, seems like under where the rear trans mount bolts up to the case. I pulled the mount off, could not pin-point the leak but used some sealer around the two shafts and put it back together. It is still leaking...pretty good leak (leaves a small puddle after a couple days). With the trans saddle I cannot see directly up to the back of the trans to see the leak, but it runs down the back of the case, then down the bottom and drips off the drain plug onto the ground. Is there anything else back there that could be leaking? It is definitely gear oil and not grease or anything. The mount, and under the mount, are bone dry. I'm guessing it's the shafts...any other thoughts?

    Thanks guys.
     
  2. 4t7flat
    Joined: Apr 15, 2009
    Posts: 265

    4t7flat
    Member

    Yep, those shafts leak,the more wear ,the more they leak. Several people make shafts with O-ring grooves. Check out PLAINJANE38 on E-bay,he sells lots of custom parts for early Ford transmissions.
     
  3. OLLIN
    Joined: Aug 25, 2006
    Posts: 3,075

    OLLIN
    Member

    Right there where the torque tube Bells out and where the ujoint is.. i found a guy that was selling rubber hose that you glue and make a complete o ring..instead of the cork seal. You could probably make it yourself though
     
  4. Ole don
    Joined: Dec 16, 2005
    Posts: 2,900

    Ole don
    Member

    The pin that holds the reverse idler shaft may leak.
     
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  5. F&J
    Joined: Apr 5, 2007
    Posts: 9,902

    F&J
    Member
    from CT

    Clean with carb spray and air, then watch for a leak there.


    Very common on Model A, and the local A motor/trans shop will not put one together without the o-ring shafts.
     
  6. Fortyfordguy
    Joined: Sep 16, 2002
    Posts: 644

    Fortyfordguy
    Member

    We do not use the o rings on the shafts. Typically they get rolled or cut during installation. Plus you've now cut a groove in the shaft, potentially weakening the steel. Also, the shafts do not wear at the ends where they sit in the case bores. Remember, the shafts are stationary.

    We have the advantage of working with totally clean & dry gearbox castings, so sealing up the shaft ends is a simple matter of a final wipe with brake clean and spreading RTV sealer around the shaft ends.

    Going a step further, we clean the hole for the lockpin with the cleaner on a Q-tip. Inject some RTV into one end of the opening, smear some on the lockpin, and tap the pin into place. Let it sit overnight before finishing up the job and adding any gear oil.

    When you install the trans, you'll be making a connection to the torque tube (if closed drive). Use a thin layer of RTV on clean parts before adding the gaskets. The gasket sets come with a length of cork for use as a seal at the rear opening of the split cap assy. Some guys have tried using some oil resistant rubber tubing instead. I don't know how well this works.

    We've done MANY trannies and found these things to help control the leakage. Stay away from synthetic gear oil.....it seems to find the tiny openings easily on its way to your garage floor.
     
  7. Kiwi 4d
    Joined: Sep 16, 2006
    Posts: 1,155

    Kiwi 4d
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    It doesn't appear your roadster has a radical rake. But if it does have you checked the diff and transmission oil levels? Could it be the diff oil working up to the front along the torque tube overfilling the transmission. I had this problem in a 32 3w .took me a while to work out why the transmission leaked so much from the rear. Till I checked fluid levels and there was way too much in the transmission .and a very low diff.
     
  8. I rectified that by using a rear main trans bearing that is closed. Combined with a new grease seal at the forward end of the torque tube, and one of those rubber tube seals in the bell keeps it all dry.
     
  9. alchemy
    Joined: Sep 27, 2002
    Posts: 8,585

    alchemy
    Member

    I think no matter how much you glue up the idler shafts (front will leak as well as the rear), it's gonna find a way out. When I rebuilt a trans a year ago I followed VanPelt's advice, cleaning completely, using sealant, and waiting overnight for it to set. Still leaks like it had a quarter inch hole back there.

    But it just matches the engine and the rearend.
     
  10. 3wLarry
    Joined: Mar 11, 2005
    Posts: 12,139

    3wLarry
    Member
    from Owasso, Ok

    sounds like you're in good hands Chris...love this place
     
  11. F&J
    Joined: Apr 5, 2007
    Posts: 9,902

    F&J
    Member
    from CT

    Yes, I know the shaft does not rotate, but filty oil, mixed with debris, and the contant micro-movement that does indeed, occur to that shaft, does make the leak worse, because they do get sloppier. If henry put a retainer that kept the pin locked as solid as a bolted or tapered connection, there would be no micro movement there, and no wear.

    Cad/LaS used cork seals on their grooved shafts, as this is a potential leak point(as there was no technology for O-rings), . Cad/LaS shafts never break due to the groove.
     
  12. F&J
    Joined: Apr 5, 2007
    Posts: 9,902

    F&J
    Member
    from CT

    Chris, if you do decide it does need o-rings, and you are worried about the seals getting cut: Borrow some lathe time, and make one of those sleeve type ring compressors like race guys use...only tiny :)

    It is just a short mild steel sleeve, tapered inside, polished bore, with perfectly flat face to sit against the trans case. The output ID will be barely big enough for the new shaft, and the input ID will be enough to let the un-compressed O-ring to be able to start in the hole.
     
  13. 40FordGuy
    Joined: Mar 24, 2008
    Posts: 2,908

    40FordGuy
    Member

    We used to apply the "hardening type" "Permatex" on them,...after thoroughly cleaning shafts and case. Speaking of the case,....if an earlier trans failure occured, that's where the case cracks, when debris gets between gear teeth...Always closely inspect those.

    4TTRUK
     
  14. revkev6
    Joined: Jun 13, 2006
    Posts: 2,957

    revkev6
    Member
    from ma

    sorry to bump an OLD thread... but I'm putting the gaskets in my 39 trans with a 32 rear mount. I went to put on the rear gasket and nothing is right... I've got the old style non sealed bearing. the only gasket for the back is the one that goes on the rear plate... is this really an open bearing right into the torque tube area?? it's been 20 years since I put this transmission together... and my memory is hazy on the subject.
     

  15. Yes sounds right. I got my leak fixed by using a sealand on the rear plate to trans, and a little around the front and rear of the shast and cotter pin.
     
  16. revkev6
    Joined: Jun 13, 2006
    Posts: 2,957

    revkev6
    Member
    from ma

    ok, I plan to use sealant on the gasket. but it seemed pretty silly when the rest of the mount is unsealed... just rubber to a machined casting to stop oil...

    90 weight??
     
  17. I use 140
     
  18. Dak Rat
    Joined: Mar 8, 2006
    Posts: 217

    Dak Rat
    Member

    I've also read that the original ford seal on the two clamshell pieces was a type of "felt" rather than the cork that comes with the available gasket kits these days. I used a sealer made by "Loctite" on my shafts when I installed them--supposed to take up any excessive clearance on the shaft/case. It isn't installed yet so I can't comment on how well that worked.
     
  19. cobra5laddict
    Joined: Mar 18, 2014
    Posts: 10

    cobra5laddict
    Member
    from denver

    If I recall correctly, the closed drive rear bearing gets "sealed" by the use of a sheet metal "baffle". Similar to the way the main input bearing is setup. It's sort of a formed sheet metal cap that covers the bearing on the case side to help keep the oil in the case. I am not sure how effective it is but may be worth looking into.
    How about the use of a sealed bearing? Could it be cross referenced to something modern?
     
  20. revkev6
    Joined: Jun 13, 2006
    Posts: 2,957

    revkev6
    Member
    from ma

    There is a sealed bearing available apparently. I just wanted to verify the original ford installation. I have the tin cover but that is just a splash shield not a seal.
     
  21. Well here goes nothin'. :rolleyes:

    I have absolutely no experience with this model of transmission. But were these transmission cases originally vented? Is there possibly some kind of "hidden" vent somewhere that gets plugged up, accidentally or otherwise? :confused:
     
  22. alchemy
    Joined: Sep 27, 2002
    Posts: 8,585

    alchemy
    Member

    These transmissions are actually the top part of the transmission/torquetube/rear end system. The trans is supposed to be the vent for this whole system. The top of the shifter tower is where the air burps.

    If guys go installing sealed bearings at the back of the trans, I don't know where they think the rear end will vent?
     
  23. Thanks for the reply. I thought I was was really stretching it by suggesting that there might be a venting problem. o_O

    Get a little heat and pressure built up and it will vent wherever it can! :rolleyes:
     

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