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Technical 1938 Buick transmission + 1956 Pontiac gears, tail housing

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Skankin' Rat Fink, Feb 6, 2018.

  1. Looks great man! I bet you can't wait to be rowing those gears again.
    Did your main shaft c clip have the small wire spacer that went on first? Some do some don't but it sure helps lift the c clip just enough that getting it off is much easier than without.
     
    Skankin' Rat Fink likes this.
  2. I saw no such wire spacer. I received this main shaft with 2nd gear and the snap ring installed, and I did not have fun pulling that snap ring.
     
    Sixhundred sixteen likes this.
  3. gatz
    Joined: Jun 2, 2011
    Posts: 1,547

    gatz
    Member

    odd occurrences/locations of cracks.
    Any guess as to how they happened, without bustin the whole case apart?
     
    Atwater Mike likes this.
  4. I have ruined more than I care to tell about. Often easier just to order a new one from Northwest. I think they may have the wire spacer but can't recall. Here is a pic of what it looks like for reference. It makes it a lot easier to grab the snap ring.
    100_6171.JPG
     
  5. I can't even venture a guess; it's at least 2 owners removed from the last time it was in a car. For all I know the car it was in tumbled down a ravine.
     
  6. I have a correction on the wire spacer. It was in there ... my dad put that snap ring in there. With no pictures I recalled that step from memory and I had just forgotten about it.
     
  7. I fit the shifter in place complete with detent balls and springs, and the shifter stick was just able to touch the dashboard when pushing forward to grab second. The shifter stick was given a small bend to give it an inch of clearance. Then the shifter top was painted, final installation done ... and a test drive! This completes the transmission project. The shifting action on this is everything I dreamed it could be.

    40 shifter stick bend.jpg 41 shifter painted.jpg
     
    G31270Oldsmobile1938 and Paul like this.
  8. can't wait to hear how it goes with the drive.............let us know.
     
  9. It drives AWESOME. This car has never been more fun.
     
    G31270Oldsmobile1938 likes this.
  10. :):):)that's great!
     
  11. Paul
    Joined: Aug 29, 2002
    Posts: 15,225

    Paul
    Editor

    Great stuff man, thanks for taking the time to post it
     
  12. Meant to ask what gear oil you used in the tranny? i see over on the AACA some of the Buick guys have upgraded to a GL140 and suggest that their trannies shift smoother. Of course, they are talking about stock Buick transmissions in the 30's and not later Olds/Pont gears.
     
  13. I'm using 90W GL-1, plain mineral oil. Cheaply available at NAPA. Recommended by my transmission mentor. Modern GL-5 is a no-go because the chemistry of the additive package is unfriendly to yellow metals in the synchros. GL-4 is synchro-safe, but a little harder to find. I've bought it online. But ultimately a transmission doesn't really need the extreme-pressure additives like an axle does.
     
  14. foxdbl
    Joined: Jul 22, 2012
    Posts: 73

    foxdbl
    Member

    First, I want to Thank You for this thread which is the best source of info on these trannys that I have seen. You have spanked all of the dogs that have chewed on my butt during the last 60 years. Yeah, I am an old fart who is heading into his 78 year next week. I started with these back in late '58 when I cobbled together a '53 Olds 88 htp 'B' gasser and ran the '37 Buick with the Olds gear set, after shelling a '37 Cad box. Like you, I had a lot of free help from an old circle track tranny guy here in Eastern Pa. The '37 Caddy box is hard to beat, but the cheaper to find and buy Buick's took sliding my foot off of the clutch while behind an 1/8" over, well worked, 371 pushing thru 4.3 gears outback.

    Now I have two factory stick Olds 88's. One a '54 htp and the other a '55 htp. The '54 has its orig column shift intact and has never had a floor shift. I am pretty sure the gear set in it has a 2.50 first gear. The spare Olds tranny I have does have a 2.50 first, as does my '37 modified Buick box. The best box may be my '37 Cad with a '50 Olds tail??? Both of my orig stick 88s have 3.42 rears(41-12)(stamped code 8). I have looked for the elusive 3.64 rear(40-11) (code stamped 6), and have never found one. And I have looked at a hell of a lot of orig stick Oldsmobile's??? The parts book lists it as std for a stick Olds, just not always true?? A 3.9, code stamp 4, also shows in the '54 'Shop Manual', but I have never seen one. I would really like to run either one before I croak. Any out there, Hint, Hint! A friend, who is a "9 Ford rear guy, wants to put one in my '54. Not going to happen! The '55, with a warmed and cammed '59 371, is running a 2.8 W/C T5, so the 3.42 rear in it is fine. It had a modified '37 Buick before the T5 that worked Ok too.

    If I can help with any tooth counts or ???, don't hesitate to ask. Oh Yeah, I have been looking at your shifter, but this old Vet, and mom, my wife of some 54yrs, have been retired since '99 on fixed incomes so I will behave.

    And finally, Yes, I have always run mineral tranny oil, currently locally mixed/sold by Macmillan Oil Co., and have found their current 140 wt really shifts great,(used to be 160w) and have had NO issues in over half a century. And that includes a lot of WOT stuff. Early yellow synro/tranny/rear parts just don't like the EP sulfur stuff. Again, Thank You for your very complete and informative post, now to see how to get it copied. Take Care, Tom
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2018
  15. Sixhundred sixteen
    Joined: Nov 2, 2012
    Posts: 37

    Sixhundred sixteen
    Member
    from Utah

     
  16. Sixhundred sixteen
    Joined: Nov 2, 2012
    Posts: 37

    Sixhundred sixteen
    Member
    from Utah

    Thanks for your comments here Tom, ( I'm nearly 74 myself ). I've been running '37-'38 Buick cases with '51-'56 Olds ( or Buick ) gears with the Olds tail shaft & housing since 1965. The power is a 401
    Buick nailhead ( in my brown coupe to the left ) and a Pontiac rear-end. - I have had great success
    over the years finding 3.64 gears in 6 cylinder cars with hydros ( Olds or Pontiac ) in '47 to '54 cars.-
    In my ( humble ) opinion the Olds / Buick ''6 bolt'' transmission is the best 3 speed ever built including the Packard, LaSalle & the later 'toploader' by Ford. Folks didn't like the 'whine' but, it's their loss. Personally, I think that's what gives an Olds / Buick / Pontiac part of their character.
    A point of interest: these trannys have a 2.39 Low gear - a 1.53 ratio in 2nd gear from at least as far back as '41 ( Buick ) UNTIL 1957. In '57 Olds & Pontiac they changed the input shaft & cluster tooth count to produce a 2.15 ratio in Low gear & a 1.37 ratio in 2nd. (There were a few 'other' subtle changes as well regarding thrust washers).
    Nice visiting with you Tom; I love this old stuff.
    Bill
     
    Atwater Mike likes this.
  17. foxdbl
    Joined: Jul 22, 2012
    Posts: 73

    foxdbl
    Member

    Hi Bill,

    I always just do the chalk deal and 2.5/1.5& 1:1 was my take. Anyway, I manage to be wrong way too many time a day and that would be just another reason to live to the Century mark; to correct my misgivings. Too bad Olds didn't offer an easy to find 3.6 rear for the 324 cars. I have a few sets of original GM NOS 3.9s, 4.1s and 4.3 Olds gear sets from earlier cars around here and hauled some of them to Hershey, but not even a looker. Hopefully, someone out there will have a 3.6 pumpkin or ring and pinion for my '54 and will drop me a line. The GM tranny boys have had their fun with us with lock ring placement. Somewhere around here I have an old stone chisel that I modified to cut them, and after two or three heavy whacks they are history. Unfortunately, arthritis has about ended my tranny building days. Take Care, Tom
     
  18. Bill/Tom is there an easy way to tell the 3.64 when looking at a vehicle. There is a 50 Pontiac not far from me that would fit the description that I could pull apart.
     
    Sixhundred sixteen likes this.
  19. Sixhundred sixteen
    Joined: Nov 2, 2012
    Posts: 37

    Sixhundred sixteen
    Member
    from Utah

    Here are the Pontiac ratio color codes; you will find the paint splotch at the end of the right axle when you pop the wheel cover.
    4.10 = Green -- 3.90 = Red -- 3.64 = BLUE -- 3.23 = Brown -- 3.08 = Yellow
    If you find a 6 cylinder with an automatic it will likely be a 3.64. An 8 cylinder
    with an automatic could either be a 3.08 or ( perhaps .. ) a 3.23; 'generally' this
    has been true in my experience.
    In my opinion, I have found the 3.64 to be the best compromise; both for 6 cylinder
    ( 3 speed ) cars & my 401 nailhead powered coupe ( with a '6 bolt' 3 speed ). - These days, since I live 60 miles
    from a candy bar or gas station ) I've moved up to 3.23; the 401 doesn't mind them
    at all but, f I lived closer in, I would have kept the 3.64.
    Hope this is helpful.
     
    Paul likes this.
  20. Sixhundred sixteen
    Joined: Nov 2, 2012
    Posts: 37

    Sixhundred sixteen
    Member
    from Utah

    Also, on some later cars ( at least '55-'56 ) there is a stamped ratio code between
    the 2 bolts holding the 3rd member to the housing; between 6 & 7 o'clock. I'm
    thinking this may not be true on a 1950 car .......... ( ?
     
  21. Stooge
    Joined: Sep 9, 2015
    Posts: 447

    Stooge
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Very cool! I have a buick 6 bolt '37 trans for my buick, but I bought it semi blown apart, with a chipped counter cluster gear and 1st/reverse gear, so its great to see a step by step on how they are supposed to be put back together, with some tips! Also thanks for posting the part numbers of the upgraded bearings
     
  22. Sixhundred sixteen
    Joined: Nov 2, 2012
    Posts: 37

    Sixhundred sixteen
    Member
    from Utah

    Are your 'chipped' gears for a '37 or the later '4--'56? The early and later are not compatible so don't try to mix 'em up. What year is your Buick ?
     
    Stooge likes this.
  23. Stooge
    Joined: Sep 9, 2015
    Posts: 447

    Stooge
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    The chipped gears are for a '37 case, and the car its going in is a '37. I've located the correct counter cluster that I need but still need a replacement 1st/reverse gear ( I believe), as its pretty chipped! 2.jpg
     
    Sixhundred sixteen likes this.
  24. Sixhundred sixteen
    Joined: Nov 2, 2012
    Posts: 37

    Sixhundred sixteen
    Member
    from Utah

    Wow; more than just 'chipped, I'd say. I think it was half-way into Low when the clutch
    engaged.
     
    Stooge likes this.
  25. jebbesen
    Joined: Aug 18, 2015
    Posts: 493

    jebbesen
    Member
    from Winona, MN

    I have a 36 Buick 6 bolt trans that is missing its torque ball and retainer. I plan to keep it closed drive. Any of you guys that are going open drive have those parts and possibly a ujoint laying around? Or any other early internal parts if you're going with the later guts?
     
  26. F&J
    Joined: Apr 5, 2007
    Posts: 13,222

    F&J
    Member

    I will look, I sure don't have much left. ......but it was a 37, though.
     
    jebbesen likes this.
  27. jebbesen
    Joined: Aug 18, 2015
    Posts: 493

    jebbesen
    Member
    from Winona, MN

    Thanks. I know 36 internals are a little oddball but it looks great inside. Just need to find the torque ball and retainer.
    mine.jpg 361.jpg
     
  28. dan griffin
    Joined: Dec 25, 2009
    Posts: 481

    dan griffin
    Member

    In the mid 40s Buick changed the pitch on the trans. gears. That should read 1940. I suspect the higher HP 41 cars needed a stronger gear. that may be the reason for the whine. The cheap 54-55 stick Olds came with 3.42 gears better gas millage.

















    hp
















    buick
     
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  29. Dave Tacheny told me that the 36 is a creature by itself and a one year only tranny as far as certain internals especially the synchro are concerned. I have a bucket of spare 37 parts in storage as we are moving so I can't put my hands on it easily but would be willing to have a go at it if all else fails. Frank most likely has what you need or Dave as well.
     
    kbgreen likes this.
  30. Paul
    Joined: Aug 29, 2002
    Posts: 15,225

    Paul
    Editor

    Are you sure that's a '36?
    I'm no expert but that sure looks like a '37 to me..
     

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