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Projects 1950 Caddy 331 With Hydramatic Tranny

Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by Mark Jenny, Apr 10, 2015.

  1. Mark Jenny
    Joined: Oct 23, 2014
    Posts: 810

    Mark Jenny
    Member

    Hi guys...looking for some imput on these 4 speed caddy hydramatics...I bought a 1950, 331 with the hydramatic attached, and was wondering if anybody is running one of these tranny's in a model A....I'm hoping to find a 30-31 model A pickup, and use the caddy in it...So...is it worth going thru the tranny when I do the motor?..or just swapping over to something else...thanks
     
  2. There's a lot of threads about the hydramatics, as well as a social group dedicated to them.
    They are beefy transmissions, big and heavy. But also pretty bulletproof...even in stock form.
    Rebuilding the hydro (if it needs it) will be a little more pricey than rebuilding a PG, since there are only a few builders around the country still up to the task. Of course, with a little time and research, you can tear into it yourself. The parts to rebuild them are fairly readily available.
    I'd run the hydro, but I'm biased myself (have one in the 34, and another 2 or 3 in the garage).

    Find the group here: Hydro Tech
     
  3. Mark Jenny
    Joined: Oct 23, 2014
    Posts: 810

    Mark Jenny
    Member


    Thanks for the info..I'd love to run this tranny, and your right, it may not need rebuilding as it was running the day it was removed from the ambulance, but I guess thats everybodys story..right?....I guess I didnt look close enough when I was searching the HAMB for info on these....I just wanna make sure that before I sink any money in it, that they are good tranny's..I think keeping the orig tranny and motor together is always good in a hot rod model A if you can...
     
  4. I had an early Hydro behind an Olds 394 in a '50 Ford panel years ago, and am presently running a Cad 331 with a '50? hydro behind it in a Model A roadster and will attest that they are a good tranny. Heavy, and parts are kind of expensive if you need them but really tough and they're not all that hard to work on. I'd go for it...
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2015
    Speedy Canuck likes this.
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  5. 302GMC
    Joined: Dec 15, 2005
    Posts: 6,150

    302GMC
    Member
    from Idaho

    Get a '52-'55 dual range. '50 hydro won't go into reverse without complete stop, can't be held in 3rd gear manually, fills thru the floor ... same money will build either trans, so do a later one. The '50 86 series trans may have some value with the professional car folks.
    God, how I miss Yorgatron ....
     
  6. d2_willys
    Joined: Sep 8, 2007
    Posts: 4,096

    d2_willys
    Member
    from Kansas

    These are good old transmissions. 302GMC named most of the not so good features of the early single range hydros. Other than the reverse being mechanical in nature, the transmission is still strong and lasts forever. You really have to abuse these things to break them.
     
  7. Mark Jenny
    Joined: Oct 23, 2014
    Posts: 810

    Mark Jenny
    Member

    Are these the same transmissions that GMC used in their 50's pickups?
     
  8. Yes. The transmission body is the same. I am not sure if the torus differed in size between Caddy and GMC.
     
  9. GOATROPER02
    Joined: Mar 22, 2006
    Posts: 2,059

    GOATROPER02
    Member
    from OHIO

    ImageUploadedByH.A.M.B.1428696208.430080.jpg

    We offer other options for the extended bell Caddys and Oldsmobiles ....... 350/400 turbo as well as a 700r4 ..... For the same potential cost as the rebuild of the hydro....
     
    Hnstray likes this.
  10. Mark Jenny
    Joined: Oct 23, 2014
    Posts: 810

    Mark Jenny
    Member

    Thats interesting..I'll keep u guys in mind when I finally get into that project...just have to find a truck with good bones first
     
  11. ago
    Joined: Oct 12, 2005
    Posts: 2,200

    ago
    Member
    from pgh. pa.

    Doesn't the Hydramatic have a real low 1st gear?
     
  12. Dick Stevens
    Joined: Aug 7, 2012
    Posts: 2,833

    Dick Stevens
    Member

    They are pretty low geared and they are really fucking heavy, too. My first car was a 49 Olds with the trans out of it, me and a couple of friends changed it in the driveway without the use of any jacks. Damn that sucker weighed a ton, I swear. My first experience working on cars and I was only 15 years old, too young and dumb to know any better. I have no excuses for my addiction now, over 56 years later. :rolleyes:;)
     
    40fordtudor likes this.
  13. Fender1325
    Joined: Aug 31, 2014
    Posts: 730

    Fender1325

    They are low geared. Mine winds out on the highway trying to keep up with everyone doing 65/70. Mine is a 1950 331 and 4 speed hydramatic single range. I'd certainly opt for the dual range ones if they're geared for the highway a little better.
     
  14. cad-lasalle
    Joined: Sep 1, 2010
    Posts: 91

    cad-lasalle
    Member
    from grafton nh

    Mine is a 31 model A roadster with a 49 Cadillac engine and a 51 olds Hydramatic (short, with a flat pan). It's heavy, but very tough. Rear end is a 3:27 ratio. Low gear is very low, like granny low in a truck 4 speed. The transmission automatically starts out in second unless the shift lever is in the low position.
     
  15. They all have a 1:1 ratio in 4th gear so your highway rpms are going to be determined by the rear end ratio. The low 1st gear ratio is to make up for having the hydraulic coupling instead of a torque converter.
     
    Speedy Canuck likes this.
  16. dtracy
    Joined: May 8, 2012
    Posts: 223

    dtracy
    Member

    I had one - 331 Caddy with a hydro - in a 33 Plymouth. I would get busy. Strong. I would recommend it if it's affordable. Like the guys said, it will cost a little extra to have it rebuild because of some special tools and experience.


    Dave.
     
  17. sunbeam
    Joined: Oct 22, 2010
    Posts: 4,853

    sunbeam
    Member

    Get a good manual and have at is they are not that tuff to build.
     
  18. Southmark
    Joined: Mar 28, 2011
    Posts: 50

    Southmark
    Member

    I bought a '48 Cadillac flathead engine a few years ago and it had a hydramatic with it. I'll bet it weighs as much as the engine as it has a cast iron body. Have gone through the engine but the tranny sits in the corner of the shop. Oil doesn't smell burned but is it worth the effort to work on one that has to be a very early hydramatic and are parts available?
     
  19. I had one up in till 5 years ago.
    I loved the low first gear but that was all. It's shortcomings outweigh all the pluses.
    Today, I would opt for a later overdrive automatic. So many more advantaged and parts are easier to locate.
    Technology rules for this item.
     

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