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1954 Chevy 3 speed trans question. NOW WITH PICS!!

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Scott F., Jun 25, 2013.

  1. Scott F.
    Joined: Aug 9, 2006
    Posts: 965

    Scott F.
    Member

    My '54 will not shift into third. When trying to shift to third it stops short of going into gear and it's as if I can feel the gear faces just touching each other. I don't know anything about transmissions and I just watched Ryan's post about them the other day. A friend who has had several first suggested the shift rod adjustments needed to be made. I tried that and it still didn't work. I unhooked the shift rods completely and tried shifting by hand (the forks on the side of the trans) and could get it into all gears except third. I removed the side cover this afternoon and cant see anything wrong but then again I don't know what I'm looking for. The shift fork on the cover seems to be OK. A little worn (maybe .030" by eye).
    What suggestions do you guys have? I took some pics through the side cover and can post if that will be helpful.

    Thanks,
    Scott
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2013
  2. wood470
    Joined: May 21, 2008
    Posts: 226

    wood470
    Member

    Did this just happen or did you just get it like that?
     
  3. Scott F.
    Joined: Aug 9, 2006
    Posts: 965

    Scott F.
    Member

    It ran fine before. This happened last fall and im just getting around to it. While driving in a parking lot i was in first or second and heard a fairly loud thud and when i pulled out onto the street it would not stay in third without me holding pressure on the lever then within a mile it wouldnt go in at all.
     
  4. JohnEvans
    Joined: Apr 13, 2008
    Posts: 4,883

    JohnEvans
    Member
    from Phoenix AZ

    Time to pull the trans ,whatever is wrong is not fixable in the car. Shift fork or adjustment are about the only things repairable without dropping the trans. There is a slight chance the side cover has a problem ,most likely with the interlock system . see if you can slide the syncro drum forward and get it to engage with the input shaft [as in 3rd gear] if so look at the interlock on the side cover. To bad you ain't here in Phoenix as I blew enough of those in the 60s I could probably fix it with my eyes closed.LOL
     

  5. Scott F.
    Joined: Aug 9, 2006
    Posts: 965

    Scott F.
    Member

    Pics. Lets see if this works. Thanks for the tip. I will try that stuff tomorrow.
     

    Attached Files:

  6. Scott F.
    Joined: Aug 9, 2006
    Posts: 965

    Scott F.
    Member

    Another pic. I see some damage between the big gear on the synchronizer drum and the little gear on the bottom (first?)
     

    Attached Files:

  7. F&J
    Joined: Apr 5, 2007
    Posts: 13,222

    F&J
    Member

    Never did one of those, but 3rd gear is when you lock the input shaft to the mainshaft,

    The 3rd gear syncro ring needs to get shoved forward as far as it can go.

    There is nasty wear on the cluster gear at the botton, and very heavy wear on the 1/R sliding gear, as far as angled wear on the teeth. That will eventually jump gear.

    Old transmissions are usually very easy to work on, except for pulling those closed drive ones out to work on it. The bad thing is finding pieces to fix it. I'd be looking for someone on here who did a trans swap to a modern A/T or 5 speed..see if anyone has a good low mile one to sell.
     
  8. F&J
    Joined: Apr 5, 2007
    Posts: 13,222

    F&J
    Member

    I'm guessing that if that 3rd syncro won't go forward while rocking the gears a little to help mesh, then something inside the syncronizer hub ass'y has broken and is jammed in place.
     
  9. JohnEvans
    Joined: Apr 13, 2008
    Posts: 4,883

    JohnEvans
    Member
    from Phoenix AZ

    Yep ,I doo believe your syncro is toast ! That trans is a real light duty shitty design,as I said blew up a lot of them in the 60s. But to your problem ,the syncro cone has pulled out of the syncro drum/body a very common thing. With the trans in neutral as is is the "short" teeth on the input should be visiable . As Frank said the cluster 1st gear teeth and the 1-R slider both show damage and failure there will be sooner rather than later. How about a picture showing the other end of the syncro drum so I can confirm my diagnosis.
     
  10. Scott F.
    Joined: Aug 9, 2006
    Posts: 965

    Scott F.
    Member

    Thanks John and Frank! I will try and get a photo of the back of the synchro hub tomorrow. So does anyone make all new gears for these? Pulling it will be fun too. Guess i need to remove the crossmember to get it out?
     
  11. davidbistolas
    Joined: May 21, 2010
    Posts: 962

    davidbistolas
    Member

    My '51 has (had?) an access panel, you pull the transmission out from INSIDE the car. If it's similar to mine, the crossmember is riveted in, so removing it is a no-op. If I understand correctly, you can unbolt torque tube, then unbolt the rear end and slide it back to clear the transmission, but I'm no expert on this.
     
  12. 27T
    Joined: Nov 16, 2006
    Posts: 632

    27T
    Member

    '54 cross-member is riveted in, and doesn't have access panel in floor for trans(only top bellhousing bolts), but is extremely easy to drop out the bottom
     
  13. Homemade44
    Joined: Feb 7, 2007
    Posts: 527

    Homemade44
    Member

    Looking at your picture, the input shaft bearing doesn't look right. I see some balls or part of the cage. If the input shaft bearing has failed this will cause a misalignment and won't let it shift. A badly worn input shaft bearing can also cause it to slip out of third gear. What kind of metal came out with the oil when you drained it?
     
  14. 27T
    Joined: Nov 16, 2006
    Posts: 632

    27T
    Member

    crossmember stays
     
  15. 56sedandelivery
    Joined: Nov 21, 2006
    Posts: 6,641

    56sedandelivery
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I would be interested in seeing what the shift forks, both external and internal, look like. I think the chipped teeth on the counter/cluster gear is from it being put into reverse too soon or aggressively. You should be able to find a good replacement trans fairly cheap from someone doing a V-8 swap (I GAVE the 216 and 3-speed away when we pulled them out for the V-8/auto trans swap). You might also check with the ChevyTalk.Org group of guys in the 49-54 forums. Butch/56sedandelivery.
     
  16. JohnEvans
    Joined: Apr 13, 2008
    Posts: 4,883

    JohnEvans
    Member
    from Phoenix AZ

    Easy to pull the trans . un couple the ball at rear of trans slid back. disconnect ujoint ,lower front of TT to ground or at least below the Xmember. Unbolt trans from bell housing [remember 2 bolts inside housing] slide back untill input shaft clears bell housing drop nose of trans ,remove towards front of car. I use to be able to get a trans out in under 20minutes. Like I said my warmed up 261 was HARD on those trans. Don't forget to disconnect speedo cable. Parts should not be a problem but a bit pricey ,good used trans from someone putting in a V-8 etc might be a better way to go. 53-54 trans are better than 49-52 due to roller bearings in counter shaft/cluster.
     
  17. Scott F.
    Joined: Aug 9, 2006
    Posts: 965

    Scott F.
    Member

    I didn't measure the shift forks, but I have a new one for 2-3 and the gap in it lines up almost exactly with the fork in the trans. There's not a lot of wear on either of the forks that are in the trans.
     
  18. Scott F.
    Joined: Aug 9, 2006
    Posts: 965

    Scott F.
    Member

    I didn't get a pic of the other end yet but I did reach in there and the inside of the synchro drum (the cone, you said) moves back and forth freely. Problem is that I can't seem to get it to seat fully back into the synchro drum.
    I am efforting a trans that a friend pulled from his '53 recently in order to do a 350/350 swap. It has a new clutch but that would necessitate pulling the motor too right?
    What should I check for on the 'new' trans? Inspect gears for damage, what else?

    Thanks for all the help guys. This isn't overwhelming and I'm not afraid to try, it's just that the extra knowledge from you guys helps me understand the stuff before I actually get my hands into it.

    Scott
     
  19. JohnEvans
    Joined: Apr 13, 2008
    Posts: 4,883

    JohnEvans
    Member
    from Phoenix AZ

    That syncro cone is actually 2 parts the outer which we can see is normaly staked into the drum,when it pulls out time to replace the syncro assy. There is a inner part that we can't see that actually does the work.If you look at the other end of the syncro drum you should be able to see the inner floating ring,and you will then see what has happened. No need to pull the engine to change the clutch as it comes out the bottom of the bell . as far as that goes the clutch AND flywheel has to come off before the bell can be removed from the engine.
     
  20. 325w
    Joined: Feb 18, 2008
    Posts: 5,488

    325w
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    First trans I ever pulled from a 54 Chevy. I took the torque tube loose and it hit the ground. I had the front of the car up with a bumper jack. Didn't hurt myself are my nephew. After the first three trans replacement I got good at it and could remove one in about thirty minutes and not get dirty.
     
  21. jetmech69
    Joined: Oct 7, 2010
    Posts: 54

    jetmech69
    Member

    Progress Report here???
     
  22. Scott F.
    Joined: Aug 9, 2006
    Posts: 965

    Scott F.
    Member

    Hey Jet hows it going? I bought the 3 speed that came out of a friends 53 and put it in and the car is back on the road with all gears. Have some clutch chatter in first to sort out but overall im pleased with my results so far.
     
  23. jetmech69
    Joined: Oct 7, 2010
    Posts: 54

    jetmech69
    Member

    Hey Scott...doing great...sent you am email...plx check your gmail.
    Thanks and LMK.....Jim
     

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