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1957 Pontiac 3 speed manual ?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by artguywes, Jun 17, 2013.

  1. artguywes
    Joined: Apr 6, 2011
    Posts: 31

    artguywes
    Member
    from Las Vegas

    I'm picking up a 1957 pontiac 3 speed manual tomorrow. The repair manuals list it as a Muncie M13 HD. Does anyone know if this is true. Are rebuild kits available? Is there a way to convert it to a floor shift? Is this as bullet proof as I have read. I will be pairing it with a '62 Cadillac 390 and am aware of the torque it will endure. Any input will be appreciated. Thanks... Wes
     
  2. I bought a 57 Pontiac in '68 with the weenie low compression 347 and a factory 3 speed stick. Granted, I drove it hard some days but with a worn out 2 barrel 347, it made little power and yet I blew 4 different 3 speed transmissions with an anemic 10 inch clutch and 3.63 gears. I grew to totally HATE those damned transmssions!
    When a co-worker totalled his factory stick 59 Pontiac with the more modern "chev style" manual tranny and bellhousing, I leaped on it. Scored a later muncie 4 speed transmission to go behind the 59 bellhousing [and got the '59, 389 engine as well] and never looked back.
    Not only was I now able to use a modern 11 inch clutch, the first gear of the old Pontiac 3 speed was very high, causing me to have to slip the clutch to get the car moving. [same design since the 30s when a normal rearend gear was 4.30]The muncie also had all forward gears synchonized where the old 3 speed only had 2nd and 3rd syncronized....had to either grind into 1st or double-clutch if you were moving.
    The monkey-motion Pontiac "select-a-shift" 3 speed doesn't have the common two-lever shift arrangement. It has this single lever that moves forward and back, for 1st and reverse then there is another rod that gets moved to allow the first lever to actaully come out, away from the tranny case and move forward and back again for 2nd and 3rd!
    I believe foxcraft and/or Ansen made floor shifters for these sad excuses of transmssions but they're super rare and hard to find.
    I'd pass...seriously.
     

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  3. 40fordtudor
    Joined: Jan 3, 2010
    Posts: 2,503

    40fordtudor
    Member

    I only blew one---but it blew a heart-shaped hole in the case. Rocky is right---run, don't walk away from the seller. P.S. I had a floor shifter---not that it matters.
     
  4. Does '57 continue the deal as in years past where some models got the weaker trans with the 5-bolt top cover and some got the heavier duty unit with the 6-bolt top cover?
     
    Sixhundred sixteen likes this.

  5. artguywes
    Joined: Apr 6, 2011
    Posts: 31

    artguywes
    Member
    from Las Vegas

    This is a 6 bolt HD model, and after further reading I'm going to get it. I will be using an adapter bellhousing so a larger juice clutch will be used. For $100 I'll chance it. I'm buying the adapter either way and a rebuilt M22 is 1900! I thought part of the fun was building it and then drivin' the hell out of it till it popped?
    The warnings are appreciated, I just love the obscure and the obsolete.
     
    Sixhundred sixteen likes this.
  6. k9racer
    Joined: Jan 20, 2003
    Posts: 3,091

    k9racer
    Member

    FWIW you will be far ahead on this game if you take rockies advice and find a chevy saganaw 3 speed. Prices around my area are 75 to 125 all day long. These transmissions are very strong. I have used one behind a 455 buick with no trouble. Borg Warners 3 speed cost a little more but are almost indestructible One other thing easy to find floor shifter..
     
  7. Floor shift kits for those are tough but it seems like if you hit the right factory top loader trans you can use the cover and shifter off those on these. The 6-bolt is the tougher one. And $100 is a good deal on it, you can triple your money all day long if you're willing to ship it.
     
  8. artguywes
    Joined: Apr 6, 2011
    Posts: 31

    artguywes
    Member
    from Las Vegas

    I'm gonna continue the search for a good trans. I opted out on this one. To many variables and headaches. Thanks for the guidance. - Wes

    <a href="http://s168.photobucket.com/user/ARTGUYWES/media/PontiacPrebuild006.jpg.html" target="_blank">[​IMG]</a>
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 1, 2014
  9. Sixhundred sixteen
    Joined: Nov 2, 2012
    Posts: 37

    Sixhundred sixteen
    Member
    from Utah

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

    Sixhundred sixteen
    Member
    from Utah

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

    Sixhundred sixteen
    Member
    from Utah

    I know how old this post is but, it caught my attention. 1955 was the last year Pontiac used the ''5 bolt'' transmission; ( first year for the V8 ). 1956 went to the ''6 bolt'' HD 3 speed while retaining the ratios that 6 bolt units ( Buick & Olds ) used for years. In 1957 ( the last year Pontiac used the 6 bolt ) the ratios became higher ( previous ratios were pretty high already ) & were used up to '59 & 60 In Buick & Olds respectively.
    In my experience ( a 401 Buick with the 6 bolt 3 speed in a '36 coupe ) the key is running heavier torque rated bearings on the input & output shafts. Before using those I could explode the tranny into pieces. My current tranny has 55,000 miles -- some at the strip -- & is still as sweet as when I assembled it.
     
    oliver westlund and Hnstray like this.
  12. sunbeam
    Joined: Oct 22, 2010
    Posts: 5,169

    sunbeam
    Member

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