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Projects 27 T coupe trans question

Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by The Indian, Nov 8, 2015.

  1. The Indian
    Joined: Oct 8, 2009
    Posts: 47

    The Indian
    Member
    from oklahoma

    Just started a new build. Picked up a 27 model T coupe that I'm putting on model A rails. The same guy I bought my coupe from sold me a 1955 Oldsmobile 324 Rocket with a hydramatic. A lot of the older crowd I talk to tell me to run the hydramatic because it was a great trans. Well I have the opportunity to buy a 39 LaSalle trans with all the stuff to bolt it to the rocket. It has a floor shift but I'm not sure where the shifter will be once it's in the coupe. My concern is that I'm a bigger guy 6'1" 260lbs and don't want the LaSalle shifter up against my leg and become a pain to shift. Would you guys run the hydramatic or think I'd be ok running the 39 LaSalle?
     
  2. Lasalle. No questions asked.
     
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  3. Torkwrench
    Joined: Jan 28, 2005
    Posts: 2,495

    Torkwrench
    Member

    Yeah....The LaSalle. If the shifter ends up in a bad spot, couldn't it be bent to one side?
     
  4. midroad
    Joined: Mar 8, 2013
    Posts: 293

    midroad
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Much cooler build with the LaSalle trans.
     

  5. The Indian
    Joined: Oct 8, 2009
    Posts: 47

    The Indian
    Member
    from oklahoma

    I can get the LaSalle, floor shift adapter, bell housing, clutch, etc for a pretty good price. Really want to run the LaSalle I've been looking at the side shift ones with the floor shift. Seems to put the shifter a good ways back and toward the driver.
     
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  6. falcongeorge
    Joined: Aug 26, 2010
    Posts: 18,341

    falcongeorge
    Member
    from BC

    Yea, hydros aren't "traditional".:confused:;):p
     
  7. falcongeorge
    Joined: Aug 26, 2010
    Posts: 18,341

    falcongeorge
    Member
    from BC

    I have a car I am putting a 324 olds and side shift cad in, and there are some good reason why that's what I chose. None of those reasons apply to what you are building.
    I have a late 30's ford with an X-member chassis and a sound, low mileage torque-tube/banjo drivetrain. If I put a hydro in it, I would pretty much have to remove the x-member. Its also pretty much impossible to mate the hydro to a torque-tube, so for a deal like that, putting a side-shift cad in it is pretty much a no-brainer. It will fit in the x-member without a ton of butchery, and mating it to a shortened torque-tube is pretty straightforward. It also has a TON more room in the footwells than a T-coupe.You don't have an x-member, and as far as I can tell by your post, you don't have any plans to run a torque-tube/banjo.
    I also have a t-coupe body here, I am using for another project. When I look down in the footwells, and look at my feet, and think about where the trans tunnel is going to be, I think "wow, 3 pedals are gonna be TIGHT." And I am 5'9" and 175 with size 9 feet. Just a guess here, but at 6' 1" and 220, I figure you just might have bigger than size 9's??
    Unless you are gonna shift it with a vengeance, your car will probably also be quicker with the hydro. If you ARE gonna shift it with a vengeance, you need to start thinking now about what you are going to do about the cast iron 2/3 shift button, because its not a question of if it breaks, but when. And cad/lasalle trans parts are a little more thin on the ground now than they were in 1958. Not saying that cant be dealt with, but you should be aware before you make a choice.
    Theres a reason why old guys are telling you what a great trans the hydro can be, starting around 1959, it was the hydro that made the Cad/Lasalle a footnote in drag racing history. Within about 3 years, it was pretty hard to even find a gas class car that still had a cad trans in it. So as far as "traditional" cred, the hydro has that too.
    I'm not saying don't run the cad/lasalle, but "NO QUESTION?" Really? Seems to me you should ask a BUNCH of questions, it sure doesn't seem like a slam-dunk to me. I wound up picking the cad, but I went in eyes-open, and I asked myself a bunch of questions. If I wasn't determined to keep the torque-tube/banjo combo in my car, I would have gone hydro.
     
  8. The Indian
    Joined: Oct 8, 2009
    Posts: 47

    The Indian
    Member
    from oklahoma

    I'm running a 58 olds/ Pontiac rearend. Yea my shoe size is just a tad bigger at size 14. I already have the hydramatic so it would save me about $1000 or more if I run it. Given that it doesn't need rebuilt. The LaSalle has been rebuilt. Foot room is a big concern too. The hydra is a pretty big beast in itself. I'm trying to keep the build late 50's early 60's. Something my pop could've drove When he was in high school. He graduated in 1964.
     
  9. falcongeorge
    Joined: Aug 26, 2010
    Posts: 18,341

    falcongeorge
    Member
    from BC

    Really give the whole thing some thought before you commit yourself, there are a lot of good reasons to pick either trans. The hydro is bigger, but the bellhousings are the same size either way, and that's whats going to cut into your pedal room. IMO, having to only fit two pedals is something worth thinking about in a T cowl, especially if you are bigger guy. The hydro is bulkier further back, which is why I didn't feel it was the best choice for an x-member chassis, for my deal, I would have had to really cut the frame up, I wanted to avoid that.
    "Cad/lasalle" rolls off the tongue nice, but I just don't consider that a good enough reason to decide on which trans to use. Keep in mind, re-building the hydro is going to cost a bit too. Are you comfortable building an automatic trans?
    Point is, theres more to think about than just "oh yea, that sounds bad-ass". Hydro is PERFECT for late fifties/early sixties, so is the side shift cad. The period-correct factor is pretty much a wash.
     
  10. Well, since you mentioned my post "no question" i guess I should clarify. My opinion is autos in a hot rod are for wimps, the handicapped, or women. I would pick a manual trans over a auto any day regardless of modifications needed.

    and then you want to start talking about ease of parts availability.... Hydromatics aren't exactly something you are gonna find a rebuild kit for at the parts store either and when was the last time you met someone that had ANY experience with one at a trans shop?

    So yeah. Lasalle no questions still.... Really.
     
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  11. falcongeorge
    Joined: Aug 26, 2010
    Posts: 18,341

    falcongeorge
    Member
    from BC

    Duly noted, your HAMB "cred" is intact...so keep in mind OP, if you do the hydro, Hitchhiker will think your a pussy...
     
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  12. We all know how very important the Hitchhiker seal of approval is....;)
     
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  13. falcongeorge
    Joined: Aug 26, 2010
    Posts: 18,341

    falcongeorge
    Member
    from BC

    :Dwell, you made me chuckle, that's something...I grew up in the sixties. My mom drove a Volvo 122S with a stick. My best friends mom drove a beetle with a stick, she had grey hair tied up in a tight little German bun in the back, honestly, I never really thought of either of them as bastions of machismo. Now hold on though, come to think of it, my best friends mom DID have an impressive soul patch...
     
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  14. Well, if she's German that's a whole different equation!
     
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  15. patmanta
    Joined: May 10, 2011
    Posts: 3,677

    patmanta
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Woburn, MA
    1. MASSACHUSETTS HAMB

    I'd buy it, you'll have both trans to mock up with that way and you can always sell the one you don't use. If that LaSalle is set up ready to go, even though it's not a 37, someone will still pay good money for it.
     
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  16. falcongeorge
    Joined: Aug 26, 2010
    Posts: 18,341

    falcongeorge
    Member
    from BC

    I'd agree with Pat. Only reason I wouldn't do it this way is if you are tight for cash, and it is going to cause delays to have the $$ tied up in a second trans. IIRC correctly, Evel on here had a hydro in his cad powered Model A coupe, he might be a good guy to talk to about this.
     
  17. I like them both real well. I would run the Lasalle. Pretty much anything you put in there the shifter is going to be close a '27 T was designed for a man about 5'3" and about 145 max.
     
  18. Funny enough.....he swapped it for a stick....
     
  19. Jeremy Shay
    Joined: Jul 11, 2009
    Posts: 358

    Jeremy Shay
    Member
    from Las Vegas

    What is a "floor shift adapter"?
     
  20. With the Lasalle and your size 14 shoe your biggest concern is going to be where to put your feet and the peddles so that you can shift it.

    Its a crap shoot, both transmissions have their drawbacks for you. The hydromatic is a heavy pig and bulky. You can get it in there people have been doing if for decades but it is a big heavy pig. I am going to assume that both will be floor shifter so the shifter for either is going to have to be dealt with and the Lasalle is going to require clutch linkage. That also can be done and you are certainly not the first guy with big feet.

    In your situation I am going to guess that what you need to do is pic a windmill to joust with, and climb on your horse.
     
  21. falcongeorge
    Joined: Aug 26, 2010
    Posts: 18,341

    falcongeorge
    Member
    from BC

    I do remember him posting about having a lot of trouble with the kick-down adjustment on the hydro, I wasn't aware that he had given up on it.
    Heres what I suggest. Get some 2x4s for dummy frame rails, and a piece of 2x10 for a seat bottom and mock it up. I mostly did this because I am putting a Desoto in mine, and I was(and still am) struggling with steering box placement that will let me put the motor low and back against the firewall, and still have header clearance. Prop the motor and bellhousing up between the 2x4s where you want it to end up relative to the firewall and frame rails, drop the body over the 2x4s at the height you plan to run it, lay the 2x10 across the top of the 2x4s, and sit your ass in there. When I did this, I was thinking about steering column angle, but I was pretty surprised at how little room there was between the bellhousing and the inside of the cowl. The '26/27 T coupe/sedan cowl is concave in there, and it really restricts your foot room, a Model A is WAY wider. I am channeling my car as well, mine is REALLY narrow. I am putting a stick in mine, but it is really tight, and I am smaller than you. Shifter placement is really a non-issue, whatever trans you decide on, you can make an offset shifter handle that will work, but you cant really chop and channel a bellhousing. See if you can fit three pedals in there, and have enough room to work them.
    Theres nothing like mocking it up and sitting in it. prior to doing that, I hadn't really given the room for pedals much thought.
     
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  22. F&J
    Joined: Apr 5, 2007
    Posts: 13,222

    F&J
    Member

    How come nobody mentioned column shift for the 39 LaS? You can use Ford column and rods.

    Back to room by the trans: The biggest issue is heel room for the gas pedal. Because all Cad/LaS are bottom load, that really slims down the top of the trans, right where you need heel room. Build the tunnel to hug the trans in that spot.


    Well now .. :) .. Neither trans has parts at autozone, but kits and "components" are very available for the Hydros. But the LaS or Cad trans, not so easy. If you need a syncro ass'y or especially 1/R sliding gear in usuable condition, they can be tough to find quickly.



    Hey George, what shifter bracket do you have for the "converted-to-closed drive" side shift LaS? The conventional Hurst bracket came in open drive, but there was also the special one for the closed drive swap. It moves the shift body forward because the Ford drive is in the way. I bet you knew that, but just putting it out for others.
     
    patmanta likes this.
  23. Column shift would be dope.

    I was more just pointing out that neither has parts availability at the parts store. But yeah parts for hydro's are way more common!
     
  24. falcongeorge
    Joined: Aug 26, 2010
    Posts: 18,341

    falcongeorge
    Member
    from BC

    I have the 3854-F shifter for ford X member/torque-tube applications, never expected to find one, but every pig gets an acorn once in a while...;):)

    With T's, if you want to suck the engine back against the firewall, the bellhousing is going to be intruding into the footwell area. I keep harping on this, but T's are a LOT smaller than A's, and theres just no comparision between my T and my '39 in terms of space.
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2015
  25. F&J
    Joined: Apr 5, 2007
    Posts: 13,222

    F&J
    Member

    The extended bell shelf on the engine, intrudes on lots of cars like my 32. I build a snug fit around that in tunnel design, but room for a heel seems more the issue. Yes I know the T is tighter...but many had done this setup back in the day though.
     
  26. falcongeorge
    Joined: Aug 26, 2010
    Posts: 18,341

    falcongeorge
    Member
    from BC

    My T is also probably worst case scenario, engine low and tight against the firewall, and channeled the depth of the rails. Is the op channeling his car?
     
  27. patmanta
    Joined: May 10, 2011
    Posts: 3,677

    patmanta
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Woburn, MA
    1. MASSACHUSETTS HAMB

    Now I feel dumb and want to get a column shift for my parts pile to go along with the three side shift LaSalle transmissions I'm sitting on... at least I'm probably covered for parts!

    I'm going to watch this one and see where it goes.
     

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