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Technical 3 speed with o/d trans

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by junkyardjeff, Nov 4, 2015.

  1. junkyardjeff
    Joined: Jul 23, 2005
    Posts: 7,826

    junkyardjeff
    Member

    I never had a car with one or even driven a car with one but I have a idea about a future project running around my brain that one would be a fine addition,I was thinking about using a 55 and up trans and would like to know just how much power and abuse will one of those trans take. Is there any brand of those trans that would be the strongest and which one should be avoided.
     
  2. flux capacitor
    Joined: Sep 18, 2014
    Posts: 669

    flux capacitor
    Member

    They won't take much over 300 hp, I'd recommend a 66-72 Saginaw 7 bolt side cover unit. Fully syncronized & the refined & last of its breed. If properly wired with relay as factory done they are a hoot to drive, passing gear , free wheeling under 35 mph for clutch less shifting once moving..... Under 35 only. We've 3 vehicles with them .& one is a spec order one owner with 4.10 gear, at 55-60 mph its turning 2200 ish. & it.'ll go 100 mph in the high side of second! What many folks don't realize is usually you'll shift 4 times , I like going 1st to 2nd let off kick into high side of 2nd & when it's time to go into 3rd the governor will let it slip into the overdriven side . But cruising around town w 4.10's shift into low side of 3rd & rev it on out & let off gas pedal for low rpm cruising. I've been rough on these as a teen but they were behind stock 327's. If you go with earlier Muncie units "non syncronized 1st, look for a 12 volt model. I put one "7 bolt" in a 66 c20 w 4.57 3rd member & it'd back scratch in 3rd when passing gear hit, fun fun fun..... Flux
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2015
  3. bchctybob
    Joined: Sep 18, 2011
    Posts: 2,872

    bchctybob
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I put a 3 spd/OD behind the 350 Chevy in my '31 Tudor and it worked great for the street. Mine was a '55-'57 Chevy version that shifts to OD by letting off the gas slightly.
    The Good: lowers engine speed at cruise, you can score 'em for next to nothing if you shop around.
    The Bad: they don't take much abuse, shifters are hard to find (I made my own out of a standard Hurst 3 spd shifter) Some repair parts are hard to find (expensive) and mine was sorta noisy.
    The later model Saginaw 3spd/OD is a better trans but hard to find and expensive when you find one. That one has the electric activation I believe and is a much better choice if you can find/afford it.
    I'm helping a buddy put a (free) '59 Ford 3spd/OD behind the flathead in his Model A sedan. He's looking for the bellhousing at the moment - it's the lowest buck solution for his zero budget project and it keeps with the "Po' Boy" theme of the build.
     
  4. I've owned many an overdrive car, and when they work right they're great. But I'll echo the 'they won't take abuse' thing, I managed to kill several behind a 223 Ford six. Don't speed-shift 'em, that helps. Probably the toughest one ever offered was the 4-pinion OD version first offered behind the '61 Ford 390 IIRC, also used in FE-powered Ford trucks through '72 as an option. Most passenger car versions were 3 pinion. Again, none of these will be easy to find as 3-speed manual transmissions weren't all that popular behind even reasonably powerful V8s by the late 50s, same goes for repair parts. At one time Advance Adaptors offered kits to put the OD unit behind various vintage four-speeds, but you needed the 4-pinion OD unit if you expected it to hold anything more that 300 hp.
     

  5. I've used them in several cars/trucks with mixed luck. My 55 ford tudor had one with all correct factory wiring...worked great because the clutch was slippery due to a leaky main seal..no problems.
    Had one in a 55 chevy hardtop behind a 235 with all the correct wiring etc....worked great 'till I blew the sprag unit. Replaced the overdrive unit with one from a junkyard...
    Then I used a 55-57 chevy O.D. in a chevy pickup with a good running 292 six banger....wired it up to a toggle switch and used a PTO cable. This meant I had no kick down, no governor, no relays, no interupter. I usta go from 1st gear to 1st overdrive, to 2nd non O.D. to 2nd O.D and on up the gears. Using overdrive in 1st gear was my undoing. Hell, I'd even get scratch going into 1st, overdrive! Killed the sprag unit but not before I got many, many great cruising miles from it.
    If you use one, go easy with it and never use overdrive in 1st gear....not a performance trans.
     
  6. LWEL9226
    Joined: Jul 7, 2012
    Posts: 301

    LWEL9226
    Member
    from So. Oregon

    Had one in a 49 F-1 with a mostly stock flathead with 4.11 gears, the trans was from a mid 50's Ford...
    Broke the main trans once (took out 1st, 2nd, cluster, and cracked the case) but the overdrive unit was OK and reused it later on another trans......
    The bellhousing I used was from a 49-53 Merc....

    Lynn W
     
  7. flux capacitor
    Joined: Sep 18, 2014
    Posts: 669

    flux capacitor
    Member

    image.jpg I mixed n matched an R10 onto a Saginaw four speed going behind a 235. Low torque motors for cruising is all they'll live under. image.jpg image.jpg The shifter installation is a pain. Unless column mounted, you'll have to get creative & the silinoid is in a bad bad bad spot. I've an HD R11 unit I've got intentions of grafting onto a four speed but probably won't get around too. I picked up 3 gm over drives for 80 bucks at a swap meet couple of years ago , they can still be had. I'll let go of the Muncie units & hoard the 7 bolt jobs. Never know when you might need that one part they don't make anymore. Flux
     
  8. junkyardjeff
    Joined: Jul 23, 2005
    Posts: 7,826

    junkyardjeff
    Member

    The project I have in mind is a 40 Ford coupe or sedan with a warmed up Y block shifting the 3 speed o/d with the original column shifter and 3.73 or 4.10 gears in a 9 inch.
     
  9. jhtdon
    Joined: May 29, 2012
    Posts: 112

    jhtdon
    Member
    from Florida

    I am running Ford 3 spd with OD I took from a 52 ford. Was rebuilt by Mr. Transmission Orlando. The engine Is a 292 Y Block from a 56 Ford built by Powered By Ford of Orlando. No problems in 12 Years.
     

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  10. Mike51Merc
    Joined: Dec 5, 2008
    Posts: 3,855

    Mike51Merc
    Member

    I don't think I'd use one in a performance application, but they're certainly fine cruising transmissions. You might also look into a Ford SROD which is basically a 4 speed overdrive transmission a lot like a Toploader.
     
  11. mlagusis
    Joined: Oct 11, 2009
    Posts: 1,035

    mlagusis
    Member

    I picked up a 3 speed OD for my 29 Chevy Two door. It will be behind a 60 over 283 with a Duntov 97 cam. I need to check which one I have...I think it is from an early 60's GM car.
     
  12. The 39 guy
    Joined: Nov 5, 2010
    Posts: 2,985

    The 39 guy
    Member

    I installed a 49 mercury OD behind my flathead in my 40. So far I find it fun to drive. I am using a 3.89 rear gear and the car moves right along at 2000 rpm at 65MPH. My flatty probably only makes 100 HP and I will not be doing burnouts or power shifting it. If you wish to do more than that a quality 5 speed will serve you better. I had to make some interesting modifications to the X member to get the transmission in.
     
  13. Jeep and I believe Ford both used a 4 speed that was a 3 speed with an OD in the '80s. They should handle 300 HP easy. They are not traditional but they work well enough.
     
  14. Mike51Merc
    Joined: Dec 5, 2008
    Posts: 3,855

    Mike51Merc
    Member

    That was the Ford SROD (Single Rail Overdrive). 1980's Mustangs and Trucks
     
  15. Yep that's the one I am thinking about. I guy that worked with me in Mexico had one in a baby Bronco. The 6 wouldn't pull the tires so we shoehorned a 302 in it, what a freaking nightmare it would have been easier to change the gears. :eek:

    But the tranny held up OK.
     
  16. dirty old man
    Joined: Feb 2, 2008
    Posts: 8,857

    dirty old man
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Yeah, I had one of those SROD 3+1 trans as OEM in OT '79 Mustang. Put about 150K mi. on it and it began jumping out of 4th (OD) on decel. So I replaced with T5, had I realized what a difference the T5 would make, I would've done it way before. Ratio spreads were so much better, and all else was top shelf. The SROD was a stopgap effort by Ford till they could get something better to raise CAFE.
    My '40 Ford coupe has a 302 sbf with T5 and 3.73s in an 8.8" on parallel leaf springs and 29.5" tires, cruises @ 2K @70 mph and is a real pleasure cruiser with an amazing amount more mpg in country vs. city.
    Bought that '40 up your way, in Masillon, OH. Wish I was closer, cause if I were closer and you drove it, you'd forget about that 3+1 OD, and start looking for a T5..
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2015
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  17. EZ Cool
    Joined: Nov 17, 2011
    Posts: 261

    EZ Cool
    Alliance Vendor

    Picked up a saginaw OD the other day. Its going in my OT second gen chevy van.
     
  18. junkyardjeff
    Joined: Jul 23, 2005
    Posts: 7,826

    junkyardjeff
    Member

    If I ever build a 40 I am going to build it as far as I can with old parts,I heard a video clip of a 61ish Ford unibody truck that ran at Bonneville with a nasty Y block so I got wondering if a old 3 speed with o/d would stand up to a hot Y block. I do not want a floor shifter so that trans is the only way to go with a column shift and have o/d,this is going to be a build using what was available in the late 50s and early 60s.
     
  19. Mark T
    Joined: Feb 19, 2007
    Posts: 1,875

    Mark T
    Member

    The Borg Warner T-85 with R11 overdrive unit is the heavy duty trans that Ford used behind the Y-Blocks and the FE's. Borg Warner used the T-85 to develop the T-10, It will hold up to just about any Y-Block.
     
  20. dirty old man
    Joined: Feb 2, 2008
    Posts: 8,857

    dirty old man
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I agree, but they are quite rare.
     
  21. Mark T
    Joined: Feb 19, 2007
    Posts: 1,875

    Mark T
    Member

    Not that rare, someone had one for sale over on the FordBarn recently. There is one in an old bus in my local junk yard.

    Finding a driveshaft yoke is difficult.
     
  22. junkyardjeff
    Joined: Jul 23, 2005
    Posts: 7,826

    junkyardjeff
    Member

    I am going to watch for one around here so I can at least start getting parts for when I find a 40,I do have a T10 and toploader 4 speed I can use if the 3 speed can not be found but wont be the exact period parts I would like to use.
     
  23. flux capacitor
    Joined: Sep 18, 2014
    Posts: 669

    flux capacitor
    Member

    The only R11 Ive seen & got came on a T85 3 speed out've a mid 60's 345 IH travel all. If one is lucky enough to remove from a doner rig , be sure & get cable to lock it out & the relay. Flux
     
  24. Mark T
    Joined: Feb 19, 2007
    Posts: 1,875

    Mark T
    Member

    Studebaker also used the T85 with R11 overdrive.
     
  25. dirty old man
    Joined: Feb 2, 2008
    Posts: 8,857

    dirty old man
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    The only Studebaker car I ever saw with a T85/R11 was a '56 Golden Hawk, which came with the 352" Packard V8. Did any other Studes come with the T85/R11?:
     
  26. dan c
    Joined: Jan 30, 2012
    Posts: 2,188

    dan c
    Member

    and whatever you do, don't back up with the overdrive engaged! probably a big factor in the loss of popularity of those units.
     
  27. I ran a '57 Hardtop with a stock Ford OD behind a warmed over *292. I didn't use OD much, but the tranny held up well enough.

    *later with a warmed over 289 same transmission.
     
  28. nrgwizard
    Joined: Aug 18, 2006
    Posts: 1,280

    nrgwizard
    Member
    from Minn. uSA

    Yes, have one from a '64 Lark Cruiser. Was an option Stude offered. The Champions mostly came w/the R10, & a lot of the v8s were ordered w/the R11. The T85/R11 was a HD option, so taxi cabs, police-type cars, commercial car versions, & pickups had a lot of the R11s. Still isn't common-everywhere-trip-over-them availability, but not rare like chicken fangs, either. Jeff, I do know a guy(junkyard) that has (last I heard) a HDford toploader 3spOD, needs syncros-I think. PM me for info if interested. FWIW. Marcus...
     
  29. frdsuperduty
    Joined: Nov 18, 2006
    Posts: 175

    frdsuperduty
    Member
    from Lewes De

    I have a 63 fairlane 221 v8 with a 3speed and overdrive.It runs great but not strong enough for me.I am going to take the engine and trans out soon so if anyone is interested and wants to hear it run let me know.I wont be looking for a whole lot of money.i will sell it to someone who will use it not a seller.
     
  30. 48jeep
    Joined: Apr 3, 2009
    Posts: 66

    48jeep
    Member

    Many years ago Hot Rod magazine had an article where they adapted the overdrive from a 3-speed saginaw onto a 4-speed saginaw giving them an 8 speed transmission. Also some of the Borg-Warner overdrive parts will interchange between manufacturers.
     
    flux capacitor likes this.

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