Register now to get rid of these ads!

51 chrysler fluid drive questions

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by kaiser53, Nov 15, 2011.

  1. kaiser53
    Joined: Feb 3, 2011
    Posts: 15

    kaiser53
    Member

    i have a 51 chrysler new yorker with the original 331 hemi and fluid drive trans, i cant find too much info on this trans, but i believe its a 3 speed? or is it a 2 speed? and if it is a 3 speed, what should i look into as far as why it wont shift into 3rd? dont have a tach so no idea what its running, but sounds like there should be a 3rd gear cause she is screaming when i hit about 30mph, ive been up to 60 but screams like it should shift, anyone have any info on this trans? or ideas to what may be the problem? thanks alot
     
  2. Ole don
    Joined: Dec 16, 2005
    Posts: 2,915

    Ole don
    Member

    The fluid drive on my 47 Desoto may be a bit different, but this is what it would do. Put the lever in second to take off, take it to about 2500 or so, use the clutch pedal to shift the lever to third. If its not yet in third gear, take it up to about 2500 again and let off the gas all the way. It should shift itself then. If not, look for broken wires on the tranny.
     
  3. kaiser53
    Joined: Feb 3, 2011
    Posts: 15

    kaiser53
    Member

    well i have high gear and low gear, no 1..2..3.. which is confusing to me, im not used to the older trannys. this trans should be to where you put it in drive, hit the gas, then let off and press gas again to shift
     
  4. TOMMAY
    Joined: Nov 11, 2005
    Posts: 77

    TOMMAY
    Member
    from MOBILE,AL

    Is this what you have?


    [​IMG]
     

  5. pasadenahotrod
    Joined: Feb 13, 2007
    Posts: 11,776

    pasadenahotrod
    Member
    from Texas

    Fluid-Drive is simply a torque convertor installed between the engine block and flywheel which has a conventional clutch and 3-speed transmission. The premise was that the fluid drive unit multiplied the torque of the engine before transferring the power through the clutch. This was used in Dodge and DeSoto.

    The 4-speed hydraulically shifted transmission used in Chrysler, often called "Clunk-o-matic" is a different unit than "Fluid-Drive".
     
  6. Choff
    Joined: Sep 15, 2009
    Posts: 184

    Choff
    Member

    I have the same trans at home for a 323.5 1950 chrysler flathead straight eight, I do have the original book info on this trans , can send you copy if you would like, I have not decided to put this in my car , I may go to a newer trans set up for my build, a 1929 dodge coupe.
    Choff
     
  7. Rusty O'Toole
    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 9,297

    Rusty O'Toole
    Member

    The Fluid Drive was one of the early efforts at an automatic, it combines certain characteristics of a manual and automatic.

    It is actually a 4 speed transmission. It has 2 ranges, a Low range and a High range, plus reverse.

    It shifts like a 3 on the tree with no 1st gear.

    Straight up, Low range. Straight down, high range. In the middle, neutral. Towards you and up, Reverse.

    To start off you are supposed to step on the clutch and shift into High range. You will start off in 3d, when you get going 14MPH or more lift off the gas and it should shift into 4th with a soft *click-clack* from under the floor boards.

    Now step on the gas and go someplace lol.

    Low range works the same except you shift up at 6MPH or higher. Once you get going in hi gear of low range, step on the clutch and shift to High range like a manual trans.

    When you are in High range, high gear, the trans will kick down like an automatic at any speed up to 50 if you floor the gas pedal.

    All normal driving is done in High range. Low range is for starting off on a hill, or with a heavy load or towing a trailer, or driving through deep snow, sand or mud.

    If you like, you can start with the trans in neutral and the hand brake locked, shift into gear and release the clutch completely, then release the hand brake and drive off like an automatic. You can also come to a stop at a stop light and drive off like an automatic, the trans will shift down by itself and shift up again when you lift off the gas.

    Technically you have a Fluid Drive unit (which resembles a torque converter) then a conventional dry plate clutch then a 4 speed sliding gear transmission.

    The trans resembles a normal manual trans except it has a little hydraulic piston and pump to shift the gears.

    All in all it is very heavy duty and trouble free.

    9 times out of 10 when it does not work, the wiring is balled up or the trans is low on oil.

    The electric control system works off 2 wires connected to the coil. There are 2 switches built into the carburetor to control full throttle and closed throttle shifts. The wiring goes to the transmission which has a governor, a solenoid and a switch.

    Both the Fluid Drive and the trans take #10 motor oil. Actually they made a Fluid Drive fluid but good luck finding it.

    A good substitute is TDH Tractor fluid, ISO32 grade. This stuff is made for transmissions,differentials and hydraulics on tractors, wal mart sells it and so do farm supply places and auto supply stores.

    Now if you have Fluid Torque Drive you are really in luck. That is the 4 speed plus Torque Converter, it will out perform the Fluid Drive, outperform the Powerflite auto and give a Torqueflite a run for its money.

    Here is a good place to look for info on the hemi and fluid drive, they used the same system in Dodge, DeSoto Chrysler and Imperial.
    Online Imperial Club (OIC) for Imperial, Chrysler Imperial, and Chrysler New Yorker Brougham Enthusiasts

    The web site has copies of original Chrysler service books.

    Once you get to understand it the Fluid Drive is a good system. Rugged, long lived, and not hard to drive. There are even a few tricks to get hotter performance out of one.
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2016
  8. Rusty O'Toole
    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 9,297

    Rusty O'Toole
    Member

    I used to have a 52 New Yorker with the hemi V8 and Fluid Torque drive. It would go like hell once I learned how to use the trans.

    You can start off in low range and do a brake torque. It is kind of surprising the way that old Munster Coach will take off. It will launch hard with very little wheel spin.

    Top speed when new was 110 MPH. It was about the only American car in 1951-52 that would top 100 in spite of what you may have been told.

    In January of 1951 a brand new New Yorker black sedan made 100.13 MPH on Daytona Beach, the only car to break 100 on the beach since the prewar supercharged Cord sedan. No other car went 100 that year.
     
  9. Rusty O'Toole
    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 9,297

    Rusty O'Toole
    Member

    The Fluid Torque Drive models had a different shifter, more like an automatic quadrant. You have to lift the lever toward you to get it to go into all the gears.
     
  10. plym_46
    Joined: Sep 8, 2005
    Posts: 3,997

    plym_46
    Member
    from central NY

    Go to the All Par site and search M4 or M6 transmission. The Fluid drive is not the transmission. The transmission was known by different names through out the MOPAR line, except for Plymouth which didn't get the fluid transfer till 53/4 withthe Hy drive option, but it was different from the Semi auto. Gyro matic in Dodge, Tip toe in DeSoto, Prestomatic at Chrysler.

    http://www.allpar.com/mopar/m6.html

    Then gor to the Imperialclub website and int he repair sectio there is a technicians trouble shooting pamphlet you can page through.
     
  11. garallard
    Joined: Jul 22, 2006
    Posts: 4

    garallard
    Member

    fluid drive shows only 2 gear placements...using stick pattern h....start in 2nd...from neutral that is ftoward front and up....release clutch and go....shift to third....straight down on stick...gearshifts are done by letting up on gas and then gas down again after shift.....clutch in when stopping...reverse go back to neutral center and then pull stck toward your chest and up to reverse...shop manual says it has 4 speeds forward on my 53 desoto
     
  12. Hnstray
    Joined: Aug 23, 2009
    Posts: 11,583

    Hnstray
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Quincy, IL

    Lot of good information in this thread....but also some errors, mostly in terminology. A Fluid Drive (Mopars market name) is a 3 speed manual transmission, no self shifting capability, mounted behind a fluid coupling and a manual clutch. It can be put into any forward gear by depressing the clutch, and releasing the clutch, while standing still. To proceed, you merely step on the gas pedal. If you started in 1st or 2nd you will need to manually shift to 3rd. Starting in 3rd is sluggish, but works.

    The Gyromatic and other market names for the M6 transmission is a different gearbox. As has been stated and explained, it has four forward speeds and the explanation above is correct.

    Not all Mopar semi-automatics used a torque converter, many/most were fluid coupling (no torque multiplication) but that changed a few years before the introduction of the Powerflite.

    The terminology is important when you are researching shop manuals so that you reference the correct information for your specific vehicle's tranny.

    Ray
     
  13. Rusty O'Toole
    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 9,297

    Rusty O'Toole
    Member

    "Fluid Drive" is the name of the fluid coupling between engine and trans. The fluid drive unit was sold with various transmissions, straight 3 speed manual shift, 4 speed vacuum shift and 4 speed hydraulic shift.

    "Fluid Torque Drive" was their name for a torque converter. It was sold in 51 52 and 53 and was always used with the M6 4 speed hydraulic shift trans.

    Some Dodges and cheap DeSotos and Chryslers were sold with Fluid Drive and 3 speed manual in the late 40s. Also the Hydrive on 1953 and 54 Plymouths was the same idea, a 3 speed manual trans with a torque converter.

    Most 40s - early 50s DeSoto and Chrysler, 6 or 8, came with Fluid Drive and M6 self shifting 4 speed trans.

    Note: The 4 speed trans had 2 ranges, selected by the gear shift lever, and 2 speeds in each range, automatically shifted.

    The "Fluid Drive" unit works the same as the fluid coupling in the early GM Hydramatic trans. This type of coupling was used in most of the early automatics, the torque converter was not invented yet.

    The first torque converter transmissions came along around 1950. They include the Buick Dynaflow, Chev Powerglide and Packard Ultramatic. These were all 2 speeds.

    Chrysler offered a torque converter as an option, then switched to the full torque converter and planetary gear trans, like Powerglide or Dynaflow, in 1954. This was the 2 speed Powerflite trans.

    You can go crazy trying to figure out the welter of transmission used by Chrysler corporation between 1939 and 1954. But this is the general idea.

    Whatever version you have they are well made and reliable once you learn how they work. Usually if they go wrong it is something very easy and cheap to fix, like fill up with the right oil or fix a broken wire or dirty electrical contact.
     
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2011
  14. R Pope
    Joined: Jan 23, 2006
    Posts: 3,309

    R Pope
    Member

    A few points of interest....The fluid coupling setups had their own, self-contained oil supply. The torque converter ones used engine oil pumped through passages in the bellhousing(!) and required a bloody barrel full of oil when change time came around!
     
  15. If a '51 is like a '53 it is a 3 speed. Normally one took off in Dr, got up to speed & let off of the gas & it would shift to 3d automatically. If one wanted to take off with a little more zest you could put it in Lo and when up to speed shift the lever to Dr & proceed normally. My Dad had a '53 New Yorker 2 dr. & I raced it all over my town. If you launched in Lo you could stab the clutch just before the valves floated (probably about 4K) & it would shift into second. Wind it up in 2nd then pull the lever into Dr & you was gone. It worked really good & a hydramatic Olds couldn't run with it. It launched like crazy in Lo & the transmission was tough as hell. I was never able to tear it up & my Dad used to tell me I could tear up a 2' piece of rail road track.....
     
  16. Hnstray
    Joined: Aug 23, 2009
    Posts: 11,583

    Hnstray
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Quincy, IL

    I'm betting it was a 4 speed............you may have bypassed 3rd given the way you describe operating it......when you manually shifted from 2nd (Lo position) to Hi the speed attained may have caused the trans to enter 4th, not 3rd. Back in the day (early '60's) I had a '51 New Yorker 4 dr and later a '53 New Yorker Coupe, both with 331 hemi's and the M6 trans.

    I also had a '49 Chrysler with Fluid Drive that I converted to manual shift with parts from a '54 Dodge 6 stick. And finally, a good friend had a '53 Plymouth Convertible with Hy Drive. I pulled that setup and installed a '55 Dodge 270 Hemi and stick shift for him, later buying the car from him. Ahhh, the good old days!

    Ray
     
  17. Rusty O'Toole
    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 9,297

    Rusty O'Toole
    Member

    A Chrysler with Fluid Drive would outdrag a similar Chrysler with a Powerflite automatic.

    Fluid Torque drive was even faster.

    It is true the Fluid Drive was a self contained unit with no outside oil supply. The Fluid Torque torque converter needed an outside oil supply, in some cars they used the engine oil and in others they had a separate oil pan like an automatic.

    I have had both. A 52 New Yorker with Fluid Torque drive would surprise you the way it took off. The six cylinder Fluid Drive cars, not so much.

    It is also possible to drain off part of the oil from a Fluid Drive unit for better performance. This has the same effect as a high stall torque converter. Using thinner oil will also reduce friction and make it more efficient. But at this stage of the game it is a little late to worry about performance Fluid Drives. These days there are lots better performance transmissions.
     
  18. straycat60
    Joined: Sep 25, 2008
    Posts: 106

    straycat60
    Member

    i have a stock 51 dodge meadowbrook, that i want to convert to 12 volt. i have done this several times on these cars, but never with the stock drivetrain. do i need to install some sort of voltage drop for the trans controls? any help would be appreciated. thanks, mike
     
  19. Rusty O'Toole
    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 9,297

    Rusty O'Toole
    Member

    Why do you want to change to 12V? It is a lot easier to leave it 6V and fix whatever is wrong. There is nothing to gain by going to 12V. It will start and run fine on 6V.

    To answer your original question, YES you need a source of 6V power to run the 6V stuff, a center tap on the battery or some kind of voltage reducer.
     
  20. jimvette59
    Joined: Apr 28, 2008
    Posts: 823

    jimvette59
    Member

    I agree with Old Don check the wiring.
     
  21. fifty5rod
    Joined: Feb 12, 2011
    Posts: 185

    fifty5rod
    Member
    from El Paso TX

    I have a Fluid drive myself....still not convinced on keeping it..what would anyone recommend to swap out and be a Bolt-on to the Spitfire's engine it has currently????

    Posted using the Full Custom H.A.M.B. App!
     
  22. George
    Joined: Jan 1, 2005
    Posts: 7,285

    George
    Member

    Quality Engineered Components, 73RR here on the Board, makes adaptors for modern trannys for the Mopar Flatties.
     
  23. d2_willys
    Joined: Sep 8, 2007
    Posts: 4,106

    d2_willys
    Member
    from Kansas

    You say that the Fluid Torque Drive would outperform the Powerflite (assuming hemi V8). Yes it should if you use Lo range for starting, but that 1-2 shift, along with the manual shift from Lo to Dr range would take some time, as with the Powerflite the shifts are automatic. Would be fun to race my 54 NYD against a 53 with FTD. I still think my car would win, as it has 55 more stock hp and more torque.
     
  24. fifty5rod
    Joined: Feb 12, 2011
    Posts: 185

    fifty5rod
    Member
    from El Paso TX

    Does anyone know what transmission i can bolt on to my spitfire 6 cyl engine that will automatically shift and i wont have to make a lot of modifications? I want it to shift on its own..can't get used to the fluid drive it has now..not shifting..revving too high..checked oil and wiring..looks good but not happy with it....

    Thanks!!
     
  25. d2_willys
    Joined: Sep 8, 2007
    Posts: 4,106

    d2_willys
    Member
    from Kansas

    Since this thing is electrically controlled via governor and idle switch on carb, it may be possible to make a simple circuit that would do what you want, but you have to remember that this thing is really a manual box with electrically controlled shift forks, and to shift at any speed other than at low rpms would probably destroy the synchros.

    Powerflite fully automatic will probably bolt up, if it has the same bell pattern as a Plymouth 230 six. Same goes for cast iron torqueflite.
     

Share This Page

Register now to get rid of these ads!

Archive

Copyright © 1995-2020 The Jalopy Journal: Steal our stuff, we'll kick your teeth in. Terms of Service. Privacy Policy.

Atomic Industry
Forum software by XenForo™ ©2010-2014 XenForo Ltd.