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Technical 56 Lincoln tranny swap

Discussion in 'Traditional Customs' started by john W., Nov 30, 2020.

  1. john W.
    Joined: May 16, 2017
    Posts: 124

    john W.
    Member

    Hiya everyone!

    On my 56 Lincoln Premiere with the stock 368...
    It has the Ford-O-Matic tranny which doesn't start off in 1st gear, you have to manually select it.
    That engineer who thought that was a keen idea should have been fired. It's a slug.
    Ive heard that shifting to LO and then back to drive all the time wears out parts in the tranny. Or is that just for the Buick Dynaflow?

    If I were to replace it with a better Ford tranny, which would you all recommend?
    • A later Cruise-O-Matic?
    • A 1960's C-4 or C-6?
    • Or a modern 4-speed auto? If so, which one?

    IMG_0224.jpg

    Also, the 56 Ford power steering box on that car is notoriously bad. Its downright dangerous!
    Would a later Ford steering box work?

    Many thanks as usual!
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2020
  2. Reman
    Joined: Jul 8, 2010
    Posts: 344

    Reman
    Member
    from Florida

    What engine is in the car?
     
  3. jaracer
    Joined: Oct 4, 2008
    Posts: 1,221

    jaracer
    Member

    Shifting from low to drive results in a harsh 1-2 shift, but I don't think it really hurts much. Your 56 should do this automatically if you floor the throttle if the throttle linkage is working properly.

    The easiest swap would be an early Cruise-O-Matic before they added a vacuum modulator. I have one from a 59 T-Bird that is destined to replace the Ford-O-Matic in my 57 T-Bird.

    The original Ford-O-Matics did not have and overrunning clutch so the 1-2 shift was a band to band shift. That is, you had to release a band and apply another band at the same time. That always presents timing problems. The Cruise-O-Matic was a design upgrade that included a low gear overrunning clutch. That meant the overrunning clutch took the place of the low band in automatic low gear. Now you only have to apply the intermediate band to go from 1-2 and you get a nice smooth shift.
     
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  4. john W.
    Joined: May 16, 2017
    Posts: 124

    john W.
    Member

    Its a 368 motor.
    Thanks for the advice.
    The stock tranny is hopeless.
    Would a C-6 fit?
    Ford AOD?

    I have a 700R-4 in my back yard, would that work?
    If I put a newer tranny in with a modern torque converter it would give better performance.
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2020

  5. Pontmerc
    Joined: Jul 13, 2013
    Posts: 135

    Pontmerc
    Member
    from Finland

    I think good tuneup for engine would Be Vice move.
    I have a 368 and original single range transmission.and it starts just fine in second.
    As for swapping other trans, everything is doable, but as succested, 58-61 medium case dualrange is bolt-on.just add one vacuum hose and 62-65 cruiseomatic Will work.
     
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  7. vtx1800
    Joined: Oct 4, 2009
    Posts: 1,347

    vtx1800
    Member

    I believe (and if proven wrong that's OK) that that transmission was a Borg Warner, similar to the transmission used in Studebaker's and some had the second gear start like mentioned, it would take a different valve body to remedy the problem.
     
  8. Don't sell the Fordomatic short... It wasn't a bad trans in it's day. And a swap will lose one feature the later trans don't have, the ability to push-start the car if needed. Get it up to about 35 MPH, drop it into low and go. Pulling it into Lo manually during 'normal' driving won't hurt it.

    Your other options are limited. The '52-57 Lincoln Y-block used a unique bellhousing, unlike any other Ford bell so there's no later bolt-on transmissions. An adaptor for an late OD automatic is available but pricey; $1300 plus the trans. The closest factory fit is a FE bell, but this requires extensive machine work to fit to the 368.

    There is one lower-cost option that may be worth exploring. The Fordomatic, Cruisomatic, and FMX are all variations on the same basic three-speed trans, and all used a removable bellhousing and AFAIK the same trans-to-bell pattern. It may be possible to swap a later Cruisomatic or FMX to the 368 bell but you'll need to match input shaft lengths and torque convertors to the 368 flywheel. The FMX would be the desirable option as it has manual selection of all gears but is only a medium-duty trans so a heavy-duty rebuild would be recommended. Second choice would be a '58-65 Cruisomatic originally used behind a FE as that will be the stronger version.

    The original Fordomatic was licensed from the B-W design, initially with Ford building half and B-W the other half. Ford did some internal redesign resulting in an improved Fordomatic and the Cruisomatic, at which point B-W was out of it. Studebaker eventually switched to buying transmissions from Ford as it was a better design.
     
  9. 57JoeFoMoPar
    Joined: Sep 14, 2004
    Posts: 5,068

    57JoeFoMoPar
    Member

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  10. d2_willys
    Joined: Sep 8, 2007
    Posts: 4,180

    d2_willys
    Member
    from Kansas

    Another option is to get the old 4 speed hydramatic out of a 52-54 Lincoln. It should bolt right up to the 368, but will need the crankshaft drilled for a pilot bushing. Also the hydramatic flywheel may have to be balanced. The starter out of the 52-54 Lincolns are 6 Volts, but 12 Volts should be ok. Your 12 volt starter may have the correct bendix drive as far as gear count, if so then no changes there. Starter relay should be fine too. A couple of things left are the motor mounts, but that might be as simple as an adapter plate at the rear of the transmission. Speedo gear may need to be changed to allow correct readings.

    BTW: I am going to be doing a 368/hydramatic swap in my 1957 F-100. Lots of room to do this.
     
  11. john W.
    Joined: May 16, 2017
    Posts: 124

    john W.
    Member

    Thanks for the tips!
     
    lothiandon1940 likes this.
  12. Anybody know how difficult it would be to swap an FE engine with transmission to this Lincoln?
     
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  13. 57JoeFoMoPar
    Joined: Sep 14, 2004
    Posts: 5,068

    57JoeFoMoPar
    Member

    I can't say for sure in that department, though it would appear that the Ford/Mercury and Lincoln Y blocks have mounts in similar locations (about midway on the sides of the block). Swapping to an FE doesn't fix the OP's issue though since transmissions options for the FE are just as shitty as they are for the Y block. It's not like you're talking about swapping a Windsor where the AOD bolts right up to it or a SBC/BBC with any Chevy transmission.
     
  14. As to the steering box, you're probably on your own for that. Lincolns used a lot of parts that weren't used on other Ford cars. Borgeson makes a conversion power box for most '50s/60s Ford/Mercury cars but it's not listed for Lincoln, but may be possible to fit with some additional work. I'd contact Borgeson about this. This will require modifying the steering column or replacing it. One issue will be the loss of the horn wiring as Ford ran that inside the hollow steering shaft, a practice they abandoned in '58.

    Another issue will be if the Lincoln uses linkage-assist power steering (which Ford loved in the '50s/60s). The power boxes use manual-steering linkage (was that even available for your Lincoln?), so some major re-work will probably be needed to change over.
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2020
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  15. Beanscoot
    Joined: May 14, 2008
    Posts: 2,112

    Beanscoot
    Member

    Well a C6 is a pretty good transmission, although it doesn't have overdrive. I bet that Lincoln has pretty numerically low gears anyhow.
     
    john W. likes this.
  16. The problem with the C6 is it has twice or more internal drag as any other Ford automatic. They're a real mileage-killer, which is why all those big-block Fords and automatic-trans-equipped trucks got such lousy fuel economy. If it's brute strength you're after, the C6 should be your first choice, last for mileage.
     
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  17. Bird man
    Joined: Dec 28, 2009
    Posts: 696

    Bird man
    Member
    from Milwaukee

    With Studes, the Valve body can be changed to a 1st gear start , maybe the Lincoln is the same way?
    The rear end gear my also contribute to your sluggish takeoffs... Any idea what you have?
     
  18. john W.
    Joined: May 16, 2017
    Posts: 124

    john W.
    Member

    Premiere-ad.jpg

    The car is all stock. Frame on resto in 1998. (Not by me).
    My rear end is a 3:07.
    Lincoln's idea was like Caddy's, start off in 2nd with a cruise rear ratio for a smooooooooth luxury glide from a standstill. Not the best combo for modern day traffic, but it was the bees knees back then for the top hat and long white glove set. It has good torque.


    Has factory dual exhaust thru bumper.
    I put an old style high perf hat & KN on her.
    4550 lbs.
    9:1 compression.
    Aftermarket AC.
    Gross advertised factory rating was: 275 bhp, 401 T.
    So, using a 15% drop for conversion...
    This rig makes about 235 bhp and 340 ft. lbs. SAE net, so maybe a C-4 has less drag and would be better?

    Im really chewing on adding one of those 1966 Shelby Mustang ball bearing blowers. So thats an idea. 5 lbs of boost only.
    Really appreciate the help here everyone, thanks.
    No, I cant leave anything stock and just good enough. Believe me, I've tried.
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2020
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  19. lothiandon1940 likes this.
  20. Yeah, I'm the same way... can't leave well enough alone... LOLOL...

    Rather than spend $$$$ on a blower and risk killing the OEM drivetrain, I'd give some thought to a 408" Windsor stroker with a beefed AOD, and drop the rear axle ratio to about 3.50. Probably be more money in the short term, but you'd have all 'available' parts and if built right little worry about longevity. It's tough to get 4000+ lbs moving....

    The Fordomatics/Cruisomatics/FMX are only good for about 300HP, more than that will usually kill them. Ford never offered an automatic behind any of their performance engines over 300HP until the C6 came along because they knew they wouldn't take the power.
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2020
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  21. 57JoeFoMoPar
    Joined: Sep 14, 2004
    Posts: 5,068

    57JoeFoMoPar
    Member

    An even then you'd need a 5 bolt bellhousing for FE. Not uncommon but also not a more modern trans.
     
  22. miker98038
    Joined: Jan 24, 2011
    Posts: 652

    miker98038
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I've run the old ball bearing McCulloch/Paxton blowers. Even ran one on a 9:1 stroker Y block. The problem is with belts/pulleys for 5lbs you probably won't see much boost till 3000 rpm or so. I don't have a clue about the chamber design on the Lincoln's, but I had a couple degrees retard cranked in under boost at 3000 rpm.

    You might get an earlier VS series (instead of the SN, or short nose) and figure out a way to run the boost up at low rpm and shift to less boost when the pressure comes up. But either way, it's not going to do much for getting rolling in second gear.
     
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  23. junkyardjeff
    Joined: Jul 23, 2005
    Posts: 8,062

    junkyardjeff
    Member

    I am getting all the parts to put a 62 COM behind a 272 Ford Y block,to have a normal shift pattern I will be using a late 60s FMX valvebody. The 62 COM bolts to the original bellhousing and in my case will have to use a 62 flywheel but on your Lincoln you might be able to use the original flywheel or have it redrilled for a different converter bolt pattern.
     
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  24. jaracer
    Joined: Oct 4, 2008
    Posts: 1,221

    jaracer
    Member

    My 57 T-Bird has a Ford-O-Matic with 245 HP and 332 ft-lb of torque and a 3.15 rear gear. I know it's lighter than your Lincoln, but it still scales in at 3000 lb. It has no problem moving with traffic from a stop light with a 2nd gear start. It will squall the tires if I punch it and it drops to low gear. How doggy is it? Could be the stator clutch in the torque convertor is slipping. That will make for real pitiful low speed acceleration.

    If you decide to go with the early Cruise-O-Matic, you need to have someone check and see that the lower case center support bolt isn't broken or loose. They have a tendency to break the case at the center support. I always suspected this happened with a loose low/reverse band and high cold idle speed causing a harsh reverse engagement. The center support bolt also attaches the low/reverse servo. As for the C4, it really isn't a heavy duty trans and wasn't used in large FOMOCO cars.
     
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  25. john W.
    Joined: May 16, 2017
    Posts: 124

    john W.
    Member

    Im shelving the blower idea.

    As far as the Cruise-O-Matic goes, I have 2 of them in my 59 Lincoln Connie and my 61 Connie. Both are smooth performers and have the "Bulldozer" 430 MEL engines. So they are torque monsters bar none as far as a lux-o barge goes. I think thats my best bet. Its close to being gennie too.

    The only issue I see is that the COM tranny has an D-1 and D-2 setting that lets you shift from 2nd gear in snow in D2. I want to keep the original gear selector indicator. Would just using the original Drive setting work?
    I do not want to replace the steering column or anything in the cabin.

    LP.jpeg

    Ill try having the steering box rebuilt with 57 parts. Keep it stock.
     
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  26. 57JoeFoMoPar
    Joined: Sep 14, 2004
    Posts: 5,068

    57JoeFoMoPar
    Member

    You could just as easily leave the column and indicators alone and just feel for the gears with the detents in the transmission. I, as well as hundreds of us here I'm sure, have logged thousands of miles with basic "universal shifters" like a Hurst Indy-matic, Mr. Gasket or the like with no gear indicators whatsoever.

    As far as getting your steering box rebuilt, Lares offers a return and rebuild service that is incredibly reasonable with a fast turn-around time. It might be worth reaching out to them to see if they could do your box. If you do choose to go through them, make sure you order the rebuild through Rock Auto and it will save you a pile of money. It's cheaper to go through Rock Auto than the supplier directly.
     
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  27. jaracer
    Joined: Oct 4, 2008
    Posts: 1,221

    jaracer
    Member

    It will work, but you won't be able to select manual low gear unless you do some modifications to the shift linkage. If I remember right the D position on your column will give you D2 and the L position will give you D1.
     
  28. miker98038
    Joined: Jan 24, 2011
    Posts: 652

    miker98038
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    IIRC, jimmysix here did the Fordo to com conversion on a 56 Ford and got the column shift set up to work. Might have been over at yblocksforever that he did the write up. Might be worth a pm to him for his info.
     
  29. junkyardjeff
    Joined: Jul 23, 2005
    Posts: 8,062

    junkyardjeff
    Member

    The original column should work just fine,I presently have a C-4 in my 55 that only has D and L but I can get all three with it and no modifications to the column.
     
  30. Yep, I did a 351W and FMX swap into a '56 sedan I used to own, the stock column worked. I did have to modify the lever at the trans to get the proper travel (a hand-made bolt-on bracket) so that the neutral safety switch worked right and the indicator showed reasonably accurate, but not a big deal.

    And I'm pretty sure I saw somewhere that the '56 Lincoln and Mercury steering columns share some parts with the '58-60 T-Birds, it may be possible to convert your column to the D2/D1/L detents. They are reproducing the T-Bird bits.
     

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