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Technical FED guys, anyone run 3 speed trans

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by dragdoc, Feb 19, 2016.

  1. So I just acquired a roller FED, it was set up for a blown flathead and C4 trans. Only ran 10.90 as such, low power car did fine with the steep first gear (2.46:1). I am going to run a more potent motor, on the order of 500 hp. Usually powerglide are used to take advantage of the easy first gear (1.7-1.8ish) giving the car more of a "push" and a controlled launch. I can't get a glide in the car, trust me it just won't fit. So I am stuck with the C4 but worried the steep first gear would be way to violent of a launch, and while a C4 with a 2.20 first gear is available it still seems like too much. Is it? Anyone else using a 3 speed in an FED or altered?
  2. RICK R 44
    Joined: Dec 13, 2009
    Posts: 462

    RICK R 44

    Am about to install a G M th-180 3 speed auto in my 4 cylinder(Fiat 1600 cc) dragster. This is set up for 1/8 mile drags. With 24 inch tall tires and 4.11 rear, I should be at about 6000 rpm at 70 mph in 2nd gear. This is all theory, so don't know what will happen. 1st is 2.40 but I only have about 100 hp. When we ran flathead and cyl altereds back in the 60's, we ran 2nd and 3rd gears in three speed stick.
  3. dreracecar
    Joined: Aug 27, 2009
    Posts: 3,258

    from so-cal

    If you are going to run below 10 sec. the frame will have to pass a chassis cert if you plan to run any type of organized event. Whats the bellhousing pattern? a few companys offer a seperate Ford BH that bolts to a glide pump housing after you remove the stock one and then just shorten up the glide. To answer the question, dont know many racers that run a C4
  4. Atwater Mike
    Joined: May 31, 2002
    Posts: 10,800

    Atwater Mike

    Some research may be necessary...In the Ford drag racing scene, (doorslammers) some 9 sec machines are using C4s behind the popular 512 (460 stroked) in some HEAVY bodies.
    C4s are unique in that they can be retried with truck clutch packs without machining the case!
    Worth it to peer over the portals at the serious Blue Oval guys...the little C4 is seeing serious action!
    My son is a dye-in-the-wool Blue Oval guy...sends me info that is truly 'eye-opening'!
    C4 suddenly reminded me of Tommy Groves (Melrose Missile) and the Art Carr work with the 'doubtful' 727 at the time!

  5. I'm not questioning the strength at all. It's about torque multiplication and such, regarding how the car will react. WAY different when talking about most full body cars, which need a deeper gear to get going. When the power to weight ratio gets to a certain point, the "lazier" tall first gear is favorable to control the launch i.e. not get violent.

    Again, no glide, it won't fit in the footwell. It's not an engine adapter issue!
  6. rd martin
    Joined: Nov 14, 2006
    Posts: 2,463

    rd martin
    from indiana

    i am putting a copy of an early fed together, sbc with a shorty glide, car is 98 inch w.b. shorty glide fits fine.
  7. Good for you! Wish the porky glide fit mine. I have 12 inches between brake and throttle pedals, glide is like 16" wide in the pan area. Shorty or with tail, the glide won't work for me.

    Rather than show n tell, does anyone have any real thoughts on the gearing matter?​
  8. I've considered mimicking a glide by only using 1st and 2nd gear (2.46 and 1.46:1) of the trans with a tall rear end ratio (3.00:1) so I complete a quarter mile at 6500rpms I think the only disadvantage is a small ring to pinion contact of a tall gearset.

    For reference, many eighth mile door cars never use 3rd gear in a three speed so that's not an issue.
    Joined: Jun 6, 2007
    Posts: 4,181


    My friends altered roadster (similar to my avatar altered) now uses a 3-speed auto in place of their PG. It runs 7.6s with about 650 hp or so. Of course, the biggest difference between theirs (aside from the additional 150 hp) is they have a 4-link rear suspension.

    I think you can get the 3-speed to work. You can always over tire the beast, as do most bracket racers like myself.
    loudbang likes this.
  10. Thanks Frenchy, good to know. Very interesting that they went to three speed from a glide.
  11. 56sedandelivery
    Joined: Nov 21, 2006
    Posts: 6,695

    Member Emeritus

    Years ago, there was a shorty FED, powered by a 289/C-4 trans combo; seems to me was a low 10/high 9 second car. Used to race at what was then still called Seattle International Raceway;; now it's Pacific Raceways as it was originally called when built in 59. And, there was another similar FED with a 289 and FOUR SPEED MANUAL trans. Sounds like you don't want to move your current accelerator/brake pedals? The "body" of the Ford trans is narrower than a Glide. My old FED had originally been a hand brake/disc brake-Pont rear end car. I rebuilt it to fit me, the Glide, the foot brake and accelerator pedals, and the shifter was mounted to the rear end housing. Tight for sure, especially with the trans-blanket. There used to be an adapter/modified output shaft to shorten the C-4 trans, it may still be available? Back in the Nostalgia race days locally, there was also a flathead powered RED with the TWO SPEED Ford auto-trans; first and only time I've seen that combo. I guess any converter company could make a converter for it, and the trans is close to a Glide in looks/mechanical function. So, use your C-4, but I'm not sure how long one will last at 500 HP, unless it has been seriously modified. I am Butch/56sedandelivery.
  12. C4s are regularly used behind some really healthy race motors in heavy door cars. No question about that.

    I'm just concerned that a deeper first gear will blow the tires off the rims, send me skyward, etc. Bad manners off the line.
  13. oldolds
    Joined: Oct 18, 2010
    Posts: 3,299


    Tires, size and air pressure are ways to work around that. Changes to the converter are also part of the plan. Also some seat of the pants driving skills. All have their own costs involved. Some money, some take time.
  14. I'm not familiar with C4 transmissions,but could you run 2nd and high only? A low RPM Torque Converter would push the power band down,thus not hitting the tires so hard.
  15. That is certainly possible. 2nd gear is 1.46:1 though, a fair bit taller than the powerglide's 1.76 or 1.82 1st gear.

    Need big block grunt for that!
  16. I see your point on the gearing. Maybe a 2500-300 RPM converter and all three gears. We tried that with a short wheelbase Altered.Had a 5200 stall in it first, Wheel stands like crazy. Spectators liked it but we weren't winning rounds. Tried a 300 stall Success! It still lifted the front end but came back down quickly so I could steer. The E.T's dropped from 9:50's to 9:70's but got down the track at full throttle at lot more.
  17. yep 500 ponies should get you way below 10 sec and require chassis cert..............make sure it certs before spending a bunch on it...........................
  18. Kosman
    Joined: Oct 6, 2015
    Posts: 12


    You need a long one wheeled wheelie bar. try leaving the front of the engine float on the frame. I just made the front plate hook over the tube. The rear plate on mine was bolted in all four corners. it did have a glide though 6200 stall 4.33 gear 355 injected chevy16x32 goodyears 8.34@172 was my best. if I bolted the front the car would launch left right you didn't know, if it was loose always went straight again this was my car and not yours the 90" wheelie bar helped with the violent launch too, also and im sure you know this but jack the car up and measure around the tires at pressure. I found that circumference was more important than pressure on launch usually had a pound difference in them to make them the same. you can usually stretch a slick a little too by pumping it up a little 15-20 psi and sitting it in the sun to get them both the same at the same psi in my opinion the c4 should be fine in low just work on your chassis, a lot of times its just something little making it violent. just remember how nuts everyone thought Don Garlits was to build a rear engine car and it took him a bit but finely figured out the steering ratio was wrong to fast for a R.E.D. he fixed that and changed the world of racing
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2016
  19. lippy
    Joined: Sep 27, 2006
    Posts: 6,110

    from Ks

    How about a glide clutch and a two speed lenco? Then you could adj the clutch to the track poof, no tranny fluid, no convertor, no problems would last forever. Lippy
  20. Kosman
    Joined: Oct 6, 2015
    Posts: 12


    I like your idea the best
  21. dreracecar
    Joined: Aug 27, 2009
    Posts: 3,258

    from so-cal

    And only about $6000
  22. 4thhorseman
    Joined: Feb 14, 2014
    Posts: 261

    from SW Desert

    dragdoc... One of the hot ticket tranny combos right now is a setup th400 that can t-brake in first or second gear. Its setup to be able to launch in either. Called a "turbo glide". I've also heard of C6's that are setup this way. Perhaps your C4 could be as well. Just a thought. I know it requires an HD sprag among other mods. One of the C6's I have a t brake in has an EOD4 gear set in it, lowering the 1st and 2nd gearing of the tranny.

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