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Technical I bought a pile of Columbia stuff

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by alchemy, Sep 4, 2023.

  1. alchemy
    Joined: Sep 27, 2002
    Posts: 20,266

    alchemy
    Member

    I bought some old Ford banjo rearends today, and also a pile of Columbia stuff. The housings measure out to be a ‘40 and a ‘41. Now I need to bone up on these things to see if I have enough to put one together. I knew this was going to turn into a new rabbit hole to lose myself in…..

    Any of you Columbia experts have good exploded diagrams with names on the pieces so I can see if I have them all? Or any other instructional documents to guide a new obsession?
     
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  2. dlw1932
    Joined: May 19, 2018
    Posts: 483

    dlw1932
    Member
    from Nebraska

    Just painted this one today! Did final assembly on Friday. It’s a 37-40 style. It will be electrically actuated. It was a definite learning curve as there seems to be no walk-through literature or videos to rebuild. John Connelly at Columbia Two Speed Parts is a good resource!
    IMG_2963.jpeg IMG_0033.jpeg IMG_0222.jpeg IMG_0243.jpeg
     
  3. dwollam
    Joined: Oct 22, 2012
    Posts: 2,287

    dwollam
    Member

    I recently bought a '46-'48 Columbia from a friend that ran it in a '47 Convertible and removed it before he sold it. I plan to install a '40 driveshaft and tube and radius rods and run it in my '40 Sedan. It has electrics to run things too.

    Dave
     
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  4. brady1929
    Joined: Sep 30, 2006
    Posts: 9,231

    brady1929
    Member

    So, for someone who doesn't know, what is so special about them? What are the electronics for? Thanks.
     
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  5. oldolds
    Joined: Oct 18, 2010
    Posts: 3,400

    oldolds
    Member

    They are 2 speed rears. Originally they were vacuum operated, I believe. Electronics are an upgrade.
     
  6. brady1929
    Joined: Sep 30, 2006
    Posts: 9,231

    brady1929
    Member

    So you switch it to a different speed for the highway? I really don't know. Thanks.
     
  7. joel
    Joined: Oct 10, 2009
    Posts: 2,445

    joel
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Yes. I suspect you have to use the foot clutch to 'allow" the shift. With the vacuum canister you have to be rolling to shift out of overdrive and use the clutch.
    I'm sure you are aware the 46-48 columbia bell is wider than the stock '40 bell . You can have the Columbia bell narrowed to the '40 width.
     
    Deuces likes this.
  8. dirt car
    Joined: Jun 26, 2010
    Posts: 1,013

    dirt car
    Member
    from nebraska

    You already have some reliable sources lined up, also may try Tom Secora (Omaha) has one in his 'A' roadster may be of some help as well.
     
  9. theHIGHLANDER
    Joined: Jun 3, 2005
    Posts: 10,180

    theHIGHLANDER
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Auburn and other orphan car companies also used Columbia stuff. I only mention it for other info resources. LAter on I'll dig out my 10lb service book of all makes and see whats there for ya.
     
  10. rusty valley
    Joined: Oct 25, 2014
    Posts: 3,880

    rusty valley
    Member

    I have one in my avatar coupe. I made the linkage for a manual shift, I like it, but it does not change the speedo reading, you have to figure it out. John Connelly is great, but he doesn't speak english, only talks in part numbers so be sure to have the parts schematic in front of you before you call. At the suggestion of many, I used a 4.11 diff ratio, then the columbia drops it about a whole point to around 3 to 1. I have no tac, so I can't give you those numbers. Mine is a wide, late housing that I cut down to 40 size in my lathe, not a big deal really. Its nice to have that "highway " gear!
     
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  11. dlw1932
    Joined: May 19, 2018
    Posts: 483

    dlw1932
    Member
    from Nebraska

    Here’s some more photos. I didn’t take any of the internal planetary gears or synchro clutch. I designed a system to use a 12 volt linear actuator to shift instead of doing vacuum.
    IMG_7956.jpeg IMG_7957.jpeg IMG_7960.jpeg IMG_8411.jpeg IMG_8427.jpeg IMG_8430.jpeg IMG_2962.jpeg IMG_2965.jpeg IMG_0030.jpeg IMG_0040.jpeg IMG_0225.jpeg IMG_3112.jpeg
     
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  12. dlw1932
    Joined: May 19, 2018
    Posts: 483

    dlw1932
    Member
    from Nebraska

    IMG_0245.jpeg Also got this neat Columbia switch from John Connelly!
     
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  13. rusty valley
    Joined: Oct 25, 2014
    Posts: 3,880

    rusty valley
    Member

    Nice lookin parts you made !
     
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  14. alchemy
    Joined: Sep 27, 2002
    Posts: 20,266

    alchemy
    Member

    In clicking around the internet I've spotted some pics of modified assemblies where guys use levers and idlers to shift rather than the vacuum or an electric actuator. Any of you done that?

    I guess I need to disassemble my stuff a bit to check out the innards: the drum for cracks, the weld joints for splits, and any other spots you guys might recommend?

    Sounds like there is only one source (Connelly) for new parts, and maybe the best for the bulletproofing mods.
     
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  15. Here's a manual shifter Matt @IronTrap made.
     
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  16. Essentially yes. It's basically an Overdrive built into the rear axle instead of the transmission.
     
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  17. dlw1932
    Joined: May 19, 2018
    Posts: 483

    dlw1932
    Member
    from Nebraska

    One of the issues I see with doing a mechanical linkage is creating something that would allow for a good seal of the shifter opening. You’d almost need an enclosure with a seal similar to what I did for the electric actuator.
     
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  18. vtx1800
    Joined: Oct 4, 2009
    Posts: 1,692

    vtx1800
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    @alchemy this may not be the same as your Columbia units but I suspect in general it will be close. For what it is worth you can smell the old time carb cleaner that emanates from the pages:
     

    Attached Files:

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  19. studebakerjoe
    Joined: Jul 7, 2015
    Posts: 1,122

    studebakerjoe
    Member

    @dlw1932 Dave that actuator you made up looks an awful lot like the actuator on some truck 2 speed rear axles I've worked on.
     
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  20. alchemy
    Joined: Sep 27, 2002
    Posts: 20,266

    alchemy
    Member

    IMG_1268.jpeg

    This is the Columbia specific stuff. I did get the other axle tubes, and a variety of center sections and ring & pinions. Unfortunately not too many axle shafts.

    Everything has a lot of grunge, a bit of rust, and has obviously been taken apart for quite a while.

    Can anyone see anything I’m missing for a Columbia conversion? What’s the favorite R&P ratio to use with these?
     
  21. dwollam
    Joined: Oct 22, 2012
    Posts: 2,287

    dwollam
    Member

    Yes I am aware but thanks for the thought! I would be able to run my steel wheels and stock caps but not my slot mags.

    Dave
     
  22. dlw1932
    Joined: May 19, 2018
    Posts: 483

    dlw1932
    Member
    from Nebraska

    I must have been in the right train of thought when I designed it! I didn’t look to see if there were any big truck applications that would use a similar design.
     
  23. dlw1932
    Joined: May 19, 2018
    Posts: 483

    dlw1932
    Member
    from Nebraska

    Looks like you have everything Columbia specific that you would need. Obviously you’ll have to disassemble and inspect the parts to make sure they are usable. You’d then need to figure out what direction you’d want to go for controls. I talked to John Connelly about a month ago and he strongly recommended a 3.78 ring & pinion. That’s what I just put in the one I’m doing.
     
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  24. rusty valley
    Joined: Oct 25, 2014
    Posts: 3,880

    rusty valley
    Member

    Favorite R&P from the barn guys is 4.11, and they are not running 750's on the back, so do the math. My car, 4.11 with 750's seems rite. First thing to check in your pile is the condition of the planetary gear set, lots of rust would be bad. I had John C bullet proof mine, and after it came back I thought I could have done that at home. sorry, no pics, but I know you are a capable lad, try to get some pics and do it at home.
    My experience with 2spd rears was farm trucks where both electric and vacuum make a huge amount of unhappy grinding noise when they shift. Were they worn out? or was my technique bad? who knows, but I did not want that in my old ford so I made a manual shift so I was in control, and hopefully get good skills at shifting smooth.
    as it turns out, the columbia has a set of "shoes" I'll call them, that act like a brake to help the rpm's match for a smooth shift. They work quite well, and shifting mine requires no skill or special technique, it just works.
    Figure it like this, a vacuum unit, at idle, would be high vacuum, so instant shift. An electric solenoid would also be instant shift, and so is me shifting a lever. Real men have lots of shift levers in the cab, I'm an old trucker!
    So here's some pics of my set up. The box I made for the axle housing has a seal, and a stainless shaft sliding the shift fork. A crude box, but machined for a seal, and flattened on my big disk sander to seal at the housing.
    All the other pivot points are just a heavy wall bushing with a grease zerk. The shift lever is a cut off 36ish swan neck, in another heavy bushing, on home made bracket to the trans tower bolts. I have a lathe, but really if you had the rite size bushing and rod stock on hand you could do without.
    Here's some pics, you can do it. 7BCB5DBA-C2FA-42A0-B228-751D88FED837.jpeg F91622DF-6A45-48B7-8180-68AC500AC901.jpeg 3F7C1264-6370-4959-954C-9D6448D2447F.jpeg 2970C256-7252-458F-9766-4BB0AAD08E21.jpeg
     
  25. dlw1932
    Joined: May 19, 2018
    Posts: 483

    dlw1932
    Member
    from Nebraska

    Nice job!!!
     
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