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Technical Zephyr gears, once and for all

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by theHIGHLANDER, May 14, 2017.

  1. theHIGHLANDER
    Joined: Jun 3, 2005
    Posts: 8,063

    theHIGHLANDER
    Member

    Well maybe once and for all. Yes I did a search and got a phone book of misc info and opinion but nothing technical. I know the classic 4.11 gear and Zephyr combo was nice for a long wind up in lower gears. I'm not sure how much better or worse a pretty stock 59A will behave with 3.78s and Zephyr gears. The tires are 7.00s, and I'm not sure it's worth the effort if I can shag a trans at a good price. Then there's the year thing. What Zephyrs had the better/desireable gears? Any difference from Ford stuff? Specific years to look for/avoid? Surely this is a common and popular swap but I've simply never done it. Before I cover up the trans and such now would be the time in my 39 Std. Thanks in advance.
     
  2. hotcoupe
    Joined: Oct 3, 2007
    Posts: 486

    hotcoupe
    Member

    Have you reviewed Rumbelseat's notes on Zephyr gears, first hand experience. I'm using 26 tooth with a 3:78 R&P w/Columbia in a light weight roadster with a full house 276 C.I. I did the math a few years ago, and on paper it seemed like a workable solution.

    Tom
     
  3. I had a set of 26 tooth zephyr gears in my 49 f-1. The only reason I used them was because I grenaded the trans in it and had a zephyr transmission to get them from. They were easy to install I just went to the interweb for the information to do it. I did find even with a 3:73 gear it was a little harder to start off in first. Like stated above probably would work good in a lighter car.
     
  4. I had 26 tooth LZ gears (the reproduction ones) and a 3.78 rear gear with a 59A with single 97 carb and factory heads in my 41 Super Deluxe - cause that's what my Grandpa had.
    The combination was nice (once you got off the line and about 5-7 mph) / getting off the line was not fun, winding out in 1-2 was nice.

    I upgraded to twin 97s and high compression heads and off line was a little better - but still under whelming and I did not like slipping the clutch - figured why abuse the clutch just to have LZ gears and a slow offline..

    I switched to the factory gear set and happy as a clam! Honestly I really dig the LZ's long gears and winding out - just not enough to have that slow off line experience.
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2017

  5. Mac VanPelt knows his stuff on this subject. When I sent my 40 trans (for my 32) to him for rebuild, I thought for sure I'd be using a set of LZ gears. After discussing it with him, we used standard.
    Maybe Mac will chime in.....?
     
  6. ol-nobull
    Joined: Oct 16, 2013
    Posts: 1,510

    ol-nobull
    Member

    Hi. No expert on this but back around 1956 I had a 39 Ford Coupe with a 265 Chevy V8 with stock Ford 3 of the floor car transmission and a Columbia rear end that was stuck in low range at 444 ratio. Columbia would not shift & I did not fix it as the 444 would jump off the line quite well.
    I kept blowing gears in the stock transmission and went down to the local Lincoln Mercury parts Department and talked to the guys there and they had no Zephyr gears for me but told me that if I went over to the Ford dealer and got the 46 Ford pickup gears I would not have any more problems. I did that and never blew another transmission on that car. Worked great for me. I have no clue to the # of teeth, etc. but is definitely solved my problem.
    Jimmie
     
    micamountain likes this.
  7. Mac VP
    Joined: May 13, 2014
    Posts: 328

    Mac VP
    Member

    I think you've received some good suggestions here. Some things to know.....first of all you need to be aware that the LZ gears are NOT tougher. They are not unbreakable. They were made from the same steel forgings as the regular Ford gears. What you get when you choose to LZ gears is a different ratio for 1st and 2nd gear.....a higher ratio that gives up the take off pull, in favor of the ability to wind out those gears further.

    You have to consider other factors when deciding if LZ gears are good for your vehicle. In general, a light car with 3.78 or 4.11 rear end gears will do okay, but as stated above, you will have to slip the clutch more to get the car moving.

    We find that in today's typical driving, more guys want to cruise at highway speeds without their engine screaming back at them. So, to save the engine and some gas, they'll change the rear engine gears out to the optional 3.54 ratio. Since this is a high ratio, you would give up that first gear take-off everyone wants. Putting LZ gears in the transmission only aggravates the problem. In this scenario we recommend using the gearset often called the "truck" gears which includes the 15 tooth main drive gear and the 29 tooth cluster gear. This brings back the zing for take off but you have the benefit of better gas mileage and engine life when cruising at 65 mph.

    The 15/29 gear combination swaps right in when you're working with any 40-50 Ford three speed gearset using the late style synchro assembly. If any of this is unclear just ask the question.

    As for the different LZ gears, there were two possibilities. The most common version has an 18 tooth main drive gear running against a 26 tooth cluster gear. The more rare LZ set used a 19 tooth drive gear against a 25 tooth cluster. The 18/26 set is the type that was repopped. The only 19/25 set has not been in production for many moons so finding an original set is going to take time and cost you dearly. In either case, both LZ gearsets use the same LZ 24 tooth second gear. The repop versions are questionable. We've had some work out and too many that didn't.
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2017
  8. AVater
    Joined: Dec 9, 2008
    Posts: 2,330

    AVater
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    1. Connecticut HAMB'ers

    ^^^That's what I did in my '35 pickup (3.54 and Truck gears) and seems to be a reasonable compromise.
     
  9. cool thread guys !
     
  10. trad27
    Joined: Apr 22, 2009
    Posts: 1,108

    trad27
    Member

    Good info, let's keep it going. Thinking about the LZ gears in my roadster but wondering if it justifies the cost
     
  11. too many fords
    Joined: Jul 1, 2015
    Posts: 98

    too many fords
    Member
    from Las Vegas

    I have a 39 trans "rebuilt" with unknown gears, easiest way to find out whats in it?
     
  12. Put the trans in first gear and turn the input shaft to see how many full then partial revolutions it makes to one revolution of the output shaft then post it here for further answering. That's assuming it isn't installed which is how it seems to read.
     
  13. too many fords
    Joined: Jul 1, 2015
    Posts: 98

    too many fords
    Member
    from Las Vegas

    It's installed to a roller chassis, no engine but it is connected to a torque tube and rear end
     
  14. Then some math will be required. Do you know your gear ratio out back ? Better yet since I have no idea what you have for a rear. Is it a quick change ? If yes, remove the rear cover and follow previous instructions by using the input of the quick change in place of the trans output.
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2017
    too many fords likes this.
  15. Bruce Lancaster
    Joined: Oct 9, 2001
    Posts: 21,682

    Bruce Lancaster
    Member Emeritus

    Lincoln generally used those 25 and 26 tooth gears with a 4.44 rear and a .7 (approximately) overdrive. That sort of combo fixes all the problems and gives the flathead what it needs...good off the line gearing AND a good high speed cruise gear.
    The high first and reverse achieve 2 things...with the 4.44 they have plenty low speed gear, and they achieve a close ratio stack. 28 or 29 toothers would have been tractor-like with the 4.44 and the forced early shifts would have given big gaps in the gear spread.


    "I have a 39 trans "rebuilt" with unknown gears, easiest way to find out whats in it?"
    Pretty easy: Pull the lid and count the teeth on the front top input gear, as the gear on the cluster you want to count is effectively invisible once in the transmission. On all the '38-48 stuff tooth count on top plus tooth count on bottom equals 44. 10 minutes and a couple drops of 90 weight on the rug.

    More quicky ID stuff:

    https://www.jalopyjournal.com/forum/threads/39-ford-transmission-prices.91515/
     
    too many fords and Johnny Gee like this.
  16. theHIGHLANDER
    Joined: Jun 3, 2005
    Posts: 8,063

    theHIGHLANDER
    Member

    This becoming the exact reason for the post. You folks rule. Mine is a tall tire 3.78 stock 59A combination. To the best of my knowledge the trans is a stock 39 as well. I considered some changes because everything's open and in view. Once I close it up and install the full interior it'd be a long time before I revisit that part of it. I have no plans to build a fire breathing flathead for it. All I want is some driving comfort and style points in the way of stance and wheel/tire, interior, all the while maintaining the supurb original finish. One of my associates brought up the LZ idea so I started looking, thinking about it, might even have a line toward a couple LZ transmissions to dig into. I also considered O/D but that too seems like a rather large mechanical and fab undertaking at this point in the build. Trans? No biggie, but O/D seems huge right now. If I just have to have more HP in the future I freely admit I'm just going to upset a few folks and do the 'bolt in' SBC with an adapter to work with the 39 trans. Running a shop daily makes time a luxury. Thank you for the luxury of information on this topic. Very helpful.
     
  17. Thats what Ive got in my 32 Cab, but a 283 mounted to a 39 side shift.. Now I know 283's like revs, but the car runs along just fine at 80-85 without overdrive.
     
    theHIGHLANDER likes this.
  18. boo
    Joined: Jul 6, 2005
    Posts: 549

    boo
    Member
    from stuart,fl.

    1974 i bought 7 sets of lz gears 5/26th, 2/25th $65 set. sold 3 kept 4. used them all, favorite combo is light rdst pu w/,warm 53 merc eng ,26th trans 4.44 rr w/columbia OD,7:00x16 tires, can cruise 35 in hi gr, or speed. 27-T im finishing in a week ,warm 59ab w/ stock 48grs, 4.11 rr w/columbia OD, 7:50 16 tirs....looks good on paper, will find out soon.....1st set, 34 2dr 59ab, 26th ,3.78 rr w/columbia, a dog..2nd set 40 cpe 59ab warm, 25th, 4.44rr w/columbia OD, good...3rd set ,32 3wdo 59ab, 25th, halabrad QC good. tire size and rear make a BIG difference, i'm a big OD fan, best of both worlds.....
     
  19. Bruce Lancaster
    Joined: Oct 9, 2001
    Posts: 21,682

    Bruce Lancaster
    Member Emeritus

    One modern shortcut to happy LZ use has come along, the Mitchell overdrive. I comes built into a complete new torque tube and so is a bolt-in. I have no personal experience, but lots of people like it. Expensive but less so than a Columbia and without the constant dread, no fabricating like hacking up crossmember and torque tube for a Lincoln OD or a torque-tube T5, no need for cobbled suspension locators like an open drive T5. Boo's post contains all the info on gearing!
     
  20. I have a 32 five window highboy with a 48 Merc circle track motor 3 &7/8" with weber cam w/ 2-97's 3:78 gears in the rear. I am getting ready to rebuild the trans and was considering 26 tooth LZ gears. Now not sure! Do not want to create an issue with starting from a dead stop. Seems like I should leave well enough alone. Thoughts?
     
  21. Bruce Lancaster
    Joined: Oct 9, 2001
    Posts: 21,682

    Bruce Lancaster
    Member Emeritus

    3.78's with 28 tooth gears are a good combo all around...leave'em alone. You can really only improve that combo with MORE gears, meaning overdrive or a 5 speed trans or something.
     
    ct1932ford likes this.
  22. Thanks Bruce, that is the conclusion I have come to.
     

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