In the Inline Six...300 forum we keep getting side-tracked into overdrives and Brownies, so I am starting a new thread here where we will not be constantly off-topic. Here is a story extracted from my post on the "Your favorite memories with your Dad" mega-thread:
My Dad's first truck was a '51 F-1 and he bought it new with a 239 flat-head V-8 and column-shift 3-speed. When I was starting grammar school, he put in a little 2-speed "Brownie" - a Brown-Lipe auxiliary transmission. This was a non-synchro "crash-box", but my Dad was a master at double-clutching and I understood this skill years before I took the wheel. To this day I do not think twice at double-clutching into a non-synchro grannie at ten mph. The Brownie served as an overdrive.
By 1957, the old flat-head was getting tired, so he bought a wrecked '56 F-100 from a friend who took out a telephone pole by hitting it with his spot-light. My Dad put in the 292 and its three-speed overdrive trans. This meant he did not need an overdrive, so he reversed the Brownie and it became an under-drive. This gave the rig 12-speeds, but many were the same because the over and under ratios cancelled. There were still some 7 distinct gears and he used them all.
P.S.: Anything about Brownies and overdrives is "on-topic" in this thread!
This includes Brown-Lipe, Spicer 5831, and other auxiliary transmissions.
Last edited by acheda; 03-05-2007 at 09:02 PM.
Reason: add info
When I was in high school , in the sixties, my brother in laws dad who drove truck for a living put a Brownie over/direct/under in his '63 Ford 1/2 ton. As you know this is an auxillary transmission that mounts behind the existing tranmission. This combination gave Louis 12 forward speeds and 3 reverse. Louis had just completed building a 4 horse trailer with a tack room in the front. The trailer was very similar to what you see the pro rodeo cowboys pull behind their trucks today. The 63 Ford just couldn't handle the fully loaded trailer. Once the Brownie was installed the truck with Louis behind the wheel could not be stopped.
If I live to be 100 I will never foget the Friday night we were coming home from a roping tournement and came upon an old Chevy that was parked sideways on the two lane road. Louis down shifted about ten times and when we were almost stopped four or five guys jumped in the back of the truck. I guess they were going to hijack us and the horse trailer.
What the hijackers didn't know was the Louis's dog was in the back of the truck. Jabbo was a 120 lb. German Sheppard who actually owned the truck and let Louis drive it when ever Jabbo wanted to go some place. Everyone whoever knew Louis, knew that Jabbo was in the back of the truck and unless you wanted to loose an arm, stay away from Jabbo's truck
As I said before we were almost stopped when the guys jumped in the back of the truck. Jabbo was sleeping for a second. Louis got a big grin on his face hit the gas and started shifting gears. Jabbo was having a field day; Louis and I were laughing our asses off. Louis had just shifted into Hi Hi when the last guy jumped out of the back of the truck.
Louis was just an old guy from Oklahoma who had grown up on a farm with very little formal education, but he was a real craftsman who just knew how to make things work.
In the eighties I found a Brownie over/direct/under and tried to make it work. Drive line geometry drove me nuts for awhile and when I got that resolved, I had traction problems. I got divorced before I could get all the bugs worked out and had to sell the truck. Now that I am older and hopefully wiser I wish I cold find another Brownie and give it a go.
I've been on the lookout for an over/under brownie for a couple months. So far, I've found 3 for sale, one locally for $1050 with linkage and driveshafts, and two on ebay. One was cheap at like $250 but it wasn't the ratios I wanted and it was 3000 mi away. The other one has been up twice with an opening bid of $1000 and has ended with no bids. Is this what these things usually cost or what? Anybody know where to get better deals?
Even the two-speed Brownie is in the same market as the GV-OD and all the others which go from $1,500 on up, so that affects the price. Only a few of us die-hards would want a non-synchro "crash-box", but I guess there are more of us than there are Brownies out there. It is a little strange that an ancient Brownie could fetch more on eBay than I paid for my Roadranger RT-6610 ten-speed, but that's life.
Part of the reason for this thread is to "stir things up". Maybe someone with one they do not need will part with it. Share the eBay listings - they might be nearer to someone else.
Also share how you are planning on using yours. I only know one set of Spicer 5831 ratios (can't even find 'em now). What are the two sets of ratios you know?
Well, both ebay auctions are over but the one that has been listed twice was in Wiscosin and the other one was in New Jersey. I'll post the link here when the Wisconsin one is listed again. I usually search 'spicer' in ebay motors and look through the listings.
The ratios are determined by the letter suffix of the model number. They are listed on this page:
Is you NP-205 "divorced" from your Clark 5-speed? This would make it possible to use shafting & U-joints between everything. You may end up having to use a two-piece front drive-shaft, if you put the Brownie between the trans & the T/C. (If your rear shaft is two-piece, then you might be able to go to a one-piece back there.)
Over the years, I have made adapters to put Borg-Warner overdrives on two transmissions - a T-10 and a T-98. I would be happy to consult with you on an integral, but of course this takes a little more precision machining. (Fortunately, I have my own machine-tools.)
One other question: Can you get by with just a two-speed that would give you an OD and let you split gears? Your Clark + you transfer case should already give you a super-deep low (unless you are a rock-climber). If all you need is an OD and you have an integral T/C, then a unit that goes in front of the Clark would be a lot simpler & would work in all possible gears.
While you could stick an OD in the back drive-shaft, there are several down-sides. It could only be used in two-wheel drive, which is OK if you are only using it for gear-splitting and OD on the highway. The more serious problem is that when you have the Clark in "grannie" and the T/C in low range, you could destroy your auxiliary trans very easily. (I broke one of my OD's with just the "grannie" reverse in the T-98.) This is one more reason to favor installing the auxiliary in front of the trans. (I think that the biggest negative of this approach is that shifting the main trans is heavier because the synchros have to deal with a larger amount of rotating mass in front of the trans.)
P.S.: I discovered the same GMC site some time back. The guy is pretty serious about sharing his hobby. (Too bad he isn't a Ford man.)
It is a married 205 and I am aware of the difficulties involved in my plan. Is it worth it? Probably not. But, I enjoy a challenge and I have never seen anybody else do it so, why not? If I can find what I'm looking for, I'm going to try to adapt everything together in one package without any extra u-joints.
Can you get by with just an overdrive that will split all your gears?
If you put an auxiliary two-speed in front of your Clark, the whole thing will be solid and all you will need to do will be to lengthen the front drive-shaft and shorten the rear. These are not cheap new, but they do show up on eBay. They are designed to accept the input shaft of the main transmission inside their main shaft. It has been a while since I looked at them, so give me a little time & I track them down. I never chose this option, but I never had the complexity of having to deal with a T/C and a front drive-shaft. As I stated, I did not like the fact that shifting would be slower and/or the synchros would be wearing out faster. (I have not had any direct experience with these, but there is no way that adding 10-20 pound of gears ahead of the input shaft would not make it harder to shift.)
Actually, it turns out it was not my friend, it was somebody on a Range Rover forum. He posted this:
"A few months ago I was able to pick up a genuine Ranger Torque Splitter at a swap meet for $200. It needed new ball bearings and a synchro baulk ring. After stripping it down and rebuilding it I was surprised at how poorly made it was,with rough cut and finished gears (they have a reputation for being a bit noisy ) and bronze bushings where needle roller bearings would have been better.I believe my LT95 based splitter, due to Rovers better gear finish and use of needle roller radial and thrust bearings will be eminently superior, quieter and longerlasting than the Ranger unit, and spare parts are virtually free."
This guy has also built his own portal axles from Rover t-case parts that have lasted several thousand miles so far so I trust his judgement on when something looks poorly built or engineered.
I have a friend that has been professionally involved (sold parts & did mechanic work) in the automotive trades for over 40 years. He lives within a few miles of the plant that makes the Ranger (Advance Adaptors). I will give him a call, but I suspect he will confirm your intelligence.
I found the other brand: U.S.Gear's Dual Range - price= $2,500 new (for 4x4). This unit does appear to be a high-end unit. (Should be for that price.) Adaptors available seem to be focused on recent transmissions.
Last edited by acheda; 03-09-2007 at 07:58 PM.
Reason: missing word
Hi, I've looked into the RT 6610 & RT 6613 series behind a 460. I've come to the conclusion that 4 or 5 sp main and a Spicer 6041 4sp Aux would be more doable, all though a little harder to shift, than a single stick. (note, all my thoughts have been with regard to a E350 cutaway 5th wheel puller). Safty wise, I wouldn't want an aux behind a T Case without some type of inter lock, so you couldn't use it while in 4X4. Roadranger trans were used behind 370 and 429 engines in the early 80's. I didn't look into earlier years, because I have a 460. I have a Brownee 3 sp sitting in the yard. 2.00/1.00/.73 but have never used it, because I didn't like the ratio's. The Spicer 6041 has 2.14/1.24/1.00/.86 which is a much better spread for my use.
I think Elliott is correct. I talked to my friend and he has installed a few of these, but a long time ago. His opinion is that the Ranger is probably not the best for heavy service, but would be OK for light duty.
I am planning to install the RT-6610 10-speed Roadranger in my F-350 because I go tired of splitting gears with an T-85 overdrive I adapted to a T-98 4-speed. There is only one stick plus a toggle switch with the overdrive, but even that gets old when hauling a heavy load in hilly country (western MD). I know gear-splitting with twin sticks is a lost art, but it does get old. Anybody interested in Roadrangers is welcome to join Elliott & I at: http://www.ford-trucks.com/forums/58...n-f-350-a.html
If I were going the twin-stick approach, especially if I wanted to keep the weight down, I would think that a Spicer 3-speed behind a stock Ford full-synchro three-speed (column shift?) would be a nice combo. With the right ratio version of the Spicer, you would have a low range with three synchro gears in a row, then a range shift with both sticks, then three high-range, synchronized gears in a row, topped off with an overdrive. You could split the upper gears, giving you a total of nine practical gear ratios. The only thing my Roadranger offers is perfectly even steps from bottom to top with single-stick convenience, but I have to cut up the hump in my floor-boards to get the thing in. Elliott, do you want to part with that Brownie?
I think that if one is sticking with a 4- or 5-speed that has big gear jumps, all you need to add is a 2-speed to split gears & give an OD. Unfortunately the two-speed Brownies are older and even more rare than the 3-speeds. Modern options are kind of expensive to buy new.
I learned double-clutching on my Dad's two-speed Brownie and a short jump in gear ratio is an easy double-clutch. The wider the ratio, the more perfect your judgement has to be. My Dad used to double-clutch the transfer case into low range in his Jeep FC-170 on the fly. (OK to mention in these forums because it had a Ford 289 engine!)
Last edited by acheda; 03-12-2007 at 06:50 AM.
Reason: add info