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1948 - 1956 F1, F100 & Larger F-Series Trucks Discuss the Fat Fendered and Classic Ford Trucks

Overdrive in the 1950's

 
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Old 10-23-2006, 10:00 PM
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Overdrive in the 1950's

I've been reading all the posts about overdrive transmissions over the years with some interest and may eventually try and find one. I like my old 4.88 geared Dana 60 for all the torque, but it would be nice to have a better drive on the freeway.

On risk of asking a dumb question.....

One thing I haven't read about is how you operate one of those old overdrives.

Sounds like an electric switch engages it. Is there a pushbutton or lever some place? Do you stick with the same 3 speed on the tree shift pattern, then push a button to engage the overdrive?
 
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Old 10-23-2006, 10:58 PM
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My 49 Ford has overdrive. Theres a cable that mounts on the dash sorta like a choke cable. You push it or pull it to engage the tailshaft and theres a switch on the floor hooked to the relay under the gas pedal. Setting still you engage the overdrive cable then start driving.
Basiclly the relay switch kicks the tailshaft down just like an automatic trans doe sin passing gear. Its kinda weird. Me and my friend who has rebuilt a few was trying to tell me what to do at 55 mph with all the windows open on a hot summer day with dual exhaust cherry bombs but I figured it out.
I still dont like pushing my old car on the highway. The more I drive it on long trips the more I want a new engine.
I had a water pump seize on me but I managed to get it home, I was close enough now I need a new pinion seal and whatever else I find.
Thats one reason I want my F1 with all modern stuff for long trips and a daily driver.
 
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Old 10-23-2006, 11:01 PM
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I should ad theres a big selonoid on the trans that kicks the tailshaft piece. If you go shopping for one make sure you get the relay thats mounted on the firewall, those are hard to find. Ford made those up intot he 12v erra and those are the ones everybody looks for.
 
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Old 10-23-2006, 11:08 PM
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What's really strange about the B-W OD's is that with the cable in the OD position, but when you're under ~40 mph, if you take your foot off the gas there is no engine braking! It freewheels because there is a one-way clutch in the OD. So if you are in OD, going around a corner in 3rd, you can downshift to 2nd without the clutch, no grinding at all, and it will pick right up when you hit the gas.

I have some OD wiring schematics, email me if you're interested.


 
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Old 10-23-2006, 11:10 PM
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lol yeah that freaked me out. We were on a back route and I was doing about 50 and let off the gas and it was like I pushed in the clutch.
 
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Old 10-23-2006, 11:19 PM
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I'm glad I asked. Never would have figured it worked that way.

To stop it from freewheeling whenever you release the gas, do you have to come to a stop and shove the cable back in?
 
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Old 10-23-2006, 11:23 PM
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No its just the overdrive, you give it gas and it picks back up. It works like an automatic trans but it has a stick to lol. Now your really scewed.
When your done witht he over drive you stop and push in the overdrive cable which flips the tailshaft lever to dissengage it.
Its a pretty strange setup. One guy I know told me he put a toggle switch on one he had insted of the stock floor switch.
 
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Old 10-24-2006, 12:00 AM
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It's really a pretty sophisticated control system for the era. There is a throttle switch that kills the ignition for a fraction of a second on a kick-down, to unload the trans. You can simplify it to the cable and one hand switch, but you need to pay attention!
 
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Old 10-24-2006, 12:17 AM
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I understand now that once you pull the OD cable, the throttle engages the OD whenever you give it gas, and disengages the OD and freewheels the tranny whenever you release the gas.

But let's say the OD is in use and you want to stop using it and return to non-OD operation, where you get transmission braking whenever you release the gas. Do you have to stop the truck and push the cable in to disengage the OD? Or can you push the cable in with the truck still moving forward?
 
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Old 10-24-2006, 10:34 AM
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You have to kick the pedal down onto the switch. It works kinda like a govenor. It doesnt hit it until its all the way down.
Say your on a two lane and want to pass a car. Your in thrid gear cruising at 55-60 and you kick the pedal down and it depresses the switch which in turn throws the selonoid and tailshaft into a low gear. It doesnt change your regular 1-2-3 gears just kicks a piece on the shaft down like an automatic and you speed up and pass. Then when your foot come sup a little it dissengages the switch under the pedal and the taillshaft piece pops back into the higher gear. I had mine hotwired bypassing the relay.
Mine sticks some from not being used so I dont have a lot of experience with it. I also heard from my friend he said dont park the car and leave it in the overdrive it can roll off.
My 49 all the wires were shot in it when I got the car. It ran but everything was worn. I put a new wirring harness in it and disconnected the worn wires to the overdrive. We ran a hot wire through the firewall off the key switch and put it directly to the selonoid. Mine would kick and pop out and then work and sometimes wouldnt work.
My friend told me the cable needs adjusted or the thing just needs used.
My car came from a farm and in 30 years the old man put 2800 miles on it and he was in bad health. None of his family wanted the car. He got it out once a year and drove it to town and he didnt even have tags on it. It moved out of his garage for the last five year she had it and then it started going down hill.
I doubt he ever used the overdrive. IM not sure about the transmission braking. I dont think it will but then again I havent had mine out but twice. You have to stop to dissengage it I think. I never tried it while running.
 
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Old 10-24-2006, 12:34 PM
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Thanks for the details. Engineering like that is what gives the stock trucks "personality". I'm all for it. The three on the tree is probably a cheap anti-theft device against a whole generation of young crooks that mis-identify it as an automatic transmission shifter!
 
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Old 10-24-2006, 06:10 PM
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I've got it in my 57, but I don't think it works properly. I can't get it to kick down. The only noticeble difference is in the engine braking or lack there of, I don't think I'm actually getting an overdrive. I haven't tried driving on the freeway in 3rd gear disengaged. I got used to not having the engine braking. My commute only consists of 15 miles of freeway and 4 stop lights, so it's not a big deal. It's nice though, I can coast on the freeway to slow down for merging traffic in the slow lane without hitting the brakes.

I need to pick up a shop manual so I can trouble shoot it.

Also, if you park with it engaged you can shift to Reverse and it won't roll away, as per the owners manual.
 
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Old 10-25-2006, 01:34 PM
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Over Drive Operation

Very simple to operate, but there is a no no with these as well, and it can be expensive, here goes.

First off the cable is to be pushed in to activate the O/D, this can be done while the truck/car is moving, or after you have reached high gear. The no no is never pull the cable out while the vehicle is moving.

The O/D system consists of the following operations by the driver.
(1) after shifting into high gear push in the cable, then let off of the accelerator pedal, then push down again, you are now in O/D. This allows the engine about a ball park figure more or less of 30 percent. Example if you are running at 50 mph, lets say at 1800 rpm., the O/D will now give you the same rpm, but another 15 mph faster.

(2) there is a kickdown switch below the gas pedal, which acts in the same manner as a passing gear. Lets say that if you were running at 40 mph and you wanted to pull out and pass, kick down the gas pedal this takes the transmission out of O/D, and back into your regular high gear. After passing lift up on the gas pedal then push down again normal and you are now back in O/D, same symptoms as an automatic.

(3) the relay is on the firewall and has a glass fuse I believe either a 20 or 30 amp one, to operate the electrics on the O/D.

(4) then there is the solonoid, and govenor, which are on the transmission itself. the solonoid locks the O/D, into position, and the govenor will automatically kick it back into the regular 3 speed, at about 26-28 mph, you will hear a light click sound.

Again never pull out on the cable while moving, you will hear a grinding noise and your not supposed to hear that as you well know.

All in all its a simple operation, it really is. Usually the gear ratios that are used for these transmissions are 4.11-1, 3.91-1, I have even heard of as low as 3.73-1, it all depends on the type of driving you do, and of course the layout of the roads.

Hope this will help some of you with answers, on this subject. Just to add something to this the Pertronix Ignition, is a real help to this system.
 

Last edited by 5 Star; 10-25-2006 at 01:38 PM.
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Old 10-25-2006, 03:04 PM
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Thanks for sharing that valuble info!
 
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Old 10-25-2006, 05:11 PM
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I forgot to mention one very important issue on the O/D transmission, and that is the lubrication.

Make sure that there is oil in the rear section the tailstock. this is not lubricated by the oil from the transmission itself, but rather seperate. You have to lube it from the bottom plug in the tailstock, open the plug on the side until the oil starts to run out.

This sounds rather strange but there isn't enough room to get oil in from the side, the passage is to small.

So it has to be done from the bottom, and again until it comes out the side plug. Once this is done replace the bottom one, then the side one afterwards.

If these O/D tailstocks run dry they will run so damm hot that they will virtually weld the mechanisms, like Sun Gear etc, and there both expensive and a hell of a thing to get apart after this.
 

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