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Old 04-26-2020, 09:09 AM   #8
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Bored&Stroked's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Central Ohio
Posts: 2,730
Default Re: One of those annoying questions...

You also didn't talk about budget and associated amount of work??? For example, if the body is already off the frame, then you have more options. It also kind of depends whether or not you want to put a lot of highway miles on it at higher speeds. So - the planned usage of the car matters quite a bit.

Even with 3.78 gears, you'll find that if you'd like to go 70 - 75 mph for longer distances, that you're keeping the motor pretty wound up.

So, probably every one of us that does what I mentioned up above (wants to be able to get on the open highways and go long distances) has, wants or ponders "wouldn't it be nice to have an overdrive in this thing". The tried and true 'vintage' option is a Columbia rear-end. This is a "bolt in" deal - if you find one that is setup or modified to correctly fit a 36'. Other aspects to consider about Columbia rears is that they tend to be very expensive (when all set up) and there are not really that many folks who know how to work on them (still around).

The other option is a late overdrive transmission. The most talked about one is obviously the T5 with an S-10 rear case. I think a LOT of us would love to just drop one of those in our cars -- but then starts a whole lot of work. As you noted, you have to do fairly extensive modifications to the center frame area, going with a torque-tube is not an easy task (unless you source some harder to find Jeep parts, have custom parts made, etc). Then you have to shorten the torque-tube and driveshaft. Lots of work and lots of time/money if you have to out-source it to a shop.

Now, you can put "highway gears" in the rear - I just swapped my 4.11s out of my 32 for a set of 3.54's. (This was due to all the issues noted up above). I thought this was my best option (no mods to the frame, can use a nicely built 39 trans, etc). Well, while the car now goes down the highway just fine . . . it surely isn't as fun around town! Crap - I fixed one thing . . . and now I don't like it for what I do the most . . . cruise around our country roads. The low 4.11 gears were a lot more fun than the 3.54's - no comparison for acceleration and just having fun . . . .

So, I'm going to bite the bullet and build a Columbia with a lot of performance upgrades (8620 steel parts, 28" late Ford axles, etc) - with a 4.44 set of gears in it. This will give me the best of both worlds . . . fun around my local roads and the ability to take it on the highway and cruise at 75 and not be revving the crap out of my engine.

Lastly: There is nothing wrong with mechanical brakes - up to a point. And I ran my mechanicals on my 32 (all redone) for 3 years. They were perfectly fine on my local roads. But, when I decided I wanted more highway cruising (with our 1/2 busy local freeways), I decided I needed to upgrade the whole brake package. I replaced everything with modern Bendix/Lincoln style brakes . . . an expensive proposition for sure, but much better brakes (no question about it).

So, think about ALL of this before you make a choice. The 39 style box is by far the easiest and least consequential option (heck, I'm building three of these transmissions right at this moment - so I surely don't have anything against them!).

But, I'd sure like a nice T5 with a set of close-ratio Ford Motorsport T5Z gears in it . . . and a .82 overdrive . . .
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