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Old 09-22-2012, 08:36 AM   #1
Big Red 51
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Default '53 Ford Overdrive Kickdown operation

My '53 OD operates perfectly except that when I depress the accelerator when engaged at highway speeds, it will down not downshift to 3rd, it just remains in OD and runs fine otherwise. It worked okay earlier this summer. Wire connections are tight and are in very good condition.
Could this just simply be a bad kick-down switch? Don
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Old 09-22-2012, 09:25 AM   #2
Mike51Merc
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Default Re: '53 Ford Overdrive Kickdown operation

Sure can be a bad switch. The kickdown switch performs two functions at the same time. It kills the ignition and it kills the power to the solenoid. If the engine isn't cutting out, then despite your review of the connections, obviously something isn't working.

First I'd see if the gas pedal is properly pushing on the switch. I bought a new gas pedal that didn't have the "button" on the back that presses the switch. It confused me for a while till I figured it out. The switch has a long threaded shaft so you can adjust it to the right position.

The kickdown switch is in a bad place to get dirty and grimy, even inside. I've opened up the case on a kickdown switch and found it full of old grease and gunk.

A new switch is around $30-$35, or you can clean up the old one.

On the other hand, I've decided to run without the kickdown for some years now with no regrets. If I want to accellerate quickly, I just downshift to second-over, which is almost the same ratio as third-under anyway.
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Old 09-22-2012, 10:45 AM   #3
rotorwrench
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Default Re: '53 Ford Overdrive Kickdown operation

The problems with aging electrical components that are placed in wet weather conditions were one of the biggests nails in coffin for the Borg Warner electric overdrive systems. At least the later models from mid 51 on did away with the lockout switch and simplified the system a bit but they still have the switches inside the solenoid, the relay, the governor, and the kickdown switch to contend with. All are prone to eventual problems with goop or corrosion.

A person just has to do the necessary cleaning and inspection of the system wiring & components now and then to keep it functioning correctly
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Old 09-22-2012, 12:18 PM   #4
Cecil/WV
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Default Re: '53 Ford Overdrive Kickdown operation

When you want to kick it down, just momentarily cut the ignition switch off and on and see if it goes down. That will tell if it is the kick down switch or not.
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Old 09-22-2012, 01:15 PM   #5
Big Red 51
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Default Re: '53 Ford Overdrive Kickdown operation

Mike, You may have hit on it. I do have a new gas pedal,1 year old, and it may not be making contact. Otherwise I will pull the switch and make sure it is clean.
Thanks Guys for the hints. Shifting down to 2nd plus would work also.
Thanks, Don
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Old 09-22-2012, 09:55 PM   #6
52merc
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Default Re: '53 Ford Overdrive Kickdown operation

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i fitted a toggle switch so i can turn the govenor off n on when it suits
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