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Old 05-16-2022, 01:18 PM   #1
Hot Rod Reverend
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Question Installing a T85 R11 OD into a 1955 Ford Club Sedan - what do I need?

I have been told that when upgrading a 55/56 Ford Sedan from the standard 3 speed manual (T86, et al) that one needs to find a cross member that will mount said T85 into the frame. I know that 55 Mercs had a T85 has an option, as did 56's. Are the cross members the same? Of course, 56 Ford Police cars and some 56 wagons may have had the T85. Knowing that the 55/56 Ford frames are basically the same on measurements and all, it would stand to reason that there are cross members out there that would work.

The T85 was removed from a 1957 Thunderbird and was factory equipment; it's in great shape. The owner wanted a modern driveline, etc, etc. I made sure to have the yoke in the deal, and I did source an NORS Hurst 3 speed synchro loc shifter kit specifically for the T85 with R11 Overdrive.

Has anyone been this route before?
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Old 05-16-2022, 03:47 PM   #2
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Default Re: Installing a T85 R11 OD into a 1955 Ford Club Sedan - what do I need?

I'm not 100% positive about this but I think it's a good possibility that Ford used the same crossmember for the T-85 and T-86, with or without OD. I base this on Henry's known tendency toward frugality and his dislike of parts proliferation. If that's the case then you already have a compatible crossmember.
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Old 05-16-2022, 05:36 PM   #3
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Default Re: Installing a T85 R11 OD into a 1955 Ford Club Sedan - what do I need?

Lucky find on the Hurst. A friend did the T-86 on his 56 Victoria. There was some problem with the mount at the time. Not sure if he was waiting for a new one or if cash flow. The temporary fix was to wrap a length of chain around transmission and crossmember and bolt the ends together to try it out. TMI but it was the fastest accelerating car I've every rode in. It had 3.89? gears and a FE 427. 49 years later I still have the engine.
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Old 05-17-2022, 09:48 AM   #4
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Default Re: Installing a T85 R11 OD into a 1955 Ford Club Sedan - what do I need?

The Whiz kids, or what was left of them, made decisions with some input by Henry #2 by the late 50s. Interchangability was likely close between the 259 series and the T86 since they were both light duty types but the heavy duty T85 is larger and heavier. A person would have to do some parts research on the available rear mounts & cross members for the 1955 sedans. The Thunderbird and Mercury applications were still considered heavy duty but there wasn't a lot of difference in powerplants unless a 6-cylinder was involved. The Ford sized Y-blocks were all close to being the same even if displacements were different. Lincoln and later Mercury were big Y-blocks.
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Old 05-17-2022, 06:33 PM   #5
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Default Re: Installing a T85 R11 OD into a 1955 Ford Club Sedan - what do I need?

HRR, On my 55 Crown it started life as an automatic with 272. I swapped in a 292 3 speed from a 56. Later put in a T86-R10 OD. Same rear crossmember. Now going to a T85-R11 same as you. Tape measure says that the crossmember will work, extra length all seems to be in the tailshaft. My T85 came out of a 57 Ford. I also got the driveshaft which will work for length. My problem now is the rear u-joint won't match up to the dana rear end in the car. Looking for a 9 inch to solve this problem or a u-joint with two sizes of journals. I think Dobie is right on Ford frugality.
You will also need a 1957 and up speedometer cable since the t86 is driven off the bottom of the output shaft and the t85 off of the top.
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Old 05-18-2022, 07:24 AM   #6
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Arrow Re: Installing a T85 R11 OD into a 1955 Ford Club Sedan - what do I need?

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Originally Posted by CrownVic55 View Post

HRR, On my 55 Crown it started life as an automatic with 272. I swapped in a 292 3 speed from a 56. Later put in a T86-R10 OD. Same rear crossmember. Now going to a T85-R11 same as you. Tape measure says that the crossmember will work, extra length all seems to be in the tailshaft. My T85 came out of a 57 Ford. I also got the driveshaft which will work for length.

My problem now is the rear u-joint won't match up to the dana rear end in the car. Looking for a 9 inch to solve this problem or a u-joint with two sizes of journals.

I think Dobie is right on Ford frugality.

You will also need a 1957 and up speedometer cable since the t86 is driven off the bottom of the output shaft and the t85 off of the top.
Read this regarding the two-size U-JOINT -

- https://www.dennysdriveshaft.com/p46..._series_g.html

Fitment of the swapped trans is going to depends on exact type (259-T86-T85) and whether direct or OD (differing tail-shaft lengths and driveshaft length).

I think most of what you read regarding these swaps is ignoring the trans type, model year and focusing on modifying the trans mount.
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Old 05-18-2022, 07:58 AM   #7
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Default Re: Installing a T85 R11 OD into a 1955 Ford Club Sedan - what do I need?

I have a local driveshaft shop about 1 mile away - no problem there. I also have the original T85 yoke - no problem there. The T85 I have in possession is the same case/mount/spline counts front and rear as the 1956 Ford T85 - no problem there for a 55 Ford Sedan. The speedometer cable is easily addressed.

The main issue was simply the cross member mount going from the paper trans 259 R10 to the T85 R11.

thanks for all of the replies fellas
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Old 05-18-2022, 10:22 AM   #8
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Default Re: Installing a T85 R11 OD into a 1955 Ford Club Sedan - what do I need?

Quote:
Originally Posted by CrownVic55 View Post
... You will also need a 1957 and up speedometer cable since the t86 is driven off the bottom of the output shaft and the t85 off of the top.
Does this top to bottom change reverse the rotation of the speedometer cable, or is the pitch of the gears changed right to left-handed to compensate?

Am I correct in remembering the gear on the speedo cable into the tailshaft changed its style from '56 to '57 ?
.
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Old 05-19-2022, 10:26 AM   #9
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Exclamation Re: Installing a T85 R11 OD into a 1955 Ford Club Sedan - what do I need?

Upon closer inspection and research ...

There were three (3) rear cross-members for the 1955-56 FORD -

AB 5059-C - 1955-56 FORD

B5A 5059-A - 1955-56 FORD SUNLINER

B5A 5059-B - 1955-56 FORD (PI) - 1956 FORD SW - 312CI

The insulator is the same.
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Last edited by KULTULZ; 05-19-2022 at 10:38 AM.
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Old 05-19-2022, 04:20 PM   #10
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Default Re: Installing a T85 R11 OD into a 1955 Ford Club Sedan - what do I need?

The Sunliner may have had an X-member frame due to the lack of top structure. That last one may be for a heavy duty application since it mentions the 312 and police package. The mount cushion looks universal for all models in that time frame.
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Old 05-19-2022, 06:55 PM   #11
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Default Re: Installing a T85 R11 OD into a 1955 Ford Club Sedan - what do I need?

You are correct in that gear style changed basically from 56 to 57. The pitch of the gear teeth means both speedomete cables rotate same direction.
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Old 05-19-2022, 07:04 PM   #12
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Default Re: Installing a T85 R11 OD into a 1955 Ford Club Sedan - what do I need?

Quote:
Originally Posted by KULTULZ View Post
Read this regarding the two-size U-JOINT -

- https://www.dennysdriveshaft.com/p46..._series_g.html

Fitment of the swapped trans is going to depends on exact type (259-T86-T85) and whether direct or OD (differing tail-shaft lengths and driveshaft length).

I think most of what you read regarding these swaps is ignoring the trans type, model year and focusing on modifying the trans mount.
Thanks for the dennysdriveshaft.com info. Looks like the actual one I would need is a Neapco 2-0291. Figures since it is about triple the price and out of stock. Take $20 out of petty cash and take the little thumb screw out to MickeyDs as a reward for the info.
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Old 05-20-2022, 06:25 AM   #13
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Question Re: Installing a T85 R11 OD into a 1955 Ford Club Sedan - what do I need?

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Originally Posted by CrownVic55 View Post

Take $20 out of petty cash and take the little thumb screw out to MickeyDs as a reward for the info.
We have a petty cash box here!?! Watch out LEGION, I'm back in town ...

The LITTLE WOMAN is no longer allowed in THE RAINBOW ROOM after that nasty little incident at the DRIVE-THRU ...

Anywho, I have an alternative. She has been on me to take her to one of those fancy restaurants where they prepare the meal in front of you. I will get her to dress-up and pull up in front of the SUBWAY down the road instead ...
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Old 05-20-2022, 08:25 AM   #14
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Arrow Re: Installing a T85 R11 OD into a 1955 Ford Club Sedan - what do I need?

A little insight here ...

All of this confusion (and I understand it) regarding swapping trans types among early FORD (1950-60) is the result of lack of info of the exact transmission(s) used and in what exact applications.

The 1955 FORD and BIRD used the BW-259 as direct drive. The OD used was the BW T-86, even though there was a BW-259 OD available. 1957 still used the BW-259, and the BW T-86 OD for FORD and the BW T-85 OD for the BIRD. I do not have a 1956 WSM so that info is not included here, although FORD implemented a lot of updates regarding engine design and transmission usage during that model run.

The 1956 BW T-85 OD must have been introduced later in the 1956 model year. Without more info I have no idea as all of this is not broken down and documented even in FORD PARTS CATALOGING (although it had to be covered in separate service material(s).

I am at a disadvantage as I was more a fan of the MUSCLE CAR ERA and had little interest in pre-1957 FORD. But I understand the frustration(s) many of you have trying to update/strengthen the drive-line.
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Old 05-20-2022, 09:42 AM   #15
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Default Re: Installing a T85 R11 OD into a 1955 Ford Club Sedan - what do I need?

In the flathead years, the Lincoln was the only type to use the T85-R11 behind the big 337 and likely on into the 317 Y-block era for those that didn't want an automatic. Most Lincolns came with automatic transmissions in the big Y-block era. The Ford cars all used lighter duty stuff but this likely did start to change in 1956. Mercury stayed with heavier duty but Ford only had a few models that toyed with that stuff. T-birds, station wagon types, and police interceptors were considered heavy duty but I don't know how far all that stuff went in 1956. 1957 was a year of a lot of changes and 58 even more.
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Old 05-20-2022, 07:44 PM   #16
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Question Re: Installing a T85 R11 OD into a 1955 Ford Club Sedan - what do I need?

Quote:
Originally Posted by KULTULZ View Post

I do not have a 1956 WSM so that info is not included here, although FORD implemented a lot of updates regarding engine design and transmission usage during that model run.

The 1956 BW T-85 OD must have been introduced later in the 1956 model year. Without more info I have no idea as all of this is not broken down and documented even in FORD PARTS CATALOGING (although it had to be covered in separate service material(s).
... or ...

Quote:
B5A 5059-B - 1955-56 FORD (PI) - 1956 FORD SW - 312CI
The BW T-85 OD was introduced on the 1955 292PI and carried to the 1956 312 PI and 1956 312 SW explaining the unique x-member (which we have no ILL of).
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