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Old 05-08-2020, 09:28 AM   #1
54Merc
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Default 54Merc Transmission Mystery

When I bought this car, the engine and transmission was not in the car, since they had previously had installed another type of engine and transmission. I had the engine overhauled and took the tranny in to a mechanic who put an overhaul kit in it, a K600V.

So, after putting the engine and tranny into the car, I have a situation I can’t figure out.

I put the gearshift in the drive or low position and it goes into reverse. Neutral still seems to be neutral. Reverse on the shift dial does nothing, and when I select park, it goes into reverse. There are no weird noises going on in the transmission.

I have two good transmission manuals, and know that I have set the linkages (the manual selector and the speed linkage) correctly.

The gear selector mounted at the transmission limits upward direction at 9:00, other limit is downward at about the 5:00 clock position.

I am focusing on the valve body valve. It appears to be about 3/8” dia in the schematic and about 3” long +/-. There are built on recesses on either end that let the fluid travel through ports to shift.

Does anyone know if this valve could have been reversed, or is that possible?

This is a small case cast iron transmission with an air cooled torque converter.
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Old 05-08-2020, 01:02 PM   #2
rotorwrench
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Default Re: 54Merc Transmission Mystery

Not enough information for accurate results. We would need to know if it has the original Merc-O-Matic transmission or something else. The 54 should have the 256 CID Y-block but it's been a lot of years and the fact that the engine & trans were removed previously leaves a big question mark. From what I can find on that kit number, it's listed as a 63 to 67 Ford-O-Matic but it would have been a Cruise-O-Matic in those years which is a diffrent transmission. The 54 would have had the small case, air cooled transmission that is a 3-speed but it operates differently that the later cruise-o-matic too. All the early ones started in neutral and only used two of the three speeds for normal driving. Low gear had to be either manually selected or you have to floor it to get it to go into 1st. Normal driving was single range 2nd to high gear. These transmissions were controlled by a throttle linkage interaction to a throttle valve in the transmission to get the proper shift pressures.

The later 1961 and up cruise-o-matics had a vacuum modulator to control shift pressures and the were true dual range 3-speeds. Early cruise-o-matics starting in 1958 were still like the old For-O-Matics with TV control but they at least were oil cooled instead of air cooled plus they were also dual range units. Ford-O-Matics weren't oil cooled till 1956 but they still had air cooled ones for light duty applications till some time in 1959.

We would need to know what transmission you have. Ford-O-Matics and Merc-O-Matics were the same basic design transmission in 1954 with only minor variation.
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Old 05-08-2020, 01:06 PM   #3
dmsfrr
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Default Re: 54Merc Transmission Mystery

What I know about air-cooled '54 Merc transmissions you could fit in a thimble and still have room for an elephant.
But, is there a remote chance the shift lever on the outside of the trans was installed 180 out of position and now points downward instead of upward? I don't have any transmission books or images to show what the normal position of the levers on a full-sized car transmission should be.
The only example I have is an air-cooled '55 Fordomatic with a floor shift... and the shift lever on the transmission points upwards and operates approx between the 10 and 1 clock positions.

I'll go away now, be quiet for a while and quit confusing things.
.

Last edited by dmsfrr; 05-08-2020 at 01:47 PM.
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Old 05-08-2020, 04:06 PM   #4
Daves55Sedan
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Default Re: 54Merc Transmission Mystery

If you'd take a couple of pics of the trans under the car, I can probably identify it IF it is a small, medium or heavy case Ford-O-Matic.
The medium case xmissions were used in Mercury's at least from '54 on up. The heavy case monster was used in Lincolns.
The transmission fluid pan is an easy tell-tale sign of whether it is a Ford-O or a Cruise-O.
NEVERTHELESS, These all have the same shifting order P-R-N-D-L.
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Old 05-08-2020, 05:09 PM   #5
scicala
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Default Re: 54Merc Transmission Mystery

If it's got an air cooled tourqe converter, then doesn't it have to be a '54-'55 Fordomatic or Mercomatic ?
I like dmsfrr's idea for a simple and possible reason for the problem. Also, maybe some of the linkage may have been changed to accomodate the engine swap it had.

Sal
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Old 05-08-2020, 06:25 PM   #6
rotorwrench
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Default Re: 54Merc Transmission Mystery

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The later dual range cruise-o-matics had three drive settings so there was one additional detent position on those units.

I think the 1954 Mercs had the small case PAE-7003-A or B single range transmission until they started having higher horse power stuff in 1955. Lincolns and higher horse power stuff used the medium case until the large case came along in 1958. The PMB-7003-A came out for the 1955 model year with 292 4V engine applications. It's a medium case model but it's still a single range type.
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Old 05-11-2020, 08:33 PM   #7
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Default Re: 54Merc Transmission Mystery

Here are pics of the transmission pan, the linkage positions (the first photo in park and the 2nd linkage photo in Low. Also a photo of the ID plate, however all I see is the serial number. I did record some of the numbers that was on the torque converter housing - 1p-7976-F, WG DIV, N10,3-1, 3-8.
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Old 05-12-2020, 12:34 PM   #8
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Default Re: 54Merc Transmission Mystery

It's sort of typical on those old Ford transmissions with the oval tag for the part number to be gone. They were painted on so time and the elements have removed the paint.

It's a small case unit and appears to be air cooled so it would be consistent with the 1954 Ford or Mercury cars. It has the selector and throttle valve arms & control rods on it. The throttle control rod should mate with a bellcrank up top on the manifold behind the carburetor. The linkage controled by the engine throttle to adjust the operating pressures for the transmission.

The stamped on numbers indicate the assembly plant and the sequential number of the unit if its the same as the way they marked them in 1953. I don't have a 1954 book for the Merc-O-Matic but it likely is a PAE-7003-A or B. These are very similar to the first units made in 1951 but they have some better upgrades incorporated in them that the first units didn't have. Folks would swap in a Ford unit as long as it fit and the 54 Ford units are pretty much the same as 54 Mercury.
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Old 05-12-2020, 01:14 PM   #9
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Default Re: 54Merc Transmission Mystery

It has been a lot of years since I worked as a Ford dealer line mechanic, but this problem sounds vaguely familiar. The shift lever moves a spool valve to select the gears and it sounds like maybe they missed the correct slot in that spool valve when they installed the valve body.
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Old 05-12-2020, 04:28 PM   #10
Daves55Sedan
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Default Re: 54Merc Transmission Mystery

That transmission is a '51 thru '56 small case Ford-o-matic, BUT the shifting levers are NOT like the ones I have seen in any of the '53 thru '59 Ford-o-Matics. May not make any difference as long as the upstream linkage is long enough and properly adjusted to hit all the detents.
I've got a '53 Ford-o-matic sitting on the garage floor, but it is too dark today to take photos. But I can tell you that the '53 shifter and passing gear lever are exactly the same on the '53 as they are on the mid and late fifties models.
Maybe those came off of a '60's era Ford-o-Matic?
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Old 05-12-2020, 04:38 PM   #11
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Default Re: 54Merc Transmission Mystery

I looked at a '54 Merc station wagon in a junkyard some years ago and it had the medium case Ford-o-Matic in it.
Easy tell-tale sign is that the Merc medium case had a bump-out on passenger side of pan that the small case trans does not have, and, the medium case fluid pan has a drain plug at the front driver side of the pan. The medium case is a little longer than the small case, not that you can tell with the naked eye unless you have both sitting side by side.
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Old 05-12-2020, 05:41 PM   #12
rotorwrench
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Default Re: 54Merc Transmission Mystery

I went back and looked at the manual I have for the 1951 thru 53 M-O-M since it is close to what you have. There certainly could be a problem with the manual control valve that is actuated by the gear selector. The small lever has to be able to push and pull the manual valve. They have few good illustrations so a person has to know how that manual valve indexes with the actuating pin in the manual detent lever. There should never be any reverse function anywhere from neutral on down to low gear selection. If there is then I'd suspect that manual control valve function.

It is a busy operation to get that control valve body back in correctly with the two control systems, the park pawl, and the interconnecting tubes all having to go together pretty much simultaneously.

When I compare these old beasts to the modern electric shift transmissions, I can safely say that the turbine rotor, planetary reduction, and shafting is a lot more complicated than the old ones but the old manual hydraulic control systems are way more complicated than the electrical solenoid systems due to their manual design. Modern ones don't even need a governor and all the valves are moved by the electric solenoids tasked to do each job. They are a lot easier to assemble due to that.

A person can likely put a medium case unit in the earlier cars. They are a heavier duty unit but still a lot alike. They all either fit a 223 6 cyl or a y-block until the FE & MEL engines showed up. The Y-block bell housing might even fit the earlier flathead units but I've never tried it.

Last edited by rotorwrench; 05-12-2020 at 06:07 PM.
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Old 05-19-2020, 07:12 PM   #13
54Merc
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Default Re: 54Merc Transmission Mystery

Thanks for the good and detailed information. I am thinking too that it may be the valve. From a schematic I have of the 54 Merc transmission, there is a valve that even looks as if it can be reversed, causing a misalignment with the ports that controls the gear shifting.

The mechanic that worked on it will be back in 2 weeks, so I will check back again with him.
What I still don’t understand is why he used the K600V overhaul kit instead of the K600 - or what difference it makes. The mechanic also wrote ‘1954 Ford Cruisematic’ when he made out the invoice ticket.
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Old 05-20-2020, 11:16 AM   #14
rotorwrench
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Default Re: 54Merc Transmission Mystery

I've run into a few guys that did a lot of work on the C-O-Ms and they tend to refer to all of them that way. There are a lot of similarities between all the Ford/Borg Warner designs of that era. I don't have a lot of small case experience but I've seen a few and I still have the some of the books. Most of my experience is with the later dual range medium case C-O-Ms with vacuum modulator control since I had a 64 T-bird that had one. They are still a lot alike in their structure.

The K600 would have been the normal kit but the other may have had more parts in it and many may be the same. The replacements for the old steel & bronze plates vary between makers of these kits so I would try to find out more about a kit before I purchased one so that I could get a set of clutches that will fit in the drums without problems. Some are thinner so more plates have to be put in to get the correct stack height. This can lead to all sorts of problems so it pays to looks for someone with a lot of experience with a specific unit. They will generally save a person a lot of head aches. Bands can be relined but lining thickness can be problematic too. It takes a lot of research on some of the real old units just to get parts that will work. Not all suppliers can be trusted.

It may be something simple like an operating lever not indexed correctly. A valve may be backwards but many will only go one way. A person has to stop and take photo snaps of this stuff in proper orientation before throwing all the parts into a common wash basin. The manual illustrations & photos will help some but not always. I go through the whole procedure and try to memorize what I can before even diving in to a new to me transmission design. That helps me know what to look out for.
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Old 07-28-2020, 07:29 PM   #15
54Merc
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Default Re: 54Merc Transmission Mystery

I took it back to the shop that overhauled it. It turned out he put a part on the shifting valve in the wrong slot. Now it works fine. Thanks all for your input.
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Old 07-29-2020, 10:33 AM   #16
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Default Re: 54Merc Transmission Mystery

Thanks for posting what caused the problem.

Sal
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