Go Back   The Ford Barn > General Discussion > Early V8 (1932-53)

Sponsored Links (Register now to hide all advertisements)

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 03-31-2014, 06:50 PM   #21
Mac VP
Senior Member
 
Mac VP's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Cincinnati, OH
Posts: 1,208
Default Re: 55 Thunderbird Gears in 39 Trans

Last year we purchased a pickup truck load of used and NOS Ford trans parts from some nice guys in western Michigan. After getting home and sorting thru everything, I set the 51a-7061 mainshafts in the bin. When I went to use one a few weeks later, I couldn't get the 01A-7100 low/rev gear to slide on. I've been down that road before so I grabbed a 1A-7100 gear and tested the fit on the splines....perfect! In all other respects the main shaft was identical to an ordinary 51A-7061 closed drive shaft.

There was no box. There was no marking of any kind on the shaft. I finished the job with a regular 51a shaft but put the oddball aside. I did a test fit to assemble this shaft in a normal 78 case with 81A shifter assy. Used the 51-54 cluster gear (1A-7113) plus the 28 tooth 1A-7100 slider, a 1A-7141 rev idler, the 1A-7102 second gear, and a 1C-7017 main drive gear, and the usual 8M-7124 synchro assy. In other words I built a "39 style" closed drive trans using the 51-54 gears. It fit and worked perfectly. Ended up building two trannies for customers who wanted the slightly higher gear ratios this delivered, and sold the combo of gear to another customer who built it itself.

I scoured ALL my gear catalogs and could not find any reference to this shaft. To this day I still wonder who made them. I'd love to come up with a few more.
__________________
VANPELT SALES LLC
Cincinnati, Ohio
Office: 513-724-9486
www.vanpeltsales.com
www.classictransmission.com
Mac VP is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-31-2014, 07:20 PM   #22
Bruce Lancaster
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Madison, NJ
Posts: 5,230
Default Re: 55 Thunderbird Gears in 39 Trans

One place that MIGHT give an origin for the oddball shaft...
Don Francisco, HRM tech guru long ago, did a tech on use of Lincoln Zephyr gears somewhere around 1956. At the time LZ gears sets were offered by the speed equipment industry for the various later transmissions with all sorts of special hardware like small type input shafts. This stuff was offered in kits of increasing complexity and price into '54-55...perhaps the odd shaft was a speed equipment offering and not from any OEM application, like the small input gears. The article was published in several formats in Petersen books and Car Craft, but I believe the most detail was in the HRM article.
Bruce Lancaster is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links (Register now to hide all advertisements)
Old 03-31-2014, 07:26 PM   #23
Bruce Lancaster
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Madison, NJ
Posts: 5,230
Default Re: 55 Thunderbird Gears in 39 Trans

On that SM article...Zephyr gears are HIGHER and so offer less torque multiplication than For 28 or 29. Ford used them in the Lincolns with 4.44 gears to get that torque back up, adding a 30% overdrive to avoid killing the cruising speed.
Used alone with normal rear gears in a 3,000 pound car with a mild flathead, I would expect them to slow down acceleration under most circumstances. I think successful uses were in light roadsters with big strokers and stiff gearing. The most extreme ones, the 25 tooth, are starting to approach a 4 speed trans with first gear missing.
I think for most people with mild engines and full bodied cars, the 28 tooth Ford set is likely superior.
Bruce Lancaster is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-31-2014, 09:11 PM   #24
Mac VP
Senior Member
 
Mac VP's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Cincinnati, OH
Posts: 1,208
Default Re: 55 Thunderbird Gears in 39 Trans

If you read the last paragraph in that old article, you will note that the t-Bird gears' ratio is nearly identical to the 26T LZ gears. I'll grant that the 55 Bird gears are a bit stouter than the LZ gears, but you don't have to line bore the case to make them fit the gearbox. Plus (and I am not in my office to check this right now) I think the Bird input shaft is longer than the Ford or LZ input shaft....requiring some remachining of the shaft to shorten and extend the clutch hub splines to the rear.

No question that a fire breathing hemi will most likely chew up the modest Ford gearbox and spit it out in hot oily pieces. Probably a better idea to figure out another transmission that is beefy in every component.

The comments about using the LZ gears or any other high (close ratio) gears are spot on when taking into consideration the weight and power of the vehicle. These will not necessarily deliver the kind of performance the driver was hoping for.

Allow me to step back up on my soapbox once more for a moment. We all drive late model cars (even if not as your daily driver). What happens when you climb in behind the wheel of that old flathead Ford? For a few minutes or hours, you are your father....or your grandfather.....just driving the cool old car as they did. It's a time machine with all it's unique quirks, it's special sounds, and the smell of warm oil slowly burning off that drip on the engine. So the trans isn't fully synchronized? So it has only three forward speeds? Learn to love it for what it was....and is now. Pull your fedora down over your brow and head on down the road....
__________________
VANPELT SALES LLC
Cincinnati, Ohio
Office: 513-724-9486
www.vanpeltsales.com
www.classictransmission.com
Mac VP is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-31-2014, 09:47 PM   #25
ford38v8
Senior Member
 
ford38v8's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: SF Bay Area
Posts: 5,586
Default Re: 55 Thunderbird Gears in 39 Trans

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mac VP View Post
...Allow me to step back up on my soapbox once more for a moment. We all drive late model cars (even if not as your daily driver). What happens when you climb in behind the wheel of that old flathead Ford? For a few minutes or hours, you are your father....or your grandfather.....just driving the cool old car as they did. It's a time machine with all it's unique quirks, it's special sounds, and the smell of warm oil slowly burning off that drip on the engine. So the trans isn't fully synchronized? So it has only three forward speeds? Learn to love it for what it was....and is now. Pull your fedora down over your brow and head on down the road....
Well said, Mac.
__________________
Alan
ford38v8 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-01-2014, 01:53 AM   #26
Fairlane500
Senior Member
 
Fairlane500's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Christchurch, New Zealand "The Shaky City"
Posts: 243
Default Re: 55 Thunderbird Gears in 39 Trans

Sponsored Links (Register now to hide all advertisements)
Allow me to step back up on my soapbox once more for a moment. We all drive late model cars (even if not as your daily driver). What happens when you climb in behind the wheel of that old flathead Ford? For a few minutes or hours, you are your father....or your grandfather.....just driving the cool old car as they did. It's a time machine with all it's unique quirks, it's special sounds, and the smell of warm oil slowly burning off that drip on the engine. So the trans isn't fully synchronized? So it has only three forward speeds? Learn to love it for what it was....and is now. Pull your fedora down over your brow and head on down the road....[/QUOTE]

Thanks Mac,

I get all the above, that's why I want to retain the 3 speed and not cop out for a t5, but I also like to push the boundaries and get the best result and most enjoyment you can whilst out on the road, and the idea of tinkering and stepping outside the square for that is why I am curious. Sure its easy to mail order a set of Repo zephyr gears, but that's hardly a challenge is it! Thanks again. JG
__________________
Life is not a dress rehearsal...
Fairlane500 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-01-2014, 05:16 AM   #27
Mac VP
Senior Member
 
Mac VP's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Cincinnati, OH
Posts: 1,208
Default Re: 55 Thunderbird Gears in 39 Trans

I understand the curious tinkering. I've done plenty of that with our old Ford trannies.
__________________
VANPELT SALES LLC
Cincinnati, Ohio
Office: 513-724-9486
www.vanpeltsales.com
www.classictransmission.com
Mac VP is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-01-2014, 11:33 AM   #28
scooder
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 2,573
Default Re: 55 Thunderbird Gears in 39 Trans

While were talking about different gears in early Ford transmissions, probably one for Mac. 1949-51 Merc overdrive trans. (the ones with the small bell like 32-48 trans. Do these gears n stuff work on the post 1939 main shaft? Just out of curiosity really, or do these have a different helix on the main shaft, been told there different at some point but would like to know for sure.
Thanks in advance,
Martin.
scooder is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-01-2014, 12:27 PM   #29
rotorwrench
Senior Member
 
rotorwrench's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: San Antonio, Texas
Posts: 13,004
Default Re: 55 Thunderbird Gears in 39 Trans

I'm fairly well versed in the 49 thru early 51 Merc cogboxes and they used the same intermediate gear and low/reverse slider as the earlier Ford 3-speeds 51A and 21C prefixes respectively. Just the main output shaft & case was different and there were the two types. Trans with overdrive and trans without.

It's the later 51 and on stuff that is all different with respect to Ford & Mercury to early 3-speeds.
rotorwrench is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-01-2014, 05:25 PM   #30
scooder
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 2,573
Default Re: 55 Thunderbird Gears in 39 Trans

Cheers for that Mr wrench.
Martin.
scooder is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-01-2014, 05:55 PM   #31
Ol' Ron
Senior Member
 
Ol' Ron's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Chester Vt
Posts: 7,979
Default Re: 55 Thunderbird Gears in 39 Trans

For the 49-54 crowed, why not the T-85 with OD. It's abolt in, don't even have to open the case.
Ol' Ron is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-01-2014, 09:46 PM   #32
Barn Junk
Senior Member
 
Barn Junk's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: WA state
Posts: 768
Default Re: 55 Thunderbird Gears in 39 Trans

I think the goal with this thread is to try and get the most (strength, performance and effective gearing) out of the old 39 3-speed to maintain the early Ford closed drive rear end.
Barn Junk is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-01-2014, 10:27 PM   #33
scrain
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Sand Springs,Ok
Posts: 1
Default Re: 55 Thunderbird Gears in 39 Trans

Quote:
Originally Posted by okiedokie View Post
Jim Perkins here in Tulsa made those very mods to 39 transmissions. I am unsure if he sold any or not but I do know he did some. Unfortunately Jim's health is failing and I understand his family is moving him to an Alzimers [spl] care facility. One of the most knowledgeable Ford guys around here. A great loss to our area. I have no idea what happened to the trannys he did.
At '82 years old, over the last (3) years, Jim Perkins has endured the replacement of both knees, and a few nagging health issues. He is currently living in his home, having a number of friends that offer assistance. He drives himself everyday for his errands and needs. He has been a long standing advertiser in Hemmings. (Jim's Trans.-Tulsa, Okla.) Currently, he prefers to deal with local customers only.
About the T-Bird gears/'39 trans mods. I understood Jim's thoughts.
Jim had NOS '56 T-Bird, 3-speed gearsets. I said "lets do it". I am driving this sweet trans in my "orphan looking", 21-stud '35 Ford, 5 w. rumble seat coupe. I don't feel free in talking about the machine work , parts numbers, or specific measurements. That info is Jim's, not mine.
Nationwide, people know Jim. For those that are interested, he is currently featured in The Rodder's Journal "Scrapbook". Go to Chapter #10, pages 178-197. Read about the experiences of Jim Perkins, Homer Ward, and Art Maimbourg. All are still with us, representing a wealth of Early V-8 Ford knowledge, that we should be lucky to have ourselves.

Steve Crain

Last edited by scrain; 04-03-2014 at 11:40 PM. Reason: spelling
scrain is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-02-2014, 03:54 AM   #34
Fairlane500
Senior Member
 
Fairlane500's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Christchurch, New Zealand "The Shaky City"
Posts: 243
Default Re: 55 Thunderbird Gears in 39 Trans

Quote:
Originally Posted by Barn Junk View Post
I think the goal with this thread is to try and get the most (strength, performance and effective gearing) out of the old 39 3-speed to maintain the early Ford closed drive rear end.
Yes sir!
__________________
Life is not a dress rehearsal...
Fairlane500 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-02-2014, 03:58 AM   #35
Fairlane500
Senior Member
 
Fairlane500's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Christchurch, New Zealand "The Shaky City"
Posts: 243
Default Re: 55 Thunderbird Gears in 39 Trans

Quote:
Originally Posted by scrain View Post
At '82 years old, over the last (3) years, Jim Perkins has endured the replacement of both knees, and a few nagging health issues. He is currently living in his home, having a number of friends that offer assistance. He drives himself everyday for his errands and needs. He has been a long standing advertiser in Hemmings. (Jim's Trans.-Tulsa, Okla.) Currently, he prefers to deal with local customers only.
About the T-Bird gears/'39 trans mods. I understood Jim's thoughts.
Jim had NOS '56 T-Bird, 3-speed gearsets. I said "lets do it". I am driving this sweet trans in my "orphan looking", 21-stud '35 Ford, 5 w. rumble seat coupe. I don't feel free in talking about the machine work , parts numbers, or specific measurements. That info is Jim's, not mine.
Nationwide, people know Jim. For those that are interested, he is currently featured in The Rodder's Journal "Scrapbook". Go to Chapter #10, pages 178-197. Read about the experiences of Jim Perkins, Homer Ward, and Art Maimbourg. All are still with us, representing a wealth of Early V-8 Ford knowledge, that we should be lucking to have ourselves.

Steve Crain
That's great that your evidence of it being done and successfully, I respect your thoughts on Jims Intellectual Property, but it would be great to pass the torch too! If Jim is ok with it I would like to know how and what he did to achieve it! Regards, JG
__________________
Life is not a dress rehearsal...
Fairlane500 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-02-2014, 11:38 AM   #36
34billct
Senior Member
 
34billct's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: westport ct.
Posts: 166
Default Re: 55 Thunderbird Gears in 39 Trans

[QUOTE=Mac VP;85136

Allow me to step back up on my soapbox once more for a moment. We all drive late model cars (even if not as your daily driver). What happens when you climb in behind the wheel of that old flathead Ford? For a few minutes or hours, you are your father....or your grandfather.....just driving the cool old car as they did. It's a time machine with all it's unique quirks, it's special sounds, and the smell of warm oil slowly burning off that drip on the engine. So the trans isn't fully synchronized? So it has only three forward speeds? Learn to love it for what it was....and is now. Pull your fedora down over your brow and head on down the road....[/QUOTE]
Mac You nailed it. My Mantra
34billct is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-02-2014, 01:45 PM   #37
Fairlane500
Senior Member
 
Fairlane500's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Christchurch, New Zealand "The Shaky City"
Posts: 243
Default Re: 55 Thunderbird Gears in 39 Trans

Quote:
Originally Posted by Turdytoo View Post
Are the parts available? What does a scrounger need to be looking for?
To date all I have is this article an at least three peoples say so that they have done it, some have used 56 Thunderbird gear sets, the article states 55 T Bird gear set. I have procured a set of the article stated part numbered gears so will see how it looks on arrival. Watch this space,
__________________
Life is not a dress rehearsal...

Last edited by Fairlane500; 04-30-2014 at 04:03 AM.
Fairlane500 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-11-2014, 04:51 PM   #38
Fairlane500
Senior Member
 
Fairlane500's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Christchurch, New Zealand "The Shaky City"
Posts: 243
Default Re: 55 Thunderbird Gears in 39 Trans

Well the first the 55 Thunderbird gears arrived today and dimensionally it looks good, fits the case etc, eagerly awaiting some more to arrive from stateside to see how this is going to fly!
__________________
Life is not a dress rehearsal...
Fairlane500 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-19-2014, 11:08 PM   #39
Fairlane500
Senior Member
 
Fairlane500's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Christchurch, New Zealand "The Shaky City"
Posts: 243
Default Re: 55 Thunderbird Gears in 39 Trans

So far the input and cluster have arrived and both fit in there respective positions ok, the input will need shorted to suit but that is no biggie. The gears are definitely "stouter" looking than the 39 style gear set. I was hoping to have everything to have a play around over the Easter break, but no go.

Still appreciate any info from anyone who has achieved this or has a transmission equipped with these gear sets.

JG
__________________
Life is not a dress rehearsal...
Fairlane500 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-31-2014, 03:32 AM   #40
Fairlane500
Senior Member
 
Fairlane500's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Christchurch, New Zealand "The Shaky City"
Posts: 243
Default Re: 55 Thunderbird Gears in 39 Trans

Pretty much have everything for this project now bar awaiting some Thunderbird bearings. Loosely assembled in the case its interesting just how close the gear sets are. Different for sure but this project is not as technical as I first thought. I have found a machine shop that specialises in gear cutting and the guy tells me he has done one before awhile back for a guy, so nothing new here!
__________________
Life is not a dress rehearsal...
Fairlane500 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

Sponsored Links (Register now to hide all advertisements)


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 11:13 PM.