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Overdrive options for our FL cars
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jboymechanic
Posted 2014-02-03 9:51 AM (#425634)
Subject: Overdrive options for our FL cars



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I have been going back and forth about what to do with my '56 Imperial in terms of overdrive. My original torqueflite has been rebuilt and I will start out using that with my 3.23 gears, but it would be so nice to have a more take off friendly gear ratio, like 3.90 or 4.10 and then an overdrive to make highway cruising more fuel friendly (and reduce engine wear and noise). Here are a few routes I've been thinking about and I'd love to know if anyone has tried these things and how well they work.

A518 conversion.
Pros: 1. Adapter kits readily available to connect trans to early Chrysler Hemis
2. A518 transmissions are readily available and cheap. I actually have one that I purchased on craigslist for $75. It will need a rebuild, but again parts are readily available and affordable compared to the original TF in the car
3. Good overdrive ratio of 0.69:1, changes final drive ratio in a car with a 3.90 rear axle to a very highway friendly 2.69
4. Depending on year trans, can opt for stall or lockup converter
Cons: 1. How can you adapt the push button controls to operate the A518 gear selection
2. Lose the trans parking brake that our cars were designed to use (I actually have a newer 8.75 rear end with emergency brakes that I could connect in place of the trans brake, but it would still require some work)
3. Modifications to the trans tunnel of the car and cross member may be required, drive shaft mods

Gear Vendors OD
Pros: 1. My imperial is long enough that it has a two piece drive shaft with carrier bearing on and chassis cross member. A divorced OD unit could replace the bearing on the cross member so it would be a relatively easy install
2. Gear Vendors unit can split gears so in affect giving the car 6 speeds
3. Electronic automatic controls
Cons: 1. Cost. New units are about $3,000, used ones in unknown condition still command about $1000
2. The overdrive ratio is 0.78:1. Using the same example as the A518, that turns 3.90 into a 3.04. I'd really like my final drive to be close to 2.76, which would then force me into 3.55 gears with the GV unit
3. Modifications to the trans tunnel of the car and cross member may be required, drive shaft mods

Hone-O-Drive
Pros: 1. Install would be similar to GV unit
2. 0.70:1 overdrive ratio
Cons: 1. Old ones are hard to find and expensive. New units start at $3,400 and bolt directly to a Ford 9" diff.
2. Would have to convert to Ford 9" diff
3. Drive shaft mods

Personally, I'd really like to go the A518 route if there is a way to use my original push buttons to select gears. I would really use the gear splitting of the GV unit and the Hone unit is a definite no if I would have to spend $3,400 and convert my rear axle assembly. I just think it would be so nice to have short gears to get the 4,800 pound monster moving and a tall final drive ratio to cruise on the freeway at 75 mph for several hours (plan on doing back to the '50s in the summers, a 6 hour drive for me if I can keep up with traffic). GV unit would be easy to do after the car is done as I wouldn't have to separate and drop the trans out of the car, but I wish they had a taller OD ratio. I guess a good question would be this: Would I really notice a big difference between 3.90 and 3.55 gears? The car is obviously not a race car, maybe the best idea is to get 3.55 gears and when I'm ready to add OD find a GV unit and adapt it in place of the drive shaft carrier bearing? I'd love to hear what others have done, what they like and if there are any regrets. Thanks for your thoughts.

Jon
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Powerflite
Posted 2014-02-03 4:44 PM (#425701 - in reply to #425634)
Subject: RE: Overdrive options for our FL cars



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Definitely the cheapest & best route to take is to go with the A518, and it will fit into your '56 without any trouble at all. You can get a cable setup from Imperial Services that will adapt directly to your pushbutton shifter without any issues. You only have to change the detent spring inside the trans. The hardest part about it is that it will require 3/8 tube connections to a trans cooler in the bottom tank of your radiator. Your radiator bottom tank isn't big enough to handle one of these coolers so you will need to have a good shop adapt a different bottom tank to your radiator. It isn't hard for them to do and not too expensive overall, but you need to have room for the radiator to expand down lower. You will also need some pressure switches to handle the lockup converter. This is what I am doing with my '57 Windsor. My '56 Plymouth will get a GM 700R4 that I will shift with the push buttons using a custom push-pull cable and bracketry just because I want to try it and I like the GM trans a little better than the A518.

If you decide to do the gear vendor route, there is a guy in Aromas, CA who is a licensed distributor of "P-type" Lay**** overdrives (gear-vendor is a trade-marked name and he can't legally use it). He sold me a fully rebuilt divorced type overdrive that he set up with electronics etc. for $1100. A lot less than GV. I am planning to use that in my '57 Dodge truck, but I would prefer an NP435 5-speed. It's just that I don't want to swap out the original dually rear axle and unique wheels that go with it as well as all the clutch conversion nightmare that would be required.
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jboymechanic
Posted 2014-02-03 5:32 PM (#425713 - in reply to #425634)
Subject: Re: Overdrive options for our FL cars



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I still have my original radiator, I was going to use a separate, dedicated trans cooler. I didn't think that my trans tunnel would require work and a trans cross member seems pretty straight forward to me. Also read about the pressure switch setup a PATC Performance Transmissions, again not a big deal.

Have you purchased a cable adapter kit from Imperial Services for your A518?
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Powerflite
Posted 2014-02-03 6:56 PM (#425728 - in reply to #425713)
Subject: Re: Overdrive options for our FL cars



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Yes, I did. It is pretty simple. Let me know if you would like a picture of it (uninstalled as of yet). It is simple enough, that with a custom push-pull cable, you could make up your own kit pretty quickly.

The A518 puts out a lot of heat and the typical 5/16 cooling tube isn't sufficient for it. You need 3/8. I don't recommend just using a separate cooler. Both would be best, but make sure the entire system uses 3/8 in order not to restrict flow.

Edited by Powerflite 2014-02-03 6:59 PM
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jboymechanic
Posted 2014-02-03 11:31 PM (#425761 - in reply to #425634)
Subject: Re: Overdrive options for our FL cars



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I would like to see a picture of what a $210 kit looks like. What about driving the original speedometer mechanically?
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BigBlockMopar
Posted 2014-02-04 4:20 AM (#425773 - in reply to #425634)
Subject: Re: Overdrive options for our FL cars



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I've put an A518 in my daily '73 Dart some time ago. It has a 3.91 gears in the rearaxle and a low cr 2-bbl 318.
If the engine was a bit torqier I would suggest using 3.55 or maybe 3.73 gears, just to lessen the highway-rpms a bit more if you like to cruise in the 60-70mph ranges for long times.
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Powerflite
Posted 2014-02-04 11:44 AM (#425815 - in reply to #425773)
Subject: Re: Overdrive options for our FL cars



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I use 3.23:1 gears with the mostly stock 318 4bbl/700R4 overdrive in a heavy '70 Satellite wagon. 2000 rpm at 70 mph is really nice. I tried 3.55 gears, but the slight benefit at the stoplight wasn't worth the higher rpm at 75mph so I went back to 3.23. Incidentally, the stock gears in the '89 Camaro that I took the 700R4 from had 2.93 in it so it was geared even higher. I tried that too, but my motor couldn't handle it. It would lug too much going up hills on the freeway. I will get you a picture in the next post. Stay tuned.......
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Powerflite
Posted 2014-02-04 11:59 AM (#425819 - in reply to #425761)
Subject: Re: Overdrive options for our FL cars



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Here is the picture of it. Personally, I think that it is a great product - even for the price. The only issue is sometimes it can be difficult to communicate with Imperial Services. But nevertheless, I would just buy it if you want to go with the A518.

You need to get a transmission that is from 1995 or earlier. These transmissions still use mechanical speedometers and are fully mechanical other than the torque converter lockup. I have a '95 trans for mine that came out of a large van with a 318.



(PushButton Conversion.jpg)



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Attachments PushButton Conversion.jpg (83KB - 220 downloads)
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57chizler
Posted 2014-02-04 1:09 PM (#425827 - in reply to #425634)
Subject: RE: Overdrive options for our FL cars



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I'd use the 700R4, smaller in overall dimensions.
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jboymechanic
Posted 2014-02-04 1:19 PM (#425829 - in reply to #425634)
Subject: Re: Overdrive options for our FL cars



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I just ordered the kit, I was very happy with the shift cable I had previously purchased from them (excellent quality). This kit looks like the quality is excellent as well. I have a 46RH trans, one with the 3 post plug so I can use a lock-up torque converter. I'll have to double check my speedo output, it was dark last night when I checked it out.
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Powerflite
Posted 2014-02-04 1:56 PM (#425833 - in reply to #425827)
Subject: RE: Overdrive options for our FL cars



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57chizler - 2014-02-04 10:09 AM

I'd use the 700R4, smaller in overall dimensions.


I prefer the 700R4 too, but making it work with the push buttons will require some design work. Nevertheless, I am committed to doing it for my '56. I will keep you all posted when it happens.
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jimntempe
Posted 2014-02-04 2:01 PM (#425835 - in reply to #425815)
Subject: Re: Overdrive options for our FL cars



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Powerflite - 2014-02-04 8:44 AM

I use 3.23:1 gears with the mostly stock 318 4bbl/700R4 overdrive in a heavy '70 Satellite wagon. 2000 rpm at 70 mph is really nice. I tried 3.55 gears, but the slight benefit at the stoplight wasn't worth the higher rpm at 75mph so I went back to 3.23. Incidentally, the stock gears in the '89 Camaro that I took the 700R4 from had 2.93 in it so it was geared even higher. I tried that too, but my motor couldn't handle it. It would lug too much going up hills on the freeway. I will get you a picture in the next post. Stay tuned.......


When you had the 2.93 gears in it was it noticeably slower, less snappy, taking off from a stoplight?
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GaryS
Posted 2014-02-04 3:04 PM (#425852 - in reply to #425634)
Subject: Re: Overdrive options for our FL cars



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What about the Park position when using pushbuttons and the Imperial cable?

My thoughts have been to use a linear actuator to move the cable and adapt the buttons to electronically select gears. It would require an additional switch for Park, but that wouldn't be a real problem as you could even use the parking brake handle to actuate a switch.
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Powerflite
Posted 2014-02-04 5:43 PM (#425875 - in reply to #425835)
Subject: Re: Overdrive options for our FL cars



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jimntempe - 2014-02-04 11:01 AM

When you had the 2.93 gears in it was it noticeably slower, less snappy, taking off from a stoplight?


Not really, because the 700R4 has such a low 1st gear 3.06:1 compared to 2.45:1 on the 727. That means that the 2.93 gears felt like 3.66 gears with a 727. The 3.23 gears I ended up with feel like the equivalent of 4.03 gears on a 727. It might be more of an issue with the A518 or 727.
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Powerflite
Posted 2014-02-04 5:56 PM (#425878 - in reply to #425852)
Subject: Re: Overdrive options for our FL cars



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GaryS - 2014-02-04 12:04 PM

What about the Park position when using pushbuttons and the Imperial cable?

My thoughts have been to use a linear actuator to move the cable and adapt the buttons to electronically select gears. It would require an additional switch for Park, but that wouldn't be a real problem as you could even use the parking brake handle to actuate a switch.


I have thought about that as well, but it really complicates the mechanism down at the trans because you would need to shift the whole bracket that is used to hold the cable connected to your push buttons. This will pull on the button cable as well, putting backward strain on the button mechanism - possibly causing it to pop into drive position while the trans is engaged in park! You could try some other method to prevent that, but I don't think it would be worth the trouble. It would be easier to eliminate the buttons and just shift the trans with a single cable connected to your parking brake. That would be a lot easier and would give you park, but you loose the cool factor of the buttons; which is the whole point.

As a result, I have given up on that idea and will just stick with the E-brake setup to the rear axle.
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GaryS
Posted 2014-02-04 8:43 PM (#425899 - in reply to #425878)
Subject: Re: Overdrive options for our FL cars



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Powerflite - 2014-02-04 4:56 PM

GaryS - 2014-02-04 12:04 PM

What about the Park position when using pushbuttons and the Imperial cable?

My thoughts have been to use a linear actuator to move the cable and adapt the buttons to electronically select gears. It would require an additional switch for Park, but that wouldn't be a real problem as you could even use the parking brake handle to actuate a switch.


I have thought about that as well, but it really complicates the mechanism down at the trans because you would need to shift the whole bracket that is used to hold the cable connected to your push buttons. This will pull on the button cable as well, putting backward strain on the button mechanism - possibly causing it to pop into drive position while the trans is engaged in park! You could try some other method to prevent that, but I don't think it would be worth the trouble. It would be easier to eliminate the buttons and just shift the trans with a single cable connected to your parking brake. That would be a lot easier and would give you park, but you loose the cool factor of the buttons; which is the whole point.

As a result, I have given up on that idea and will just stick with the E-brake setup to the rear axle.


The transmission would only have the single cable going to the shifter. I installed a cable shift on my '73 D100 truck by making a simple bracket to secure the generic cable at the transmission and designing a bell crank setup in the console that allowed me to use a front wheel drive Mopar console shifter.

My thought was to mount the actuator behind the dash, and use a stub cable from the pushbutton shifter to operate a sliding switch on a circuit board, which in turn controls the actuator position. In a non-stock interior with a custom console, the actuator and control board could be mounted inside the console instead of trying to fit everything behind the dash.

Since shifting would be controlled electronically, you could also use one of the TorqueFlite buttons for Park, or if you have a Powerflite and are not worried about a stock appearance, the shifter could be replaced with the TF buttons and a custom panel to fit the dash.

I wish I better understood actuators and control circuits, as there might be some response time issues to resolve. It also adds the complication of electronics...and Ford didn't do a very good a job with the '58 Edsel electric pushbuttons!
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jboymechanic
Posted 2014-02-04 8:56 PM (#425900 - in reply to #425634)
Subject: Re: Overdrive options for our FL cars



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Yeah, the technology just wasn't there yet for the Ford Edsel push button setup. Chrysler's mechanical setup was great, very reliable as the cable is way heavier than it needs to be.

I would also just use the parking brakes integrated into the rear brakes as well. I figure if one 7.5 inch drum could hold my 4,800 pound car, two 12 inches drums would be even better. Keeping the push buttons functional while gaining overdrive is the key.
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GregCon
Posted 2014-02-05 10:00 AM (#425958 - in reply to #425900)
Subject: Re: Overdrive options for our FL cars



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The A518 is not fully mechanical except the lockup - the OD is also electrically engaged.

Has anyone actually installed an A 518 into a FL car? Does it fit without floor pan mods?

I have a 46RH in my 66 Fury. It's a great setup in that the OD ratio is .69 which drops the 4.10's to less than 3.0. I never have understood why Gear Vendors bothers to make an OD then uses a crummy .78 ratio. My car uses the lockup converter which might as well be a 5th gear in that it eliminates all the slip. Plus when the slip disappears so does most of the heating.







Edited by GregCon 2014-02-05 10:05 AM
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jboymechanic
Posted 2014-02-05 10:40 AM (#425966 - in reply to #425634)
Subject: Re: Overdrive options for our FL cars



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I'm not sure about other FL cars, but the trans tunnel in my '56 Imp is very generous, I'm doubting any modifications will be required. It helps that the original TFs had the large brake drum at the end so the trans tunnels had to be large to the very end of the trans in order for the parking brake to fit. I also discovered that the electric speed sensor can simply be removed and be replaced with a mechanical speedo drive gear assembly out of a 727, so that problem is solved. Once I have the remainder of my chrome and interior paid for I plan on gathering some of the other required parts, the big one being the adapter kit to mount the 46RH to the 354 Hemi. I figure another advantage to this swap is having a trans that has readily available parts, I can already see how much more is available for these transmissions versus my old A466 (or is it A488?).

Greg, I couldn't agree with you more on the GV overdrive ratio, it's just not enough. Must have something to do with the gear splitting the unit also does, so probably compromised on the OD a little bit.

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wayfarer
Posted 2014-02-05 11:40 AM (#425970 - in reply to #425634)
Subject: Re: Overdrive options for our FL cars



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Many years ago I had some conversation with 'Rich' at Challenger Engineering in Monrovia, CA when he was looking at this conversion.
Does anyone in Kaliforeignia know of him or the business?
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Powerflite
Posted 2014-02-05 3:53 PM (#425999 - in reply to #425958)
Subject: Re: Overdrive options for our FL cars



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It definitely fits in a '55-'56. I have talked with 2 people who have done it without any cutting, but I haven't done it myself. As far as '57-up, RoyalGate, Handygun, and awrdoc on this site have done the swap and people generally say that it will fit without cutting the floor from '57-'61. Starting in around '62 with the new tunnel (depending on which model), all bets are off.
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57chizler
Posted 2014-02-05 4:24 PM (#426006 - in reply to #425833)
Subject: RE: Overdrive options for our FL cars



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Powerflite - 2014-02-04 10:56 AM
\I prefer the 700R4 too, but making it work with the push buttons will require some design work..


One problem you'll run into is the stiffness of the 700R4 shifter detent spring, the Mopar uses a simple coil spring for the detent so it's easy to find a weaker spring to go along with the PB shifter but the 700R4 uses a leaf spring with a roller on the end. It might be possible to use washers under the spring where it bolts to the case, lots of trial/error there.

The pic below shows the detent spring and rooster comb.



(700R4 close.jpg)



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BigBlockMopar
Posted 2014-02-06 3:55 AM (#426102 - in reply to #425634)
Subject: RE: Overdrive options for our FL cars



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For those who already installed a 518 in a FLWK, I wonder if the transmission can still be mounted high enough in the tunnel so the driveline angle is still correct and the oilpan doesn't hang much lower then normal.
The 518's have a deeper oilpan then stock transmissions.

I'm currently modifying a valvebody with a TransGo reprogramming kit in a 2nd 518 I have here. It also has a Lockup.
I will put the modified transmission in my daily and the swapped 518 will end up in one of my FWLKs.

Since I have a 518 at hand at the moment, I could try and wheel it under my '59 Dodge on the carlift to check for fitment in the tunnel.
This car will ride low when built one day, and I don't want to have an oilpan sticking out below, trying to hookup with every manhole-cover in town..

Edited by BigBlockMopar 2014-02-06 3:58 AM




(IMG_3127web.jpg)



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GregCon
Posted 2014-02-06 7:21 AM (#426115 - in reply to #426102)
Subject: Re: Overdrive options for our FL cars



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The extension housing in my trans has both a mechanical and electrical output for the speedo. They did this in a couple years as they transitioned. So you can look for one of those. Or you can find a housing with either ...early had the mechanical, late had the electronic.
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57chizler
Posted 2014-02-06 6:25 PM (#426189 - in reply to #426115)
Subject: Re: Overdrive options for our FL cars



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Actually, the tailhousing and speedo drive are the same but some have an electronic signal generator threaded onto the speedo drive.
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GregCon
Posted 2014-02-06 8:50 PM (#426210 - in reply to #425634)
Subject: Re: Overdrive options for our FL cars



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Nope....for your viewing pleasure see below.

Top - boss for VSS, undrilled/tapped - this is the version when they were planning to have a VSS but had not implemented it yet
Middle - boss for VSS drilled and tapped - this is the version when they had implemented a VSS
Bottom - no boss for VSS at all - this is the version when they had never heard of a VSS...



(46rh extension housing.jpg)



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GregCon
Posted 2014-02-06 11:20 PM (#426228 - in reply to #426210)
Subject: Re: Overdrive options for our FL cars



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BTW.....the reason that boss is located where it is? It is taking its pulses off the teeth of the park wheel.
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57chizler
Posted 2014-02-07 1:41 PM (#426263 - in reply to #426210)
Subject: Re: Overdrive options for our FL cars



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GregCon - 2014-02-06 5:50 PM

Nope....for your viewing pleasure see below.


My bad, I missed the "both" in your post.
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GregCon
Posted 2014-02-07 1:49 PM (#426265 - in reply to #426263)
Subject: Re: Overdrive options for our FL cars



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There actually is an electronic sensor that fits into the mech speedo hole as well.....but then of course you lose the mechanical output. In my car use the mech output for the speedo and the electronic output for the PCM.
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GregCon
Posted 2014-02-08 9:48 AM (#426380 - in reply to #425634)
Subject: Re: Overdrive options for our FL cars



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For those who care....here is a pic of a couple devices I dug out of my speedo gear collection:

Top: Converts the mechanical speedo drive to an electrical signal, i.e. a generator. This is a mid-90's creation as far as I know.


Bottom: Inline with the speedo cable, this allows the mechanical speedo to still work but also creates an electrical pulse (also a generator). This is from the 70's..I was told they were used in things like taxi cabs that needed a mileage count the meters could understand.



(speedo generators.jpg)



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ttotired
Posted 2014-02-08 6:45 PM (#426449 - in reply to #425634)
Subject: Re: Overdrive options for our FL cars



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Inline pulse generators should still be available, they are used on trucks (earlier ,70s,80s), classic rally cars for their trip computer things ect

If you contact a gauge repair place, they will either have them on the shelf or should be able to soarce one for you.

You will have to cut the cable and have ends put on for it, but, just thinking, I think you can also get ones that are like the inline ones, but fit in the hole and still give cable drive?

Not sure on that one

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jboymechanic
Posted 2014-02-27 9:11 AM (#429169 - in reply to #425634)
Subject: Re: Overdrive options for our FL cars



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Well I'm ready to purchase the transmission adapter kit. I'm looking at two kits, one from Hot Hemi Heads and one from Willcap. Links to the two adapters are below, I'm leaning toward the Hot Hemi Heads setup.

http://www.hothemiheads.com/transmission_adapters/adapter_torquefli...

http://www.wilcap.com/Hemi.html#392318
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canyouheminow
Posted 2014-02-27 2:27 PM (#429194 - in reply to #425634)
Subject: Re: Overdrive options for our FL cars



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I just purchased a hot heads adaptor for the 700r.Everything lines up nice
and the price was cheaper than wilcap.
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canyouheminow
Posted 2014-02-27 2:50 PM (#429198 - in reply to #425634)
Subject: Re: Overdrive options for our FL cars



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I found this linear actuator and controller that might be able to be used
for shifting a 700r by pushbuttons. It claims that you can use momentary switches
once it is programmed.
http://www.speedwaymotors.com/Linear-Actuator-Controller-for-12-Vol...
http://www.speedwaymotors.com/Linear-Actuator-12-Volt-Motor,7478.ht...
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Powerflite
Posted 2014-02-27 4:01 PM (#429204 - in reply to #429198)
Subject: Re: Overdrive options for our FL cars



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The 4" stroke at 110 lbs should be more than enough to get the job done, but the controller only has 3 preset positions. So all you could do is Park, Reverse, and Overdrive. Nothing else. That stinks, but I guess those are the essentials. But I would prefer a mechanical solution just because that's the way they originally did it and I try to avoid all forms of electronics if possible. :P
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canyouheminow
Posted 2014-02-27 7:13 PM (#429219 - in reply to #425634)
Subject: Re: Overdrive options for our FL cars



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If you use the double pole-double throw momentary switch that they sell,with the 4" stroke actuator
the switch could be wired to change polarity of the actuator to move it in and out.With this setup you could
run the actuator through all gears. Of course the problem would be figuring out what gear you are in, and when
to let off of the switch. The actuator moves at .50inch per second, adding a longer lever to the shifting shaft
would slow it down.
I am almost ready to use a floor shifter but would like the interior to look more stock,however I might buy a
actuator just to play with.
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57chizler
Posted 2014-02-28 2:40 PM (#429310 - in reply to #429219)
Subject: Re: Overdrive options for our FL cars



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Location: NorCal
canyouheminow - 2014-02-27 4:13 PM

If you use the double pole-double throw momentary switch that they sell,with the 4" stroke actuator
the switch could be wired to change polarity of the actuator to move it in and out.With this setup you could
run the actuator through all gears. Of course the problem would be figuring out what gear you are in, and when
to let off of the switch.


Dakota Digital (and others) makes a gear position indicator, I've got one on 700R4 with a mechanical shifter.

http://www.dakotadigital.com/index.cfm/page/ptype=product/product_i...
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jboymechanic
Posted 2014-04-28 9:56 PM (#438381 - in reply to #425634)
Subject: Re: Overdrive options for our FL cars



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Location: Muskego, WI
I just received my cable kit from Imperial Services and I just ordered my transmission adapter from Hot Hemi Heads.
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Powerflite
Posted 2014-04-28 10:57 PM (#438386 - in reply to #438381)
Subject: Re: Overdrive options for our FL cars



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Location: So. California
I just got the c-body axle for my overdrive swap outfitted with 11x2.5" brakes that should be adequate to replace the original 12" brakes.
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jboymechanic
Posted 2017-10-02 11:32 PM (#549651 - in reply to #425634)
Subject: Re: Overdrive options for our FL cars



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Location: Muskego, WI
Just replying so I can find this info easier. May finally dig into my 46RH.
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