View Full Version : 53 commander tranny swap

08-27-2006, 07:00 PM
I have a 53 commander with a 58 289 the tranny is a 3 speed w/od what 4 speed trans will interchange if any.

08-27-2006, 07:33 PM
Your three speed /OD tranny is running on a 4.54 to 1 ratio rear axle. if you change to a four speed, change the rear end to 3.31 to 1.

I know, this doesn't answer your question, but after you change, you will wonder why the engine is cranking 3200 at 60 mph instead of 2400.

Tom Bredehoft
'53 Commander Coupe
'60 Lark VI
'05 Legacy Ltd Wagon
All three Indiana built cars

08-27-2006, 07:38 PM
There's no 4-spd that'll simply bolt on. Ideally, you'd find a Stude T-10 setup and the proper bellhousing to accomodate it. This'll mean dialing in that "new" bellhousing, devising clutch linkage (or maybe scaring it up from a later Hawk W/4spd.
As Tom said, unless you plan on storming the drag strip, you'll wanna change the rear gears too.:D

Miscreant at large.

1957 Transtar 1/2ton
1960 Larkvertible V8
1958 Provincial wagon
1953 Commander coupe
1957 President 2-dr
1955 President State
1951 Champion Biz cpe
1963 Daytona project FS

08-27-2006, 09:36 PM
I have two suggestions. First is to keep the three with overdrive. It is a fine transmission and when you have the overdrive working properly, it really is a 5 speed. You might convert it to a floor shift for maximun coolness. Maybe even a hand switch on the shift lever for the overdrive? If you don't like that idea, might I suggest you peruse this:
I think it will be easier and cheaper than what you plan. If all else fails, I do have a four speed bell housing I would be willing to part with, I think the Chevy pattern. I'm not sure, it is leftover from a long given up hot rod Hawk idea of mine.

08-29-2006, 08:46 AM
Thanks for the info so far it has already helped and to whacker it is already a floor shift but I do think I will put the switch on the shifter for the o/d it is currrently under the dash left of the column

08-29-2006, 09:41 AM
If the 3/OD is original you will need to cut out the driveshaft bearing support crossmember and have a one piece driveshaft made to accomodate any modern transmission, just so you know.

Personally I would leave the 3/OD in if it is working well. the gear spread is nice. I second the recommendation NOT to go to a 4-speed but straight to a 5-speed if you want to swap (do as I say not as I do - I do have a 4-speed in my '55 coupe but I was starting with an automatic car.)

As for the "switch" under the dash, that should be the lockout cable, there should be an electrical switch on the throttle linkage for the kickdown feature. It actually works nicely when properly adjusted and fully functional.

good luck,


55 Commander Starlight