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View Full Version : Transmission: T85 question. (Jack Vines?)



mbstude
08-04-2013, 03:02 PM
I am wondering if it's practical to use a truck T85 (T89) 3 speed overdrive in a car. Are the truck and car ratios different? I'm assuming the truck trans will probably produce more whine in 1st gear, or no?

I've found a local car that needs the (V8) engine and (overdrive) trans freshened up. I have a good 259 and truck T85. Just trying to plan it all out before I decide to buy the car.

PackardV8
08-04-2013, 03:16 PM
Yes, if you bring along the bell housing and dial it in, the T89 is a bolt-in to the '51-57 cars with two piece driveshafts. A '58-64 car wouldn't require a bellhousing change but would have to be retrofitted with a two-piece driveshaft.

The T89 shift levers are slightly different and a car with a column shift, the T86 shifter rods may or may not be able to be modified to work. Even T85 car and T89 truck shift levers are slightly different. Since I put Hurst floor shifts in all my cars and trucks, I don't have a lot of first hand experience on column shift rod interchange.

Yes, the T89 will produce noticeably more whine in first gear. It sounds like an old truck. The plus side is the lower first gear jumps off the line quicker and second overdrive is perfectly spaced half-way between second and third. This makes it fun to split the shifts and use it like a 5-speed.

Borg-Warner T89 Truck ratios: 3.17, 1.75, 1.00, .722, r3.666
Borg-Warner T85 Car ratios: 2.49, 1.59, 1.00, .722, r3.154

jack vines

mbstude
08-04-2013, 03:43 PM
Thanks Jack, I was certainly hoping you'd respond. That's exactly what I wanted to know.

The car is a '55 Commander C body with a '58 Packard 289. Has an OD trans, but I don't know which one. I assume it's probably the trans the car came with, but wouldn't it be something if it were a long-tail T85 from the Packard? Don't know yet. If the car has the '55 (non T85) trans in it, I was thinking about using the truck trans I have. I can live with the gear whine, and the lower 1st gear is also tempting.

A friend has already offered up the use of an NOS Fenton floor shifter. If this pans out, this car will be replacing my high-mileage Ford pickup as my only car. Hopefully I can pull it off, the thought of daily driving a Stude again gets me grinnin'.

StudeRich
08-04-2013, 03:48 PM
Jack, wouldn't a Car '55 to '57 V8 Bell Housing be needed, I seem to remember they were the more square bolt pattern than '58-'64 Cars. It seems like it would be a lot of fabrication to put a Truck Bell Housing in a Car, right?

It also matters quite a bit as to what year Matt's 259 Car Engine and Clutch Housing, Truck T-89 and the Car they go into.

UPDATE: I see while I was (slowly) typing this you added a lot of good info Matt.
A long Tail '58 T-85 O.D. would be the Cats Pajamas alright. :!: Unfortunately I believe they were only in '58 Golden Hawks, but on a car with mixed parts anything is possible.

Now that we know you MAY have a '58 Clutch housing, if so it would totally be a bolt in, just match the Trans. bolt pattern to the Clutch Housing whichever one fits.

StudeRich
08-04-2013, 04:10 PM
You know Jack, Jon Myer once showed me a T-85 install kit he had pulled from a '64 Daytona HT, back when we were neighbors in So. Cal.

This was the slickest thing I have ever seen, someone had used a short bed Champ Truck driveline that had the male spline shaft on the front end of a one piece shaft, then a short "jackshaft" Yoke deal, plugged into it with a female spline slip joint that would bolt up to the flange of the short tail tranny. Totally shear GENIUS! No worries about adding a center support crossmember or anything! :!:

mbstude
08-04-2013, 04:33 PM
Thanks, Rich. :cool:

I can make the trans fit by mixing and matching parts easily enough. I was just curious as to how "practical" the truck tranny would be in a car. Looks like it's a decent option if I end up going that route. (Assuming I actually buy the car, of course).

Thanks again, fellas.

JoeHall
08-04-2013, 08:50 PM
I have had a truck T85 in the work horse 62GT for a many years & many miles now. I had a drive-shaft with floating front yoke made for it, to avoid going to a 2-piece. It is column shifted; shifts smooth; low gear has a little whine, but no big deal. The lower 1st, 2nd, and reverse gears work great with a 3.54 rear end, but may be a little too low with a 3.92 or up. I used a car bell housing.

mbstude
08-04-2013, 08:56 PM
I have had a truck T85 in the work horse 62GT for a many years & many miles now. I had a drive-shaft with floating front yoke made for it, to avoid going to a 2-piece. It is column shifted; shifts smooth; low gear has a little whine, but no big deal. The lower 1st, 2nd, and reverse gears work great with a 3.54 rear end, but may be a little too low with a 3.92 or up. I used a car bell housing.

Perfect!! If it works for Joe Hall, it'll work for me.

GThawkwind
08-04-2013, 10:16 PM
Thanks Jack, I was certainly hoping you'd respond. That's exactly what I wanted to know.

The car is a '55 Commander C body with a '58 Packard 289. Has an OD trans, but I don't know which one. I assume it's probably the trans the car came with, but wouldn't it be something if it were a long-tail T85 from the Packard? Don't know yet. If the car has the '55 (non T85) trans in it, I was thinking about using the truck trans I have. I can live with the gear whine, and the lower 1st gear is also tempting.

A friend has already offered up the use of an NOS Fenton floor shifter. If this pans out, this car will be replacing my high-mileage Ford pickup as my only car. Hopefully I can pull it off, the thought of daily driving a Stude again gets me grinnin'.
Now I read a lot of old threads on your adventures but I'm still a little behind, what happened to that early fifties truck you were getting after the wagon left?

GThawkwind
08-05-2013, 12:09 AM
Are all the truck trannys short tail shaft? I know a guy here in town with a truck trans but he says its a T86.

JoeHall
08-05-2013, 06:38 AM
Are all the truck trannys short tail shaft? I know a guy here in town with a truck trans but he says its a T86.
AFAIK all Stude truck trannys are short tailed. If someone has a T86 in a Stude truck, it was probably installed sometime after it left the factory. The T86 was short tailed, till 1958. The T85 used in 56-58 Golden Hawks was short tailed in 56-57, then went to long tail in 1958. But it was always short tailed in trucks, through 1964.

The T85 is far superior to the T86, in terms of durability. It has about the same guts as a T10. Matter of fact, T10 synchronizer rings will fit it.

The 1958 is hard to find nowdays, but I ran an NOS one for 100,000 miles in a GT, till I listened to someone who advised me a T86 was more driver friendly, i.e. easier to shift. I replaced that long tailed T85 with a long tailed T86, and threw it away after the 3rd time of having to remove it to fix it in around 65,000 miles. I replaced it with a short tailed T85 about 100,000 miles ago, and have never looked back.

mbstude
08-05-2013, 07:18 AM
Now I read a lot of old threads on your adventures but I'm still a little behind, what happened to that early fifties truck you were getting after the wagon left?

As soon as I sold the '57 wagon, I bought a '53 pickup that had 14K original miles on it. And it was by far the nicest Stude I will probably ever own. But.. I also really thinned out my wallet to buy it, and it was a "should I keep the truck, or pay rent?" type of situation. It went to a great home. I've been without a Stude for well over a year now, and just happened across this '55 coupe that's in my price range.

PackardV8
08-05-2013, 10:31 AM
If someone has a T86 in a Stude truck, it was probably installed sometime after it left the factory.

Joe's right, but some may not have enough info and think not. In a technical discussion correct terminology is everything. Just as the truck version of the T85 is a T89, I think the truck version of the T86 is a T90. some of the truck guys will straighten this out for us, but the top cover trannies were used in many of the 6-cyls and early V8s. I don't remember the T89 becoming standard until the 289" was offered as an option in pickups.

And yes, I'd agree the T85/T89 is a far superior in terms of strength and durability. Even the R11 overdrive portion is far stronger than the R10 used in the smaller trannies.

FWIW, a bit of trivia; the T85 was used in factory muscle cars such as the FoMoCo 390", Mopar 413 and 426" up until 1962-'63 when they switched to the 4-speed T10.

jack vines.

GThawkwind
08-05-2013, 11:42 AM
Joe's right, but some may not have enough info and think not. In a technical discussion correct terminology is everything. Just as the truck version of the T85 is a T89, I think the truck version of the T86 is a T90. some of the truck guys will straighten this out for us, but the top cover trannies were used in many of the 6-cyls and early V8s. I don't remember the T89 becoming standard until the 289" was offered as an option in pickups.

And yes, I'd agree the T85/T89 is a far superior in terms of strength and durability. Even the R11 overdrive portion is far stronger than the R10 used in the smaller trannies.

FWIW, a bit of trivia; the T85 was used in factory muscle cars such as the FoMoCo 390", Mopar 413 and 426" up until 1962-'63 when they switched to the 4-speed T10.

jack vines.
It's a later 259 and three speed OD out of a truck, I believe it's the trans that was always connected to this trucks 259. I don't if that narrows it down to being a T89 or not. I should go look at it, and just see I think the tranny all by itself could be had for a decent price.

PackardV8
08-05-2013, 12:18 PM
Removable cast cover plate with shifter arms = T85/T89

Stamped steel top cover = T86/T90 or T96.

The identifying numbers are always cast into the housing, but sometimes obscured by Studebaker rust proofing.

The T89 will always have a T85 housing and tailshaft. It's the innards which are T89.

jack vines