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Thread: Top Cruise Speeds Question

  1. #1
    Commander Member MikeK's Avatar
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    Top Cruise Speeds Question

    I am planning on driving my '55 E-12 from NJ to RI for the Meet in Warwick at end of June...I have only driven locally without getting on any hyways. I understand this truck may not be a speed demon so I am curious as to what the avg cruising speed is...I have the Original V8 224ci 2bbl carb , 3 speed trans w OD and Timken rear axle with a 4.857 ratio.

    with the speed restrictions i need to plan my aprox 6hr route avoiding interstates.

    TY Mike K
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    My 1955 E12

  2. #2
    Silver Hawk Member Swifster's Avatar
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    So when you've been driving the truck, what speed are you at when the RPM's are at 3000-3500? May need to hook up a tach. Before interstates, the happy zone was around 45 MPH. If you are around 3500 RPM's and doing 50 MPH, or even 4000 RPM's at around 55 MPH, you should be good. If you can do 55, stay in the right lane. Most interstates have a minimum speed of 40 MPH (no, I'm not suggesting that). But running thru large urban areas (hello, New York?) the max speed limit is usually 50 or 55.
    Tom - Bradenton, FL

    1964 Studebaker Daytona - 289 4V, 4-Speed (Cost To Date: $2514.10)
    1964 Studebaker Commander - 170 1V, 3-Speed w/OD

  3. #3
    Golden Hawk Member StudeRich's Avatar
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    I am thinking that little short stroker is going to be really spinning at 55 MPH with probably 4.88 Gears even in Overdrive.

    I have never seen a 4.857 listed in the Studebaker Truck Parts Catalog, but if you had your druthers, a 4.09 would be ideal.
    StudeRich
    Second Generation Stude Driver,
    Proud '54 Starliner Owner




  4. #4
    Silver Hawk Member JoeHall's Avatar
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    Looking at your truck, tire size, OD, and rear end ratio, I'd think 55-65 MPH, all day long, no problem whatsoever. It will be interesting to hear your speed and MPG when you get home from the trip. Hope you'll keep us posted.

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    If your rear axle is in fact 4.85, then in overdrive it would be 3.50 and the engine would cruise all day at 65-70.

    FWIW, I have a '55 E12 with 4.10 rear gear and after several miles at 60 MPH+ and 2800-3,000 RPMs, it would begin to experience the well-known Stude V8 problem at extended highway cruise, the oil system puts more oil in the rocker covers than can drain back down. Eventually, the oil level in the pan is so low, the oil pump begins to suck air.

    Since yours will be turning considerably lower RPMs, just watch your oil pressure gauge and should it begin to drop, pull over for a rest break and let the oil drain back into the pan.

    jack vines
    PackardV8

  6. #6
    Golden Hawk Member jclary's Avatar
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    I have never, in over forty years of driving it, looked to see the rear gear ratio of my E-5 six cylinder 1955 Truck. However, it originally did not have an overdrive. I added one in 1979. I never changed the rear end...so my truck has an overdrive with a non-overdrive rear end. I lose a good bit of speed on steep hills. In 1984, I drove the truck to the international meet in Florida. Once I got a few miles past Columbia, where the land really flattens out, I used my hand throttle almost like cruise control. My wife and daughter followed me in another car. My interstate cruising speed averaged between 65-70 most of the way.

    I would be awfully disappointed if I had a V8 truck and it couldn't make better cruising speed than a flat six. Perhaps you could find another ready to bolt in rear end with a better road speed ratio. If you are like me, you would rather it roll freely down the road than chug pulling a load. Not that there is anything wrong with using a Studebaker truck to pull a load, but, our Studebakers have earned their rest. Rams, F150's, and other "upstarts," are there to pick-up the slack.
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    Speedster Member greyben's Avatar
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    Some years back I owned a '52 Commander with 4.55 rear end and OD. It had no problem cruising at 75 on the highway. I'm sure you truck could do the same. The main concern with a pickup would be encountering a situation requiring sudden braking or evasive maneuvers at that speed. It can become very interesting.

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    Commander Member MikeK's Avatar
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    Swifster TY I am aware of all the restrictions which is why I have to look at this ...I dont have tach and speedo doesnt work since this truck was converted before I bought it to 12V ..i have a good app on phone and found I can do about 12 mph in 1st 25Mph in 2nd and the engine sounds like it is running hard at 50MPH in 3rd ...so it does look like 45 is max cruising comfort zone. prob goin to take Lincoln tunnel head up west side then choose a parkway or two (Henry Hudson , Cross island , Saw Mill to Merrick in Ct then rt 6 to RI)...I do Know my roads as I travel them all often on MC.
    My 1955 E12

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    Commander Member MikeK's Avatar
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    The E12 3/4 ton came w/ either 4.11 or 4.857. the E5 and E7 came w/ 4.09 4.27 or 4.55
    My 1955 E12

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    Commander Member MikeK's Avatar
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    John TY ...its a big learning curve...it runs fine around town and local roads ...and from traveling on MC Im used to stopping every 1.5 hours do to needing fuel ..so if it takes all day I'll be fine with it probably just tired when i arrive. I really plan on going so i can learn whats needed to do and its so much easier when the truck is right there. Also I will be down your way end of June, Looking to Retire to Greenville Area, need to check things out and see realtor.
    My 1955 E12

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    Commander Member MikeK's Avatar
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    So you all know...My cable is broke for overdrive. I was told the cable only takes it out of OD. also there looks to be a switch that goes to a solenoid of some sort i believe is attached to trans. Not sure if this needs to be on or off.
    My 1955 E12

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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeK View Post
    So you all know...My cable is broke for overdrive. I was told the cable only takes it out of OD. also there looks to be a switch that goes to a solenoid of some sort i believe is attached to trans. Not sure if this needs to be on or off.
    Getting the overdrive working will transform the truck. If it were mine, that would be the first priority. Even without the cable, if the selector is moved into OD, nothing else need be done to have it work automatically.

    That's assuming the PO didn't do something to kill it. The OD is so important, difficult to imagine the PO not repairing the cable and keeping it functioning.

    jack vines
    PackardV8

  13. #13
    President Member SScopelli's Avatar
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    If you want a cool calculator, I created one that takes transmission ratios, differential ratios and tire sizes, and calculates engine RPM per gear at a given MPH.

    You can compare up to 4 rear differentials and 2 transmissions.

    In this example, 215-60-15 tires with 4 different differential ratios.

    At 75 MPH in 5th gear for T1, I can see engine RPM is 3046 with a 3.583 Diff..
    Yes, I would never got to first gear at 75 MPH, but nice to know I can go to 4th or even 3rd if I needed to scoot and not blow the engine..

    With a 4.54 ratio, and in 5th gear, engine RPM with T1 is 3860, 4th gear is a good downshift, but not 3rd..

    The areas in Grey are values you can change.

    5-9-2016 5-40-04 PM.jpg

    (this is just a snap of the calculator..)

    It requires MS Excel and PM me with email if you would like it.

  14. #14
    Golden Hawk Member StudeRich's Avatar
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    That is a way cool calculator, but WHERE did you come up with those weird Axle Ratios?

    Certainly not Studebaker, but also no other make I have ever heard of either! Good thing they are changeable because the only common one is 4.54!
    StudeRich
    Second Generation Stude Driver,
    Proud '54 Starliner Owner




  15. #15
    President Member SScopelli's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by StudeRich View Post
    That is a way cool calculator, but WHERE did you come up with those weird Axle Ratios?

    Certainly not Studebaker, but also no other make I have ever heard of either! Good thing they are changeable because the only common one is 4.54!
    fcdd9bc0-0e30-4ba8-82b7-282efce964b6.jpg


    Not Studebaker, but hopefully you have heard of Toyota.. Gears among the Rock Crawlers, and dare I say Drifters, hence going from 5th to 3rd!

  16. #16
    Silver Hawk Member JoeHall's Avatar
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    In your original post, you indicated you have a working OD. Without OD working, I would not drive that truck anywhere, other than around town at 35 MPH.

  17. #17
    President Member TWChamp's Avatar
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    I agree with Packard and Joe, make sure the overdrive is working before driving anywhere. Without the cable to lock it out of overdrive, you will have full time freewheeling when not in overdrive, and this is very dangerous going downhill, and is also illegal in many places.

    Sure is a lot of people talking high speeds in their Studebakers. I don't even drive faster than 60 in my modern Olds with automatic overdrive, and it get good economy when I drive between 55 and 60. My 1950 Champion with overdrive sounds like the engine is running plenty fast at 55 on the highway, so that's the mas for me.

  18. #18
    Commander Member MikeK's Avatar
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    I can Run a new Cable as priority ...What is the solenoid looking unit attach to trans, I do have a switch that appears to work but I cant tell what it is doing. the wire goes direct down to this unit on Trans/OD. Yes I feel the truck more or less freewheeling when i let off gas, so apparently I am always in OD.
    My 1955 E12

  19. #19
    President Member TWChamp's Avatar
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    The large can on the overdrive is the solenoid to pull the gears into overdrive. The smaller can is the governor to tell the relay when to send power to the solenoid. You can bypass the governor and relay by using a toggle switch, but I'd leave things as the factory built it, and replace any parts that don't work. Just follow the wiring schematic to see where the power and grounds go, then use a test light or volt meter to track down what doesn't work right. A small jumper wire is handy for this also.

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    What size are your rear tires?

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    Sounds like someone quick switched the solenoid for constant actuation. However, if you are free wheeling at speeds over 40 mph, your OD is "not" working correctly. If you get it working (and it certainly sounds like you're unfamiliar with the function), you should be alright on the highways (only). If you don't get it working somehow, I wouldn't take the truck out of town. You'll be pushed all over the road by other drivers and you'll be bushed by the time you reach the show.....no way to enjoy a great meet !

  22. #22
    Silver Hawk Member JoeHall's Avatar
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    If it freewheels, that only means it is set for OD to engage, if certain conditions are met: speed is high enough to operate the governor and close its contact switch; the solenoid receives the electrical signal to move a pawl inside the tranny to lock the OD gear. If the above were happening, it would not be freewheeling above 20-25 MPH. So yours is not going into OD. It is simply freewheeling, and that is akin to putting an automatic in Neutral to coast; it can also be dangerous, as you do not have engine braking.

    Need to troubleshoot the OD and get it to working. You will then experience a 28-30 percent drop in RPM at road speed.

  23. #23
    President Member 62champ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoeHall View Post

    Need to troubleshoot the OD and get it to working. You will then experience a 28-30 percent drop in RPM at road speed.
    My father's 53 Commander coupe was a 3sp/OD from the factory - that gave it a 4.56 rear ratio. At one point he had an older Sun tach on it in the early 60's. He said at 90 mph, the tach was showing just over 3000 rpms - that is not 100% accurate, but it is probably pretty close. I had a good friend that owned a '53 2R5 with a 4.88 rear in it - it loved being in OD - took a good deep breath when you let off in 3rd at @30mph - that little Champion wasn't a big engine, but with those gears it would pull with the best of them.

  24. #24
    Golden Hawk Member jclary's Avatar
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    Mike, I don't know your mechanical abilities, or your experience, but it looks to me like you need to purchase the shop manual for your truck, and there is also a publication covering the Borg Warner overdrive. I don't have the sources at my fingertips, but hopefully others will chime in. From your postings, you seem very capable of understanding and following directions. I suggest you get some good safe jackstands, support your truck off the ground, and do your overdrive troubleshooting with the truck off the ground. In this way, you can take your manual, be sure the wiring is correct, and test the transmission with the truck running with wheels off the ground.

    Even for a relatively young in-shape firefighter, tweaking this & that, would be exhausting if you had to drive around the block every time you had to test every step while driving. With the truck off the ground, you can run the engine up to governor "engage speed," and hear the "click" as the governor grounds the circuit. Then, when you lift and depress the accelerator, you will hear the engine speed lower, and the wheels pick up speed as the overdrive engages. If your overdrive gearing is OK, other items can cause it to not operate properly. One, is the relay switch. That switch is a rugged device as far as switches go. I have two of them that have survived me working on them. First, make sure the fuse is OK. Then, clean the clips that retains the fuse. The last resort is to carefully remove the switch cover, and check for corrosion on the contacts. I have cleaned these contacts, reinstalled the cover and had these relays work for years with no further problems.

    Another electrical item in the system that is critical to good operation is the "kick-down" switch. Here, correct wiring is critical. Once you have the wiring right, the switch will have to be adjusted in its bracket so that the linkage "paddle" contacts the switch plunger when the gas peddle is pressed to the floor. Adjusted too far back, the overdrive won't kick down. Adjusted too far forward, and it will kick down too soon. Nothing about an overdrive is more irritating than having it to kick-down when not needed. First of all, it will scare the devil out of you when the engine unexpectedly begins to scream with high rpms and you lose speed at the same time. That alone, is reason enough to keep the switch adjusted correctly.

    You do need to get the cable fixed. At least, you can then choose to engage the overdrive or not use it at your convenience. But, if your experience is like mine, you will find that you will rarely ever pull the cable out and disengage the overdrive. Except to lubricate it, I don't think I have manually disengaged my overdrives in several years. The last time, was when I had a dead battery, and wanted to roll my car downhill and pop the clutch to start the engine. The only way to do that with an overdrive vehicle, is to manually pull the cable. That disengages the freewheeling feature of the overdrive. I can assure you, getting that overdrive functioning, will make your driving a much more fun experience. Believe me, I've had them both ways.
    John Clary
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    I'd fix the Speedo as well..... It's mechanical and isn't affected by the 12V conversion.

    As for the O.D. mine is locked (cablewise) as well, and I've been using it that way for years. (I know, I know, it's dangerous)
    I just ran a hot wire to a switch on the dash to the O.D. Solenoid (big can on the side of the tranny, not the small one)

    What I really need to do, is get the rest of the system working. (relay, and cutout)
    That's one design flaw electrically that I see is that the cutout isn't in series with the Solenoid. might have simplified things.

  26. #26
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    Another caution regarding the cable. When the cable is pushed in it will be in “Free Wheeling Mode (no engine compression). Do not park on a hill while the OD handle is pushed in-engaged. Also, Never-Never put the trans in reverse while in OD, T-handle in. There is a safety lockout that should prevent the trans going into reverse, it will prevent the shifter from being able to shift into reverse.

    I do agree with others that bypassing the governor and relay kickdown by simply controlling the solenoid with a toggle switch located in a convenient place is the way to go. Be sure the solenoid gets a full 12 volts I always use a relay.
    Last edited by Phatfenders; 05-11-2016 at 11:05 AM.

  27. #27
    President Member RadioRoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phatfenders View Post
    Another caution regarding the cable. When the cable is pushed in it will be in “Free Wheeling Mode (no engine compression). Do not park on a hill while the OD handle is pushed in-engaged. Also, Never-Never put the trans in reverse while in OD, T-handle in. There is a safety lockout that should prevent the trans going into reverse, it will prevent the shifter from being able to shift into reverse.
    There is a certain amount of inaccuracy in this, probably from inaccurate conventional wisdom.

    You CAN leave the handle in and shift into reverse. The linkage is designed so that when you shift into reverse, it locks out the freewheeling feature. What you cannot do is shift into reverse at speeds above 25 MPH, but why would anyone try to do that?

    Also, you should park an overdrive equipped vehicle in reverse. That has the best ratio for holding the vehicle and also disables the freewheeling feature while parked.

    In all the years I have driven overdrive equipped cars (since 1972) the only time I pull the lever out is before descending a steep grade at slow speeds, or when push starting the car.
    RadioRoy, specializing in AM/FM conversions with auxiliary inputs for iPod/satellite/CD player. In the old car radio business since 1985.

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    +1 on Roy...
    I just wish I could get time to fix mine properly so that it would shift in/out without me having to mess with a toggle. But other than that mine's fine.

    Also, if I forget to TURN OFF my overdrive bypass (OD ON) and try to shift to reverse in the driveway, guess what it's not gonna go.....LOL
    Last edited by Mrs K Corbin; 06-14-2018 at 07:07 AM.

  29. #29
    Golden Hawk Member jclary's Avatar
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    To continue the conversation as to the joys of having overdrive...my opinion is that there is nothing wrong with having a "toggle" for the overdrive. I believe that in past discussions, we have had several members mention that they had installed one that they use in city traffic. I have never installed one, but, if I did, I would want to wire it in as a convenient addition. Not to replace any of the current switches and components.

    For example, if you wanted to "kick-down" without having to floor the accelerator, a toggle could accomplish that. If you wanted to engage overdrive before the governor grounded the circuit, a toggle could do that, but all of these functions could be done without removing the ability to allow the overdrive to function as engineered.

    As to the cable...when it is pulled, then, the transmission mechanically locks the overdrive out. With that cable pulled, the transmission becomes a straight three-speed. With the cable pulled, you have no free wheeling, and you do have engine braking at slow speeds as you would have with any non-overdrive manual transmission.

    There were countless engineering hours involved in designing these units. If any of the features were not deemed necessary, or of value, certainly they would not have been included.

    Besides making sure you have a functioning cable control for your overdrive, you should be sure that your hand brake (emergency brake) is functioning and adjusted properly. If you can't engage your hand brake and skid your rear tires...you have an unsafe vehicle.
    John Clary
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  30. #30
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    Agree with the obvious consensus; don't take this truck on the highway without fixing the OD. My 2R16 has a 6.56 rear gear and NO OD!!!! 52 MPH is it for me even with the really tall modern 17 inch tires. My tires are 31.8 inches tall, 235 80 R 17. At 50 mph, I am at 3466 rpm. Looking forward to the day I have OD.

    Going to assume you have 29 inch tall tires (something like a modern 205 80 16). Not sure what you are running, but NO ONE can answer your original questions without knowing the tire size. It is as critical to the equation as rear gear (4.88 has been posited as the actual ratio) and the OD ratio. In 53, OD was .7 in the Commander. Same in your E12?

    So, based on these three assumptions (4.88 gear, 29 inch tall tire, and .7 OD), you speeds and corresponding RPM's are:

    60 mph = 2375 rpm

    65 mph = 2573 rpm

    70 mph = 2770 rpm (I would consider that quite manageable and reasonable all day long if your engine and cooling system are in good shape)

    75 mph = 2968 rpm

    However, take away the OD and 60 mph = 3392 rpm and you are starting to really push it. It only gets worse from there.

  31. #31
    President Member thunderations's Avatar
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    Wiring in an aftermarket tach should not take very long and could be used as a speedo once you learn what RPM equals what speed.
    Quote Originally Posted by MikeK View Post
    Swifster TY I am aware of all the restrictions which is why I have to look at this ...I dont have tach and speedo doesnt work since this truck was converted before I bought it to 12V ..i have a good app on phone and found I can do about 12 mph in 1st 25Mph in 2nd and the engine sounds like it is running hard at 50MPH in 3rd ...so it does look like 45 is max cruising comfort zone. prob goin to take Lincoln tunnel head up west side then choose a parkway or two (Henry Hudson , Cross island , Saw Mill to Merrick in Ct then rt 6 to RI)...I do Know my roads as I travel them all often on MC.
    1966 Daytona (The First One)
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    What I found best about getting my OD working "correctly" in my 62 year old truck was inspecting all the wiring (there's not much, and with a diagram). In a lot of cases, the problem shows up there. You then finally "learn" how the system works and knowing your terrain and driving habits, will get the most from the transmission. Make the time to clean & inspect all wiring and connections. Many of mine were frayed or worse. There are loads of threads here on this forum that if you read through a few dozen, you'll get a good picture of how to proceed with your problem solving. Unless you know your governor is bad, and/or you can't find one.....just don't "quick-toggle" a very good system....As stated before, dealers (customers) chose certain drivetrains for their geography and driving needs. If a desert dry car/truck makes its way to a hilly or mountainous region, in today's driving habits......
    Last edited by jackb; 05-13-2016 at 08:47 AM.

  33. #33
    Commander Member MikeK's Avatar
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    Ty for all the Interesting Information

    TY all very much...I have just returned from Indianapolis this past week after enjoying The INDY 500...I also made a very nice stop in South Bend on my way out.Staying on campus at ND and spending a few Hours at the Unbelievably nice Studebaker Museum. I spoke with a few there and purchased a manual and booklet on my truck..then went to Studebaker International and had a great discussion about my OD and the repairs I will be doing... I also bought the parts book there since the museum was out of it. There is another book on the OD trans they were out of, by a gentleman deals completely and in reasonable understanding terms, this booklet I still need to get.
    My 1955 E12

  34. #34
    Speedster Member greyben's Avatar
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    Fix the OD and drive as fast as you feel safe. The motor shouldn't be straining at anything under 75.

  35. #35
    President Member Tom B's Avatar
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    No one has mentioned this.

    Inspect the transmission. identify the lever on the driver's near the top in back that pivots, possibly still attached to the cable.
    If it is forward you cannot go into overdrive
    If it is all the way back, your transmission will freewheel.

    If it doesn't freewheel in first gear, wind it up, let off the gas and coast (freewheel) or (not) hit your head on the steering wheel. If it freewheels verify that the lever is ALL the way back, drive, speed up to 35, and let off the gas. If it doesn't freewheel, you are in overdrive. If it does freewheel, you need to dig deeper into the electrics.
    Tom Bredehoft
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    I have been following this post with a lot of interest As I have a 64 Champ that had some of the same issues as yours , I have all the bugs worked out and the O.D. works perfectly , I am located just south of Toms River , If you have any questions call me at 732 600 3710 , I also have some O.D. parts Otherwise I,ll see you in R.I. Ed

  37. #37
    Champion Member Rob Morris's Avatar
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    I have been following with interest, as I just bought a 1949 2R10 and am new to the whole restoring thing.

    Turns out, the previous owner had tried to lock the OD on (which is how he told me it was) and had locked it off. Totally different truck now. Thanks to all for sharing your wisdom.

    Meantime, to MikeK - I live on Rte 6 in CT. Send me a private message if you want to stop off to or from RI.

    My son and I will be going out to RI one of the days, too, so maybe we'll meet up there. I will definitely try to find some other 2R and E owners and pick lots of brains.

  38. #38
    Champion Member Rob Morris's Avatar
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    Newtown, CT
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    To go along with the OD topic - do a lot of you install a split master cylinder for the brakes? The idea of freewheeling downhill in a 3/4 ton pickup and having the brakes go...

  39. #39
    Commander Member MikeK's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    Essex County, New Jersey
    Posts
    41
    I was underneath to change oil...while there I wiped down what i could while laying on my back. I found the large Solenoid cleaned and redid the the connection. Yes the Jumper that the Prev owner installed worked...World of difference with The OD engaging, readjusting my priorities. I have the new lock out cable ordered. Hope to have installed before RI. But i think I will trailer it up to Hotel at least.
    Rob I will try to at least say hello. I also have family in New Canaan so I will be taking the Merrit.
    Jts359 will be down your way often As my Mom is in TR by Mall.
    My 1955 E12

  40. #40
    Golden Hawk Member jclary's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Greer, sc, USA.
    Posts
    10,054
    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Morris View Post
    To go along with the OD topic - do a lot of you install a split master cylinder for the brakes? The idea of freewheeling downhill in a 3/4 ton pickup and having the brakes go...
    The freewheeling occurs when the vehicle has slowed enough to drop out of overdrive. While in overdrive, you have engine braking. Therefore, you only have the freewheeling at slower speeds. The thing about the vintage single chamber master cylinders is that they performed OK for many years. Back then, "emergency" brakes were really that. Properly maintained, and adjusted, they will stop a vehicle. Jim Turner offers a dual master for under-floor frame rail installations. However, I'm not sure if they fit "universally," without some modification in certain vehicles. My suggestion is to get your system working as designed. Drive it enough to know it is working properly. Practice reaching for your emergency brake, so that if you ever experience failure, your practice will have you better equipped to react without having to think to much. I try to do that with my emergency brakes, on my vintage cars. I also practice switching on my reserve gas valve on my motorcycle. When you get to where you can do these things automatically, without having to look, it really helps reaction time to avert problems.

    If you get your brakes working as good as new, and still feel unsafe, then I'd have no issue with you making it safer. However, unless you go for one of those all out high dollar modified chassis, that only "looks" vintage, you might end up disappointed with the results, and discouraged because of the expense. Too often, I've seen folks leave the hobby due to overspending, and discouraged with unrealistic expectations.

    Welcome to our group, and I hope your experience is a great one. Post some pictures, and keep us informed of your progress.
    John Clary
    Greer, SC
    [IMG][/IMG]
    SDC member since 1975

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