PDA

View Full Version : Transmission: How do I free up my overdrive cable? FIXED!



52-fan
08-06-2018, 03:02 PM
The overdrive cable on my 52 pickup is stuck in the housing. I have the cable off the truck since I am refinishing the dash and rewiring everything, but I have not been able to loosen the wire in the housing. The first thing I did was soak the whole assembly in Evaporust. That cleaned everything nicely, but did not free the wire.
Next, I tried running penetrating oil down the casing and letting it soak and then I tried rigging a tube over the end of the wire, filling it with oil so it could run down inside the housing, and letting it soak for 3 days. Still no luck. :(
Any ideas on freeing the wire or replacing it without destroying the nice knob?

Ross
08-06-2018, 03:18 PM
As the casing is a spiral wound wire, I have had good luck freeing them up by coiling them up tightly and soaking them with PD Blaster. That opens up the coils of the casing to let the oil in. Later clamp one end of the casing in a vice and pull on the other end of the casing to slightly stretch it over the core. You can put a fair amount of horsepower on it that way and get things slowly moving.

skyway
08-06-2018, 03:30 PM
This is a coiled wire cover, with no rubber sheathing, yes?
You could try heating its entire length with a torch, OR submerging the entire cable in your penetrating liquid for a while. Then while heating or after soaking, clamp the casing in a vice, whilst you and a friend take turns pulling back and forth via the handle and a vice-grip attached to the end of the wire.
Probably best to try these with the cable removed and on the bench.

jclary
08-06-2018, 03:56 PM
http://wvclassiccars.com/images/300/192573788833_1.jpg Well...the best I could do is find this rather generic picture of an overdrive cable. Since you said you already have yours out of the truck and have it well oiled, now it is time to get your hands dirty and begin to massage and manipulate the wire by bending it around quite a bit. Especially if there is places where it is rusted and the galvanized finish has rusted away. If that does not free it up, take the guide tube that houses the shaft up near the control knob and place it on a workbench. If you have a plastic tip hammer, give the shaft some taps as you roll it back and forth on the workbench. Done properly, the vibrations from the tapping should eventually free it up. Try not to collapse or bend the tube. Let us know if that works.

The suggestion above to work the wire from the transmission end by pushing while pulling the knob end could also work. Just take care not to kink or cause an additional bind in the cable.

52-fan
08-06-2018, 06:33 PM
Thanks for the ideas. I now have some new methods to try. :)
I had forgotten that my brother and I did pull alternately at each end and I did try heating the outside with a propane torch. I will report back on anything that works.

dpson
08-06-2018, 08:52 PM
If it's that far gone, perhaps it's time to consider buying a replacement.

Doesn't Stephen Allen's have these NOS for around $35?

TWChamp
08-06-2018, 08:57 PM
I wouldn't use a torch, as the cable needs to have a temper to stay stiff. I had a very stuck cable on my 50 Champion when I bought it, so I oiled the outside and kept flexing the cable and twirling it around. After several hours of this over a few days, it finally freed up and works like new again.

52-fan
08-06-2018, 09:36 PM
If it's that far gone, perhaps it's time to consider buying a replacement.

Doesn't Stephen Allen's have these NOS for around $35?

I have not checked with them. I did check a couple of other vendors and came up empty. I'll see what they have.

sals54
08-07-2018, 01:18 AM
As the casing is a spiral wound wire, I have had good luck freeing them up by coiling them up tightly and soaking them with PD Blaster. That opens up the coils of the casing to let the oil in. Later clamp one end of the casing in a vice and pull on the other end of the casing to slightly stretch it over the core. You can put a fair amount of horsepower on it that way and get things slowly moving.

I've had luck with a similar, but simpler method. If it's still on the car, and in use, I would simply spray all the easily accesible areas with the PB Blaster, let soak for a day or so, then try moving it with just normal pushing and pulling. I try not to use too much force until all else fails.
Be sure to spray the end where it attaches to the trans. If this is rusted solid, it'll bend the heck out of the cable end, making it useless even if the rest of it frees itself up.
If it's already out of the car, then the above method is best.

52-fan
08-07-2018, 08:17 AM
This one seems to be stuck about 2/3 of the way down. I can feel it moving when the knob is twisted until I get to that area.

kxet
08-08-2018, 03:20 PM
I messed with my cable until knob broke off. Had been looking for one but no luck. Went to FLAP and found a twist lock cable with chrome T handle that looked like an OD cable. It was smaller but on trans end anchor point used a roll pin with slot enlarged as a spacer on sheath so original 1949 parts would work. Works well and didn't have to change any of anchor parts.

Edsel G. Tattooer
08-09-2018, 02:08 PM
I would have used fluid film penitrant. it's not cheap but I had a bumper bolt that was only finger tight when it was left to rust for 40 years I sprayed it on came back a day later and it was finger tight again I could just release it didn't even fight me. Some of the best penetrant I've ever used.

52-fan
08-10-2018, 10:59 AM
After messing with this project for several days soaking, tapping, flexing, tugging, heating, and anything else that came to mind I decided to cut the casing. I determined about where the wire seemed to be stuck and cut just below it. The lower casing would then slide off letting me grab the wire near where it was stuck. A little twist and it came loose allowing me to pull ti out the top.
The wire had an area about 4" long that was pitted with a little powdery rust on it. A bit of fine sand paper took care of the mess and since the pits were not bad enough to weaken the wire, I could set it aside. I also sprayed brake cleaner inside the casing and flushed the dirt and rust out.
I examined the casing and decided that there were some rubbed areas and such that I wanted to remove. Fortunately for me, I had saved an old 51 car overdrive cable with a broken wire from a parts car many years ago. The casing had some damage, but there was a nice long section that was good and it was the same diameter as the truck piece. :)
I then squared up the ends of the two pieces. (Working on this project was the first time I noticed that this casing is made of 2 wires wrapped together, unlike light duty cables.) Next I tried soldering the ends together with a homemade sleeve, but I could not keep the ends aligned well enough. A lot of effort for nothing. :(
I decided to epoxy the next repair, but I wanted a close fitting sleeve to hold everything in alignment. I looked for a piece of tubing that would be close enough that I could split it and crimp it to fit. What I found was even better! :) I had some 5/16" tubing that I had used for some fuel line. The inside of the tubing was almost exactly 1/4" and the outside of the casing was 1/4". They fit almost perfectly. I cut a short piece of the tubing, squared it up, and mixed up some epoxy to seal everything. This morning everything was cured and I could cut the casing to final length, reattach the ferule at the end, and replace the wire and handle. Ready to use!
I hope this helps someone else.

tim333
08-10-2018, 11:59 AM
Nice fix, thanks for the info and photos.

(S)
08-10-2018, 12:41 PM
A little something about Overdrive cables, heater controls, and speedometer cables you probably never knew. Back in the day, Studebaker had one of the best departments that set up the parts chain, packaging and the like.

These cables were precise and packaged in paper bags with a part number stamped on each one. Over the years something about the paper they used probably being a natural wood pulp process made the bags really tasty for a variety of bugs and anytime the bags were exposed to natural elements such as humidity, sunlight and even dust and dirt these bags just gave up. Most of these bags, some 65 years and older are now just small shreds of paper in the bottom of boxes and the cables in most cases are not identifiable unless you have a bunch of 'known' cables to match them up to.

So when you see a 'new' cable for sale, it is pretty rare these days to see it with its bag. Many cables stored indoors did survive, but the ones that did not are usually cast aside for a later time when they are so scarce (now) that the ID becomes important.

When the bagged cables are gone, so is the chance to ID the rest.

Long story short, this is what makes the cables so rare and expensive. It takes a lot of time to gather enough to identify a few. If you have lengths of some of these cables and sleeves it would be helpful when it comes to figuring out what some unknowns fit.

I have an assortment of cables and cores I have collected over the years that have no ID at all and probably have one like to OP is looking for and those of us who stock and sell them are always looking for those important samples and in some cases just the lengths of them......

52-fan
08-10-2018, 01:01 PM
I'm sure the unused parts were out there for my truck. After having a 52 car for so many years I developed a bit of patience, but I have more time than money and I like to fix what I can rather than throwing it out for a new piece. I get a lot of pleasure out of taking something that is well used and making it serviceable again.

RadioRoy
08-10-2018, 01:41 PM
I get a lot of pleasure out of taking something that is well used and making it serviceable again.

That is a big part of the pleasure of the hobby for folks who are handy. Well done!