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3 Speed Overdrive Operation

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  • 3 Speed Overdrive Operation

    First off, would a 56 Sky Hawk have come from the Factory with a light duty or heavy duty 3 speed transmission? Second, HOW does one operate the Overdrive...while driving. Does it operate in ALL gears, or just 3rd?...

  • #2
    probably a T86 which is perfect for that car (or you should've bought the SH or GH). Correctly functioning the OD should kick in at speeds of ~25 mph which for most drivers is 3rd gear (or you should've bought the SH or GH). If working properly , simply "push in" the OD handle when above 25 mph. If it doesn't operate correctly, you need to troubleshoot


    • #3
      Best transmission there is for a Studebaker. Low rear end for good start, 30 percent reduction for cruising and gas mileage. Easy to trouble shoot and easy fixes are available.
      My first Studebaker and car was V8 overdrive. Wish I had that for my 55 Speedster but going to stick with the DG250.

      Bob Miles
      Tucson AZ


      • #4
        I have a OD and I don't pull the handle at all. Just to about 35 mph take your foot off the gas pedal and it should go into overdrive . You can shift out of overdrive by flooring the gas pedal much like a atomatic trans. The only time you us the handle is to lock out the od.


        • #5
          Same here, never touch the handle. Lift off the pedal after shifting into second if not intending to go that fast and it shifts right into overdrive........or do the same after shifting into third if I'm cruising at higher speeds.


          • #6
            The above info is mostly correct. yes you normally do leave the O.D. Handle IN, for In Overdrive.
            However you do have to ALWAYS remember to Park it in Reverse, because below 28-32 MPH it is in freewheeling which means it WILL roll away!

            In any gear above 30 or so you can release the Gas Pedal momentarily get the O.D. shift (you will hear the Solenoid click) and cruise or accelerate from there in Overdrive. When slowing down it will decelerate but, at about 25 it will "kick out" of O.D. and freewheel on down to 0 MPH.

            Yes it actually HAS 6 Gear ratios, but it is hard on the Engine and trans to do the Direct Low to O.D. Low shift, rather impressive when it does though! Zoom, zoom!

            You will use it in 2nd. sometimes or High depending on traffic etc. Remember, it will decelerate in 2nd. O.D. (or 3rd. O.D.) until slow enough to kick out. Once you get the hang of it, it's not hard to drive at all.

            The only time I pull the O.D. OUT to lock it Out of O.D. is just before the crest of a steep hill that may have required Direct High to climb, I floor it to keep it in Direct and Pull the Handle Out locking it in Direct for the needed safe deceleration going down the other side. Normally you never move the handle in motion, and NEVER to go to Direct when in O.D. except as above.

            I have THREE 15-20 MPH 45 degree curves coming down my Road to the house, I cruise around them in 2nd. O.D. slow for the curve, then pull away and out of the curve in 2nd. Direct, back up to speed and release to go back to O.D. the Hondas behind me wonder where I went so quick!
            Second Generation Stude Driver,
            Proud '54 Starliner Owner


            • #7
              Originally posted by wayne View Post
              I have a OD and I don't pull the handle at all.
              Originally posted by tim333 View Post
              Same here, never touch the handle.
              This really is going to depend on your terrain. If you find yourself heading down the free side of a mountain, or even a substantial hill (known by easterners as mountains) locking out the OD, per Rich's previous comment, will prevent freewheeling and supply engine compression to assist you in not overheating your brakes.
              "All attempts to 'rise above the issue' are simply an excuse to avoid it profitably." --Dick Gregory

              Brad Johnson, SDC since 1975, ASC since 1990
              Pine Grove Mills, Pa.
              '33 Rockne 10,
              '51 Commander Starlight,
              '53 Commander Starlight "Désirée",
              '56 Sky Hawk


              • #8
                I NEVER pull the cable out while driving. I drive all over Vermont, secondary roads , interstates, over Sheffield Heights, (the highest elevation of I 91) , mountain roads. Never needed to use straight drive on a hill and never needed compression braking. I take it out of O/D in town. I ALWAYS pull the cable out when parked. I get in the 20s mpg on the highway with a 289 and 3.73 TT in a Wagonaire.
                sigpic"Somewhere West of Newport Center"
                1956 2E12 O/D SOLD!
                1959 4E2 4spd, TT
                1963 8E28 GSA order
                1963 8E5 SOLD!
                1963 Lark Daytona Wagonaire 289,O/D, TT


                • #9
                  About the only time I pull the cable out of overdrive is if I'm driving in a large city on side streets with a lot of stop lights and stop signs and the speed limit is 30 MPH.
                  Like others I would usually pull the handle while at a stop. You can pull the handle while moving, but ONLY if the tranny is out of overdrive and the engine is pulling (NOT coasting).

                  I really like overdrive, but I still wonder why the car company didn't just use a 4 speed tranny with a faster ratio rear end? It should have been cheaper, and easier for some people to figure out. My neighbor just bought a 1950 Champion and a 1949 Jeepster, both with overdrives. I've been teaching him, but he's a slow learner and can't seem to figure out the proper use of overdrive.


                  • #10
                    Nor can I...


                    • #11
                      FWIW....I'd be sure to move the OD handle from time to time to be sure the cable doesn't stick inside the ferrule...


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by TWChamp View Post
                        /Cut/I really like overdrive, but I still wonder why the car company didn't just use a 4 speed tranny with a faster ratio rear end? It should have been cheaper, and easier for some people to figure out./Cut/
                        That would have been a choice IF they existed prior to 1961, but in the U.S. a Car four speed did not.

                        A VERY Large percentage of Studebakers were sold from 1947 to 1955 with 3 Speed Overdrive after which, Automatics began to finally be trusted by most buyers.
                        Drive up to the shift speed with the Handle IN and release the Gas Pedal, what's to learn?
                        Second Generation Stude Driver,
                        Proud '54 Starliner Owner