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1942 President 8 overdrive

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  • Transmission / Overdrive: 1942 President 8 overdrive

    Hi all, our car has an overdrive transmission in it but nothing is connected up so what I would like to know is what do I need to get the overdrive to work and what bits go where, such as the kick down switch on the throttle linkage.
    The wiring diagram in the manual is not much help in showing where the items are or where they go.

    Please help.

  • #2
    This can generate a lot of questions and contributions here but, I think you can save a lot of grief by ordering Randy Rundle's Borg-Warner Overdrive Guide Book.
    Randy operates the Fifth Avenue Internet Garage, and is a regular contributor to The Studebaker Co-operator column in your monthly Turning Wheels magazine if you are a member of the Studebaker Drivers Club.

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


    • #3
      Hi guys, thanks for the replies. I am really confused as all the gearboxes I have seen of wiring layouts and pictures with overdrive and freewheeling have a governor and also a lock out switch on the gearbox, but our gearbox only seems to have a 2 terminal solenoid on the left hand side of the box. There aren't any holes where things have been removed so what gearbox do I have ?? Is it a R10 or R11 or is it something else !! Help please as I don't know if Randy Rundle's Borg-Warner Overdrive Guide Book is going to cover our gearbox.

      1942 President 8 3 speed gearbox with overdrive and freewheeling.


      • #4
        A phone call or an email to Fifth Avenue Garage will tell you what you have. I've found Randy very helpful.

        With your solenoid on the left of the OD unit, you 'probably' do have a R11. You will be glad if thats what it is.

        There are several YouTube vids re these BW overdrive units, of which there are several flavors.

        My experience has been with Packards which used the same units so I can't help specifically.

        I can tell you the R9 Borg Warner units are operated by solenoid that can be a trifle pricey.

        Good luck, you will love driving with the OD when you have it sorted out.


        • #5
          OK, I am a little late to the party on this one. You have what is known as an R6, if I recall. These operate quite a bit differently than the later units. On these, the upshift is controlled by internal mechanical flyweights. As long as the lockout lever on the side of the overdrive is pushed to the rear, the overdrive should become available about 30 mph or so. Take your foot off the gas and it should upshift. It will downshift at say 15 or so. All of this is without any electrical equipment, so you can test the transmission by merely driving after moving the lockout lever to the rear. The solenoid on the side of the unit only provides kickdown when the one terminal that does not test as open is provided with power. The other terminal, which should show as open, provides a momentary ground for the point side of the ignition coil. This causes the engine to skip a beat and allows the downshift to be accomplished. Sometime in the near future I will get my 41 out of the barn and can post some photos if you still need them.


          • #6
            Thanks guys, I have sorted all the front suspension bushes and other bits so of the next few days I am hoping to carry out some test runs on the road.


            • #7
              Update. I have some pics of the overdrive and the numbers on the side of it, also some pics of the solenoid or governor !!!!

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              in this pic below you can just see the 2 terminals on the solenoid and their markings IGN and SW
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              Here you can see the casting numbers R7C-1 MF 1
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              • #8
                As I suspected. If you push that lever next to the embossed "R7" to the rear and then go for a drive, you might well find out that you have a functional overdrive. Might want to wire the lever back for the test. Get the car up to 30 or so, release your foot quickly off the gas and in a second or two you will feel the car drop into overdrive. It will drop back out at a very low speed provided there is no torque being transmitted. Before this test, make sure your idle speed is moderate, about 500 max, or that will inhibit the upshift.

                As mentioned, with this overdrive there is no need for the electrical controls to work. They only provide kickdown. Please report back with your findings and then we can tackle the electrics.


                • #9
                  Hi Ross, thanks for the suggestions. Just got in from the workshop after putting the over drive cable back in the car.
                  So with the o.d. knob pushed all the way in on dash the lever on the o.d. gearbox should be facing rearwards ?
                  In this position I get freewheeling is this correct ?

                  When the o.d. knob is pulled all the way out what should happen ?


                  • #10
                    Yes, with the control pushed in the lever on the trans should be rearwards and far enough back that it comes into a sort of free play zone. Check this with the trans in any gear except reverse. You should be able to move the lever forward slightly from its rest position before it feels as if it is doing anything.

                    Now you should get freewheeling at speeds up till the engagement point.

                    As an aside, when Packard was using this same generation of overdrive, they cautioned drivers to not run around at high speed for extended periods without allowing the overdrive to upshift. For extended driving without using the overdrive, drivers were instructed to lock it out with the dash knob.

                    These are not bad units at all, but later generations did get much simpler and more idiot-proof. That is a hard go as idiots seem to be so ingenious.
                    Last edited by Ross; 04-20-2019, 08:54 AM.


                    • #11
                      Hi all carried out some road testing over the past few days and Ross was spot on. So once in 3rd below 30 you get free wheeling and then if you are just over 30 and you ease off on the throttle it will change up into overdrive 3rd, this occurs at about 2000 rpm and once it has changed up the revs drop just over 500 rpm so drops down to 1500rpm ish. As you slow down to under 15 the over drive will kick out and you are back to normal direct gears and free wheeling. As mentioned there is no electrical wiring connected up this all happens inside the overdrive unit automatically