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  • Transmission / Overdrive: Overdrive

    Basic question: It's a 49 Champion with an overdrive that has worked very well for years. The car's overdrive has always been activated since I bought the car about ten years ago. I have gotten varied answers when I bring this up to local car guys. Is it okay to leave the overdrive on all the time? My driving is mostly highway but I do get into stop and go fairly often. I assume that since all has been well for many years there is no need to take her out of od, but I am curious.

    Thanks guys for your help. The Forum has saved this shade tree mechanic many times!

  • #2
    Absolutely OK to have the OD operable at all times. That is indeed the best thing for all of the electrical controls so they are making and breaking contact regularly.

    Now, I live in hilly country so when I drive to the next town to go to the bank or get a cup of coffee, I lock out the overdrive as I would have to kick it down several times each way for slow uphill curves and the like. Likewise when touring on secondary roads in the mountains. But all the rest of the time it is operable. And if someone says you must lock out your overdrive before you back up, just slap them across across the face with furious contempt.


    • #3
      You are good leaving it pushed in the majority of the time. Even out there in the Hill Country, not much need for straight drive - especially for those long legged roads. When I lived in Georgetown and drove my '62 Lark across town to work each day, I never had it pulled out. The only reason to pull it out every once and a while would be to make sure the cable is still in good working condition - good luck.


      • #4
        I feel safer in city driving with overdrive locked out as I then have engine braking to assist the wheel brakes. In case of brake failure turning off the engine would stop the car. Most of my driving with the 1947 Champion is on the highway, where I always use overdrive.
        Bill Jarvis


        • #5
          Many, maybe most, owners do leave the OD cable pushed in all the time. Just remember to always shift to reverse when parking the car to prevent roll-away. This mechanically shifts the transmission out of overdrive and allows engine compression to hold the parked car.


          • #6
            One habit I got in to was when driving over mountains. Just before cresting the top and heading down the other side, I would kick the transmission down to 3rd gear; then pull the cable out. That way I would not be freewheeling and overheating the brakes going downhill. With engine compression I would hardly use the brakes at all.
            And then push the cable in when I reached the bottom.
            "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