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Borg warner overdrive help

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  • Transmission / Overdrive: Borg warner overdrive help

    I have hooked up my borg Warner overdrive for my 51 champion. I have no experience operating it. When I ground the governor it activates the solenoid. The cable is pushed in. When I drive the car and let off the gas in second I don’t feel a shift change. Am I missing something?

  • #2
    How fast are you going when you let off the gas? You need to be going about 27 - 30 mph. Some vehicles are geared to low to get up to that speed in second gear without racing the engine. OD is most often used while in 3rd gear.
    Ed Sallia
    Dundee, OR

    Sol Lucet Omnibus


    • #3
      The "Kickdown Switch" has to be operating & connected properly, so that it shorts the Distributor momentarily, when you get up to speed and lift the Gas Pedal to drop some RPM & activate the Solenoid.

      The Planetary Unit in the Overdrive needs that short "No Load" time to smoothly Shift.

      The Champion will easily wind up to 32 in 2nd. Gear, then you will have excellent compression Braking if needed until you drop below about 25 MPH.

      ALWAYS remember to Park the Car in REVERSE, ...ALWAYS!
      Whenever the O.D. "T" Handle is IN and below about 32 MPH, it is in Freewheeling and can Roll, that way you do not have to remember to Pull the Handle Out.
      Last edited by StudeRich; 04-29-2021, 03:08 PM.
      Second Generation Stude Driver,
      Proud '54 Starliner Owner


      • #4
        It may be an issue with the governor, as that is what causes it to shift into OD above 27 ish mph.


        • #5
          Originally posted by StudeRich View Post
          The "Kickdown Switch" has to be operating & connected properly, so that it shorts the Distributor momentarily, when you get up to speed and lift the Gas Pedal to drop some RPM & activate the Solenoid.

          The Planetary Unit in the Overdrive needs that short "No Load" time to smoothly Shift.
          Not exactly, Rich. The engaging of the OD from straight drive by lifting the foot off the pedal doesn’t really involve the KD switch, but does need the connections to be secure on the two sides of the switch - two posts per side.

          When there’s enough speed to centrifugally throw the weights inside the governor (closing the circuit to ground), the solenoid is energized and because the cable has moved the pawl/dog into a ready state inside the OD unit, the lifting of the foot allows the driveshaft to overrun the input torque just enough that the rollers can ride up their 3 ramps and lock the OD pathway.

          Undoing the engagement once in overdrive now involves the split-second interruption of the ignition you speak of, by shorting the ignition through the KD switch, reversing the torque that originally allowed the OD ring to become engaged on the “way up”.

          Jwboff, pull the governor (slim channel-locks will unscrew it), remove the pinion gear and don’t lose the tiny clip, then mount it in a vise. Clamp a drill onto the bare shaft and slowly increase speed (CW or CCW, can’t remember) with an ohmmeter connected, one to the terminal, other to an unpainted scratch on the governor case. If it closes to zero ohms as the drill is sped up, your governor is likely good. You can pop off the three screws on the cover and carefully clean it inside while you have it on the bench.


          • #6
            you can temporarily bypass with a switch and test to see if it goes into OD while 35mph or better. Flip the switch for OD, let off the gas for a second and away you go in OD.
            This will let you know if your mechanicals are fine at any rate.


            • #7
              So is the kick-down switch in the circuit for "normal" deceleration? By that I mean as you drop below 28 mph, the overdrive is supposed to disengage itself (as I understand it), which is different from forcing it to disengage by flooring the accelerator. Is there a reason it wouldn't drop out of OD (such as the kick-down switch, for instance) that would cause damage?

              I ask, because after getting about 15-20 miles of driving out of a new solenoid (OK, it's been on there for maybe 500 miles total, but not properly wired and wouldn't engage; a mekanik put in a switch that blew the fuse, but later another shop wired it to work automatically after my engine rebuild), the OD stopped working. I drove it literally one day with the OD working automatically, which I admit was fun. Aaaaanyway, when I took it back in, I was told the solenoid was crapped out and needed to be rebuilt...for $400. At $20 per mile, this is pretty expensive. That news came yesterday, so I have yet to go in to the shop, but when I do, it would be good to be armed with some sense of what went wrong--if anybody here has experience or speculation about this. If I had any more details, I'd share them. 1963 Cruiser // 289 rebuilt 400 miles ago (with a subsequent 33% loss in fuel mileage)// new solenoid, new kick down switch, new relay, new bearings in back end of trans 500 miles ago.

              Thanks for any guidance that can be mustered.


              • #8
                The FIRST thing I would do is, carefully CHECK the Wiring Diagram for the Overdrive Circuit, I am pretty sure it is Wired incorrectly, but it will be obvious when you compare that to how it is wired now, wire by wire. If you are not sure where a given wire is at it's other end, use a Test Light to find it.

                It will be WELL worth the $400.00 you may save! But, do not pay anyone that much for a "Rebuild", New is $180.00 !!
                I don't know the Man, but I would guess he may have NEVER seen a Borg Warner Overdrive, much less know how to wire it !

                If you have a working AND properly wired Kickdown Switch, and Dash Mounted O.D. Cable and Handle, you do not need a Toggle Switch, disconnect it.

                Second Generation Stude Driver,
                Proud '54 Starliner Owner


                • #9

                  google search:

                  borg warner overdrive wiring diagram

                  Note the terminals on the kickdown switch very carefully. The image is showing the terminals facing up at you.


                  • #10
                    Thanks for the responses. My first question is where I can get a new solenoid for $180. My last one cost $395 (no way I pay somebody $400 to practice working on stuff he doesn't know).

                    Next I want to make sure I understand: The OD can function properly when wired incorrectly, but then stop working without the solenoid failing? I can chase wires, but if the part is broken, it seems like that might be a frustrating process. My last attempt to figure the wiring involved the 5th Avenue book, and I struggled to find a diagram that matched what I was seeing. NCDave51, this photo won't enlarge on my computer without pixelating. Could you tell me the application/title, or the url? Thanks!


                    • #11
                      It is $175/$180, depending on which one, in SI's catalog. I assume that other Studebaker vendors also have it, as indicated by Rich.
                      First check your wiring for proper routing, shorts, opens.
                      Gary L.
                      Wappinger, NY

                      SDC member since 1968
                      Studebaker enthusiast much longer


                      • #12
                        My OD has been modified from original, I do not understand how or why, but this is how mine works. I flip an electrical toggle switch, then push in lever (looks like emergency brake) while under power, then let off gas. If I let off gas 1st, it doesn't seem to work.
                        Once mine is is OD, it stays there, so I can use all three gears, stop, etc... all while in OD. But it will not go in reverse. To get out of OD, I come to complete stop, with motor idling, flip toggle and pull out lever. I forget if it has to be in neutral or not.


                        • #13
                          OK, thanks for the direction on this'63. Once it's back from the shop I'll go through the wiring, starting with seeing if the solenoid will activate in the first place (that's one I'm familiar with at this point). When I get the OD running, it's for sale. I'll take a bath on it at this point, but as Nick Lowe sang, and so it goes.


                          • #14
                            This entire thread is off-topic. Overdrive is not "engine". There is an excellent book on the subject, and it has been mentioned here many times before. Get it, and read it. The main reason for overdrive not working is that somebody ****ed with it.
                            Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands


                            • #15
                              (On topic but off-titled?)

                              As soon as we saw “Borg-Warner” we knew this new Member was going to be talking transmission of some sort.