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Free Wheeling?


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#1 redman60

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Posted 08 April 2007 - 06:13 PM

Would someone explain the difference between "free wheeling" and just coasting with the clutch in?
Redman 60
1960 pontiac bonneville 425a

#2 leadfoot

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Posted 08 April 2007 - 07:52 PM

From 1934 Plymouth sales literature -

<span style="font-style: italic">The free wheeling transmission allowed the driver to release his foot from the accelerator and allow the car to coast while still in gear. In effect the free wheeling prevented "engine braking" and the engine was allowed to run at idle speed while the car coasted along on its own momentum with the transmission still in gear. When the driver wished to speed up all he had to do was step on the throttle.</span>

#3 Steve Braverman

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Posted 08 April 2007 - 11:58 PM

The difference is that you can't just let the clutch out to regain your engine braking. Truly a useless feature that two of my cars have.
Steve Braverman
Aura Vincit

1932 Franklin Airman Series 16A Sedan (The Driver)
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#4 Jack38

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Posted 20 April 2007 - 10:25 PM

Here is my guess.... Freewheeling seems to take place between the regular transmission and the differential, within the overdrive unit. Depressing the clutch disengages the transmission from the engine. So, I conclude that in freewheeling mode the transmission is connected to the engine but not to the driveshaft, and transmission parts are still moving. In depressed clutch mode, the transmission is not connected to the engine, but still connected to the differential. Therefore the transmission parts are moving in relation to the rear wheel speed. In other words, to answer your question, it is the same result.

By the way, I would like to contact you regarding your last name. E-mail me at jack_redman@hotmail.com when you get a chance.

#5 De Soto Frank

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Posted 21 April 2007 - 10:15 PM

Clarification,

Overdrives do have a free-wheeling feature when the OD is engaged.

"Freewheeling" was a non-OD option that was around from 1931 to '33, then went away.

It was basically an over-running clutch that allowed the engine to drive the wheels, but not the other way around.


And in the days of primitive brakes, I'll bet there were more than few accidents resulting from folks not being able to slow their cars down in time when Freewheeling was engaged...
Frank McMullen
1928 Ford 49-A Special Coupe
1930 Chevrolet Special Sedan
1941 De Soto S-8 De Luxe Sedan
1948 & '50 Chrysler NY'ers
1941, 1954, 1955-first Chevy trucks
1961 Rambler American Convertible :D
1965 Ford F-100 long-bed pick-up
1982 Honda Silverwing GL-500 Interstate :cool:

Dearly Departed:
1955 De Soto Fireflite S-21 sedan
1960 Chrysler Windsor PC-1 sedan
1961 Plymouth Belvedere sedan

#6 Layden B

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Posted 21 April 2007 - 11:32 PM

Clarification of the Clarification

Some overdrives have free wheeling and others do not.

#7 Steve Braverman

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Posted 22 April 2007 - 12:34 AM

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">By the way, I would like to contact you regarding your last name. E-mail me at jack_redman@hotmail.com when you get a chance. </div></div>

Whose last name are you referring to?
Steve Braverman
Aura Vincit

1932 Franklin Airman Series 16A Sedan (The Driver)
1932 Plymouth PA Sedan (The one with water in it)

#8 De Soto Frank

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Posted 22 April 2007 - 01:18 AM

Okay, I'll bite...

Which did and which didn't ?

I'm familiar with the '39 & later semi-electrics... I presume the earlier ODs did not have free-wheeling ?
Frank McMullen
1928 Ford 49-A Special Coupe
1930 Chevrolet Special Sedan
1941 De Soto S-8 De Luxe Sedan
1948 & '50 Chrysler NY'ers
1941, 1954, 1955-first Chevy trucks
1961 Rambler American Convertible :D
1965 Ford F-100 long-bed pick-up
1982 Honda Silverwing GL-500 Interstate :cool:

Dearly Departed:
1955 De Soto Fireflite S-21 sedan
1960 Chrysler Windsor PC-1 sedan
1961 Plymouth Belvedere sedan

#9 Layden B

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Posted 22 April 2007 - 02:20 AM

Moore for Model T Fords do not and my Toyota pickup does not. How is that for earlier and later?

#10 31Pierce43

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Posted 22 April 2007 - 02:42 AM

As an example, for 1931, Pierce Arrow introduced a Warner 3 speed synchromesh transmission with integral freewheeling unit. The freewheeling feature operates in 2nd and 3rd, and could be locked out if the driver preferred. It is interesting in that they advertised that when freewheeling was selected, the car transmission could be shifted between 2nd and 3rd or 3rd to 2nd without using the clutch (as long as the car was coasting with the freewheeling unit engaged). In looking through the literature, it was supposed to improve fuel economy by a quoted 12%, and quiet down the car, by allowing the engine to idle down when the car is coasting with the freewheel unit engaged.

In practice, with freewheeling being selectable, I use the conventional shift pattern when going through hilly areas, and let the freewheel operate when the road is level....it works out ok.

Happy Motoring

31Pierce43

#11 Restorer32

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Posted 23 April 2007 - 10:42 AM

1932 Packards (and other years I think) have a similar option. By turning a lever on the steering wheel a vacuum system is brought into play that literally sucks the clutch pedal to the floor any time you lift your foot from the accelerator. Drift up to a stop sign, change gears without touching the clutch, advance the accelerator and the clutch slowly engages. Works better in theory than in practice, apparently. Difficult to adjust properly. Wasn't freewheeling outlawed in about 1933?
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1955 Jaguar XK-140 Drophead
1948 Buick Woody
1931 Model A Tudor
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#12 Steve Braverman

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Posted 23 April 2007 - 12:01 PM

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Wasn't freewheeling outlawed in about 1933? </div></div>

My 1933 Franklin still has it. The knob says "Coasting Out."
Steve Braverman
Aura Vincit

1932 Franklin Airman Series 16A Sedan (The Driver)
1932 Plymouth PA Sedan (The one with water in it)

#13 De Soto Frank

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Posted 24 April 2007 - 11:51 PM

The Moore unit for Model T's - is this a period accessory or a modern unit that someone is retrofitting for the T ?


The Dual-matic "overdrive" that I had in my '61 Willys truck did not free-wheel; but it was also a manual upshift/downshift deal with a lever ( four stalks coming up from the floor!).
Frank McMullen
1928 Ford 49-A Special Coupe
1930 Chevrolet Special Sedan
1941 De Soto S-8 De Luxe Sedan
1948 & '50 Chrysler NY'ers
1941, 1954, 1955-first Chevy trucks
1961 Rambler American Convertible :D
1965 Ford F-100 long-bed pick-up
1982 Honda Silverwing GL-500 Interstate :cool:

Dearly Departed:
1955 De Soto Fireflite S-21 sedan
1960 Chrysler Windsor PC-1 sedan
1961 Plymouth Belvedere sedan

#14 Layden B

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Posted 25 April 2007 - 12:42 AM

Period unit aftermarket for both cars and trucks.

#15 trimacar

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Posted 25 April 2007 - 01:48 AM

31Pierce43 has it right, I have the same, a 1931 Pierce Model 43 phaeton; it has a standard 3 speed/1 reverse transmission, with the addition of a button on top of the shift lever, which when depressed changes the transmission from a standard to a free wheeling. I do not believe that free wheeling was ever "outlawed" or illegal, but, at speed, it is somewhat scary. And as also noted, with some slight practice and attention to engine speed, this Pierce transmission allows shifting into second and third gear with no clutch. I still prefer using it in standard mode, engine braking is useful; as my father in law says, one controls the speed of a car with the accelerator, not the brake. As a side note, I have restored a few later Pierce cars, with the Stewart Warner power assist; great system, and in tip top shape it is wonderful, uses the momentum of the car (working off the rear of the transmission) to stop the car. With a little wear on the system, and moving at walking speeds, it will scare you and make you "stomp" the brake pedal. Look at a lot of the foot-shaped, aluminum cast, brake pedals on early to mid-30's Pierce Arrows, and then think about why they have a pronounced curve to them! As another side note, I recently pulled a 1936 Club Sedan out of a Rip Van Winkle sleep, over 50 years; this Pierce had a vacuum assist system for brakes ( Pierce never believed in hydraulics, just assisted brakes and lots of square inches of shoe and drum!); we got the car running, and the engine, transmission (with overdrive) and brakes were extraordinary; anyone out there see the rusty looking sedan drive onto the flea market at Hershey? Best comment: "doesn't look like it should run". Great cars, anyone looking for a '30's driver should look at Pierce Arrow. Happy motoring David Coco
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#16 Paul Dobbin

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Posted 25 April 2007 - 02:00 AM

The Chrysler Airflow used "Freewheeling" with Over Drive in all 3 gears.
For those who thought it was useless, go try it again on a long trip,
It's great!! Just don't froget to go back to direct drive whem going down
mountains!
We used it in 13 Great American Races for the long straight steady speed
runs making the Airflow a truely comfortable ride, even today. Our is a
1935 Chrysler but I think all Airflow's used it in all years, 1934-1937.
It's an option that has to be used wisely and is not for people who can't
notice chages in driving conditions and differing needs for performance.
Paul Dobbin
If you don't drive them, might as well collect clocks.

#17 duropowr

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Posted 11 April 2013 - 02:03 AM

Trimacar, do you have any idea of who designed the Stewart Warner brakes used by Pierce-Arrow?

#18 West Peterson

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Posted 11 April 2013 - 12:11 PM

Interesting to be responding to a six-year-old post, but here's some information that seems to have been missed:
Freewheeling is part of the Borg Warner overdrive units installed in Packards in the late 1930s through the 1940s (R-7, R-9 and R-11), and is essential in its operation. You couldn't have overdrive without the freewheeling. It was also part of the Borg Warner units used by Chrysler in the late 1930s and '40s as well. It does allow you to shift between gears without using the clutch. As mentioned, it's supposed to be more fuel efficient. Also, as mentioned, not recommended in hilly areas.

Edited by West Peterson, 11 April 2013 - 12:35 PM.

West Peterson, Editor
Antique Automobile (AACA)

No man treats a motorcar as foolishly as he treats another human being. When the car will not go, he does not attribute its annoying behavior to sin, he does not say, "You are a wicked motorcar and I shall not give you any more petrol until you go." He attempts to find out what is wrong and set it right. – Bertrand Russel

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#19 West Peterson

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Posted 11 April 2013 - 01:09 PM

In a nutshell:

In the beginning, the cog-box.
Later enter improved clutches, then synchronized gears for easier shifting.
Tweak the clutches with centrifugal counterweights to make shifting easier. Change gear ratios as driving speeds increase.
Add a freewheeling function to reduce engine braking.
Add overdrive to freewheeling, also eliminating the need to use the clutch between gears
Engineer a fluid bathed clutch (benefit?).
Make a hill-holder function to allow for easier launch on steep grade.
Consider electromatic clutch contraption so that people don't even need to press the clutch to shift from 1-2-3, nor to stop.
Enter fluid drive so that driver doesn't even need to shift.
Finally, enter a clunky automatic transmission that drives like a tank, is so inefficient the gas mileage is terrible.
Fast forward to 2001: Saturn L offered with either manual or automatic; however, mileage rating for automatic is higher than for manual. I'd still prefer the manual.

I think we have an outline for a story here.

West Peterson, Editor
Antique Automobile (AACA)

No man treats a motorcar as foolishly as he treats another human being. When the car will not go, he does not attribute its annoying behavior to sin, he does not say, "You are a wicked motorcar and I shall not give you any more petrol until you go." He attempts to find out what is wrong and set it right. – Bertrand Russel

"Things are more like they are now than they've ever been!" – Uncle Arni


#20 ply33

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Posted 11 April 2013 - 01:32 PM

Interesting to be responding to a six-year-old post, but here's some information that seems to have been missed:
Freewheeling is part of the Borg Warner overdrive units installed in Packards in the late 1930s through the 1940s (R-7, R-9 and R-11), and is essential in its operation. You couldn't have overdrive without the freewheeling. It was also part of the Borg Warner units used by Chrysler in the late 1930s and '40s as well. It does allow you to shift between gears without using the clutch. As mentioned, it's supposed to be more fuel efficient. Also, as mentioned, not recommended in hilly areas.


In addition to being in the overdrive units, it was also built into a number of non-overdrive freewheeling transmissions. My '33 Plymouth has a freewheeling transmission and does not have overdrive. In the case of my Plymouth it was intended to be used in conjunction with the vacuum actuated automatic clutch to make shifting easier (pre-automatic transmission days).

I believe that Studebaker was the first manufacturer to sell a freewheeling transmission.




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