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'41 Cadillac Hydra-matic Transmission ?s


Guest jimstulga

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Guest jimstulga

I'm shopping for a '41 Cadillac. My research for the early automatic trans shows the choices of N-D-L-R on the steering column, however the '41 I looked at today had N-H-letter missing with an open hole-R. Was there a "D" on a '41 hydra-matic in Cadillac? This was the first time I've seen and operated a Hydra trans.

Also, I noticed, from a stop the car was very sluggish compared to a standard three speed with clutch. Anyone out there have a '41 Hydramatic that can give me their opinion? Am thinking this car I drove must need work. Thanks for any and all info!! Jim

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1941 through 1952 had Neutral, Hi, Lo, and Reverse. Hi let it go through all the gears to 4th gear, while Lo held it in second gear. There was no way to hold it in third gear. In 1953 they came out with the dual range Hydramatic. Now, low would still hold it in 2nd gear, but drive had two marks so you could either hold it in third, or let it go through all the gears in the 4th. It sounds like someone may have put a later transmission in that 1941. That's not a terrible thing. The 1941 - 1942 transmission had problems that weren't corrected until 1946, and it is common to see later transmissions in pre war Cadillacs. If the car drives & shifts fine, I wouldn't worry about it. No one is ever going to know by looking at it.

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Guest jimstulga

Thanks for the info. I have now seen two '41 Caddy's with hydra-matic and the selections were: N-H-L-R, so according to what you are saying, they both have later transmissions because the D is missing.

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  • 13 years later...
On 5/27/2009 at 7:52 AM, K8096 said:

1941 through 1952 had Neutral, Hi, Lo, and Reverse. Hi let it go through all the gears to 4th gear, while Lo held it in second gear. There was no way to hold it in third gear. In 1953 they came out with the dual range Hydramatic. Now, low would still hold it in 2nd gear, but drive had two marks so you could either hold it in third, or let it go through all the gears in the 4th. It sounds like someone may have put a later transmission in that 1941. That's not a terrible thing. The 1941 - 1942 transmission had problems that weren't corrected until 1946, and it is common to see later transmissions in pre war Cadillacs. If the car drives & shifts fine, I wouldn't worry about it. No one is ever going to know by looking at it.

the Dual Range Improvement to the Hydra-Matic Drive valve body first came out in 1952 Hydra-Matic transmissions, 1951 was the last year for the Single Range valve body.

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