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"To Overdrive or not to Overdrive..."


De Soto Frank
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Am considering installing an overdrive transmission in my '41 De Soto, w/ 228 six, regular clutch& present 3-speed, 4.1 rear end, and 6.50 x 16 tires.<P>If I get into this, I am going to try and find an OD transmission from a '40-'41 Chrysler/De Soto, so that it will be as much of a "bolt-in" job as possible.<P>My goal would be to be able to drive the car on tours and trips on the highway without listening to the engine "scream".<BR>Presently, I'm turning around 3,000 rpm @ 50 mph.<P>How durable were these old Chrysler OD units?<BR>What should I "look out for" when shopping for such a transmission?<P>I'm wrestling with "self-doubt" here; I'm afraid I may be unknowingly making more trouble for myself frown.gif" border="0 .<P>I'd like to know what some of your experiences are with "factory-equipped" OD MoPars.<P>Thanks!

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Hello Frank,From 1940 until 1955. my late uncle William had a 1940 Desota with factory overdrive.I was only a small child when he traded it on a 1953 Plymouth but i have heard he and the other grownups in the family carry on many times about how good it was.Said it got better gas mileage than uncle Baileys 1940 Dodge or our 1949 Dodge.Also said it was much quieter at highway speeds and 2nd gear overdrive was perfect in the mountains.Hope this help you make up your mind.Also,I,ve been told the overdrive portion of the tranny has it's own grease fill plug and lots of times folks forgot to check that grease and let it get low.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Ford did not come up with a transmission code on the VIN plate until 1957. I have a 1953 (flat head) and a 1955 overdrive unit. Except where the part number is cast on, these transmissions are identical. Both have seprate gear oil drains. In some cases, the relays, electric solonoid, and governor are more expensive. <P>The dificulty of that era overdrive is the free wheeling clutch. There is no compression braking with the overdrive engaged. Second gear does little good, it free wheels faster. First gear is not syncronized. If it were, it would free wheel.<P>There is a similar problem on MG TD. The diferential is 5.125:1. Low gear works out to 17:1 and is seldom used. Moss Motors recomends a new ring and pinion gear for the diferential.<P>It depends on what is available for your DeSoto, and what you feel is corect for you. It is odd that antiques are more suitable to tow the modern car. smile.gif" border="0

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Frank.There is a chrysler overdrive transmission for sale on the plymouth owners club discussion forum.It might be what you need.Good Luck.

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