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1962 Olds F85 Automatic Transmission


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A friend can score a very decent '62 F85 with the 215 V8 cheap.

The problem is the current owner sent the transmission for a rebuild about 11 years ago and that was the last he saw of it....... :mad:

The car is set up with a column auto shifter.

Are Roto-5 transmissions as scarce as hens' teeth or will something else bolt in?

We're totally in the dark on this one but it's a decent car with a very nice interior and will appreciate some direction........ :)

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I don't believe anything just bolts in the place of Roto-5. Unless maybe you convert it to a 4-speed. Good luck finding that stuff, too...

I don't know how hard Roto-5s are to find. 10s are actually pretty common, but they were used in many more vehicles.

Paul

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The RH5 was unique to the 1961-63 F-85 line. The Buick trans is different but can be used in place of the RH5. It requires the flywheel to be swapped to match the trans. The RH5 does show up for sale occasionally. Check ebay and Olds-specific sites. One site in particular is Jetfire.com, where you'll probably find the largest group of aficionados.

D&D sells an adapter to allow you to bolt up a later model GM automatic. Unfortunately, even the TH350 is larger than the RH5 and requires tunnel mods (as well as a new driveshaft). Of course, you can convert to a manual trans, as noted above. Those parts are available. The factory four speed was the T10. D&D sells a reproduction bellhousing. The T5 is also a popular swap, but requires more work. And as a last resort, the Rover transmissions will also bolt to the 215, though again mods are required to fit the car.

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Thanks for the additional info Joe.

I did a little research about this model after my friend told me about it.

When I found the production numbers I figured this wasn't going to be easy.........or cheap.

But if you aren't going to "fix" a low production car like this correctly is it worth fixing at all?

That is the question........ :confused:

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Thanks for the additional info Joe.

I did a little research about this model after my friend told me about it.

When I found the production numbers I figured this wasn't going to be easy.........or cheap.

But if you aren't going to "fix" a low production car like this correctly is it worth fixing at all?

That is the question........ :confused:

Olds built over 100,000 of these cars per year for the three years of production, so I'd hardly call these "low production". Admittedly not as many survive as, say, Falcons or Corvairs, but the cars and parts are out there.

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The numbers for the plain Jane F85 aren't that high in the great scheme of things and there are virtually none for sale.

The car my friend has in mind is a 4 door sedan making it even less plentiful although I don't know how that translates into value.

Nobody want's to throw money at a dead horse and he needs another project like an extra hole in the head but........you know how things go....... :rolleyes:

I'm going to try and retrieve some photos from his cell phone.

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The numbers for the plain Jane F85 aren't that high in the great scheme of things and there are virtually none for sale.

The car my friend has in mind is a 4 door sedan making it even less plentiful although I don't know how that translates into value.

Nobody want's to throw money at a dead horse and he needs another project like an extra hole in the head but........you know how things go....... :rolleyes:

I'm going to try and retrieve some photos from his cell phone.

There were 8074 base F-85 sedans built in 1962, as compared to almost 19,000 F-85 Deluxe sedans. In any case, I might have a line on a RotoHydro 5 core or two. I have a friend who converted his 62 to a four speed. I've also got one in a parts car, but the condition is unknown.

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  • 4 weeks later...

For an older vehicle, probably the best thing to do is to keep it as close to stock as you can. Ultimate value will be better that way, in the future as later owners can better know what to look for rather than if something's modified and what's been done is not passed down the line, accurately.

It's also best to not get really deep, financially, in such projects . . . unless you might spread it out over several years. The "book value" of such vehicles will never be what the fancier models might be, BUT the fact a 4-door has survived all of these years borders on the "exceptional", as most were used and traded-in/discarded for their lower perceived value. This also basically means that such F-85s will be the ONLY ones at most any weekend/general car show you might attend! Which can add to the "WOW!" factor, which can also translate into $$$ later on. Similar with the Buick Specials/Skylarks of the same era.

As for an alternative transmission choice, might the T200-4R trans family be a better choice than the THM350 and possibly fit the existing transmission tunnel with fewer modifications? It also takes less power to "run" than the THM350. Even the earlier THM200? Might need to ensure you started with one from a V-8 rather than a 4 cyl or "back then" V-6", though.

Although many might have overlooked these smaller GM cars (Buicks and Oldsmobiles) back then, they can make some pretty neat cars now. Upgrading to the larger Rover-version and possibly modern electronic engine controls might be an interesting possibility and still keeping a "stock" demeanor of things. There WERE some neat option combinations, as the 4-speed V-8 coupes with two-tone paint and fancier interiors.

I ran across an interesting article on how Rover came to use that engine. Very interesting and informative, especially the things Rover changed to fit their performance orientations of their market demographics.

NTX5467

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As for an alternative transmission choice, might the T200-4R trans family be a better choice than the THM350 and possibly fit the existing transmission tunnel with fewer modifications? It also takes less power to "run" than the THM350. Even the earlier THM200? Might need to ensure you started with one from a V-8 rather than a 4 cyl or "back then" V-6", though.

 

Unfortunately, the 200-4R is even larger than the TH350, so even MORE trans tunnel mods are required to fit it.  I don't know were you got the info on taking less "power" to run the 200-4R, however.  The TH200 is an interesting suggestion.  I don't know how it compares to the TH350, but it likely is smaller.  Of course, the TH200 is an outgrowth of the Vega automatic, so not even the V8 versions are particularly strong.  Of course, all of these BOP bellhousing transmissions require an adapter to bolt to the 215, which pushes them slightly further back in the tunnel.

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Pretty much all engines/transmission birthed in the middle 1970s for use in the later 1970s were oriented toward fuel economy and lower power output . . . ala THM200,  Pontiac 267-301 V-8s, Chevy's 262 "unique" V-8, and the "half a Q-Jet" 2bbl carbs, for example.  Plus the later Delco air conditioning compressors after the R4 came out.  Not to forget how radically the body construction designs changed.

 

The power consumption figures were quoted in an article in Super Chevy magazine in the earlier 1980s.  Seeing how little power the PowerGlide consumed tended to explain how the 2-speed cars tended to perform as good as they did, PLUS why the heavy-duty drag racers (and related transmission builders) liked them so much . . . less power consumed in the transmission = more power to the pavement, which also led to advanced racing torque converter/variable-lockup clutch mechanisms. 

 

When Buick chose the THM200 family for the turbo GNs, I questioned that choice, back then.  Later, I considered that they were going for less power consumption with the trans choice, as well as the choice of PowerMaster power brake boosters.  Less power consumption meant more power to the pavement.  They built the trans decently strong, but they also knew that racers would get the trans upgraded when they needed it. 

 

When the "new" THM200 came out with the downsized A/G cars in '78, a friend in Olds dealership parts related that they had some that "blew up driving them off of the transport truck".  We had our share of them in Chevy, too.  All warranty work.  We sold a factory repair kit and the Olds rep would only pay for individual clutch plates and such . . . only replacing what was "hurt" rather than anything else.  Only thing was that they probably spent more doing that than the GM kit we used cost and give the customer back an "all new" warranty transmission repair.  Be that as it may.

 

About 5 years ago, an article in Popular Hot Rodding was about how the street rod community was using upgraded THM200-4Rs in their BBC Chevy-powered street machines and such.  They claimed that the major trans vendors had geared up to support stronger "guts" for the THM200-4R as it was simpler to build and only needed a kickdown linkage to work . . . no computer as the later THM700/4L60E did.  Plus less power consumption in the mix, too.  Up to about 450 horsepower was good, they claimed.

 

I'd figured that everybody had jumped behind the TH700 for its deep low gear, but apparently not for higher power applications . . . unless somebody knew how to build one to last.  I do recall that in the middle 1980s, we had to know the Julian build date to get the right parts for them and they also had some quirks about how they oiled when not in "Drive" OD.  No such issues with the prior THM200 family trans.

 

I suspect the little 215s might "wake up some" with a less power-hungry automatic and a less power hungry a/c compressor (Delco V-5?).  Then possibly a more modern carb (even self-learning FI?) and electronic ignition for better power and efficiency?

 

One of our Buick club guys found a place that does TBI kits for older vehicles.  Using salvage yard or reman parts.  They burn a new chip for the GM ECM and the fuel return line goes into the filler neck of the fuel tank.  He did that with his Buick Straight 8 and got about 2mpg+ better fuel economy on trips, plus the other benefits of TBI to boot.  Perhaps an upgrade such as that for the little 215s too?

 

I wasn't aware of the trans bellhousing bolt pattern differences.  What trans was Rover using?  Just curious.

 

Thanks for your information, Joe!

 

NTX5467

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  • 1 year later...
  • 4 years later...

My first thought is that the engine and transmission have been swapped out with Buick Special (same GM Y-body platform) bits. The aluminum 215 engine is the same in both except for the intake and cylinder heads and the Buick uses a Dual-Path Dynaflow transmission.

 

Quick check. Put the trans in Park, then count the number of detents from Park to Reverse. If the car still has its Roto-5 HydraMatic you will feel 5 distinct detents  P N D S L R. If there's a Dynaflow in there, only 4   P N D L R and it will behave as you've described only one shift.

 

My Motor's service manual is packed up. Otherwise I'd post pics of the two transmissions so you can positively ID what's in there.

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1 hour ago, rocketraider said:

My first thought is that the engine and transmission have been swapped out with Buick Special (same GM Y-body platform) bits. The aluminum 215 engine is the same in both except for the intake and cylinder heads and the Buick uses a Dual-Path Dynaflow transmission.

 

Actually, the intake manifolds are the same. The external differences are the heads and valve covers. The easy way to tell which trans you have is to look at the cooling. The Olds trans uses a conventional trans cooler in the bottom tank of the radiator with two hard lines running from there back to the passenger side of the trans. The Buick trans uses an air-cooled torque converter and does not have cooling lines.  It's also the CUTEST little automatic you've ever seen. The Olds RH5 uses an internal fluid coupling and does not have a conventional torque converter.  These photos are the Buick trans.

 

bsnewpics%20(4).JPG

 

bsnewpics%20(15).JPG

 

bsnewpics%20(3).JPG

 

Note the cooling fins on the torque converter.

 

newpics%20(5).JPG

 

Also note the single bolt oil pan and easily visible cooling fins on the converter.

 

bsnewpics%20(6).JPG

 

 

Since the Olds RH5 trans does not use a torque converter, it has a much shallower bellhousing. Also note that it has a conventional trans pan with 20 bolts. Also note the two ports for the cooling lines on the passenger side of the trans.

 

imageuploadedbyh-a-m-b-1468336779-356520

 

Roto%205%20(F85)%20(1961-63)%20PG.jpg

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