neil morse

Neil's '41 Super Model 51

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Neil, I had a great time getting my fingers greasy again! I loved being in Don's shop with all that equipment. I love looking at this old "hardware". It is a time machine, interesting looking back at how things were done and seeing the why's and how things have changed. Like your gearbox with internal dogs. 

 

With your gearbox it was a stroke of genius on Don's part placing the case with the gear-shafts vertical. Ok, that may not have been the genius part, but using the through hole on the jack stand was!

 

The job wasn't as difficult as the photo makes it look; three hands and still needing to hold tooling in my mouth!

 

All the best,

Konrad

Edited by Konrad (see edit history)
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Torque Ball Assembly

 

The only job left on the transmission rebuild was assembling the torque ball.  Here's a photo of the torque ball kit items that come from Bob's.

 

kit2.thumb.jpg.89005d6308b52645fc56e822a44663b8.jpg

 

And here are the instructions that Don was nice enough to write up for me.

 

Torque Ball Assembly

 

In the ’38 manual there is a Figure 7-15 that shows the assembly. On yours, I did not find a spring washer and the seal isn’t cork.

 

Not surprisingly, the manual isn’t much help on assembly, but the figure is.

 

If you can, position the trans like we did in putting the counter shaft in with the rear facing up. That will make things a whole lot easier – it is worth the effort (you should have taken that jack stand)

 

There are 3 parts plus the tapered packing ring involved.

 

2 parts are stationary and affixed to the transmission  Those parts are gasketed and shimmed.

You’ll find a gasket and a number of different thickness and colored “shims” – very flimsy.

 

Start with everything dry and with no lube or seal installed. (well, maybe a light smear of light oil on the ball like 3&1)

There are inner and outer stationary parts. There is a gasket between the inner stationary part and transmission. The movable ball goes on next. Note that the “TOP” goes upward.

 

To set the shims:

 

Assemble the outer stationary part with one shim (I’d start with the thickest) against the inner stationary part.

I think there are 6 bolts (don’t use lock washers yet) – start to tighten 3 of them evenly and slowly.

Check ball for movement as you go. At some point, before the bolts are tight, the ball should bind.

 

Go back and remove the outer stationary part and add or remove shims as necessary until the ball can be moved, with very slight resistance, with a bar in the U joint, from limit to limit.

 

I differ from the manual on the use of a bar because the manual is dealing with new and unused parts – yours are not.

You’ll probably find areas that are looser (probably at the center) than at the limit. That is OK, provided you can move the ball to its limit.

 

This is an iterative process and you’ll probably have to do it several times as you sneak up to the correct fit.

At the point when all is good, install all the bolts with lock washers. It still should move. If not add a shim as necessary to get things moving again. At that point you will be near crazy with fiddling with it.

 

Now take it all apart. (Fun isn’t it).

 

Time to work with that horrible grease they give you – use gloves!

 

Install the rubber seal. Grease the wear surfaces of the stationary parts. The grease has to be spread evenly and completely all over the stationary parts plus the sealing surface of the seal against the ball.

 

Do not use sealant on any of the gaskets or shims.

 

Reassemble everything EXACTLY as it was before.

 

Tighten the bolts, but then loosen the bolts until you can just barely move the ball by hand.

You do that because it will help to align the ball flange with the torque tube on assembly. Use the pilot bolts in the ball flange to help orient them with the torque tube flange bolt holes.

 

Once the torque tube is aligned, bolt things together and then go back and tighten the bolts on the torque ball parts.

 

Have a drink.

 

 

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As Don mentions in the instructions, I did not take the jack stand from his place that we had used to mount the transmission nose down.  However, my friend Tom had the brilliant idea of using a portable work bench that he has that worked perfectly.

 

trans_on_bench.thumb.jpg.78b6311b705f7b3a047c03fcec3f6825.jpg

 

Here are the three torque ball components that Don mentions in his instructions: the outer part, the ball, and the inner part.

 

torqueball7.jpg.4f0f514e3f6b4bfdf7e50aeddb819fb4.jpg

 

The inner housing goes onto the back of the transmission with a gasket.

 

torqueball3.thumb.jpg.e2156d649c89094104ece53ffeb2a251.jpg

 

torqueball4.thumb.jpg.3145d86f74c13ed24b9bad864b4dca9d.jpg

 

Once this is in place, you start the trial and error process of fitting the shims, as Don explains.

 

torqueball2.thumb.jpg.62c5bc3cda150c55b6573b97f8c6927e.jpg

 

The shims that come with the kit are four different thicknesses.

 

kit1.thumb.jpg.bc98c5c9563463313b8c6917db764c7c.jpg

 

After some fiddling around as explained in the instructions, I determined that the .0150 shim was too thick and the .0060 shim was too thin.  So the .0100 shim was "juuuust right" (as Goldilocks would say).  Here's what I used as a "bar" to move the ball while testing (very handy).

 

torqueball.jpg.c71745a693b27abe14af7af66d219194.jpg

 

Once I had determined which shim to use, I applied the goop (nasty stuff, as Don says).

 

torqueball5.jpg.48768c2d8289723e669fff308bd67711.jpg

 

After that, I put it back together and "Bob's your uncle" -- torque ball done!  (Whereupon I promptly prepared a rye Manhattan to follow Don's final instruction.)  (Cocktail not pictured.)

 

torqueball6.thumb.jpg.0682a20c8ce08a209a4e6d7da24b1649.jpg

 

 

 

Edit:  I forgot to mention that, of course, you have to add the large rubber seal in the final assembly.  There is also a smaller seal that goes on the end of the shaft and is shown in the parts photo but was not yet installed in my final photo.

 

Final edit (I hope):  I also forgot to mention that Don had put the ball part on his lathe and polished it up before I took it back to my place.

 

 

 

Edited by neil morse (see edit history)
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Looks like I need to start on my Jack LaLanne work outs.

 

All the best,

Konrad

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Failure Mode

 

As has been explained earlier, it's pretty clear that the problem with my transmission was caused by a faulty installation that resulted in the throw-out bearing support snap ring getting caught up between the bell housing and the transmission where it proceeded to chew up the front bearing and get broken into three pieces.

 

Now that I've put the new support in place with the snap ring, a photo comparison shows more clearly than ever what happened.

 

Here's a pic of what it looks like now with everything seated properly.

 

spring_washer.thumb.jpg.7cc66b83b6c577d8f05667f121748d50.jpg

 

Compare this with what we found when we removed the transmission.  The impression in the RTV is like a fingerprint that shows that the snap ring was not seated correctly.  It was situated in the outer recess instead of the inner recess, and you can clearly see from the impression that the ring was not fully compressed.

 

engine_rear3.thumb.jpg.263bc4aedadbbe1825ab136c6e6ba37b.jpg

 

I love this -- kind of like a crime scene investigation!

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2 hours ago, Ben Bruce aka First Born said:

When are you installing or is it done?  Finished assembling mine this evening. I finally determined the rear bearing was the culprit.

 

 

Hi Ben:

 

I'm glad to hear you found your problem.  We will be putting the transmission back in my car this coming Tuesday, the 25th. Watch this space.

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I'm happy to report that we got the transmission back in the car this morning, and a shake-down cruise around the block revealed no problems.  I have yet to give it the "acid test" of coasting down a long downgrade in third gear, but I am pretty certain we took care of the problem of it popping out of gear.  I am extremely grateful to my friends Don, Konrad, and Tom for all the help and support!  What a great hobby!

 

Neil

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Neil, I was surprissed at how fast we got her all assembled. Now that you have given her a shake down cruise, I think it might be a good idea to check the torque on the spring hold down plates. I suspect thing could settle (shift) as the springs find their new home. Remember lefty tighty!!!

 

Konrad

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Thank you for that piece of advice, I will definitely check that.  And thanks for the reminder about the left-hand threads.  As I have said many times to my automotive mentors and teachers, don't ever hesitate to tell me something, even if it seems obvious! 😄

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It was you that told me about those pesky south paw threads. Even knowing that they were there, I had to be very cognizant of which way I needed to turn the fastener! I mention them as there was evidence that an earlier mechanic was not aware of these threads. 

 
Now that a few hours have past I’m a shamed to say I’m feeling the effect of the job. My arms are aching a bit. Not too surprising as the one issue we had, was that we failed to pull back the torque tube prior to stuffing the transmission into the transmission tunnel.  That left me hold up the transmission for a bit longer than I anticipated.:(
 
All in all it was an easy and safe repair. Heck, after cleaning up in a hot shower I found I didn’t even have any scraped knuckles.
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Just to make this clear for anyone trying to follow along, the "southpaw" threads we are talking about are on the "keepers" that hold the coil springs onto the rear axle at the bottom of the coils.  The threads are left-handed on both sides (to compensate for the "twisting" movement of the springs when they contract).  On my car, we found that someone had apparently been unaware of this and had stripped out the threads on one side.  He had then drilled it out to a larger diameter and substituted a right-hand nut and bolt.  Don happened to have an extra "correct" left-hand keeper which he generously gave me, so my car is now back to the proper configuration.

 

With regard to Konrad's sore arms, I will soon be posting a wrap up on this job with an account of what we learned that may help other people in the future.  As I said at the beginning of the transmission job, I know that this may just be another day in the shop for many of you, but it never hurts to post what we've learned along the way that may be of some help to others.

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 Nice thread, and great instructions on overhauling these trannies.

Too bad I found out the hard way about those left hand threads when I took the rear springs off mine, when I took apart for the first time about 15 years ago.

Reading through this leads me to think my trans might need to come out again. I did replace the front bearing on mine, at the time, unless there is something else amiss. The popping out on mine isn't too bad, sometimes doesn't even happen, and its' the same as yours, a coast in third gear.

 However, being winter here in the Great White North, I'm having getting my fun by doing the Dynaflow on my son's '55 Special.

 Thank, Neil, and the rest for some great looking work. I also have to second Matt's comment a while ago, it is truly amazing that it suffered through all that abuse, poor lube or what caused the "coke" inside, without major parts being damaged, and is now ready to go again!

 Keith

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Thank you, Keith.  I have a couple of thoughts.

 

First, with regard to your transmission, the main thing I learned from the experience of working on the transmission in my car is that the "pop out of third" problem can occur when the front bearing being free to move forward, even just a tiny bit.  It sounds like that could be what's happening in your car.  That front bearing is a slip fit, and unless everything is properly in place that holds the bearing in position, it can slide forward causing the inner dogs on the third gear (in the very front of the case) to slip out.  The bearing is normally held in place by the pressure from the throw-out bearing support pushing against it, with the large "snap ring" (really a spring washer) in between the throw-out bearing support and the front bearing.  As you know, on my car the snap ring had been destroyed and had damaged the ball carriage of the bearing and the oil slinger, so the bearing was free to move forward.  This was exacerbated  by the use of RTV instead of a gasket and the poor alignment between the transmission and the bell housing.   In a thread by @Nevadavic, Vic reports that the "pop out" problem on his '41 Roadmaster was caused by the fact that the snap ring was missing altogether.  So even though you replaced the front bearing, you may have a problem with what is supposed to be holding it in place.

 

Second, with regard to why my transmission parts survived so well despite the damaged bearing, what we actually found was that the bearing (although the ball carriage was damaged) was working fine.  I think the "poor lube" problem was pretty minor -- transmission oil was leaking out the front of the case and into the bell housing area because the oil slinger had been destroyed, but as long as the car wasn't driven very much and the oil was topped off periodically, I don't think it suffered too much.  And what Don originally thought was "coke" coating all the internal parts actually turned out to be more of a "varnish."  Although he had never seen that before, others have reported that it's not uncommon in old transmissions.  I don't know what causes it, but it may have to do with using the wrong kind of transmission oil.  So I don't think there was a significant overheating problem with my transmission.  So that's my little bit of "post-hoc" analysis now that we have completed the job.

 

Good luck with the Dynaflow -- that must be quite a job!

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Neil, Tom and Konraad.

Congratulations.

 

I think you guys as sort of greenhorns did a great job of getting that job done.  I was especially impressed at how quickly you got it back together and on the road. (left handed threads aside).

 

Konrad, no bruises or scrapes?  My dad used to, tell me "if you didnt bleed on it, you didnt do a good job". I did my best to NOT follow that advise.

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 NO JOB IS COMPLETE WITHOUT ITS POUND OF FLESH AND BLOOD. Or so I'm told.

 

I stopped by Neil's place just to make sure that there weren't any leaks or other disasters. Much to my horror I find Neil's feet sticking out from under the car (looking much like a scene from the Wizard of Oz, the one with the house on top of a Wicked Witch of the East). Well, he was just adjusting the hand brake. I can say there isn't a drop or even any signs of oil weeping from the gearbox. 

 

There was one issue I needed to take care of so that we wouldn't be accused of hot rodding or modifying the car. One of the cross member bolts had a USS threads when the other three were SAE threads. I took care of that oversight in 5 minutes. All 4 carriage bolts are now sporting SAE  threads. (looks much better)!

 

We took the car for a drive around the city. After getting her warmed up and running she is now running and shift like new. I'm always surprised that even with old well used machinery one needs to give things some time the break in ( find its new equilibrium). After all we have disturbed much and may have re-shimmed things. At the end of the drive Neil and the car had become one again.

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Thanks for the report, Konrad!  I just logged into the forum to post this pic and my own report of the afternoon's events, but Konrad has summed it up so well I will just post the photo.  It looks like just another photo of my Buick in the driveway, but it's not.  It's a photo of my Buick in the driveway after a successful test drive during which I tried my best to get it to pop out of third gear and it just wouldn't do it! 😄 I'm a very happy camper and again want to thank my friends for all their help.

 

back_on_road.thumb.jpg.24d3fc4dacc27498c76f83983e5d6169.jpg

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A few more photos -- it's probably not going to look this clean for long, so I thought I would post these.

 

trans_done1.thumb.jpg.3e42c9506274cc71947f61a18863bece.jpg

 

trans_done2.thumb.jpg.4acee44a8b4cc62ba19c8517012f8872.jpg

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I have a question, what is the function of that center line tie rod and how does one adjust it?

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Since a Buick actually "pushes" the car via the torque tube, that mount and crossmember, the rod helps stabalize things by connecting the center od that crossmember directly to the frame.

I adjust it so, with the frame bolts just run up to contact, I take all the slack out of that rod and then tighten the crossmember.

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Don, your procedure is consistent with the '41 manual which says "The rod running from frame X-member to support mounting should be adjusted so that no tension is placed on rod."   It also says (as the final step to adjusting all of the engine and transmission mounts), "Tighten rod in transmission support, being careful not to cause any 'push' or 'pull' tension in rod."

 

On my car, I took the rod off and cleaned up the threads once we had removed the cross-member so that it could be easily adjusted if we needed to.  When I put the rod back on the cross-member, I tried to put it right back where it had been.  Apparently, I was successful (and we didn't change things too much by installing the new front and rear transmission mounts) because when we put that cross-member support back in the car, the attachment hole at the rear of the rod lined up perfectly with the hole in the X-member and the rod could be reattached without putting any tension on it.  So I guess we didn't go exactly "by the book," but I think we ended up in the right place.

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What's your possition on Quiche? :rolleyes:

(Ref. the book Real Men Don't Eat Quiche. I think this came out in the 80's)

Edited by Konrad (see edit history)
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5 hours ago, Konrad said:

Ref. the book Real Men Don't Eat Quiche. I think this came out in the 80's)

In the 1970s (I wuz dere) as a counterpoint to "Real Women Don't Pump Gas," from the days of the oil embargo, when serve-your-own-damself became the norm.  Ladies learned how to pump gas....

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