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Replacing the 4.44 rear end with a lower rear ratio


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Great News !   Lloyd Young's  "Over Drives" will be available.   The machinist in Circleville has agreed to continue building them and somebody has Lloyds parts and will be provided.   So all is not lost.  Glen has put his phone number in Hemmings in place of Lloyds so contacting him will get you to Glen.   

         I have delt with Glen as he and Forest put mine together in '2015' for my  '38' Buick.  He has good experence building them.    Any one who was considering buying a car in the 20's and up to the WW II area, his collection will be available at Auction on Aug 10 / 11 this year.  I personally saw his collection and it was very nice.  

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Lloyd was such a wealth of knowledge.  So much to loose.   For us (older ?) guys, educate anyone who will listen.   Tell the younger guys as much as they will absorb.   Lets not loose the knowledge we have accumulated over our life times.

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  • 2 weeks later...

OlCar Bearing Company  George Bachleda   135 James Creek Road  Southern Pines, NC. 28387  910 693 3324  This is who Lloyd Young recommended to me for pinion bearings when he did my OD, and I`ve been buying from George since..  Tom

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Pont35cpe / Tom,  thanks a bunch.  I’ll give him a call tomorrow.  I ran a bearing shop for 18 years so I know whats good or not.   If you are going to rebuild the pinion shaft bearings,   IMHO you need to replace the front double row, max fill shielded bearing with the  ‘2 RS ‘ version.  Original configuration is  -  5206 max fill, ZZ .  The best replacement is a  ‘5206 max fill, 2RS’.    The “2RS”  designation means that it has two rubber seals.  This replaces the  “ZZ”  or shielded configuration.  Reason - -  you need to keep any rear end lubrication from moving forward into the drive shaft area.  Which can cause the drive shaft to be unballanced due to oil on the outside of the drive shaft.  The   ‘2RS’ bearing needs to have the side facing the drive shaft left in place.   The side facing the pinion gear  needs to have that seal  removed to expose  the ball bearings to the rear end lub.  The seperate seal,  forward of the ball bearing will eventually leak.  Not so the  2RS  sealed bearing.   The same goes for the input bearing on your transmission.  It needs to be treated the same way.    

        BTW,  when I pulled the 3.90 gear set from my car,  it had the front ball bearing installed backward.  Check with your Service Manual which tell you how and what direction to install the bearing.  (Filling slot facing REARWARD  and slot at the top ).  Had my redone rear end been used for any time, it probably would have gotten noisy from  lubricant issues.  The ole Service Manual is full of ‘how to do’  issues / correctly.  Isn’t this fun - -    Love my Buicks.      37 & 38. Coupes.

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Tom,  I just found out that the ‘37’ & ‘38’ rear ends have the pinion ball bearings with a SPECIAL  smaller SIZE.   Later pinion bearings had a standard size for the ID on the ball bearing.   The roller bearing IS  special size with the OD being larger than standard (so you can pull the whole assembly out the back).   The ball bearing has a smaller inside diameter.   The standard roller bearing can be modified to work with a sleeve to change the OD to match the housing bore.  Unfortunatly, the ball bearing  can not be changed.   It either is correct or it won’t work.  So, when the pinion bearings disapear, we will have to change to later rear ends.   So at least I will get new bearings from Geo.  ( I hope he has them).  Waiting for a call back from Geo.

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My 37 Special belongs in the "Modified" section I'm sure but it has taught me some lessons as far as gearing for a straight eight. I like to drive one many miles a year so the 248 with 4.44 gearing was not a good suit for me. My first go round was to change out the torque tube rear for a 2.73 open one and this worked fine for the flat lands in this part of Texas but fell on it's face when any hills were encountered. Next was a 263 engine which also wouldn't pull a 2.73 in the hills. Finally dawned on my foggy brain that for years the power/economy set up was a 4.11 rear and an OD transmission (2.88 in OD). Since the rear was already open and the wife said she might drive on occasions I went to a Bengsten's adapter and a 200R4 OD automatic. No floor mods required for the smaller 200 trans and it's plenty strong enough for the torque of a 263. I guess the factory engineers knew what they were doing in paring the 4.11's and OD trans because it has been capable in all terrains for a number of years with 2000 rpm putting the speed at 61mph (gps). 2300 rpm puts you in the left lane on freeways.

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Your having as much fun as you are allowed.  I kept the 4.44 rear and just added the OD for a final ratio of 3.11.   I got a 263 engine and that combination works well in our hilly area.   That little bit more HP from the 263 lets me have A/C.  Florida is a bit tough on us old guys.

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I think your gearing is better than mine and about as good as it can get for this application. The 3.11 final in OD will let you handle hills much better than my 2.88; in fact most hills. When I have to kick down into straight drive 60 mph puts the tack on 3000 which a 263 can handle but I like to keep them 2500 and under. I'd like to try Ben's engine in front of my set-up as it would probably seldom need down shifting. Mine seemed to be just on the edge with OD lugging and straight drive revving when in the Ozarks. May come in the North gate of Yellowstone this year and across the Grand Tetons where I'm sure I'll be in straight drive the whole trip. Curious as to how Yours or Ben's would handle this.

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Your having as much fun as you are allowed.  I  chose the original rear  with the over drive.  This was back in 04.   I had just gotten into Buicks and figured I would most likely need the OD  to travel.   My thoughts were that the 248 with OD and A/C  probably not work.   I started with the 248 and OD.  Worked nice here in flat land.  I got a 263 that was ready to be rebuilt so I did that.   Then, our 36 / 38 Buick club had a get together in the Nashville Tn. area.   So, off I went.  Approx. 735 miles one way.   Flat land untill north Florida.   With the 263 and the original 248 radiator, I had issues with runnung temps around 200 to 212*. in the hills.  Worked it out and made the trip a sucess.  BTW,  I found that using a  320 ci engine radiator, like a century’s radiator gave me 50%. more cooling capacity.  Solved that issue.   Then, on to A/C.  I had to add a pusher fan with the A/C system.  

Its nice to drive here in mid 90,s temps and have the windows up and cool inside.   I now had a car that I wanted to use for trips and feel confident that I can getbthere and back like a modern car.  Love my Buick coupe.

         What set up does Ben have ?   I’m Not familiar with his.

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Buick35 ,  is your car back from the painters?   I saw one of your questions about hard starting.  Did you move the electric boost pump back next to the fuel outlet on the tank?   Having the boost pump there is solves most hard starting.  I have boost pumps on both of my BUICKS.  I may not drivethem for a week or so.   Use a switch under the dash works best.   My technique is to turn on the ignition and then turn on the boost pump while I buckle in.    Then turn off the ignition and boost pump.  Depress the gas pedal 3 or 4 times to get fuel into the intake manifold.   Then turn on the ignition and engage the starter while slowly adding  throttle.  The engine starts right away.  Works nice with the Buick auto start (depressing the gas pedal engages the starter)..   Also, having the boost pump will let you run the car in an emergency mode.  I had my fuel pump die and I used it to get home.  I did not want to have a truck pick it up and bring it home.  

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  • 3 months later...

By the way, there has been some discussion about what lub to use in the overdrive.   I went   Lloyds to have my OD installed.   When through, he filled the OD with hypod gear oil.   The earlier 30's cars with factory OD had them attached directly to the transmission.  Thus, they were lubricated with gear oil used in the transmission.   He told me to be sure to fill the opening where the governor was located.   Then, open the higher pipe plug (two close to each other) and fill thru the governor opening until oil starts to come out the upper pipe plug.  This makes sure that the gear box is properly filled.   If you fill using the upper plug hole,  you will not fill the OD correctly and cause some geas to not have the proper lubrication.   This is from the lips of the GURU of overdrives.   I miss him.    We had interesting conversations. 

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"Vintage Auto Garage"  now sells NEW OD solenoids and controls.  Bought my 12v solenoid from him.  I use Lloyd older solenoids as a back up for trips.   Vintage units are more expensive but zero problems vs Lloyd older solenoids.   Definitely use  Llyods to start with.   Then add the new units and move the older solenoid into a  back-up  position.

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