stvaughn

Mitchell overdrive in REO question

Recommended Posts

I’m considering putting a Mitchell overdrive unit in my 32 REO. Does anyone have any experience or wisdom they wish to share for this or any other overdrive?

 

Thanks, Steve 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I already have cost information, $3500 for everything needed and me doing the install. I’m looking for actual real world experience to see if it justifies the cost. I’m not aware of any  over the counter ring and pinion setups for REO’s and with a whopping 80 horsepower the lower gearing is useful around town. Highway speeds would benefit from overdrive though. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My 1930 Dodge Brothers 8 had larger tires on the rear. The odometer read about 7% low. The car ran well on the flat but not so well on the hills. I would not agree to a taller rear end being a useful option - you will lose flexibility if the area you travel is not fairly flat. Since putting the standard size tires on, I see now how well it performed originally - it is a blast around our hills. The dark cloud is the fuel consumption, 10 mpg UK at $10 per gallon ($8.33/ gal US). With the larger tires it did about 13.5 mpg UK. I think some of the difference is that my foot has got heavier because the car responds, whereas it didn't before.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

$8.33gallon, yikes. Put a helium sole on that right foot. 😄 And I agree, changing the rear ratio is not the best solution. I recently did some touring in the Texas hill country and needed the 4.30 rear gear. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Oh, that is NZ$. But the currency transfer is false because our incomes are numerically similar to yours. It is expensive to live on the top of the world so far from source of fuel, plus a 40% tax loading.

Edited by Spinneyhill (see edit history)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have an overdrive in my 1929 Cadillac and it absolutely transforms the way the car feels on the road. Much more relaxed and it still has the stock gears for around town. I wholeheartedly recommend an overdrive for almost any old car that's going to be driven. If $3500 is a price you're comfortable with, you won't regret it. The single best upgrade you can make to an old car that gets driven regularly.

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Matt, the price is a little steep for me but I built the car to drive and if it’ll help save the engine it’ll be worth it. 

 

Steve

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Matt, is your overdrive factory or aftermarket? If aftermarket what kind?

 

Steve

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Borg-Warner probably from a '50s Ford, installed in my torque tube by Lloyd Young about 9 years ago. If I were doing it again, I'd go with a Gear Vendors unit, cost be damned. 

 

You'll never think twice about the money once you've driven it with the overdrive. My Cadillac goes 60 MPH pretty easily, but at like 52 MPH it's sublime and just whispers along. Before that, 48 MPH was busy and 55 felt like I was going to toss a rod. I promise you won't regret the overdrive as long as it's reliable (mine isn't). 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Mitchell appears to be a very nice unit with several ratio options but I’ll check out the Gear Vendors unit also. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Do you have a torque tube or an open driveline?

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, Bloo said:

Do you have a torque tube or an open driveline?

 

Open

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Matt I have heard you discuss the OD in your Cad before. What gears are you running on the back of it? 

My 1929 Club Sedan has 5:1 and it screams at 45-50 (!)  It is not really driveable as it is. 

 

Sadly torque tubes make adding anything to the driveline go from simple to rather complex. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, m-mman said:

Matt I have heard you discuss the OD in your Cad before. What gears are you running on the back of it? 

My 1929 Club Sedan has 5:1 and it screams at 45-50 (!)  It is not really driveable as it is. 

 

Sadly torque tubes make adding anything to the driveline go from simple to rather complex. 

Actually the Mitchell was originally designed for a Model A with torque tube drive line. Give them a call and see if they can help. 

 

http://mitchelloverdrivemfg.com/products/

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mitchell (at least when I last talked to them 2 years ago) do not support these units for installing in torque tubes, except the kits they offer, which are Model A Ford, and early Ford V-8. They would probably sell you parts, but you would be on your own with engineering, machining, welding, etc. to get it into some other torque tube.

 

They DO however sell a universal kit for open drivelines.

 

The Mitchell, is an auxiliary transmission, unlike the other planetary overdrives. It has helical gears and synchromesh. Normally you would have a second lever for it, but a cable would work.

 

The biggest concern for me with an open driveline would be mounting it in such a way to isolate it from the frame (like you would with an engine or transmission). Maybe the kit has something. I was wanting to put one in a torque tube, so I never investigated that issue.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You could use a Warner OD from about any Studebaker, but I believe that the one most often used is from the T95 Champion 6cyl. The parts are available and cheap. It entails some alterations, for most applications, but it beats the hell out of the cost of your Mitchell.

 

Bill

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Buffalowed Bill said:

You could use a Warner OD from about any Studebaker, but I believe that the one most often used is from the T95 Champion 6cyl. The parts are available and cheap. It entails some alterations, for most applications, but it beats the hell out of the cost of your Mitchell.

 

Bill

Is the Warner dependable, reliable, and trouble free? Where are the parts “available and cheap”? The price I quoted includes all the mounting brackets and making two driveshafts which either would require plus a little extra thrown in for tax or surprises.   

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In considering an overdrive for my car I thought of coupling it directly to the flange on the transmission output shaft, mounting it directly behind the transmission then I would only need one drive shaft.  Could/would that work on a Reo.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Tinindian said:

In considering an overdrive for my car I thought of coupling it directly to the flange on the transmission output shaft, mounting it directly behind the transmission then I would only need one drive shaft.  Could/would that work on a Reo.

I don’t think so. The frame crossmember is right behind the transmission and I would still have to fabricate an input shaft from transmission to OD. I’m two weeks away from making a decision mostly because I won’t be able to get under the car and start measuring things until then. For me, the advantage to the Mitchell is that it’s new, it’s synchromesh, it’s available in several ratios (that can be changed), and they can supply all the mounting hardware as well as u-joint flanges to adapt modern universals to replace the enclosed bushing style u-joints. I haven’t priced driveshaft fabrication yet but I think that will be the easiest and cheapest part of the installation. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When I converted from "Mechanics U-joints" to "Spicer" I was surprised how reasonable drive shaft work was.

Good luck with your conversion.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That’s good to know. Maybe I’ll come in under budget for once. 😁

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Warner overdrive, became the standard for the industry during the mid 30's. For the next thirty plus years, they were an integral part of the automotive industry. At one time every American car company used them. Some manufacturers were very late to the party. I think that 1955 Chevrolet was the first time it was offered on a GM car.

 

The reason I mention Studebaker was that the company used them more then anyone else. They are abundant, inexpensive and there is plenty of information available for adapting to cars not originally equipped with them.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...