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1941 Buick Special 40 3spd to Auto swap?


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Is there an automatic transmission that is a direct swap that i can replace my 3 spd on the column with? I was looking into a dynaflow but wasnt sure if it was possible. I dont want to modify the torque tube, driveshaft...etc. The manual is just real slow and with no syncro in 1st it forces me to concentrate on the stop lights all the time to predict the future, and the other factor is my wife cannot drive a manual. 

 

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42 minutes ago, Turbosl2 said:

Is there an automatic transmission that is a direct swap that i can replace my 3 spd on the column with? I was looking into a dynaflow but wasnt sure if it was possible. I dont want to modify the torque tube, driveshaft...etc. The manual is just real slow and with no syncro in 1st it forces me to concentrate on the stop lights all the time to predict the future, and the other factor is my wife cannot drive a manual. 

 

Thanks

Easier to get a different car:  back up a few years:  HERE or start in 1948 forward.

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At a stoplight, if you are in a hurry to get into gear, push the clutch in and "touch" second or third gear before going for first. That will stop first gear, and so no grinding.

 

You can go all the way into another gear instead of touching it if you want, and it still works, but it is not necessary to go all the way in.

 

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I always leave my cars in whatever gear I'm in as I slow down to a stop, then clutch in, and once I'm stopped it slides easily into 1st gear. Yes, sometimes there are situations where you're going too slow for 2nd and may need to mash it into 1st, but they're rare and 2nd has more pulling power than you think. It's just a matter of more practice and getting familiar with what the car prefers in today's traffic. 

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On 9/10/2020 at 11:24 AM, Turbosl2 said:

and the other factor is my wife cannot drive a manual. 

 

Well, the options to that are going to keep a smile on my face the rest of the day.

 

My wife could drive a manual at 21 years old when I met her. But she always put the car in neutral with one foot on the brake at a light. There was a corner near her house with an incline at the light where she had an awful time taking off and kept stalling. I showed her how it slip the clutch on her truck (one of those Hippy girls) to hold it on the hill. She was really proud of her new skill and told her father so he could learn. He told her he did that. When she asked why he hadn't taught her he said "You had already cost me one clutch".

 

So you use first gear, huh?

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On 9/10/2020 at 7:42 PM, Bloo said:

At a stoplight, if you are in a hurry to get into gear, push the clutch in and "touch" second or third gear before going for first. That will stop first gear, and so no grinding.

 

You can go all the way into another gear instead of touching it if you want, and it still works, but it is not necessary to go all the way in.

 

I will give this a try. 

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The 3 speed in my 54 I rarely use 1st gear.  The repair manual for the 54 states it is permitted to start off in 2nd gear on level ground as it does not generate that much heat from the clutch when doing so.   The only time I use 1st gear is on a hill.  1st gear is so low it could pull a stump from the ground.    

 

Next time you are at a light start out in 2nd gear from a stop.   No grind. Less shifting as it effectively is a 2 speed without using 1st.  You get up to speed a bit quicker.  

 

And to add, if I'm at a stop light I take my good old time getting the vehicle into gear and drive away like a person who has every right drive on the same roads observing the posted speeds and not in any race to get to the next light.    

Edited by avgwarhawk (see edit history)
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3 hours ago, avgwarhawk said:

And to add, if I'm at a stop light I take my good old time getting the vehicle into gear and drive away like a person who has every right drive on the same roads observing the posted speeds and not in any race to get to the next light. 

So that was you that made miss the light.:D

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4 hours ago, avgwarhawk said:

The 3 speed in my 54 I rarely use 1st gear.  The repair manual for the 54 states it is permitted to start off in 2nd gear on level ground as it does not generate that much heat from the clutch when doing so.   The only time I use 1st gear is on a hill.  1st gear is so low it could pull a stump from the ground.    

 

Next time you are at a light start out in 2nd gear from a stop.   No grind. Less shifting as it effectively is a 2 speed without using 1st.  You get up to speed a bit quicker.  

 

And to add, if I'm at a stop light I take my good old time getting the vehicle into gear and drive away like a person who has every right drive on the same roads observing the posted speeds and not in any race to get to the next light.    

Hmm I never tried this. My clutch chatters and car shakes I’m 1st, maybe it will be better in 2nd

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I am very happy driving my '41, and I frankly have never understood the kind of objections that are being voiced here about the standard 3-speed transmission with non-synchromesh first gear.  The only reason to "mash it into first gear" is if you're in too much of a hurry, and if you're in a hurry, you shouldn't be driving a vintage car!  My advice is either accept the fact that the car has to come to a full stop in order for you to shift into first gear or get a different car.  It's not complicated to drive the car as originally intended, it just results in a more measured and leisurely trip, which is the whole point of driving a vintage automobile, as far as I'm concerned.

 

The owner's manual for my car also says that you can start off in second gear on level ground, but doing so has a very labored feeling to me.  (It also reminds me of the way my mother drove when I was a kid, which I hated!)  I'm happier just using all the gears.

 

As far as the problem with the wife, again I'm afraid that's a reason to get a different car, not a reason to try to modify the car you have.

 

 

 

Edited by neil morse (see edit history)
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31 minutes ago, Turbosl2 said:

Well thats exciting, i hope the same is true for me.

 

I drove my 54 for a better part of 2 years starting in 2nd.   The reason being 1st gear sounded like an automatic school bus in 1st gear.  Just very loud for my tastes(as I have a good 3 speed with a relatively quiet 1st gear and know what 1st should sound like).  Anyway, that 3 speed is on the bench getting a rebuild and the original transmission is back in the Buick. I replaced a broken synchro for 2nd gear.     

Edited by avgwarhawk (see edit history)
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1 hour ago, avgwarhawk said:

 

I drove my 54 for a better part of 2 years starting in 2nd.   The reason being 1st gear sounded like an automatic school bus in 1st gear.  Just very loud for my tastes(as I have a good 3 speed with a relatively quiet 1st gear and know what 1st should sound like).  Anyway, that 3 speed is on the bench getting a rebuild and the original transmission is back in the Buick. I replaced a broken synchro for 2nd gear.     

My trans sound the same, like straight cut gears in first! 

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4 hours ago, avgwarhawk said:

@neil morseI have no objections with my 3 speed with exception of one. Stop and go traffic. Then again, any manual I have objections with stop and go traffic!    

 

 

I hear you Chris -- especially since I live in a city where there's a stop sign at the end of nearly every block.  In some local trips around the neighborhood I never get into third gear at all!  It gets tedious, no doubt about it, and I freely admit that I've been known to "cheat" a bit and roll through a stop sign in second to avoid having to come to a full stop and go back to first.  But I figure that's just the price we pay for the enjoyment of driving a vehicle from another era.

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50 minutes ago, neil morse said:

 

I hear you Chris -- especially since I live in a city where there's a stop sign at the end of nearly every block.  In some local trips around the neighborhood I never get into third gear at all!  It gets tedious, no doubt about it, and I freely admit that I've been known to "cheat" a bit and roll through a stop sign in second to avoid having to come to a full stop and go back to first.  But I figure that's just the price we pay for the enjoyment of driving a vehicle from another era.

Spot on, depends on where you live. NY (upstate) we have hills, stop lights/signs and a-hole drivers everywhere. Everyones a$$ is on fire to get somewhere before you. If you have to drive into the city (i do for work) thats another struggle, i am the slowest car on the road when i have to start from a stop. Not that i really care but its stressful at times since i dont want to get hit and everyone else drives like an animal in a POS that is beat...there car will be in the junk yard when its 10yrs old while mine is 79yrs old and still going. I drive the same way in the city with my C7 Z06 vette. Once you get into the suburbs its alot easier and i can enjoy myself without having to focus on everyone else on the road. This was another consideration for an Auto for me but if its not feasible i will keep on dealing. I know it sounds like i am talking out of 2 sides of my mouth but based on my location and how i would like to drive my car as much as possible the auto would had been a great help. Everyone sees it differently. Most of my trips in my car during the week are during rush hour traffic while if my father (retired) was using the car he would be going out on Sundays and the times when most are at work...all a matter of perspective.

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1 hour ago, neil morse said:

 

I hear you Chris -- especially since I live in a city where there's a stop sign at the end of nearly every block.  In some local trips around the neighborhood I never get into third gear at all!  It gets tedious, no doubt about it, and I freely admit that I've been known to "cheat" a bit and roll through a stop sign in second to avoid having to come to a full stop and go back to first.  But I figure that's just the price we pay for the enjoyment of driving a vehicle from another era.

 

It appears you drive the manual much the same as I!   The funny part of this is I purchased the 3 speed so to have little issue with the transmission and if there is one I can pull/replace the clutch myself.  I have read nightmares of the Dynaflow.  As it would have it, the 3 speed has been out 3 times for repairs or switch over to the other manual I have.  The Dynaflow on my 60 has been nothing but excellent.  No leaks at all.  Performs like a champ.  I'm a Dynaflow fan.  It is just a marvel of engineering.       

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Just a suggestion or 3. You can upgrade considerably, but not w/o $s and labor. A 263" later engine is not only more powerful, but also better fuel economy and more reliable with insert bearing connecting rods and better oiling. Ditch the Chevy 6 weak trans for a 6 bolt large trans from a 320" engine, Roadmster etc. First gear is lower ratio on that little itty-bitty weak trans! Check the rear gear ratio. If you find U need 2nd gear halfway thru the intersection its geared to low. Good for 1941, not now! You could maybe find a dyna the right length not to cut driveline, but they are pretty HP consuming in the ealier years with slippage. Just a couple thoughts. My batteries are really low on my magic wand after magically changing my cars with no labor or $/cash or Id gladly loan it out! Heehee!

Edited by 2carb40 (see edit history)
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Take a handful of walnuts out to the garage and have her crack the shells moving forward in second. It's good practice. Crack but not smash.

 

Makes me think of teaching my daughter to drive with the '65 Electra that eventually became hers. I took her to an empty parking lot where the spaces were all lined off. She had to park with her front bumper directly above the space line. She got pretty good at it after a few tries. I could tell by the haughty body language. She puffed right up with the complement on how well she did. "Now the rear bumper over the line." " What!".

A couple of years ago she was reminiscing about driving and told me how her friends would scream that she was going to hit a wall. She said "I knew how long my car was" with that same redhead attitude.

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Edited by 60FlatTop (see edit history)
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