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Pre war rear end whine


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AJ is right on the money here...

Straight cut gears are relatively noisy...or, to be more accurate, they are noisy unless made VERY precisely. Helical gears are quieter because each tooth engages the next tooth gradually rather than all at once. As long as most cars were open it didn't make much difference because you couldn't hear them. As sedans became more popular the noise problem became bothersome. Helical gears had long been used in engines to abate noise, where the gear position is fixed, but a helical gear transmission is much more difficult to shift than one with straight cut gears...I suspect that most of the "double clutching" needed in later cars comes from helical gear transmissions before the invention of syncromesh. I know that brass cars I've driven didn't have to be double clutched...but my 27 Cadillac did. Cadillac adopted helical gears in 26 or 27 but didn't get syncros until 28 so those two years are often a real trick to drive.


[EDIT] I should add that I've no way of knowing if the Cadillac was particularly difficult to shift when new. The car I had was in spectacular original condition but even then, in the 1970s, it was 45 years old and showed no sign of ever having been apart. It would be foolhardy to assume it was behaving "as new" but I had nothing to compare it to. The fact that Cadillac incorporated syncromesh the next year suggests it was an improvement but exactly how much of an improvement remains a question.



Edited by JV Puleo (see edit history)
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When I was a young kid and we would go for rides in one of the family's prewar cars, I always loved the sound of the gears because it reminded me of the sound the school bus made.

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