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'48 V12: Newbie needs advise


valk
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I am contemplating a '48 Continental but don't know anything about the flathead V12 it comes with. I've read weak areas are cooling and complicated ignition but nothing really beyond that. Could I trouble some one for the skinny on these motors and what to look out for? The one I'm looking at has been totally rebuilt so I am confident it will be ok but thought I'd run it by some one with experience in these motors. 

Thank you!

Peter

'41 Buick Roadmaster Sport Coupe

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They're not particularly unreliable or bad engines, although they do have a bad reputation. I suspect most of that comes from lots of deferred maintenance in the past and sub-standard care. A healthy one shouldn't have any overheating problems, although it can suffer from flathead fever like the Ford V8s do on exceptionally hot days. An electric pump is a must on these cars.

 

That said, after driving your Roadmaster, I think you're going to be pretty disappointed in the Lincoln's performance, even if it's in perfect health. 292 cubic inches to pull around 5000+ pounds of car is asking a lot. The pistons in those engines are like Dixie cups and just because there are 12 of them, that doesn't make the engine a powerhouse. The styling makes it easy to overlook just how HUGE these cars are. With overdrives they're decent on the highway but around town they're ponderous as hell. Every single one I've ever driven has felt fragile and like it was working really hard to keep the car moving--I suspect that's partly why they have a reputation for overheating. It takes 3/4 throttle just to keep it moving along on level ground.

 

Drive it before you buy it. I mean really drive it the way you drive your Buick. I don't think you'll be satisfied with the Lincoln's performance after enjoying the big Buick.

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The Lincoln is not a torque monster like a Buick.  Let it wind out a bit between shifts.  Use 2nd gear Overdrive in town rather than 3rd--below the threshold it will drop back to 2nd direct but in freewheel mode with no engine braking.

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Thanks Grimy, yea the Buick is so torquey it’s almost like an automatic in that 3rd gear can cover a really wide rpm range. 
Hope it has overdrive, dunno yet..
 

 

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OD was standard.  Hope it works.  Suggest you familiarize yourself with electric OD operation before your test drive if you're not experienced with it.  I find it a wonderful feature!

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18 minutes ago, valk said:

Ok I’ll bite....so how does one engage the electric OD? I take it can be engaged in either 2nd or 3rd gear? 

At rest (or while moving in either 2nd or 3rd) declutch and push the OD knob in toward the firewall.  (You'll never achieve the speed threshold in first.)  Shift to 2nd, accelerate up to 28-30 mph, let off the gas completely and you'll feel it upshift (about 30% reduction in rpm at same speed), then accelerate again--now in OD.  CAUTION:  When the OD is activated, below the threshold speed you will have NO engine braking.

 

More conventional use is to leave the OD *not* engaged until about 35 mph, then declutch and activate OD by pushing knob forward.  Let off the gas and you'll feel it upshift.

 

There is an electrical kickdown switch under the accelerator.  When you're in OD and need to downshift for much better acceleration or to climb a hill, floor the accelerator and this will activate the kickdown returning to direct drive in same gear (2nd or 3rd).  HOWEVER, if the knob is still pushed in (OD engaged) *and* you're above threshold speed, if you let off the gas it will automatically upshift to OD again.

 

The concept is that OD gives you taller cruising gears with a low (numerically higher) final drive (diff) ratio--when you choose to use it.  Not as convenient as a 4th gear on the column or floor, but it's a good compromise.  The LCs are heavy cars without much low-rpm torque, so rev it up in each gear about the same as you would a Ford flathead V8.  The V12 at about 120 hp and a heavier body is about the same as a 90-100hp V8 with the lighter Ford body--IMHO, at least.

 

Now the MOST IMPORTANT thing to remember:  Let's say you're in OD and come upon a steep downgrade and you suddenly need more engine braking than you'll have in OD.  To get the car OUT of OD in this situation you must manually get into direct with the kickdown switch, let the engine pull for a second against the tranny-now-in-direct, THEN simultaneously declutch and pull the OD handle out to return to direct.  This is very counterintuitive and you need to be mentally prepared for what to do.  If you're not in direct and moving above threshold speed, you probably can't get the OD handle out and probably will do damage to the OD and embarrass yourself with all the awful grinding noises.  🙂

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Wow...I’m going to have to study this. Thanks, Grimy, I really thought this was going to be a lot simpler. Thank you for spelling it all out for me/us.

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Typical problems come from lugging motor and not downshifting when it should be.  A couple of design flaws:  There is no crankcase breather, and the original valves used split guides so combustion gasses easily get into crankcase leading to the "stinking Lincoln" syndrome where obnoxious vapors come out the oil fill pipe..  There are several possible solutions including using 8BA Ford one piece valve guides, and a PCV valve.

 

The Borg Warner overdrive was used on Fords, Chevies, Studebakers and other makes, and once you catch on to it, operates somewhat like a five speed with second and OD as well as high and OD.  H&H Flatheads and others have speed parts, even a supercharger if you need more oomph.  A properly built and maintained V-12 should last at least as well as a Ford flathead.

 

Look for rust in the floor, trunk, rocker panels and fender ends.  You can also spend a small fortune on chrome.

Abe

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Grimy..

In response to your post/comment. This is a great thread on the topic and especially when you touched on the over drive and the solenoid. Mine has never worked, but I'm currently looking into getting it fixed. It was unhooked from the coil/distributor. Reading through the paper work from the previous owner, I am to assume the solenoid is broken and needs to be rebuilt? She screams for a extra gear at times, esp with specially ordered rear gears 4:44's from the factory. I know you said once you learn it, that its easy. But reading what you posted does sound confuzzzzing! Hahhahah (a little) ....... My question to you or anyone else out here. Someone want to make a video and post it to YouTube for all to see? Showing how to do it and how it works? I personally would love that when the time comes. :) .................Next anyone know who would fix these solenoids? Thank you everyone! 

 

 

Chris  

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As Grimy says, it sounds complex but in operation it's no big deal. Five minutes and you'll get it. The most important part of making it shift correctly is lifting off the throttle VERY abruptly. Totally off the accelerator in an instant. The overdrive needs some backlash to shift. If you're too gentle, it won't shift. Most guys don't get that at first. But get it right and you'll feel a gentle shift like an automatic transmission shift and you'll be in overdrive. If the system is working correctly, it should not require any other interaction from the driver. It will drop out of overdrive when you slow down and will shift back into overdrive the next time you abruptly lift off the throttle. Everything else is just setting it up to operate, which amounts to putting it in free-wheeling mode and accelerating to a speed above the governor (usually about 30 MPH). Don't sweat it, it's easy once you see it done once or twice.

 

Valk, have the owner of the Continental demonstrate it for you and it'll make sense (or else the overdrive is broken, in which case I would pass on the car because it can be challenging to get them working correctly).

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@chris_krinerIt won't be me doing the video in a LC--I sold mine 20 yrs ago.  I have an electric OD in my Jeepster, which is the same B-W unit.  I don't know who rebuilds 6V solenoids--and it must be 6V but try Ford V8 vendors (Ford used OD in 6V from 1949 until 1955, 12V 1956 to perhaps 1960).  The B-W OD affords about 30% reduction in rpm, so if your car (any car) is running 3,000 rpm at a given speed in direct, in OD at same speed it will be running at 2,100 rpm.

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Most overdrive problems are electrical, not mechanical.  Take your VOM meter and check.  Sometimes its just a blown fuse.  I've had the governor stop working due to oil inside case.  If the solenoid is out, you can check with a set of jumper cables.  The Lincoln solenoid has a longer shaft than the Ford.  You need a good diagram.  Look on the web for a booklet on Borg-Warner overdrive, or look in a Ford repair manual.  I've had to replace kickdown switches too. 

My Lincoln OD was miss-assembled and the sun gear was binding.  Transmission Exchange in Portland was able to fix.  Need to check fluid level in both tranny and OD.  I lost an OD once due to low fluid.  Once, the bearing on the back of the transmission case for the countershaft galled the case.  One transmission had a broken collar in the synchro assembly.  Worked OK though.  Still love the OD,

Abe

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Abelincoln, 

I'll look into it...Its not out of the car. Unhooked at distributor and I believe unhooked at tranny. Paper work from old owner had written down on his swap meet check list "Find working over drive solenoid" So I just assumed its broke. This was all pre internet looking too. I got the car 2 years ago after sitting in a collection for 20 yrs. I will look at that. But when I do get it going I am curious on how it works. Be a great video for someone to post as there is NOTHING out there explaining it to us "newbies" that new to this OD Solenoid and kick down under the pedal stuff..lol And pull out switch on the dash? I hate to admit this....but......where is that? I guess I learn something new every day lol 

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This excellent thread goes into my reference files. 
An unrelated question if I could, I couldn’t find any info on options regarding the ‘48 Continental. Were there any? And the dash color matches the leather on the seats? 
thanks again,

peter

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Posted (edited)

Valk, 

Have you written Ford archives and asked if they have info on the original build sheet for your car? A little "check list" per say of what the new owners wanted as they ordered their new Lincoln. It costs something like $35 to get a copy and a letter from them. 

 

See pic of mine....Note the hand written requests and the 4:44 gears asked for in mine by the Org owners. You will need to give them your frame stamp #  or serial # 

46lincoln.jpg

Edited by chris_kriner (see edit history)
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If you have a bad OD solenoid, there are places that fix or exchange them.  Not cheap but available.  Best to remove it from the OD and test it with a battery.  (6 volts)  Be careful if you're not familiar with it.  And there is a small round seal that fits on the shaft of the solenoid before you mount it to keep the oil in the OD from leaking.  There are several sources for those like Boos Harrel and other vendors.  There are points inside the solenoid that act as hold-in during operations of the OD.  Most techs with the diagram can figure it out.  Also check the governor unit on the OD as part of the electrical control of the OD.  All the wiring including the distributor wiring and the relay under the hood that controls the OD need to be checked and operation verified.  

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Ray500

Can I run the car without it in? You mentioned the seal. Will it leak tranny fluid out if I remove? HMmmmmm Anyone know anyone in the western NY area they can recommend to take a look see? lol Im curious about this OD cable? Pull out on dash? Does this engage the OD? I wonder if thats the knob that's always been seized up on mine? Right below the windshield wiper knob. 

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Pulling out the OD control cable takes it out of Overdrive.  There are some written articles about the full operations of the overdrive on this site that will be helpful.  And yes if you remove the OD solenoid the seal will probably leak if you try to reinstall it with the old seal.  Best to get one or two of them prior to removing it.  It's small but necessary so the transmission fluid doesn't leak. 

Tom sent this link to check it out!

 

 https://www.ebay.com/itm/164778447694?fits=Year%3A1948|Submodel%3AContinental&hash=item265d8f934e:g:MWYAAOSwNHFgWse2

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I've had total success on two different seized OD cables by spraying one section at a time of the spiral-wound sheath with PB Blaster, backed up with a folded paper towel so the stuff doesn't go everywhere.  USUALLY the problem is from moisture getting through the spiral-wound sheath, but also consider (after the spiral-wound part) the few inches of rod immediately behind the knob which operates inside a closed tube.

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10 minutes ago, chris_kriner said:

Grimy,

I will try that, thank you!

Chris, suggest you spray the whole length of the spiral-wound sheath at one time (in sections), then let the penetrant work its magic overnight before you try tugging on it the knob.  It might also be a good idea to release the free end of the inner cable (wire) from the OD unit, BUT first measure the length of the wire that protrudes through the fitting (an inch or two), then restore that dimension.  Before re-anchoring the cable, have an assistant declutch while you try to move the OD lever on the housing back and forth to assure yourself that the stuck aspect isn't inside the OD unit itself.  Let us know what you find!

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Here is the manual I was thinking about. www.studebaker-info.org/Overdrive/BW_OD_service_manual_searchable.pdf.  The Lincoln OD is slightly different.  There is a metal rod in the adapter plate to keep from going into reverse when engaged, and the solenoid shaft is longer.

Abe

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