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Trunkmonkey 12-04-2012 07:24 PM

63 biscayne 3 speed overdrive questions
Hey guys, I have a untouched 63 biscayne wagon, 283, 3 speed with overdrive. I was wondering , will adding an HEI or a pertronix conversion affect the way the overdrive kicks out when the gas pedal is floored to activate the switch on the carb., that kills the ignition for a split second? Has anyone done this? I want to keep all the overdrive functioning like factory if possible..

Thanks for the help!!!

V8&4spd 12-04-2012 09:39 PM

Is that a Saginaw transmission? I have heard people taking the overdrive off a 3 speed Saginaw and then putting it on a 4 speed Saginaw.

Trunkmonkey 12-05-2012 05:07 AM

Ive heard that too, never seen it in person though. What are the thoughts on the wiring for how the overdrive kicks down? Im leaning towards a pertronix conversion for the ignition..

poncho62 12-05-2012 05:21 AM

If you have problems with it kicking off, you could always add a manual switch to keep it on as you need it.

SSedan64 12-05-2012 06:02 AM

An HEI requires 12V+ to operate, you'll need to replace the stock Resistor wire which drops voltage to about 9V+ for the Points distributor.
Info >> HEI Conversion
Otherwise it should still operate as wanted for the Ignition cut for OD dropout.

V8&4spd 12-05-2012 10:02 AM

The overdrive is operated by a solenoid. Like Poncho 62 says, you can just make an on off switch. A HEI should not affect how the overdrive works if you use a switch to turn it off and on. You could hook up the three on the tree for the 4 speed and use a seperate lever to use reverse.

Trunkmonkey 12-05-2012 06:37 PM

Thanks for the insight! I assume i would have to run the 12v lead for the HEI from the same source as the resistor wire, other wise the power wont cut when the button is hit on the carb.?? The manual switch sounds like a good idea too.

V8&4spd 12-05-2012 06:50 PM

You can hook up a HEI with 1 wire, just make sure it gets a full 12 volts, don't use a resistor like a points and coil. I remember seeing one of those 3 speed overdrive Saginaws and it had a solenoid. The tail of the 3 speed Saginaw should bolt right onto a Saginaw 4 speed, they do on a non overdrive transmission.

timothale 12-05-2012 07:34 PM

switch it
I always rewired my overdrives with a switch on the floor shift lever, Just like driving one of the bigger farm trucks with a 2 speed rear end, Just remember that you can't back up in overdrive. If you stop going up hill in overdrive. it won't roll backward. or if you park it with the overdrive on you will have to turn off the overdrive, go foreward a bit to let it shift out before you can go backward.

starnest 12-05-2012 08:14 PM


Originally Posted by Trunkmonkey (Post 1619145)
kills the ignition for a split second?

I'm intrigued by this question, I've never heard of this.
Why does it cut out?
If it does cut out for a split second, would that disrupt the HEI?

timothale 12-06-2012 07:05 AM

There is a wiki on overdrive operation. The overdrive is controlled by a speed governor, the governor closes the contacts in the higher 20's mph. clicks the relay to send power to the solenoid that operates the pawl. a spring has to retract the pawl and it won't move unless torque thru the trans drops. The kick down switch under the gas peday grounds out the ignition coil so the engine dies for a couple seconds and the springs retracts. with a solid state aftermarket system you might have to put in a relay that cuts the power to the ignition when you hit the kickdown switch. Overdrives do not power shift, you have to let up on the gas to shift up and the kickdown switch cuts off the power to let it down shift. With the switch on the shift lever I still had to let up on the gas to up or down shift. Just like on a big truck.

Trunkmonkey 12-06-2012 08:25 PM

timothale... Thanks! Now we are getting somewhere.. Im learning this animal of a 3 speed OD. My car retains uncut wiring so i thought a pertronix conversion would be the cleanest upgrade without visually seeing change under the hood (cars got 30,000 actual).. I want the OD to keep working as it does (like the day it was made).

Thanks much!!

AutoGear 12-07-2012 06:42 AM

They're a great way to get the OD that everyone wants these days. If you wanted to make a Saginaw 4spd w. OD; you have to use the OD 3spd's mainshaft in order to use the overdrive.

timothale 12-07-2012 07:09 AM

T 10 Od
there used to be a kit on the market to use the Heavy duty borg warner W 11 4 planet overdrives on the back of a T 10 4 speed. . I have a Packard 3 speed overdrive in My roadster I built back in the 50's. The packaard has sychro"s on ALL 3 speeds, IS one of the strongest car transmissions ever made and Is Short enought.. I just want to get rid of the old hurst floor shifter I had to modify and need to find a 37 Packard top shift mechanism. I ran a Caddy LaSalle trans for a while, but no overdrive. The caddy didn't shift as well as the packard, but had better gear ratios. With 4.56 gears the front wheels still will come off the ground and the Od makes highway cruzing easier. I bought a Fred Hone kit and put an overdrive on the back of a ford C 6, but had a Hay barn fire , destroyed my tow van I was building the engine and trans for.

Trunkmonkey 12-07-2012 03:39 PM

Cool! Can anyone link me to any kind of service breakdown for this 3 speed OD? I took it out and steamed it clean. Would like to replace seals/gaskets and need to know oil capacity. I see there is three pipe plugs on the side, i removed them and swung the tranny on its side and oil drained out all 3, but very little oil though...

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