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Old 08-30-2019, 10:40 AM
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51 Chebby 3 on the tree

Hello, I have in my shop a 51 pickup with what appears to be a saginaw 3 speed. P.N. 3845122. Column shift. Also has a cable going from dash to a little lever on the tailshaft.

The problem I'm having is
1. never seen this setup before, 70's child...
2. truck only has 1st and reverse.

So what I have done so far is figure out the shift lever for the 2/3 at the tranny is not clamped down good, so the shifter is not doing anything for the trans.

MY problem is.
When attempting to find neuteral on the 2/3 shift lever, the thing on the back of the tailshaft with the cable connected keeps moving beck and forth.

I have a feeling the last lever on the tailshaft has something to do with high gear because there is an 'H' stamped near it.

Hopefully this makes sense. So if someone could explain to me how this last cable operated lever works I can probably figure out the rest.

Thanks in advance!!! Trying to deliver this thing today...

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Old 08-30-2019, 11:33 AM
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Hopefully this helps. Picture is upside down. Sorry. So the tailshaft is on the left and pointing towards the back of the truck. The other gear shift lever is the one that is giving me problems.
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Old 08-30-2019, 12:07 PM
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That number appears to be the transmission case casting number, there should be a serial number someplace, maybe under one of the shift levers? There should also be a letter code probably an "S" for Saginaw.

From what I can find that case code belongs to a '55 - 57 GM passenger car and looks like the cable operated lever is an overdrive option.

I'm not an early GM trans guru but someone here should chime in soon.
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Old 08-30-2019, 12:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 68NovaSS View Post
From what I can find that case code belongs to a '55 - 57 GM passenger car and looks like the cable operated lever is an overdrive option.
Thanks man. I'm pretty sure its a Saginaw 3 speed, I've just never seen this overdrive option. The cable goes up to the dash, kinda like a manual choke control. Just talked to the owner and he said " You are supposed to push it in, or pull it out when you are in town..." So that was not a big help.
For now I'm going to see if how I can get my 2/3 shift. Hopefully someone can tell me what position this cable operated lever on the tailshaft is supposed to be in.
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Old 08-30-2019, 03:26 PM
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She's going home. Just needed a little adjustment so the thing under the cover would slide up and down easy. I put some pictures of the actual truck also. She got a new grill, and headlight bezels. New front and rear bumpers along with fillers and brackets. New running boards, and a new tailgate which I painted. It's Friday, going to get paid on this baby. Then go have a cold beer!
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Old 08-31-2019, 02:24 PM
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In High School I had a '51 Studebaker with O/D. It would only engage at around 20 mph, and I could engage it in 2nd gear, top out, kick it out, go through 3rd and back into O/D. There was a button under the gas pedal that would kick it out of O/D when passing, then just let off the gas, it would shift back into O/D and off you go again with super mileage.

One thing I remember is always take your foot off the throttle to engage it and I think i had to have pull on the motor to take it out of OD manually.

Loved that old Stude, had a hill hold, clutch in, step on the foot brake that would stay braked until the clutch was let out, great for starting out on a hill.
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Old 09-01-2019, 06:58 AM
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overdrive operation

here is an article about manual overdrives BUT there a couple places that are wrong, You have the 2 shift levers on the transmission that shift the normal 3 speeds and reverse. the lever on the overdrive unit either locks the overdrive out of operation or when the dash lever is pushed in allows the normal overdrive unit to work when the speed is high enough determined by the govenor to allow the electrical solenoid to shift into overdrive WHEN you lift your foot off the gas.
https://www.hotrod.com/articles/1007...ner-overdrive/

one thing in the article is the "freewheeling" factor If the dash handle is not pulled out your car can roll away EVEN if the three speed is in gear. another thing is that if you are in overdrive and going up a hill and have maintained power to the rear wheels all the way then stop the overdrive planetaries may be still engaged and will not allow you to shift into reverse until you move forward, take your foot off the gas then the spring will shift out of overdrive. most overdrives have a hill holding capability.. when going up hill and the lever is pushed in it will prevent you from rolling backward. . I I have a Packard overdrive trans in one of my roadsters and have a toggle switch to operate the solenoid like a big truck when the handle is pushed in and can shift in and out of overdrive in any forward gear.
In about 1980 government regulations banned the trans because of the freewheeling caused accidents when cars rolled away.

Last edited by timothale; 09-01-2019 at 07:25 AM.
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Old 09-01-2019, 07:38 AM
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button under the gas pedal

the factory units had a push button switch under the gas pedal called the kickdown switch. If you are cruzing in overdrive and need more power to pass you would push the gas pedal to the floor. the push button would temporily cut power to the ignition and the spring in the overdrive solenoid would shift out of overdrive Then when you let off the gas at a speed above the governor setting it would shift back into overdrive, if you were cruzing In overdrive and wanted to shift out of overdrive with out stomping the pedal to the floor you could get your toe under the gas pedal and push the button and it would shift down.
back in the day I had a lot of cars with overdrives and even put a r 11 od on the back of a C6 ford automatic. and still have a coupe of the Ford heavy duty t 85 OD trans
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Old 09-01-2019, 11:46 AM
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nice truck, this a great forum for your truck
The 1947 - 1959 Chevrolet & GMC Pickups Message Board - The 1947 - Present Chevrolet & GMC Truck Message Board Network

check the bushings on the shift rods and replace them,
they egg out and cause havoc finding neutral between shifts
you end up stuck in 2 gears at the same time
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Old 09-05-2019, 02:53 AM
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It is a MUNCIE 319, 3 speed with overdrive transmission. Course your truck does't have the stock torque-tube drive-line any longer, as these transmissions use an open drive-line setup. The Muncie 319 transmissions first came out in 1955, were more popular in passenger cars than trucks, and they stopped making them around 1965 for passenger cars; some trucks still used the same basic 3 speed without overdrive (Muncie 318)for a longer period of time. Non-synchro first gear. The actual Saginaw 3 speed, and Saginaw 3 speed with overdrive arrived around 1966, is stronger, full synchro, and the overdrive unit can be attached to a modified Saginaw 4 speed. I had several of the Muncie 319 transmissions until recently; now I'm down to one. I have several NOS Hurst shifters for the Muncie 318 and 319 transmissions; those are almost impossible to find used, impossible to find NOS. E-Bay is actually a good source of parts for these transmissions; DriveTrain.Com for rebuild kits.
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