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1955 Ford Part 71: The 3rd Time is the Charm (update on the 3 speed transmission)

Updated: Dec 27, 2019

The 3rd Time is the Charm

(update on the 3 speed transmission)


The last few months the weather has not been cooperating to coincide with any time that I have free. Couple that with the incessant salt that road crews dump on the streets and you can understand why it has been a long time since my last post! When I got in from my trip to Texas, the forecast was cold, but dry. Time to fire up the Ford and test that transmission work we have been writing so much about. Check out the brief video below,, but excuse the dust - this old 55 Ford needs to be washed!

I am thrilled to say that the transmission shifts better than ever and also keeps 2nd gear with no "popping out" as before. Most assuredly this was an issue with the end play being too great a measurement, causing the cone and brass synchro to disengage while cruising.

You may have noticed these items in the video as well:

I installed the peep mirrors on both doors because I really was not in the mood to drill holes in the doors to mount original mirrors. I do have new 55/56 Ford mirrors to mount just in case I don't like the peep mirror set up, but when I drove the car today I did like the view on the driver's side. The verdict is still out concerning the passenger side.

Of course, if the Hot Rod Reverend is driving the car, he is bound to have this tag on his license plate! I picked up the small sign on eBay. It is made of aluminum, not cardboard, and should last a long time. I had to use stainless hardware because I could not find the black hardware I had used to mount the license plate itself. Once we get towards summer and I can get full use of the garage we will surely switch them out.

The 30 minute run today also happened to be the first real test of the heater while driving in near freezing temperatures. The interior warmed up very well, and the levers and controls on the dash all responded correctly. I did notice one nuance that I will have to address when the warmer weather arrives: the thermostat switch for the cooling fan is starved for coolant unless the heater core is receiving good flow. Basically, this means that the radiator cooling fan will not come on when the engine is at operating temperature because there is not enough coolant to ground the thermostat switch. This is not a problem in cold weather, obviously because the lever on the dash is normally pointing towards HOT.

The photo above shows the T fitting on top of the intake manifold. The thermostatic switch is on top and of course the heater hose that feeds the heater core is connected to the side. This is the area of the engine where the coolant is at its hottest temperature. Hence the reason that the cabin heat is fed from here, but it is also the reason I installed the switch in the same place. The back of the head on the driver's side is where Ford had their original sender for the temperature gauge, and so for the aftermarket one I use under the dash I used the same location at the back of the head - according to my infrared thermometer these two locations are only 10 degrees off from each other. I guess I will have to swap locations for heater hose and the switch - maybe that will work. If not, I will have to purchase another fitting that will move the switch much closer to the intake manifold and the heater hose farther away.

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