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Old 04-29-2019, 12:30 PM   #1
36and63
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Default 39 transmission questions

I recently purchased what I thought was 39 synchronized transmission since it has the later serial number case and double detent shift housing but after opening it up it has the 36-38 narrow shifter fork and 38 gearset (older 38 synchronizer and gears) . Vanpelt's website says that this was common on early 39 pickups and standard passenger cars. With that said it looks like a paid way too much since I want the synchronized gears for my highboy roadster project. Anyone run into this before? Should I cut my losses and look for a newer gear set? I can use the case but the shift tower and gears I'm sure are pricey and not realistic to find everything needed.

Thanks,
Pat
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Old 04-29-2019, 12:48 PM   #2
Chris Haynes
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Default Re: 39 transmission questions

https://www.speedwaymotors.com/Garag...ears,3773.html
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Old 04-29-2019, 12:53 PM   #3
Russ/40
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Default Re: 39 transmission questions

The earlier syncros are fine. Why would you not be OK? Both situations have 2nd and 3rd syncros. What would a 39 do for you that the 38 wont????
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Old 04-29-2019, 12:53 PM   #4
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Default Re: 39 transmission questions

https://www.speedwaymotors.com/Garag...ears,3773.html

Keep in mind these are Zephyr gear ratios, much closer ratio than more standard gears.
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Old 04-29-2019, 01:00 PM   #5
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Default Re: 39 transmission questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by JSeery View Post
https://www.speedwaymotors.com/Garag...ears,3773.html

Keep in mind these are Zephyr gear ratios, much closer ratio than more standard gears.
Plus, from all accounts, they've had some issues with poor machining and metallurgy with these off shore LZ gears.

If you look around, you can find real ones for the same price or even less.
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Old 04-29-2019, 01:11 PM   #6
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Default Re: 39 transmission questions

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Plus is says Out of Stock.
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Old 04-29-2019, 01:25 PM   #7
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Default Re: 39 transmission questions

I think the early 39 ones have the synchro you have. Late ones use the same one as the 40s one.mine has the early one. The later one you can get from Early Ford .
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Old 04-29-2019, 01:33 PM   #8
Tim Ayers
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Default Re: 39 transmission questions

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I think the early 39 ones have the synchro you have. Late ones use the same one as the 40s one.mine has the early one. The later one you can get from Early Ford .
He would need the later 91A forks to go with the later synchro as well.
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Old 04-29-2019, 01:37 PM   #9
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Default Re: 39 transmission questions

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The earlier syncros are fine. Why would you not be OK? Both situations have 2nd and 3rd syncros. What would a 39 do for you that the 38 wont????

Russ/40 makes some excellent points. You probably won't notice the difference between the two types of synchros. The double-dent top you have is a more significant improvement IMHO.
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Old 04-29-2019, 02:14 PM   #10
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Default Re: 39 transmission questions

Is your old style synchro new? The problem with the old style is that the entire synchro has to be replaced if it is worn. With the newer style you just replace the synchro rings. To see if it is like new, the spacing between the brass and the gear when engaged should be over 1/8 inch. If less than 1/16th, I would replace the synchro.
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Old 04-29-2019, 06:33 PM   #11
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Default Re: 39 transmission questions

I've purchased several good take out side shifter transmissions from guys that were street rodding the 40 through 48 cars. They used to be pretty cheap. All the gears will fit in any of the 78 cases clear up to 1951. The main shaft in yours may be usable with the later gears. It's likely the spring pin type. The cluster gears are interchangeable back to 1936 but they have to have the gearing you want. The double detent top came out in 1938 sometime but you will need the 91A 2nd/high gear shift fork. Mack VP had new replacement ones not long ago. Get a copy of his book to see what you need and what will work with what.
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Old 04-29-2019, 06:51 PM   #12
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Default Re: 39 transmission questions

My understanding is the later 39 allowed smooth synchronized shifting in all forward gears with no double clutching and the reason it is so desirable.

My 1936 pickup with 36 tranny must be double clutched when shifting into 2nd and 3rd.

The early 39 I bought simply looks as though it would be the same since it doesn't have the later synchronized gear set/wider shifting fork but has the improved (all helical) cut gears but narrow shift fork. Will I need to double clutch when shifting this or can that only be done on the later version in 39 with improved synchro setup?

I have Vanpelts book since i was planning to rebuild it but I think I need the later gear set/and shift fork.

Thanks,
Pat
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Old 04-29-2019, 07:26 PM   #13
JSeery
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Default Re: 39 transmission questions

The three speed transmissions should not require double clutching.
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Old 04-29-2019, 07:34 PM   #14
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Default Re: 39 transmission questions

Think about contacting the seller and ask if the trans is rebuilt or just a cleaned up
take out. Plenty of '39's (Deluxe cars as well) had this trans in the early months of '39.

Remember even the '39's with the improved gear sets had syncro in 2nd and 3rd ONLY.
The big deal with the improved '39 trans as has been stated is it featured loose syncro
rings that were larger in diameter and nearly twice as thick which equaled smoother
shifting. Call me if you wish, there is a way to determine if your early gear set.....'36
to early '39 has a good syncro hub. I have a few NOS hubs in my stash.
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Old 04-29-2019, 08:29 PM   #15
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Default Re: 39 transmission questions

Stay with the 38 gear set. It is a little higher ratio than the 39 and is a nice driver set for a highboy that is lighter than the 39 cars. The later synchros will fit.
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Old 04-29-2019, 09:21 PM   #16
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Default Re: 39 transmission questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by 36and63 View Post
My understanding is the later 39 allowed smooth synchronized shifting in all forward gears with no double clutching and the reason it is so desirable.

My 1936 pickup with 36 tranny must be double clutched when shifting into 2nd and 3rd.
Thanks,
Pat
If your '36 requires double clutching in 2nd and 3rd, something is worn or damaged. (Or you're trying to speed shift like you were in a drag race).
As far as 1st gear goes, it is not synchronized. No Fords had a synchronized 1st gear until 1963. So if you want to down shift into low while the car is moving, you have to double clutch to avid grinding.
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Old 04-29-2019, 09:45 PM   #17
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Default Re: 39 transmission questions

Pat, if your "new" '39 trans were mine and I had some doubts about what I bought, I'd take some pictures of the gears etc. and send them off to Charlie ny and/or Mac VP and ask them for their advice, in light of what you are wanting to accomplish. Then they can help you with the parts you need.

Charlie ny rebuilt my '39 transmission years ago and when I got it back it worked like a dream.....no more double clutching. Later on Mac VP expanded his business and I bought his transmission book. It inspired my confidence to the point with his help and parts, I rebuilt the transmission in my '47. It was one of the more satisfying experiences I've had working on our old Fords.


Good luck with your project and post pictures of your highboy roadster project as move along!!
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Old 04-30-2019, 06:50 AM   #18
36and63
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Default Re: 39 transmission questions

I'll give Charlie ny a call - Thanks for all the advice from all of you, the FordBarn is incredible! I just started driving the 36 last fall and been double clutching since I thought I had to. I will take her out this weekend and give it a try without. I'll post pics of the roadster here soon as well and again thanks guys for all of your input!!

Pat
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