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Old 08-07-2018, 12:34 PM   #1
Merc Cruzer
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Default Early Ford/Mercury automatic transmissions 51'-55'

What fluid are you using in you early (51-55) Ford/Mercury automatic transmissions? Not the manufacture/brand but the type of fluid.
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Old 08-07-2018, 12:37 PM   #2
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Default Re: Early Ford/Mercury automatic transmissions 51'-55'

Thought that this was already hashed out? Type F
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Old 08-07-2018, 01:32 PM   #3
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Default Re: Early Ford/Mercury automatic transmissions 51'-55'

I should have been clearer in my original question. Type F is what was recommended, but I just learned from the local recommended transmission shop that is not the case. They actually recommend Dex 3. Also learned that if you shorten the linkage shaft between the carb and the trans (by removing the cotter pin and then the pin in the "Y" bracket and then turning it clockwise) it will cause the trans to shift sooner and lessen the harshness of the shift. What I am asking is: if you are not using Type F (as recommended by Ford/Mercury) what are you using and how does it perform?. This single modification did lessen the shifting harshness dramatically.
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File Type: jpg Trans rod 1.jpg (62.2 KB, 32 views)
File Type: jpg DSCN8454.jpg (64.5 KB, 29 views)

Last edited by Merc Cruzer; 08-07-2018 at 02:11 PM.
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Old 08-07-2018, 03:14 PM   #4
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Default Re: Early Ford/Mercury automatic transmissions 51'-55'

Type F was a future after thought. Ford needed a fluid to work with the cruise-o-matic transmissions after the whale oil was stopped. Many cruise-o-matics were still in service and needed a fluid for service so this is the spec that Ford came up with.

If your transmission has been rebuilt with modern clutch friction facings, you can use Dex III. If it still has the OEM type bronze friction plates it should use Type F for longer clutch pack life.

Any fluid is better than none but I can only recommend what the manufacturer came up with to replace type A. If you want to try another, do so at your own risk.

I used type F in the cruise-o-matics for years and never had a bit of trouble with it.

You can adjust the throttle rod set up some but they don't recommend much over 2 1/2 turns from the factory setting. The old Ford-O-Matics have no vacuum modulator valve so that throttle control rod is all there is.

Last edited by rotorwrench; 08-07-2018 at 03:24 PM.
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Old 08-07-2018, 05:22 PM   #5
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Default Re: Early Ford/Mercury automatic transmissions 51'-55'

Not a transmission guy, but are the bands adjusted correctly? Don't know where a guy would go nowadays but I would try a factory shop manual and DIY.
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Old 08-07-2018, 05:28 PM   #6
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Default Re: Early Ford/Mercury automatic transmissions 51'-55'

rotorwrench,

"You can adjust the throttle rod set up some but they don't recommend much over 2 1/2 turns from the factory setting. The old Ford-O-Matics have no vacuum modulator valve so that throttle control rod is all there is."

What was the factory setting? None of my books provide me with a reference.
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Old 08-07-2018, 05:30 PM   #7
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Default Re: Early Ford/Mercury automatic transmissions 51'-55'

Sorry, but I think I have created a bit of a confusion here. Let me rephrase the question: Is anyone using any other type of transmission fluid other than Type F ?
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Old 08-07-2018, 06:10 PM   #8
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Default Re: Early Ford/Mercury automatic transmissions 51'-55'

Ford made a protractor tool that was installed down next to the throttle lever on the transmission. There was also a tool to set the Z-bar linkage (another word for the throttle bellcrank behind the carburetor).

The protractor was also used to perform an operational pressure check to make sure the pressures were correct for idle and in the different gear selections. Most transmission shops just made due with what ever they had at hand but some may have purchased the tools. There were a couple of tools to adjust the bands too but there were other tools available at the time that would work on a lot of different transmissions. The 1935 to 53 Motors Manual has a lot of info in it about adjustments. The 1953 Merc-O-Matic Transmission Repair and Adjustment Manual is also a good one to have. It has a dark green cover with a light green back. I've seen them on flea-pay a time or two.
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Old 08-07-2018, 07:42 PM   #9
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Default Re: Early Ford/Mercury automatic transmissions 51'-55'

rotorwrench,

The manuals I have do provide instructions as to the setup but as you have mentioned it is with the use of the Ford/Mercury specific tools. Not surprisingly I do not have those available to me. The local shop set up the throttle lever for me yesterday..... For now I will rely on the expertise of the transmission shop and just drive it, while being fully aware of any and all differences. What I was hoping for was a spec as to the length of the lever set at the factory, to provide we with a base for adjustment.
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File Type: jpg DSCN8465.jpg (37.1 KB, 9 views)
File Type: jpg DSCN8455.jpg (36.7 KB, 10 views)
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File Type: jpg DSCN8463.jpg (61.6 KB, 9 views)

Last edited by Merc Cruzer; 08-07-2018 at 07:53 PM.
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Old 08-08-2018, 08:58 AM   #10
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Default Re: Early Ford/Mercury automatic transmissions 51'-55'

There were likely too many manufacturing variables to have a set rod length. The tools were made by Manzel. Here is one on the flea-pay. https://www.ebay.com/itm/1950-54-FOR...-/300611579982

The stuff is out there but you have to know what you are looking for and you have the books that list them.
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Old 08-08-2018, 09:07 AM   #11
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Default Re: Early Ford/Mercury automatic transmissions 51'-55'


Always amazing what you can find on eBay.
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Old 08-08-2018, 11:01 AM   #12
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Default Re: Early Ford/Mercury automatic transmissions 51'-55'

Quote:
Originally Posted by rotorwrench View Post
There were likely too many manufacturing variables to have a set rod length. The tools were made by Manzel. Here is one on the flea-pay. https://www.ebay.com/itm/1950-54-FOR...-/300611579982

The stuff is out there but you have to know what you are looking for and you have the books that list them.
I worked on the Chevy assembly line at the Willow Run plant (Nova, Ventura II and Omega's), my senior year of college, 1970. My question is how were these set on the line in the few seconds available to the installer? That is why I believe the rods were set at a predetermined length prior to installation on the line..

Last edited by Merc Cruzer; 08-08-2018 at 11:08 AM.
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Old 08-08-2018, 12:32 PM   #13
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Default Re: Early Ford/Mercury automatic transmissions 51'-55'

It's possible they adjusted it that way but it's also possible that they used a tool that fits flat on the block deck to adjust the Z-bar after installation and they may have had had a tool that held the transmission throttle lever in a set position then adjusted the rod to fit the Z-bar when they installed it. This is all just an assumption. They may have run the cars on rollers after that to do a basic operational function check unless they drove the cars to check them. It's hard to say now with all the water under the bridge.

Ford assembly plants operationally tested the vehicles but they did it quickly. Anything that didn't pass the test likely had to go to a repair department for further diagnostics & repairs. If it passed the test then it went out to the dealers. The dealers were responsible for servicing up the car and making sure it's ready for sale or delivery from than point on.
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Old 09-16-2019, 09:43 AM   #14
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Default Re: Early Ford/Mercury automatic transmissions 51'-55'

300 miles ago I put Type F in my '51 Merc-o-matic. It seemed good and the upshift and downshift while cruising was ok but once the trans was nice and warmed up it went hard into reverse and drive while stopped (pulling out of parking spots).

Friday I did a drain and fill and put in Dexron 3 and it shifts MUCH better.

There was quite a bit of swarf on my magnetic drain plug from using type F. I'm glad I didn't leave it in there for longer.
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Old 09-16-2019, 10:11 AM   #15
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Default Re: Early Ford/Mercury automatic transmissions 51'-55'

Sounds like there is still some confusion on why you use one specific transmission fluid vs another. To a large extent it depends on what is IN the transmission more than which transmission it is. Rotorwench covered this in a previous post (#4). When a transmission is rebuilt internal components get changed and depending on what these new components are fluid requirements can change. One of the major functions of transmission fluid is to work with the friction plates and bands. The fluid used needs to match the materials these components are made from. Also, if I was going to change fluids, I would flush the system first.
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Old 09-16-2019, 11:12 AM   #16
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Default Re: Early Ford/Mercury automatic transmissions 51'-55'

Who is confused? Everyone should be confused because I've never seen definitive documentation stating that type F should be used.
All I know is my car did not like type F.
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Old 09-16-2019, 01:46 PM   #17
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Default Re: Early Ford/Mercury automatic transmissions 51'-55'

Don't think it will be documented, it would depend on who did a rebuild, when it was done and what parts were used.
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Old 09-16-2019, 04:44 PM   #18
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Default Re: Early Ford/Mercury automatic transmissions 51'-55'

The metallic plates need a positive shift. If the shift is harsh it generally has a bit too high a pressure at idle. The pressure can be adjusted with the TV control rod.

If you feel better using Dexron III or later Dexron/Mercon type then go ahead. At least is has something in it. There has been so much water under the bridge since 1966 when they started to develope type F that it's hard to find any information about the subject. It just boils down to the bronze & steely type clutch plates that Ford used clear up till the C6 transmission came on line. It has composition plates so it uses Dexron/Mercon type fluid. Ford continued to use the metallic plates clear up into the 80s with the FMX transmissions but they don't make any transmission that use them now and haven't for many years.

The "caution" on metallic plates is all about slippage. You don't want any slippage or there will be a lot of bronze plate material in the pan and it will eventually start to slip no matter how it's adjusted. As long as it doesn't start slipping, you will be OK.

The oil doesn't make swarf. That's just a byproduct of wear & tear. The bronze material is non magnetic. An oil change cleans crap out of there. It doesn't hurt to have it clean in there. Pump gears wear, bearings wear, and planetary gears wear as well as many other items so don't be surprised to find some metal. When you see part numbers in there then you know you have a problem.

Last edited by rotorwrench; 09-16-2019 at 05:02 PM.
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Old 09-16-2019, 07:02 PM   #19
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Default Re: Early Ford/Mercury automatic transmissions 51'-55'

Us Barners need to party when Rotorwrench posts hit 1000 [soon] Newc
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Old 09-16-2019, 07:20 PM   #20
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Default Re: Early Ford/Mercury automatic transmissions 51'-55'

Dexron 3 is supposed to be the substitute for Type A. All the early Bird shops recommend this. When the C-4's and C-6's came on board the recommended fluid was Type F, although it may have come earlier with the newer Fordomatic introduced in 59..
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