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Old 10-04-2012, 02:33 AM   #1
Hotrodfil
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Default Close ratio gears

Popped over to Belcher Engineering here in the UK on the way home to ask about a set of close ratio gears for my Fordor.

They manufacture two types of close ratio gears for the Model A gearbox with gears made from EN36 steel, case hardened and run on needle bearings. Straight cut, no synchro just like stock only far better ratios.

Ratios:-
20 Tooth to 27 Tooth
1st 2.2 to 1
2nd 1.3 to 1
3rd 1 to 1

18 Tooth to 29 Tooth
1st 2.59 to 1
2nd 1.55 to 1
3rd 1 to 1

I run the 2nd set behind a B engine in my Tourer and they shift lovely. They currently have six sets of blanks on the shelf so if there's enough interest they'll run a batch off.

They also have a couple of F head kits for sale if anyone is interested.



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Old 10-04-2012, 04:03 AM   #2
juke joint johnny
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Default Re: Close ratio gears

Thats some engine you have there Phill !! I bet that car really moves
I know Gary and old Brian Belcher they do very Good work.
They also design and make parts not just import them from somewhere else .

I see from your Avatar your a Rock & Roller Do you go to the Rhytm Riot or the Rockabilly Rave ? Maybe I'll see your car there one day !!

John Cochran
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Old 10-04-2012, 04:26 AM   #3
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Default Re: Close ratio gears

Happy Birthday Phil - buy yourself a present?

Cheers

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Old 10-04-2012, 05:59 AM   #4
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Default Re: Close ratio gears

Not my engine I'm afraid - although I do have a head to fit sometime to a diamond B block that needs... everything.

Buy myself a present? Yup. One new hub seal...
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Old 10-04-2012, 06:18 AM   #5
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Default Re: Close ratio gears

What are the stock original ratios? What is the cost of these new gears?
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Old 10-04-2012, 06:49 AM   #6
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Default Re: Close ratio gears

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Ballpark figure is around £200 more than new stock gears.
Standard ratios are... awful.
From the Macs spec page.
High-1:1
2nd-6.89:1
Low-8.75:1
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Old 10-04-2012, 07:21 AM   #7
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Default Re: Close ratio gears

Standard
1st 3.12:1
2nd 1.85:1
3rd 1:1
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Old 10-04-2012, 07:29 AM   #8
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Default Re: Close ratio gears

Interesting steering box mod. I did a similar thing with the box on my roadster when I put the flat head V8 in. The only different is that the block is mounted on the out side of the frame instead of the top.
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Old 10-04-2012, 07:55 AM   #9
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Default Re: Close ratio gears

Quote:
Originally Posted by Napa Skip View Post
Standard
1st 3.12:1
2nd 1.85:1
3rd 1:1
Didn't think the Macs specs seemed right...!
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Old 10-04-2012, 08:53 AM   #10
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Default Re: Close ratio gears

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hotrodfil View Post
Didn't think the Macs specs seemed right...!
I first noted these specs (6.9:1 and 8.75:1) in "Model A Specifications" on pages 30 thru 33 of the May-June 1988 issue of "The Restorer" (MAFCA), subsequently included in Volume V (pages 10-13) of "How To Restore Your Model A" so they seem to have a life of their own. However, I believe the 1.85:1 and 3.12:1 are more accurate.

Final drive gear ratios for transmissions such as are found in the Model A, are calculated as the ratio of the output gear (diameter or number of teeth) to the input gear, or where there are multiple gear engagements (such as in first and second gear) the product of such ratios and are expressed as the ratio of the number of input shaft revolutions required to give 1 revolution of the output shaft.

Thus, for first gear, where the 16-tooth input shaft drives the 31-tooth gear on the cluster gear, and where the 18-tooth cluster gear then drives the 29-tooth low/reverse sliding gear, the number of input shaft revolutions to give 1 output shaft revolution is given by 31/16 x 29/18 = 3.12 (rounded down). Consequently, first gear is said to be 3.12:1.

Similarly, second gear, where the 16-tooth input shaft drives the 31-tooth gear on the cluster gear, and where the 24-tooth cluster gear then drives the 23-tooth second/high sliding gear, the ratio is given by 31/16 x 23/24 = 1.86 (rounded up), giving the 1.86:1 (sometimes seen as 1.85:1) second gear ratio.

For third gear, the forward portion of the second/high sliding gear internal teeth engage with the after portion of the input shaft external teeth and neither the low/reverse nor the second/high sliding gears otherwise engage with the cluster gear (which keeps spinning due to its permanent engagement with the input shaft). The after portion of the second/high sliding gear remains splined to the output shaft and consequently the output shaft is driven with no gear reduction and the final 1:1 “ratio” is achieved.

Reverse is the product of three ratios, inasmuch as the 16-tooth input shaft drives the 31-tooth gear on the cluster gear, the 15-tooth gear on the cluster gear drives the 18-tooth reverse idler gear, and the 18-tooth reverse idler gear drives the 29-tooth low/reverse sliding gear, giving a 3.75:1 reverse gear ratio.

Probably more than is needed for this discussion…

Model A Transmission.jpg
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Last edited by Napa Skip; 10-06-2012 at 10:59 AM. Reason: add reverse gear info
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Old 10-04-2012, 09:41 AM   #11
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Default Re: Close ratio gears

Who made the F-head conversion?
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Old 10-04-2012, 12:21 PM   #12
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Default Re: Close ratio gears

That is great info, thanks.. I was considering a Mitchell but was concerned of cost of especially quality.. I'm not crazy about the stock ratios and the English and Chinese[ Mitchell] options seem interesting..
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Old 10-04-2012, 03:17 PM   #13
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Default Re: Close ratio gears

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Brierley View Post
Who made the F-head conversion?
Belchers own

http://www.belcherengineering.co.uk/speedster/index.php

I'm still looking for that BF cam Mr B. Will pass on to Sammy at Arizona Model A if I find before Dad and I come back in November

Cheers

Andrew

(The Limeys at Don's)
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Old 10-04-2012, 08:24 PM   #14
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Default Re: Close ratio gears

Thanks for the info. 200 pounds over new standard gears is a lot just to get a better first and second. I put a mitchell overdrive in Barry's coupe, and while the cost is quite high, it was a nice addition to the car. I looked into a Laycock overdrive, but it requires 12 volts, and my cars are 6. Still undecided what to do. I have a set of 3.27:1 rear end gears I could put in the coupe. According to my crummy math skills, the mitchell makes a 3.78:1 rear gear about 3.00:1 in overdrive. Barry's coupe ran fine in most circumstances when just left in overdrive, but it was nice to have the stock low gear for parades.
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Old 10-04-2012, 11:49 PM   #15
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Default Re: Close ratio gears

The syncro gears from Mitchell Manufacturing are a better ratio. Has anybody had any experience with their syncro gears?

Charlie Stephens
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Old 10-05-2012, 07:55 AM   #16
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Default Re: Close ratio gears

Quote:
Originally Posted by Charlie Stephens View Post
The syncro gears from Mitchell Manufacturing are a better ratio. Has anybody had any experience with their syncro gears?

Charlie Stephens
There is an old guy near here that has that mitchell setup and he likes it. I have not driven the car.
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Old 10-05-2012, 11:26 AM   #17
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Default Re: Close ratio gears

The last I spoke with the folks at Mitchell, there were 3 ratio options which I thought was nice.. I was wondering about quality since its chinese.. Mitchell said they have had no issues ,, but,, I've heard some have had problems..
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Old 10-05-2012, 11:56 AM   #18
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Default Re: Close ratio gears

FWIW...I'll post some of the ratios that can be attained using Model B trans case or V8 '32-48 cases.
The 28 and 29 tooth ones (teeth counted at front of cluster) are both very common V8 Ford ratios, the 25 and 26 tooth ones are from 1940's V12 Lincolns and are fairly pricey.

All ratios courtesy of my 50 or 60 year old Iskenderian "Dream Wheel", a little circular slide rule that can compute speed versus tire and gear possibilities.


29 tooth 3.11 1.770 1.00
28 tooth 2.82 1.607 1.00
26 tooth 2.327 1.576 1.00
25 tooth 2.12 1.435 1.00

The Lincoln gearsets were meant to be used with very low R&P and overdrive of about .70 ratio.
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Old 10-05-2012, 02:16 PM   #19
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Default Re: Close ratio gears

I have a Mitchell trans plus O/D in my slant screen we inported & like it very much, One can shift more quickly with the shorter throw, plus the taller ratios make it more like a B trans , coupled with the O/D its a nice driver, Expensive set up but the vehicle came that way, Love my O/Drive, Derek spring is here, swap meets & Speedway . 45 years sunday wedding aniversary,
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Old 10-06-2012, 12:19 AM   #20
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Default Re: Close ratio gears

I have 2 Columbia O/D,s that I modified to fit my "A",s and I love them.One has been in use since 1960 & the other I modified a few years ago.Both have 4.11 gears & 2.94 in O/D. 1st & 2nd in O/D are great ratios too.
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Old 10-06-2012, 04:02 PM   #21
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Default Re: Close ratio gears

Are you guys suggesting that the Mitchell gears are Chinese made?
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Old 10-06-2012, 04:10 PM   #22
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Default Re: Close ratio gears

for a little more put in a ford 3 speed + OD full syncromesh and bolts right in.
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Old 10-06-2012, 08:38 PM   #23
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Default Re: Close ratio gears

Quote:
Originally Posted by Charlie Stephens View Post
The syncro gears from Mitchell Manufacturing are a better ratio. Has anybody had any experience with their syncro gears?

Charlie Stephens
I have two of their transmissions, but only one installed. They are "supposed to" have the 15% better 1st. and 2nd. gears. I can't tell that much difference, though I really like the synchro. My wife does even more so.
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Old 10-08-2012, 01:35 AM   #24
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Default Re: Close ratio gears

Quote:
Originally Posted by juke joint johnny View Post
I see from your Avatar your a Rock & Roller Do you go to the Rhytm Riot or the Rockabilly Rave ? Maybe I'll see your car there one day !!

Hi John - I've been along a couple of times but I actually play in a bluegrass band. The avatar was from a wedding we played...

www.themharveyboys.co.uk

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=reu_OeCa6oI
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Old 10-08-2012, 02:22 AM   #25
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Default Re: Close ratio gears

Tried out the close ratio gears on the track at the weekend. Behind about an estimated 70 horses of banger they performed well - although at Prescott hill climb I did have to keep grabbing top (easy) and crashing back down into 2nd for the hairpins (easy enough but a crash...).

I do like the lack of synchro - it gives it a more vintage car feel. From what I gather, Mitchell don't recommend their synchro conversions for anything more than the standard horsepower?

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Old 10-08-2012, 08:02 AM   #26
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Default Re: Close ratio gears

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[QUOTE=Hotrodfil;513226]T. . . From what I gather, Mitchell don't recommend their synchro conversions for anything more than the standard horsepower?

To make room to synch 2 & 3 (1st is not synchro) Mitchell had to get room somewhere. The gears are narrower than stock. That said, I know several guys with 80+HP in front of a Mitchell. You just can't pop the clutch or slam gears.
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Old 10-08-2012, 09:33 AM   #27
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Default Re: Close ratio gears

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hotrodfil View Post

I do like the lack of synchro - it gives it a more vintage car feel.
I like the idea of more useful first and second gear ratios but have no interest in syncros. I've driven A's with V8 gear boxes and it's unnatural and just not fun for me.
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Old 10-08-2012, 12:32 PM   #28
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Default Re: Close ratio gears

Anybody with a strong loathing of unsynchronized shifting should, before spending a lot, have a ride with someone who enjoys them...the education is not necessarily going to be successful for everyone because it involves developing a sort of Zen One-with-the-transmission feel, but I'm sure many could learn this and enjoy it. It is possible for many to develop a very close feel for gear speeds and of throttle openings that put engaged gears into a sort of floating state.
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Old 10-08-2012, 01:51 PM   #29
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Default Re: Close ratio gears

Kind of a Zen and the Art of Model A Transmission Shifting (with apologies to Robert M. Pirsig).

“Is it hard? Not if you have the right attitude.” Robert M. Pirsig
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Old 10-08-2012, 02:22 PM   #30
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Default Re: Close ratio gears

Changing down on the road is normally quite easy. Need to practice at speed...
I normally run my flattie powered 24T at Prescott in 2nd gear - 3.54 rear end, '39 box, 5.50 x 16 tyres.

With the Tourer - 3.27 rear end and 4.75 x 19 tyres I had to change in to top before reaching the hairpins.

Best time in the V8 powered modified 61.63, highest speed at the 'bridge' (pretty much a straight charge from the line) 51mph.

Best time in the Tourer - 71.01, highest speed at the 'bridge' 44mph in second gear. So I'm quite happy comparing me, with me.

Last edited by Hotrodfil; 10-09-2012 at 02:32 PM.
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Old 10-10-2012, 03:19 AM   #31
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Default Re: Close ratio gears

Number crunching.
Been looking at the results from Prescott hillclimb online and doing some online calcs.

Oh yes. Sensibly (not) I seem to build cars with no gauges. Saves all that worrying looking down at the dashboard. Cane it till it bursts and change up. Thought I'd work out the revs the poor old dear was doing as she flapped her skirts under the bridge at Prescott.

44mph, 1.55:1 second gear, 3.27 final drive, 29.8" tyres - 2514 rpm. Hmmm - sounded like more! Tailed off a little - it felt like there was more but didn't want to burst it!

Driving along the Buckingham bypass on the way home and opened her up a bit...

68mph (sat nav), 1:1 top gear - 2507 rpm. Bottom screen rattled loose (hadn't tightened it up after taking the top screen out at the track), blew innards and plunged cold air onto my tootsies, so we backed off a bit.

Rolling along easily most of the time around 55-60mph and it turns out the ol' banger is turning between 2000-2200 rpm which is reasonable for a babbit bottom end.

More than chuffed. Winter time will hopefully see a full pressure shell bottom end model-A engine under the bonnet as a comparison.
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Old 10-10-2012, 05:56 AM   #32
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Default Re: Close ratio gears

So when all is said and done, do you like the 3.27:1 gear set? I was thinking of installing them in my coupe when I rebuild the motor. The alternative is a mitchell overdrive, which is quite pricey.
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Old 10-10-2012, 06:29 AM   #33
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Default Re: Close ratio gears

Like the 3.27's? Yup. Coupled with the close ratio gears it works a treat.
The tourer is a bit lighter than the Fordor but that's handles a 3.54 set with the standard transmission ratios with aplomb.
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Old 10-11-2012, 11:58 AM   #34
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Default Re: Close ratio gears

Video between the hairpins.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=abgKF6yfHho
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Old 03-28-2020, 10:47 PM   #35
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Question Re: Close ratio gears

Are these close ratio gears still available?
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Old 03-29-2020, 12:33 AM   #36
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Default Re: Close ratio gears

Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick L. View Post
That is great info, thanks.. I was considering a Mitchell but was concerned of cost of especially quality.. I'm not crazy about the stock ratios and the English and Chinese[ Mitchell] options seem interesting..
Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveB31 View Post
Are you guys suggesting that the Mitchell gears are Chinese made?
Are Mitchell gears Chinese? I never heard of this before reading this 8 yo thread?
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Old 03-30-2020, 07:51 AM   #37
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Default Re: Close ratio gears

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Originally Posted by M2M View Post
Are these close ratio gears still available?

Anyone know?
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Old 03-30-2020, 10:19 AM   #38
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Default Re: Close ratio gears

Good Morning...I have had a Mitchell Overdrive in our 1931 Tudor for 15 years and it has performed perfectly and I really love having two gear ranges to work with. Here in the Desert it is pretty flat and the high end 3rd over is great. The mountains around the 'Valley of the Sun' would challenge a mountain goat, and going up the mountain to Payson, I tend to use 1-2-3 and 2nd over and 3rd over...Ernie in Arizona
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Old 04-15-2020, 09:14 AM   #39
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Default Re: Close ratio gears

Below is all they have left:

20/27 ratio new £785.00
20/27 ratio used £400.00
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