View Full Version : ford o matic

10-05-2013, 04:07 PM
Hello Community,

my question today is about the transmission for my 61.

I ordered a rebuild transmission in the states, from one of the main T-Bird specialists, mine was broken. It fitted perfect and works.It is shifting to the times it should.

I read in the internet that this type of transmission is shifting very smoothly.

But that mine does not. Specially when i drive so that it will stay in 2nd gear for some time and than switches to 3rd gear it gives me strong hit on my neck.

Is there anything to adjust or to align on the trans like a final adjustment, or is there some kind of basic alignment that I do not know?

thanks for reply.

10-05-2013, 06:00 PM
Wolfgang, welcome back.
Fordomatic is a two-speed automatic. If your trans is a three-speed, it cannot be a Fordomatic. Since this is a replacement transmission, which one do you have? Does it have a modulator? Did you swap any of the parts from the old transmission? - Dave

10-05-2013, 08:07 PM
Since you say that you got it from a T-Bird specialist I'm assuming that they sent you the correct cruise-o-matic transmission for a 1961 that has the vacuum modulator. If the modulator is not hooked up to the vacuum line that will give you rough shifts. Also make sure you are starting in D1 and not D2.


10-06-2013, 02:23 AM
Hallo John and Dave,
It has a modulator and is connected.
Up to now I thought that Ford o matic and Cruise o matic is the same, only brandet by Ford.
No, I got the transmission complete as an overhold unit, no old parts were used, not even the case.

What do you mean starting in d1?

10-06-2013, 05:10 AM
Fordomatic was the first automatic trans Ford had. It was a two-speed. Here is the badge on my 1955 Ford:
By the time Thunderbird came out, the 'new' three-speed Cruise-O-Matic was used in all of them. Up until 1961 Cruise-O-Matics had no modulator. That is why I asked which transmission you have.

By the way, are you still using Yankee Motors (http://www.yankeemotors.com/)?

When you look at your gear select on the steering column, it shows these gears; P, N, D2, D1 & L.

10-06-2013, 04:10 PM
Hello Dave,

Yes it shows exactly this steering columb.
Yankee Motors was ok, but now I do not need them. They rebuild the Motor but could not help at the transmission because the body had cracked. So I ordernd a 63 one in the States, because that body should be improved.


01-10-2014, 11:35 PM
Is it fixed Wolfgang? If so, can you share what the problem was? If not, have you checked the operating pressures?

Think of the way the shifting works. A road speed governor/oil pump increases control pressure as road speed increases. There are two control valves (1-2 shift and 2-3 shift.) The 1-2 shift control valve has a larger surface area or weaker spring, so when road speed pressure increases, it "pops" first, shifting up. When road speed and pressure increases more, it works on the smaller surface area to pop the 2-3 control valve and shifts again. To offset that, the throttle control valve vents control pressure depending on how far down the throttle pedal is. That causes the downshift.

So any lack of control pressure can cause a harsh downshift. There are control pressure tubes in the transmission that can have small cracks that can vent pressure for example. And that vacuum modulator can be a problem too. As far as I know, Ford vacuum modulators vent control pressure when manifold pressure drops (e.g. throttle is wide open.) I believe some transmissions inhibit shifting into reverse when manifold pressure is low to prevent transmission damage but I don't know if Ford did this. So I would hook up a pressure gauge to the transmission and do the stall tests. Maybe you can even get the gauge into the passenger compartment and take it for a spin on the Autobahn!

Good luck!

03-10-2015, 05:19 AM
Thanks for your information. I am still working on the problem.
In the winter i did not work on it because driving on wet and salty roads it is not good for the car.

So i started all over this month. While checking with the manuel i found out that shifting from 2nd to 3rd ist to late. Mine is shifting precisely at 43mph and then with a kick. Switching 1st to 2nd is perfekt.

I checked for vacuum problems with a vacuum gouge and everything was correct. I changed the modulator but the problem was steady. I adjusted the modulator with no effects.

After that i tried to find professional help. I checked our area for transmission specialists nearly all i contacted are not able and have no experience with that kind of transmissions.They can do the modern electronic controlled 7/8 gears transmissions.

But I found one company where an older guy works that nows something about.

He checked vacuum, linkage , modulator and so on. Everything he said is ok, the transmission is not broken and must only be adjusted.

That means hook the car up open the transmission adjust the valve. Refill the transmission make a test drive, and that up to five times.

That is boring, I bought a new(overhauled)Transmission.

Now i think this over because that transmission shop gives me not trusted feeling. The shop itself was a very messy place, only the old man was working, two other youngsters hang around and the shop was in bad area. Did not look professional. I stayed all the time to prevent my car from scratches and grease on the carpet.

So as you read not really a success. But I keep trying.

03-10-2015, 05:55 AM
Wolfgang, your transmission was very common when it was made. Millions of Ford, Lincoln and Mercury cars and trucks used that transmission.

Over the past fifty years, the evolution of change to more modern transmissions has done the same to our mechanics in the USA. Modern mechanics only know how to read a computer code. If the car has no computer, our young mechanics are LOST. They were trained differently because modern equipment is much more technical.

We have many more 'old school' transmission mechanics in our southern states because their weather is mild, they never use salt on roads and their cars last longer. But you are correct, classic car mechanics are few in numbers and are hard to find because most are retired or they died years ago.

If you have a newly overhauled transmission maybe your bands are not adjusted correctly. This is a simple fix and it should not cost much money. A simple air hose test will operate the bands while the car is on a hoist so the mechanic can see the bands operate before he replaces the oil pan.

Different transmission oils make shifting act differently as well, so make sure you have the correct transmission oil. Good luck. - Dave

09-10-2015, 12:30 PM
Hallo together,

my transmission problem could not be fixed until now.

I found two companies the had a look on. One did not want the job, the other one could not give me a shop date in one year.

But what I might find out of all the input I got is that the problem can be the governor.

I was told that the bolt you can see and feel from the outside must be spring loaded. Mine is not, you can move it freely. So it can be there is no spring, or it is broken.

Does anybody know something about this detail and know where i can get spare parts.

If that is not the problem then I may need a other transmission.

A company in Germany sells such transmissions, but the charge 4250$ for a rebuild and tuned transmission without installation.
And that is heavy.

Someone perplexed !

03-26-2016, 05:21 PM
Hello together,

now I can report that we found the problem. There were two reasons for that problem.

First was a problem that the centrifugal controller stucked, and second and major problem has been wrong shifting springs.

I could not believe this at a new rebuild transmission, bought by a one of the major american thunderbird part suppliers.

But any way the problem is solved.

Looking forward better weather for some nice trips with the car.

03-26-2016, 05:36 PM
I hope you contacted the Thunderbird vendor who you bought it from and told them what was found to be wrong with it. It sounds to me like you are entitled to some sort of refund. If you don't get satisfaction please post on here who you bought it from so that others don't have the same bad experience.


Dan Leavens
03-27-2016, 09:44 AM
I agree with John that at best compensation in the form of a refund/ credit is due to you.

03-27-2016, 01:48 PM
Thanks for your proposal. I think that will help nothing. The deal is from 2010, since that time we do troubleshooting, and first i could not find a company what was able and willing to do the job, and i am a far far away nobody. May be they bought it from somebody else an did not know either.

I am happy for the progress and the company in Corona is not any more my favorite.