JohnF

Jeep CJ V-6 T86 Transmission Rebuild and Restoration

23 posts in this topic

So I am in the process of a total restoration on my 67 CJ5 v6 225 and have reached the transmission rebuild. I found a damaged first/reverse sliding gear and cluster gear. Question is should I pay the high cost of the t86 gears

( cluster $ 220.00 / first gear $ 125.00 ) or do I find t-90 parts and convert it? The first gear is almost impossible to find, I only found one after a week of searching.

 

I would have to find used T-90 parts to make it cost effective but then there are no guarantees I will spend less to convert than to just get the t-86 parts. I do not plan on abusing the jeep off road when done.  Also can I get away with grinding the teeth of the first sliding gear ( bottom photo ) a bit to dress them up rather than replacing ? The other side of gear not shown is good. Thoughts ?

 

Damaged parts:

 

 

2013-12-29154931.jpg

 

 

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JohnF...Welcome to the forums and thanks for posting this question with clear photos! The two pictures bring back a flood of memories.  I faced your dilemma as far back as 1969 with my 1950 CJ3A's Warner T-90 restoration, when parts were still readily available and cheap.  Much more recently, I covered the rebuild of a T-90/T-86 in my Jeep CJ Rebuilder's Manual: 1946-71 edition. 

 

I rebuilt a number of Warner T-85, T-86 and T-87 units between 2005 and 2008, including a 'fifties Hudson T-86 (see broken housing repair in slideshow) plus Jeep and Ford applications.  I knew every NOS and replica parts source in the U.S. at the time, and parts were difficult to source.  That can only be worse now.

 

The use of the T-86 has to do with ratios and the V-6.  As you discovered, any cluster gear with limited demand or unusual ratios can drive up the cost of replacement parts.  The cluster gear is a common failure part on manual 3-speeds like yours without synchromesh on first gear.  The first and reverse slider is the other half of the equation, clashing into first gear on downshifts when the vehicle is not fully stopped. 

 

My time-honored conversion to a true truck-grade T98A (Jeep version) or T18 four-speed (also covered in the CJ book, using adapter parts available through Advance Adapters) is an option.  You mention a budget, and that may rule out the T98 or T18, since you would need adapters and at least a used transmission in good condition.  I feel obliged, however, to mention this option; the addition of a low 6.32:1 first gear ratio (if you use the more common Ford truck T18 unit described in Advance Adapters' catalogs) with synchromesh on 2nd through 4th gears is a real off-road and overall drivability gain.  With a compound first gear, you start out in a synchromesh second gear most of the time...

 

Back to your current dilemma, I see no advantage with the T-90 over a T-86 transmission.  Their stamina is similar despite ratio differences.  (The V6 use of the T-86 is more to do with ratios than any advantage over the T-90.)  I quick-priced a quality T-90 cluster gear at the Advance Adapters site, and the full retail suggested price is $250 for the cluster gear only

 

I've seen few bargains on T-90 parts in recent years.  Also, installing used gears and mixing the 2nd/3rd speed gears with a used cluster is not a good idea.  Tooth contact patterns are well-established on used gears, and the case determines the alignment of the gears.  This mixing gears from a donor transmission could lead to trouble. 

 

 A T14A transmission swap might be a prospect, these were all-synchromesh (on the three forward speeds) transmissions used behind the V6 beginning in 1968; in the CJs with a V6, they were mated to the Spicer Model 18 transfer case through 1971.  Here is a description, note that the CJ V6 models use a different length input shaft than the '72-up AMC/Jeep CJs. You would need a T14A from a Jeep CJ V6, with all parts that make up the installation.  (Compare from the bellhousing back to the transfer case, make note of any distinctions.)  There may be a slight length difference over the T-86, likely not enough to cause any driveline length issues or mount problems. 

 

Now, let's get on to your idea of grinding off the chipped teeth ends and reshaping the damaged cluster gear's engagement teeth.  Simply put, you cannot do this, and the reason is clear.  These gears are machined from annealed metal (likely 8620 or a similar base material), then they are case-hardened.  Case hardening penetrates the shell of the machined gear between 0.030" and 0.060", depending upon the gear application and original engineering specifications... 

 

The case hardening is already missing at the chipped teeth you illustrate in your photos.  If you grind off the damaged tooth ends evenly (which may not allow enough gear width for proper tooth engagement with the sliding gear), the cluster will have soft gear teeth—at least at the first gear engagement points.  This would result in rapid failure of the remaining material at the engagement end of the 1st gear cluster teeth.

 

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I have restored a cluster gear.  At the magazine, you can explore the article and slideshow I did on welding and heat treating an extremely rare Ford T85N cluster gear (click here to view the article and slideshow presentation).  This Warner 3-speed with overdrive gearbox, only used for a few years, was a rare option.  These non-synchromesh on first gear transmissions nearly always need a 1st/reverse slider and a new cluster gear during a rebuild!  The cluster gear is cut helically and creates the need for a virtual full stop of the vehicle to engage 1st gear without clash. 

 

I searched the U.S. and had excellent parts sources at the time:  None had this cluster gear, though I was fortunate enough to locate an NOS 1st gear slider.  In the slideshow, you will discover that the first step in fixing gear teeth is to have the gear "normalized" at a heat treating shop.  This takes the hardness out of the case hardening (not a full annealing) and permits welding on the teeth in a normalized state.  I carefully TIG welded the damaged teeth, using a Weld Mold Company filler rod that has the same properties as 8620, the most likely metal type used to make the original gears.  After building up weld material, I very carefully hand-ground and shaped the teeth, constantly using the opposing gear as the guide for tooth shape and angle.  (Note: Cutting teeth could have been done with machine tools at greater expense.  Shops like Advance Adapters can cut gear teeth of this design.)

 

Final shape done, the gears were aligned in the case, and I used tooth contact paste to confirm the engagement pattern as you would with a ring-and-pinion gear check.  Once certain the teeth were shaped properly, I sent the cluster gear back to the heat treating shop for case hardening to proper Rockwell C hardness and case depth.  (For those interested, this is a carburizing process to case harden these gears.)  At last, I assembled the gearbox with new bearings, small parts and new synchronizer blocking rings, bringing the unit and overdrive to original factory specifications.

 

Caution: Welding without the normalizing process is impossible, even with high-tensile "as welded" filler rod.  The welding heat will soften the case hardening adjacent to the welds!  If you should ever have to reconstruct a gear or other case hardened part, the method begins with normalizing, then welding with a filler metal that matches the normalized base, then machining, then re-heat treating.

 

John, I trust this is helpful.  The new cluster and slider gear pricing sounds "normal" for these parts today.  Be clear about the quality, though, as most vintage parts are off-shore sourced, some match up well and are built to standard.  Know your source and compare parts carefully with the OEM pieces.

 

Would be pleased to continue this discussion, hear more about your Kaiser-era Jeep CJ V6 4x4, and know that you're headed toward a street and trail worthy rig!

 

Moses

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Moses

 

Are you saying if I purchase a new cluster for the T-86 the gears might not mesh with the existing gears ? I found a cluster at Willy's overland made from Crown for

$ 190.00 The first gear i've been watching on ebay is nos

 

Thanks,

John

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John, I was referring to used gears (a used cluster gear from a donor transmission mated to existing used 2nd and 3rd gears).  It is common and acceptable practice to take a new cluster with no wear and mate it to a run-in 2nd and 3rd speed gear as long as the 2nd and 3rd speed gears "look good", meaning no excessive surface or other wear. 

 

As a point of clarification, 3rd speed is 1:1 on your T-86 and simply the lockup between the synchro hub and the input shaft, so the concern would be any input gear wear and wear at the 2nd speed gear.  In addition to tooth contact wear, look for wear at the synchro teeth on the input shaft gear and 2nd speed gear.  We haven't talked about the reverse idler gear, you can make a call there based upon its condition.

 

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John, you should recognize much of this column (side) shift T86E transmission rebuild that I did in 2009. The unit is similar to Jeep/Willys applications but fits a beautiful '55 Hudson Hornet passenger car (shown lower right; like many modern drivers, the owner was unaware that first gear did not have synchromesh, which shows in the cluster and slider damage). This is the unit that has a badly damaged cluster gear and slider plus a broken extension housing flange, all of which were addressed in the rebuild. I was able to find a genuine NOS American-built cluster gear for this build, along with a slider, 2nd gear and other new parts. Would question the likelihood of finding an NOS cluster by now, this new cluster took days of phone calls to find, eventually turning up through a known NOS source (Northwest Transmission Parts). They did not expect to see another one on the shelf.

 

The Crown price is obviously good.  They have been importing off-shore pieces for a long time and likely have a quality source.  The issue with off-shore is measurements, though I don't want to be judgmental about a gear that is not available NOS any longer.  NOS is extremely rare if you mean Borg-Warner or American built, and I frankly would be suspect that such a gear still exists.  (Nothing is outside the realm of possibility, though the market has been so combed for true NOS that finding an NOS gear is extremely unlikely.)  As a curiosity on the so-called NOS gear, is there an OE box or packaging that indicates Warner or at least an on-shore American maker of the gear?

 

To sum it up, Crown's gear would be a good value if made properly.  It might pay to contact Crown and ask about the source and track record for these gears.  They do import a lot of Jeep replacement parts and have a reputation to uphold.  From a simplicity standpoint, and even in terms of cost, if you can get the new cluster, a slider, a rebuild "small parts kit", synchro rings, bearings, gaskets and seals for under $400, you're likely cost effective with this approach.  My other ideas, like the T18 swap or a T14A would be much more costly, especially with transmission rebuilding likely.  None of these transmissions are available as "good used" items any more.  Once you saw your T-86 apart, that became apparent. 

 

Final note would be the obvious: Once you build that pristine "blueprinted" T-86 three-speed (my Jeep CJ Rebuilder's Manual: 1946-71 would be helpful with the build if you need step-by-step instructional, the book is available from a variety of 4WD parts sources), use discretion when downshifting to first gear!  Stop the vehicle first.  You now know what the previous owner(s) of your Jeep did, and the resulting damage made dramatic photos!

 

Available for more questions if you need my input...Enjoyed your appreciation for the CJ-3B!

 

Moses

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Thank's Moses for the info. The photo below shows the first/reverse sliding gear I purchased 

 

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All the other gears look pretty good, to me anyway

 

2013-12-29143101.jpg

 

I also purchased a reverse idler gear kit and found front and rear nos bearings which i purchased. Going to have to wait a bit for funds to get the cluster gear. Do you recommend just replacing the bronze syncro gears or finding a complete nos set ? If my memory serves me correct, there were no shifting issues.

 

Thanks again

 

 

Blasted

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And painted

2014-01-12123006.jpg

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John, you're doing a very nice job here, great work...Your new slider was a find, true NOS like I was able to find for the T86E. 

 

The brass blocking rings on the synchros are generally the weak link.  If the steel engagement synchro teeth on the input gear (3rd) and 2nd gear look good, you can usually get by with new brass rings.  The other wear point, of course, is the sliding synchro sleeve, but they, too, generally hold up.  Check for wear, free movement and mesh between the internal teeth of the sliding synchro sleeve and the synchro hub teeth. 

 

I would replace the brass synchro rings, they're not that expensive, and also get a "small parts kit", which should include detent balls, springs, mainshaft (nose end) pilot rollers, thrusts and other pieces that can wear and cause jumping out of gear.  You don't want to do a great assembly job only to find the transmission jumps out of 2nd or 3rd gear!  On that note, replace the crankshaft pilot bearing if there's any doubt about the alignment or centering of the input shaft's nose end.  A loose crankshaft pilot bearing and input shaft misalignment is another cause for jumping out of 3rd gear.

 

The other gears hold up well unless the cluster teeth chips feed through them!  You can usually get lucky here, the case hardening is substantial, and debris tends to drop into the lower case and stay there with 90-wt. oil.  The input gear, 2nd speed gear and main/output shaft can be reused if they look good, the splines are okay, and there is no obvious wear or damage. 

 

Moses 

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Fun is right, I always enjoy this point. Looks like you were very thorough with the parts order. This should be a quality rebuild. 

 

Seal up carefully, use the right sealants and torque figures. Tighten in cross, double check torque settings after the torqued parts set for a few minutes, there's usually a slight shift and take-up. The factory service details and my book will provide the proper assembly sequences... 

 

I am very pleased that you're restoring the V-6 CJ Jeep properly, John...These vehicles deserve this kind of attention. Next? How's the Ross cam-and-lever steering gear holding up? Should we start another topic here?

 

Moses

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Thorough work, John!  Love that elbow pipe for oiling, actually quite original, I've seen many on V-6 applications...I recall the first Dauntless V-6 models that hit the showroom floors, too!

 

Do you have any "before" and "after" photos of your Jeep in progress that you'd like to post at the gallery?  Members and guests would really enjoy seeing the attention to detail and progress with your Jeep CJ V-6!  I'd like a glimpse of that nail head 225 V-6—or have you gone even-fire with a '77-up 231? 

 

In the late 'eighties, at the peak of my magazine writing from the San Diego Area, immersed in everything "Jeep", I stumbled onto a grand book at the local Chevrolet dealership's parts department: Buick Power Source, 1985 first edition, a Buick Division publication popular enough to make it into other GM stores. For anyone with a fascination for the Buick V-6, this is the book!  I highly respected Buick before reading the book and revered Buick after the read. The book is still prominent in my library! See if you can find a used copy, John. 

 

It's easy to post at the forums gallery...Take a peek: http://forums.4wdmechanix.com/garage/vehicle/3-members-can-share-photos/. Review some of the entries, you'll like Megatron's handiwork!

 

Moses

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Oh, my gosh, there's a copy at Amazon!  Not cheap ($47 used), but what a read...You likely can find a less expensive copy:

 

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=Buick%20Power%20Source

 

As a footnote, I bought my new copy in the late 'eighties, apparently dealer overstock or slow moving at the Bowtie dealership—$7.  I remember sprinting to the cashier's booth...

 

Moses

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Tomorrows project, getting this thing rebuilt, I will post progress pictures :)

 

2014-02-28123404.jpg

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Mose's,

 

2 questions. After installing the spacers and needle bearings in the cluster shaft the spacers are not flush with the ends of the shaft as stated they should be in your book. With one side flush the other side is recessed 1/8 of an inch. Is this normal with the T-86 ? It only uses 44 needle bearings and 4 spacers as the T-90 uses 88 bearings and 6 spacers. All the new parts match the old ones exact.

 

Also, the rebuild kit is missing the Front counter shaft washer the goes on the front of the cluster gear ( large side ) my old one is slightly damaged from the needle bearing spacer spinning on it. Should I reuse it or put this off until I can get a new one? Thanks

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I read an article by Rick Stiver about rebuilding the T-90 and he ran into the same issue with the spacers not being flush with ends of countershaft. He recommends adding a washer to each side to bring them close to flush, so thats what I did. The front countershaft washer missing from the kit aggravate's me but after looking at my old one and the damage I decided to wait for a new one.

 

2014-03-02121001.jpg

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The added spacers can work if there is still enough room left for good oil flow between pieces.  Do not make the bearings "tight" for end play.  Also make sure the counter gear has the correct endplay with the thrusts installed.  Oil flow is critical.  Gear lube is thicker. 

 

Note: Needle rollers can self-align or "float" properly if there is some end play but not too much.  If you need added spacers, I would place the added spacers at the inside of the needle rollers, just outboard of each end of the tube spacer.  That way, the needle rollers are further out on the gear/shaft for better gear support. Make sure these spacer washers are OE type for proper hardness and oil flow dimensions.

 

The thrust washer is worn out and has embedded debris.  Surprised this kit omitted the part.  Was it supposed to be there or is it an "added item", JohnF?

 

Moses

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The added spacers can work if there is still enough room left for good oil flow between pieces.  Do not make the bearings "tight" for end play.  Also make sure the counter gear has the correct endplay with the thrusts installed.  Oil flow is critical.  Gear lube is thicker. 

 

Note: Needle rollers can self-align or "float" properly if there is some end play but not too much.  If you need added spacers, I would place the added spacers at the inside of the needle rollers, just outboard of each end of the tube spacer.  That way, the needle rollers are further out on the gear/shaft for better gear support. Make sure these spacer washers are OE type for proper hardness and oil flow dimens

 

The thrust washer is worn out and has embedded debris.  Surprised this kit omitted the part.  Was it supposed to be there or is it an "added item", JohnF?

 

Moses

Yes, it was supposed to be in the kit. They sent another out today. Lets hope end play is correct, I'm not a good waiter :)

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You're doing a thorough job, JohnF.  Your patience will pay off here as you bring the Jeep back to "new" condition.  What a great thought, it's a terrific model with an exciting family history!

 

Moses

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The only way to go and a significant time saver!  A soda blaster in addition to the glass bead rounds out the cleaning tools.  Soda is great for aluminum carburetor bodies and other parts that cannot tolerate abrasive.

 

Moses

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Hey John,

  Looks like you are doing some nice work on your Jeep. I have just started work on a 66 CJ5 and I ran into a very similar problem as you did.  I also have the T86AA and it has a destroyed 1st,reverse gear. I have been able to find all of the required parts for a rebuild except for the fabled gear itself. Do you have and ideas for where I might look as it seems you were successful in you search. Any info would be helpful.

Thanks,

James

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66CJ5...JohnF may have a source.  In later years, I've found NOS cluster T86 pieces through Northwest Transmission Parts at Ohio.  Confirm the tooth count, as you want the Jeep application.  NOS parts are always subject to availability.

The time-honored Willys parts sources are each worth trying for NOS.  I've had good luck with Surplus City Jeep Parts at Oroville, CA.  The T86AA is tricky because of the tooth count on the counter gear.  

Let us know what you find, others have the same issue...

Moses

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Thanks, I will check these out. I also have an email in for a parts request with J&W Auto Wreckers in Antelope, Ca. I got their information through Crown Automotive. Maybe I will get lucky.

James

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The NOS thing has gotten very difficult.  We ran a classic vehicle restoration shop from 2005-2009, and I delved deeply into parts sourcing for vintage auto and truck transmissions (both automatic and manual) and steering gears.  Both systems have very weak aftermarket support, and quite often the pieces offered are off-shore parts of questionable quality.  I held out for true NOS/OE replacement parts (Warner, TRW and other domestic parts suppliers in the day), but the findings became more difficult as time went on.  Imagine a limited number of existing parts that gets continually drained.  (The T90 and other applications that had military or wide application were less challenging.)

There is decent metallurgy and machining out of India and Taiwan, the incentive issue is volume.  Little or no incentive for producing very small numbers of pieces.  I worked with some Taiwanese gears for muscle era T-10 transmissions, they were good quality, machining and finish—and they fit.  

For domestic Warner boxes, Northwest Transmission Parts was a good NOS source at the time; FATSCO worked well for automatic transmission parts in general.  Elsewhere, I found OE/NOS parts for vintage Studebaker, Packard and Buick Dynaflow transmissions...We closed down the shop during the Great Recession debacle, by which time parts availability had dramatically diminished for all applications of transmissions and steering gears.

Not trying to discourage, happy to comment on your findings.  Always ask about origins of these parts.  Please share your successes!

Moses

 

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