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T86 F-1 3-speedTransmission w/OD, for sale

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T86 F-1 Ford/Mercury 3-speed transmission with overdrive. $250 or best offer.  This transmission was intended for a '49 Ford restoration project that was never completed. Its time for it to go; make me an offer.  Located in Warrrenton, VA.

T86 F-1 Transmission with OD - right.jpg

T86 F-1 Transmission with OD -left.jpg



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Wow, Mr. Rex, the gear set looks good in the photos!  For a non-synchromesh 1st/reverse slider transmission, the gears appear in very good condition.  What is the actual make, model and year car that the transmission originally fit? 

Ford, AMC, Jeep and others used variations of the T-86.  The overdrive is somewhat common in Ford, Mercury, AMC and other passenger car applications.  This transmission could work with a 2WD Willys Pickup, Panel or Station Wagon if the input shaft/spline size and input gear length match up.  Otherwise, this unit would be valuable to AMC, Ford or Mercury passenger car restorers.  

The transmission was popular in the '50s and used as late as the early '70s in AMC cars.  It would also work for a Ford F-100 pickup but requires an 1-3/8" input shaft/gear to match the stock Ford F-truck approach.

Buyer must know the needed length of the input gear/shaft, the pilot bearing nose size, the front bearing retainer collar diameter, and the clutch spline size (diameter and spline count).   

Good luck on your sale...!

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Thanks for the response, Moses, you made some useful suggestions.    I will note those additional specifications you listed, and post them here in a follow on message this weekend.   The rather elderly man who gave me the transmission, and has the unfinished '49 Ford, stated the transmission was originally for his restoration project, but he has lost interest in completing it.    So I am assuming that it came from a Ford, although it was not ever installed in it.   Once I have the input shaft size, spline count, and length, it will be easier to determine its origin.

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Happy to respond, Mr Rex!  Prior to the Great Recession, we ran a mechanical restoration shop for pre- and post-war vehicles through muscle era cars.  I specialized in vintage transmissions (manual and automatic) and the exotic manual and power steering gears of that era.  Your transmission brought a flood of memories, I've rebuilt at least a dozen T-86 overdrive and non-overdrive transmissions.  

The T-86 overdrive was a popular mid- to late-'50s and early 'sixties Ford passenger car option.  Ford used the T-86 Warner overdrive transmissions from 1955-1964 in various "economy" option vehicles, behind moderate horsepower engines like the 272 and 292 Y-block V-8s, the 221 and 260 small-block V-8s and the 223 and 240 inline sixes.  Ford F-trucks used the T-86 overdrive from 1957-64 with the 1-3/8" input gear and larger diameter front bearing retainer.  The higher horsepower Y-block cars (i.e., 312 V-8) and FE powered Ford models used the T-85 and T-89 units with and without overdrive.

I have a shelf full of service and parts identification guides and parts manuals that clarify the T-86 distinctions and the different applications...Quick guess on your unit would be a '56 to early 'sixties Ford passenger car application if the overdrive solenoid is 12V...The transmission could easily accommodate other applications if the buyer is willing to swap the front input/clutch gear and bearing retainer to match the vehicle installation (Ford truck, AMC, Jeep, Hudson, Studebaker, etc.).  The replacement input gear's tooth count must match the current tooth count on the input gear.  If you cannot nail down the vehicle of origin, let me know the identifying features: any tag numbers, the main case casting number or the overdrive housing/casting number.

Your T-86 gears look worth the effort, this is an unusually "pristine" and original unit.  Someone knew how to stop the vehicle completely before shifting to 1st or reverse gear—consider this a lost driving skill.  I rebuilt a T-86 (non-overdrive) unit from a '55 Hudson that had a horribly damaged 1st gear on the cluster and a ruined 1st and reverse slider gear.  This was not a transmission design weakness, rather a naive driver who did not understand the principle behind non-synchromesh 1st and reverse gears.

Without digressing too much, my personal lesson in shifting non-synchromesh transmissions came from a 1951 Ford F-3 pickup with the spur gear 4-speed transmission and L-head inline six.  These transmissions had no synchromesh on any forward gear.  I bought the truck in my senior year of high school and taught myself to depress the clutch to engage 1st gear then shift to 2nd, 3rd and 4th without the use of the clutch pedal.  This was done by patiently synchronizing the engine speed and road speed for each gear change and backing off the throttle slightly to unload the gears while shifting.  I eventually could downshift to first gear from 4th, carefully through each gear, judging the road speed and engine synchronizing speed to prevent gear clash.  Unlike the forced downshifts possible with a synchromesh transmission, downshifting without synchromesh begins with using the wheel brakes or compression braking before shifting down.

The correct way to shift a non-synchromesh or spur gear transmission is "double-clutching", another art of the era.  That was too easy for a motorhead teenager, though.  I got the hang of double-clutching when test driving the truck, purchased from the local Ford dealership's used lot.  

As a point of interest, in 1952 Ford went to the Warner T-98A four-speed with synchromesh on 2nd, 3rd and 4th gears.  1952 ended the vintage era of straight-cut gear truck transmissions and also the L-head sixes.  For the 3-speed transmissions, the last Ford passenger car and light pickup spur gear 3-speed transmission was 1938, also the last year for Ford use of mechanical brakes.


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Thanks again for the history and background on the T-86 transmission.    Back in the day I used to work in the oil fields of northern New Mexico, and learned to drive a tractor trailer with 18 forward speeds and no synchronization.   Like you did with your '51 Ford F-3, I learned to instinctively listen to the engine rpm and match it to engine speed before shifting.

The additional specifications that you listed are as follows.   I am also attaching several additional photographs of the transmission.

Input shaft: 24 splines, 0.675" pilot bearing nose diameter, 1.375" front bearing retainer collar diameter and its 6.50" long.   The output shaft has 26 splines.   The transmission without the input shaft is 24" long.

Unfortunately, after closer inspection based on your comments, I noticed the 1st/reverse gear does have a few abused teeth on it.




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Mr Rex...If my hunch is correct, your clutch spline count should be 23, not 24, making this a Ford passenger car application.  With the information you just provided, my prime guess is a 1958-60 Ford passenger car with the 292 V-8.  In this era, you have the larger FE engines coming on line, and the beefier T-85 3-speed was the manual transmission choice for those higher horsepower/torque applications.  The 292 in this year range is a lower compression 2-barrel "economy" or base V-8 engine, and Ford trucks use this same Y-block V-8 in F-100 and F-250 models through 1964.

The tooth count between the input/main drive gear and the cluster gear should be 20-30 teeth, 18-33 teeth or 18-30 teeth.  Knowing the input and cluster gear tooth count narrows down the source further.  If you can provide the tooth count on the drive gear and its matching tooth count on the cluster/counter gear, I can further pinpoint this application...Definitely Ford and distinctly passenger car, I'm betting on the 20-30T, which would confirm a 1958-60 T-86 overdrive Ford passenger car with a 292 Y-block V-8 under the hood and an 11" clutch.  If so, the length on the input gear should be 8-1/8", which is Ford OEM main drive gear part #B8A-7017F.  The input shaft spline diameter should be one-inch.

Note: I had difficulty finding a 26-spline count output, please confirm the output spline count. I'll research further.

For Jeep, AMC, Studebaker and other Ford applications, the T-86 input/main drive gear must be the correct length for the bellhousing, clutch and crankshaft pilot.  A quick check finds these other applications have much different input shaft lengths, diameters and spline counts.  Otherwise, the input gear on this transmission must be changed.  The front bearing retainer must also match the diameter for the input gear, the bellhousing design and the release arm.  Also, the replacement input gear must have the same tooth count, or it will not match up with the cluster gear now in this transmission.  There are also different tooth cuts on the main drive gears for various T-86 applications, especially Jeep:  left or right tooth angles, which means the cluster and other gears must match up.

Clearly, all T-86 overdrive transmissions are not the same.  For a direct fit without any modifications or gear swapping, the buyer for this transmission will likely be a Ford passenger car owner with a Y-block V-8.  For any other application, a close comparison will determine whether it is worth swapping out the gears or not.  Clutch splines are the least issue, it's easy to find the right diameter clutch disk and match the spline counts.

Let's nail down this application.  Please confirm the input and output spline counts and provide a snapshot of the main case casting number.  Let's evaluate those blemishes on the 1st/reverse slider gear to see if that's a real issue and consider ways to address it.  If you know what transmission you have, and its needs, it will be easier to find the right, satisfied buyer.  You'll be able to advertise the transmission accurately and provide a restorer with just what he wants.  Added value for you as the seller.

Glad to help here...  



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I certainly appreciate the informative responses that you have offered, before posting here I did not realize how much there is to know about something as mundane as a transmission.     Thanks again for your willingness to take the time and respond in such detail.   Here are more specifications from this transmission based on the questions you asked earlier:

1. input /main to cluster gear ratio:  18:30.   (Counting the cluster gear teeth was a little difficult since it is hidden below the input gear, but after several iterations of turning the input shaft and squinting at the gear teeth, I settled on 30.)

2. input shaft spline count:  23  (your hunch was correct.)

3. length of input shaft;  153 mm, or 6 inches. (I am unsure of the measuring points for this specification, so I attached a photograph)

4. Its definitely a Ford application, the little tag on the top of the transmission with the "303-D-1" also  has a Ford symbol etched into it.

5. The casting number found on the left side of the case between the two shift lever shafts:  A15-3   (see attached photograph)

6. for the sake of full disclosure, the 1st/reverse slider gear looks like it will need replacing.  one side of the gear clearly shows that it had been slammed into gear before the vehicle was fully stopped.  (see attached photograph)


Please let me know if you have additional questions, and I thank you again for your interest in this.



T86 F-1 Trans input shaft.jpg

T86 F-1 Trans front bearing retainer.jpg

1st-reverse slider gear.jpg

T86 F-1 Trans Tail Shaft housing.jpg

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Mr Rex, this has been fun to explore, glad it has been helpful.  Like you suggest, I would freshen the transmission with new bearings and a 1st/reverse sliding gear.  Gears pop up at eBay all the time, not that rare yet and still somewhat inexpensive.  Northwest Transmission Parts (Ohio at http://nwtparts.com/) was a good parts source when I restored these units in the 2005-2010 period.

So the Ford transmissions, based upon your gear tooth numbers and my reference source, narrows down to one of three applications.  Their main drive gear measurements would be 8-1/8" or 8-5/8" overall length, measured from the pilot nose end to the synchronizer hub end.  The three choices would be:

1)  1960-62 passenger car with the 292 Y-block V-8 or 1958-63 passenger car with the 223 inline six (both use an 8-1/8" main drive gear length and your 18-30T count) 

2)  1963 passenger car with the small-block 260 V-8 if the the main drive gear is 8-5/8" overall length

You may be able to measure the drive gear overall length by estimating its depth into the 3rd gear brass synchronizer ring.  You're only trying to determine whether this is 8-1/8" versus 8-5/8" overall length (O.A.), an obvious half-inch difference between the two.  From the top of the case, line up a straight-edge where you estimate the inside end of the input/drive gear should be.  Measure to the pilot end of the drive gear.  Don't bother taking the transmission apart any further, you should be able get a rough sense for the overall length of the main drive gear without disassembling the transmission.

The 1963 260 V-8 would be a rare application like a Fairlane with the 3-speed O.D.  This would be the longer input gear application for 260/289 style V-8 bellhousings.  A 1958-62 circa Ford passenger car transmission is more likely, but let us know which main drive gear you have here...The O.D. wiring color code is distinctly Ford 12V era; however, it does look spliced.





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  • 3 years later...
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Hi, Mark...I waited to see whether anyone has a T86 overdrive transmission.  What is your original input shaft diameter and spline count?  Does your 1963 Ford F-100 use a 1-3/8" diameter, 10-spline input or is it a smaller diameter input shaft with more splines?


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