Ford Transmission Removal - 1932 to 1948
A common question is how does one go about removing their early Ford three speed transmission in their passenger car or light truck. Since the cars and trucks used the enclosed driveshaft (torque tube) through 1948 and up through 1942 respectively, this presents some unique challenges to consider. We will attempt to provide an simplified explanation here.
As with any mechanical repair job, common sense and safety are the first things to pull out of your toolbox. A shortcut can result in damage to your vehicle or, worse yet, serious injury to you or your helpers. Work smart!
Your transmission can be removed along with the engine if you so desire. However, this webpage will be devoted to the removal by itself, leaving the engine in the vehicle. The exception to this is the 1932 model, which requires the removal of the engine and trans together from the front.
Some of the work will have to be done from underneath the car. In order to gain sufficient working space for you and perhaps a creeper cart, you may wish to raise the vehicle up by placing it on jack stands. If you decide to do this, please use only high quality steel stands with adequate weight capacity, placed on a concrete surface and in solid contact with the vehicle frame in four locations, towards the ends of the vehicle. Use a floor jack to raise the vehicle in order to place the jack stands under the frame rails. Make sure that the vehicle is in solid contact with each of the four stands, and does not rock or move with any modest effort on your part. A safety tip is to leave a 2 ton floor jack in partial contact with the frame to provide a back-up in case a jack stand fails.
You will be moving the rear axle and differential toward the back of the car. It helps if you can substitute a pair of steel 15" or 16" wheels (without tires) for your rear wheels. This will allow you to roll the axle towards the back of the car, with the tire-less wheels rolling backward into the rear fender wells. Some people have substituted homemade "wheels" constructed of thick plywood, drilled for the lug nut bolt pattern, that are large enough in diameter to let the brake drums and rear end banjo assembly clear the floor.
It's also a good idea to drain the transmission lubricant to save the weight of the fluid, and to prevent the lubricant from dripping out the front or back if tipped during removal.
The general procedure is to disconnect the rear axle/differential and torque tube assembly from its connections to the chassis. This allows you to roll it back as one assembly, which frees it from the transmission. Then, the transmission and its connections can be separated from the engine and chassis. Once freed of the chassis, the transmission can be pulled straight backward, separating its input shaft from the clutch, and then lifted out from above.
Here are the step-by-step procedures for the transmission removal:
Leaving the shifter lever on a top loader transmission will provide some additional means of lifting it out. Removing the transmission with two people helps greatly. Try to keep the trans lever during the removal in order to prevent gear oil from leaking out the back of the unit.
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