We're basically finished the rebuild and installation of an original cast-iron Warford 3-speed in my '24 Speedster — Yahoo!
The first drive went well, with no unhappy noises and nice performance up and down hills. The 50% underdrive makes for very confident descents on a nearby 7% grade and a great puttering-around the neighborhood gear.
I've become reasonably adept at shifting from Under to Direct and from Over to Direct using the low speed pedal.
On the other hand, I had zero successful shifts going from Direct to either Under or Over — is this just a matter of practice? Or downright Impossible? Perhaps someone can offer suggestions for a proper technique?
The car has accessory AC brakes on the rear and 7" hydraulic drums on the front, both operated by an outside hand lever. We needed them today.
Hey Chris - I have an aluminum Warford and have a similar problem. I can shift it without grinding anywhere except when going from direct to underdrive.
Clayton Paddison has said the same thing and that he's never driven a Warford that liked to shift into underdrive. It's just something about the way the teeth are cut. It doesn't like shifting into underdrive.
As for your trouble with shifting into OD, I'm not sure there. I don't use the low speed pedal at all. In direct I just speed on up to about 45 mph or so, and as the car is accelerating still I swap hands - right hand goes from throttle to shifter and left hand goes through the steering wheel to the throttle. I then gently pull up on the throttle which releases tension in the drive line and light pressure will make the shifter come up out of direct. I then close the throttle and as the engine is slowing down to match the revs, I'm lightly pulling on the shifter and it just falls into gear.
One note - often times if I haven't been driving a lot recently, I'll sort of lose my touch and have to remember that the engine RPM has to drop more than I think it does. There's a big gap between direct and OD. Once it's in gear, I push back down on the throttle with left hand and then swap hands back and set my speed with my right.
You have an even bigger gap from direct to OD since you have a cast iron unit compared to my aluminum one. I've tried using the low speed pedal and personally found that it doesn't really help me. If I do things correctly I don't need it anyway. Keep practicing! And as my dad always said, if you can't find 'em grind 'em!
(Message edited by wreckrod9 on August 25, 2016)
One last thing I just thought of - I highly recommend practicing on as flat a surface as possible for any and all shifting as you get used to it. It's just easier and if you mess something up it's less stressful. Whereas if you miss a downshift from OD to direct or direct to under as you're just about to go down a hill . . . lol the pucker factor goes up exponentially. Granted, you have really good brakes so it's not as big a deal.
With my Warford I depress the low speed pedal about 1/2 inch while simultaneously reducing throttle and it slides right into gear when shifting up from under to direct. Works the same going from direct to overdrive. Having had a very scary experience when trying to shift from overdrive to direct when approaching a hiway intersection, and finding myself in neutral without auxiliary brakes, I now come to a stop and start over in under or direct. I know I should invest in brakes with this set and will sometime soon.
Shifting down to Warford low is going to be difficult unless you have an engine that you can rev the crap out of to get that input shaft up to speed for the gears to engage-. Going from direct to over requires waiting for the input shaft to slow down - its the opposite problem of shifting down. Try a pause in neutral when shifting up, and make sure you back off the throttle. If you don't have a gas pedal it makes this almost a three handed deal, but you can do it by locking the steering wheel in the crook of your left elbow, while reaching your left hand around in front of the steering wheel to operate the throttle. Shifting down requires more throttle, shifting up requires backing off.
Thanks Seth, Mike -- will try your suggestions and report back when there is progress.
Shifting an original Warford, either cast iron or aluminum, is all about matching engine speed with road speed in any given gear. It is not easy, comes with much practice. I have tens of thousands of miles with Muncies, Warfords and the like. Assuming there is nothing wrong mechanically, I could get into either Chris or Clayton's car and shift up or down at will without the clutch after getting a feel for the car. Without a tach, it's a seat of the pants feeling. It requires patience on the upshift to let the rpms come down, and the ability to wind it up on the downshift to a point you would not be comfortable with standing still in the driveway. It takes time to get comfortable doing it.
Patience and lot of practice. To get into low you need to be able to match your road and engine speed. To do that you got to be going quite slow. In both my T's I use direct and over all the time. Low Warford is used mostly in my drive way or climbing steep grades or parades.
When I shift my Warford I never use clutch pedal unless starting or stopping from a complete stop. When I shift from low to overdrive I pull it out of gear, let the revs drop while counting "one one thousand " and gently push into overdrive. Same thing In reverse when going from overdrive back to direct take your foot off the throttle, gently pop it out of gear, pause while slowly bring the revs up till the road speed matches engine speed gently push the stick into direct until the gears slide into place. If done properly the gears will suck back into mesh with no grinding at all.
Chris, Same here as Chris B. I Very Seldom use any peddle when shifting. Direct to Low I've found is easiest when your right at the driveway to a parking lot or side street. I always thought I'd find a lot of metal in the oil but never have after a lot of grinding shifts.
You can always tell you haven't been driving your T enough by the sound of the Warford shifts! hee hee
Practice Makes Perfect
Shifting on the fly is really easy, once you get the rhythm down.
Here is a quick video I shot of shifting my Chicago unit (pretty similar to a Warford).
Start in Warford low ( get into T high) then just let off the gas, pause for a second (literally) then go for direct. It should just go right in.
Down shifting takes some feel. you will have to let the car low down, go into neutral, goose the throttle and go for low.
Why don't you start saving for a KC Warford. Maybe you can treat yourself to one for your next birthday?
but they are syncro Ted.....that's no fun
Something about this interesting discussion makes me think that a magnetic drain plug in the Warford would be a really good idea!
KC Warfords use dogs, not synchros. Think motorcycle transmission rather than a more modern synchro car transmission. Hewland racing transmissions use dogs also.
Also KC Warford are not as tall geared as original Warfords and or Chicagos.
Thanks everyone for your suggestions and encouragement and Clayton for the fun video (and a special thanks to Charley Shaver for the rebuildable Warford 'box).
Knowing it could be done, and with clutchless-shifting the norm for my 1912 Other-Make, today was a much better day — most upshifts successful and drama-free and even my downshifts are much improved. Direct-to-underdrive is clearly much easier at lower speeds, much as one might encounter in the early stages of a strong grade.
And wow, does this Warford ever make my T a different car — relaxed at 50 mph, quicker pickup, great on the hills, so nice.
Harold, yes a very good idea — I put magnets in both the drain and filler plugs, and a third on the PTO access plate (photo).
We leave Tuesday on a 2,500 mile round trip to the NWVS Labour Day 200 Mile Endurance Run, held this year in Chehalis, WA. It's our fifth trip to the PNW in the Speedster, but our first time with more than a stock Ford transmission and 3:1 rear gears. Bring on the hills!