Last time on our Abandoned History protection of Ford’s historic Cruise-O-Matic computerized transmission, we spent a while in Russia. Communist automaker GAZ favored Ford’s computerized and determined to calmly rework it into their “own” transmission fairly than pay Ford to construct it beneath license. The GAZ two- and three-speed automatics remained in use within the firm’s passenger automobiles properly into the Eighties, which was a really very long time for a late Fifties transmission to stay.
Shortly after GAZ made its copies, the actual variations of the FX/MX Cruise-O-Matic and Ford-O-Matic have been nearing the top of their respective service lives. The two-speed was naturally the primary to go.
By the flip of the Sixties, the writing was already on the wall for the two-speed computerized. Three-speeds have been the best way of the longer term! The first of the Big Three to drop the two-speed was Chrysler, which discontinued its Powerflite in 1961. That remaining 12 months it was solely accessible on lower-level Dodge and Plymouth fashions.
And whereas Ford adopted go well with shortly thereafter, General Motors was not fairly as prepared to surrender a two-speed. Their Powerglide lasted by means of 1973 and was provided within the Chevy Nova and Vega. At the top, Powerglide was solely accessible to cheapskates who chosen the Turbo-Thrift 250 inline-six. Back to Ford.
The easy as you please Ford-O-Matic continued as an providing in lower-end Ford and Mercury fashions by means of the 1963 mannequin 12 months. Recall from our earlier entry that Ford marketed the transmission as a three-speed (although it used first gear in just a few conditions in Drive) till the Cruise-O-Matic got here alongside. That transmission was a real three-speed, so the Ford-O-Matic turned a two-speed to help in advertising differentiation.
Ford wanted a extra fashionable computerized that was cheaper to make, lighter, and might be utilized in extra functions than the previous two-speed. In the early Sixties stated alternative transmission was already in growth, and would ultimately be referred to as the C4.
The previous Ford-O-Matic was a really heavy transmission because it was product of forged iron. Ford used a barely lighter materials when it designed the F-O-M’s alternative: Aluminum alloy! The C4 had a three-piece case design that consisted of the principle case, and an hooked up bell housing and tail housing. In addition to lighter supplies, it used an easier Simpson planetary gearset design. Recall the unique Ford-O-Matic and its derivatives used a Ravigneaux planetary gearset.
Created by American engineer Howard Simpson (1892-1963), the Simpson gearset makes use of two planetary gears with a standard solar gear. With its design, a Simpson gearset permits for 3 or 4 ahead speeds, impartial, and one reverse pace. The design remained in use by means of the 2000s, when it was changed by extra advanced transmission designs with a higher variety of speeds. The essential benefit of the Simpson design was its simplicity, which meant it was mild. Keeping the burden down was the first focus of the event of the C4.
The C4 used a special shift sample than the Ford-O-Matic, and certainly different computerized passenger automobiles usually. At debut its shift sample was Park, Reverse, Neutral, Drive 2, Drive 1, and Low. Drive 2 and Drive 1 have been abbreviated as D2 and D1 on shift indicators.
D1 meant the transmission began in first gear, after which proceed to second and third as regular. Usage of D2 meant the transmission began in second gear, and first was not utilized in any circumstance. D2 and D1 weren’t acquainted drive modes to customers, and Ford later conceded and altered the structure to the far more acquainted P, R, N, D, 2, L. When automobiles with the C4 have been marketed, Ford referred to as out the “SelectShift” characteristic of the 2 completely different Drive modes.
The C4 was utilized in medium-duty automobiles, normally with an inline-six engine or V8 of 302 cubic inches (5.0 liters) displacement or much less. When it debuted in 1964 the C4 was instantly put to make use of in Lincolns, the place it could stay by means of 1981. Other early utilization included the Mustang, Ranchero, the Mercury Comet, and Ford’s Econoline vans.
Later within the decade and into the Seventies, it unfold to the Mercury Montego and the Capri, in addition to the Ford Torino, Thunderbird, Maverick, and Bronco. Aside from its continued Lincoln utilization, the later Seventies noticed C4 seem within the Ford Fairmont, Granada, LTD, and the Mercury Bobcat, Monarch, and Zephyr.
The C4 was often used with a 351 Cleveland V8, particularly the M-code model. That utilization required a bigger bell housing and was accessible solely from 1970 to 1971 in automobiles just like the Ford Torino and Mustang, and the Mercury Cougar.
C4s are usually grouped into these comprised of 1964 to 1969, and examples produced between 1970 and 1981. Earlier examples used a 24-spline enter shaft, which was upgraded for 1970 to 26 splines. The clutch hub was additionally up to date in 1970 and had 26 splines of its personal. The 26-spline clutch hub was very short-lived: It was revised the next 12 months; downgraded to 24 splines.
Ford’s first alloy three-speed proved itself a easy and dependable computerized, which was lucky given the huge unfold of the gearbox inside the Ford household. However, the C4 with its medium-duty limitations wouldn’t suffice for purchasers of the huge V8 engines Ford provided all through the Sixties. And so the heavier FX model of the Cruise-O-Matic was changed by a newcomer for 1966: The C6, or SelectShift Cruise-O-Matic in advertising terminology.
Much just like the C4, the C6 targeted on simplicity, decrease construct prices, and fewer weight. Additionally, the previous MX specifically was recognized for sapping an engine’s energy, in a foul case of parasitic energy loss. Larger V8 engines within the Sixties produced some huge torque figures as they gulped down gas, and the C6 was engineered to deal with extra torque than the MX.
Designed in the identical fundamental manner because the C4, the C6 used the identical setup with a Simpson planetary gearset. It differed from the C4 in that it was the primary computerized designed to work with a Borg-Warner versatile shift band. The bands changed clutch plates and have been meant to permit an extended service life and make the transmission extra sturdy. Clutch plates have been nonetheless used on low and reverse gears within the C6. The transmission’s plates and valves have been product of powerful composite supplies, which meant the gearbox might wrangle as much as 475 lb-ft of torque.
Unlike the C4, which used solely two completely different bell housings (common and 351M), the C6 had 5 completely different bell housings. They have been designed to match with Ford’s varied giant V8 engine households, in addition to the 300 inline-six. The six alongside the Windsor V8 and the 351 Cleveland V8 all used a Windsor bell housing sample. The extra highly effective 351 Cleveland M-code, 400 V8s, and the 385 household (Lima) that included displacements of 370, 429, 460, and 514 cubic inches used the 460 bellhousing.
There was additionally an FE bell housing, for the road of Ford-Edsel V8s in manufacturing between 1958 and 1976. FE engine collection displacements ranged from 332 to 428 cubic inches and spanned two completely different engine generations. Two different bell housing patterns have been much less widespread: One for diesels, and a particular Lincoln sample used solely from 1966 by means of 1969.
The Lincoln bell housing was used solely on MEL (Mercury-Edsel-Lincoln) V8 automobiles. The MEL was an engine inbuilt Lima, Ohio that was changed by the aforementioned 385 engine household. The bell housing was used solely on Lincolns for 3 mannequin years that had the 460 or 462 cubic inch engines. The bell housing was specifically formed on the passenger aspect to make room for the air-con field Lincoln used.
Early utilization of the heavy-duty C6 included the Mercury Meteor, Cougar, and Comet, in addition to bigger engine Lincolns as talked about above. Ford used it instantly within the LTD, the Thunderbird, the Fairlane, and the Galaxie. The C6 didn’t see as a lot mannequin unfold because the C4 however did advance in the course of the Seventies into the Bronco, the LTD II, and the terrible Mustang Cobra II. The C6 managed a protracted life as properly however lived for much longer than the C4. It noticed utilization right through 1991 within the Bronco, and thru 1996 in the usual F-Series pickups. Heavy-duty F-250 and F-350 vehicles used it by means of 1997.
In our subsequent entry, we’ll end off the Sixties with one remaining tackle the unique Cruise-O-Matic. It was a form of Frankenstein designed to mix one of the best options of the unique Borg-Warner computerized design.
Become a TTAC insider. Get the most recent information, options, TTAC takes, and all the things else that will get to the reality about automobiles first by subscribing to our publication.