Shifting a Non-sycro Four Speed

I realize most of you guys out there that drive an old Ford with a four speed non-synchronized geared transmission know how to drive it forward without grinding a pound of gears. The trick is to down shift around a corner without grinding gears.

There are a lot of people that have never driven a vehicle that has to be double clutched in order to be able to shift smoothly, there are many people that don't even know what double clutching is. For those that don't know what double clutching is here a quick explanation; Most modern manual transmissions have internal gears that are cut at an angle, this allows the gears to smoothly mess as you shift gears. Many older transmissions have straight cut gears and you have to disingage the gears and allow them to match speed before shifting or you will grind the gears. Here is the technique to shift a non-synchronized transmission.

    You have to push the clutch in before shifting into low gear to start going. That procedure is just like any other transmission but the fun starts when you shift to a higher gear, you have to push the clutch in, shift to neutral release the clutch move the shifter to the next gear, but don't shift into the higher gear until you push the clutch and then move shifter into the higher gear. You have to do this each time you upshift. It takes a little rythm to get it to go soothly.

    The really fun part is down shifting around corners. When you get to the corner, or other obstacle that calls for reducing speed, slow the truck and push in the clutch, shift to neutral and release the clutch. Next move the shifter to the lower gear but do not shift into the gear, while doing this goose the gas a little and push the clutch in and shift into the lower gear.

The above procedure seems simple but it takes more practice to accomplish a smooth down shift than you would think. I drove my truck for two years dreading having to go around corners and grinding gears 90% of the time. That was until I talked to an older gentleman at a car show who was the original owner of '51 F-6 dump truck. He explained the down shift procedure to me and now I have a 90% plus success rate.


Last updated on August 1,2007