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#1036682 Fri Jun 20 2014 12:52 AM
Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 169
Shop Shark
Just found out what some of you already knew - that the Borg Warner overdrive will give me reasonable RPMs at speed, and let me keep my three on the tree.

Trouble is, I know nothing about these. Are they universal? So I can use one that came out of a Ford? Models to look for or avoid? Things to watch out for? What should I expect to pay for a good used unit? I have a lead on an R10E. Good choice?

Truck is a 51 3100. I know I'll need to go open driveline; that all seems doable. I'm more worried about mating to the engine and shift linkage at the moment.

Thanks y'all.

Joined: May 2001
Posts: 8,386
Extreme Gabster
You'll need to find one for a Chevy. Ford used different bolt pattern. An SM319 is what you want. You will have to use the '51 side cover/shift arm assembly and may need to change a fork inside.

There is also a later one with all synchros. You'll need to fabricate shift arms for it to use the '51 shifter.

I'd try to find a core for $100 and have it gone through. I had mine rebuilt for under $300.

"It's just a phase. He'll grow out of it." Mama, 1964

1956 Chevy 1/2-ton 3100
1953 Chevy 6100 "The Yard dog"
1954 GMC Suburban Now with a new proud owner.
My TRUCKS website
Joined: Dec 2011
Posts: 445
Shop Shark
I knew nothing about these units before I rebuilt mine. Someone described them as 'bone simple,' which they are...but brilliant in how they were engineered to work and interface with the driver.

I did up a thread on my rebuild process that you may have already seen. Got help from cletis and Fred and many others on the way who understand these things very well.

My trans was an SM319 and I rebuilt both the trans and the OD, but had no prior experience. You can do this.

If you can find someone (like cletis did) who will rebuild it for less than $300, jump on it. I spent much more than that in finding good useable old parts. These things also have dedicated electrical components that need to be either refurbished or replaced, and there are a variety of opinions here on how to rig up the electricals so as to operate the OD to suit the driver. I put mine back to stock and have been very happy with that decision.

Let me know if you need pictures of anything. I took several so that I did not forget how it all went back together.



1957 Chevrolet 3100 Stepside
235, 3-speed w/OD
In the Stovebolt Gallery []
Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 1,994
The R designator is a code that BW used to identify their unit to a specific OEM gear box. The R10-E you reference could be a Ford unit, probably early 50's. As Cletis states, it will not fit a Chevy. I have a Later Ford unit that is an R-11 1E. It is also completely different than a GM gear box. The most common OD trans is from 55-57 car/truck which has an R10 H designator.
58-65 car/truck has a rear mount pad and is an R10 K. I have one from a 64-65 Chevelle which is an R10 P. It has completely different internal gears and a fine spline output shaft.
Any of the GM units mentioned will bolt up to your bellhousing.
The full syncro Saganaw will work also, it can be identified by the 7 bolt side cover. Not sure what the BW designator code is.
You may get lucky. I have bought them for $50 to $100 and all they needed were bearings. Others were found to be total junk. You can't really tell until you tear them apart. If they look like they went down with the Titanic, then they are junk.

1956 3100 Pickup/Red/350/3sp OD/PS/Disc Brakes
1957 Bel Air Sport Coupe/Red/355/TH350/PS/Disc Brakes
2017 Silverado LT Single Cab SB/Black/5.3/6 Speed Trans
1947 Willys CJ2A w/F-Head engine
Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 169
Shop Shark
Thanks y'all - very helpful in knowing what to look for.
Will be back when I find a candidate.


Joined: Dec 2000
Posts: 3,543
Gas Pumper
All the docs can be found at:

Lots of knowledge here on how to do this. You came to the right place.


1950 Chevy 3100 Deluxe Cab
1950 Chevy 3100 Standard Cab
In the Stovebolt Gallery
The Think Tank
More info and tips at Deve's Technet
Joined: Sep 2011
Posts: 2,644

Joined: Dec 2000
Posts: 3,543
Gas Pumper
Nope. Nothing wrong with trying to help though.:)


1950 Chevy 3100 Deluxe Cab
1950 Chevy 3100 Standard Cab
In the Stovebolt Gallery
The Think Tank
More info and tips at Deve's Technet
Joined: Jun 2007
Posts: 55
I have messed with these GM overdrive trans for years. I have saved about 30 of these trans over the years. Most of them I pulled from cars when I worked at a wrecking yard. Now there are tough to find. All overdrives units (back part of the trans were made by borg warner, many parts from ford, crysler, amc, willys, and others as well,can be used in into GM units.

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