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Old Brownie info needed
#1376782 Sat Sep 12 2020 07:14 AM
Joined: Sep 2020
Posts: 3
S
New Guy
Looking for some information on an old Brown Lipe 5031. Searched all the post on here and didn’t see anything specific to a box this old. Mainly trying to figure out what it may have come out of, what year range, etc. It currently resides in a 1936 American LaFrance fire engine. It seemed like there was some knowledge around here on these relics. Any help would be appreciated.

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Re: Old Brownie info needed
Speed2635 #1376833 Sat Sep 12 2020 08:59 PM
Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 21,062
H
Boltergeist
From the appearance of the slot the shifter goes through, you might have a 2-speed box there, either direct/overdrive, or possibly direct/underdrive. What about the rest of the rig- - - -can the frame and running gear be identified to a specific truck, or was it purpose-built as fire apparatus? Brown-Lipe, Spicer, and a few other brands of auxiliary transmissions were sold separately from the trucks sometimes, and dealer-installed, or added by coach builders during construction of specialty vehicles like dump trucks, fire trucks, road tractors, etc.

Edit: There is a facebook group called "SPAAMFAA" that is dedicated to the preservation and restoration of fire apparatus of all types and ages. It's a closed group which requires sponsorship by a current member, but I think it's possible to apply for membership and ask questions about the rig you're working on. There's a lot of expertise represented there.
Jerry


The murder victim was drowned in a bathtub full of Rice Krispies and milk.
The coroner blamed the crime on a cereal killer!

Cringe and wail in fear, Eloi- - - - -we Morlocks are on the hunt!
Re: Old Brownie info needed
Hotrod Lincoln #1376894 Sun Sep 13 2020 01:39 PM
Joined: Sep 2020
Posts: 3
S
New Guy
This truck is not original. When my department acquired it in the late 70s is was in bad shape. They restored it but the motor was no good. They put a Reo 0A130 engine in it, that we have been told came out of a bus (research indicates otherwise). I am unsure if the gear box came with the engine or was in the truck. Second gear is missing some teeth and we are trying to decide the best direction to go with it. SPAAMFFA is very particular and due to the truck not being “original” information is not always forthcoming.

Re: Old Brownie info needed
Speed2635 #1376997 Mon Sep 14 2020 11:54 AM
Joined: Jun 2011
Posts: 3,633
E
Shop Shark
What kind of gearbox is missing teeth, might need to get a replacement unless can ID gearbox type, parts will be difficult, dentist cannot help with that.

Ed


'37 GMC T-18 w/ DD 4-53T, RTO-610, 6231 aux., '95 GMC running gear, full disc brakes, power steering, 22.5 wheels and tires.
'47 GMC 1 ton w/ 302, NP-540, 4wd, full width Blazer front axle.
'54 GMC 630 w/ 503 gasser, 5 speed, ex fire truck, shortened WB 4', install 8' bed.
'55 GMC 370 w/270, 420 4 speed, grain, dump bed truck from ND. Works OK.
Re: Old Brownie info needed
Speed2635 #1377029 Mon Sep 14 2020 07:22 PM
Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 21,062
H
Boltergeist
Next question- - - - -is a Brownie really necessary? If you're not responding to fires on a regular basis and the thing is a mutt anyway, why not just eliminate that box? I'll bet it will have enough gears to make it along a parade route at walking speed without having a Brownie shifter to play with.
Jerry


The murder victim was drowned in a bathtub full of Rice Krispies and milk.
The coroner blamed the crime on a cereal killer!

Cringe and wail in fear, Eloi- - - - -we Morlocks are on the hunt!
Re: Old Brownie info needed
Speed2635 #1377065 Mon Sep 14 2020 11:21 PM
Joined: Jul 2014
Posts: 234
1
Shop Shark
My understanding of Spicer's numbering system and in boxes labeled Spicer Brown-Lipe, is that the first two digits designated the torque rating and the third digit was how many speeds and the fourth digit was unknown to me. But this is approximate at best. The last digit, an A or B or C designated whether the ratios were progressive (intended to split the gears on the main box) or had a deep under of say 2:1; and whether the top gear was overdrive or direct. As they say "it's complicated." Thus a 5831A that was found in F-8 tandem-axle Ford dump trucks, was used behind 477 and 534 cu. in. V8s and was progressive. The 5531 in various configurations was found in GMC 450 and 470, with the 6231 found behind the 426 gas and 3-71 and 4-71 diesels in the 6 series trucks and in many Internationals. The 7 and 8 series gearboxes were found behind "big power" in over the road trucks, say a 335 Cummins or an 8V-71 Detroit, with the 8 series behind a 375 Cat or a 400 Cummins.

I couldn't find any reference to a 5031 but it might be a lighter-duty version of a 55 or 58. I wouldn't think one would find many heavy-duty two speed auxiliaries because owners would have just speced a two-speed axle. Tandems would have been ordered with a brownie rather than two, two-speed axles, although such did exist. That said, a two-speed might have been installed aftermarket when it was found that a straight 4-speed or straight 5-speed just didn't cut it; like perhaps a truck that was sold new in the midwest and later migrated to the mountainous pacific northwest for example. All I've seen are 3 or 4 speeds.

FWIW a common over-the-road setup out west here was a four-and-a-four, with a four-speed main and a progressive four-speed brownie with a double under. The advantage of this was that you could get from Seattle to LA and only have to shift the main box a couple of times, around Roseberg, Siskyou Summit and the Grapevine going into LA. The rest of the trip you just shifted the brownie. Going east say through Nevada, Montana and Wyoming, a 5th over in the main box would get you to 80 MPH; provided, of course that the dispatcher hadn't sent you out with the old 54 Freightliner with a 220 Cummins. I had the misfortune to drive that all the way from Seattle to Great Falls..... and back; loaded both ways.


51 3800 PU, 55 235 (w/cam, headers, 2 carbs, MSD ign.), SM420 & Brown-Lipe 6231A 3spd aux. trans, stock axles & brakes. Owned since 1971.
Re: Old Brownie info needed
Speed2635 #1377067 Mon Sep 14 2020 11:34 PM
Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 21,062
H
Boltergeist
I learned to drive a 2-stick rig on a mid-1960's B-73 Mack with a 262 Cummins and a Tri-Plex 5 X 3 in the same transmission housing. That rig had a 1600-gallon water tank on it and was used for compaction and dust control on sandy California construction sites. It was seldom that I got out of second gear on the main box onsite, but it would haul the mail with an empty tank enroute to a new job with the main box and the Brownie both in OD.
Jerry


The murder victim was drowned in a bathtub full of Rice Krispies and milk.
The coroner blamed the crime on a cereal killer!

Cringe and wail in fear, Eloi- - - - -we Morlocks are on the hunt!
Re: Old Brownie info needed
Hotrod Lincoln #1377245 Wed Sep 16 2020 03:48 AM
Joined: Sep 2020
Posts: 3
S
New Guy
Originally Posted by Hotrod Lincoln
Next question- - - - -is a Brownie really necessary? If you're not responding to fires on a regular basis and the thing is a mutt anyway, why not just eliminate that box? I'll bet it will have enough gears to make it along a parade route at walking speed without having a Brownie shifter to play with.
Jerry

The Brownie is the transmission in this truck. Not just an auxiliary box. This truck no longer responds to fires, we have new trucks for that. This is for parades and funerals. The problem is, it pops out of second gear unless you hold in place which can be difficult when trying to steer. We were looking at having the gear remade by a local machinists, but with the availability of other parts it maybe in our interest to put an actual transmission in the truck.

Re: Old Brownie info needed
Speed2635 #1377300 Wed Sep 16 2020 04:17 PM
Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 21,062
H
Boltergeist
Have you tried using a couple of heavy duty bungee cords on the shifter handle? Sometimes the KISS principle needs to be applied instead of doing something ridiculously expensive. That's how we kept the dirt track cars in gear during some incredibly abusive operation.
Jerry


The murder victim was drowned in a bathtub full of Rice Krispies and milk.
The coroner blamed the crime on a cereal killer!

Cringe and wail in fear, Eloi- - - - -we Morlocks are on the hunt!

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