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1953 Windsor transmission

Old 07-05-2015, 07:03 PM
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1953 Windsor transmission

I am new to this group and found it to try to get info. on the trannie. Any help will be appreciated.

I am looking at a 53 Chrysler Windsor to possible buy. I am 76 years old and definitely remember the fluid drive transmissions. I haven't looked at this car yet but from what I read this trannie is kinda a cross of the fluid drive I remember and an automatic. The trannie I remember didn't change gears, you had to do it. From what I read this trannie will change gears when you take foot off gas. Are these trannies troublesome and would it be hard to find someone to work on it if anything happened to it and how about parts for it. A good link on how it works would be nice
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Old 07-06-2015, 09:41 AM
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Do you have money to burn, LOL?

I don't know, they are not for me, and I'm 67. There is some info and old shop manuals you can download over at MyMopar for free


I see the oldest one is '55 for shop manuals


Also you are likely to find some stuff here


which is in this section


I did Google this some time ago and found a couple of webpages with some lengthy explanations. There "were changes" in the system, I don't remember them all





Last edited by DDodger; 07-06-2015 at 09:45 AM.
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Old 05-02-2016, 10:12 AM
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Go with a 1954, fully automatic.
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Old 09-21-2016, 01:09 PM
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From what I've read, those transmissions are pretty reliable and simple. It's literally a four speed standard gearbox with hydraulic shifter mechanisms to shift between 1-2 or 3-4. The 2-3 shift is manual. For general driving you just put it in high range so it just uses 3-4th gear. The upshift is lift off the accelerator momentarily and it will up shift. It will automatically downshift to 3rd at about 10 MPH. the clutch is used any time you change gears with the column shifter.
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Old 02-10-2018, 08:39 AM
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This is an old thread but worth sharing my experience here for future research.
The Transmission in the 1953 and 1954 Chrysler is known by several names, depending on what Mopar car it was used in.
Fluid Torque Drive is what it is well known as in the Chryslers. High Drive in the Plymouths. Tip-Toe shift in the Desoto line.
The Simplimatic moniker was also used in Dodge cars if I recall.

There were several transmission options in the era. The fully manual with dry clutch, the Fluid Torque Drive semi-auto, and the fully auto transmission also called the Powerflite.

The fluid drive is similar to the earlier fluid torque drive, however not the same. The fluid drive is a viscous coupling between the engine and tranny. It is sealed and does not have stators in it
to multiply torque. The Fluid torque drive uses an actual torque converter to multiply torque. A true torque converter uses turbines, impellers, and stators in it to multiply torque.
This semi-auto transmission has it's own oil pump driven off the transmission main shaft. Also a centrifugal governor to actuate shift solenoids on the transmission. During acceleration, the driver briefly lifts their foot off the gas, to switch to shift transmission gears. Between first and second (low range), or 3rd and 4 th (high range). Switching between
hi and low range is done manually. However you most often drive in just high range. This is possible due to the good design of the torque converter.
The dry clutch is also present in the Fluid Torque Drive system. It is only used to shift from neutral into either high or low range, or reverse. Once in gear, the transmission acts like an automatic at intersection stops and starts.

Saying this, there are a couple of types of torque converters used in the fluid torque drive Mopars. One type uses a sump pan under the transmission bell housing. Torque oil is held here in a reservoir
and cycles through the torque. There is a cooler on the front of the engine and steel lines carry oil to and from the torque for cooling. This is found on the V8 model Chryslers I believe. Such as the New Yorker.

The Windsor and Windsor Deluxe have the 6 cylinder 265 CI engine. The optional Fluid Torque Drive transmission used an "Engine Fed" type torque converter. The Engine oil is pumped through internal passages of the block, to the torque. Oil goes through the torque converter and then is pumped back to the engine oil sump. When the engine oil is changed, the torque converter is also drained and new oil is dumped into the oil pan. The car is started and oil is once again fed to the torque. Then the oil sump must be topped up again to the proper level. In my Windsor Deluxe, it needs about 13L of oil per oil change.

The Fluid Torque drive is a very reliable, robust well engineered system. 65 years later mine is still running strong. Chrysler is well know for investing a lot of money into engineering of their products. It performs well and does an excellent job hold my heavy car back on steep grades. These old brake shoes systems can use a little help. The Fluid Torque drive does this very well and aids in keeping the brakes cool on steep grades.
I have no worries about maintenance costs of the Fluid Torque Drive system. The dry clutch will last for decades as it sees to little to no slippage or heat.

The fully automatic transmission was available at the time. For whatever reason Chrysler choose the Fluid Torque Drive system. Maybe to keep costs down in a competitive market? I suspect it is simpler to build and maintain compared to the fully automatic transmission. The semi-auto fluid torque drive was marketed to female drivers. You can find old ads showing a high heel wearing house wife, likely off to the grocery store, with her foot on the gas pedal. No constant clutching to shift. This system a neat piece of classic car history.

A video on how to drive the Fluid Torque Drive equipped Mopar can be seen here:

Last edited by Keithb7; 10-14-2018 at 08:17 AM.
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