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Discussion Starter #1
to start this section off, i think some links to info on the famous/infamous Hydromatic transmission would be in order. Link on .......
 

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I just finished tear down of a '54 Chevy truck unit. This is "exploratory surgery" for me as I have never been inside one. Trying to familiarize myself with it's internals and see what makes it tick. The unit in question has set out of the truck on the ground for the past 10+ yrs. It has had water in it at one time, but had none when I cracked it open. It's innards are in surprisingly good shape. I'll post pix if anyone is interested......
 

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Discussion Starter #6
YES !!.....
i'm trying to figure out if it's worth it, or just building a T400 for mine.....
 

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Ok, here's the few pix I have so far. Remember, this trans has set out of the truck on the ground for the past 10+ yrs.

1. how I found it
2. with side pan off
3. Bottom pan
4. Contents of bottom pan
5. bottom pan off

It's really not too complicated so far. Remember, these were initially designed in the late 1930's!
More pix to follow....
 

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If it is a '57, you don't want it. '57 should be a dual coupling hydra-matic. Not good. The one to use is the dual range hydra-matic. '53-'55 are the best.
 

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YES !!.....
i'm trying to figure out if it's worth it, or just building a T400 for mine.....
Gary, It all depends on what you're looking to do with your car and how much, if any, mods you do to the Hydro. Do you currently have one? Is it set up for a Chev? With the right adaptor, torus, and flywheel, pretty much any Hydro can be made to fit a Chevy (V8, that is). Example: A stock '54/'55 Caddy Hydro behind a Chevy V8 should be a stout performer due to it being valved to shift the much heavier Cadillac smoothly. All the while remaining as the factory built it internally. If I am wrong here, please someone correct me.
 

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Here's a couple more for the interested.......

1. Front and rear drum assy's

2. Empty case


3. Front and rear bands

4. Rear pump

5. Rear servo
 

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Discussion Starter #13
well i don't have a hydro, i THINK i can get one from a "caddy" friend , but then i gotta get the bellhousing/adapter, output yoke, ect........
i'm thinking a T400 might be better for me, (being the cheapskate i can be LOL). yeah i know i started this thread, but i'd like this website to be "important"/filled with LOTS of information, not just a show me yours i'll show you mine, picture site. maybe i'm shooting a little high but a second to HAMB over all others would be good !! ok, my editorlization is over. LOL...............
 

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Hey Gary, i'll put my 2 cents worth in here. while i like the old hydro's in my opinion you would probably be better off with a 400 as they are easier to get parts for, especially if you are going on alot of long distant drives, also less expensive, and can get performance parts for'em.if you are wanting a period correct car the 400's came out in 65-66 so you could still be correct. man from experience i know the old hydro's are HEAVY.you know something that would be neat is have a clutch o matic. I have been keeping my eye out for such myself.well anyway good luck on your decision. KEEP ON GASSIN'.
 

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So, I should post more pix and any info I should find?
We could always maybe archive that info somewhere on the site if some wants to do a time period build. Maybe Otis could fiqure something out. andas rlbutcher said 400`s came out in mid `65, I have one for my pickup (parts chaser) they would still be correct on a period build.
 

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I say go for the info. Any and all info contributed may be just the thing someone might need at some time. As long as it is verifiable info, especially pics like Rich added, they could be invaluable. I'd love to have a B&M hydro if they were made reliable and strong enough for my combination. Just understanding them is something I'd like. How they work. How thye differ from modern autos. Who to upgrade them and how to couple them to a modern engine. All that would be great reading. Mark L
 

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A couple things to keep in mind on these things is that they are unbelievably heavy. They are very strong. I drove a milk truck with one in '60 and at 19 you can imagin the thrashing that truck got. haha Also low gear is very deep. 3.92 I think and 4.05 on the truck version. When you tie this to a 4.10 or 4.56 gear you can see that the shift point comes very quickly. Actually today it is too quick. Even back in the old days the supercharged gassers had problems with this. The fluid coupling is pretty tight even the truck version. If you have a hot cam it is difficult to hold at idle. You can kill the motor or the brakes. If you cut away some of the fluid coupling as was done, they get too loose and slip all the time. Ultimately they belong in nice heavy mild cam streetrods if you insist on using them. Todays torque converters work so well there is no reason not to use one. If you just have to be nostalgia be prepared. I cruise with a couple guys that have them. They still work nice. Reverse is the park lock.
 

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I should probably add that there are some Hydro-specific tools that are both needed and helpful for servicing these things. Thankfully I have some, as they're getting harder and harder to come by. As far as weight is concerned, I am running a 'glass nose, doors, deck lid, and gutted interior so I can afford the trans weight. And drivability wise, it's a track car so there's no concern.
 
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