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Old 08-17-2008, 04:41 AM   #1
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68 ford and 61 chevy! Newbie wants advice!!

Hello fellow bus owners!

I few months ago I purchased my first bus, a 1968 ford b500 superior 24 pass bus in great original condition, which my friends and I have had a blast cruising in!! In the last two days, I've noticed the clutch slipping on uphills in 3rd and 4th gear. How hard is it to replace the clutch myself? I've done a few engine/tranny swaps in mustangs and falcons, but never messed with any vehicles this size. I would like to know what type of 5 speed tranny, with OD(330 V8 medium duty motor), I can obtain to replace the 4 speed with. Also, I need to replace a leaking rear wheel cylinder. What type of breaker bar/socket do I need to use/buy and what are the torque setting of the nuts?

Just today, purchased a 61chevy wayne bus, 20 pass?, ! I know; I'm going crazy!! small block with 4 speed and has not run in almost 20 years. This bus I have no info on and I need to overhaul entire braking, steering, engine, etc! This bus needs new tires, everthing gone through, etc. Are there any wheel/rim/tire and braking upgrades that I can do? I've located an 1990 ford f250 7.3 diesel(non turbo) with auto/OD that I want to install if the chevy drivetrain is too costly to get going, plus I'd like some better mileage as well! Do/will I need to add another type of parking brake, in addition to the auto's park detent?

Thanks and happy bussing to all my new friends!!
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Old 08-17-2008, 05:07 AM   #2
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Re: 68 ford and 61 chevy! Newbie wants advice!!

That is a very nice looking bus. Be careful throwing that "crazy" word around.
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Old 08-17-2008, 05:26 AM   #3
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Re: 68 ford and 61 chevy! Newbie wants advice!!

Thanks crazycal!! I meant "crazy" as in we're normal and everyone else w/o buses is abnormal!!
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Old 08-17-2008, 10:36 AM   #4
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Re: 68 ford and 61 chevy! Newbie wants advice!!

your ford should have a New Process gear 435 trans, that vintage truck usually used trans with direct 1:1 high gears in both the 4 and 5 speed trans. You could either go to a 2 speed axle or find a newer trans such as the New Venture 4500 5 speed with OD and then match the pilot brg and clutch to the trans input shaft, also make sure that the bellhousing and input shaft length art compatable.
To change the clutch, first remove the shifter from inside the bus then pull the driveshaft and park brake linkage & speedo cable, 4 bolts at the bellhousing and pull the trans back and down(warning the trans weighs close to 200 lbs use a jack and helper) the clutch and flywheel assembly can be changed thru the bottom of the bellhousing which is also the rear motor mount. Make sure to check out the ring gear while you're in there now is the time if you have any doubts about its condition.
where are you located?
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Old 08-17-2008, 01:06 PM   #5
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Re: 68 ford and 61 chevy! Newbie wants advice!!

Thanks for the info guys. I'm in the Central Coast, Calif. I bought the original Ford service manuals for trucks/busses and I think there were at least 2) 5speed trans(w/OD) available in 68. I was looking for something that would be bolt in w/minor fab work to be done. I'll give #'s of trans when I get to the shop were the manuals are at.

Thanks for the info guys!
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Old 08-17-2008, 09:16 PM   #6
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Re: 68 ford and 61 chevy! Newbie wants advice!!

Sweet camping bus also! What type of engine/tranny configuration are you running?
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Old 08-17-2008, 11:34 PM   #7
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Re: 68 ford and 61 chevy! Newbie wants advice!!

If I had to guess I would say the transmission that you're seeing in the literature is an old Clark 5 speed, most likely a 251VO. Beware though...it was used with both the Y-blocks and the FT's, but had a different case of each. They are not interchangeable.

The ratios are as follows
6.06/3.50/1.80/1.00/0.80/6.00R

You might be able to find one, but it isn't likely to be cheap. The offroad guys use them as a cheap alternative to the NV4500 although I'm not so sure it's a cheap alternative anymore.

A Clark 280 series might also be what the literature refers to and would work as well. Beware that the NP540 was around about this time. It's a 5 speed, but was offered in both a direct and OD 5th gear and going back and forth between them requires replacement of a lot of parts so it would just be easier to get the correct one in the first place.

No matter what you need to get a transmission that parts are available for. I think you'll have an easier time with a New Process/New Venture product or even a ZF transmission if you can make it work. The older Clark's are pretty much a dry well when it comes to replacement parts.
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Old 08-18-2008, 04:57 AM   #8
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Re: 68 ford and 61 chevy! Newbie wants advice!!

The 68' manual shows 2 OD trannys:

5 speed new process 541-FO O/Dr. and a 5 speed Clark 280 VO O/Dr.

The 76' manual shows the same trannys as well except for the change from 541-FO to the 542-FO, and an added trans of Spicer 6453 Overdrive 5 speed.

I guess I'll keep my eyes open for these trans. Thanks for the help Experience! Anyone else have any info/advice, please let it flow!
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Old 08-18-2008, 07:51 AM   #9
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Re: 68 ford and 61 chevy! Newbie wants advice!!

when shoping for used transmissions the 2 most critical dimensions are input shaft length, ( it determines bellhousing depth, engine to trans distance)and the diameter of the input bearing retainer/trans hole in the bellhousing as this is the alignment pilot for the engine/transmission, both can be adjusted with either new parts or machine work, just be sure to know what parts are available before buying a replacement trans.
the other variable is total trans length, it is adapted with the length of the first piece of driveshaft.
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Old 08-18-2008, 01:42 PM   #10
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Re: 68 ford and 61 chevy! Newbie wants advice!!

Very good info Paul; thanks!
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