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Old 12-09-2005, 07:51 AM   #15
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Glen and Dennis,

Thanks so much for the information and suggestions. I tried to get back yesterday, but for some reason I was blocked from logging on the site. After some initial panic , I emailed the site administrator several times, and things seem to be working today. Anyway, I have researched the axle. It's a 5.29 ratio , and I'm almost certain it's a Gillig. The cover isn't even on the back, but is part of where the drive shaft enters from the front. The Gillig manual doesn't say "specifically" that they make the axle, but they talk about their axle in the machanical components section where they mention the FORD engine and transmission, but not axle. The axle is tagged with the ratio, serial #, and other numbers. I will check at my local big rig place to see if they know whether I can put a higher ring and pinion set in that housing. If that isn't possible or affordable, I guess it's back to an overdrive like Gear Vendors sells? Any other suggestions or ideas? I'm open for anything. By the way Glen, I get 60 mph at exactly 3,000 rpms, but almost 4,000 if I push it to 70 mph - NOT acceptable. You are much better off than that, and I could live with your numbers. In fact, sounds like an almost ideal setup for my rig, especially considering the size and weight.
Again, thanks so much,

Noiva
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Old 12-10-2005, 06:52 AM   #16
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Novia, keep in mind when you do this mental (so far) exersize that you have a longer and much heavier chassis than I do. I only have a small water tank and combined black/grey water tank. No propane, limited cabinets, etc. The one thing you don't want to do is to lower the rpm range into the lugging zone with these big motors. I think the ideal range would have to be above 2400-2500 rpms at your highway speed of choice.
If your driving is going to include a lot of time in the mountains this may not work as you'd have to get down into second gear for climbing.
You may get to a point in the exersize where the gear vendor route is most economical and most usable. It all depends on what you can manage and who does the work to lower the ratio on the rear axle.
The big Ford is notorious for burning exhaust valves so you want to make sure that you're doing your best to keep the thing cool, including inductive heat transfer from the transmission.
I'm planning a switch to synthetic oil in the tranny and rear end on the next service. Also planning a new external transmission cooler.
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Old 12-10-2005, 05:09 PM   #17
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Glen, It seems to me that if I get into making a mechanical change, it should probably be the Gear Vendors overdrive route for maximum versatility. That way I should be able to lower interstate rpms by about 22%, according to Gear Vendors info, which is just about what I would need to do 70 mph at around 3000 rpms or less. It would also the retain the ability to use 3rd gear climbing, in city driving, and when driving at 55 mph on back roads. My thinking is I could sort of have it all. Lower rpms at higher speeds (which are presently I don't even attempt) and still maintain enough rpms at slower speeds, climbing, and city to keep the 460 from lugging. I can't imagine that a simply change to higher gearing (a 4.4 axle, for example) would give me near that versatility. I could end up being able to cruise at 70, but lose the excellent pulling I now get in town and the mountains. 4 gears have to better than 3, it seems to me, given the size and weight-not to mention the 5.29 axle-and the uncertainty of putting higher gearing in the axle.
Noiva
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Old 12-10-2005, 05:34 PM   #18
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I love reading your gear saga...

I'd like to know how it all turns out. Here's a gear calculator site to help you find the rpm's / mph.
http://www.randysringandpinion.com/c...rs/default.asp

I'm not sure where you are located, but I did use Randy's to re-gear my v8 Chevy Astro. Although I don't have the van now, I felt they did do a great job for a reasonable price. It was around $500.00 for new ring and pinion and bushings. The dealer wanted $1200!!

Good luck!
Marc
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Old 12-10-2005, 06:19 PM   #19
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Marc, Thanks for the encouragement and information. I checked Randy's site, and it does have lots of great gear info. You got a great deal on your job. I changed axle gears about 20 years ago and paid about $1000 to a dealer for the whole job. I'm located in the southeast corner of Virginia in Chesapeake. I forgot to check where Randy's is located, but I'll do that as soon as I send this. Whenever I decide what to do, and get it done, I'll certainly post the results. I'm really leaning toward the overdrive idea. It's considerably more expensive, but with a rig the size of mine I don't believe 3 gears are ever going to be as good as 4. There's a good reason big rig trucks have so many gears. Thanks again, Noiva
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Old 12-10-2005, 06:26 PM   #20
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Novia, I believe you're on the right track. If you go with Gear Vendors you'll not only improve the economy and performance but you'll add more value to the rig.... should you ever in your wildest dreams want/need to sell it.
I was on the GV site last night and I believe you'll not just get a fourth gear but in fact more like six. Remember that you'll now have both under and overdrive gears.
Why not send for the video?
For the size of your rig, as you said... It's likely the best alternative.
Likely the best $3700 you'll spend on the rig and in the long run...longer run...longest run., you'll realize a return on the investment.
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Old 12-10-2005, 06:39 PM   #21
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370 overdrive

Glen,
I've just about decided that's the only realistic way to go. My understanding of the Gear Vendors' tranny is exactly as yours. The underdrive is not as much an issue for me since that's about what I have now , but it sure can't hurt. As I wrote to Marc, I don't think I can get too many gears with this thing. Gear Vendors also has an excellent reputation for quality products, and I think you're correct about adding value to my rig, as well as longer life to the engine, drivetrain. I think I'll live with what I have for the year I've mentioned (meaning through next summer), and if I then sell my Avion trailer and probably the tow Suburban , I could afford to do the gear set without looking for funds elsewhere. Something tells me I'll be keeping the Airstream. Every time I go out to it or take it for a run, I get more convinced I need to hang on to it. I won't get another chance like this rig again .
Noiva
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