shifting into overdrive

hchtchchtc Posts: 71Member
edited July 2022 in HUDSON
so I have found and read all manuals and operating info I could find on line regarding overdrive units.
but I am very still confused how one actually operates this.
the only info that I can find that is clear,  says one must pull out the over drive knob to put car in reverse.
but as far as forward motion it speaks of various mph, speeds, throttle pedal movement, a foot switch? but never refers to the actual proper movement of the over drive knob.
Does one pull it out before starting the car and shift the 3 gears normally, or does one pull out on the knob once a certain speed is reach? additional I have no foot switch, other then high beams.

car is a 51, 262 with a 3 on the tree trans and a overdrive unit with a manual pull knob on the lower left dash corner.
what is the proper way to operate this. any info appreciated.


  • ajetajet Posts: 24Member
    My personal opinion : the stick/overdrive trans is one of the best !
    Easy to use. The "T" handle just below your dash pulled out is OUT of overdrive.
    You have a normal trans. In your case probably a column shifted 3 speed. By
    pushing the handle IN you are IN overdrive   (do not use reverse)  Shift normally and when in 3rd, let up a bit on your gas pedal and it will shift to a higher gear. (appx 3%).
     Flooring the go pedal should drop you back to 3rd (referred to kick down or passing gear). Slowing to appx 15 it should kick out and freewheel as you stop. the T may be pulled OUT now and it will be locket OUT.

    There are more that can be done but this should " get you down the road  "
  • railknightrailknight Posts: 521Expert Adviser
    Hchtc, do you have a 1951 "Hudson Owner Manual?" (Other stepdown manuals pretty much have the same information). There's a thorough explanation in it of how to operate a manual transmission with overdrive. 

    You can start your Hudson with the overdrive engaged (knob pushed in) or disengaged.  Sometimes when attempting to back up while in overdrive the car may not respond.  Simply pull out the overdrive knob into regular drive and this should make it possible to back up.  It's best to put the car in overdrive while the car is standing still with the engine running or not. 

    One of the nice things about overdrive is that after placing the car in 1st gear with the clutch, you should be able to shift up to 2nd, 3rd and overdrive without using the clutch as you accelerate (just let up on the gas pedal as you shift upward and then accelerate).   Overdrive (4th gear) is reach after accelerating in 3rd gear and then letting up on the gas.  You'll then feel and hear a slight thump as the car's transmission automatically shifts into actual overdrive. 

    When in overdrive you should be able to automatically shift down to 3rd gear by depressing the accelerator pedal to the floor which activates the "kickdown" switch underneath the pedal.  This gives you quick access to a passing gear should you need it.

    I'm probably leaving out a few things that others may expand upon, but this should give you a good start using overdrive.  "Happy Motoring!"    
  • hchtchchtc Posts: 71Member
    edited July 2022
    all the info I found made it sound so complicated.
  • lostmindlostmind Posts: 1,529Expert Adviser
    I've had several Hudsons with overdrive, 47 ,49 , 53 
    They all shifted into reverse when the overdrive lever was pushed in.
    There is a switch on the shift rail to lock out the solenoid.
    Wellington , Ohio
  • GeoffGeoff Posts: 4,606Senior Contributor
    My Jet engages reverse with o/d knob in, but  Hornet doesn't, nor did a previous Pacemaker.   I believe they both had the wrong shift shaft installed.   Too much hassle to pull it all apart and install the correct longer shaft, just easier to pull the knob out each time.
    If you're stuck in a hole, stop digging.
  • ski4life65ski4life65 Posts: 1,165Expert Adviser
    I have had quite a few Hudsons with OD. I leave the knob pushed in and have no issues using reverse.
  • cheyenne7271cheyenne7271 Posts: 492Member
    The knob can be left in all the time. When you shift into reverse, it opens the lockout switch on the transmission. The governor in the transmission will close its contacts at about 18-21mph, you can here the relay click on the firewall. The overdrive won’t engage until the throttle is disengaged, which closes the switch under the gas pedal. Your car has one, or should, I promise you lol. You can let the car shift into OD even in 2nd gear then accelerate as usual. When you shift the car to 3rd you are in 3rd OD. If the car lugs to much simply floor the gas pedal to kick out OD until you reach the desired speed, let off the throttle and you’re back in 3rd OD. 
    51 Hornet Club Coupe
    51 Hornet Sedan
    51 Commodore Six Club Coupe
    50 Pacemaker Deluxe R.I.P. (burned and destroyed in building fire)
    49 Super Six Sedan
  • cheyenne7271cheyenne7271 Posts: 492Member
    When you park the car with the knob in, and the shifter in a forward gear the car will roll away, due to the OD mechanicals and can cause severe damage. When parked, put the shifter in reverse or pull out the OD knob in addition to setting the park brake
    51 Hornet Club Coupe
    51 Hornet Sedan
    51 Commodore Six Club Coupe
    50 Pacemaker Deluxe R.I.P. (burned and destroyed in building fire)
    49 Super Six Sedan
  • ajetajet Posts: 24Member
     I typo'd a mistake.   Engine RPM  is reduced appx. 30 % !
    A nice OD manual is available at:

  • Hudsy Wudsy Hudsy Wudsy Posts: 509Senior Contributor
    I inherited a Hudson overdrive transmission that is locked up. It came in the trunk of a car that I bought some years ago. It has a broken reverse lockout switch. Because they are mounted externally, I imagine that a rock flew up and broke the switch it at some point. Apparently, from what I've read and been told by others, the whole transmission locking up can happen when someone attempts to back up while the overdrive unit is still engaged. Thus the need for a working lock out switch. If anyone has one they would sell, I'd be interested.
  • cchancelcchancel Posts: 217Member
    The Borg Warner R-10 Overdrive was fairly common.  Parts for the R-10 such as the lockout switch are not Hudson-specific and should be easier to find than most Hudson parts.

    The lockout switch is very easy to replace.  It is a good opportunity to check the condition of your wiring and connections on the overdrive unit while you are under the car.

  • Hudsy Wudsy Hudsy Wudsy Posts: 509Senior Contributor
    Thank you so very much for that info. I'll order one soon. Getting the thing unlocked is still a problem, though. I understand that to do so requires loosening up the tailshaft housing and moving it backwards slightly. I'm still trying to drive out the pin that sits next to the overdrive engaging lever. It's rusted in place pretty well. I agree replacing the switch should be easy. Thanks again!
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