Early 5 speed -'76 Vega

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Early 5 speed -'76 Vega

Postby ol55 » Tue Aug 02, 2016 11:14 pm

Can the BW 5 speeds be a good transmission? What were the problems and the any solutions? Were they a "rare" option and are they hard to find? Arerebuild parts available?

Thanks for any input,
Larry
'73 Vega GT Hatchback hot rod.
'76 Cosworth
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Re: Early 5 speed -'76 Vega

Postby spencerforhire » Wed Aug 03, 2016 6:59 am

I've broken a few of the BW T-50's; I'm not a fan. They were not designed to handle the torque of a V8, and will fail, even without abuse. All that being said, they seem to hold up behind a 4 or V6. Had one in a daily driver I used for two winters, a 1979 Sunbird V6 wagon. The across the gate 1-2 shift can be awkward and easy to miss, especially in "spirited" driving. I used to pull away in 2nd, unless I was on a steep hill. Only other vehicle I ever saw with the same shift pattern was a late 60's Porsche 911.
The T-50 is not all that rare(or valuable), just "different". They also require a unique trans crossmember, driveshaft and torque arm if you're trying to swap one into another vehicle.
The "fleet"-
77 Vega Estate wagon- project(someday)will have TPI305/T-5, S-10 spindles/axles
72 Vega HB Drag Car -383/'Glide/9"(9.35@146.19)(5.94@117.28 1/8th)
76 Vega GT- 400/4spd/9" retired from active duty(rusty)
03 Silverado 2WD ex.cab (work truck/parts hauler)
04 Silverado 2WD ex.cab (retired)
06 Haulin' 20ft enclosed car transporter
93 Suburban- 350/4L60(retired)
00 Saturn SW2- wife's car
01 Saturn SC2- younger son's project
00 Saturn SL2- daughter's car
98 Saturn SW2- spare
and 3 more Saturn "parts cars"
Note- the very act of listing all of these has made me realize I have some kind of problem.....

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Re: Early 5 speed -'76 Vega

Postby hammerdown7 » Wed Aug 10, 2016 6:25 am

Some T-50's had the problem of first gear seizing while in another gear, not really welcomed, especially if you were in fifth. Determined to be a lack of lubrication to the first gear roller bearing. Cosworth owners overfill the trans about a pint. We have a member that rebuilds them by adding a bronze bushing in place of the roller bearing.

Dick
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Re: Early 5 speed -'76 Vega

Postby spencerforhire » Wed Aug 10, 2016 7:03 am

That overfill idea probably would have saved the last one I broke. Long highway trip(800 miles return), passing cars without downshifting(lots of torque from a 400 SBC and 3.42 gears). It started popping out of 5th gear about 200 miles from home, and very quickly deteriorated into no overdrive whatsoever. It was the original trans from the car, and I left it in there after the V8 swap, specifically for the road trip. Replaced it with a Saginaw, and that lasted fine, even though it was a 4-cyl one with the steep low gear.
The "fleet"-
77 Vega Estate wagon- project(someday)will have TPI305/T-5, S-10 spindles/axles
72 Vega HB Drag Car -383/'Glide/9"(9.35@146.19)(5.94@117.28 1/8th)
76 Vega GT- 400/4spd/9" retired from active duty(rusty)
03 Silverado 2WD ex.cab (work truck/parts hauler)
04 Silverado 2WD ex.cab (retired)
06 Haulin' 20ft enclosed car transporter
93 Suburban- 350/4L60(retired)
00 Saturn SW2- wife's car
01 Saturn SC2- younger son's project
00 Saturn SL2- daughter's car
98 Saturn SW2- spare
and 3 more Saturn "parts cars"
Note- the very act of listing all of these has made me realize I have some kind of problem.....

Visit http://www.spencerforhire.ca
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Re: Early 5 speed -'76 Vega

Postby bugdewde » Wed Aug 10, 2016 1:51 pm

I've busted 3.... all behind a 3.2L V6 in a Vega that was driven hard.
They are weak, as mentioned above. They were offered behind the Olds 260 V8 for a very short time (a few months).... until they realized that was a bad idea.
The odd shift pattern is sometimes called a "road race" pattern because the 2-3 shift is more important than the 1-2 shift on a road course where 1st is usually only used in pit road. Shifting straight up/down for 2-3 is much easier. This was found in 60s European sports cars.

That being said, I like them. I've had one live behind two 215 Buick V8s..... but they only make 240 lb-ft torque ... and in a light Vega.
1st gear is a low 3.4 ratio that works great with a H-body's short 13" wheels/tires and tall gearing. I run a 2.56 rear gear easily and regularly pull out in 2nd. Overdrive isn't huge at 0.8 which also works well with tall gearing and short wheels/tires.

For the money to rebuilt one, I'll probably go with a T-5 when my remaining two T-50s blow.
Dwight

'73 Vega GT Hatchback, mostly stock....
'72 Vega GT Kammback, 215 V8
'73 Vega Wagon - Currently in Limbo....
My rides: http://www.cardomain.com/id/bugdewde
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Re: Early 5 speed -'76 Vega

Postby Monza Harry » Wed Aug 10, 2016 6:21 pm

Dwight that pattern is good for the snow too, as 1>R is more important for rocking your car out of the snow! Way easier than a1>6[th] position for a rock to get you out. Usually lose all momentum before you can complete the shift and end up sitting still for awhile! We won't even talk about Reverse with a "Lock Out" Harry
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Re: Early 5 speed -'76 Vega

Postby cammerjeff » Fri Aug 12, 2016 10:54 am

Leave it to a Canadian to point out the positives of "rocking" your H-body out of the Snow!!!!!!
Jeff R

78 Sunbird Safari Wagon, 3.8 N/A, 1971 Catalina Freeway Enforcer
77 Astre Formula, some day soon powered by a 215 Buick V-8
1973 4-speed Lemans Safari STOCK!!!!! 1978 Catalina Safari
1971 Lemans Safari/GTO Clone, 1969 Firebird Sprint 301 ci OHC6, T-5, 4.10 12 bolt posi
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Re: Early 5 speed -'76 Vega

Postby Kenova » Fri Aug 12, 2016 2:11 pm

cammerjeff wrote:Leave it to a Canadian to point out the positives of "rocking" your H-body out of the Snow!!!!!!


:lol:
Consider it our contribution to the Global Village. :canada:

Ken
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Re: Early 5 speed -'76 Vega

Postby Monza Harry » Fri Aug 12, 2016 3:37 pm

Now come on Jeff you are about 20 miles NORTH of me, [+/-] and you never considered that. I take it you haven't been stuck in the snow in your buddies 4 Speed with that over to the right and down pattern and he never drove in the snow before with a stick YEP he got 'er all glassed up for me to get it out. You should have seen the look on his face when I put it in second and let it spin, climbed out and pushed! You have to be fairly certain you can catch the car before..... Well you get the pic' Harry :pook: :canada: :canada: :beer:
I'm not a hoarder I'm a preservationist 78 Monza Spyder (Soon To Be 2+2 with Spoilers)
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Re: Early 5 speed -'76 Vega

Postby spencerforhire » Fri Aug 12, 2016 3:39 pm

Having had a winter beater with a T-50, I will admit it was easy to "rock" out of a snow bank with 1st and reverse close together with no lock-out. A real pain with a Saginaw and an OEM H-body shifter.
The "fleet"-
77 Vega Estate wagon- project(someday)will have TPI305/T-5, S-10 spindles/axles
72 Vega HB Drag Car -383/'Glide/9"(9.35@146.19)(5.94@117.28 1/8th)
76 Vega GT- 400/4spd/9" retired from active duty(rusty)
03 Silverado 2WD ex.cab (work truck/parts hauler)
04 Silverado 2WD ex.cab (retired)
06 Haulin' 20ft enclosed car transporter
93 Suburban- 350/4L60(retired)
00 Saturn SW2- wife's car
01 Saturn SC2- younger son's project
00 Saturn SL2- daughter's car
98 Saturn SW2- spare
and 3 more Saturn "parts cars"
Note- the very act of listing all of these has made me realize I have some kind of problem.....

Visit http://www.spencerforhire.ca
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Re: Early 5 speed -'76 Vega

Postby cammerjeff » Mon Aug 15, 2016 10:35 am

Harry, I am a firm believer that our local weather systems pick up 100% more moisture when the travel SE and cross the Detroit river before dropping all that "river effect" snow on Windsor!

I am not debating the advantage the T-50 shift pattern has over a Muncie or Saginaw 4-speed, I have just never considered it. I never drove H-bodies in the snow, I was a late converter to the H-body world, I always drove GM A & F bodies when I was a Kid, so I an well versed in rocking the bigger heavier cars out of the snow. But I have never driven any of my H-bodies in the winter.
Jeff R

78 Sunbird Safari Wagon, 3.8 N/A, 1971 Catalina Freeway Enforcer
77 Astre Formula, some day soon powered by a 215 Buick V-8
1973 4-speed Lemans Safari STOCK!!!!! 1978 Catalina Safari
1971 Lemans Safari/GTO Clone, 1969 Firebird Sprint 301 ci OHC6, T-5, 4.10 12 bolt posi
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Re: Early 5 speed -'76 Vega

Postby dindin » Mon Aug 15, 2016 11:52 am

I remember driving a ferrari that had that first gear below reverse back in the 80's, it had a steel gate pattern so no guessing what gear your in.

I think that Ferrari used to pitch the ease of rocking the car when stuck in snow drifts as a selling point. :rolleyes: :lol:

shifter.jpg
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Re: Early 5 speed -'76 Vega

Postby Monza Harry » Tue Aug 16, 2016 5:00 pm

cammerjeff wrote:Harry, I have never driven any of my H-bodies in the winter.
Jeff I did my first one for half the winter walked the rest of that one if it was snowing! Pure :censored: :cuss: in the snow! So how about rocking it out of that mud puddle you parked in? And you are old enough to NOT be out "Parking" :dance: with your Woman! :lol: Harry :D These are "Extremely Traction Challenged" cars! :burn: :burnout:
I'm not a hoarder I'm a preservationist 78 Monza Spyder (Soon To Be 2+2 with Spoilers)
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Re: Early 5 speed -'76 Vega

Postby Kenova » Tue Aug 16, 2016 9:09 pm

My first H-body WAS my winter car. :lol:
With a pair of C/78/13s on the back that sucker would damn near go anywhere. :mrgreen:

Ken
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Re: Early 5 speed -'76 Vega

Postby Monza Harry » Wed Aug 17, 2016 8:32 pm

Mine was a '76 HB with 4.3L V8 THM250 Vredestein's probably the same as yours BR78-13 medium tread depth just wouldn't move in the snow but it sat real low, even after the spring change. :? Harry
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