Auto-Biography: The F100’s Transmission Is As Good As New Again

I was pretty bummed out about the transmission I bought from Turner’s Auto Wrecking having a bad bearing. I parked it out back and just ignored it. The property we bought in Port Orford consumed a lot of time in the subsequent couple of months, but things are slowing down along with the onset of a wet winter season and short days.

One day I decided I had to do something as I was really missing it for various jobs, so I started calling transmission shops to see if anyone still worked on these. The first place I called, the guy said: You want to talk to my father. That turned out to be a godsend.

Instead of retiring from the busy shop his son now runs, Gary Grimes moved to the outskirts of the hamlet of Coburg and built a big shop and a mini-museum for his collection of cars including nine(!) Sunbeam Tigers behind it (we’ll tour that and the cars sitting outside in another post).  He has a couple of guys working for him, and they specialize in older cars, especially transmissions.

I knew my T-85 was in good hands from the time I first talked to him, and that was confirmed when I dropped the truck off.

Gary—here on the phone in front of one of his Tigers— showed me around, and then drove the truck a bit to confirm my diagnosis. Yup; a bad bearing, or two; not gears.

Gary called me to see if I wanted to see the insides before it got put back together again. Sure!

He spun the bearings to see if he could feel which one was bad. This one seemed reasonably ok.

This one felt pretty good.

But not this one. You could immediately feel the roughness and the sound it made was not a happy one.

The rebuild kit included all three, but ho ordered one without the synchronizers, as they and the gears all looked great.

Gary had quoted $500 labor to rebuild it if I bring it to him, or $700 if they did the remove and install. Being that it’s been wet almost constantly, the answer was easy. I was pleasantly surprised at how reasonable the cost was. They also replaced the slightly wonky speedometer cable, and cleaned everything up very nicely.

It’s so nice and quiet, and it shifts as good or better than it ever has. I’m so happy to have it working properly again. In fact I drove it down the street from his place to a large nursery and bought four trees. Time to get back to work again! I’ve got a number of projects stacked up that call for a truck.

Thank you all for the suggestions, advice and support in my previous post(s). I really wanted the T-85/OD back instead of some other options. It just feels so familiar and right to me after all these years, and I do like splitting the gears and shifting without the clutch, thanks to its freewheeling. I just couldn’t let it go, and it was almost certainly the cheapest solution.