QOTD: These Came Out Of My F100’s Transmission – Should I be Worried? (Update: Probably Not)

It’s been 25 years since the original Ford three speed manual transmission in my ’66 F100 was replaced by a Borg-Warner T85 with Overdrive. So given the need to do a couple of other maintenance items and a sunny day, I decided to finally change the gear oil in both of them. When I unscrewed the plug from the transmission, I heard a plink-plink, but whatever it was got quickly lost in the old oil.

But when I poured out the contents of the drain pan into a jug, this is what was left on the bottom: a fractured pin roller bearing, about 1/8″ wide and 3/4″ long. Should I be worried?

The B-W T85 is famous for its durability, and was installed typically as a HD option, on big engines, or when the Overdrive was specified. And it still shifts just fine, so I suppose I should just assume it’s been in the bottom of the transmission for a long time. I guess its better than the pieces of a chewed gear cluster.

What motivated me to give the poor old neglected truck a looksie was the fact that twice now it didn’t want to start, and pretended that there was no juice whatsoever available to it. It turned out to be a loose nut at the starter solenoid, and a fair bit of corrosion too.

Some Emery cloth soon took care of that.

An oil change and chassis lube was on the agenda too, given that it’s been two years. I try to do it every summer, but some years it gets away from me. The truck only racks up about 1,500 miles a year, but they’re all pretty short trips.

I got out my little oil can to squirt some 30 weight into the distributor bushing port, which has a little spring-loaded cover. But the door was wide open and the spring was dead. So a quick run to the hardware store yielded this 20 cent cork stopper, the smallest one they had. there were no rubber ones that small, but I would assume the cork will be ok too.

I also finally cleaned the bolt on the adjuster on my parking/emergency brake mechanism, and for the first time in decades, I could actually turn the nut and adjust them. Now they work with a nice short pull. I’ve had to resort to a chock, a chunk of 2×4, although I’ll still carry it along for steep grades with a heavy load. I’ll have to build up some confidence in them, as they’ve been useless for way too long, thanks to my neglect.

So the old work horse is good to go again, even if its transmission is missing a part. We all lose a few parts in our later years, so we’ll just hope for the best.

Update: CC Contributor Dave Skinner has the reassuring answer in a comment.