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Driving a T19 - Is it Bad to Start in 2nd?

Discussion in '6.9L IH & 7.3L IDI Diesels' started by PossumF250, Apr 6, 2021.

  1. PossumF250

    PossumF250 Registered User

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    So I saw the current discussion on shifting ZF5s the other day, and got to thinking about how I drive my truck with a 4-speed. It's a 1984 diesel, so it should be the diesel Borg Warner T19, with a 4.02:1 1st gear and 2.41:1 2nd gear. I've had it for about a year and a half now, and I always start out in 2nd when not off road, loaded down, or on a steep hill. When I first got it, I'd start in 1st, but I found myself slipping the clutch about as much (really not much at all) as when I started in 2nd, and shifting at no more than 5 mph. On top of that, I have to make the 1-2 shift very slowly to avoid grinding, so I loose a lot of momentum. I thought 1st was a granny gear anyway, and with 4.10 gears and 29" tires, starting in 2nd feels natural. Heck, I could get going in 2nd and get up to 3rd without touching the accelerator if I wanted to.

    Now I'm wondering: is 1st really a granny gear? Is it bad to start in 2nd? What do y'all think and how do you drive your T19 trucks?

    I'll also add that I thought 1st was unsynchronized because I absolutely CAN'T get into 1st when going more than about 1 mph without double clutching. There's no grinding or anything, I just can't get into gear. Doing a little research on the T19, I found out it is supposed to be synchronized in gears 1-4. So I'm not sure what to think about that either.
     
  2. Farmer Rock

    Farmer Rock just a fella' without a 10mm socket

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    They are synchronized, it sounds like the first gear synchro is going out on yours.
    I have 3.55 gears and live in the hills, so I never start in 2nd unless it's going down hill of course. 1st gear is not a granny gear like the older 4 speeds, so it is meant to be started out in first. The way I drive unloaded is, i start out in first, shift to second at 2-2200 rpm (depending on grade) and hang there a couple seconds, then 2nd to 3rd at around 2400 rpm, then 3rd to 4th at 2600 rpm. Being that you have lower gearing, it's a bit different.
    I have noticed zf5s feel loose compared to the t19s which seem to shift nice and tight, that is why I like them. Although I wouldn't mind a lower 1st and reverse. I don't know what I would do without 4lo.


    Rock
     
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  3. 1mouse3

    1mouse3 Full Access Member

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    I have a close t19 with 4.53 gear on 35in tires, I have no issue starting in first and going to second. It is about syncing the two gears do to the gap being a underdrive, the rpm needs to be brought up to get in easy. Second dose get crunchy on mine if I pull to hard but have yet to grind that gear.




    Try second before first or reverse since is underdrive and there is a gap that is enough to give issues with them, dont think have tried going strage to first from anything except second but reverse will grind if I dont do a quick jump from second. My bmw also is underdrive and had found that brick wall to first a few times if I did not bring the clutch to engagement in second before going to first, there was syncro chunk in the oil when I changed it after install.



    EDIT: I have the close t19 in my f100 with 3.73 and 28in tires as well, I have not driven it in some time but dont remeber ever having a issue shifting with that one. It is a bit touchy tho with the stage two cluch I have in but that is nothing to write home about, more on-off with less gray area.
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2021
  4. PossumF250

    PossumF250 Registered User

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    I imagine that 1st gear ratio is much better suited to normal unloaded driving with 3.55s, but it just feels so low with 4.10s. With that said, I also love the T19 and the way it shifts.

    Now I'm wondering what exactly makes a true granny gear. The combination of the 2.41 2nd and 4.10 or even 3.55 diff. makes for a final drive ratio pretty comparable to that of a lot of cars in 1st gear. But maybe I'm thinking of it all wrong. It is a truck, not a car after all.
     
  5. PossumF250

    PossumF250 Registered User

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    So when shifting into 1st with the truck moving, I'm almost always coming straight from 2nd, but it's still like the shifter's hitting a brick wall. No grinding or crunching - it just won't go into 1st at all without double clutching. If I'm stopped, I can get into 1st from 2nd, neutral, etc. with no trouble. For reverse, I always grab 3rd before shifting into reverse, and it never grinds. If I don't it'll grind a little or be a bit stubborn about half the time.
     
  6. 1mouse3

    1mouse3 Full Access Member

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    Do you know the state of the oil? If not, I say cange it and check level before draining, After it has been drained, take some thing like a coat hange and fish around to see if there is chunks of a syncro in the bottom.
     
  7. chris142

    chris142 Full Access Member

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    2nd is geared too tall with 3.55 gears. Really have to slip the clutch to get going.
     
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  8. Oledirtypearl86

    Oledirtypearl86 Full Access Member

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    My 86 has a T-19 and 4.10gears running 265/75/16 tires abd I always start out in second unless loaded down good or on a very steep hill and I do that because first is soshort IV shiftes to 3rd through an intersection anyways and I dont have to slip my clutch any taking off also I shift a bit sooner than most I'm like 1800 rpm when I'm shifting unless pulling and need the extra power also I usally only use the clutch for starting and stopping you get your engine and speed in sync no grinds and no forcing
     
  9. gfemling

    gfemling Full Access Member

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    OPs ‘84 could/probably is from my experience the wide ratio version with 5:1 1st. These were commonly standard in ‘83 & ‘84. He didn’t say what axle ratio he has. My ‘87 with 3.55 and 265/75-16s originally had close ratio T19 (4:1 1st) and starting in 2nd unloaded was possible but did require extra clutch slipping. After changing to wide ratio (5:1 1st) from a ‘84, starting is 2nd is routine but love the low 1st when starting with the RV. I don’t think there is an easy way to determine whether it is a wide ratio vs close ratio without actually counting number of input shaft rotations required for 1 output rotation with 1st gear selected but if you have 3.55 axle ratio and can’t get over about 20 mph in 1st with 265/75 tires when wound up to 3000, I bet he has a 5:1 1st version.
     
  10. 420Bullnose

    420Bullnose Registered User

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    I got an '84 with the T19 and 4:10s, always start in 1st, from 1st to other gears and beyond I float them.
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2021
  11. ISPKI

    ISPKI Welding/metallurgical engineer/Metalsmith

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    The term "Granny Gear" is just an arbitrary phrase, it doesnt hold any technical context, just implies that the gear ratio in question is very wide. By how much or what is really considered a granny gear is up to interpretation.

    Whether or not you can start in 2nd really depends on alot of factors. Generally speaking, with a low 1st gear and a relatively low 2nd gear, unloaded, on relatively flat ground, as long as you dont have to slip the clutch alot to do it, its probably fine. The drivetrain is built to handle heavy loads, it should handle starting in 2nd with nothing in it easily.

    I pretty much never start off in 1st in my 94 7.3 but that has a 4.11 rear end and a 460 wide ratio transmission.

    My unofficial opinion is that if your 2nd gear is around 3:1 ish and you arent on a steep hill and/or carrying a heavy load, then starting in 2nd is fine and shouldnt wear anything out prematurely.
     
  12. Old Goat

    Old Goat Full Access Member

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    We`ll I`ll throw my 0.02 cents in here.
    When I bought my 86 the guy I bought it from said
    to start out in 2nd gear. Felt like it was a bit too high
    of a gear, but would pull out ok from a stop.

    Started to use 1st to start out in and seem to roll out smoother. Starting in 2nd I can feel a little shutter feel
    but don`t slip the Clutch. Let out the Clutch, then a bit
    of fuel and she moves out.

    I always now use 1st gear to start out, then go to 2nd.
    A lot of times 1st then 3rd and then to 4th. On any grade I go to 1st, 2nd 3rd etc....
    Any down grade, then start out in 2nd.

    I have the T-19 in the 86 which has the higher 1st gear. From my reading the T-18 has the lower 1st gear. I have never used a T-18 so don`t know for sure.
    I you look on the side of the Transmission case, I think it is in the casting the number.

    If your transmission shift levers are like my 85 and 86
    and 2nd and 4th are bent back to almost laying on
    the seat. It makes it a bit hard to shift.
    I used a Rose Bud and heated the shifter at the bend and straightened it up. Shifts real easy now. Don`t
    know what Ford was thinking making it like that.

    As far as to floating the gears, with a trans with synchro`s not a good idea. Can be done if you catch
    the gear at the right RPM. Not good to make a habit of doing it. If you want to do it, install a 10 spd Road Ranger or 13 spd and float all day long.

    As far as reverse grinding, yeah as mentioned it has no synchros. Push the clutch, wait a few seconds till the gears stop, or put into any forward gear then go to reverse. If you let the truck roll going through nutural, then it will grind some.

    Another thing, when up shifting, you let the RPM`s drop, down shifting you raise the RPM,s to match
    the road speed with the engine speed.

    These are truck transmissions, they all shift different
    depending how tight or wore out.
    If you want to speed shift, get a Mustang or Corvette.

    I want to add here, my 86 has the 3:55 Diff., if it had the 4:10 being a lower ratio,
    then starting in 2nd would be different, she would roll out smoother.


    Goat
     
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  13. Scotty4

    Scotty4 Supporting Member Supporting Member

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    I drive my 85 with T19 and 3.55 the same.
     
  14. Isaac Ristow

    Isaac Ristow Full Access Member

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    Are you positive somebody didn't swap in a t18 from a gas truck? A t18 will work behind a IDI using the t19 bell housing. I believe the t18 has a single pto port and the t19 has one on each side. I have a t19 from factory in my idi now its a zf5 but I always started in first and the only time it would ever grind is down shifting to 3rd I would just double clutch it and rev match then it was fine. My 87 F150 with a 300six has a T18 and that has the non syncro low gear but it is labeled as 1st on the shift knob but I never ever use low granny gear in my t18 unless I'm creeping off road its just terribly slow and shifting from 1st (low) to second is a huge gap and it will grind a little some times. In my idi t19 first to second was like any other gear no huge gap shifted smoothly so I'm wondering if yours has a t18 swapped in because to me that's what it sounds like your describing.
     
  15. Oledirtypearl86

    Oledirtypearl86 Full Access Member

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    Do you rember high school lol
     

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