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Currently, my '55 Customline has a 292/Ford-o-Matic. I have noticed that the car cruises smoothly at 55-60 mph, but once I attempt to accelerate past 65mph, it really seems like it's struggling. Almost like you're driving into a headwind. I don't have a tachometer, but it doesn't sound like the engine is running at a high RPM. I'm really thinking it's time to ditch the Ford-o-Matic; it's heavy, air-cooled, and leaking everywhere. I am currently rebuilding another 292 that I plan to mate to a new transmission and drop in the car. I have done a little bit of research and it seems like the C4 is the most straightforward swap. I found a step by step install in a Tbird. How much different would the install be in a Customline? I am open to other suggestions as well as far as other transmissions go, but I don't want to cut the floor and I want to retain my factory column shift. Any information or advice is greatly appreciated.
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Last Active: Yesterday
The C4 conversion is a pretty straight forward job and should fit in a sedan with no problems. The best C4 to use is 1970 and up so I am told. You will have to modify the kickdown rod and the rear engine mount as well as a new driveshaft. I did the conversion in my TBird using the stock linkage with a slight modification (made a little longer using a part of another kickdown rod). The shift linkage is straight forward on a Bird, but most likely a little more involved with a column shift. Get a C4 designed for a column shift as the position of the selector at the trans end is different (pointed down vs pointed up). The 1980 unit I used had a selector that was both up and down.
The drawback to using the stock shifter is having enough range to access all gears. In the Tbird conversion, I cannot manually use 1st gear because of the shifter range. This may not be true with a column shifter.
While I mentioned that the 1970 and up is the better trans, I have an earlier C4 in my street rod that serves me well for over ten years with no problems (behind a warmed over 302 and has a shift kit.
I used the Flat-O-Matic kit. Good luck
54 Victoria 312; 48 Ford Conv 302, 56 Bird 312
Midland Park, NJ