Phil Bray Gearsets (yet again!)

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    I want to change the 4.42 differential gearset in my 1932 Model 54 Club Sedan to either a 3.82 or a 3.54. Phil Bray will make either, although I’ve been told that his recommendation would be the 3.82, as it requires less downshifting at intersections, hills, and corners and also reduces the possibility of burning clutch issues that some people have experienced with repeated loading in trailers. On the other hand, I would like the extra speed of the 3.54 and am not adverse to downshifting. I would sure appreciate hearing any thoughts you might have in COMPARING these two ratios. Thanks.


    I have the Phil Hill 356 rear end in my 31 model 42 convertible coupe. In addition, I have a three speed synchro trans w/overdrive. Sure I have to shift more, but I am able to tour comfortably, etc, etc. I guess one could always burn out a clutch, but extra care perhaps needs to be taken. Tony


    Hi Joe,

    I put a set of Phil’s 3.82’s in a 1930 Model C sedan I owned until I bought my current Pierce, a 1922. That ratio worked really well as far as I was concerned. It gave me a good mix of cruising speed and hill climbing ability. The 3.82 ratio went down the road very nicely at comfortable highway speeds on a number of different tours in widely varied terrain.


    I built up a set of 3.54 first and had a lot of fun grinding out the housing to allow the larger pinion. I drove the car to Buffalo in 2001 and it handles well with the ratio.
    I built up a set of 384 gears with Arnold Romberg and put them in my car for testing. They are Much easier to build up because of the size of the pinion. The only thing that I noticed is the higher engine rpm at highway speed. The engine had issues with the exhaust valves that were seated too far into the block. This changed the spring compression length and allowed the valves to float reducing the max highway speed. I have since fixed the valves.
    I am planning to go back to the 354 ratio. With a 4 speed clark transmission the 354 gives me a usable first gear.



    When you had the 3.84 installed at what road speed did you notice the valves floating? Were the springs old originals or new replacements (Egge?).




    After the trip to buffalo where I leaned the engine out because of ethonal fuels screwing up my tank. The block was cracked in 6 places across the exhaust valve seats. I had the block patched but several of the seats were pretty badly recessed. At the time I used the origional springs but had to remove some material on the valves to get the adjusters into working range.
    Since then I have put new oversized valves in place and got the spring compression to the correct length. That was the reason for the article about setting spring compression published in the arrow driver. I am going to write another article about the oversized valves.
    I don’t think I’ll have any more problems with valves floating but It seems that the 354 gears felt better with the clark 4 speed.

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