June 21, 2014 at 8:26 pm #157
I have owned several cars with the Borg Warner overdrive transmission, including a Studebaker truck, as well as my beloved ’51 Hudson Hornet Coupe. In the other two cars, the OD kickdown switch is at the bottom of the accelerator pedal, which means when you want to downshift, it’s a full throttle all-or-nothing affair!
But on many occasions I find myself just toodling along on a city street, the tranny has already gone to Overdrive, and I just need a bit of an acceleration boost without balls-to-the-wall pedal. That makes the steering wheel downshift button on our Nash Healeys seem so much more refined.
But then, I got to thinking, wouldn’t it be even easier if the O/D kickdown function were on the outer horn ring, rather than the inner round button? After all, I use the kickdown numerous occasions every time I take the car out, and rarely have need to invoke the horn. So, I decided to switch the functions of those two switches.
It turns out, it couldn’t be easier to move the O/D function to the outer horn ring, and the horn to the inner center button. Each of these switches work in the same way.. pressing the appropriate spot merely grounds that wire, and completes the appropriate circuit.
Under the hood (er, bonnet), look at the very lower end of the steering column, and you’ll see two wires emerging. One for the horn, and, you guessed it, the other for the overdrive kickdown. If the original wiring is still in place, each of these wires has a standard British bullet connector. Just disconnect both bullets, swap the wires in the connector, and the job is done.
Now you don’t even have to remove your hand from the steering wheel rim to downshift out of Overdrive.
Phil A. – Austin
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