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Saturn/Warn overdrive failure


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  • Saturn/Warn overdrive failure

    Well, following the failure of a $0.99 snap ring this afternoon, my overdrive unit on the rear of my Dana-18 transfer case transformed itself into a self-immolating "Cuisinart". This has left me with a few options:

    1. Rebuild my existing unit at a cost of approximately $600

    2. Call Herm Tilford (the "Yoda" of Saturn/Warn overdrive technology) and purchase one of his used/rebuilt units at a cost of $625

    3. Purchase a new primary drive gear and cover plate for the rear of the transfer case, thus doing away with the overdrive completely, at a cost of less than $100

    I'm kind of leaning towards option number two. Although option number three would be the most cost effective, it would greatly diminish the daily drive-ability of my Willys. Any thoughts?

  • #2
    It looks like option two it is. I just spoke to Herm, and he will offer me credit on all of my non-damaged overdrive parts towards one of his rebuilt units. In addition, he makes numerous engineering improvements directed at improving durability in his units over the later Advance Adapters offerings of the Saturn overdrive. It looks like the Willys will be non-ambulatory for a couple of weeks while all of this takes place though. The thought has dawned on me that this may be the prime opportunity to go with a Tera Low-18 (3.15:1) gear set. Hmmmmm.........


    • #3
      Being an owner of a CJ with a Dana 18, I know your problems and can relate to your pain.

      Have you seen that you can run the 3.15 gears with the O/D. Can't recall at the moment who does it though.

      Also, does your Willys have Power steering?? If not, did you talk to Herm about his power steering conversions for older Jeeps??



      • #4
        Tera Low makes a 3.15:1 kit for the Dana-18 that will work with the overdrive unit, and Jack O'Brian manufactures a transfer case called the Rock Eater that is a Dana-18/20 hybrid that will also utilize the overdrive unit (the Rock Eater has been real popular with the old school Bronco guys for years). The Rock Eater has a couple of options and goes all the way to 4.1:1 if I'm not mistaken. Both options require a different bowl gear than is usually used with the overdrive. I know that Herm stocks the bowl gears required for both options.

        As for power steering; I just did the conversion on mine last year (I didn't know that Herm was making kits at the time though, or I would have used his parts). Next to going to electric windshield wipers, it was one of the best upgrades I ever did on the old beast...
        Last edited by PRegner; 02-08-04, 01:48 PM.


        • #5
          I think O'Briens goes to 5something:1. It's been a while since I've been in contact with them.

          Sounds like you've got a healthy rig going on. Congrats.

          Sorry to hear about the O/D, but can't wait to hear what you have to say about Herm's stuff. His Power steering isn't complete yet for sale, but I'm anxiously awaiting it. It is important to me, because it will let me keep my PTO winch. The steering box will be located behind the crossmemeber on my CJ.




          • #6
            As expected, Herm's generosity with his knowledge and resources was no disappointment. He was very kind to me on my exchange of parts towards the refurbished overdrive unit. I just have to get the rest of my junk together.

            As I was removing the transfer case this afternoon to prepare it for the new overdrive unit (basically, to make sure there were no broken bits and pieces bouncing around inside leftover from the immolated overdrive), I discovered a crack on the lower-most mounting tab on the transfer case housing. Sure enough, once I got the unit out, the piece of the casting broke off in my hand. I ended up tearing out to Scotty's in Fontana for a new transfer case housing. They didn't have a Dana-18 with a 1-1/4 inch intermediate shaft handy, but they did have a suitable Dana-20 case ready to go. They let me have it for the same price as a Dana-18 case, and I get the advantage of a four inch locating bore (allowing the use of TeraLow 3.15:1 gears without modifying the case), and it's regarded as being stronger all around than the Dana-18. Additionally, all of my existing parts from my Dana-18 should go right into this case. I have quite a bit of cleaning to do on it though.

            I'm trying to convince myself that this was a blessing in disguise. Sometimes it just seems like the fun never ends. It's a good thing I actually enjoy turning wrenches on my junk...


            • #7
              Well, two days shy of one month after a good portion of my drive train reached maximum entropy, the Willys moved under it's own power today!!! All I have left to do is re-install my skid plate, and fabricate a new transmission tunnel and I should be back to normal...


              • #8
                Congrats! That is always a big first step, getting it to move under it's own power.



                • #9
                  Well, the transmission tunnel cover is built. Being that I'm not much of a tin-bender (sheet metal is one of the things in this world that I have yet to achieve mastery over), I made my cover from fiberglass. I'm now considering bathing in acetone; as I've become a walking fly strip from the fiberglass resin (although, the effects of the fumes were pretty cool for a while). I really must take a sheet metal class at RCC, I don't know how many more brain cells I can stand to lose from the resin fumes...