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Old 05-22-2010, 02:50 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Liberty Faceplated and Proshifted Toploader

Many of you will probably remember that I trashed my Liberty prepped Toploader on the first run of the season due to too an inferior 2.90 ratio aftermarket first gear, too much traction and too stiff a clutch. http://www.fordmuscleforums.comdra...a-carnage.html I recently sent some parts to Liberty to have them modified to replace the damaged parts. As an upgrade to the old stuff, I had the 3rd and 4th gear Faceplated and since it is not offered for 2nd gear, I had them replace the old worn Proshift ring with a fresh one.

According to Liberty, the reason for Faceplating or Proshifting is to "eliminate the need to worry about missed shifts." Faceplating and Proshifting eliminate the synchronizers used in common street transmissions and for this reason are only recommended for track cars. Engagement can be harsh and the higher the shift RPM, the smoother the shift. It is possible to drive a Faceplated or Proshifted tranny on the street, but it requires a combination of double clutching and rpm matching. OK for an occasional jaunt, but not for a daily driver. I could have had 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Proshifted again, but that modification is not as long lasting as Faceplating and it is has less of a chance of surviving on the street. See Liberty Face Plate vs Proshift for further details on these 2 techniques.

In his thread I hope to show through the use of pictures the differences of these 2 techniques plus reveal a few other things that I discovered in the original Liberty prepped toploader.

Here is a business end of a factory type toploader gear that is used with a sychro and a brass blocking ring:






This is the same gear, but it has been Proshifted by cutting off the factory teeth and welding on a different assembly:





Here is the same gear, but faceplated. Again, it is accomplished by cutting off the factory teeth and welding on a different assembly:





Here is all 3rd gears in one shot:



Of course the sychro rings (AKA sliders) will need to be replaced in order to use the new gears.

On the left in the following pic is a standard 3rd/4th gear slider. The one on the right has been Proshifted, which basically means that several teeth were ground from the ring:



The next pic shows the Faceplated slider replacement:





Look closely and you will see that this slider is also used in a TKO.

When shifting, it slides and mates with the gears like this:



A stock slider complete with inner hub, springs and shift dogs is on the left, and the Faceplated slider and inner hub is on the right. It doesn't use springs or dogs:



The slider for 1st and second gear is different in appearance. The Proshifted side of the slider had teeth removed to match 2nd gear. The first gear side was not modified. On the left below is the stock slider and on the right is the Proshifted part:





An unmodified first gear is used in a Liberty toploader and the brass blocking rings and shift dogs/springs are eliminated. The modification of the Proshifted 2nd gear prevents them from being used. Because I wanted my racing toploader to be a little more street friendly, I had Liberty modify a brass blocker ring to use as a spacer on the Proshifted second gear so that the eliminated parts could be installed. This will give me a fully functioning sycro'ed first gear so that I won't have to come to a complete stop when downshifting.

On the left is a stock brass blocker ring and on the right the modified part:



Closeup of the modified ring:



Stock 1st gear with brass ring and shift dog:



Proshifted 2nd gear with brass ring and shift dog:



In order to use the Faceplated gears in 3rd and 4th, the corresponding shift rail may need to be modified. Liberty widened the notches a little to ensure full engagement of the faceplated parts:



Upon assembly I further modified the above shift rail by widening the 4th gear slot (on the right) even more to ensure full engagement.

One thing I notice when I had the fully Proshifted tranny is that the large gear of the countergear had a bevel machined into it. It was needed to help clear the modified sychro-it can be seen on the left:





To my surprise, the Faceplated countergear does not need the same modification and a stock gear can be used. Update-as mentioned below in another post: Upon trial assembly I found that there was slight interference between the Proshifted 4th gear and the counter gear. To fix the problem I ended up machining the counter gear as shown above, even though it wasn't supposed to be required.

I found 2 other things of interest that Liberty had originally done. The first is that they strengthened one of the shift forks by welding a small piece of metal to a weak area.

Original fork:



Modified fork:



Side by side:



The final thing of interest are the 1-2 and 3-4 shift levers which are much beefier than the stock:



Interestingly, they did not include grooves for the sealing O rings.

In addition to the obvious work, Liberty polished the inside of the used gears that I provided and cleaned them up nicely:



In the process of figuring out what to do with a bent output shaft, I discovered that Liberty can straighten them and have since sent them the one that I bent.

I talked to Paul (Liberty's toploader specialist) several times and he always took the time to answer my numerous questions to my full satisfaction. Although they are somewhat slow (6 weeks in this case), I am very impressed with their workmanship and attention to detail.
Attached Thumbnails
Liberty Faceplated and Proshifted Toploader-libertyproshift.jpg  
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My little 65' Stang street car:



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10.553@127.81 with a 1.466 60'

Last edited by dennis111; 07-11-2010 at 05:25 AM.
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Old 05-22-2010, 06:58 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Liberty Faceplated and Proshifted Toploader

Awesome Dennis!

Thanks for writing that up!
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Old 05-22-2010, 10:00 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Liberty Faceplated and Proshifted Toploader

Excellent post Dennis! Thanks for taking the time to show us the details and differences between stock, proshifted, and faceplating. I will need to get a faceplated manual of some kind in the future. These pictures and your description are a big help. Thanks!
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Old 06-03-2010, 10:00 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Liberty Faceplated and Proshifted Toploader

Thanks Dennis,
I never really knew what "Pro-shifted" or "Face-plated" was. I assumed Face plated was a type of hardening other than OEM.

MC4
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Old 06-05-2010, 04:40 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Liberty Faceplated and Proshifted Toploader

Quote:
Originally Posted by MCCUTCHEON4 View Post
Thanks Dennis,
I never really knew what "Pro-shifted" or "Face-plated" was. I assumed Face plated was a type of hardening other than OEM.

MC4
I too had often wondered what the exact differences were and what the parts involved looked like.

Technically Faceplating is the act of covering an object, to receive wear or shock. A generic term used in different applications. By definition Proshifted gears are also "Faceplated", but the terminology used helps to differentiate the two techniques.

Thanks guys.
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My little 65' Stang street car:



Dart 428W NA, 4 Spd, 4:33, on pump gas pushing 3550lbs.

10.553@127.81 with a 1.466 60'
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Old 06-06-2010, 07:34 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Liberty Faceplated and Proshifted Toploader

looks strikingly similar to motorcycle transmissions...
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Old 06-27-2010, 01:45 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Liberty Faceplated and Proshifted Toploader

An update. Liberty called and told me that when they tested the output shaft for cracks, they found one where #3 gear is. They asked me what I wanted to do with the shaft and I decided that they could keep it since there was no charges involved. Since then I received a new output shaft from David Kee. This one is just as nice as the first one that I bought from him. The unmachined areas are a larger diameter than the Ford offering.

I spent most of the week trying to install the new guts into the case. At first it couldn't be done as the input shaft needed installed from inside the case and that left inadequate room for the output shaft to be installed behind it. A quick call to Paul at Liberty confirmed that I needed to either shave some of the old sychro cone off the input shaft OR at least notch it to allow the output shaft to be installed. Since I had access to the machine shop at work, I used a carbide cutter and trimmed off part of the old cone. Here is a side by side comparison with the modified part being on the left:



This gave me adequate clearance and I was able to assemble the transmission. Once it was all together I realized that if the input shaft was tilted upward, there was a slight grinding noise coming from the lower front of the tranny. Grrrr, that meant the tranny had to come apart again.

A closer examination revealed the newly added faceplated input shaft assembly had inadequate clearance with the counter gear and it made light contact. Liberty told me that there would be no such issues. Anyways, that meant another trip to work's machine shop where I ground the counter gear at an angle for additional clearance, similar to what Liberty does for their proshifted transmission. Here is both a stock and the modified countershaft:





I then reassembled the toploader and am now satisfied that it was done right for racing. Here is what the tranny looked like before I put the cover on:



2nd gear was proshifted and first gear retains a brass blocking ring for my convenience so I don't have to come to a full stop to downshift. Here is a close up of this area:



3rd and 4th gears were both faceplated (which is not offered for a toploader's 2nd gear.) Here is a close up:



4th gear engaged:



3rd gear engaged:



The picture above clearly shows that the Faceplated dog ring teeth are cut at an angle. This helps prevent the transmission from jumping out of gear.

I have since installed the Liberty prepped toploader and made a short trip down our alley to ensure that all gears appear to shift properly. The big test of all the hard work will be this weekend when we have 3 separate races.
Attached Thumbnails
Liberty Faceplated and Proshifted Toploader-libertyproshift.jpg  
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My little 65' Stang street car:



Dart 428W NA, 4 Spd, 4:33, on pump gas pushing 3550lbs.

10.553@127.81 with a 1.466 60'

Last edited by 67stang; 07-01-2010 at 10:28 PM.
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Old 06-28-2010, 05:47 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Liberty Faceplated and Proshifted Toploader

Great Job, Keep us Posted on the results.
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Old 06-28-2010, 07:22 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Liberty Faceplated and Proshifted Toploader

I understand this is a race-only transmission, but unless I'm missing something about the way this thing operates, the face plated gears must have miserable gear lash whenever any force reversal happens (lift off the throttle and coast, for instance).
Wouldn't this result in a horrible 'clunk' and a pretty harsh impact on the components in the trans as you go through the lights in 4th and then let off the gas?
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Old 06-29-2010, 02:38 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Liberty Faceplated and Proshifted Toploader

Quote:
Originally Posted by marine165 View Post
I understand this is a race-only transmission, but unless I'm missing something about the way this thing operates, the face plated gears must have miserable gear lash whenever any force reversal happens (lift off the throttle and coast, for instance).
Wouldn't this result in a horrible 'clunk' and a pretty harsh impact on the components in the trans as you go through the lights in 4th and then let off the gas?
I understand what you are getting at and did not notice such issues with this when the tranny was fully Pro Shifted, which also has similar wide gaps when gears are engaged. Downshifting did seem to cause more of a jolt but I remember nothing like this on the top side of the track.

I plan on finishing up this thread with observations such as this after this coming weekend's racing events.
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My little 65' Stang street car:



Dart 428W NA, 4 Spd, 4:33, on pump gas pushing 3550lbs.

10.553@127.81 with a 1.466 60'
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Old 06-29-2010, 05:01 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Re: Liberty Faceplated and Proshifted Toploader

Thanks for taking the time to share your experiences with the rest of us. Unfortunately for me, the more I see the more and more I'm leaning away from doing the faceplated/proshifted toploader. I'm a little turned off by the "extra" machine work needed. Are you using an H pattern shifter with the faceplated/proshifted toploader?

Are you going to be at the Pro Stick race at Summerduck on the 17th? Chances are good I'll have my car running by then. Although, after I browsed through the Pro Stick rules this morning, I'm not liking rule 14. Do you know why Nitrous is not allowed this year?
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Old 06-29-2010, 02:43 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Re: Liberty Faceplated and Proshifted Toploader

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cain View Post
Thanks for taking the time to share your experiences with the rest of us. Unfortunately for me, the more I see the more and more I'm leaning away from doing the faceplated/proshifted toploader. I'm a little turned off by the "extra" machine work needed. Are you using an H pattern shifter with the faceplated/proshifted toploader?

Are you going to be at the Pro Stick race at Summerduck on the 17th? Chances are good I'll have my car running by then. Although, after I browsed through the Pro Stick rules this morning, I'm not liking rule 14. Do you know why Nitrous is not allowed this year?
I know exactly why my toploader needed additional machining and it may have been due to the input shaft that I sent. It was previously Proshifted and now it is faceplated. Both knocking off the old stuff to make a collar to install the new rings. For what ever reason they machined the input shaft too close to the gear surface (I estimate 3/16" to much and that is the source of the issues. That 3/16" would have meant no additional machine would have been needed. Not mentioned what that I also needed to further modify the shift rail to allow more engagement--again about 3/16" more.

I am still running an H pattern shifter. I know that a Supershifter or a Vertigate would be better though.

I really haven't seriously considered the trip to Summerduck as it is about a 4 hour trip each way. I do plan on making MIR though the following weekend (27th) which is another long trip. I do like it a lot though.

Not sure why nitrous was banned but yes it is beginning this year. The owner has his own visions of what he wants the club to be like and very few were running it to begin with.
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My little 65' Stang street car:



Dart 428W NA, 4 Spd, 4:33, on pump gas pushing 3550lbs.

10.553@127.81 with a 1.466 60'
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Old 06-29-2010, 10:33 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Re: Liberty Faceplated and Proshifted Toploader

Dennis;I hope you have gone to an adjustable clutch,or at least a lighter unit. I ran a Liberty Faceplated Toploader for four seasins and managed to break it four times!!! I am not totally blaming the trans,but the last breakage was a complete blown up 3rd gear,slider,and shift fork causing the trans to seize,NOT FUN!!I was using a semi-metallic puck style 11" clutch behind a 347 in a 3000lb car.I feel the clutch was too violent!I have switched to a Jerico and a McLeod Soft-loc clutch,so far so good! ROY.
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Old 06-30-2010, 02:34 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Re: Liberty Faceplated and Proshifted Toploader

Thank you Roy for your input and experience.

Yes, I do run an adjustable Ram clutch with low static pressures and I credit it for allowing me to make the races week after week. Ran it at 425lbs last week and am currently messing with counterweights.

Unfortunately I trashed the first Liberty with the same clutch. The clutch was fresh and needed broke in and I had set it up with way too much initial static. I resisted all precautions to take it easy on the first run of the year and just dropped the clutch to "let er' rip." Dumb, dumb, dumb. Even so, the destruction was probably inevitable as I had installed an aftermarket 2.90 ratio first gear--and apparently they are not nearly strong enough for drag applications.
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My little 65' Stang street car:



Dart 428W NA, 4 Spd, 4:33, on pump gas pushing 3550lbs.

10.553@127.81 with a 1.466 60'

Last edited by dennis111; 06-30-2010 at 01:38 PM.
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Old 07-02-2010, 10:44 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Re: Liberty Faceplated and Proshifted Toploader

WOW! I came across this thread and couldn't believe my eyes. I had been looking 6 months for just this kind of info, but couldn't find any detailed information at all, so i just decided to wing it and do my own faceplate project. Mine is done and i've been driving it for a few months, NOW I find this thread. Turns out, i did everything almost exactly like Liberty did, except my tranny is a bit of an oddball...a Saginaw.

I had turned it into a crashbox in 2nd and 3rd gears, but kept synchros in 1st and 4th. It worked great for me, but the longest I could get 3rd gear's dogs to last was 2 months (light street/strip car). Since nobody makes any upgrades for them, I decided to see how hard it would be to faceplate the Sag's 3rd gear on my own.

I bought a 3/4 gear faceplate slider and a couple dog rings for a Toploader from Liberty last year, on the gamble that i could get them to work in my application. Here's the steps that i took...

...Split the Liberty faceplate slider with a cutoff wheel in a die grinder mounted to my lathe's toolholder.
...Machined the Sag's slider and 1/2 of the Liberty faceplate so i could weld the two together.
...Machined the dogs on the Saginaw's 3rd gear to allow me to weld on a Liberty dog ring.
...Due to the unique design of the Sag's mainshaft retention, i had to devise a way to release a hidden snap ring to allow dis-assembly. A little grinding on the case and a modification to a pair of snap ring pliers gets the job done.
...Assembled the mainshaft and attempted to install in the case...no way. Just couldn't get the faceplate/dog ring over the cluster. Final solution was to assemble the rear half of the mainshaft inside the case after installation.
...after it was assembled, while turning it by hand, I could feel drag from some parts rubbing. Without a top cover to remove, it was hard to pin down exactly where the problem was. Solution was to take a spare maincase and cut a big 4x6 hole in the top. I then put the internals into my new "set-up" case, and could see that the detent on my faceplated gear needed work...it over-engaged 3rd gear causing the shift fork to rub hard in it's slot. Re-working the detent plates got the forks centered. Adjusting the shifter's stops caused another problem to pop up...
...now 3rd gear's faceplate takes little movement to engage, but 1st gear still takes the original travel. Setting the stop for 3rd gear resulted in 1st gear being less than fully engaged. Solution was to add a stop to the shifter's body specifically for the shifter's 3rd gear lever.
...Re-installed the guts into their former maincase, installed the transmission in the car, and everything works great.

If i could have came up with a way to faceplate 2nd gear too, i would have. Problem is, no way to do that and keep reverse too. Since mine is a street car, reverse comes in handy from time to time.

I drive it around town all the time, and drive it to the track as well (about 180 mi round trip). The synchros are really nice to have for stop/go traffic, and now I don't think I could miss 3rd gear if I tried. It's a 2530lb car (with 200lb me in it) that has 45/55 distribution due to a 10" engine setback. With added fuel load and an optional rear bumper w/ 90lbs inside, it can get as much as 43/57 for the really slick places. It can be neither confirmed nor denied that the car street races from time to time.

I know, I know, if I had put all that effort into a Toploader my problems would have been solved...but there is satisfaction in finding out that i could make it work too, and that my results align pretty close to how the pros do it.
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