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1953 to 1962 Corvette Service Repair Manual

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1953-1962 Corvette Shop Service Repair Manual

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08: 1956-1957 Corvette Transmissions & Clutch


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A new three-speed transmission provides numerically low, closely stepped ratios and, when used with the relatively light weight Corvette, permits high performance under ordinary driving conditions as well as in high speed ranges. The Powerglide transmission is available at extra cost.


The performance requirements for operation, desired by many Corvette owners, are quite different from those of ordinary driving. The transmission ratios must be selected to keep the engine operating in its high output range as consistently as possible. First speed gear cannot function as a starting gear only. It must handle the lower range of road speeds as well, while delivering high engine power. Second speed must multiply torque without forcing the engine to exceed its high output speed range. Upshifting and down-shifting must be accomplished quickly and at high speeds.


With the new transmission, high road speeds can be obtained in both first and second speed due to the low numerical ratios, hence acceleration occurs over a greater vehicle speed range, resulting in high performance. Also, because of the closely matched gear ratios, transmission up-shifting and down-shifting can be quickly accomplished at high speeds.


Basically, the new transmission is the same as that used on the conventional passenger car. Design changes in the clutch gear, counter gear and second speed gear account for the numerically lower ratios. Ratios in first and second gear are 2.2-to-1 and 1. 31-to-1 respectively. Third speed remains direct and reverse is 2.2-to-1.


A higher capacity clutch gear bearing and mainshaft rear bearing provide greater durability, and a stronger snap ring better retains the synchronizer ring in high speed operation. A neoprene "0" ring replaces the cork seal used on the shifter shaft, for lower shifting friction.


In exterior appearance the new close-ratio transmission differs from the conventional passenger car three-speed transmission only in that three pads for mounting transmission controls are added at the rear of the extension, and a single pad for attachment to the transmission rear support is added at the bottom.


The transmission control lever is relocated to the top of the floor tunnel for both standard three speed and optional Powerglide transmissions. The control assembly is bolted to the left side of the transmission extension, making possible a compact linkage with reduced deflection . This convenient arrangement allows a more positive shift and adds to driver operating ease.








A high capacity 10 -1/2 inch diameter clutch, of coil spring design, is regular equipment with the Corvette engine and standard three - speed transmission. Twelve heat treated coil springs replace the former diaphragm spring. Because of the greater pressure supplied to the pressure plate, this clutch is particularly well suited to the high torque and engine speeds of the Corvette engine.


Three levers are employed for clutch disengagement, and pressure plate drive is of the lug type.



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