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Thread: 1941 Scout 3-speed vs 4-speed transmission?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
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    San Luis Obispo, CA.
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    Default 1941 Scout 3-speed vs 4-speed transmission?

    I have a 3-speed transmission on my 41' scout. Is there an advantage to a 4-speed? Or disadvantages?
    What are they? If any has had one installed or prior experience please advise? Thanks.

  2. #2
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    been told by the old timers that the four speeds were not very good, said the ratios were not very good. Just what I have been told, believe they are pretty rare also. The three speeds are tough and doe a good job, been riding a 40 bit's of Scout 20 some years, off and on. Good luck

  3. #3
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    Can you expand on what you mean by the ratios are not very good? Thanks for the reply.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by moto1969 View Post
    Can you expand on what you mean by the ratios are not very good? Thanks for the reply.
    I am not familiar with the Scouts 4 speed but here are some things with the chief.
    Fourth and third in the 3 speed are the same so no advantage there.
    More shifting for what? the chief anyway has plenty of torque and shifting can slow you down not to mention the rowing effect.
    Also with two sliders adjustment is critical and they blow up if not right.
    I have all the parts for chief 4speed but will probably never use it for those reasons.
    Tom

  5. #5
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    I've never owned a Scout but have owned and ridden 3-speed 45 H-D flatheads and 3 and 4-speed Big Twins. I liked the 3-speeds better. Having to shift less often was a big advantage I thought. You can slow way down in 2nd when yielding, etc., then wind it way out in 2nd then just shift once into high. On the 45, the three speed allowed one to keep up with the Big Twin 4-speeds off the line for a ways because they had to shift an additional time. Of course all my 3-speeds were all set up with reverse because I liked 3rd wheels and sidecars too.

  6. #6
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    Yes, that is what I was told. the ratios between 3rd and 4th were too close - no real advantage. Other than a conversation piece I guess, believe they are quite rare. Not even sure if they had four speeds for the Scout's, might of been just Chief's. It was years ago talking to Lee Standley, but he really knew Sport Scout's and Indians.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
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    Hi,
    Scouts did have an available 4-speed. First is quite close to second, and unless you are starting up a hill, taking off in second is fairly easy. The 4-speed is handy with a sidecar as the final gearing can be for a faster top speed - with first gear being used to take off. Shifting is more frequent with a 4-speed, and the opportunity for a missed gear when shifting increases. As far as I know, the gear teeth are narrower with the 4-speed; in order to get all of the gears into the case, which is basically the same as the 3-speed case. The narrower teeth on the 4-speed probably weakens the gears somewhat. The 4-speed transmission top; which is basically the same top that the 3-speed w/reverse uses, can be a problem if it isn't set up properly - as mentioned in an earlier reply to this thread. The 3-speed transmission is so simple and sturdy, that unless a specific need for a non-overdrive 4-speed surfaces, I would stay with the 3-speed.

  8. #8
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    Thanks to all who have replied and given their opinion. I am going to stick with my 3-speed transmission base on the discussion and advice given on this thread.

  9. #9

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    If anyone has factory spec 4 speed gears for sale, PM me and let me know. I have the case for a Sport Scout, but no gears. I don't know if these gears are reproduced. The 4 speed and Reverse tower and case were identical or nearly identical for Sport Scouts. So much so the factory externally stamped them with a "4" or "R" depending on what was inside. The 4 is in the 6 o'clock position in the close up of the 4 speed, and the R is in the 6 o'clock position, and faintly in the 12 o'clock position of the reverse case on these examples. Here are some pics.
    Scout 4 Speed.jpgScout 4 speed 1.jpgScout Reverse.jpg

  10. #10

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    There was a guy in Australia making gears for original Indian four speed gearboxes. Think I found him through Virtual Indian forum.

    Mike

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