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  • Torque Converter Drain-back

    My '55 President V8 auto has a torque converter drain-back problem. After sitting for a few weeks, it'll dump a few ounces for fluid on the floor at start up. After that, it runs fine and doesn't leak much. I know that the "cure" is to run it often. With a busy life and 3 classics, I just don't get to run it more often. What's the real problem? Surely new Studebakers didn't do this on the show room floors and parking lots? Is something wearing out? I'm willing to pull the transmission to fix it if necessary.


  • #2
    There is a possibility that you may have some wear in the front pump bushing, which can add to drainback problem. These cars were designed to be driven DAILY, hence little or no drainback. My 99 Dodge truck with 61K on the clock will do that if I don't run it or drive it for 2 weeks. You can check how much its draining back by pulling out trans dipstick to check how much level has risen try once every 2 days. When the level is closest to the top note number of days then start and run for a few minutes within that time frame. Also on the DG series, the converter holds far more fluid than the case can, so any sitting idle with even a small amount of drainback will eventually fill the case causing the leak. Lou Cote [8D]

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    • #3
      I rebuilt my DG tranny 14 years ago. Fairly regular driving, but sometimes it's sit for months on end for one reason or another. Drain back spill over never happened in all those years, until one time a few months ago.

      Why or how it happens is a good question? I've thought a lot about this problem since you posted the question. It's really hard to nail down where it could be coming out of the torque converter. The T/C is like a closed system, only one "straw" or opening for it to come out. So you must have air going "in" to allow the fluid to come "out." Where the air is going in, is the big question?

      Off the top of my head here's a few things:
      1) Front pump seal (most likely, also the cause of oil leaks coming from the front of the tranny (versus the oil pan or back end leaks, which are common)
      2) worn front pump, and or front pump bushing
      3) Worn oil control seal rings (these are located on the direct drive spline that goes into the torque converter, they direct the oil pressure from the pumps into the torque converter through the front splines -they tend to last long, not usually the problem.)
      4) Problem with the valve assembly, a weak spring or bad seal letting drain back through the valve system.
      5) Old and brittle, or simply worn out O-ring seals in the T/C itself, meaning you need to rebuild the T/C. (call Studebakers West Vendor for that)

      Best Regards,
      Eric West
      "The Speedster Kid"
      Sunny Northern California
      Where the roads don't freeze over and the heat doesn't kill you.
      And an open road is yours to have -only during non-commute rush hours 9am-4pm and 7pm to 7am (Ha, ha, ha)
      55 Speedster "Lemon/Lime" (Beautiful)
      55 President State Sedan (Rusty original, but runs great and reliable)
      Best Regards,
      Eric West
      "The Speedster Kid"
      Sunny Northern California
      Where the roads don't freeze over and the heat doesn't kill you.
      And an open road is yours to have -only during non-commute rush hours 9am-4pm and 7pm to 7am (Ha, ha, ha)
      55 Speedster "Lemon/Lime" (Beautiful)
      55 President State Sedan (Rusty original, but runs great and reliable)

      Comment


      • #4
        Typically the drain back is caused by the "O" ring in the converter being out place, worn, or broken. This problem is very common on the 56 Golden Hawks with Ultramatics. You can contact Brent Hagen and purchase his "anti puke kit". I think itis $5. It prevent fluid from coming up and out.

        Another cure I have found is not to "set the choke" b depressing the gas pedal. Let the car crank for a few seconds, then make afull fledged attempt to start. What is happening is the RPM's are so high on an initial start up that fluid is thrown up and out. If you let the car crank but not sart for about 5 seconds something prevents any puking.

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        • #5
          all good and helpful answers, guys, thanks. bondobilly, who's brent hagen and how do i contact him? the transmission and TC were rebuilt 6-8 years ago when i renovated it. i plan to pull the engine and trans and check it out. thanks!

          Comment


          • #6
            If you have a 55' and it's original, then you'll have the Borg Warner DG tranny. Bondobilly mentioned the "anti-puke kit" for 56 golden hawks ultramatics, that's a completely different transmission, so it probably wouldn't work for yours.

            Best Regards,
            Eric West
            "The Speedster Kid"
            Sunny Northern California
            Where the roads don't freeze over and the heat doesn't kill you.
            And an open road is yours to have -only during non-commute rush hours 9am-4pm and 7pm to 7am (Ha, ha, ha)
            55 Speedster "Lemon/Lime" (Beautiful)
            55 President State Sedan (Rusty original, but runs great and reliable)
            Best Regards,
            Eric West
            "The Speedster Kid"
            Sunny Northern California
            Where the roads don't freeze over and the heat doesn't kill you.
            And an open road is yours to have -only during non-commute rush hours 9am-4pm and 7pm to 7am (Ha, ha, ha)
            55 Speedster "Lemon/Lime" (Beautiful)
            55 President State Sedan (Rusty original, but runs great and reliable)

            Comment


            • #7
              Another common fault is over filling the transmission. Be sure it is at full operating temperature before checking and adding any transmission fluid.

              Jim Caldwell
              "The view don't change if you ain't the lead dog"
              http://ozarktrails.tripod.com/

              Comment

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