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Hesitation getting into gear

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  • Hesitation getting into gear

    Today I took my dad for his first ride in Stella. Seems as we went around the block, the rough hiccup or cough that she had, went away (maybe something temporarily clogged the carb?).

    Anyway, Stella is an automatic, and today she was having a tough time "catching" into gear. Awhile back I posted she didn't want to get into Reverse. Well, now when I start up from a stop, the engine revs like it's getting gas, but she doesn't immediately start going. Not sure if the correct phrase is the transmission is slipping, but I'm open to any suggestions on fixing it.

    On a side note, has anyone used the Lucas products for transmission or oil. I've got a few drips and I heard that stuff was pretty good.



    1951 Commander Starlight Coupe (aka "Stella")
    www.bulletshots.net
    www.bulletshots.net/blog

  • #2
    quote:Originally posted by Eman

    Today I took my dad for his first ride in Stella. Seems as we went around the block, the rough hiccup or cough that she had, went away (maybe something temporarily clogged the carb?).

    Anyway, Stella is an automatic, and today she was having a tough time "catching" into gear. Awhile back I posted she didn't want to get into Reverse. Well, now when I start up from a stop, the engine revs like it's getting gas, but she doesn't immediately start going. Not sure if the correct phrase is the transmission is slipping, but I'm open to any suggestions on fixing it.

    On a side note, has anyone used the Lucas products for transmission or oil. I've got a few drips and I heard that stuff was pretty good.



    1951 Commander Starlight Coupe (aka "Stella")
    www.bulletshots.net
    www.bulletshots.net/blog
    Eman, that sounds like what the transmission shops call "morning sickness." The rubber seals on the internal servos have become old and hard, and don't seal well until the tranny warms up. If the fluid level is low due to leaks, that may exacerbate the problem.

    I've had no experience with Lucas products, but Trans-X has been commonly recommended as a palliative for this problem on the Stude newsgroup. Please note my careful choice of words here

    The "cure" is to tear down the tranny and install new seals and friction materials. If it is otherwise undamaged, you probably won't need hard parts, but I believe that most tranny people would recommend you have the convertor rebuilt.

    Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands
    Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands

    Comment


    • #3
      Unfortunately I may have to go the inexpensive route for now and add some Lucas or Trans X... hoping it works. I don't have the knowledge, funds, or access to anything heavy duty enough for a transmission overhaul.



      1951 Commander Starlight Coupe (aka "Stella")
      www.bulletshots.net
      www.bulletshots.net/blog

      Comment


      • #4
        I haven't tried adjusting the linkage any (Not really sure how to do that yet either). Think that could be part of the problem or solution?



        1951 Commander Starlight Coupe (aka "Stella")
        www.bulletshots.net
        www.bulletshots.net/blog

        Comment


        • #5
          Have you/are you checking the transmission level in "D" (drive) ? Make sure you have warmed up the engine/tranny, and are checking it correctly. Correct level "may" help with the reverse, but unlikely the surging you describe. I have used a qt can of TRANS-X in my Flight-o-matic 2 years ago (3000 miles) with little help on cold days. I have just rebuilt another tranny for dropping in...just haven't got around to it yet. I hope I don't see the "hook" before I replace it....

          Comment


          • #6
            The Detriot Gear (Studebaker Automatic) used thru 1955 cars (and thru 1956 trucks) get's it's fluid checked with the tranny fully warmed up, the parking brake set (or someone holding the brakes), the car running at idle and the shift selector in "L" - not "D".

            If the fluid dipstick shows the fluid to be low, it's important to know that the distance between the "low" mark on the dipstick and the "full" mark represents one pint of fluid. Don't exceed that full mark or foaming might occur. This would play hell with the operation of the unit.[}]

            Miscreant at large.

            1957 Transtar 1/2ton
            1960 Larkvertible V8
            1958 Provincial wagon
            1953 Commander coupe
            1957 President 2-dr
            1955 President State
            1951 Champion Biz cpe
            1963 Daytona project FS
            No deceptive flags to prove I'm patriotic - no biblical BS to impress - just ME and Studebakers - as it should be.

            Comment


            • #7
              Okay, Stella must be possessed or something. Parked and not running, the tranny fluid is right where it should be. After running the car for a while, D and L show little to no fluid on the dipstick. And crazy enough, N and R has fluid all over the dipstick!

              And here is a little more in depth description of what's happening:
              Acceleration is fine, but the trans slips under heavy pressure/load. When you stop, the transmission remains in the higher gear and you can hear spinning and revving from the tranny. You wait for a sec, then you hear it fall into the lower gear and everything is fine again. We tried starting in L (kind of forcing it into the lower gear) then moving it into D, and it works fine (other than the occasional slipping under heavy pressure).



              1951 Commander Starlight Coupe (aka "Stella")
              www.bulletshots.net
              www.bulletshots.net/blog

              Comment


              • #8
                Only what you see with it in "L" is relevant. None of those other positions on the selector is mentioned in the DG manual.
                If it shows low in "L" then you need to add some fluid util it reads Full in Low (L)

                From the Low mark on the dipstick to the Full mark, it takes one pint to bring it up to full.

                Miscreant at large.

                1957 Transtar 1/2ton
                1960 Larkvertible V8
                1958 Provincial wagon
                1953 Commander coupe
                1957 President 2-dr
                1955 President State
                1951 Champion Biz cpe
                1963 Daytona project FS
                No deceptive flags to prove I'm patriotic - no biblical BS to impress - just ME and Studebakers - as it should be.

                Comment


                • #9
                  At this point, especially with driving the car very low on transmission fluid, I would do a service on the transmission. The fluid in there may be dirty and burnt from slipping components in the transmission. That is a rare and expensive transmission. Preserve it. Drain the transmission and the torque convertor. Refill with a good quality fluid. When the fluid is warm, bring the level up to Full with the transmission in Low. Recheck a few times after driving. You will probably work some air out and need to top off. Do not overfill.
                  Gary L.
                  Wappinger, NY

                  SDC member since 1968
                  Studebaker enthusiast much longer

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I'll try adding the fluid as you guys have mentioned. I expressed to Mr. Biggs in an email that I was afraid of overflowing since the fluid level is normal when the engine is off (yet almost non-existant in Low), but maybe adding fluid in Low will get it distributed differently. Thanks.



                    1951 Commander Starlight Coupe (aka "Stella")
                    www.bulletshots.net
                    www.bulletshots.net/blog

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Eman, What you don't understand is that with the selector in different positions, different amounts of fluid are circulating thru different parts of the transmission - consequently, different levels of fluid readings.
                      I couldn't begin to guess why the trans maker chose the "L" position for a fluid check, but you can be sure there's definite reason behind it. As to it reading full with the engine off, that's when neither of the two pumps are moving fluid and alot of the fluid (not all of it) settles into the pan.
                      This thing isn't just pumping fluid like a parts washer. There's multiple hydraulic servos and valves that have differing demands for volume of fluid as the transmission performs various selcted functions.
                      I see Gary's calling for a "service" but I'd bet he doesn't recall that you just did that in recent weeks. Probably, what's happened is you never really got the trans fully refilled. Especially if you were trying to second guess how to read the dipstick.
                      Get it warm, add fluid with the Low gear selected until it reads Full on the dipstick. Then come back and give us a performance report.

                      Miscreant at large.

                      1957 Transtar 1/2ton
                      1960 Larkvertible V8
                      1958 Provincial wagon
                      1953 Commander coupe
                      1957 President 2-dr
                      1955 President State
                      1951 Champion Biz cpe
                      1963 Daytona project FS
                      No deceptive flags to prove I'm patriotic - no biblical BS to impress - just ME and Studebakers - as it should be.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Alright, here's the update...

                        I got the engine warm, checked the transmission fluid, added fluid, and repeated until I got it to the Full mark on the dipstick. A few times I shifted through the gears just to make sure things went circulating where they needed. Then took her out for a spin again. I didn't feel any slipping, and don't think I felt any major hesitations like before. (Hopefully I'll take her out again this weekend. I didn't have as much time today as I had wanted.)

                        The bad news is she still doesn't want to go in Reverse. I can shift into Reverse, but she doesn't even feel like she gets into that gear sometimes. And when I press on the gas, sometimes she still wants to go forward. Maybe I need to look at the linkage next? (Like I know where or what that really is!)[B)]

                        Anyway, thatnks for the insight on the proper way to add the tranny fluid and check it. I think that definitely helped and got me going in the right direction again.



                        1951 Commander Starlight Coupe (aka "Stella")
                        www.bulletshots.net
                        www.bulletshots.net/blog

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Your transmission accomplishes reverse by using the low/reverse band and the direct clutch. If the direct clutch is bad, then you won't have any third gear. If the low/reverse band is bad, then you won't have any low gear engine braking. This can be caused by a burnt band, a broken band, incorrect band adjustment, blown servo seals or a problem with band struts. After you test drive it, take the pan off and see if you find anything weird laying in the bottom of it.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Hope fully just a linkage problem.My Lark won't go into reverse without a good hard tug down on the handle.But when the linkage is forced,she goes right into reverse perfectly.[this is next on my list of small details on the car]I know without some adjusting,and probably some new bushings in the linkage,soon I won't have any reverse...

                            LaSalle,Il
                            61Hawk
                            60Lark
                            Oglesby,Il.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              quote:Originally posted by 52hawk

                              Hope fully just a linkage problem.My Lark won't go into reverse without a good hard tug down on the handle.But when the linkage is forced,she goes right into reverse perfectly.[this is next on my list of small details on the car]I know without some adjusting,and probably some new bushings in the linkage,soon I won't have any reverse...

                              LaSalle,Il
                              61Hawk
                              60Lark
                              Failure to go into reverse is a classic symptom of deteriorated tranny mounts. Remember the linkage rod is PUSHED down to select Reverse. As the mount ages and sags, the tranny slips down a bit, away from the steering column, to which the linkage rod is fixed at the front. It has to move only a fraction of an inch for the reverse gate to get "out of reach".

                              Eman may have a touch of the same problem.

                              Lengthening the shifter rod at the clevis will make the shifting problem go away for while, but the right way to fix it is to install new tranny mounts. They are available from all the usual vendors; not especially cheap, but money well spent, nevertheless.

                              Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands
                              Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands

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