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  • Transmission / Overdrive: Overdrive problem

    I have a 1950 Champion Starlight 6 cylinder with overdrive. About a month ago, ithe overdrive just quit engaging.and wold not kick in when I got it up to speed. It freewheels and the lockout lever works. We did tests and the relay and solenoid click when the tests are run. The relay fuse is good.
    I ordered a new relay, a new kickdown switch and a new lockout switch. A friend of mine in the local SDC checked the old parts and they were good. We put in the new parts anyway. Still no luck.
    We jacked up the rear wheels and acclerated the car to 35 miles per hour and he put a test light on it and it lit up so he said the governor was good. He also let me borrow a good solenoid to try and it didn't solve the problem either.
    Don't know where to go from here. Anyone have any ideas? John

  • #2
    That kind of leaves only 2 possibilities then doesn't it?

    1. The wiring is bad

    2. The wire connections are wrong or not making good connections.

    Unless the internals in the O.D. planetary are toast, that does not seem all that likely if it worked before it failed and there was no big CRUNCH, Bang!
    StudeRich
    Second Generation Stude Driver,
    Proud '54 Starliner Owner
    SDC Member Since 1967

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    • #3
      I took the car into an oldtime repair and electrical shop to check the overdrive electrical connections and wiring. They performed all the tests in the workshop manual as well as they had a copy of the overdrive repair instructions I purchased. They were familiar with overdrives, studied all the charts and understood how it was supposed to work. They checked and tested all wiring and said all wiring is good. Connections are good and they performed every test. Lastly, they put the car on the rack, ran it up to 35, said they heard a click and then another click as the speed dropped down into the teens. However, when I get it out on the road, it will not click in and engage. They checked all parts. The governor checked out when grounded.
      Am I missing soemthing here? The only thing left is mechanical. The transmission works well except for a slight crunch if I shift into second gear too quickly. The car free wheels and it locks out properly. Any idea where I go from here? Thanks John

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      • #4
        Originally posted by jpiatchek View Post
        The only thing left is mechanical. The transmission works well except for a slight crunch if I shift into second gear too quickly. The car free wheels and it locks out properly. Any idea where I go from here? Thanks John
        One thing you could do is remove the Solenoid and re-install it per the manual, I think it is something like a quarter turn to insert and lock it into the pawl, if that does not help it sounds like it may be time to pull it and open it up.

        StudeRich
        Second Generation Stude Driver,
        Proud '54 Starliner Owner
        SDC Member Since 1967

        Comment


        • #5
          Overdrive

          Originally posted by StudeRich View Post
          One thing you could do is remove the Solenoid and re-install it per the manual, I think it is something like a quarter turn to insert and lock it into the pawl, if that does not help it sounds like it may be time to pull it and open it up.

          RIck Phillips lent me a solenoid he said was good and I installed it with no results and then reinstalled mine and same thing. Can the tailshaft be pulled, or do you think the whole transmission? Thanks

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          • #6
            You gotta pull the entire transmission. It might be possible to pull the back case, but you'd have bits and pieces falling off the assembly.

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            • #7
              IIRC there are 2 wires that go to the solenoid. Are they swapped?

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              • #8
                overdrive

                Originally posted by ozarkman View Post
                IIRC there are 2 wires that go to the solenoid. Are they swapped?
                It quit working all of a sudden and no wires were switched. The shop checked all wiring per shop manual today and everything was as it should be.

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                • #9
                  I would try this: Lift the car on a frame-contact hoist so the wheels hang free. Leave the transmission in high gear, with the OD handle pushed in.

                  Under the car, try turning the drive shaft by hand. It should turn freely in a clockwise direction, as viewed from the front of the car, and lock up if turned the other way. That tells you that the freewheel sprag clutch is working (and you already know that, anyway).

                  Now, remove the solenoid, and use a small screwdriver to push the pawl in as far as it will go. You should be able to insert a 1/4" wide screwdriver blade into the slot in the end of the pawl, and by twisting it, grip the pawl so that you can move it back and forth in its channel. It should be capable of being easily moved about a half inch, maybe a little less. If you cannot move it at all, something is wrong, and the transmission will have to come out and be torn down.

                  Put the solenoid back in place, being sure to insert it with the flats on its plunger parallel with the crankshaft, then rotate it to clock the bolt holes. Feed battery juice to the #4 terminal; you should hear the solenoid click loudly. With the solenoid energized, use an ohmmeter or test light on #6 terminal to check for ground. #6 should be open-circuit with the solenoid shut off, and go to ground with it turned on. If it does not go to ground with the solenoid turned on, that may mean that the solenoid is not extending far enough to kick in the overdrive, or that the movement of the pawl is is being blocked.
                  Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands

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                  • #10
                    As usual Gord is right on. You might not have access to a lift readily.
                    You could also remove the wire from # 6 terminal on the solenoid, and connect your own temp wire back to the battery with a temp toggle sw you can control from inside the car. Be sure the OD handle is pushed in. #6 terminal is the most important of the entire wiring scheme of these things. Drive and get the car up to 30 moh, let your foot off the gas, and manually throw the switch you just hooked up. If the OD kicks in normally then you have electrical circuit issues, which is by far and away the usual cause for OD problems.

                    I have actually used this setup, a total manual OD activation, on a vehicle that had a bad relay and the owner was not ready to get a new one. To this day this is how he drives the car. Of course you can't be in reverse and you really don't want to do this under 30.You can also remove the solenoid, ground its case, and apply battery voltage to #6 and see and hear if the solenoid activates. This way you can be sure that the solenoid is good.

                    Over the years many seasoned mechanics have been stumped by the electrics of these things. That is why I am not totally convinced the shop you used was able to accomplish proper testing, it can be confusing as hell. It takes someone who truly understands automotive electrical circuits to do the testing properly. The system is made more complicated than it needs to be because of the kickdown feature which I never use. If it weren't for the governor, the relay wouldn't even be needed.

                    There are links all over the place for the Borg Warner manual for free, and there are a couple sites that want to charge you for it. In case a free link has not come up in a while, here is one:
                    http://www.packardinfo.com/xoops/htm...oads/BW_OD.pdf
                    Good luck. Do some testing yourself and get back to us. They are def. worth fixing.
                    Last edited by tbirdtbird; 11-11-2011, 09:32 PM.
                    1947 M5 under restoration
                    a bunch of non-Stude stuff

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                    • #11
                      The most common cause for an overdrive to suddenly quit working is oil in the governor. The governor is the module at the back of the transmission with one wire on it. It reads the drive shaft speed and tells the transmission when the car is going fast enough to go into overdrive, or slow enough to drop out of overdrive.

                      The internal seals sometimes leak, the thing fills with oil, the oil sparks and turns to goo, and then the points can no longer conduct.

                      If you take it off, remove the cover, clean it out with carb or brake cleaner, clean the points with a fine file or some emery cloth, your overdrive might just work again.
                      RadioRoy, specializing in AM/FM conversions with auxiliary inputs for iPod/satellite/CD player. In the old car radio business since 1985.


                      10G-C1 - 51 Champion starlight coupe
                      4H-K5 - 53 Commander starliner hardtop
                      5H-D5 - 54 Commander Conestoga wagon

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                      • #12
                        Overdrive

                        Thank you, gentlemen, I will try some of this over the weekend. John

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                        • #13
                          Ditto for me withpost # 11, The governor needs to be replaced. It's a small seal I think you can get one from Vintage Coach, Hudson dealer, in Fontana, Ca. 909-823-9168 Tues. to Sat. 8am till 5pm. good luck. We've had this problem several times with Hudsons ,same O.D. unit.

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                          • #14
                            it is not easy to get at the governor. I'd still start with the method I described. It is an easy way to determine if the problem is electrical or not, then go from there
                            1947 M5 under restoration
                            a bunch of non-Stude stuff

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                            • #15
                              So... what did you find? Inquiring minds want to know.
                              RadioRoy, specializing in AM/FM conversions with auxiliary inputs for iPod/satellite/CD player. In the old car radio business since 1985.


                              10G-C1 - 51 Champion starlight coupe
                              4H-K5 - 53 Commander starliner hardtop
                              5H-D5 - 54 Commander Conestoga wagon

                              Comment

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