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Flight-o-matic Transmission locking up when shifting from low to high!

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  • #31
    Once again it seems we are getting off the intent and purpose of posting a technical issue. My intent - and perhaps the intent and purpose of most technical posts - is/was to determine, "if anyone else has had this problem before" and/or "what was the corrective action, if any". I want to drive my '57 Hawk, but if this is a design flaw I will never drive it again; if it is simply a repair and maintenance issue, then I will perform those tasks (or have them done) and do my 'due diligence'. If I must park my classic car and admire it in my garage, then I have no desire to own it; I would much rather drive and enjoy it knowing there are no gotcha's by design (that is what I am trying to determine here). I can handle the driver error - and accept the responsibility - just don't need the car killing me by itself!

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    • #32
      No, It's not common, and no, it's not a design flaw. I'm betting dollars to doughnuts a servo is sticking, or a seal is not holding hydraulic pressure. Pull the trans. and install soft parts kit, and clean the valve body.
      Bez Auto Alchemy
      573-318-8948
      http://bezautoalchemy.com


      "Don't believe every internet quote" Abe Lincoln

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      • #33
        Originally posted by carussell View Post
        Once again it seems we are getting off the intent and purpose of posting a technical issue. My intent - and perhaps the intent and purpose of most technical posts - is/was to determine, "if anyone else has had this problem before" and/or "what was the corrective action, if any". I want to drive my '57 Hawk, but if this is a design flaw I will never drive it again; if it is simply a repair and maintenance issue, then I will perform those tasks (or have them done) and do my 'due diligence'. If I must park my classic car and admire it in my garage, then I have no desire to own it; I would much rather drive and enjoy it knowing there are no gotcha's by design (that is what I am trying to determine here). I can handle the driver error - and accept the responsibility - just don't need the car killing me by itself!
        As I mentioned earlier, there are a few issues that could be causing your problem. The transmission itself is of an excellent design, proven by many years of service in many brands of vehicles. Get out the shop manual, read up, and find the problem.
        Jim Bradley
        Lake Monticello, VA
        '78 Avanti II
        sigpic

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        • #34
          It is inherently a good transmission. This is FAR from a common problem. My suggestion is to get a known good transmission and swap them.
          Gary L.
          Wappinger, NY

          SDC member since 1968
          Studebaker enthusiast much longer

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          • #35
            Originally posted by bezhawk View Post
            No, It's not common, and no, it's not a design flaw. I'm betting dollars to doughnuts a servo is sticking, or a seal is not holding hydraulic pressure. Pull the trans. and install soft parts kit, and clean the valve body.
            With all due respect, when an automobile's technology allows a lock-up of the rear wheels - at sufficient speed to place it in an uncontrolled skid and potentially roll, during an "automatic" operation - that's a design flaw.
            I will be pulling the transmission and taking it to the repair shop. The automatic tranmission is where I draw the line as a mechanic; not my forte'.

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            • #36
              Originally posted by studegary View Post
              It is inherently a good transmission. This is FAR from a common problem. My suggestion is to get a known good transmission and swap them.
              With modifications and improvements over the years, this certainly became a pretty good, dependable transmission; that I have always heard. I have owned at least 48 different classic cars and trucks over the years and have had the pleasure of restoring and/or driving all of them. I have owned them with Mercomatics, Flightomatics, Fordomatics, Cruiseomatics, C4's, C6's, Power-glides, Turbo-hydramatics, etc., etc. I have driven these classics with those various transmissions in them after they had been sitting for decades, or current light use/hard use, and/or after being rebuilt. None of these - save the Studebaker Flightomatic - has ever locked-up on me and placed me in peril. The only time I have ever had a vehicle lock up on me - for any reason - was when I was driving a Triumph Spitfire that had lost all its rear differential oil; it seized at 55mph. It stayed flat and I survived that scare; shorts a bit soiled, but that was an acceptable outcome.

              Now, this transmission came from another '57 and it was working fine; my original transmission was slipping, pressure valve lever assembly damaged, and the park pawl was broken. Before installation of the "new" transmission, the fluid was drained and the screen replaced; upon installation, new fluid was added. The car was driven about six miles before being parked and only occasionally moved after that - inside to outside and back. It had been sitting about six months when this lock-up event happened. Another "swap" is out of the question, but, to the transmission shop I will go!
              Last edited by carussell; 02-05-2013, 11:22 AM.

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              • #37
                Originally posted by Rerun View Post
                As I mentioned earlier, there are a few issues that could be causing your problem. The transmission itself is of an excellent design, proven by many years of service in many brands of vehicles. Get out the shop manual, read up, and find the problem.
                I will be pulling the transmission and taking it to the repair shop. The automatic tranmission is where I draw the line as a mechanic; not my forte'. I will post what they find.

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                • #38
                  We had just finished a underhood and under car restoration with Tom Curtis on his 1957 golden hawk in 2011 just in time for the may meet in South Bend when i took it for atest drive the same problem. Scared the @#$% out of me. to make a long story short i talked with a member from North Carolina at the meet that had same problem and said a piece of dirt got into the valve body. I got out the white towels dissassembled cleaned with carb cleaner and prelubed with type F. Never did find the piece of dirt but hasent locked up since.

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                  • #39
                    Originally posted by carussell View Post
                    With all due respect, when an automobile's technology allows a lock-up of the rear wheels - at sufficient speed to place it in an uncontrolled skid and potentially roll, during an "automatic" operation - that's a design flaw.
                    I will be pulling the transmission and taking it to the repair shop. The automatic tranmission is where I draw the line as a mechanic; not my forte'.
                    Wrong!....Not a design flaw, but a problem in the particular transmission in You car.

                    Comment


                    • #40
                      Originally posted by SN-60 View Post
                      Wrong!....Not a design flaw, but a problem in the particular transmission in You car.
                      Input noted, but a design flaw it appears to be; it's hard to argue anything different. That's the way these things are discovered - an error occurs during operation, normal or otherwise. Spent most of my adult life investigating various types of mechanical/electro-mechanical failures (just not on Studebakers).

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                      • #41
                        Originally posted by MAS View Post
                        We had just finished a underhood and under car restoration with Tom Curtis on his 1957 golden hawk in 2011 just in time for the may meet in South Bend when i took it for atest drive the same problem. Scared the @#$% out of me. to make a long story short i talked with a member from North Carolina at the meet that had same problem and said a piece of dirt got into the valve body. I got out the white towels dissassembled cleaned with carb cleaner and prelubed with type F. Never did find the piece of dirt but hasent locked up since.
                        Glad you reported this. This means mine is not a unique occurrence and supports my theory of a design flaw.

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                        • #42
                          Originally posted by carussell View Post
                          Glad you reported this. This means mine is not a unique occurrence and supports my theory of a design flaw.
                          Many types of automatic transmissions could possibly engage two gears if one of the valves in the valve body sticks. That's why they are equipped with filters, and why those who work on them have to practice near-surgical levels of cleanliness. If it were a design flaw, it would have made itself known in the many years that the cast-iron Warner Gear transmissions were used in Fords, Studebakers, and AMC products.
                          Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands

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                          • #43
                            Originally posted by carussell View Post
                            Input noted, but a design flaw it appears to be; it's hard to argue anything different. That's the way these things are discovered - an error occurs during operation, normal or otherwise. Spent most of my adult life investigating various types of mechanical/electro-mechanical failures (just not on Studebakers).
                            With all due respect, while you may have spent your adult life investigating failures, I suggest that you do not understand some of the basics of mechanical engineering and manufacturing (where I have spent most of my adult life). You seem to think that everything should be designed and built in such a fashion to preclude failure. Reality check here! The bottom line is that very few of us could afford to buy a vehicle built to those standards. Today's aircraft and space vehicles are designed and built with multiple redundancy systems (and huge price tags). Even then there are failures.

                            The Borg-Warner transmission in question was proven through many years of service, in many brands of vehicles. The design was sound. Like all mechanical devices, there was an associated failure rate. Today's vehicles have much higher standards of design and manufacturing, (along with incredible sticker prices). Did you notice that the dealerships still have a repair garage?

                            You are complaining about the failure of a 55 year old transmission here. Is it possible that the failure of your transmission was related to the fluid that the owner used? Is it possible that the failure resulted from the lack of proper band adjustment by the owner? Should the design of the transmission have precluded these possibilities?

                            1957 Studebakers were not intended to have a 50+ year service life. If you are afraid of "design flaws", you are driving the wrong vehicle. BTW, I hope that you have updated your axles.
                            Jim Bradley
                            Lake Monticello, VA
                            '78 Avanti II
                            sigpic

                            Comment


                            • #44
                              Originally posted by gordr View Post
                              Many types of automatic transmissions could possibly engage two gears if one of the valves in the valve body sticks. That's why they are equipped with filters, and why those who work on them have to practice near-surgical levels of cleanliness. If it were a design flaw, it would have made itself known in the many years that the cast-iron Warner Gear transmissions were used in Fords, Studebakers, and AMC products.
                              Really? I have never been in a transmission shop that practiced "near-surgical levels of cleanliness". Pray tell me where I might find someplace like that, back then or now?! Design flaw it is and the filters on these are really not much more than a screen. Admittedly though, I know cleanliness is important; but your suggestion is extreme.

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                              • #45
                                Originally posted by Rerun View Post
                                With all due respect, while you may have spent your adult life investigating failures, I suggest that you do not understand some of the basics of mechanical engineering and manufacturing (where I have spent most of my adult life). You seem to think that everything should be designed and built in such a fashion to preclude failure. Reality check here! The bottom line is that very few of us could afford to buy a vehicle built to those standards. Today's aircraft and space vehicles are designed and built with multiple redundancy systems (and huge price tags). Even then there are failures.

                                The Borg-Warner transmission in question was proven through many years of service, in many brands of vehicles. The design was sound. Like all mechanical devices, there was an associated failure rate. Today's vehicles have much higher standards of design and manufacturing, (along with incredible sticker prices). Did you notice that the dealerships still have a repair garage?

                                You are complaining about the failure of a 55 year old transmission here. Is it possible that the failure of your transmission was related to the fluid that the owner used? Is it possible that the failure resulted from the lack of proper band adjustment by the owner? Should the design of the transmission have precluded these possibilities?

                                1957 Studebakers were not intended to have a 50+ year service life. If you are afraid of "design flaws", you are driving the wrong vehicle. BTW, I hope that you have updated your axles.
                                Once again we have a post where the purpose is lost in half-cocked protective diatribes. You apparently can suggest, assume, and - quite frankly - make false statements with facility. You know nothing about me, so back off. Read the entire post and engage the brain before the mouth. This was supposed to be a serious discussion about an event that could have been catastrophic, not a gossip rag chat-room where one gets ambushed for trying to find answers.

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