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

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  • #76
    Some 1956 models (Champions) used the 1955 style DG-250M that had a first gear start. I didn't reference the 1956 shop manual to check, but keep in mind that there was a long lead time on these manuals. Perhaps the thought that was that all 1956 models were going to continue using the DG 250M and not go to the FOM.

    EDIT: This doesn't really matter because I see that your car is a 1957 that would have been built with a FOM, not a DG 250M.
    Gary L.
    Wappinger, NY

    SDC member since 1968
    Studebaker enthusiast much longer

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    • #77
      Originally posted by Dwain G. View Post
      Seriously? You are willing to pay shipping to either Washington state or California?
      If the end result would be a detailed analysis of the problem found and not just a cavalier gloss-over, YES. Keep in mind, I am familiar with detailed failure analysis and have seen how convincingly a "funeral can be made to look like a wedding". If you let the facts fall where they may - no hidden agenda, no manipulated, ignored, or altered data - by all means! If it ends-up being a piece of dirt, show me how a piece of dirt made it past the "filter" and I will accept that; if the offending particulate matter went through the filter, then that's an issue. If dirt is THE issue, then you will also need to show me how this transmission design allows a piece of dirt to send a vehicle into an uncontrolled skid at 50mph. Then try and convince me and everyone else that such an event possibility is acceptable and no reason for concern. If it ends up being wear and perhaps a valve bore must be honed or plunger must be replaced, or broken spring, then we have found the culprit. Even at that, we still have the issue of no escape from disaster when that failure event occurs and no warning prior to the event.
      Last edited by carussell; 05-27-2013, 04:35 PM. Reason: Didn't like my own wording!

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      • #78
        I understand your concern. For me, that problem would get real old, real quick ! If need be, I'd buy a conversion kit and install a GM tranny, i.e. TH350 or 700R.

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        • #79
          Carl, the problem is that your quest for a detailed analysis report is keeping you from driving the car. There is no inherent design flaws in the transmission, as this transmission has been installed in millions of Studebakers, AMC and Fords. The problem now is finding a modern day tech familiar with that transmission. It'll be hard, if not impossible to find this person who doesn't actually own and service their own car.

          The service life of a car is two or three times what it was in the 1950's and 1960's. Modern transmissions are expected to see a 200K service life. The Flight-O-Matic was not. More than likely many hands have been on that car doing service work since 1957. And ANY service work done by others leaves open the possibility it wasn't done right. Unless you have personal first hand knowledge what has happened with that transmission, you will never know.

          If this trans was rebuilt and you stood over the guy rebuilding the trans, then you do know what was done. If anything was shortcut in the rebuild, you won't know it. The torque converter could have been replaced along with the clutches, but if the valve body wasn't cleaned, DIRT, gunk, sludge, whatever you want to call it, is still in there and can cause one or more of the valves to stick. A band may be misadjusted. A seal on the servo may have been overlooked. A filter only goes so far. If a worn or damaged part was reused, is that the design of the trans, or the guy that rebuilt it?

          I think the problem everyone here has is that you are condeming the transmission design without a teardown or failure point. Personally, I don't think it's the transmission inclusive (design). There will be a cause. Parts are available. Get it fixed and enjoy the car.
          Tom - Bradenton, FL

          1964 Studebaker Daytona - 289 4V, 4-Speed (Cost To Date: $2514.10)
          1964 Studebaker Commander - 170 1V, 3-Speed w/OD

          Comment


          • #80
            Originally posted by Swifster View Post
            Carl, the problem is that your quest for a detailed analysis report is keeping you from driving the car. There is no inherent design flaws in the transmission, as this transmission has been installed in millions of Studebakers, AMC and Fords. The problem now is finding a modern day tech familiar with that transmission. It'll be hard, if not impossible to find this person who doesn't actually own and service their own car.

            The service life of a car is two or three times what it was in the 1950's and 1960's. Modern transmissions are expected to see a 200K service life. The Flight-O-Matic was not. More than likely many hands have been on that car doing service work since 1957. And ANY service work done by others leaves open the possibility it wasn't done right. Unless you have personal first hand knowledge what has happened with that transmission, you will never know.

            If this trans was rebuilt and you stood over the guy rebuilding the trans, then you do know what was done. If anything was shortcut in the rebuild, you won't know it. The torque converter could have been replaced along with the clutches, but if the valve body wasn't cleaned, DIRT, gunk, sludge, whatever you want to call it, is still in there and can cause one or more of the valves to stick. A band may be misadjusted. A seal on the servo may have been overlooked. A filter only goes so far. If a worn or damaged part was reused, is that the design of the trans, or the guy that rebuilt it?

            I think the problem everyone here has is that you are condeming the transmission design without a teardown or failure point. Personally, I don't think it's the transmission inclusive (design). There will be a cause. Parts are available. Get it fixed and enjoy the car.
            The reality of it is - the transmission is keeping me from driving the car; it would be foolish to drive it knowing that two out of the last three times it was driven an event outside the scope of normal operation occurred.
            I believe many of you are missing my point: The problem should be found and the knowledge passed on to anyone who needs/wants to know. I do not really care if it is a design flaw or a worn/failed component; I just want the problem solved. Replacing the transmission would be very simple - and I will do that as I will never trust this one again - but I want to know what caused the near catastrophic events. That is my quest and my question. It does not matter to me if the transmission has been dis-assembled and re-assembled 100 times or never, or if it was done under a shade tree or in a Class 1 Clean Room; I just want to know what caused the lock-up so that whatever it is/was will not be repeated.

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            • #81
              I thought I threw this in before but don't see the response listed. I think the last guy who redid your transmission put a sprag clutch in backwards. There's only one sprag clutch in your Flight o Matic, so if you have it inspected, ask about looking at it.. There are also a few large thrust washers that are slightly convex. They have to be installed facing the correct way. I'm by no means an expert, but if you have a rotating mass that suddenly stops when it shouldn't, it can easily point to that clutch. Only my $.02
              64 GT Hawk (K7)
              1970 Avanti (R3)

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              • #82
                what was the conclusion of this thread?
                I read threads like this throughout the Internet that go cold leaving me wondering?

                ???????????????

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                • #83
                  Well if the OP EVER gets the Trans. Shop to find the Band, Servo or Valve Body problem, I just hope they don't put his Old DOT unregulated, Obsolete, Type A in it again.

                  It is REMOTELY possible that long sitting with the wrong Formula ATF in it COULD seize a Valve Body Shift Valve or whatever, so it is best to NOT take a chance and use the proper Type "F" or at least Dexron III Type with the latest Tech.
                  StudeRich
                  Second Generation Stude Driver,
                  Proud '54 Starliner Owner

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                  • #84
                    ...and if I recall, he claimed the tranny was from another "running" car. That poses some questions at least as to what was the path from car to car Timeline ? I'm betting on "gunk"...

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                    • #85
                      I had this EXACT thing happen to me in my 66 Cruiser last Sunday. I had an expertly rebuilt flightomatic installed that day. Test drive was fine. I went to go home, got on the freeway and at about 50 MPH the car slowed a little and BANG! The rear wheels suddenly locked up tight and I went screeching to the shoulder. I stopped, scared to death and decided to put it in park. Then I decided I'd better try to get to next exit, which worked fine. I drove slowly back to the machanic's place, he test drove it and it was fine. The next day I drove 250 miles back to Medford (scared most of the way). I'm about to add some Lubegard, per the mechanic's suggestion, since I get shuddering from a stop and it feels like it's starting in 3rd gear.
                      "Madness...is the exception in individuals, but the rule in groups" - Nietzsche.

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                      • #86
                        Scott: Get that tranny back in the shop for a real fix. Adding any snake oil @ this time may void any recourse you have with the shop. Did he advise you to pour the additive in..."in writing"..? Call me lucky, but I've had 4 Flight-o-matics rebuilt in the past 10 years without problems... I think the shop/techs are challenged at this stage in the game.....

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                        • #87
                          He's working with me on it. He's not a shop, but does a lot of work for club members and knows transmissions like the back of his hand. He's been in the transmission business for decades. Still, mistakes can happen.
                          "Madness...is the exception in individuals, but the rule in groups" - Nietzsche.

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                          • #88
                            The shuddering and feeling like it's in 3rd. when in 2nd. makes me think he needs to check the Throttle Pressure Control cable for proper function and adjustment as it sounds like there is Low Oil Pressure.
                            StudeRich
                            Second Generation Stude Driver,
                            Proud '54 Starliner Owner

                            Comment


                            • #89
                              Originally posted by StudeRich View Post
                              The shuddering and feeling like it's in 3rd. when in 2nd. makes me think he needs to check the Throttle Pressure Control cable for proper function and adjustment as it sounds like there is Low Oil Pressure.
                              It's already been readjusted to the point that there is a small buzzing. I turned the fork at the end of the cable out two full turns. It made no difference whatsoever as to feeling any shift that I could tell.
                              Thanks for the suggestion.

                              I did a test drive after the adjustment and the only time I could feel or hear any shift from 2 to 3 was when I started in L and at about 4 mph (very slow) shifted to D. It then went to second and within ONE second jumped to third.
                              "Madness...is the exception in individuals, but the rule in groups" - Nietzsche.

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