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Turbo 350 problems.

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Turbo 350 problems.

Postby MPac » Tue Jun 19, 2012 6:56 pm

Alright this one has me pulling my hair out. My dad and I have a 1983 Cutlass drag car. 355 aluminum heads ya know the works. Well first time to the track it blew the tranny from to much power. Well we recently bought a rebuilt tranny that the guy was selling because he was swapping in a 4 speed. We put the tranny in and start the car we have no gears at all. Fluid was full converter was filled also before install.

We then dropped the transmission to confirm that the torque converter was fully seated. Installed it back in the car and still have no gears. We are running a 10 inch 3,400 stall converter that was filled with 1 quart and we filled the tranny with 7. We ran the car in the garage going through the gears to try to get any air out that could be in there since the transmission was drained before we got it. Now I checked the fluid with the car running and with it off and the fluid level never changed. We know that the fluid is not circulating.

So we swapped on a new filter and gasket still no change. Inside of the tranmission and the pan was very clean. Well then I unhooked the cooler lines from the cooler and a couple drips of fluid came out. Probably from the tranny before. Well I then started the car for a couple of seconds to check if it's circulating. It's not. Well then we jacked up the rear end and ran the car at idle in all gears the wheels would spin forward this is including reverse. If you rev it up the slow to a stop. Now I can spin the wheels the other way when they are turning.

I unhooked the shifter and manually put it in gear and it did the same as I just mentioned. At this time I was thinking 3 things. Pumps bad, Tq converter is toast or there is a clog in the cooler lines. We had ran the car for about 20 minutes and I touched the tranny pan and it was warm. That made me think we the converter and pump has to be working some what.

Called it quited and left it alone till today. Transmission pan is drained right now but I unhooked both cooler lines and blew through them. The had fluid. There was also a good amount of fluid in the cooler to. Which makes me think. Could there be a big air pocket in the transmission and it has no where to go? Do you guys think I should fill the tranny with fluid leave the cooler lines unhooked from the cooler and run it till fluid comes out? Cause I was thinking if there is a big air pocket how can it escape if the tranny is sealed up? Do you think this could be my problem or do you guys think it's something else?

What should I check next? Thanks in advance. Also II'm trying to get this figured out ASAP Because test and tune is in two days and I'm trying to make it out there.
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Re: Turbo 350 problems.

Postby af2 » Tue Jun 19, 2012 7:46 pm

Get some more fluid. You would be amazed how much it will take.
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Re: Turbo 350 problems.

Postby MPac » Tue Jun 19, 2012 7:50 pm

Should I put 8 in or more? How much less fluid does a 10 inch take over a stock torque converter? I have a Haynes manual from my old Monte Carlo SS I used to have it says dry refill is 10 qts. But I would think it would take a couple less with the smaller converter?
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Re: Turbo 350 problems.

Postby Alan Roehrich » Tue Jun 19, 2012 9:06 pm

With a 10" converter and a stock depth pan, it won't take more than 10 quarts.

I have never seen an air pocket in an automatic transmission, in 30 years of building them.

It will at least try to pull even 2-3 quarts low. If you have 8 quarts in it and it isn't even trying to move, it probably never will.

Does it not have the correct filler tube and gauge?
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Re: Turbo 350 problems.

Postby Greenlight » Wed Jun 20, 2012 1:46 am

A TH 350 with a stock OEM convertor and a stock depth pan will take ~ 11 qts. of fluid.

A deep pan can add up to 3 quarts (depending on which deep pan you are using), a 10" converter can reduce the amount by ~2 quarts.

1) Try adding 2 more quarts and check function.
If it "acts" better, use the dipstick to check fill level with engine running and transmission in park.

2) If it still doesn't function properly:
a) remove the convertor bolts and push the converter into the transmission as far as you can. Check the clearance between the converter bolt mounting pad and the flywheel. The gap should not be greater than 3/16" inch. If the gap is more than 3/16" install washers between the converter and flywheel to reduce the gap to ~ 3/16". Reinstall the converter bolts (you may need to use longer bolts). Start the car and check function (if the gap was too large, you may have pulled the converter so far forward that the converter came out of the front pump gear).
b) if it still doesn't work, remove the transmission and converter. Carefully look into the front pump seal area (where the converter snout installs) and see it you broke the front pump gear OR the two "tangs" on the front pump gear. If this is the case the front pump will have to be removed and repaired/replaced.

Here is a link that shows a photo of the gears. The "tangs" are on the inner gear.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Front-Pump-Gear ... 0674968739
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Re: Turbo 350 problems.

Postby Baprace » Wed Jun 20, 2012 3:04 am

Pull the trans back out and see if the front pump drive lugs are still conected to the small gear, with 8 quarts it should at least spit oil out of the cooler lines.

greenlight, didn't read all of your post untill I posted, I think you have diagnosed it correctly.
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Re: Turbo 350 problems.

Postby MPac » Wed Jun 20, 2012 7:15 pm

Greenlight wrote:A TH 350 with a stock OEM convertor and a stock depth pan will take ~ 11 qts. of fluid.

A deep pan can add up to 3 quarts (depending on which deep pan you are using), a 10" converter can reduce the amount by ~2 quarts.

1) Try adding 2 more quarts and check function.
If it "acts" better, use the dipstick to check fill level with engine running and transmission in park.

2) If it still doesn't function properly:
a) remove the convertor bolts and push the converter into the transmission as far as you can. Check the clearance between the converter bolt mounting pad and the flywheel. The gap should not be greater than 3/16" inch. If the gap is more than 3/16" install washers between the converter and flywheel to reduce the gap to ~ 3/16". Reinstall the converter bolts (you may need to use longer bolts). Start the car and check function (if the gap was too large, you may have pulled the converter so far forward that the converter came out of the front pump gear).
b) if it still doesn't work, remove the transmission and converter. Carefully look into the front pump seal area (where the converter snout installs) and see it you broke the front pump gear OR the two "tangs" on the front pump gear. If this is the case the front pump will have to be removed and repaired/replaced.

Here is a link that shows a photo of the gears. The "tangs" are on the inner gear.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Front-Pump-Gear ... 0674968739



The pan is a stock depth chrome pan. Originally it was bent against the filter I straighted it out but it didn't help. We checked the gap on the converter. It has no gap at all. I've confirmed this the 3 times we had it in. My dad had looked at the tangs on the pump the second time it was out and he said they were okay. But if the fluid thing doesn't help then I will pull it again and double check. Thank you for your help hope to have an update soon.
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Re: Turbo 350 problems.

Postby Greenlight » Thu Jun 21, 2012 1:26 am

If there is "no gap" (a very very rare situation) I suspect that the convertor is not installed correctly and you may have inadvertently pushed the front pump gear into the pump housing such that the gear has significantly worn the housing (it's actually called the front pump cover) as the engine was run.

The wear is so bad that the pump will not produce any pressure.

I hope that this is not the case and your problem is easily solved.

Good Luck and please report back to us once the actual solution is found.
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Re: Turbo 350 problems.

Postby MPac » Thu Jun 21, 2012 2:16 pm

Greenlight wrote:If there is "no gap" (a very very rare situation) I suspect that the convertor is not installed correctly and you may have inadvertently pushed the front pump gear into the pump housing such that the gear has significantly worn the housing (it's actually called the front pump cover) as the engine was run.

The wear is so bad that the pump will not produce any pressure.

I hope that this is not the case and your problem is easily solved.

Good Luck and please report back to us once the actual solution is found.



That's what it was the first time. But the last time we installed it it had a little gap from what my dad said. Now we picked up a tranmission that we have seen work and took a car in the 10's with nitrous. But we can't use it cause it's missing an ear on the bell housing. Do you think we should swap from pumps?
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Re: Turbo 350 problems.

Postby Transman » Thu Jun 21, 2012 9:34 pm

Needs to be 1/8" min to 3/16" max for converter clearance or you'll kill the pump.
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Re: Turbo 350 problems.

Postby MPac » Fri Jun 29, 2012 9:49 pm

We ended up swapping pumps tranny works now but we have a new problem. If you put it in drive or 2nd at a complete stop it goes in to first like it should. But if you put it in first there is nothing. So we checked the cable and everything was adjusted right but still the same problem. We unhooked the cable put the tranny in 1st and started the car still doesn't move. So what do you guys think is causing this?
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