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Powerglide Reverse Problems, Help!

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by gonzo2424, Oct 18, 2008.

  1. gonzo2424
    Joined:
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    Austin, Texas

    gonzo2424 Member

    Searched and could not find much anything similar to my problem. Im not too educated when it comes down to transmissions internal so bare with me. My two speed Powerglide in my 54 Chevy 235 locks up when ever she is in Reverse. Half the time I cant even get her to get into R, and when I do I have to barely give gas or she'll grind and lock up. Fluids are fine, and P N D L have no problem. I know you HAMBers have good advice as usual, so thought to ask yall before the trip to the tranny shop.
    Thanks
    Gonzo
  2. Engine Pro 5X
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    SAUSAGE CAPITOL US of A

    Engine Pro 5X Member

    Try letting the clutch out slower !! Oh shit , that's right you said it was a Powerslide, sorry I can't help you >>>>.
  3. beernut
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    solvang

    beernut Member

    when you say lock-up is that as in the car wont move?,if so it sounds like its trying to ingage first and reverse at the same time,could be valve body prob , if thats a cast iron p.g. in there so iam not sure what else it could be
  4. Cruiser
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    Cruiser Member

    Reverse is on it's way out find a good tranny man in your area. I don't think this is something you can take care of yourself.

    CRUISER :cool:
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  5. R Pope
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    Jan 23, 2006
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    Saskatchewan

    R Pope Member

    My '54 did much the same thing, turned out to be the pinion bearings, not the trans at all. Live and learn! I swapped in a O/D stick and '55 rear before I realized what was wrong.
  6. gonzo2424
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    gonzo2424 Member

    It locks up and grinds real loud... If i let it idle and barely tap the pedal I can get her to slowly back up, but i mean SLOWLY.
  7. jdj9410
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    Location:
    Paris TX

    jdj9410 Member

    Sounds like a broken reverse clutch ring in the reverse pack. When it breaks it rubs on housing and makes noise. Thats a commom problem on an Alum one don't know about the castiron ones, never been in one of them but use to race the Alum glides.
  8. gonzo2424
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    gonzo2424 Member

    Newest update... Cant even shift her into Reverse....
  9. 52chevydeluxePDX
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    Hillsboro, OR

    52chevydeluxePDX Member

    Time to take the powerglide out..When my quits one day I will change it out. Cut a hole in the floor in installed a 4 speed...but thats down the road a ways..
  10. 52chevydeluxePDX
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    52chevydeluxePDX Member

    Mine did that same thing this last summer, turned out the linkage was bone dry...plenty of tranny fluid but not an ounce of grease on the linkage! I would check into that.
  11. gas pumper
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    gas pumper Member

    I'm pretty sure reverse is applied by a hyd piston pulling on the reverse band which is around the reverse drum. When the lining is worn or broken on the band, you would get noise, until it's gone enough to no longer put enough pressure against the drum to actually lock the reverse drum and move the car. Sounds like this is where you are at now.

    I had one that was tough to back up, too. but never got to the point of not backing up except on a hill. I tried adjusting the band and limped it along for a little while. Finally just gave up and took the trans out.
  12. Old wolf
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    Old wolf Member

    Put a stick in it problem solved. oLdwolf
  13. gonzo2424
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    gonzo2424 Member

    Im thinking maybe its a linkage problem... Any tips in the going about of adjusting?
  14. d2_willys
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    d2_willys Member

    Try the linkage lube and adjustments first. When you say it won't go into reverse, do you mean you cannot get the shifter into the R position, or does it go into R position with no reverse movement of car? If it is the later then it might be the reverse band and you may be able to adjust it in a turn and try to see if it is any better, but don't go in any further than a turn (1 turn is just to see if the band is the culprit, not the real adjustment).
  15. gonzo2424
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    Austin, Texas

    gonzo2424 Member

    Do you have any diagrams? Haven't done this before, not looking to scew things up. Mise well try something though because all day today shes getting a 12 volt conversion, and if i cant figure the reverse today i may bring her in tomorrow.
  16. shifts
    Joined:
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    Eau Claire, Wisc USA

    shifts Member

    There is no such thing as a reverse band in a PG. It uses reverse clutches for reverse only. The band is for low. Sounds like you are gonna pull the trans for repair. DAVE
  17. retro54
    Joined:
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    PA

    retro54 Member

    I had the same problem with my powerglide... I am 90% sure this is your problem.

    FIRST... I am told by a lot of people that the CAST IRON powerglides are nothing like the aluminim ones.

    Ok, that's out of the way.

    (some background on my experience, My reverse, then planetary went out in my '54 about 5 years ago, I had it reparied by an older gentleman in Pennsylvania who fixed these all the time about 40 years ago... he and his son run a shop which works on modern cars, he told me it was a shame I was about 40 years too late as he used to have piles of cast iron's out back, that is until he took them to scrap a while ago.. haha)

    There is litterally a reverse 'lever' inside of the CAST IRON powerglide. It is made out of stamped steel. I am not aware of what exactly engages it, but from the factory these stamped steel 'levers' which engage reverse were too thin. The lever itself is about 2" long if I can rememeber correctly. Mine broke, as is common, and I had the exact same symptoms that you are having... I REPEAT, THE EXACT SAME SYMPTOMS...

    There is a heavier gauge lever that you can purchase and this will fix the problem...

    Looking online... i think the part you need is here...

    http://www.autotran.us/pgparts1.html


    ***I have never delt with autotran.. but a quick google search found them and it looks like they got the parts to help anyone with this year of cast iron tranny out.




    it's about 1/2 way down the page... called a "REVERSE BAND LEVER" for cars.. 1950-1962 (must have been used for these years) and is a $6 part...

    So the gentleman who fixed it put in a new one, which was a heavier gauge... I will always remember this as he made a difinitive point to show me both levers, driving home that this was an original design issue.

    No I do not know what if any other damage your tranny might have... but I am nearly certain that this a root to your problem... Like I said, I paid the gentleman about $950 in parts and labor to fix mine.. (Had to get a whole NOS planetary to fix my forward probolems, which took 3 months to find and was very pricy!) But I have pictures at home of the broken lever, so I will try and post one up if I can find them...

    Hope this helps, i know that almost everone else will tell ya to replace, which may make more sense for a lot of applications, but I just really wanted to let you know that this is a potentially fixable problem, which includes a cheap part, and who knows how much labor.. haha... have fun man! YOU ARE NOT ALONE... powergliders unite!
  18. d2_willys
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    d2_willys Member

    Cast iron powerglides(both early 50's and later automatic shift types have a reverse band, the aluminum glides from 62 up to 73 do not have a band, instead use a clutch. The data from autotrans website proves the reverse band and it's associated components. See below::D

    <TABLE height=971 cellSpacing=1 width="90%" align=center><TBODY><TR><TD width="56%" height=22>
    Reverse band link kit, w/strut-pin-locks-link
    </TD><TD width="7%" height=22>
    1950-62
    </TD><TD width="9%" height=22>
    3756726
    </TD><TD width="7%" height=22>
    CX-7
    </TD><TD width="7%" height=22>
    K8439
    </TD><TD width="9%" height=22></TD><TD width="9%" height=22>
    $22.00
    </TD></TR><TR><TD width="56%" height=22>
    Reverse band adjusting screw
    </TD><TD width="7%" height=22>
    1950-62
    </TD><TD width="9%" height=22>
    3697509
    </TD><TD width="7%" height=22>
    </TD><TD width="7%" height=22>
    8319
    </TD><TD width="9%" height=22></TD><TD width="9%" height=22>
    $5.00
    </TD></TR><TR><TD width="56%" height=42>Reverse band lever</TD><TD width="7%" height=42>
    1950-62
    </TD><TD width="9%" height=42>
    3691025
    3769625
    </TD><TD width="7%" height=42>
    CX-17
    </TD><TD width="7%" height=42>
    8401
    </TD><TD width="9%" height=42></TD><TD width="9%" height=42>
    $6.00
    </TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>
  19. d2_willys
    Joined:
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    Kansas

    d2_willys Member

    The reverse parts are reasonable, but not the labor. Have to pull that beast out, then tear it down, might as well rebuild it then. This is not your conventional automatic transmission case. There is no pan on cast iron glides, so you have to literally tear the whole thing down. (For your sake I hope it can be repaired without a ton of dough on labor)

    There are people out there that say to replace with a stick or another auto. Well they might not remember that 54 Chevys had a closed (torque tube) driveshaft and they are not real simple to adapt to other transmissions unless you replace the rear end with an open type driveline. In your case, you luck out because you have leaf springs in back, Buick people do not and are just about saddled to the Dynaslush automatic or a stick of that vintage.
  20. gonzo2424
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    Location:
    Austin, Texas

    gonzo2424 Member

    Well, thanks for all the support. Just got back word from shop down here. Nothing externally they can do, so Im thinking yall are right about the reverse band. Im looking close to around $1200. Not good news at all. Now, my other option is to leave her and wait for more things to go wrong, which doesnt sound like the right thing. She drives and goes in reverse but only in idle. Shes not dead yet haha. Thanks Again
    -Gonzo
  21. DoubleUc
    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2007
    Posts:
    141
    Location:
    IL

    DoubleUc Member

    First off...shift is dead on. As you can tell this field doesn't lack experts, be careful!
    Make sure the trans shop are an active member in the ATRA...great auto trans organization(mostly honest members). I would also HOT flush your cooler too(this should be included with that price). Please don't try the AutoZone transflush in a can. it really doesn't work. You have to use about a case and a half to get the crap out of your lines and flowing clear, totally not worth it! There are others out there who think its just fine with one and done, not true at all. The HOT flush works much better, no questions!
    That $1200, does it cover hardparts, convertor too? I mean if you have the planetary gear set chewed up in there that could drive up the cost in a hurry.
    From the sounds of it (gRiND) it can't be good. The reverse ring gear could be chewed and or the planetary gear set also(my guess). If one comes apart or fragments, well its not good for anything inside that unit!
    Depending on what you want to do, you need to talk with the trans shop on the "upgrades". Too many to list but these can make it wild to mild depending on your budget.
    Stupid question, have ya pulled the pan to see if you have any debris/fragments and if you do what color are they? Do you have fine shiney stuff floating in the red fluid? Silver, brass coloured...
    FYI, I use to do those with a Removal/Replace...R and R, rebuilt(no hardparts), flushed for less than 700 and it should take less than a day to do all that! Its an easy trans to rebuild and a GOOD money maker at 1200!best of luck let us know how things turned out!
    Wc
  22. retro54
    Joined:
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    736
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    PA

    retro54 Member

    Umm... there is no 'Pan' on a 1954 cast iron powerglide, it is one cast iron case with a bellhousing... you must be thinking of another tranny which really doesn't help the gent out at all...

    And I would challenge Shft's and your assertion that there is no reverse band in a Cast Iron powerglide... if there is no such thing in one then I wonder why they sell the parts?

    It cost me about $950 5 years ago to completely rebuild mine and this was with the complete rebuild kit, a reverse lever, and a complete N.O.S. Plannetary gear set AND labor (although it took 3 months to find all the parts)... and so I basically have a brand new transmission now...

    I would think the best advice would be to seek out someone who has rebuilt specifically Cast Iron powerglides before... my guy was doing them back when '54 chevies were used cars and did it right... I'm sure there are many more out there in your neck of the woods who have the correct knowlege to do the same thing.. good luck man, I love your car and it looks like it's worth while keeping the cast iron in it!
  23. DoubleUc
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    Location:
    IL

    DoubleUc Member

    its ok Retro...
    of course I was refering to the alum powerglide, my bad.
    Since the alum powerglide didn't go into full scale production until 1961, I see the problem, thanks for pointing that out. Lets just hope that since 1954 no one has changed that trans.
    Wc
  24. retro54
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    retro54 Member

    that's cool man... I'm pretty sure if it would have been switched out then the chevy would have been changed to an open driveline as well... I think in the end our buddy will see that this is potentially an easy fix... at least I hope so for his sake, I love the car...
  25. gonzo2424
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    Austin, Texas

    gonzo2424 Member

    Exactly, for my sake I hope so also. The price he mentioned was his "best case scenario", "worst case scenario" is looking at $3000-which is a complete overhaul of hard parts and seals etc.. The low price is just for a rebuild and possible the reverse band part, but no other hard parts. I ended up bringing her back home and she is in my garage. Notice now I can get her Reverse everytime if I make sure its engaged in Low, real weird. but still can only idle in reverse
  26. retro54
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    retro54 Member

    Gonzo... seems like a cheaper Option may be to replace with another used tranny that all the guys seem to want to take out? I bet you would find a low millage original, unrebuilt for under $500... just my gut feeling... have it cleaned and put it in.... good luck!
  27. shifts
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    shifts Member

    Guys, I fucked up. Why was I thinking alum PG? The cast glide does have a rev brake band, alum PG dont. Sorry for the bad info. On the other hand, $1200.00 about right for a cast PG overhaul. An alum PG is much less expensive.
  28. 56sedandelivery
    Joined:
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    Everett, Wa.

    56sedandelivery Member

    Get yourself an "old" MOTORS MANUAL. Go to the library if you have to and copy the Powerglide section. With time and perserverence YOU can rebuild your own Powerglide. The cast iron units are more complicated than the aluminum ones, so get someone to help you (they're heavy!). Rebuild kits are not very expensive, and pretty cheap on that auction site we all know and love. It really should'nt be that hard to find used replacement parts. You can even make your own tools; I use a modified steering wheel puller to compress the clutch pack springs. YOU CAN DO THIS! You'll learn something new, and be able to say you did it yourself. Unless you're independently wealthy, and can afford to pay someone top dollar to do it for you. I always thought someone should swap in an old hydro, out of an early Chev/GMC truck with enclosed driveline, into a 49-54 Chev passenger car. That would be a good improvement over a Powerglide. Butch/56sedandelivery.
  29. suede55bowtie
    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2005
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    Location:
    New Orleans, Louisiana

    suede55bowtie Member

    If you havent changed your trans mounts yet. Do it, your whole motor and trans is probably sagging just enough at the rear to fuck up how the linkage is working. I had the SAME problem on my '55. Changed the mounts, and she was in good shape.
  30. retro54
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    retro54 Member

    If I had to do it again, I would have tried to rebuild it... I almost put in a used one, but as I pulled everyting to get it out (hood, grill, engine, tranny) I was hesitant to put in a used one in fear that it would crap out on me and I would have to pull everything all over again... haha... in restrospect, I would have put in a used one... cheers

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