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Customs 54 Chevy 3 speed leak help....

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by 51fordor, Oct 12, 2014.

  1. 51fordor
    Joined: Sep 16, 2010
    Posts: 215


    Took a 80+ mile round trip yesterday in my 54 235 factory 3 speed. The car ran great. I went to drive it to work this morning and the car was a pain to put in 1st gear. Felt like I would have to grind the gear to get it in. I shut off the car, and looked under it to find about 1/2-3/4 quart of transmission lubricant on the floor.

    It is leaking from the flywheel/clutch cover plate from the hole in the bottom of it. I removed the plate but I can not see where the leak is exactly as I don't have a lift and tranny is still under car. I see in the shop manual a reference to loose clutch gear bearing retainer and was thinking maybe this is it?

    Is there anything I can tighten or adjust that my fix this leak, or does this require me to remove transmission from the car and rebuild the seals? Also the transmission makes no funny noises and has always been smooth up till when I parked it last night. Thanks guys for any possible help!
  2. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 49,482


    There is no front seal in these transmissions. If the bolts holding the front bearing retainer are loose, it will leak more than normal.

    are you sure it's gear oil that is leaking? Usually engine oil from the rear seal will leak out the dust cover like that.

    Did you check the oil level in the transmission?

  3. For a starting point, the trans. holds 1 1/2 PINTS of gear lube, while the differential holds 3 1/2 PINTS.
    If there is a leak in the front of the tranny, it will have to be removed.

    On a level surface, check the fluid levels of both the trans and the differential. Fluid should be very close to the level of the fill plug.
    Being that this unit has a closed differential/driveshaft assembly, there is a bushing located with in the torque tube, commonly known as an "oakie bushing".
    If this bushing is not performing/sealing correctly, fluid from the differential can run past the bushing and OVERFILL the tranny ..... which could be the cause for your tranny leak ..... an overfull tranny.
    Thus my reasoning to check BOTH trans and rear end levels, to see if either or both are not at proper fluid levels.
  4. 51fordor
    Joined: Sep 16, 2010
    Posts: 215


    The area in front of the fly wheel is clean and looks like the day it left the production line. Not even dust around there. The transmission isn't very low on oil now. Also as I said the car is very hard to put into first gear without a short period of grinding that it NEVER did before. Thanks for the diagram sir.

  5. 51fordor
    Joined: Sep 16, 2010
    Posts: 215


    I have read that a car lowered to much with the factory rear end can cause the fluid to run back into the transmission also. My car is very low and was loaded down to almost riding on bump stops during the trip. Would this overfill condition cause the car to be hard to put into 1st gear while running?
  6. F&J
    Joined: Apr 5, 2007
    Posts: 13,223


    "Would this overfill condition cause the car to be hard to put into 1st gear while running?"

    Yes, you solved the mystery. Oil got onto the clutch disc, which will not let the disc to stop spinning completely. That is why it grinds.

    I would think you might be able to spray some cleaner up in the clutch, if you have a belly pan, and a lift. Block the clutch pedal so it stays down, then spray brakecleaner and then air. repeat. Cross fingers, etc
  7. deto
    Joined: Jun 26, 2010
    Posts: 2,621


    X2. The grinding is from the trans internals continuing to spin as you try to engage first gear
  8. jcmarz
    Joined: Jan 10, 2010
    Posts: 4,633

    from Chino, Ca

    My brother's 41 was leaking oil bad and at first he though it might be the rear main seal but it turn out that the oil was leaking from the front of the transmission (3 speed). It was a bad gasket where the shaft cover bolts onto the transmission. He put a new gasket and no more leak.
  9. Yes, the "excessively lowered" have been known to have the overfill tranny problem, as you described, BUT I can not tell you from "no" experience, if the overfill would cause the difficult shift. Sorry.
    Ck. the rear end level, as well. The tranny was checked, if I understand you, but verify that the rear is not low.

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