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Tech Request: Auto Tranny rebuild

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Hubnut, Oct 18, 2007.

  1. This one may be a bit involved but Ive been following the budget engine rebuild thread and thought "hey, no one ever talks about the next important piece...the Tranny!" So do any of you guys tackle these on your own or farm them out to local shops? Im thinking something basic like a T350, mainly bc of parts availability. Anyone?
     
  2. budd
    Joined: Oct 31, 2006
    Posts: 3,478

    budd
    Member

    i have yet to give one a try, but i have a couple kicking around and i'm going to pull one apart and put it back togather and see if i can make it run, must of installed a dozen shift kits over the years.
     
  3. notebooms
    Joined: Dec 14, 2005
    Posts: 2,076

    notebooms
    Alliance Member

    i agree completely. auto trannys are one thing that i've never dug into, and it bugs me. i'd love to learn more. to those that know, speak up. a tech thread would be great-- even if it just gets into how the damn things operate w/ details.

    -scott noteboom
     
  4. Abomination
    Joined: Oct 5, 2006
    Posts: 6,702

    Abomination
    Member

    Hey!

    Lou built a TH 350 on Musclecar a week or two ago. Mr. Santiago is a HAMBer...
    :D

    You can download it here:
    http://www.powerblocktv.com/sites/musclecar/downloads/

    He's doing a manual (transmission, not a book - but that's a good idea, Lou - if you're reading) soon, too. Me & my 2 1/2-year-old twin daughters watch him every weekend we can. Of course, we also watch Alton Brown on Food Network... trust me, I've been fed so much imaginary food, and have been subjected to many an imaginary auto repair. :)

    ~Jason
     

  5. 1950ChevySuburban
    Joined: Dec 20, 2006
    Posts: 6,188

    1950ChevySuburban
    Member Emeritus
    from Tucson AZ

    I do my own. I've built a 727, 700R4, C4, 350 and 400 turbo. Get a manual, follow it precisely. Surgically clean work area, and lay the parts out in order, keep all parts oriented correctly as well. Seals and bearings, various parts have an exact location and orientation inside.

    Use the correct tools, compressed air with a rubber tip blow gun to check operation of clutchpacks, check into updated parts available, both stronger and higher performance. Don't mix more than one shift kit unless you fully understand what you're doing.
    Light grease holds check balls in place.
    Adjust kickdown cables to specs right away.
    Take digital pics as you go to help remember where you are.
    Do it sober.:D It'll shift better.
     
  6. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 49,848

    squirrel
    Member

    What he said. Also: Get used to figuring out whether or not parts are worn out, wherever there is metal to metal contact, such as a bushing on a shaft, or sealing rings ride in a drum, or a thrust surface, or the pump gears, you need to carefully inspect and "feel" for wear. The TH350 is known for wearing out several parts, such as the pump (gears wear into the crescent and the housing), the input shaft wears out where it rides in the bushings and where the nub goes into the output shaft, the direct and forward drums both wear where the sealing rings ride in them (aggravated by worn bushings or worn input shaft), thrust surfaces on the planetary gearsets wear out, etc.

    If you pull a th350 apart and find lots of worn parts, you might be bettter off finding another one to rebuild, or to use for parts, cores are not too hard to find for a reasonable price.

    You might need help from a local transmission shop, changing bushings and compressing clutch springs, unless you pop for a spring compressor and a bushing driver set. Some guys use a car engine cam bearing tool to change bushings in automatics, too.
     
  7. I popped into books a million this morning to see if I could come across a manual or book on auto transmissions but didnt have any luck. Great info so far guys. Keep it comming.
     
  8. Bluesfella
    Joined: Apr 30, 2004
    Posts: 146

    Bluesfella
    Member

    I recently did a 700R4 in my own garage - first time I had ever even cracked open a tranny.

    It wasn't TOO hard, but there are a lot of pieces. If you aren't prepared to be very anal about cleanliness and organization, I wouldn't recommend it.

    I took a bunch of pics to do a tech post, but have been too busy to get to it. If I can spare the time, I'll put on together!

    All in all, I enjoyed it, and got a huge ego boost from doing it myself. There were only two specialty tools required (which I rented). All the rest were simple hand tools.

    And, the tranny works great, even though I'm not a fan of autos. You can do it if you are patient and careful. I'm neither, but I managed OK!
     
  9. RopeSeals???
    Joined: Jul 2, 2007
    Posts: 444

    RopeSeals???
    Member

    Here's a link to Trans Go/Gil Younger's Manuals page...
    Auto Trans Fundamentals is a good start...
    http://www.transgo.com/books_cd.php
    My advice, read the manual, get the tools, and go for it...
    THM350's are fairly easy, but if you find one full of ground up parts, move on to another core...
    Have fun!
     
  10. Bluesfella, That would be awesome man!

    Ropeseals, You are the man! Thanks for that link.

    Squirrel, your advice was exactly what I was hoping for. My real push for this is largely due to tha fact that I have one in need of serious attention, but have no idea what to look for as far as problem areas. thanks for the valuable input!
     
  11. 1950ChevySuburban
    Joined: Dec 20, 2006
    Posts: 6,188

    1950ChevySuburban
    Member Emeritus
    from Tucson AZ

    There's a series of manuals out there that you need, buy the one for your application.
    I think they're ATRA manuals, or something like that. Light grey softcover manuals, maybe 30 pages each. Run about $20 each.
     
  12. oldchevyseller
    Joined: May 30, 2004
    Posts: 1,851

    oldchevyseller
    Member
    from mankato mn

    there are vhs tapes out there also, step by step for rebuilding transmissions
     
  13. Mike Rouse
    Joined: Aug 12, 2004
    Posts: 365

    Mike Rouse
    Member

    what 1950chevysuburban said. I have done several too.
    You may have to make a clutch pack spring compressor.
    There are pictures of the machines you need in the books.
    Stay organized and clean.
    Open the valve body and pull out the spools and lay them out like and exploded view on your bench top on top of newspaper, do not get them out of order, clean things one at a time
    You can use vasoline to lubricate without hurting the trany
    Mike
     
  14. Good info guys. Its making me feel more comfortable about trying it myself to save a lil cash. The guy that owns the local trans shop here kept telling me that there really wasnt much to it, but thats comming from someone that does it day in and day out.
     
  15. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 49,848

    squirrel
    Member

    I did my first automatic before I had a drivers license, I made a mistake putting it back together and "yo-yo'd" it a few times till I figured it out...second one I was 16 and payed closer attention and it worked first try. It's not rocket science, and even if you do mess up at least you'll spend less money building it twice or three times by yourself, than paying to have it done once.
     
  16. sutliff fire
    Joined: Oct 11, 2007
    Posts: 66

    sutliff fire
    Member

    This looks like a great winter project thats totally new to me. Does anyone have any experience with different brands of rebuild kits? Are they all the same or do you get what you pay for?
     
  17. Trans-go/Gil Younger with their shift kits or valve body correction kits.

    When I work on a tranny that has a reputation for strange shifting or clutch burnout, or other problems, a Transgo/Gil-Younger kit with their valve body correction kits always has given me a trans with NO problems that I hear others complain about with their stock trannys.

    I am not a professional by any means, so their plain talk, straight explanations, and understandable instructions means a lot.

    All those problems I hear people complain about- I have never had, so I give the Gil Younger/ Trans-go kits credit for that.

    *****************
    I need to add- I think I bought my first one from NAPA. I suppose they still carry them.
     
  18. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 49,848

    squirrel
    Member

    I'll second the Trans-go recommendation. although for the th350 I just use a homebrew shift kit I learned about at the trans shop....get a couple small freeze plugs, drill certain size holes in them, put them in some holes to restrict the accumulators. drill out the clutch feed holes in the stock separator plate. Shim the pump regulator spring with a th400 horseshoe or two.
     
  19. oldchevyseller
    Joined: May 30, 2004
    Posts: 1,851

    oldchevyseller
    Member
    from mankato mn

    there are better, best and the best in tranny kits, over all look for the torrington bearing instead of a bronze thrust washer, that is a flat needle bearing instead of a sintered washer that can really wear
    after moderate miles,

    look up torrington if you dont know what they are


    and the clutch discs can be made from a few different materials, some bonded layers others a mix like a regular brake pad, some come with all new springs for the modulaor governor, other little parts in the valve body to vary your build if you want a hard shift or not, some only come with the factory parts,, so if you think it is cheaper and then you dont get the other shift kit parts you end up buying that seperate


    all in all , look for the kit htat fits your idea of what you want in a transmission
     
  20. Johnny-B-Bad
    Joined: Jun 19, 2005
    Posts: 1,019

    Johnny-B-Bad
    Member

    I found this thread on another site and used it as a guide for when i did my trans.

    http://www.nastyz28.com/forum/showthread.php?t=58578

    But yeah... i dont think id do this again. Its easy if you take your time but a real pita. So id suggest taking it to someone rather than mess something up and end up taking it to someone anyway.

    John
     
  21. DoubleUc
    Joined: Oct 11, 2007
    Posts: 141

    DoubleUc
    Member
    from IL

    I built trannies for too many years at a Mom And Pop shop. O-Haul kits are "you get what you pay for" type of deal. Stay away from the local part store! Transstar has some great kits and you can buy just what you want or get the master kit. I mean you can get a "paper" kit which comes with seals and gaskets or a complete one (master) with clutches and steels too. Contact them for a catalog, the one on the computer is too hard to figure out...for me that is. As far as manuals go I think ATSG has some good ones you can purchase that are really good (alot of pictures). Once you understand the basics of what going on its easy to apply the knowledge to mechanical side. Someone said identifing problem areas are a bit tricky but once you see the right wear marks and know what to look for it becomes easier. One thing to beware of though is interchanging parts. Clutch drums may look the same but attention to detail is very important! Make sure that they mic out correctly or you could have a problem you will never find because you never knew about it. Always keep old parts to compare...it may be ready for the scrap yard but keep it around until the cars moves again!

    The big one is tools...bushing drivers, spring compressor, snap ring pliers, adjustable band for the pump halves going back together and thats just naming a few. Not to mention a trans fixture mounted to a bench (big bucks). You can rebuild an automatic transmission flat on the bench (manuals are done that way), but once you've done one in the fixture...well, you will understand. Its kinda like a microwave oven verses regular oven thing.
    You can get by without a few of the tools but some make life alot easier. ATEC is a good source for alot of tranny tools. Someone also said something about building in a clean place. Thats soooo true! I can't tell you how important that is! You cannot be TOO CLEAN!

    If you are going to rip into one make sure you soak (tranny fluid)your new clutches for as long as you can before stacking them back up! Some say a half an hour is good enough but I always liked to have them bath in it overnight.
    Anyway......
    Many more tips, just tell which way your going cause there are alot of aftermarket stuff out there too...Sonnax, TransGo, B&M (junk), TCI (junk too). Just depends on the trans you got. THM350 is pretty easy (Powerglide would be easier for a newbie) just watch out for putting the lip seals in backwards...easy to do on any trans until you get the hang of it.

    Too much to list...will help in anyway I can! The list is getting longer and longer...lol.
     
  22. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 49,848

    squirrel
    Member

    I drilled a 2" hole in my work bench, so I can stack the parts into the trans with the tailshaft poking thru the hole....not as nice as a stand, but it works. Also I use a couple big hose clamps screwed together to make one big enough to align the pump halves to each other.

    You gave a bunch of great tips!
     
  23. DoubleUc
    Joined: Oct 11, 2007
    Posts: 141

    DoubleUc
    Member
    from IL

    Squirrel...great idea for the "fixture" you can also use the hole in the bench for the input shaft to go through to stack up the clutch drum...I could be writing for too long on those type of tricks. Don't give all our secrets away...lol.
    I mean its easy sure but alot of those small things can really reach up and bite you in the (ask me)!
    Another really important one is converter. I mean if you don't get that seated correctly you can fry a pump in a few seconds after you start it. ALOT of small stuff...but I think he can do it!
     
  24. Lobucrod
    Joined: Mar 22, 2006
    Posts: 4,122

    Lobucrod
    Alliance Vendor
    from Texas

    I tackled a 700R4 for my first auto tranny rebuild. Bought a Hanes manual and went to the trouble to set up a video camera on a tripod and did a play by play of the disassembly in case I couldnt remember in what order it came apart or which way this or that was turned.
    Went by the manual when going back together with it and never had to look at the video. Only had to pull it back out once. Cut one of the rings when putting the pump in. Used lots of vasalene the second time.
    Its been about 30,000 miles without a hitch. Im not a pro by far but agree with all the previous posts. Keep it clean and buy good parts. Dont be intimidated by it. It was built by man and can be fixed by man.
     
  25. kooldaddy-o
    Joined: Jul 29, 2006
    Posts: 119

    kooldaddy-o
    Member

    Hubnut...print off DoubleUc `s replies and memorize them, he is dead on ! Buy a Trans-go shift kit and do exactly as it says except for the spring that goes behind the modulator valve that goes in the case, you`ll be dissapointed with the softer shifts if you use it. I managed and owned Trannsmission shops for 26 years . I also applied for and got a job at Trans go in 1989, the job interview lasted an entire week!!!! Stayed at Gils house the entire time. Very interesting individual and knows ALL there is to know about transmissions !!!

    In a 350, change ALL bushings, if not the gear train will howl like crazy also....I don`t think there is any way for us to tell you about all the minute details to watch out for during rebuild, with that said,with a better than average IQ, a manual,plenty of time,cleanliness and a Shift kit, you can fix it.
    Have fun and ask questions
    Kool
     
  26. DoubleUc
    Joined: Oct 11, 2007
    Posts: 141

    DoubleUc
    Member
    from IL

    kooldaddy-o...just wondering how that interview was...did you get the job. I have talked with him alot on the phone (tech service) and I have taken some of his traveling classes. The dude knows transmissions I can vouch for that. He once told me that he goes out and rents brand new cars and then takes them back to his shop to pull the trans to figure out how he can update it and make better. I asked him if it ever shifted different once he put it back together, and he just smiled and said..."who cares..its a rental...Lol...wtf that dude is crazy about the business. Doesn't he have a son who is going to take it over?
     
  27. kooldaddy-o
    Joined: Jul 29, 2006
    Posts: 119

    kooldaddy-o
    Member

    Last I knew his son was in Tennessee or Kentucky or something, offered the job to me working in R&D and on the phone bank, He`s notorious for not paying much and they were right, especially having to work in South Elmonte in LA. Yes they rent and sometimes buy cars depending on length of testing. It`s a trip to drive around LA with a dozen hydraulic hoses and guages connected to every pressure port,all hanging out fenders,into the windows...lol...we also drilled and tapped some of our own in the case of our rental car...lol
    Haven`t talked to him in years....he is way into philosphy also
    Kool
     
  28. RugBlaster
    Joined: Nov 12, 2006
    Posts: 563

    RugBlaster
    Member

    If you have a friend who works on automatics, buy 'em some beer and butter them up.....use them for info and tool loans......Anyone with a moderate amount of mechanical knowledge should be able to do it......you don't have to know exactly what is going on (what bands or clutches are applied at any given time) to get one to work. I've done 400 and 350 turbos a 904 Torqueflite and several BMW, Mercedes and VW autos and everyone one of them worked......everything has to be organized and clean and avoid working on one that has exploded with tiny bits of metal and other debris in the valve body and other places. Go for it. They are easier than they seem.
     
  29. I probably have rebuilt at least a hundred mini van transmissions and about the only thing I can stress is cleanliness,close inspection of all components and well lube it as it goes together. I use a product called Trans Gel which is much thicker than vaseline so it holds parts in place better.If you are hungover leave it for another day.....
     

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