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Transmission life optimizers?
the guru and wizard are not statis symbols but my way of identifying those who i know know what they are talking about so if there are a few answers to a question newbs and lurkers will take the gurus advice and not random posters

same with the gm th700r4,made to be a light to medium duty transmission which is why gm put them in 4x4's and 3/4-1 ton trucks to blow up,they had a bad rap for the first few years until they were upgraded,now you can get them built to hold up to 6-800hp,nice non electric o/d transmissions,plan to convert my rv to one whenever i get a spare $2500
Did not mean to offend with the smoke/garden hose comment.

One more thing about the A-500 and my Aamco experience. I stopped at one in the Denver area a few months after the rebuild late 2001. Third gear seemed to have developed lot of gear whine climbing grades in Idaho, Utah through Wyoming too.
The manager asked for the receipt which showed the parts list, and was like:
'Yep, Lemme show you something.'

Back in the shop there was a disassembled TX and he showed me a badly worn highly angled cut gear clunking back and forth with little effort by hand, as its bearings got trashed from too much side loading. Third gear was cut on a hard angle, to reduce noise. But this hard angle puts a lot more load on the bearing, which then wears prematurely, allowing ever increasing misalignment and exponential increased wear.

He showed me the part number and diagrams of my new third gear main gear, and then the original, which clearly showed the new part number had perhaps 15 degree angled teeth, whereas the original part was 22 or 23. I am guessing at these degree numbers, just trying to relate their obvious difference.

This less angled gear is louder, but side loads the bearing much less.

I walked out of that shop not having spent a cent, confident that nothing was immediately grenading inside my Tx, but it still had the wrong fluid in it, unbeknownst to me. The torque converter clutch chatter was 9 months away from developing and would never have if they had used the right fluid to begin with.

Before I knew what the VSS was, and out of warranty, I had a shop charge me 125$ for a new VSS on top of diagnostic fees, when my OD started acting funny.

About 10 years later I was significantly less ignorant when OD weirdness started again, and found the code 15 via the key dance, then the VSS, removed it, opened it up, and saw it had obviously already been opened up and glued back together with RTV previously. So I got charged 125 for a part that was never bought. Wish I had asked to see the old part. But perhaps i'll see if the new VSS lasts 10+ years. Kind of doubt it with part quality these days. Perhaps better to view that 125$ part as a 125 part repair of the original as opposed to being ripped off.

The VSS has a spinning magnet, turned by speedo cable, which opens and closes these tiny contacts within, something like 12 times each 360 degrees revolution of the speedo cable. A 5v signal is sent from the engine computer to the VSS, and the rate of these pulses returned to teh ECM from the reed switch tells the ECm how fast the drivetrain is spinning. I found it all wet inside and the reed contacts were apparently all gunked up. I'd cleaned it reinstalled it tried to prevent rain water running down the firewall over it, and had no further issues for a few years. When it started up again and I was missing having overdrive, and it was still clean inside on inspection, I'd stop, open the hood, flick the VSS with my fingers a few times, freeing up the stuck reed switch, then it would usually work properly for that day, perhaps the next too. The finger flick became less and less effective quickly, and I broke down and ordered new. Should of done it sooner.

The key dance is done by turning the key to On, not start, then off three times in a row then leaving it on. The illuminated check engine light will go out, then start flashing, one flash, a pause then 5 faster flashes is a code 15. There is a longer pause after revealing the second digit of the code, and beginning another. Figuring out the pauses is not really intuitive the very first time, but is forever after.

Theres a list of OBD1 Mopar codes all over the internet. Not all codes set off the CEL. Does not hurt to check for unexpected codes when all is well but especially when all is not. I always get a code 53, Failure within the ECM Detected. Its been there since 2005. Its a cardone remanufactured ECM.

Expect to see a code 12, which means the battery has been disconnected withing the last 100 engine starts. I've never not seen this code.
Code 55 means End of codes, expect to always see it, the flashes will stop afterwards.

I know a good deal about throttle body injected B250's from '88 to '92/3, mine is an '89 I am obviously most familiar with. There are slight differences year to year.
If You've got any questions about the Dodge portion of the '88 chassis, Heron or other members with dodge vans in these years,, and I will relate what I know.

One thing you should do is find the engine computer on the firewall directly above the engine to the left somewhat. There are two large connectors, one has 60 small gauge wires and one has 14 wires ranging from 20 to 14 gauge. The weight of this 14 wire connector is prone to breaking the contacts on the circuit board. With time and vibration and heat cycling. Also previous techs could have pierced the wire insulation which allows corrosion inside.

If you have no issues but start fondling this connector, you might induce issues, quicker than they would arise on their own., but perhaps you should insure the weight of those wire bundles is not hanging on those connector faces. If later you start having weird issues with random stalling, the 14 wire connector is the Likely issue. Zip ties exerting pressure on this connector in various orientations, can be a temporary fix, that then lasts years waiting for the worst possible time to screw you. To determine if this is the issue, with key turned on, wiggle the 14 wire connector and see if you hear relays clicking on and off and the idle speed actuator motor engaging when wiggled just so.

I eventually had to open up the ECM, remove all the silicone potting from this connector and cleaned it sterile, both sides, and remelted and added some solder to the base of all 14 pins. That was Feb 2015 iirc, and No ECM related issues since. I was highly uncomfortable taking on that task and was looking to hire someone to do it, but could not find anyone.

Now I look back at it as some of the easier successful soldering I have accomplished.

ECM related issues are a bitch, as the easiest way to diagnose a bad ECM, is with a known functional ECM. Which are not easy to come by.

Reminds me I need to write down the capacitor values on my original ECM. I now feel confident enough in my soldering skills I want to replace each and every capacitor, and then hopefully have a fully functional back up ECM.

A major reason I do not want something newer, is I know pretty much every system on this van well, and have repaired or replaced most of it.
[-] The following 1 user says Thank You to sternwake for this post:
  • heron (09-28-2019)
No offence. On my end. But to comment further, yeah usually this rule praise/manipulation was applied to many. For god, queen, and country. Because you're Mommas good little... blah blah blah. My praise was genuine because you help your fellow people, and expend lots of energy writing extremely well written explanations in easy to understand terms and unclouded syntax. Hell IKEA can't do this!

Just a thanks for being a good human. Fiona probably shows you that each day.

I ain't got a dog in this fight. My good friend is an electrical marine engineer and "Scottie don't surf!"

Just thanks dude. I enjoy your writing and spirit. Most of humanity, especially the "smart" ones, make me want to...
"I hate what I do best"
Beast Master,JunkyMonkey,Drinks with Wolves,Fup'd Duck,Sheriff Ricochet Cockroach 4B's 1 cluster,3 TFMS Tempory Weirdo Overlord replacement 
[-] The following 2 users say Thank You to Scott7022 for this post:
  • sternwake (09-28-2019), heron (04-09-2020)
(09-27-2019, 11:30 AM)sternwake Wrote: A simple thanks is inoffensive, but if I want smoke blown up my ass I have a garden hose nearby.

I don't do well with praise, either. But I meant what I said. You have a capacity for noticing, remembering, doing, and sharing the results of same, that I've never had. And I thank you for that.

FWIW, I never blow smoke. If I say it, I mean it.
One gloriously stinkin' badge.
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  • sternwake (09-28-2019)
Okay. Questions in no particular order.

I'm just going to dump whatever's in there for fluid, because I want to get a drain hole put in the pan. I'll just replace it with the ATF+4, and then I'll know what's in there.. Do I have to get all the old stuff flushed out? I heard it's not necessarily good to get a TX flushed.

I'm going to put in an exterior filter, so do I get rid of the rock catcher in the pan?

How often do you dump 4-5 qts of fluid, or do you go more by the kind of driving you've been doing. (Hint: I do better with concrete numbers.)

Thinking about the throttle kickdown thing, why can't you just adjust it up to where it shifts where it should? Or did I miss the point?

So, rereading what you said about TX coolers, I'm thinking, this thing is an extended van, and it's a Road Trek, so it's h-e-a-v-y. I've been dumping weight every way I could, practically since I got it, mostly by throwing away this fake wood crap, which weighs a TON! Had to take the bathroom door off, today, to pick up the toilet, and when it came loose, it pretty nearly knocked me over. Between those two doors, I'll bet I'll get rid of 60-70 pounds. I'll replace them with framed luan. But the damned thing is still heavy. (Got to find a weigh station around here.)
So, I think I'd like to put a bigger cooler in than the one I have, because it does still run hot going uphill. I had a TX temp gauge put in, and the mechanic said don't let it go over 200 deg, which I haven't, but on steep winding hills, it did go over 195 a couple times, so I just pulled over and waited for it to go down. From what I've read online (and I have no idea how to ascribe truthfulness to same), the stacked coolers are the most efficient, and I'd be perfectly happy to invest in one, if it means I don't end up sleeping in somebody's damn shop again, but given your thoughts on too quick cooling, etc., I'm a little concerned on that front. Clearly, the little tube and fin cooler mounted in front of the radiator isn't doing the trick. Do you think I should just switch it back behind the radiator in front of the fan? Or try a plate and fin, which is not as radical as stacked plate, but more efficient than tube and fin?

I really do appreciate reading your thoughts on all of this. I want to have the best vehicle I can get. And stay out of the damn shop!
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delete that last post/quote...

A clean container/ catch bin bigger than the transmission pan is wise.  Clean, so if one sees a bunch of grit and grime in the bottom of it, they know it came from their TX and not the catch pan.  Loosen all the bolts equally in stages, but do not remove them.  Once all are backed out 1/4 inch or so , then one can gently pry the pan  with a wide flat tool, on one lowest  side and hope to direct the fluid into the pan.  Do not mar the surfaces with the flat prying tool.  About 1/2 quart will spill out and the pan is still full.  Messy to get the rest of the bolts out and dump the pan contents where you want them to go

4 to 5 quarts will  be in the the catch bin and/or on floor.  If you leave it overnight the cooler lines might also drain ad it is possible to get more than 5 quarts out.  You do not want dust/grit getting on internals while pan is off.

The gasket/ filter kit requires one have a torx( star shaped bit) t20 or t25, to remove the filter which is on the very bottom held on with 3 long screws

Clean the transmission pan spotless.  The interior of the  dipstik tube is often all gunky and varnished as the seal up top corrodes and lets junk in.  Its not hard to push a solvent soaked folded napkin/paper towell through the dipstick tube, just need something flexible, as long as,  and a bit stiffer than the dipstick itself to push it out with.  An amazing amount of crud was in mine.

 There will be a weak donut magnet  over a depression in the pan.    I replaced that weak donut with two ridiculously strong Neodymium magnets.  They are far enough away from the solenoids to not affect their operation.

ATF+ 4 only

Add the drainplug to the pan in an area where it will not interfere with any of the internals.  The drainplug helps to not only make future pan drops easier, but so one can do simple drain and refills without pan removal.  3 drain and fills replaces ~87% of the fluid.  However the drain plug kits have a nut on the inside.  So there remains, in the pan, the same thickness as the nut on the inside.  I had mine welded to the pan exterior, no Nut inside, and all the contents of the pan can drain and perhaps take any clutch sludge or shiny metal flakes with it.

  A flush can get 100%, but a flush alone does not require a pan drop, and filter change. A flush without a filter change is not wise, in my opinion.  I just to drain and refills more often.  Some people use the cooler lines to flush their fluid.

I've not tried a cooler line flush,  but the jist is have one line sucking new ATF as the other line pumps the old fluid out into an appropriately large container, through clear tubing, when the old fluid looks the same color as the new fluid, stop. I've read reposrt that it took 18 quarts of new fluid before the old fluid looked the same color as the new, when the TX only has a 13Qt capacity.

  Some say all new fluid on an old, not serviced enough, TX will kill it.  Perhaps it was already on deaths door when the flush was done. Can turn into a chicken or egg argument with vociferous opponents shouting their opinions.....

I just do drains and refills more often.  ATF+4 only unless you got $$ eating a hole in your wallet then redline C+ has the same Lubrizol addpack as all other licensed ATF+4, but it uses group 4 and group 5 synthetic  basestocks insteal of group 3 and these higher quality oil base stocks are more shear stable can handle over heating for longer before oxidizing.  Do not use Dexron 2 3 5 or 6 no matter what anyone says. I know the Dipstick says dexron on it, Ignore that.

I have wondered if the in pan filter/ rock catcher  is necessary when there is a much higher efficiency plumbed filter inline on the cooler lines, and decided it was.  It comes with the pan gasket, its cheap, no reason not to use it. Its unlikely to ever become restrictive with the additional 99% efficient  @ 25 micron filter on the cooler lines.

Clean all the threaded holes in the transmission pan receptacle holes with Q tip, make sure each bolt can be threaded all the way in easily with your fingers.  It is possible that some previous pan dropper stripped a pan bolt in the aluminum, and drove a different, larger bolt  in its place.  Take note of any different looking bolts when you remove them and know where they go back.

 If pan is rusty theres no better time to wirewheel it and repaint it . Align new rubber Tx pan gasket on the cleaned pan. Use the bolts to hold the gasket in pace, and the gasket then holds the bolts in place which makes returning the empty pan much easier.  If the gasket is kinked from time in the box it helps to lay it flat for a while and flatten it.  Some Use RTV on the gasket, a light coat on both sides.  You do not want rtv inside the tx pan.  I don't use rtv here.

Returning the pan just get all bolts threaded finger tight equally.  I tighten them in many stages, first one bolt then the bolt opposite the pan then in a star pattern, perhaps 1/8th turn at a time.  one can see when the gasket starts getting compressed with the bolts and the goal. is to compress it equally all around without overtightening.  Overtigntening unnecessary and bad as it can deform pan so it can't seal properly, and can also strip the aluminum thread in TX body.
This is where having cleaned all the holds with the Qtip previously makes torquing the bolts evenly, much much more likely.  The cleaned threaded holes in TX are less likely to allow screws to back out as well.
Get a rubber gasket, not cork or cork impregnated with rubber. I've  nothing but issues with the latter two. 

Cooling...... is overcooling possible?  well the TX will not shift into overdrive/lock up until it reaches a certain temperature, like 65f or something.  Is too big a stacked plate cooler going to keep the fluid from reaching this temp?  I doubt it, but I guess it is possible.

I think in far north reaches they plumb the radiator cooler after the additional cooler so the radiator can warm the perhaps too cold fluid.
You have a Tx temp gauge. you will know if it is too cool.  regarding the flow direction, the rearward  cooler  line  further from radiator on the Tx, is the return.  With an additional inline filter on the cooler lines the direction is very important.

ATF+4 is synthetic, Synthetics usually flow better at super cold temps than mineral /conventional oils.  I can notice only slight differences in shift feel when the TX is cold, slightly delayed 1/2 and 2/3 shift  and more abrupt than when warm, but I'm not in Maine in the winter either.  I don't have any ATF temp data, yet.  I think if I had a huge stacked plate cooler and those delayed shifts continued for too long in cold weather,  I'd consider blocking off a portion of the additional cooler in such weather.

My small fin and tube cooler is on inside of radiator,  I used to have it infront, I even had it on the hood support several inches in front of the radiator for a few years too.  Without Data I can only guess which location it cooled the best, but when out in front large bugs and rocks would fold over the fins. 

I put the 3/4-16 thread Derale external oil filter on the passenger side frame rail, just over the Idler arm. The filter is on its side, not hanging down.  if I need to replace the Idler arm, the filter needs to be unscrewed to get the large main pivot bolt out. If your Idler arm is in suspect condition.  You can push on the end of it, is should not move up  more than 1/16".  When worn at the main pivot side it will  move a lot more.  The other end which attaches to the center link is more a ball joint and a bit harder to see if it is worn.  Need someone inside moving wheel back and forth while  someone else is below looking for excess slop.

  I've plumbed mine so it goes radiator cooler first, then additional fin and tube cooler, then the filter, then back to the rear port on teh TX.  I had to make new steel lines a few years back from some Napa available brake line.

Reusing old hose clamps can be asking for future issues. Old hose can too. I like to use two new quality hose clamps on each fitting when possible. beware of 99 cent store quality hose clamps sold in some AP stores.  One faulty hose clamp can take out the TX. Transmsission oil cooler hose is a special product, meaning not just any multipurpose hose is acceptable here.  The existing  cooler line diameter and the diameter of the barbed inlet/outlets are ideally the same.  i think it is 5/16 hose, inner diameter, from memory.  if the additional cooler uses 3/8 then you need a 5/16 to 3/8 adapter and a short length of 3/8 hose, and more hose clamps and points for  potential failure.
Retighten them after a dozen heating cycles.

There are inline filters that replace a section of the TX cooler  hose, and this is much easier to do than installing a remote spin on filter like I've done.  Magnefine was the originator of this idea, but now clones galore exist of varying quality.  'They' say they should be replaced every 30k miles. They do have a bypass should they get clogged, as long as they are plumbed correctly it should not hurt the TX if they do get clogged.
[-] The following 2 users say Thank You to sternwake for this post:
  • heron (05-17-2020), Scott7022 (05-18-2020)
Well done ...I can't add much to that !

Mainer advice on hose clamps get ALL Stainless ones. (All=even the bolt/screw)
Stay Tuned

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  • heron (05-17-2020)
Stern, would you get in line filters, now? Or stay with the remote on. The spin on one appeals to me, but... And thanks. Will probably have lots of questions down the line.

Popeye- Stainless everything you can afford. Rust is not your friend.
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I used the inline filters for a few years. They would weep ATF from the seam, never enough to drip though the weep was just not confidence inspiring

. I have much more confidence in the remote mount, but it is a lot more work to mount and plumb it, and the filter can hold 10 or 20x the amount of crap before getting clogged, but in reality if it ever gets that caked with crap its just delaying the inevitable, the only question is by how much.

I could use the larger filter size but don't. XG16 is the size recommended for my Engine, I use the XG8a size on my engine and XG16 on the tx remote filter mount. peppered with neodymium magnets on its exterior.

The inline Magnefine filters and their clones are the quick and easy way to add filtration to the TX cooler lines, better than no filter of course, but not as good as a spin on filter with a much larger capacity and perhaps much better efficiency in the actual particle filtering department. I do not recall if Magnefine lists any spec as to what percentage of what size particles it can filter, but the fram Ultra is 99% at 25 microns and is almost as good as a Non bypass filter gets. There are filters made specifically for hydraulic fluid, of which ATF qualifies. Not sure of their filtering efficiency specs.

I went to the ahrdware store to get 3/8" NPT brass fittings rather than use the plastic ones provided.

3/4-16 is the same threads as the oil filter
[-] The following 1 user says Thank You to sternwake for this post:
  • heron (05-17-2020)
Time I have, and some patience, too.

I wanted to add a tach, at least, but those things are expensive! Thought that might be the best way to be sure to be shifting at the proper spot. Think I should, or use my ears?
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