2 Weeks before BG - Transmission Issues - 2nd Gear starts, Late 1-2 upshifts, etc.


Keepin' The Shiny Side Up
Dec 30, 2001
Just need some input on this situation. Its a very long story but I have a built transmission from said builder from 10 years ago that wasnt right when I got it. So it has my originaly BRF valve body installed and has worked decent for 10 years (cant be more than 6 or 8K miles tops) and some track time. Ill just get into what happened.

I drove the car to work yesterday and rolling about 35mph I squeezed on it and it kicked down to 2nd and built boost and ripped hard as it usually does (a little laggy with the old school orange crush 3000 converter). Didnt think anything of it pulled into work shut it off. Went to go home and it was winding up in 1st gear and wouldnt shift until 4 grand. Hmmmm.

I get it home (wont go into OD) and part it. Check TV adjustment and it was where it always has been. Fast forward to this morning. Drain the pan, drop the pan. I have silver metal by the governor area otherwise normal black clutchd dust and the magnet had some grey goo on it. I pulled the governor down and it had some small debris in it (metal) so I cleaned it up. I also made sure the spring was still there and it was. While the pan was down I adjusted the TV cable with a friend WOTing the car and me underneath the car making sure it was fully depressing the valve. And it was. So I put it back together threw fluid it and hooked up the pressure gauge. Here is what I had.

COLD startup:

P - 105
R - 150-180 bouncing
OD - 100
D - 100
2 - 180-210 bouncing
1 - 180-210 bouncing
WOT - 180-210 bouncing

P - 100
R - 160
OD - 105
D - 100
2 - 165
1 - 150
WOT - 180

So I drove it around the block. Late upshift 1-2 at like 4 grand. Pulled it back into manual 2nd after this to make sure I had 2nd gear and I did (tough to tell but I think it was in 2nd and didnt downshift but it did clunk when I did that). Held manual 2nd and manually shifted to 3rd and it engaged. Came up to the stop light and the car leaves in 2nd gear. If I WOT it real quick it kicks into 1st. Or if I manually pull it into 1st it goes into 1st. But it wont do it on its own.

At this point I was getting a little angry so I went out on the parkway and left it in manual 2nd gear and went WOT. It is NOT slipping, pulled hard and let off and clicked 3rd, then tried OD no OD at 55mph. Came to a stop its in 2nd again. WOT it real quick kicks to 1st and late upshift into 2nd then immediately to 3rd. Hrmmm.......... What do I have to lose now........... after this I decided to take it on the highway to see if I had OD. Got about a mile from the house and sitting at a stoplight and I am hearing some odd noises. Put it in Neutral and noise went away. Said screw it turned around to come home and smell trans fluid hot/warm. Not horrible but smelled it. Drove home through the neighborhood slow 1st gear was starting to surge a little. Its parked now................... WHATS BROKE? Besides my wallet? Thanks fellas. See you in Bowling Green in the Marauder. :(
Do you have any pictures of the debris in the pan? It would help to diagnose the problem easier. Anytime there is a lot of metal in the pan, I would suggest investigating the cause. With the amount of metal and the symptoms you have described, the converter most likely has failed. Driving it has probably trashed the valve body, the trans cooler in the radiator and the aux cooler if you are using one. If you have any question, feel free to contact me.
Spring came off the gonveror most likely...not the end of the world
Already checked the governor. Metal in the pan was minor. Shiny silver tiny pieces back by the governor. The rest of the pan was normal.
Sounds like you are to the point that it doesn't matter what broke it's time to shop for a trans builder.
Already checked the governor. Metal in the pan was minor. Shiny silver tiny pieces back by the governor. The rest of the pan was normal.
No metal should be found in the pan as you are describing, it needs to be rebuilt.
Could be the conv. putting debris in the trans. When you get all that stuff floating around in there it tends to make the spool valves stick causing the erratic shifting.
UPDATE: Builder called me yesterday and said the inside of the transmission looks great. Clutches ,etc all fine. The 2nd gear band is not broken but the anchor area is stretched a little bit. But he did find a lot of debris and found that the front pump was coming apart lots of gouging and such. He states like the poster above that the converter is probably part of the cause for my failure. He also thinks that the converter ballooning over the years when the car was driven hard or raced was putting pressure on the front pump slowly destroying it. He is going to put the extra wide 2nd gear band in it and put the original valve body back in that came with it when it was built (give me back my stock BRF valve body for my stock trans) and convert this one to a non-lock up unit. Looks like I better go converter shopping.

So I guess this is decent news. Thanks for the help and any thoughts on this type of failure?