Automatic transmission problems


Harry Sloane

New member
I own a 96 Eurovan (Winnebago conversion) with 5 cyl 2.5L gas, A/T with an OBD computer. It has 153,000km on the odometer. I had the transmission rebuilt (torque converter bearings blew) by a franchised transmission repair shop (ART international) in May 2002. They changed the converter, the valve body, the box kit, the pump assembly and the oil cooler. The repair is covered by a 20,000km 12 mo. warranty.
I have 2 questions:

1. I'm just back from a 12,000km trip across Canada going west throught the rockies and coming back east across the US. The transmission worked fine under most circumstances but after doing long stretches (no A/C on) on flat highways at a constant 3,000RPM (approx. 60MPH) I get a peculiar shifting problem. Most times when departing after a short stop at rest areas or refuelling, in ECO mode acceleration, it will shift from 2nd to 3rd and 3rd to 4th gear at about 2,500RPM. It will suddenly free rev (no acceleration) up to 3,500 before dropping back to about 2,000 in the higher gear. This gives the van a slight but noticeable jerk. I don't seem to have the same problem when the accelaration is under a higher load from driving up an incline or if I nurse it past 2500 by slightly depressing the accelerator further around 2300. This doesn't happen under city driving or in the mountains (under climb load) or when I change gear manually. Looking in the Bentley, I noticed tranny trouble shooting problem #15 certainly looks like that but my problem is not continous and I can work around it. What could be causing this? What can I do to find out?

2. I have about 15,000km gone on my 20,000km warranty what else should I do before reaching that point, to insure coverage if something might be in the process of deteriorating and could quite possibly only break down or become unserviceable past my warranty period.

Thanks for any advice I get.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Capt. Mike

Moderator
Transferred to consolidate same topic.

lolo16 Member posted August 29, 2002 12:13 AM

I have a 87 Westafila witch the trans is spraying out trans fluid out from the torque converter seal.I am very lost on trans matters. Is pulling the trans the only way to change the seal.If not what is the best way?
Thanks
Chris

singletree1 Junior Member posted August 30, 2002 05:58 PM

You are in a bad way. You need to pull the engine and tranny apart to see whats leaking where. Is it engine oil coming from a broken seal or bearing where the crankshaft comes out or is it tranny fluid coming from a bad tranny seal? A bad driveshaft bearing will let the driveshaft wobble and wreck the tranny seal. You'll also have to replace the clutch pressure platebecause it is now contminated from the oil leak. Good luck. Start doing some of the work on your westy yourself or you will end up a bit poorer and alot more dependant on what some mechanic tells you.

lolo16 Member posted August 30, 2002 07:47 PM

Thanks for the reply.

I do all the work on my westy, and I am getting tired of it. But my 87 westy is just becoming a big headache. One thing after another. Oh well,I will have this one running good one day.
A/T Transmissions are freakey!!!

Thanks again
Chris

Auto Transmission fluid

dvanulden Junior Member posted October 12, 2002 09:54 PM

Looking at purchasing a 91 Westy. I noticed that the automatic transmission fluid is a honey color and smelled a tiny bit like gear oil. It definitely isn't the redish brown stuff I was used to in my 87 Westy. Anyone know what this fluid is?. Could it be a synthetic auto trans fluid?.

Dirk
 
Last edited:

swilger

New member
Awhile back my A/T in my '90 Westy wouldoccasionally"stick" in 3rd gear and if I let up on the accelerator it would tthen kick into 4th. I checked/changed the ATF and filter(no abnormal color or smell) and still occasionally have the same problem. The other day my toddler "accidently" kicked the shift into neutral as We were traveling down the highway and we briefly hit the 5ooo-ish rpm area. Now the trans will not kick into 4th at all and my reverse gear "clunks" into gear only if you accelerate a bit. (I'm not scapegoating my child here)...I am fearful I may have serious A/T problem and doubly fearful of the $4000.00 repair estimates I've read here. Any feedback good or not so good is appreciated.( I left my Bentley manual at a friend's during our travels). Thanks. p.s. to Capt. Mike: my apologies for not reading the guidelines first..
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
Your A/T, if factory, only has 3 forward gears.

An old A/T troubleshooting chart from VW says:

No drive in 3rd gear or reverse -- probable cause direct & reverse clutch defective.

Transmission does not shift into 3rd gear with lever at D -- porbable causes governor or governor drive defective; valve body assembly dirty; direct & revers clutch defective.

These come from the '68-'79 Type II Bentley but are quite generic and should apply to the Vanagon A/T.
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
Transferred to consolidate same topic.

Changing ATF

mr.rocksteady Member posted June 18, 2003 10:55 PM

1985 Westy 1.9L Automatic 120,000mi.

I am about to drive 3,000 miles from Atlanta to Oregon and would like to change my ATF fluid before i go. So, my question is, how do you do that? I bought the fluid and filter now need to know the process. Is it just like changing oil? Is there a plug underneath the transmission? Do you drain it into an oil tub? take the old fluid to the auto part store?

Capt. Mike Tech Writer posted June 21, 2003 08:26 AM

No plug; you remove the pan. That involves removing the filler pipe. Yes, it's messy. You can drain much of the fluid with either a pump -- lots of "oil-change" models on the market -- or loosen the pan nuts part-way and let the excess drain out. The final removal of the pan will have to contend with the amount left in the pan -- and that's where most of the spills occur.

When replaceing the pan, you MUST use a new gasket. Also, the bolts use a spring washer that is a one-time use; they must be replaced. Finally, the torque is critical. Do NOT overtighten. It can warp the pan and cause leaks. It's acceptable to use one of the sealers (I prefer the copper spray) very thinly on cork gaskets to aid in sealing. Rubber gaskets do not require it. Since gaskets compress, you will want to torque (use an alternating sequence) several times. In fact I prefer a final check the next day.

ATF should be changed (with filter) every 30,000 miles. You WILL not get it all -- in fact only about ½ -- because of the amount in the torque converter. That's OK. If this has never been changed or is unknown, you might want to do it twice an oil-change service apart to be sure you have a majority of new fluid. Mercon's are compatible. I believe the current is Mercon III. Valvolene now makes a premium one for 'older' transmissions.
 

chefboyrdave

New member
Hello

I have a 75 westy and recently put a new engine in. When I am in P and idleing it feels like it keeps going into gear. The engine goes down in idle when this happens and the van will want to nudge foward with the emer brake on. Then after about 5-10 secs it goes back to normal idle and out of gear. I move the lever up and down between D and P but it still does it. BAck and forth. The fluid level is fine. Please Help!!
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
IF, and that's a big if, you had no problem until the engine change, did nothing to the transmission during the change, and now have the attempt to engage, I'd backtrack the engine work first. A/T or M/T, it's easier to change the engine by removing the tranny and engine as a unit. Was this done? If so, there is a good likelihood the reinstallation is the culprit -- the linkage or vacuum/control lines not correct or adjusted.

If done with the tranny in place, look at the various possibilities in table a., Bentley 7.3. Although none reflect your actual symptom, compare those with the verbal descriptions in 7.1 on Brake Bands and Hydraulic Controls. Note how there are three control devised to regulate movement of the control valves, only one of which is manual. If the adjustment of the manual is off at all, this may compound through the other control mechanisms. Variations in ATF pump pressure, governor and others can all have an effect on shifting pressure. Those are basically tranny specialist jobs, beyond drive-way mechanics.

You didn't mention when the last A/T fluid & filter change were done and what fluid is in. Start with that. A change, sometimes two in short succession, can perform miracles as it doesn't take much to clog a control port. A/T fluid & filter are service items, to be done at least every 30K miles. And are you using the latest fluid or an "older transmission" fluid as in the post above?
 

chefboyrdave

New member
It is a auto tranny and I just put in new oil and checked filter. Is there a way to check if it is the vacuum lines? eg.pulling them off and using a tester of some sorts. The tranny was pulled out with the engine and there was absoluyly no work done to it but I did remove the torque converter and installed it properly. I have a different engine in there. It is carb and water cooled. I hooked up the vacuum lines to the same place the brack servo vacuum lines went. There is a wire connector on the tranny. What is this wire for and what does it hook up to? The manual is not very specific on this?
Thanks
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
Testing the hydraulic control ciruit and discussion of the primary throttle pressure vacuum unit are covered in Bentley 7.3.3 & 7.4. You can test vacuum (Is engine producing right amount and consistent vacuums?) with a vacuum gauge set (Snap-On MT311JB or equiv.). You can test vacuum controls by blocking off engine vacuum and applying a separate gauged test vacuum (Snap-On SVT270P or equiv.) to see if the controls operate at the appropriate level.

Since you've done an engine conversion, one can't answer questions on vacuum connections and routing. Most brake servos use a check valve system so vacuum remains consistent -- you might be experiencing vacuum irregularities due to connecting to the brake system instead of manifold vacuum. Guideline #3!

There is a supplemental wiring diagram in the Bentley for A/T's.
 

chefboyrdave

New member
Both the brake servo and the vacuum for tranny hoof up to what is called an induction manifold on my engine. It is a piece that fits between the carb and intake manifold. It has various ports inside it. I am assuming that this is what the hoses pluged into but the hoses are very long and may not be creating enough vacuum pressure. I tried to push down the brake peddle and it was very tough and tight. Would this also be because not enough pressure is created to operate the servo?? There doesn't seem to be anywhere else that the hoses could plug into. Is there a type of booster that I can get to increse pressure?

Thanks
 

chefboyrdave

New member
Hello,
I am having a major problem. I ahve a 75 westy and When the engine is running I am getting black burnt atf fluid coming out of the bellhousing. If I let it run long enough the fluid wi;; splatter from hitting the torque converter whilw spminning. When I check the atf fluid with the dipstick it looks brand new. The engine has been rebuilt and the torque converterwas taken out but I put it back in right. Also when I put it in park I can push the van and I hear some clicking in the tranny. This is when the motor is not running. The ticking is very faint. Whe the van was rungin I tried toput in gear but I got nothing. It just stayed idleing at the same rpm's. Please Help!!!!
 

chefboyrdave

New member
Hello,

I was wondering if it is possible to remove the tranny from a 75 westy without removing the whole engine. COuld I prop the engine up and put it on a stand??? Does this sound possible???
Thanks
 
Hello its me again 1990 westfalia auto 80k miles (144k KM) when I am driving along at highway speed i always try to keep the RPM at 3800-4000 (100-110 km/h), but during long drives after 3-4 hours all of a sudden the RPM "JUMPS" to 4500-4800 with no increased noise or strain comming from engine, so I ease up on the pedal and a few minutes later it seems to go back to normal and then I can get back to my normal speed. what is up with that?

marty
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
IF your speed and all other items are constant, and you're sure your tach is correct, then it appears your tranny is 'downshifting'.

There are many possibilities:

ATF level incorrect;
Oil strainer dirty;
Primary throttle pressure valve sticking;
Vacuum hose leaking;
Kickdown switch or solenoid defective;
Valve body assembly dirty;
ATF pressure incorrect due to internal transmission leaks.

The speeds you are running are very definately at the upper end and push vehicle capacity. As such, I'm sure your A/T temps are near peak. Even as thin as ATF is, it will thin further with temps and you might be getting to the point you don't have proper pressures & viscosities when this overheating is added to the normal wear & tear of mileage. Are you changing ATF & filter every 30K as required? There are newer ATF's out now specifically designed for older trannys. Consider one of them next change.
 

chfbrd73

New member
Hello,

I have a 75 westy and I recently had my torque converter rebuilt and put a new oil seal in. When I start it everything looks good in bell housing. The torque converter spinning good. Very quiet in there. No leaks after long idle. But only one major problem. It won't shift into any gear. Not even a change in engine idle at all. I know the electronics are good because it won't let me start it with shifter in R or D. Could this be caused by not hooking up vaccume lines properly. I have checked all fluid levles and that I put it all together properly and that checks out. I really don't want to have to take it out again!!! PLease Help
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
Transferred to consolidate same topic.

044 DHV Junior Member posted November 18, 2003 07:55 PM

Cracked bell housing mount

I have an 85 Westy with an automatic transmission. Recently, my favorite local mechanic closed his shop so I reluctantly took it to a dealership for a quick once-over before a planned Thanksgiving trip to Florida (approx 1,800 miles round-trip). The mechanic at the dealership noticed a crack in a mounting tab on the bell housing. He said the Westy could go another 6 years/60,000 miles before problems occur, or it could happen in another 200 miles. He said the crack was not in a load-bearing place and when problems occur it would probably result in a dramatic transmission fluid loss and then would stop engaging. He then quoted a $3,800 rate to install a new bell housing. Since this is far beyond what I am willing to pay, I am considering finding someone to weld the aluminum.
We are well beyond calling-off the trip, so I am trying to get the weld in place very soon. My questions are first of all for the safety of my family and secondly for the risk to the Westy if I can't get the weld performed in time. Other than an untimely breakdown and the severe transmission damage I risk, are there physical dangers I am missing? Is this type of weld common? Are there other, less expensive, options?
Finding alternate transportation would be a huge bind, but we love the Westy and I would like to keep it forever... from what the mechanic tells me, I think the risk is low but it still makes me nervous.
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
One, welding aluminum is now common place but still requires a knowledgeable and experienced shop with the right equipment. Pick carefully.

The weld of a cracked tab or bell-housing mount ear shouldn't be a major problem. It may be necessary to weld up and redrill the hole to get weld deep through for a permanent repair. That will require removal of the transmission & drive assembly, but should be able to be done without further disassembly. A "tack weld" over the crack in place may be feasible as a temporary measure to finish the trip.

Finally, I question the "catastropic" results the mechanic is talking about. The bell housing holds the torque converter, which is self-contained of it's fluid. The bell housing is part of the final drive assembly, not the A/T transmission, so a leak of either the torque converter or the differential doesn't automatically transfer to the A/T. The fluid in your differential is heavy gear oil, not the thin red A/T stuff. If the seal begins to go, it doesn't "dump" everything immediatly.

If 3 of the four ears are intact and holding firm, a crack in the fourth shouldn't be catestrophic unless the vehicle is subjected to off-road or similar abuse.

R&R of the tranny should be a 3-4 hour job, plus the weld. Hardly $3800. You'll want to replace the seals while out, perhaps also draing & change the torque converter fluid.
 

hugor

New member
Hi,
I have an 86 2.1L Automatic westy. I am planning on changing the oil, transmission fluid and final drive gear oil. One thing I have read on the forum is that it is recommended to change the "filter" when changing the transmission fluid. Is this the oil filter or a filter in the transmission? Can I find info on it in the Bentley?

Also, I can't seem to find anything about changing the gear oil in the Bentley. Is it basically the same process as described for tranmission fluid (remove gear oil pan, replace gasket and washer springs, re-attach pan, fill with gear oil)?

I am a beginner mechanic who is trying to save some money on my new westy. I want to make it last, but I can't afford to get all the required maintenance done by a mechanic. Any help is appreciated.

Hugh.
 

Top