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  View original topic: AT kickdown stuck?
walkingupstream Mon Jul 13, 2020 12:42 pm

Hello,

'91 Vanagon Auto trans, Subaru 2.5

I recently moved my engine/trans back 1 3/4" because the cooler hoses were crammed against the frame and kept failing. (due to improper engine conversion installation job).

I then replaced the muffler (old one sounded like a jug of coins being shaken around).

I did not notice any difference in behavior between moving the engine and installing the muffler. Now, the van does not seem to be shifting properly; it is behaving very differently, it's much more aggressive, and I really want it to be able to shift into 2nd and remain there when going 20-25 mph (unless kickdown is needed):

In 1st gear, it will remain until 29.6 mph/roughly 4400 rpm, before it will shift to 2nd. It will remain in 2nd until it reaches 57 mph/4400 rpm, when it will shift into 3rd. It maintains these same shift points coming back down.

I cannot get the transmission to shift under any other condition. This makes it very difficult to go 25 or 55 mph, as it runs at high rpm (is loud, uncomfortable and just doesn't feel right at all).

This said, the additional power is great and it makes hills no problem.

However, this is not at all how the van drove before moving the trans back/replacing muffler. Previously, it would shift comfortably at around 3600 rpm and then kickdown when power was needed for a hill. Now, I feel like it's just always in that kickdown mode.

The idle is fine, and when the pedal is released, the rpm drops to idle rpm, even while in D.

Do you all have any thoughts here? Anyone run into this before? Can someone provide a step-by-step or a good link to help me through this?

danfromsyr Mon Jul 13, 2020 1:12 pm

moving the engine/trans location impacts the cables..
the throttle cable and the transmission shift cable.

make sure you aren't pulling one or both of them tight ..


my $$ is that you have to recenter the throttle arm (relay lever) on the side of the transmission where the throttle linkage conects.
you do this by adjusting the throttle cable up underneath at the pedals.

this is all speculation as I do not know how or what was modified whenyour van was modified for the subie swap.

if the relay lever is leaned too far forward, the AT thinks you are goosing it and will hold out your shifts.
if the relay lever is too far back the AT will think you are loafing it and will feather the shifts, and may not attain kick down and quite likely burnup clutches.

so a centered throttle relay lever (Manual valve) is a happy automatic.

wesitarz Mon Jul 13, 2020 3:07 pm

I'll second that. Maybe you have to readjust your kickdown - accel pedal fully depressed giving kickdown at the trans lever and full engine throttle.

walkingupstream Fri Jul 17, 2020 6:40 am

Thanks-

I adjusted the throttle cable under the pedal, the bolt under the shifter lever, the idle adjustment nut at the throttle body and I opened and jiggled the governor.

One or a combination of those things made the difference. I can now go through my neighborhood at 25 mph in first and rocking 4200 rpm.

danfromsyr Fri Jul 17, 2020 7:59 am

keep on trying, you can do more damage if it's not set properly.
do you have the bentley manual? there are proper adjustments in there.
you should NOT have had to adjust the idle screw. section 37.12

here's an online pdf of the manual. linkage adjustment starts on page 1197
http://www.gmac999.com/Downloads/Bently_Manual_VW_Vanagon_1980-1991.pdf

jlrftype7 Fri Jul 17, 2020 11:43 am

walkingupstream wrote: Thanks-

I adjusted the throttle cable under the pedal, the bolt under the shifter lever, the idle adjustment nut at the throttle body and I opened and jiggled the governor.

One or a combination of those things made the difference. I can now go through my neighborhood at 25 mph in first and rocking 4200 rpm. MAKE VERY SURE that the Relay Lever on the side of the trans[ your throttle rod connects to it at the top], is not hanging up on the shaft.
I had this problem with my '84 when I first bought it, I lubed everywhere, but didn't physically move the lever back and forth to try and see how free it was, and how easy it returned to its 'neutral' position . It um, was not THAT free as it turns out.... :oops: :oops:
I stuck the Kickdown the first time I tried to floor it out of our parking lot at work..... :roll: :roll:
If needed, spray oil into the outside of the Shaft, and move the lever back and forth ,it needs to be like 'buttah' smooth in its operation, along with the Accelerator cable, the pivot at the bottom of your Accel Pedal under the floor, and the throttle itself as well.

!st gear at 25mph is too high, you should have shifted up to second before that even with a light throttle and NOT be at that high of an RPM[ 4200?????

mikemtnbike Fri Jul 17, 2020 11:56 am

yeah, those shift points are way too high, but you know that.

This excellent guide suggests it could either be dirty governor or dirty valve body.

http://www3.sympatico.ca/tchaad/Lost%20Knowledge/010_troubleshooting_guide.pdf

It also has a great how-to on adjusting the throttle cable, kick-down.

wesitarz Fri Jul 17, 2020 12:07 pm

I think he likely has a modified governor to increase the shift points. A KEP throttle kit uses the VW throttle cable rod, whereas the Smallcar cable kit or others do not. I modified my original governor but took too much off and didn't like the shift points at all so bit the bullet and went back to a stock governor.
from the dealer.



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