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Auto Tranny - intermittent 2nd to 3rd upshift - Rebuild
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hatchb4ck
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2008 7:43 am    Post subject: Auto Tranny - intermittent 2nd to 3rd upshift - Rebuild Reply with quote

I have been noticing lately in my Vanagon that it does not want to shift from 2nd to 3rd. This is a sporadic or intermittent behavior whose remedy is to shift the tranny to neutral and back into drive.

When this first began I checked the fluid level and everything looked good, but as part of the preventative maintenance I have been doing since I purchased the Vanagon I drained and refilled the fluid (changed the filter screen and pan gasket during this event).

The intermittent shifting problem is still there. I have come across some mentions of the governer with respect to this shifting problem. I will review the bentley and continue to diagnose.

If someone has direct experience with this, please add your suggestions.

Joe
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Last edited by hatchb4ck on Fri May 29, 2009 8:59 am; edited 1 time in total
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Spinal Tap
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2008 7:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I noticed our Westy doing the same thing this weekend. I never noticed it before this weekend.

For me it only seems to happen when the transmission is cold. After driving for 10-15 minutes, it shifts fine.

I need to check the ATF level though. I've also noticed it "slipping" twice, but also only when the tranny's cold. It may be my imagination, but the slipping seems to happen when we're going uphill.

I'm guessing that when the PO's mechanic replaced the trans-cooler, they didn't refill the ATF properly. I say this because they didn't refill the cooling system properly. When we bought it, I had to put over a gallon of coolant into the system!

Needless to say, I'll be watching this thread...
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r39o
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2008 9:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Did you read the tea leaves (metal flakes) in the bottom of the pan?

You might want to change the fluid a couple of times because you do not get the converter fluid with a simple service.

If that does not cure it, you have internal issues. Such as contamination in the valve body from crud. Crud can come for very old fluid, clutch packs failing, bearings failing, etc.....

Don't forget to check for the dreaded intermix which translates into dropping the automatic part before you ruin the ring and pinion gears.

Shifting from 2 to 3 is controlled by the governor but never seen one hang up. You can get to that via the outside. I doubt it is that.

I really think you got internal issues. Could be the pump too. You can only guess unless you hook up the gauges and check the pressures.
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hatchb4ck
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2008 10:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

With respect to metal flakes in the bottom of the pan, I noticed some "sparkle" in the fluid but nothing large enough to see. My opinion on this is that some amount of wear is normal on a 148K transmission, and this wear would show up as metal particles in the pan.

The filter screen looked pretty good before I replaced it for it's age. Although I have evidence that this service was done at some time in the past as well (pan mount tab stripped). The notes in the maintenance journal provided from the first owner of the van shows a meticulous care program.

I have thought about the amount of fluid within the torque converter and some of the suggested methods for getting the most out. Performing a follow up drain and refill is definitely a consideration.

Unfortunately, in my neck of the woods, VW mechanics who are willing to touch a Vanagon are few. Most that I have talked to about my transmission basically say they would purchase a rebuilt one and ship mine out as a core for $1800+ dollars. Heck, if that is the solution, I can take care of that on my own for the cost of the rebuilt transmission.

So, I'll continue to work the issue and save for a new tranny.

Thanks
Joe
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2008 11:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Have you tried manually upshifting through all the gears? Not sure why shifting into neutral helps. I wonder if maybe you accelerator cable is not adjusted properly. Perhaps you could follow the Bentley procedure for adjusting the cable. I am thinking that you may be partially into the kick down. That is a stretch diagnosis. 2nd gear is a band with an external apply piston. The D and R clutch drum has an internal apply piston. Over time they become brittle. For the other poster, the condition of OK when warm indicates worn seals. Unfortunately, the valve body can only be cleaned and the pistons deburred. The plate between the valve body halves does the work. They get worn out where the little balls hit. The plate is not available as a spare part. A true transmission shop might be able to attempt repairing the plate. The Bentley manual also has pressure tests that can be performed to issolate a problem. It requires a very high pressure gauge. The port to test is easy to access.
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2008 11:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am experiencing similar issues with my automatic right now. When it is cold in the morning it won't shift into first or second until I have driven it for a while and it has warmed up. Once warm it shifts fine, well actually on occasion if I take off from a stop and turn sharp it slips when warmed up.

I changed the fluid a few times (4) removed, dissembled and cleaned the valve body. The problem went away for a day then came back.

We are about to leave on a 6 month journey in the van so I have a rebuilt one on the way. Sad $$ ouch $$

Cheers!
Dave
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hatchb4ck
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2008 12:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have tried manually shifting up through the gears when the transmission is acting up and it doesn't help.

I will check into the throttle cable adjustment.

Thanks for the comments so far.

Joe

PS: Today's driving status -- Wife says it has been shifting fine all day.)
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Terry Kay
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2008 8:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A couple of things right off the top of my head that will correct the 2-3 shift.

Remove the c-clip for the 2nd gear barke band pistion and change the 2 o-rings.
they may be leaking.
The 2nd gear brake band may need adjusting.
The 2nd gear brake band piston may need cleaning so the 2-3 shift will be crisp.

Drop the Dextron, and fill the trans with type F fluid.

It has more grabber's than the dextron, and wil make for better shifts , especially when cold.

A bunch of folks who have done this have reported back to me that their transmissions shift better, and no slippage when cold with the type F in them.

I run type F in all 3 of my Vanagon's as well as my type 2 Westy.
Crisp, right now shifting .
My 87 slipped a bit when cold.

No More.
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hatchb4ck
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 23, 2008 7:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Terry K,
Thanks for the suggestions, I will definitely look into those items.

With respect to Type F verses Dextron. How do you go about changing that given the amount of fluid in the torque converter? Is some amount of mixing ok?

Would swapping the fluid types like this be more involved than merely changing the fluid normally? Like a flush and refill?

Thanks,
Joe
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Terry Kay
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 23, 2008 8:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

JOe,

Don't worry about what's still in the converter.
It'll mix just fine.

Drain what's in the trans, load her up with Type F or B&M Trick shft--same stuff, different color.

The advantage of using the Type F is that it's available local--the B&M trans fluid you'll have to order & wait for it--unless you have a local hot rod shop close by.

PS--do not use Marvel Mystery Oil in your Transmission--it'll fry the trans.
Some guys here report that ATF & Marvel are the same --they are not at all in the same family--not even close.
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 23, 2008 8:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

just to note since we had to recently service the 2nd gear band piston (C-clip popped out while on the road Shocked )

this IS servicible IN the vehicle. but it will take some finesse.
we used a ~24" wood workers clamp. .(trim-cut length to fit under vehicle)
anyways when you remove the C-clip and the 2nd gear piston it will fall off the 2ng gear band internally.
you WILL have to drop the pan,
Drop the valve body (it's NOT as bad as it sounds, 11 screws.. one hidden under the screen)
and have a helper assist in the repositioning of the 2nd gear piston while you lay underneath and align the band & piston control rod. (I used a dental pick to tug it into place)
on the wood workers "bar" clamp to help compress the spring under the 2nd gear piston I also tapped lightly with a wood dowel and light mallet.

VW calls the 2 O-rings a $20ea SEAL 92mmx3mm
my local big boy constructioin toy hydraulic shop called them $.83ea O-RINGS and had 89mmx3mm they stretched on fine no leaks.

the wood bar clamp will need to reach across the other side of the trans and you turn the adj screw to compress the piston so you can install the C-clip.
we did this 1st on the bench with a spare trans. then only took 25 minutes under the vanagon on a trailer. one corner jacked up.
work clean and NO LINT, use LINT FREE towels for those pesky atf drops over your face.

Terry Kay wrote:
A couple of things right off the top of my head that will correct the 2-3 shift.

Remove the c-clip for the 2nd gear barke band pistion and cahnge the 2 o-rings.
they may be leaking.
The 2nd gear brake band may need adjusting.
The 2nd gear brake band piston may need cleaning so the 2-3 shift will be crisp.

Drop the Dextron, and fill the trans with type F fluid.

It has more grabber's than the dextron, and wil make for better shifts , especially when cold.

A bunch of folks who have done this have reported back to me that their transmissions shift better, and no slippage when cold with the type F in them.

I run type F in all 3 of my Vanagon's as well as my type 2 Westy.
Crisp, right now shifting .
My 87 slipped a bit when cold.

No More.
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Terry Kay
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 23, 2008 10:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hint;

If you back off the second gear brake band adjusting screw you can remove & replace the second gear piston cover circlip & cover to change the O-rings without the cover blowing off.
It'll go back in the side of the trans pretty easy without any big pressure forcing it back into the trans.

You just have to make sure that the screw sit's back into the indent in the 2nd gear brake band, and adjust it properly when your all done.

Not difficult.
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0to60in6min
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 23, 2008 10:52 am    Post subject: may be not... Reply with quote

may be this is not your case (because I know nothing about Vanagon w. Auto trans but...

My BMW 735iL acts time to time exactly like that, it went in to Limp Mode... get stuck in 3rd gear... something related to the Trans Computer and The Throttle Position Sensor...

just an observation....
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PostPosted: Sun May 10, 2009 5:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I hate to revive my old thread, but I wanted to post a status of the work I have completed up to this point with the results.

I drained the fluid, removed the valve body, and removed the 2nd gear brake piston.

Upon inspection, the seals on the piston looked good but were a bit hard. I replaced the piston and cover seals. I reinstalled the piston after adding some lubricant to the seals and adjusted the 2nd gear brake piston rod using the Bentley information.

While I was working on the transmisison, I removed the stock transmission cooler and installed the Small Car transmission cooler.

I filled the transmission per the instructions in the Bentley and took it for a test drive. The first indications were that this solved the problem as the transmission shifted well in stop and go traffic on the way to the interstate. I drove down the highway at 60-65MPH for about 7 miles then pulled off to head back home in stop and go traffic. During the remainder of the drive in traffic, the transmission wouldn't shift from 2nd to 3rd under any circumstance.

I arrived back home. With the engine idling and the transmission in park, I checked the fluid level. There was no trace of fluid on the dip stick. So I added another quart (4 total so far, type F). I then headed to the parts store in the van to get some more ATF. And it wouldn't shift into 3rd.

Upon backing out of the parking spot at the parts store, the transmission was very sluggish and vibrated heavily. I stopped, checked under the van to see if something was wrong and everything looked okay.

I headed home and parked the van. A couple of hours later, I took the van to the gas station for some gas, during the drive there (6 blocks) the transmission shifted fine. After filling up with gas, it wouldn't shift again.

I am really at a loss with this issue. Everything seems to be as it should. I'm thinking my next step is to get a rebuilt transmission and be done with it.

The transmission is not slipping or anything when it is in any of the gears.

If anyone has any other thoughts on this issue. Please, post them, as I am at the end of my rope with this automatic transmission,

Joe
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PostPosted: Sun May 10, 2009 7:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So you went and got more tranny fluid and topped it up right? Is the level correct now, when you get it good and warm and check it?

Watching this thread close before I post my issues and questions. (yep issues with my second rebuilt ($$) tranny!)

Cheers!
Dave
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PostPosted: Sun May 10, 2009 8:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

At this time, the level appears to be correct.

I'm going to check it again tomorrow after driving it a bit more. Perhaps you have more experience with these things than I do, but I always get the feeling that I'm not checking the level right.

From the Bentley (37.9), it says:

-Refill transmission with approved......
*refill capacity 2.5 ltr (2.6 US qt)
Check

-Set parking brake, start engine
Check

-Move selector lever through all gear positions
Check

-Check ATF level and top up to lower mark if necessary
Check

-warm up ATF and check fluid level again
Check

I have one of the new dipsticks and everything appears to be in order.

I can tear down and rebuild most anything with confidence, but checking ATF levels always leaves me feeling a bit uneasy. I believe I am over thinking this part, but I always wonder if I have overfilled it....etc.

I would definitely like to hear about your issues if they are similar. Maybe we can solve this together.

Joe
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PostPosted: Sun May 10, 2009 9:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm thinking after your description of what is happening, that either the 2nd gear brake band is going bye-bye when it gets warm--
Or you don't have it adjusted tight enough.

You must be on the indent properly or the trans wouldn't shift from 2-3 at all, any of the time.

Maybe the band is going hasta lavista when it gets hot.

It sure sounds like to me that Daryll at AA transaxle needs to get a call get the trans rebuilt, and get it over & done with, if you can't get it squared away on your own.
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PostPosted: Mon May 11, 2009 6:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

After working on the transmission as much as I have this past weekend and seeing how the parts interact. I tend to agree with you Terry, but why would the brake band react like that?. I have sent an email to German transaxle to see what the turn around is on one.

I have a question on the brake band adjustment.

Per the procedures in the Bentley, you loosen the lock nut and tighten the adjuster to 87 in/lb, then loosen the adjuster and tighten to 43 in/lb. From this setting, the manual says to loosen the adjuster 2 1/2 turns. Then tighten the lock nut.

I have done this twice now when working this issue. My only question is when loosening the adjuster the 2 1/2 turns. This seems to loosen the adjuster quite a bit which kind of negates the other specifications.

When I do this, I count the flats of the locknut that correspond to 2 1/2 turns (15). Am I confused on what they mean by a turn? To me, a turn is once all the way around.

Does this sound correct?

Update on the fluid level.

This morning, I started the engine, moved the selector lever through all gears and placed back in park. With the engine running still, I checked the fluid level, nothing, nada, zip showing up on the dipstick. Per the bentley, it should be reading on the 20* mark (hashes at the bottom of the stick).

Remember, up to this point I have put 4 qt's in this transmission. But, I'm willing to accept that I drained more than usual out of it during the servicing and the external cooler is taking up some more fluid. So, I added another 1/4 qt. I had to head to work before I could check it again, so I left the van at home this morning.

I'll be checking the final drive level this afternoon to make sure I'm not pumping all this fluid into that section. But, the transmission has never lost fluid before this.

I am definitely looking at replacing this transmission at this point.

Thanks to everyone for your comments so far.

Joe
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PostPosted: Mon May 11, 2009 6:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I may be mistaken, but last time I spoke with AA they told me they don't touch the auto's, but again I may be wrong on that.

Sounds like you are checking it correctly, just make sure that you take it for a good drive to warm it up to the proper operating temps.

Now for my story. I am on my second auto transmission from German Trans axles and I am still having some issues.

Over all the trans shifts great, but once it is warmed up (only once it is warmed up, not cold) I shut the van off for a minute or two. When I start it up and put it into drive (or reverse for that matter) there is a huge (4-5 seconds) lag before it engages. Once it grabs, it runs flawlessly.

Now I have checked the level several times and it is bang on. I am going to check it again tonight, as I need to run some errands and I will report back tomorrow.

Any ideas?
I want to mention that GTA has been really helpful with my whole tranny situation and I would definitively recommend their service, but they don't really have an answer for me on this one issue.

Cheers!
Dave
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PostPosted: Mon May 11, 2009 7:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

On occasion, my transmission acts exactly like that. Especially when stopping for only a few minutes after driving for a bit. I put the selector in reverse and nothing for a few seconds, then sometimes it engages smoothly other times it engages very hard with a definite "thunk".

I've never had the problem with forward gears though.

With respect to AA, I emailed Daryll and they only service manual's. So, it looks like German Transaxle may be the best option, unless anyone has experience with AAMCO or some other chain of transmission specialists.

Joe
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