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Fordomatic help requested ('57 thunderbird)

Posted By yblock57 Last Week
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yblock57
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Howdy everyone. Apologies in advance for the long post. Any help you have to offer is greatly appreciated!

Looking for some advice/direction on how to solve late shifting and very harsh downshifting issues on my medium-case Fordomatic in my '57 bird.

Background:
Transmission was rebuilt by a local trans shop that specialized in older stuff. We pulled engine out to keep costs down and took trans in for a bench job. Everything went back together fine. Transmission shift points are very late (30+mph regardless of throttle pressure) from 2nd to 3rd. It also downshifts back to 2nd at around the same speed (harsh). All linkage adjustments were checked and reset several times per the shop manual to try and remedy. No change in shift points — it doesn't matter how far the rod is shortened or lengthened. Car went back twice to the shop and they basically threw in the towel and said that's how it works. Car went to two other shops where the valve body was dropped and they discovered a sticky throttle valve. This also made no difference to the shift points. Reset linkage again and no matter where the adjustment, car shifts same (late). In fact, it shifts the same with the kick-down rod completely disconnected. Something else is going on here.

The transmission goes into gear very quick and crisp from park to reverse, drive & low and shifts nice and firm — just late. From reading the Fordomatic manual, I'm leaning toward the governor being a possible issue. What would you do in this situation? I'd like to pull the tail shaft off and take a look at the governor and see if it's clogged or sticky. I know this won't be ideal in the confined space of a thunderbird, but would beat pulling everything back out again. I have an extra governor that I could try but am interested in fixing this right and not throwing parts at it. Local shops around here are worthless.

We have a couple of other cars with this same transmission and have no problems adjusting the shift points with the kick-down rod. In fact, they're fairly sensitive to small adjustments. They all can be made to shift around 22 mph per the shop manual as well.

Would a line pressure test indicate a faulty governor? Or should I be looking at something else? Fluid is still very nice and red and fresh smelling. Only a 150ish miles put on since the overhaul.

Thanks in advance!
Kent




Kent Campbell
'56 F-100  | '56 Crown Vic  |  '57 Fairlaine 500  |  '57 Thunderbird

blocky
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hi kent i have had similar troubles with autos here in oz and you are on the right path with the governer .  always worth  a look and cheap too.good luck 
paul2748
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I'm no expert on Fordo's, but could it be the fluid your using?  Different fluids can determine how it shifts depending on what is inside.  I assume you are using the fluid recommended by the rebuilder?


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yblock57
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paul2748 (10/7/2020)
I'm no expert on Fordo's, but could it be the fluid your using?  Different fluids can determine how it shifts depending on what is inside.  I assume you are using the fluid recommended by the rebuilder?


Hey Paul2748 -

Using Type F fluid. Per rebuilder and many other's recommendation. Should have mentioned in my original post. Thanks for pointing that out.

Kent Campbell
'56 F-100  | '56 Crown Vic  |  '57 Fairlaine 500  |  '57 Thunderbird

yblock57
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blocky (10/7/2020)
hi kent i have had similar troubles with autos here in oz and you are on the right path with the governer .  always worth  a look and cheap too.good luck 


Thanks, Blocky

Have any tips on what to look for in the governor? I was under the impression that if there's any contamination, to clean it up and make sure the valve inside is working. Anything else I should look for?

Kent Campbell
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Kent, you do not have to remove the tail housing to access the governor.  There is a metal plate on the passenger side of the tail housing with two screws, take that plate off, and turn the driveshaft until the governor appears in the opening.  Take the two screws out of the governor and pull it from the opening.  Be careful not to drop those screws into the housing or you may find yourself removing the tail housing, not a very easy task in a T-Bird.  Make a note of which way the governor goes, it will fit both ways but will only work one way.

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DryLakesRacer
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If you do everything thru the access opening make sure to get a new or make a new gasket. I also used bolts instead of the screws. Make sure the cover is flat. If your torque converter leaks back, which is normal and ok, the rear will get a lot of the oil and the cover will leak.
With what you said about the sticky valve in the body, and the governor might be not functioning correctly your trans shop should owe you money. With what Hoosier says maybe it’s in wrong....

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This note isn't likely to fix your problem, but has come up before. Ford originally specified Type "A" fluid. It's in the manual, not type F. It has morphed into Dexron II etc.. Good luck with your problem.    


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yblock57
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Hoosier Hurricane (10/8/2020)
Kent, you do not have to remove the tail housing to access the governor.  There is a metal plate on the passenger side of the tail housing with two screws, take that plate off, and turn the driveshaft until the governor appears in the opening.  Take the two screws out of the governor and pull it from the opening.  Be careful not to drop those screws into the housing or you may find yourself removing the tail housing, not a very easy task in a T-Bird.  Make a note of which way the governor goes, it will fit both ways but will only work one way.


John —
I was looking at that plate and thinking there had to be a reason they put it there. Appreciate the information very much! This will really help me out in the cramped quarters of the infamous 'X' member. 

If the shop put it on the wrong way (highly possible), would it be obvious in how the passages line up in the governor halves? Anything else you'd recommend looking at?

I was planning on getting a pressure gauge to see what the thing is doing when it shifts. I suspect it's getting pretty high but would like to know for sure. Any recommendations on decent gauges?

Thanks again!
Kent

Kent Campbell
'56 F-100  | '56 Crown Vic  |  '57 Fairlaine 500  |  '57 Thunderbird

yblock57
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DryLakesRacer (10/8/2020)
If you do everything thru the access opening make sure to get a new or make a new gasket. I also used bolts instead of the screws. Make sure the cover is flat. If your torque converter leaks back, which is normal and ok, the rear will get a lot of the oil and the cover will leak.
With what you said about the sticky valve in the body, and the governor might be not functioning correctly your trans shop should owe you money. With what Hoosier says maybe it’s in wrong....


DryLakesRacer —

Thanks for the tip! I'm pretty green messing with these things but not afraid to get my hands dirty. Maybe watching some of the youtube videos of a few tear-downs might have made me a little overconfident. ha

They don't seem too complicated, so this has to be something that can be remedied without too much trouble — at least that's what I keep telling myself.

The shop that did this changed ownership during the 'rebuild' and all actions where taken short of legal to get them to make it right. At this point I'd just like to learn how to overhaul these things myself and take all swindlers and amateurs out of the equation in the future.

Thanks,
Kent

Kent Campbell
'56 F-100  | '56 Crown Vic  |  '57 Fairlaine 500  |  '57 Thunderbird



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