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64 Thunderbird Won't Move So Trans or Axle?

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  • 64 Thunderbird Won't Move So Trans or Axle?

    Just bought a 64 Thunderbird Convertible knowing that it has some issues. It has sat in a dry garage for about three years with not much driving time over those years. This spring the prior owner back it up in into the driveway without a problem but when he tried to pull forward the car would not move. He kept shifting back and forth and finally made it back in the garage where it has been sitting. I can do much work in that garage but I jacked up the wheels off the ground and found the brakes are not locked up. Emergency cables are disconnected.
    When in drive the rear wheel seems to turn just enough to put some torque to the leaf spring but it does not move the car forward or back. As he shifted from forward to reverse to neutral I did hear a pretty loud clicking or clattering sound from the transmission. I jacked it back up with wheel off the ground and running and the would at times start turning either way when switching from forward to reverse. I checked the axle level and it just needed a two-ounce top off. Since I can't do much work there I need to decide if I should flatbed it home for the axle work or to a tranny shop if it is the tranny. Any better diagnosis ideas out there or someone that has been there with the same issue?

  • #2
    With both rear wheels off the ground and the transmission in neutral can you spin the wheels by hand. You should see the drive shaft spin also. If so I would suspect the transmission. If one or both wheels are binding then it could be a differential problem.

    John Pizzi - Squarebirds Administrator

    Thunderbird Registry #36223 856-779-9695


    • #3
      Originally posted by stavro View Post
      ...When in drive the rear wheel seems to turn just enough to put some torque to the leaf spring but it does not move the car forward or back...
      This is interesting. There is only one reason why leaf springs bind.

      Either brakes or bearings are made solid to the axles. When brakes are released, leaf springs relax.

      Pull the drums off and try rotating the axles. You may have a shoe lining problem.
      I once had a spider gear come apart. The pieces lodged between the ring and pinion and halted the rear axle until I backed up a bit to allow the piece to dislodge. I was able to hobble up the drive in baby steps. - Dave
      My latest project:
      CLICK HERE to see my custom hydraulic roller 390 FE build.

      "We've got to pause and ask ourselves: How much clean air do we need?"
      --Lee Iacocca


      • #4
        Good Ideas

        I will dig into it tonight and post up what I find.


        • #5
          Figured I should post what I have found so far regarding the 64 not moving. It was strange that the front and rear wheels would turn freely when I jacked them up with the car not running and in neutral. Brakes also seemed to work normally when applied and released. With the backend still up and the engine now running, the rear wheels would sometimes turn in forward or reverse. With the rear back on the ground and the car would not move forward or back in drive or reverse. My buddy was in the car and mentioned the brake pedal seemed hard to push down. We pulled the vacuum line to the booster and guess what... the brakes were on and they released! I guess it makes sense that it could happen but I have never run into it before. I have had bad boosters but the just made a harder to push pedal but never locked the brakes. Now the transmission was suspect because of some leaks and I don't know its history. One thing I learned on this cruise-o-matic is that even though the dipstick shows OVER full with the car not running, once running it might be a few quarts low! Surprising how much drains back when turned off. Anyhow, any advice on what fits for a dual MC and booster would be appreciated. I will stick with drums all around from but might go discs up front in a year or so once I decide how much to put into this old bird.