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-   -   Auto transmission fault - no forward drive. (http://squarebirds.org/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=22001)

billy whizz 09-24-2017 01:32 PM

Auto transmission fault - no forward drive.
I need advice on a fault with my 65 Landau 390 with original (rebuilt) auto transmission. Took it for a drive yesterday and a couple of miles up the road it seemed to need more revs than usual to pull away at a junction. Next I stopped at traffic lights, put it in neutral and when I selected drive to pull away I had no forward gears at all. Reverse is fine, there are no fluid leaks, smells or tranny fluid discolouration.

The gearbox was rebuilt about 500 miles ago, in 2012 and the engine was rebuilt in 2015, so it should be fine.

I knew I had no kick-down linkage from before the rebuild, but I am mystified as to how such a drastic failure could occur so suddenly.

Transmission testing and repair is beyond my DIY skills, but can you guys suggest any tests I can carry out just by jacking the car up on the driveway?

Would be eternally grateful for any advice, but keep it simple guys. Thanks

jopizz 09-24-2017 02:02 PM

My first thought is that you are low on fluid. If that is ok then check to make sure you have vacuum to the modulator.


billy whizz 09-24-2017 03:14 PM


Originally Posted by jopizz (Post 111230)
My first thought is that you are low on fluid. If that is ok then check to make sure you have vacuum to the modulator.


Thanks John. The fluid is exactly right, clean and healthy looking, with no smells.

Where is the vacuum connection and the modulator? You might be onto something because I heard a hissing noise, like a noisy vent from low down on the passenger side just before the failure....sounded like it was on the other side of the firewall near the front footwell.

jopizz 09-24-2017 06:52 PM

You should have a small rubber vacuum line on the check valve of the brake booster that goes to a metal line that runs under the car and then goes to another rubber line to the modulator on the rear driver side of the transmission.


billy whizz 09-27-2017 11:53 AM

I took you advice and checked the vacuum tubes to the modulator. Vacuum was OK at both ends of the pipe, (manifold and modulator ends).

Still the transmission will not go into any forward gear. Any idea what I should try next folks?

jopizz 09-27-2017 12:25 PM

It sounds like you've checked the most common things. If you have no forward movement in D1, D2 or L then you need a transmission shop to check for the correct pressures. I'm not sure there's any more you can do.


billy whizz 10-14-2017 12:25 PM

I w🐜 to check the transmission pan and filter. The manual says to drain the fluid in the pan via the filler tube, but my pan has no connection low down, just a pan about two inches deep. There are no drain plugs or pipe connections to the side of it.

I assume that I will just have to take the pan off carefully and that it may be half full of fluid, which I need to catch. Any idea how much fluid will be lying in the pan if I remove it?

I have checked the fluid level at the transmission dip stick while the car is warm and running at operating temperature and it seems to be quite a way above the top level marker hole. Could this be contributing to my problem?

How can I easily to a partial drain down and refill to the correct t level?

jopizz 10-14-2017 12:31 PM

All COM's have the fill tube screwed in on the passenger side of the pan. Unscrew the fill tube and most of the fluid will come out.


simplyconnected 10-14-2017 01:07 PM

Billy, drain the whole thing. I normally loosen the pan bolts and let it drain from the gasket, then remove the pan completely. A 'dry' Cruise-O-Matic holds about 11 US-quarts. Re-using trans fluid is NOT a good idea. Any amount of dirt can ruin a good transmission.

Over here, an overhaul costs about US$1,500 IF you bring it to the shop. Much more, if they take the trans out and put it back in because the car ties up a hoist while the trans is on the bench. Otherwise, the car must be pushed out of the bay, parked for days, then pushed back in when the rebuilt trans is ready. - Dave

billy whizz 10-14-2017 01:31 PM

Thanks for the prompt reply fellas!

I have had the transmission out twice in the last 8 years. I am not interested in ploughing a further 1500 - 2000 into ANOTHER rebuild. Specialists in the UK are so few and far between that I would have to get it transported to another county to get it fixed. Nobody near to me is prepared to work on it, except a local , so called "Classic American Restorers" who buggered my car up in the first place.

If I cannot make a simple repair myself I will just have to cut my losses and sell the car as a dud. Sad end to ten years of (largely frustrating) ownership.

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