Sunday, March 6, 2016

I know that I had to sell my ‘70 Mustang  to free up some money to move the XJS  forward by fixing the transmission. This is a well known and respected transmission model. It was used in GM’s big block motor combinations, Cadillac, Buick, Chevy trucks, even in the Rolls Royce. This is a very strong unit. I’ve been trying to be very careful with expenditures, I changed the fluid and filter and repaired the transmission mount myself. I’ve been studying a 400 Turbohydramatic book trying very hard to understand what could be wrong with the trans. If I place it in drive,and accelerate, the rpms shoot up but the car hardly moves, obviously something is slipping. If I place it in low, it takes off fine, shift manually into second and it is positive, shift into drive and it is the same as starting in drive, slipping almost freewheeling. Reverse is fine.Hmmm. If I place it in drive and let it idle on level ground it will start to move forward, gradually picking up speed to 5 mph. or so. When I checked out the car before buying I moved the car forward and back but I don’t remember if I used drive or low. The car didn’t have any license plates so I didn’t take it around the block. Should have done it anyway, but it probably wouldn’t have stopped me from buying it. My late Father in Law’s Cadillac Fleetwood which sat for a couple of years after his passing, wouldn’t engage any gear positively until I gently  moved it back and forth through the gear positions in the driveway, then drove it slowly in each gear position for a couple of hours. I was expecting the same thing with this car. That’s what I expected. Oh well,I only gave him twelve hundred bucks for the car!

There are only a few things that you can check on the trans without disassembling it. Fluid level, vacuum modulator function, governor function, linkage function. Getting into the trans you can drop the pan to change the fluid and filter, pull the valve body to look for obstructions from dirt or debris, and look at the accumulator piston, which I’ve read oftentimes cracks, The original pistons were made of plastic, the service replacements are made of aluminum.

I changed the fluid and filter. The pan looked pretty clean. I changed the engine oil and filter too, since I was down there. I added a can of “transmission magic” and hoped for the best. Hope may spring eternal but the tranny didn’t know that! So here I am. What’s my plan of action? I’m going to take a look at the modulator. Looking intently at a diagnostic table I detected a reference to modulator malfunction affecting line pressure. The modulator diaphragm could be leaking or seized. There is a valve behind the modulator rod that could be gummed up and stuck. I also didn’t check for vacuum to the modulator through the hose. Maybe. It’s also possible that the governor weights have seized on the shaft, or the plastic gear could be worn out or stripped. There is probably a sliding valve behind the governor shaft also. This is all pretty boring stuff but it’s mostly thinking out loud. It does help me organize my plan of attack.

I have been pretty busy and actually been out of town for many weeks in a row, Combine that with the very rainy weather we had a month or so ago and no garage space at the moment no wonder work has come to a halt. Then of course I had to get the Mustang ready for sale.

I bemoaned the lack of a buyer last post. My wife had advised me to price the car to move. She said that I was done with the car and I really wanted to move on the XJS. She was right. I really didn’t want to hold onto the car. I realized that I didn’t want to put the kind of money needed into the Mustang to make it what I wanted. It was over. My desire to have a classic American muscle car was done. Time to move on. I listed the Mustang on CL but this time drastically reduced, one thousand dollars reduced, with a firm price of 3,900 dollars. I received an inquiry that night. This buyer was motivated, he wanted to see the car that night. I answered him that it was too late and arranged to get together the next afternoon. He showed up with a pocket of money and stole my car for 3,700 bucks. I told him I would throw in all the extra new parts and manuals, almost 500 bucks worth for free. Nothing like making a clean break. When I told my wife that I had sold the car she said, “It’s too bad that you didn’t get to take that picture with the three Mustangs before you sold it.” I told her  that I had a better picture. Actually a big stack of Ben Franklin’s pictures!

I’m going to include some pictures of my 1989 Jaguar XJS V12 convertible. Next post I’ll give more details. Believe me this Jaguar madness ( Cat scratch fever?) gets even worse!

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