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dstaton

roto hydra-matic

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Starfire Mafia,

So far, the fuel system has undergone a complete restoration, the electrical system has been rewired to unimprove some improvements, and been cleaned and respected. The cooling system is correct and functioning, and the starter is being rewound this week. The brake system is completely new. I hope to hear the unmuffled sound of a 394 for the first time next week.

I need some help with my transmission and/or the shifter. I have no idea if either works correctly, and am trying to anticipate and accommodate what will happen after the engine starts...

When I purchased the car, the shifter emerged from a Cutlass console installed to allow for a bench seat as shown in photo C. The photo shows the console merely inserted on the shifter, not installed attached, etc. So it is anybody's guess what gear it is in in photo C. I am unclear because, photo A shows the shifter in Park. Notice its perfectly vertical orientation. All correct Starfire images I have seen show the shifter in Park to cast forward...

Photo B shows a close-up of the shifter in-situ.

The car wants to roll no matter where I move the shifter. It is linked to the transmission, which I believe to be correct for '62 – having the speedometer pinion unique the 1962. It feels like it is adjusted ok, making the expected detent clunks. But when raised, the rear wheels turn by hand regardless, one side completely free, the other making a clunk before turning with little resistance.

The dipstick shows red fluid, and I am aware that it may have been added a year ago after being "checked" for the first time since 1975...

My best hope is that after starting the motor over Rodeo Break the transmission will "energize." I rather expect it will do nothing to move the car, instead. I have read extensively that these are very difficult to have rebuilt, especially out west.

Two questions:

What is the deal with my shifter's orientation? Why is mine not casting forward like it should? is it also from a Cutlass..?

Can anyone give me some beta on what to expect from these transmission facts? Without it holding the car, is it shot for sure?

Thanks,

Doug

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Edited by dstaton (see edit history)

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I'm not real familiar with F-85 floor shifters...., but in pic. #3 it sure looks something like a shifter for a Roto model 5 floor shift.

You are right about the Roto model 10 for Pontiac G/P and Starfire console shifter being canted way forward in park position.

The problem with finding someone to work on them isn't so much the person. If a person is good with automatic's..and he's got a HydraMatic manual he should be ok. The problem is special tools and parts, no, not the clutch parts or the overrun band or seals and such. I'm talking about a sprag clutch or thickness of thrust washers or worn out thrust bearings. What would you do if the spring for the accumulator had lost it's proper tension?? Or a case center support spring was bad? What would you do if the valves in the control valve had after many years worn the control valve body? So what you need is a guy who is good and works on these transmissions all the time and has a stash of donor transmissions that he can cannibalize for parts.

Here is the cover quadrant for a f-85 model 5 roto

http://thumbs2.ebaystatic.com/m/mit-zHAG6m0FdVVKz-Gk_QA/140.jpg

Here is a picture of the whole assy. in a 63 Cutlass. The selector is in park and is nearly strait up;

http://www2.volocars.com/galleria_images/408/408_p4_f.jpg

D.

Edited by helfen (see edit history)

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If it is like mine you must hold the button at the top of the shift lever DOWN in order to find Park (most forward) and REVERSE, (most rearward). Unless you have a posi differential you will be able to move the rear wheels when jacked up. if the diff is O.K. one wheel will turn forward as you turn the other wheel backwards.

Dave

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From what I can determine, that is not a Starfire shifter.

This is a Starfire shifter:

Google Image Result for http://www.gmpartswiki.com/getbigpage?pageid=2008

I am assuming what you have is a Cutlass shifter. I am betting that when your shifter is in park, the transmission isn't. Your shifter probably isn't moving far enough forward to engage park on the transmission.

You might want to figure that out before you go engaging any starters... :eek:

Paul

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If you end up needing parts for your transmission email parts@oldsobsolete.com or you can go to http://oldsmobileobsolete.com/ or http://oldsobsolete.com/ where you will find they have thousands of NOS transmission hard parts for the 60's models

They can probably help you

Regards

Gary

Edited by oldsobsolete
spelling error (see edit history)

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Thanks the for excellent info.

Implications for my car are that my transmission may be totaled for want of a shifter, as I have found they are quite rare, and although someone obviously has mine, they won't be giving it back... :)

That may be good news if I am to believe all I have read elsewhere about the slim jim. And, as far as I know, my transmission may have sat dry for years and it will now be arduous, even, to find out.

So for the sake of knowing how the rubber hits the road, let's imagine it is toast and/or a shifter has totaled it. No offense, Gary, but when a bolt costs $45 bucks I don't even want to know what a really rare shifter would go for. Just saying, as they say.

So my options ought to include converting to a TH-350 or TH-400. I know there are conversion adapters for the 394 (which I am keeping no matter how it turns out). They are reasonably priced and seem to require minimal accommodations, cross-members, etc.

So, some questions:

Would conversion allow me to use a more readily available shifter, perhaps my already possessed Cutlass/F-85, or a Hurst/aftermarket?

Can I still use my console, ie., no floorpan mods?

Will it mate to the differential through my stock driveshaft?

Is a TH-350 or TH-400 preferred? For what criteria?

(Any chance of a 4-speed, Santa Claus?)

Doug

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No matter what you do, you're going to need a shifter. I don't think you'd spend any more for a stock shifter than you would for a Hurst. Stock shifters show up on eBay periodically.

No matter what you do, you're going to need to rebuild a transmission. Right now you have one. I can't see that you'd spend more to rebuild that one, than you would to buy some 350 and have it overhauled.

If you change the trans, you are going to run into floor clearance and driveshaft length issues. You are also going to run into mounting and linkage issues. All this equals additional money.

I should be biting my tongue on this, but I am amused at this most recent remark regarding parts pricing, yet you feel $850 - $1000 conversion packages are reasonably priced.

Paul

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No matter what you do, you're going to need a shifter. I don't think you'd spend any more for a stock shifter than you would for a Hurst. Stock shifters show up on eBay periodically.

No matter what you do, you're going to need to rebuild a transmission. Right now you have one. I can't see that you'd spend more to rebuild that one, than you would to buy some 350 and have it overhauled.

If you change the trans, you are going to run into floor clearance and driveshaft length issues. You are also going to run into mounting and linkage issues. All this equals additional money.

I should be biting my tongue on this, but I am amused at this most recent remark regarding parts pricing, yet you feel $850 - $1000 conversion packages are reasonably priced.

Paul

Totally agree with Paul here. If you repair what you have that repair will be the only thing to contend with instead of cutting your trans tunnel, linkage to a new transmission, modifying your driveshaft and installing a yoke for a T-350--T400.

If you decide to show the car, it will be in a modified catagory.

If you ever decide to sell the car, you've lost the sale of a purest.

D.

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Thanks the for excellent info.

So, some questions:

Would conversion allow me to use a more readily available shifter, perhaps my already possessed Cutlass/F-85, or a Hurst/aftermarket?

Can I still use my console, ie., no floorpan mods?

Will it mate to the differential through my stock driveshaft?

Is a TH-350 or TH-400 preferred? For what criteria?

(Any chance of a 4-speed, Santa Claus?)

Doug

Now I want this clearly understood, I personally have no time for this Guy I'm going to suggest to get in touch with, but his Handle here and on Classic Olds is Shovel 55 and he has been trying to part a '62 Starfire Htp., so why don't you try and contact him to see if he could help in some way. Best of luck and tread lightly......:eek: :eek:

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Gentlemen,

I am again impressed by the gift of information and advice, knowledge and wisdom, from you all at AACA. You made me laugh, think, and rue. I expect each of you knows who and what.

Oldsfan, I had assumed the conversion was a billet of aluminum, $95. Understand that I use arch diction and proforma syntax to mask my stupidity. Don't encourage me. :o

So. I'll be keeping the slim jim.

Can anyone recommend an expert rebuilder in the Tucson/Phoenix area?

Thanks again,

Doug

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Gentlemen,

Understand that I use arch diction and proforma syntax to mask my stupidity. Don't encourage me. :o

Well, you're going an excellent job, because I have no idea what you just said...

Here are links to two places that specialize in conversion kits to eliminate slim-jims:

Early Oldsmobile Transmission Adapters

transmission conversion, adapter, bellhousing

Either way, there is quite a bit of work involved, and quite a bit of expense. And it's probably easier to get away with the floor modifications in a 98 or an 88 than in a Starfire.

Paul

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Well, you're going an excellent job, because I have no idea what you just said...

Paul

___________________________________________________________________

Reading his last post I came away that he was KEEPING the Roto.

D.

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Heh, heh. I'll write normal from now on – my apologies.

Having more time than money probably corresponds reciprocally to having more confidence than brains. Slim Jim rebuild kits are available for about $350, and look as if they are intended to include all replaceables. Repair manuals, unfortunately, are also available.

Helfen, I appreciate your warnings about part tensions and unexpected wear. I confess to having no idea what an accumulator spring is, but should it be required, I will enjoy the opportunity to find out. Have you rebuilt one, or witnessed it done? Are successful rebuilds more a matter of... fail/no fail, or... didn't last long, or... only ran in first gear?

Meanwhile, I definitely have a F-85 shifter per Oldsfan's wiki link (what a cool resource).

Doug

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Forgive me for not reading thru all the posts, But!!! Have you determined whether the transmmission is ROTO 10 Or 5 ??? If you have a service manual you can check the transmission at the Manual Lever for proper shifting, park thru reverse.

Look at Fig. 3-141 on page 3-76 of the 1961 service manual for shift positions of the tranny.

Sounds like you have an F85 shifter on a Roto 10 transmission.

Don't condemn the transmission until you check all the other stuff.

Dave

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Pontiacs of that era used floor shifters too. And some of the Pontiacs used the slim jim Roto 10. It may be possible to use a Grand Prix shifter, that is if the Grand Prix used the slim jim. Some used DC hydro, which is a much bigger transmission than the slim jim.

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My linkage is mostly missing or non-original.

Picture 1 and 2 show illustration from the manual and, someone else's (perhaps Chequenman"s?) assumedly original example.

Picture 3 and 4 show the remnant of mine. Both the lever and the bellcrank look adjusted from original.

Picture 5 shows details of my transmission plate. It looks like Dave is right, and I have a F-85 shifter on a Roto 10. Does the number suss with a 1962 Starfire?

I am hoping I can locate a Starfire shifter and bellcrank. I suppose I could fabricate, if necessary, the linkages... The bellcrank seems the most particular, but as noted in pictures 1 and 2, I have a remnant of the armatures, missing the lower bellcrank.

In response to Paul's excellent advice, so as I don't try to start it in Super, or Reverse, I am trying to understand how the bellcrank operates. When it is rearward, it is in Park, right? And what does the lower bellcrank even do?

This excitement is such a bargain,

Doug

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Pontiacs of that era used floor shifters too. And some of the Pontiacs used the slim jim Roto 10. It may be possible to use a Grand Prix shifter, that is if the Grand Prix used the slim jim. Some used DC hydro, which is a much bigger transmission than the slim jim.

________________________________________________________________

Pontiac used model 10 Roto from 1961-1964 in Catalina, 61 Ventura, 1962-1964 Grand/Prix. Pontiac never used the model 5 Roto

All Grand Prix used a console mounted floor shifter for 3 or 4 speed stick's or the Roto Hydramatic.It's quite possible that the G/P shifter is the same as the floor shifter for the Olds.

From 1961-1964 the Star Chief and Bonneville continued to used the 4 speed dual coupling Hydramatic as did Cadillac. Pontiac calls the dual coupling Hydramatic Strato flight, later Super Hydramatic, Cadillac calls it 315 Hydramatic, Oldsmobile calls it Jetaway, and Detroit Transmission who designed and built it call it P 315 Controlled Coupling hydramatic.

D.

Edited by helfen (see edit history)

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Having just had a '62 Starfire Slim-Jim rebuilt in the past week, I have been watching this thread with interest and trying to organize my thoughts and information before posting anything.

First of all, your existing transmission is correct for a '62 Starfire and may well be original to the vehicle. In your photo of the ID tag, the first four characters are likely OB-62. Olds used O, OA, OB, and OC markings to designate which transmission matched the different versions of the 394. The OB series of transmissions was used only in the Starfire- they alone had a 13-tooth speedometer drive gear, and they may have had a slightly different valve body inside.

The driven speedometer gear has either 31 or 32 teeth and is easily removable from the driver's side of the transmission. By checking the markings or counting the teeth on it, it can be checked against the manual to determine the original tire size on the car. (31 = 900 x 14, 32 = 850 x 14)

The transmission I just had rebuilt had sat for an extremely long time. I purchased it in order to have a correct OB-62 Slim Jim in the car that I'm restoring. The rebuilder has been doing them for 40+ years and told me it was one of the worst he'd seen. I suspect yours wouldn't be much better. I can elaborate later, but the point raised in an earlier post about having the transmission done by someone comfortable with them and with ready access to a variety of hard parts is spot-on.

Regarding the linkage, I think it's easy to get confused by looking at a couple of the pics that you posted in post #16. The parts diagram and the photo of the Slim-Jim on the bench both illustrate parts needed for a column-shift car. I ought to know, since that photo is of the Dynamic 88 transmission that once resided in my Starfire.:D

There are three levers on the Slim-Jim. From front to back, they are: The bellcrank, the manual lever, and the TV lever.

The bellcrank is not connected directly to the inside of the transmission. All it does is act as a fulcrum for other external linkage. Column-shift cars have two bellcranks mounted to the same shaft, which are seen in your illustration, and on my Dynamic 88 transmission. The shift relay bellcrank connects linkage from the steering column to the manual lever and is not present or necessary on a Starfire. You don't have it, and you don't need it.

The lower bellcrank connects the TV linkage from the carburetor down to the TV lever, which is crucial to timing the shift points in a Slim Jim. It's remarkable how sensitive these transmissions can be to TV linkage adjustment....but that's for another set of posts. Bottom line, your lower bellcrank and associated linkage appear intact, though I can't see the TV lever in the pics.

The manual lever selects for PNDSLR. The trans is in Park when the lever is rotated all the way clockwise, and Reverse when it's all the way counterclockwise.

The piece attached to the manual lever that's pointing to 4 o'clock in your third photo in post 16 does not belong on the car and must have been added in order to adapt the Cutlass shifter.

Besides the shifter itself, you are missing several pieces of Starfire-specific linkage that attach underneath the car. The rod from the shifter connects to a part labeled the relay bellcrank, which swivels on a large bracket that's bolted to the floorpan. The relay bellcrank, in turn controls the manual rod, which is a long, adjustable rod that sets the manual lever to the proper position when the shifter is moved.

Basically, this assembly takes the place of the shift relay bellcrank that's adjacent to the lower bellcrank on the column-shift cars.

Here are some pics from the manual illustrating the Starfire linkage, as well as a few photos showing the corresponding parts on a '62 Starfire.

Chuck

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Edited by Starfire61 (see edit history)

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Will seem like I'm late to the game on this, and redundant, but with so many phony claims by eBay sellers that a part(s) are for a specific year/make/model of car when they end up not being the case, I can attest that the '62 Pontiac Grand Prix shifter is the same as the one for the '62 Starfire, in appearance and in function. Was given the opportunity to drive a '62 GP several years ago, and while I enjoyed it, there was no doubt as to the transmission that moved that Indian along, and harbored all of the idiosyncracies that the Slim-Jim is noted for.

So relieved that my transmission woes for my Starfire and D88 wagon are behind me; you ain't been living until you get the remnants of three Roto HydraMatics returned to you in 8 boxes from a guy who says he's done transmission repairs for 40 years!

Cannot emphasize how crucial it is to find a COMPETENT individual to rebuild one of these things...

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Thanks, Pat,

I found one already.

But if you have the bellcrank and the linkage connecting to the manual lever I would be interested.

Doug

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Yeah. and the 4 bolts that hold the bracket to the floorboard.

What a shame. It's useless. I guess I'll just have to throw it away...

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