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Coach101

1953 twin turbo dynaflow will not go into reverse

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Hey folks, I have a 1953 Buick Roadmaster that will not go into reverse. It was having trouble locking into Park. I found that the linkage was bent. As part of the service, I drained the fluid, dropped the pan and cleaned it and the screen. I did not drain the torque converter but I did let the transmission drip into a pan for a week or so, flipping the shift lever from time to time to release more fluid from the valve. I replaced the pan and fluid and set the linkage as per the manual. I now have Park, Drive and Low only. I disconnected the linkage, started the car on the lift and shifted it from underneath the car while running. It would not go into reverse at any position I put it in. I'm baffle! Please Help.

Thanks

Edited by Coach101 (see edit history)

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I don't know about a 53 V8 but when the straight eights wouldn't shift in to reverse the first thing we checked in the dealership was the rear motor mount. If it was soft it would let the rear of the transmission sag 1/4 inch and that would prevent shifting to reverse. Just something to check.

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Tinidian, Thanks for the reply. All the mounts are new. The car had reverse when I backed it in to the lift. Then i dropped the tranny pan to clean and paint it. I actually went under the car with the engine running and moved the shift lever on the tranny by hand. All it will do is go into Park, Drive and Low. Thanks Again.

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Maybe you should put it all back together and go drive around .Go on some steep up and down hills. Maybe reverse will mysteriously return. The week drain down was probably the cause. Some seal dried out or got airbound. Next step the Dynaflow manual and a set of pressure gauges.

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Reading your thread rang a bell with me, as I recall several years back I spotted a '53 Buick for sale and when I inquired about it with my usual "What's all wrong with it?", the seller replied that the only major thing was that it had no reverse. I past on it as I already have too many irons in the fire, but now I suspect that this must have been somewhat of a common condition with these cars, and I'm as curious as you to discover the cause. Good Luck!

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Thanks for the ideas. I'm thinking that the drain down had to be the problem too. It just scares me to drive around with no reverse. With my luck these days, I'll get into a predicament that I can't back out of. I just hope I didn't cause something to come apart inside with all the shifting I did to let fluid pass through the shift valves. The other reasons for not leaving the barn include the brakes coming and going (I bleed them at the booster and have brakes, next day they're gone to rock hard pedal) and the gas pedal starter system seems to work when it wants too. I'm a good mechanic with many years of experience, but this car has so much odd ball technology that none of my wrench buddy's or myself have seen before. This car has me laying awake at night and taring out my hair during the day.

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Can't help as far as the transmission problem, but the intermittent starter problem may be caused by poor contact in the starter solenoid. The copper plate on the solenoid plunger which closes the circuit between the heavy contacts in the solenoid can have carbon build up on it caused by arcing between the plate and the contacts. Taking the solenoid apart and cleaning the contacts usually corrects that .

Oddball technology? To me today's stuff is the oddball stuff. I'll take 1953 technology any day!! ;):D

Terry

Edited by dictator27 (see edit history)

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Hey Terry, This a perfect example of odd ball technology. This Buick has a power on/off switch on the dash and the starter motor engages when you step on the gas. There's a vacuum controlled switch mounted to the carb that opens when the engine is dead and closes by vacuum to turn off the starter once the engine fires up. It was sticking closed so the engine would not turn over. A little TLC did the trick. But still no reverse. HEEELLLP!

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Glad to hear you are making progress on at least one issue. Just a suggestion perhaps you should move or start the thread in the Buick section below. Hopefully their it would attract the attention of someone who could help with the dynaflow problem.

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Hey Terry, This a perfect example of odd ball technology. This Buick has a power on/off switch on the dash and the starter motor engages when you step on the gas. There's a vacuum controlled switch mounted to the carb that opens when the engine is dead and closes by vacuum to turn off the starter once the engine fires up. It was sticking closed so the engine would not turn over. A little TLC did the trick. But still no reverse. HEEELLLP!

Buick used that setup for about 25 years, mid 30's to 1960. Packard used it for some years as well. I had a 46 Packard Clipper with it.

Terry

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