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1938 Pontiac trans issue


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Hello All, I own a 1938 Pontiac six with the 3 speed trans. I current problem is the gear lever will not move it is stuck in neutral? With that being said I got it to move last week and I started to tool around town and the most fierce noise came from the transmission (high pitch scream) I want to say its a throw out bearing but I'm not 100% sure. Now I have it parked and it's back to being solid on the gear selector. Clutch pedal is good and not stiff, I'm just stuck on what it could possibly be. Any help would be appreciated, Thanks. 

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Will the car roll with the clutch in?  I have never heard a throw out bearing scream but I have heard them squeak or make a loud humming sound. My experience with that type of problem is usually linkage related. If you unbolt the linkage can you shift the trans through the gears by turning the studs on the side of the transmission?  If that works then I would see if the linkage is binding. I don't really know anything specifically about Pontiac transmissions but I am sure someone here does and can help further if needed,

Edited by plymouthcranbrook (see edit history)
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Posted (edited)

Yes pushing the clutch in the old gal will move. I was tooling along normal then out of no where in third a high pitch sequel let out and holding in on the clutch was the only way to stop it. I will unbolt the linkages tomorrow and try the positions manually. 1939_Buick when you say floor change do you mean putting a shifter on the floor or am I reading that wrong?

 

 

Edited by Tony38 (see edit history)
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For 1938, Pontiac started the transition to the steering column shifter (3 on the tree) in place of the floor shifter.  Which do you have?  I assume it is the steering column shifter from your comments (when I owned my '38 Pontiac it was also a column shifter).  For the steering column shifter, there are linkages to operate the shifting which can get out of adjustment causing issues.  The recommendation above to unhook the linkages at the transmission and check to see if the transmission will operate is to determine if it is a linkage issue or transmission issue.

 

I don't have access to my '38 manual at the moment but the '54 manual calls for SAE 80 or 90 multipurpose gear lube for the manual transmission.  It should be filled to the bottom of the fill plug on the transmission.

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Lalutze, Thank you for that fluid info, and I will take everyone's advice and check the linkage and fingers cross that its the issue and it can be easily solved.

 

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I prefer Synchromesh oil of any sort over modern gear oil in a synchronized transmission, but the main thing is that it is not out of oil. It may not fill clear to the plug, if I remember correctly my 1936 does not, check the manual for the actual amount of oil.  Regardless, you should be able to reach in with one knuckle of your pinky and touch the top of the oil. If you can't, it is definitely low.

 

We do need to know whether this is a floor shift or a column shift. I agree the linkage should be checked.

 

Throwout bearings can scream, as can clutch pilot bearings. They are only spinning with the clutch pedal pushed down.

 

If the screaming is happening with the clutch pedal up and the car not moving, the bearings in play are 1) the front transmission bearing, 2) the bearing (or bushing) between the input gear and the output shaft 3) the front countershaft bearing (or bushing) 4) the rear countershaft bearing (or bushing). 5) any bearings or bushings that might exist in the drive gears where they contact the output shaft.

 

Edited by Bloo (see edit history)
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Ok so after some long hours of finagling my arms and hands around, I found that trans was low on fluid by a lot, and the 5 bolt cover on the top of the transmission has broken into 4 pieces. Luckily it wasn't inside the trans, I have since cleaned and had our local welding company tell me its to brittle to weld the cast I'm having issues finding a replacement. I appreciate everyone's help and with out y'all s help I'd still be scratching my head.

 

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Those top loading GM transmissions are a breeze to work on, even with little or no experience. Just don't force the gears/shifters into places that they don't want to go into.  My money is that there's no oil in the box.

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There was very little oil in the gear box, I found a the exact cover just waiting for delivery. So I put the old cover back on and the gears are still stuck solid, will not move for any gear. Is there a way to break the gears loose other than I'm trying to break them free by manually shifting it without the linkage hooked up.

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Sorry to say it is probably ruined. Don't give up yet. Take it out and disassemble it if it will still disassemble. Inspect all the parts and see how bad it is. There is a chance for recovery. Small, but there's a chance.

 

Alternatively contact the guy you got the cover from and see if he has the rest of the transmission. I am assuming it's another 38 Pontiac transmission. If the cover came from a Buick or an Olds or something I would hold off on that.

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