Auto trans installation question - Vintage Mustang Forums
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-01-2019, 10:01 PM Thread Starter
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Auto trans installation question

Just replaced my flexplate with the engine in the car (68 vert., 347)
I'm working in my garage on a creeper, alone (!)
Trying to realign the torque converter studs to the 4 holes in the flexplate with the converter still inside the bell housing is proving to be very challenging and strenuous on this 72 year old body.
Am I better off to install the converter separately, and then install the transmission? Does this put any shaft seals in peril doing it this way?

Thanks.

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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-01-2019, 10:07 PM
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NO! The converter must be installed on the transmission and engaged in the pump. If you bolt it to the flexplate and try to then install the transmission it's almost a guarantee that you will bugger the pump. If the converter is properly installed on the transmission you should have NO problems rotating the converter to align the studs with the holes.

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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-01-2019, 10:10 PM
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"Am I better off to install the converter separately, and then install the transmission?"

That's a BIG NO.

If you tried to do it the other way separately, You'd most likely break or strip the studs on the toque converter. Also It would be very difficult to seat the converter itself... Just take your time....take breaks....walk away....then come back to it later if you get frustrated...or find a friend or a local VMF'r from here to help you.

BIG TIP: Rotating the torque converter in a clockwise fashion, You should here 3 clicks as you rotate it in to seat it. when you think it's full seated, The torque converter bolts should not extend past the edge of the bellhousing. If they do, then the torque converter is still not seated correctly...

Just take your time, You'll get there.

)

Tony K.
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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-01-2019, 10:22 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks guys. I got it, loud and clear!
I bought one of those flexplate rotating tools and pulled all the spark plugs. This motor makes some serious compression.

Good advice Tony. I'll have another go at it this weekend.

Tom

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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-01-2019, 10:52 PM
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Another thing you can do is get some bolts about like the ones that secure the bell housing to the block and cut the heads off them and then slot the cut end so that a flat blade screwdriver will fit. Use these as longer, removable locator pins. That might help to get everything lined up so all four studs go through the flex plate at once.


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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-02-2019, 12:19 AM
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Getting the torque converter all the way into the transmission is very often a big problem for people. Also for people who simply pulled the transmission to replace an engine seal or something and are prepared to SWEAR they did not disturb the set of the converter. They usually didn't but the studs dragged on the flexplate on the way out and then the slightest bump rotated it slightly. And then...it broke the pump after reinstallation because they didn't notice the subtle disturbances and didn't know how to check. In short, a LOT of people break a LOT of pumps. I've heard of one or two people getting a transmission on with the converter bolted to the flexplate that by some miracle didn't destroy everything but they are definitely the exceptions.

Good advice so far. I'll add just one more bit or two. Your final check BEFORE you actually tighten your bellhousing bolts down. With the transmission mated as closely to the engine as you can, look to see if the converter studs are just far enough into the flexplate so you could start a nut on one. (But don't) If you can't close the gap quite all the way and the tips of the studs are just barely into the holes, that's fien too. What you don't want to see is the studs fully into the flexplate before you actually tighten the bellhousing bolts. If you see that, it means you converter has to go in the last "click". Also that you have to pull the transmission back and down enough to twist and push the converter in that last click.

A very light swipe of grease in the opening in the back of the crankshaft when the converter "nose" fits or a just a swipe on the nose is recommended by all converter rebuilders. It helps keep corrosion out and incidentally makes installation a tad easier sometimes.

Properly installed, even when you do tighten the bellhousing bolts you should be able to grab a converter stud and "rattle" it back and forth a bit. There should be a gap of 1/4" to 3/8" between the converter and flexplate until you tighten that first converter nut and THEN the converter is drawn forward a little to be flush up against the flexplate. I've even put a nut on a few threads and then stuck a screwdriver under the nut to pry it forward and actually feel the converter clunk into the back of the flexplate.

I wrote all this because issues here are very common and like as not if you don't know what to watch for you'll never know it's a disaster until you have it all back together, start the engine and the transmission doesn't work. At all. Because it instantly broke the pump. Then it all has to come back out. Talk about sick to your stomach. These are lessons I highly recommend not learning the hard way. Installing transmissions from underneath on jack stands is no joke.
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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-02-2019, 01:21 AM
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All excellent advice to avoid stacking the pump, I will add one more tip to help be sure the converter is seated all the way before you start to mate the engine and trans. When you think the converter is seated all the way try fitting your fingers behind the converter between it and the case. If you can get a finger in at all it is not seated. The converter should be very close to the case. As mentioned previously, before you tighten the case bolts up make sure you can move the converter, shove a screwdriver in there and rotate it side to side a little. I should be moveable a little even when the bolts are snugged up.
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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-02-2019, 07:49 AM Thread Starter
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You guys are awesome! Tremendously helpful advise from all.
Now that I've been educated I am eager to go another round.
I had already thought about making up some alignment "pins"...Ö..that seems like a good place to start.

Thanks everyone!

Tom
(Boston area)
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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-06-2019, 01:26 PM Thread Starter
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Update:
Okay, so I moved the TC all the way beck into the case. Didnít feel anything or hear any clicks but Iíve rotated it all around and itís not going back any further. The tips of the mounting studs are approximately 3/4Ē inside the outer surface of the bell housing. I was able bring the transmission forward enough to where the two alignment pins on the engine block were just about touching, and well aligned with the bolt pattern on the BH. I could also see that the studs were starting to become visible in the flexplate holes. Next I was able to start a couple of the main bolts and gradually was able to pull the transmission into contact with the block, but with no more distance to go the studs were only flush with the front of the FP, not through enough to catch any of the nuts. Hmmmmm, somethingís not right, I thought.
I tried to turn the engine with a big socket on the balancer nut but it did not budge. Uh oh, donít like that at all.

Comments, suggestions?

Thx.

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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-06-2019, 01:45 PM
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Originally Posted by KOstratavarius View Post
Update:
Okay, so I moved the TC all the way beck into the case. Didnít feel anything or hear any clicks but Iíve rotated it all around and itís not going back any further. The tips of the mounting studs are approximately 3/4Ē inside the outer surface of the bell housing. I was able bring the transmission forward enough to where the two alignment pins on the engine block were just about touching, and well aligned with the bolt pattern on the BH. I could also see that the studs were starting to become visible in the flexplate holes. Next I was able to start a couple of the main bolts and gradually was able to pull the transmission into contact with the block, but with no more distance to go the studs were only flush with the front of the FP, not through enough to catch any of the nuts. Hmmmmm, somethingís not right, I thought.
I tried to turn the engine with a big socket on the balancer nut but it did not budge. Uh oh, donít like that at all.

Comments, suggestions?

Thx.

Never use the bolts to "draw" the bellhousing to the engine. It should slide up completely without any real effort. You can start the bolts and use them as an alignment dowel, then push the trans to the block. The converter sounds like it's where it needs to be, but not being able to rotate the engine by hand worries me. You should be able to reach through the starter hole and pull the converter forward to get the nuts started. If it won't move, either sliding forward or moving within the flexplate holes, you need to loosen the bellhousing bolts and probably just start over again.

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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-06-2019, 02:17 PM
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Sounds like you have the wrong flexplate. I have seen people pull the converter forward in such situations (I had to clean up after them). This pulls the converter forward too far out of the pump and bushing and it loses stability. It might work for a while but sooner or later the pump seal will likely fail. Possibly the pump bushing and the neck of the converter could be damaged. As in what I was talking about in parentheses above.

Watching the studs slowly make their way into the flexplate sounds like you were doing that right and it also sounds like the converter is well seated. Pulling the transmission up with bolts is one of those things you tell people not to do but in reality most of us are doing such work without the benefit of ideal equipment and need to cheat a little sometimes. Just be very careful because it's an excellent way to break expensive things very suddenly and with no warning.

If I had to guess, I would suspect the flexplate is also the incorrect diameter (large) and may be jammed into the bellhousing. Have a look in the starter opening. Or if you take it back apart you should see gouges left by the teeth inside the bellhousing. (Yes, I've seen this happen before.)
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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-06-2019, 06:45 PM
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If you need an extra set of hands I'm just a few miles north of you. Just let me know. I'm available pretty much all weekend. I also know the name of a great transmission guy in Framingham who just helped me shoehorn an AOD in my 67.
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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-06-2019, 07:56 PM
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Did you make sure the torque converter drain plug is also lined up with its hole in the flexplate? Done correctly,you should be able to reach in and rotate the TQ converter to align with the flexplate holes.I don't see why you need to rotate the engine over.You should rotate the engine once to get the flexplate hole at the bottom and then align the tq conv drain plug to go through such hole.Doing this is a must do
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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-07-2019, 09:25 AM
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Originally Posted by shelby289s View Post
Did you make sure the torque converter drain plug is also lined up with its hole in the flexplate? Done correctly,you should be able to reach in and rotate the TQ converter to align with the flexplate holes.I don't see why you need to rotate the engine over.You should rotate the engine once to get the flexplate hole at the bottom and then align the tq conv drain plug to go through such hole.Doing this is a must do
My first thought also. The drain plug is tight against the flexplate and pushing the converter back.
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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-07-2019, 09:56 AM Thread Starter
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I did not align the drain plug in any particular fashion. This fits with the symptoms that I am experiencing. Iíll check it out tonight.
Thanks!
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