The transmission in my old Ford isn't happy.

TLDR: The transmission doesn’t want to shift when cold. It won’t shift to second until it gets warm. And it seems to be engine warm, not tranny warm. I know both the fluid and filter are clean.

1963 Falcon Futura sedan
170 cu. in. six cylinder eng.
2-speed automatic transmission
Explore staubej

This has been going-on for a while, so last week I removed the pan to change the trans filter in my Falcon. The filter was clean. I re-installed it because a) the auto parts place gave me the wrong replacement filter, and b) it was clean. Anyway, I finished the job pouring-in 5 quarts of TypeF, and the transmission performed flawlessly (on ~500ml too little fluid) until last Saturday when it began to act-up again. I also added that missing ~1/2 quart of fluid.

Up until that Saturday, we’d had temps between 50+F at night and 70+F in the day. That Friday night it dropped near freezing with Saturday’s high of about 55F. It’s been that cold or colder since, and my tranny’s misbehavin’ again.

The other night’s temp dropped to about 28F, so I let the Ford heat for ~10 mins in the driveway before I left that morning. She shifted like a new car; like nothing’s wrong.

But going out for lunch that day, I did not let it warm and ended-up driving around in 1st gear for 5 minutes or so -until the water temp was over the “C” mark.

Any thoughts or ideas?

No guess, but I enjoyed the photo album. I’ve got a bunch of old Fords. I have a DR also. One of my all-time favorite bikes.

Internal seals have lost some elasticity and are stiff when cold, allowing internal fluid leakage that prevents some component (probably a clutch) from applying properly. A little heat from warming up is enough to overcome this. Unfortunately, it’s likely to get worse with time, and eventually may not engage gear even when warm.

Transmission disassembly is required to access these seals, so realistically you’re looking at an overhaul.

Most likely what Gary said but as a possible thing you might try is a band adjustment if that model allows. I don’t rememeber the exact procedure now but it has to do with running screw in until it touches and then backing off 1 1/2 turns for the low/reverse band. I would suggest looking it up on the internet as it is an easy thing you can try. It is also considered a maintenance item anyway so nothing to loose. Look up band adjustment with your model.

Sounds kinda normal for an old automatic below freezing. However, five quarts may be less than half the total fluid capacity, a similar amount is stored in the torque convertor. The best way to flush out a lot of the old fluid is to let the tranmission pump it out through one of the cooler lines and have 1-2 GALLONS available so that eventually you’re pumping out pink fluid. Lucas Transmission Fixand other products are taken seriously by a lot of professional mechanics. It softens old, hard seals and sometimes performs miracles. It won’t hurt and would be a cheap experiment. This stuff and fresh fluid made reverse start working again in my daughter’s '94 Camry.

Hi guys, thanks for all the feedback; puts my mind at-ease. The seal issue makes sense. I’m going to look into adjusting the bands before I pour-in any trans fix, but it’s good to know that option is there.

Hmmm, I’ve never done this. I assume the fluid will pump out (the disconnected cooler line) w/ the engine running and sitting there in the driveway (in P)?
Gato, glad you enjoyed the gallery. Did you make it as far as the old Chevy? I hated to let her go but this one fits better in the garage. You should continue the slight hijack and send a link to a photo or two of your Fords. DR350 -the original Dual-Sport. It pulls from the low-end like a tractor… I love it.

Please don’t do that, snake oil rarely fixes any problem and is more likely to cause others, like damaging seals and gaskets. Find a competent shop, hint, it won’t be a chain, and have your transmission rebuilt. Sure it will cost, but you have a nice little car.

That is a beautiful little car.

I would definitely at least try the Trans-X or similar miracle product. If you follow the directions exactly, you’re not going to make anything worse and this is exactly the sort of problem that it’s most likely to actually work on. It’ll only be a temporary fix but I’m not imagining you put a ton of miles on this thing, so it might buy you an extra decade or two.

That’s kinda what I was thinking while researching. As long as it won’t make it worse, I feel it’s worth a try. And you’re right, not too many miles get put on the odo. Decade or two…, ha!

Thanks for the kind words about the car, guys. I bought it from a friend who was the original owner. I like her alright, though I wish the seat would back a little farther from the steering wheel. Which is another reason she doesn’t see as many miles.

That’s what I’ve done. Dump the old fluid and clean the pan, reassemble and put in fresh fluid, then run in park with the output cooler line dumping into a container. It will be some time before the old brown fluid goes away and you see pinkish fluid coming out. And I don’t think that even this procedure is a true “flush” as done by a mechanics machine.