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  • Automobile Question, Please

    Regarding a late 1970s General Motors Turbo-Hydramatic transmission:

    Only when the nights are abnormally cold here in southern California, said transmission does the following. The car starts normally and shifts into reverse just fine. After backing out the driveway, one selects drive to proceed forward. One can perceive the transmission shifting into drive - but it takes the fluid in the transmission several seconds to actually connect internally to drive. Once the car moves forward, the transmission performs flawlessly for the rest of the day until it sits through another cold night.

    The fluid level appears to be correct - albeit I have never felt comfortable about getting a correct reading of transmission fluid level. If I heated my garage to at least 60 during the night, this problem would likely vanish.

    Does anyone have a suggestion as to what might be causing this? The transmission has been doing this for the past few winters and is not getting any worse. Again, once you get going it operates perfectly.

    Thank you!

  • #2
    When was the last time you changed the transmission filter?

    When the filter begins to clog up, the thicker viscosity of cold ATF slows it down while trying to pass through the filter on cold mornings and makes it harder for enough pressure to be built up to shift the transmission into drive. Once the fluid warms up from driving and flows more freely, the problem goes away until everything gets cold again.

    If the filter and fluid (but especially the filter) have a lot of miles on them, change them.

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    • #3
      Many thanks, Michael !!

      I have forwarded your suggestion to my technician. These transmissions are so bullet-proof that sometimes we neglect them.

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      • #4
        Definitely recommend the fluid and filter change first, but sometimes that alone is not enough because the spool valve is sticky. In which case what has worked well for me is drawing out a quart of fluid with a suction gun and replacing it with a quart of Trans-X. I have had great results with it and have heard the same from others with GM automatic transmissions.
        1970 Hammond T422 (for me)
        1966 Hammond L112 (for my daughter)
        1980 Kimball M75 Temptation (parts only), 1980 Kimball M70 Temptation (parts only)
        1965 Hammond L112 (probably for parts), Magnus Chord Organ (for kicks)

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        • #5
          Thank you, Wagon!

          I also am fond of:

          Lubegard #60902 Automatic Transmission Protectant (10 ounces)

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