|Dear Diary discusses the automatic transmission fitted to Jensen FF chassis number 119/191
From the Jensen FF Mk1 sales literature: “Torqueflite 3 speed automatic transmission with torque converter. Overriding hold controls and Kickdown on first and second gears. Floor mounted control with illuminated indicator. Transmission oil cooler incorporated in radiator bottom tank. Overall ratios 1st 7.50 2nd. 4.44 Top 3.07 Reverse 6.75″ Ferguson formula 4 wd unit. Open propeller shafts. Hypoid final drive units, axle ratio 3.07:1”
NB. On my 1969 Mk1 FF the automatic transmission oil cooler is located in the left hand side tank. (there are no top and bottom tanks only side tanks)
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Photo 1 is of the original automatic gearbox sump pan. No drain plugs, so mounting bolts need to be removed to drain oil am now using Castrol Dextron 3 instead of the originally recommended Castrol TQ. Photo 2 is the auto box filter and gasket set as bought from customville – £8.52p+£8.95p postage +vat = £20.53p. I have now bought a deep transmission pan from “Jegs” in America as they didn’t seem to be available here in the UK Cost- £45.99 + delivery. I will have this fitted when I get the transmission repaired ( beyond my facilities and abilities) . Photo 3 shows the new deep sump now fitted. This was done at the same time G Whitehouse Autos Ltd reconditioned the auto box (Nov 2002 see below).
I asked the Jensen List:
My FF was stored for 14 years. Automatic transmission oil was a nice colour when I checked it. Changed the oil anyway and put Dextron 3 in. Recommissioned the engine and have only manoeuvred the vehicle on the drive (three times). Auto refused to pick up in reverse the last time. Checked the oil and it is now burnt and dirty. My conclusion is that the auto box has had it. Where is the best place to go for a reconditioned box or to get this one reconditioned? Anyone any recommendations? Personally I’ve never removed an auto box, and given it’s an FF, I’m a bit hesitant about doing it at all. I’ve spoken to some of the American specialists but they are hesitant about doing an FF. All advise gratefully received.
Advise from the Jensen List was:
2) After the lay up the whole Torqueflite is being cleaned, it does not necessarily mean that the box is shot. One horrible problem that you might have is water in the box – that is usually terminal. Don’t forget that the radiator also contains the gearbox oil cooler and many people think this is a recipe for disaster if the integrity goes and water gets into the oil – always a possibility after a long lie up – if it does happen it is absolutely vital to drain the box immediately. Rebuilding a box is not all that difficult – I had the burnt smelly oil problem in my FF, and because of the extra weight and the extra FF box this is always going to be a problem. I had mine done by a gearbox only specialist in Crewe.
3) Over hear, we call it morning sickness. Usually the problem is no reverse in the mornings when the seals are cold. The seals just get hard with age, whether driven or not. The fix shouldn’t be terribly expensive if it is only the seals. My car has been sitting two years and I won’t be surprised if I have the same problem. Well ,I experienced the same 20 years ago, but I drained 2 times more, and suddenly the Autobox worked perfect again. The reverse was the problem for me too. I don`t know, but it is worth a try, at least.
I also discussed it with one of the FF specialists who advised as follows:
1.There are two band adjustments available
a) Reverse and top.. Drop the oil pan,remove filter (B42 kit is needed-has filter and sump gasket) Band adjuster has lock nut and square headed adjuster. Undo lock nut and tighten the adjuster until it nips (goes tight) then back off one and a half to two turns and tighten lock nut
In the end I managed to get some sort of reverse action but had to wait a few seconds after putting it in reverse before it picked up. Reverse was also very jerky if I had to back up my drive which is on a slope. The final nail in the coffin was that when I took the car for its MOT, and bearing in mind this was its first long journey I discovered that when the autobox went into top it would slip badly. This obviously wasn’t apparent when I was just manoeuvring on the Driveway. I later discovered that reverse and top use the same clutch mechanism in the box and faults often affect both as appears to be my case
I was advised that a rebuild was necessary and that it was best to get the original box rebuilt as they can be different. I was told that Chrysler modified several of the internal components of the 727 box specifically for their high performance versions of their V8. And that the Interceptor and the FF had the HP 383. So the Torquflite from an ordinary 383 would not behave properly
I asked the list again about getting my automatic transmission fixed:
In desperation and contrary to some advise I’ve also bought and used some ” Tranny Honey” from Customville , which is supposed to swell internal seals a little, and therefore help maintain appropriate pressure differences inside. This hasn’t worked either. I think I am now only left with either 1. Getting the autobox overhauled at £800 (plus £400 to actually remove and refit the box) or 2. Buying a new box from America, which I am told will be about £800 anyway and having that fitted. If the list has no ideas on what else I can do to stop this slipping in top, does anyone have any views on reconditioning as against a new box and or who might be best at doing either of these in England. Now I have got the car running and passed an MOT I am desperate to use it.
I asked the list about cooling the transmission fluid and about shift kits.
10) I have an FF2 in which I do big mileage and have done two of the conversions, namely an additional gearbox oil cooler and a larger sump with drain plug (off a minibus by the way). I have noted all the comments about not adding the extra cooler, but believe me they are not relevant to the FF. Compared with a standard Interceptor the FF engine runs much cooler, no doubt because of all the extra air space around the engine, while the gear box may run hotter because of all the extra “mechanicals” it has to drive. I should have tried to prove this but it is of no consequence now. Certainly when I got the car the transmission fluid was a very dark red – smelly and oxidised, and despite being flushed and changed several times it still went “off” very quickly. ( I do know about the oil still in the torque converter). I am fortunate that we use long life oil in all our commercial vehicles and we no longer change on a time basis. Engine oils are analysed every month and we only change when the oil has reached the end of its life. I only mention this because I have all the oils for both cars analysed when I change them (and it does make very interesting reading!) and the view of the Chemists was that the gear oil was suffering from heat degradation. I had the gearbox rebuilt and despite this the problem persisted, and it was only after a very long European trip in the heat of summer that I decided on a more radical approach. Interceptor owners need to under stand that the FF is different in several ways – the engine is set a little further back than a standard car – the engine is set a lot higher – there is a transfer box bolted to the passenger side of the Torqueflite consequently the engine/gearbox package intrudes much further into the passenger cabin and the space in the footwell is very restricted (also your feet are nearer the hottest part of the down pipe). So whether or not the FF box runs hotter is irrelevant, the cabin temperature is higher and your feet really, and I do mean really, cook. Because I had already had the radiator rebuilt I fitted my additional cooler in series with the existing one. What I said to Bremar was that if I were doing it with another car I would remove the oil cooling elements from the radiator, partly to give more water to air cooling for the engine but also to remove any possibility of a barrier breakdown and getting water into the transmission fluid. The results -cool feet – less need to have the aircon. running – no more problems with oil degradation – no noticeable affect on performance (speed /acceleration/economy) – on the road no noticeable difference in water temperature under most driving conditions. The only downside is that the engine temperature does rise more quickly and the engine runs hotter in heavy traffic; however the combination of a new sensor in the rad and good old Lucas fans (yippee!) ALWAYS holds the needle bang on N (in a fit of enthusiasm some years ago I bought Bosch fans but I see no need to fit them and the quality British manufacture has done me good for 20,000 miles – OK I’m, the lucky one). My cooler is mounted directly onto the aircon radiator and I wonder of moving it to directly behind the grille would return the engine temp to its previous levels or would turbulence be a problem.
Having considered the pros and cons aboveI decided to get my autobox fixed at G.Whitehouse autos and have a separate oil transmission cooler fitted and the piping to the radiator disconnected. The intention is that I will also fit an in line filter and temperature sender to monitor the oil and if it appears necessary reconnect the radiator in series with the external air oil cooler and/or fit a fan on the cooler.
Out of this arose another question which I put to the list:
3)I think it is reasonable to point out that some correspondants live in placse where elevated temperatures are not usually a problem. Here in Southern California, engine oil coolers are a GREAT idea. In addition, it adds at least a quart to the oil capacity of the car. IMHO, the normal capacity of 10.2 imp pints is on the low side. In other words, like feeding chicken soup to a dead man “it can’t hoit”