Category Archives: Uncategorized

Transmission Reassembly

I cleaned the case and extension housing with a wire wheel.  A new bushing was pressed into the end of the extension housing.


A fresh coat of DupliColor Ceramic Aluminum Engine paint was applied.  This paint withstands oils and chemicals and tolerates high temperatures up to 500 degrees F.IMG_0461

Cleaning the oil pump housing with a wire wheel.IMG_0462

Fresh coat of paint applied to oil pump housing.IMG_0463

Putting the sprag clutch assembly back together.IMG_0467

When it came time to rebuild one of the clutch assemblies, I needed a special tool to compress the return spring enough so that I could release a retaining clip.  I didn’t have the tool so I got creative and made one with supplies bought from The Home Depot.IMG_0469

I used PhotoShop to make a template showing where I should put the scribe marks on a 3″ diameter section of ABS pipe.IMG_0470

I scribed the marks then using a hole saw, I cut out three sections of the pipe forming three “legs”IMG_0471

Then I just tightened the wing nut enough to compress the spring and safely release the clip.IMG_0472

This picture shows the spring being compressed and if you look closely you can see the two ends of the retaining clip.IMG_0473

Clutch disassembled!  I replaced the friction surfaces and seals.IMG_0474

Here’s the piston that goes inside the clutch.  Getting it installed back into the clutch was a little tricky.  The new seal kept wanting to catch on the bore of the clutch housing.  IMG_0475

I ended up cutting up a plastic file folder and wrapping it around the inside bore of the clutch housing.  Then I gently guided the piston all the way down.  Once the piston was seated properly, I pulled the green plastic guide out.IMG_0476

Installing the output shaft.IMG_0477

Installing the planetary gear and clutch assemblies.IMG_0478

By this point, I had gotten most of the parts reinstalled.  Just needed to put the extension housing on.IMG_0479

All done (and no leftover parts :-)!  I never thought I could rebuild an automatic transmission but some YouTube videos and that blue Automatic Transmission Guide book in the picture below gave me the confidence I needed to tackle this project.IMG_0592

A904 Transmission Tear Down

Time to rebuild the transmission!IMG_0336

I removed the speedometer gear first.   Looks like it can go in one of four ways depending on the diameter of that little black gear.  Presumably this is so you can  compensate for different diameter wheels which would affect your speedometer reading.IMG_0338

Next, the extension housing came off.  I had to reach in  with a pair of clip ring pliers through a slot in the bottom of the extension housing to spread apart a clip ring.  This released the output shaft bearing and allowed the extension housing to be removed.IMG_0340

Time to remove the shift and kickdown levers.IMG_0341

The pan comes off.IMG_0343

I removed the filter and valve body as a unit.  The valve body is the brain of the transmission.  Fluid travels through lots   of little passages and is governed  by valves, springs and ball bearings.  As the engine speed increases, the fluid pressure increases, causing the valves to move and allowing the fluid to flow through different channels, eventually actuating the servos.  An actuated servo tightens a band that’s wrapped around a clutch assembly preventing the clutch from moving.  Tightening and releasing the bands in different combinations gives you your different gears (1st, 2nd, 3rd, reverse and neutral).IMG_0345

Removing the accumulator piston and spring.  The accumulator provides you with smooth shifts.IMG_0346

Removing the oil pump bolts.  I noticed two of them had washers while the rest didn’t.   They  marked the holes equipped with special threads fit for a slide hammer to aid in removal of the pump.IMG_0348

Out comes the front band adjustment screw and the cooler line fittings.IMG_0349

With tension removed from the front band, the  front band strut falls out.IMG_0351

A few whacks with the slide hammer and the oil pump pops out.IMG_0352

Next I proceeded to remove the two clutch assemblies and planetary gear assemblies.  They just slid right out one after the other.IMG_0353 IMG_0354

Well, except for the one snap ring.IMG_0365 IMG_0366 IMG_0367 IMG_0370 IMG_0371 IMG_0372 IMG_0373

The sprag and rear band.IMG_0374 IMG_0376

I slid the output shaft out.  That big gear is the park lock gear.  When you put the car in park,  a lever swings down and engages the teeth of that gear.   I always like to put my parking brake on first then put the car in park to save wear and tear on this gear.  That way you don’t have the entire weight of the car resting on  it.IMG_0379

I removed the governor support next.IMG_0380

Rear servo actuating lever and associated components.IMG_0381

Rear band comes out.IMG_0382 IMG_0383

Here’s another shot of the sprag.  It keeps the transmission from freewheeling in the event of a broken drive train component behind the transmission (u-joint, drive shaft, etc.).  It also only allows rotation in one direction.  Kinda cool how it works.  Each roller has a little spring pushing it into  the tight walls of a “V” shaped channel.  Rotation causes the springs to compress slightly and the rollers can move.  When I pulled that center ring out, all the springs and rollers went flying (I knew that would happen).  I collected them all and stashed them in a safe place for reassembly later.


Here are all the parts that came out.  It’s amazing to think that all of these were designed before there was any CAD, rapid prototyping, simulation software, 3D modeling, etc.  Just pure mathematics, brain power and perhaps a lot of trial and error.


Removing a wire clip from the housing.IMG_0391

Front servo actuating leverIMG_0392

Retaining clip removed.IMG_0394

Using an air compressor, I put some back pressure on the piston which caused it to pop out.IMG_0395

Front servo completely removedIMG_0396

Rear servo removal.  It helps to compress the servos slightly using a C-clamp or equivalent.  Then removing the retaining clip is much easier.IMG_0399

The output shaft bearing retaining clip comes out.  This is what I had to release by reaching through an opening in the extension housing with a pair of clip pliers early on in the disassembly.IMG_0400

Output shaft seal comes off.  I’ll be replacing all seals and gaskets with new ones.IMG_0401

Here’s the lever that engages the parking gear.IMG_0402

After removing the pivot pin, the lever comes right out.IMG_0405

An old shift linkage bushing.  It will get replaced with a new one.IMG_0406

Old shift lever seal comes off.IMG_0408

And there we have it.  A completely disassembled Torqueflite A904 transmission.  Time to clean up this mess, clean these parts and start putting it all back together with new parts!IMG_0409

Steering Column Rebuild


The lower part of the steering column is very rusty!IMG_0002

Taking the column apart.IMG_0226

Here’s the ignition switch.  You can see all the sand that got in there from when I had the car painted back in 1992 (they didn’t remove the interior).IMG_0012

I got the rusty shift tube separated from the outer housing.


Steering shaft (rusty) and shift tube (rust removed)


Here are all of the steering column parts before I bag and label them.


Wire wheeling down to bare metal.




Interesting bit of trivia:  The steering column and dash board are painted flat black.  If they were glossy, then sunlight would hit those parts, reflect up and hit the windshield then shoot an annoying glare into your eyes.



I decided to tackle the parking brake.  There are a surprising number of parts in that mechanism.


Lower steering column fully restored!



The completely restored steering column.  All moving parts have fresh grease.  New lock cylinder (and keys), ignition switch, turn signal guts.  All rust and grime removed!  The restored parking brake is laying next to the column.









Teardown Complete

With the car stripped down to its shell, it’s time to find a body shop that can erase 41 years of age and make this car look like new again.

Here’s how it looked right before the teardown began:


During the tear down process, I found several “problem areas” such as this rust along the windshield


I had left some old rubber mats in the trunk.  They sat there for years and I wasn’t aware that water had gotten under them and rusted through the trunk pan in a few places.  Bummer.


Driver’s side drip rail had rusted pretty badly:


Closeup of driver’s side drip rail rust.  This section will need to be rebuilt.  It’s rusted completely through.


A little bit of rust on the roof above the passenger front window:


Rust on both rocker panels:




Floor pan rust.  I’ll await the advice of the body shop on whether this can be repaired or if it would be better to just replace the floor pan.


Closeup of the driver’s side which is in the worst shape:


Little bit of rust in the rear but not so bad:


There’s one place on the car where the seams are too wide.  It’s where the passenger door meets the cowl and the front fender:


As a comparison, look how nicely the driver’s side fits together (also notice some more rust on the corner of the windshield):


Here’s another shot of the gap between the passenger door and the fender:


I did manage to get a good amount of the old undercoating off.  The front wheel wells are looking pretty clean.


I got most of the old undercoating removed from the rear end as well.Scamp-undercarriage-rear-clean

With the rear wheels temporarily installed and this jack wheel on the front, it makes it easy to push the car around and hopefully will facilitate getting the car onto a flatbed to tow to the body shop.


Engine Rebuild

I decided to take the engine to Wholesale Automotive Machine in San Diego.  They had good reviews on Yelp! plus they were nearby.

After dropping the engine off, I left with a great first impression.  The folks there were friendly and genuinely willing to answer all of my questions.  They had no problem with me coming in from time to time to take pictures of the engine during the rebuild process and they were thrilled to work on an old Slant Six 🙂

Here they had just gotten the engine torn apart.


Here’s a bunch of engine parts.


The head has been all cleaned up but hasn’t been machined yet.


Here’s the engine block, all cleaned up.02-slant-six-block-cleaned 03-slant-six-block-cleaned 04-slant-six-block-cleaned

Getting ready to do some work on the cam shaft.  Rocker arm assembly in the foreground.


The new pistons arrived!


Preparing to resurface the engine block.  The head (in foreground) will be next.


Letting the machine do the work.  It uses a special “carbonate” bit (expensive sucker.  It’s about the size of a dime and costs $80!).  It takes off a very thin layer with each pass (about 0.003″ or 3 mils).



Brand new valves will be installed.


Here’s a shot of the bearings.  You can see the hole inside the bore where oil comes out to lubricate the crankshaft.


Polishing the cylinder walls.


Block is assembled and painted!


Finally!  They got the engine all put back together and painted Chrysler Blue!  They run it on this machine which turns the crankshaft around 300 – 500 RPM.  This allows them to test oil pressure and also make sure nothing is binding.


Everything checked out OK.  Pistons are 0.060″ oversize.   Compression was 175psi across the board.  Sure looks a ton better than it did a week ago!

The guys at Wholesale Automotive Machine did a fantastic job.  Turnaround time was fast too: about a week and a half from start to finish!

Pulling the engine (and tranny)

We found a couple of good places to attach the chain.  After supporting the bell housing with a floor jack we unbolted the engine from the transmission and removed the two long bolts from the motor mounts.  The engine was now completely free to move.


We carefully began lifting the engine.  The driver’s side motor mount has cleared the body.


With both motor mounts clear, the engine is free to twist.  Mike is guiding it as I continue to raise the hoist, ensuring the engine doesn’t hit anything.


Almost out!




Now we’re bolting the engine to an engine stand so we can take the load off of the hoist.


Although we drained the transmission fluid, there was a lot more still in there and it ran all over the place once we lowered the bell housing to the ground.  Blech!


We unbolted the rear transmission mount and carefully lowered it to the ground.  We had to jack one side of the car up and slid the transmission out from the side of the car.  Here’s a 41-year old grimy a904 transmission.


The slant six and a904 transmission are both out of the car.  The car is amazingly light and very easy to push now!


The rest of the interior

I got all of the old carpet ripped out and discovered a large amount of rust on the floor pan, especially on the driver’s side.


This wire attached to the passenger side seat belt.  There was also a connector for the driver’s side seatbelt.  I guess it caused a seatbelt warning light to illuminate.  But passenger side?  What if no passenger was riding in the car?  How did it know?  I’ll have to do some research to learn how this thing was supposed to work.


I’m scraping off all of the old seam sealer.  It’s very tar-like but comes up easily with a putty knife.  I’m also removing all of the old circular rubber body plugs that you see in these photos.  I’ll be putting new ones in after it’s painted.


Putting the rear end back together (temporarily)

It will soon be time to pull the engine.  I’ll need to put the rear end back on temporarily so that I can roll the car far enough out of the garage for the engine hoist to clear the garage door above.  I’ll also need the rear wheels on there when it comes time to tow the car to the body shop.

It’s a good time to try out the new leaf springs I got from JEGS.  The springs come without the rear bushings installed.  I got some new Prothane bushings and the instructions that came with them said to grease up the inside diameter (ID) an outside diameter (OD) of pretty much everything, then gently tap the bushings into place.  This worked well for one of the leaf springs but I was having a heck of a time getting the bushing installed on the other.

I had the bright idea of freezing the sleeve, hopefully shrinking it slightly and then trying to tap it in.  No go.


I really needed a press to press it into place but without such a tool, I used some ingenuity and used the car itself as a press!  Here I’m carefully pressing the bushing into place on one of the shackle mounts by applying pressure from below with a floor jack.  I did the same with the stubborn leaf spring which was a little tricky because it’s long and heavy and hard to manage while simultaneously operating the floor jack.  I managed to get ‘er done though.


Here I’ve got one leaf spring nearly installed.  I’m using the floor jack to guide the eye at the rear of the spring until it lines up with the shackle.


Everything was going swell until I tried to attach the U-Bolts on driver’s side (after having already attached the U-bolts on the passenger side).  I couldn’t get the little nipple on the spring to engage with the hole in the axle mounting plate.  It looks like these new bushings are a hair thicker than the original rubber bushings.  I ended up having to loosen up the front and rear mounts of both leaf springs which gave me enough play to encourage the spring to engage with the axle plate.  I tightened down the U-Bolts on both sides and then tightened up the forward and rear mounts for each spring.  Whew!

Getting the rear wheels put back on was a snap.  I installed the new drums but held off installing any brake hardware for the time being.  I’ll just need to be careful not to let the car roll away on me!


Engine Compartment

Removed brake pedal assembly21-brake-pedal

Removed master cylinder


Documented the windshield washer tubing routing before removing from car:


Off with the Alternator, carburetor, ignition coil, starter relay and automatic choke.





Power steering pulley04-power-steering-pulley

Alternator mounting bracket03-alternator-bracket

Looking pretty bare.  I’m just about ready to pull the engine!22-engine-compartment

Front of car

Front grille removed


After removing the battery tray, the horns are clearly visible. 08-horns

I could not get the transmission cooling line detached from the radiator.  It kept wanting to twist.   I eventually ended up cutting it with a hacksaw, knowing I was going to order up a nice new stainless steel one anyway. 06-cut-transmission-cooling-line

Removing the A/C drier canister.  It’s full of desiccant that absorbs moisture.  This one’s shot because it’s been left open to the atmosphere.  The new one will be plugged and I’ll need to quickly hook it into the system to preserve the desiccant.


Documenting the wire routing before I remove the wiring harness.