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Rebuilding my 32RH transmission

hardtailpan

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Blowing out the coolant lines for sure, less sure on the torque converter. I don't know why I'm so hesitant to replace the TC. But I'm sure it has the same clutchy residue on/in it that everything else has. Also it changes my economics thread by whatever the cost of a TC is. Also, I'm cheap. But I'm slowly changing my mind as my rebuild is delayed by other parts anyway. Recommendations on brands, stall speeds, etc?

I'm just beginning to research/think about this but I wouldn't be against going with a reputable rebuilt unit, if we can figure out who is reputable! As for stall speed, I'd be looking to keep it stock since my jeep won't be heavily modified. If I figure anything out I'll post on this thread, please do the same!
 
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@U8MYDZT recommend a Pro King CR90, which I can get from Advance Auto for about $180 (after the core credit) and their 15% coupon. Nobody has it locally, so 3-4 days to ship it. I should've just pulled the trigger on this when he first told me to. Now it's gonna cost me another day on re-assembly.


This is what I'm going to order. Reviews seem fine but there aren't that many data points on this topic in general. Seems like it's really just the muscle car scene who actually puts hands on transmissions, and they tend to use performance-grade parts with higher stall speeds etc.
https://shop.advanceautoparts.com/p...manufactured-torque-converter-cr90/10011090-P
 
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Last time I drained the trans it took several trips to various Walmart’s to score enough atf to fill this sucker up, usually they only keep maybe 4 quarts on the shelf. Found 6 today, and I think I only need 8 or 9, so only one more trip should be necessary. Walmart does carry gallons of "ATF" for like $19, but it doesn't say ATF+4. These quarts are about $6.50/ea, so it's not exactly breaking the bank but I see a way to produce less waste than buying 8 individual quarts. Oh well.

The Mopar stuff is obviously my first choice, if a little more expensive, but Amazon can’t get it here before July 11. Seems like consensus here is that any ATF+4 is ok, so I’m hoping this stuff is ok as well. Maybe it’s purely coincidence, but this is what I put in a year ago and now I’ve got a problem…. But I’ll make a post about potential causes later on.

6A434AA6-9AFE-4B81-9285-FAE7B156263D.jpeg
 
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hardtailpan

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@U8MYDZT recommend a Pro King CR90, which I can get from Advance Auto for about $180 (after the core credit) and their 15% coupon. Nobody has it locally, so 3-4 days to ship it. I should've just pulled the trigger on this when he first told me to. Now it's gonna cost me another day on re-assembly.


This is what I'm going to order. Reviews seem fine but there aren't that many data points on this topic in general. Seems like it's really just the muscle car scene who actually puts hands on transmissions, and they tend to use performance-grade parts with higher stall speeds etc.
https://shop.advanceautoparts.com/p...manufactured-torque-converter-cr90/10011090-P

Looks good, as long as it has good reviews..

Yeah, the torque converter stall speeds are supposed to be matched to the torque profile of the engine. If you're engine is mostly stock, I don't think there is any reason to change the stall speed, and probably a lot of reasons not to.

I think it's a good idea and worth the wait to replace this is as well. Hope it all works out for you and I'll be watching!
Best of luck man!
 
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Waiting for parts, I guess it’s time to start cleaning up some stuff. Getting the valve body cleaned & reassembled is my #1 priority because it has the most ittybitty parts.

9E0082C0-AC08-4FCA-AEF3-8CF36FFE8959.jpeg
 
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hardtailpan

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Last time I drained the trans it took several trips to various Walmart’s to score enough atf to fill this sucker up, usually they only keep maybe 4 quarts on the shelf. Found 6 today, and I think I only need 8 or 9, so only one more trip should be necessary. Walmart does carry gallons of "ATF" for like $19, but it doesn't say ATF+4. These quarts are about $6.50/ea, so it's not exactly breaking the bank but I see a way to produce less waste than buying 8 individual quarts. Oh well.

The Mopar stuff is obviously my first choice, if a little more expensive, but Amazon can’t get it here before July 11. Seems like consensus here is that any ATF+4 is ok, so I’m hoping this stuff is ok as well. Maybe it’s purely coincidence, but this is what I put in a year ago and now I’ve got a problem…. But I’ll make a post about potential causes later on.

View attachment 338574

If you're going to replace the torque converter, you will likely need closer to a case (12) to refill everything. TC takes like 4 by itself.
 
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Cleaned & re-assembled the valve body. A few steps are tricky and sometimes a 3rd hand would be helpful, but it’s all doable by amateur hands. I’ve actually reassembled it 3 times now and can pretty much do it from memory.

Torque spec on these screws looks to be 35 in-lbs, so basically hand tight with a screwdriver. I happened to have a T-25 screwdriver which proved to be very helpful, rather then using a torx socket & ratchet. Some of the screws are hard to get started as you’re trying to hold all the springs in etc. The torx screwdriver made it a lot easier.

For cleaning, I sprayed everything with brake cleaner and then hit them with compressed air. On install, I lubed all the bores and the valves with ATF before I replaced them. Not sure how much that really matters, this whole thing is going to be bathing in ATF before long.

Very happy to have my first subassembly overhauled and back together. It should be much easier from this point on.

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Parts arrival day! I moaned about OPT not shipping the stuff on Friday like they should have, but the host truth is that I don’t feel like I’m ready to begin reinstalling anything yet. I have the ATSG manual which I’ll trash through tonight, and then hopefully start putting stuff back together tomorrow.

47170CC0-729A-4AFC-8A95-72AA7F35A4EC.jpeg


I did also get the case cleaned up. I fought the urge to wire wheel the exterior of this thing to showroom condition. It would make it easier to track down leaks, but it’s a jeep and it’s gonna get dirty anyway. Transmissions are like people— what matters is what they’re like on the inside.

A374DCE8-B623-4C26-A290-8F633F9BFDE6.jpeg
 
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On the topic of ye olde dipstick…

Ever since I dropped my trans last summer the dipstick has been a thorn in my side. When I dropped the thing, I definitely unbolted the bracket on the dipstick tube from somewhere on the bell housing. Where? I wish we knew.

When I went to reinstall it, the only way I can make it bolt back to the bell housing is by having the other end of it barely in the hole. So much so that it leaked like a sieve. So I shoved it in further and didn’t attach it to the bell housing. It still leaked, but less. I finally resolved it with a little bit of The Right Stuff. It didn’t leak, but it had some wobble to it that I really don’t like. So I want to fix it right now that it’s out of the jeep.

You can see with how far it’s in that it can’t reach either hole. There’s no way it can go in far enough to reach the next lower hole on the bell housing, and for it to reach the “nearest” hole it would require bending the tube and the bracket.

This USED to fit fine, would love guidance on how to get this squared away.

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64385FBE-77CD-4DD2-ADE2-B2A7B0929DDF.jpeg


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BD6BE960-456C-4B60-A15B-BF9E20D5F4B5.jpeg


The FSM seems to suggest a different bracket than what I have, or maybe it's just a bad perspective.

1656040179026.png
 
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Ok, I can see that now, although I'm not convinced it's going to seal well based on past experience. Getting the bracket lined up with the bolt hole puts the bottom edge of the dipstick pretty much flush with the opening on the inside of the case. That seems like how it was probably designed. I know Mr. Blaine has used some sort of grommet in addition to (or instead of) the O-ring, but I was not able to figure out how to make that work. And the '97 FSM just says there's an o-ring. I had a box of 5 of those grommets but of course now I can't find them. I wouldn't mind trying them again.
 

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Ok, I can see that now, although I'm not convinced it's going to seal well based on past experience. Getting the bracket lined up with the bolt hole puts the bottom edge of the dipstick pretty much flush with the opening on the inside of the case. That seems like how it was probably designed. I know Mr. Blaine has used some sort of grommet in addition to (or instead of) the O-ring, but I was not able to figure out how to make that work. And the '97 FSM just says there's an o-ring. I had a box of 5 of those grommets but of course now I can't find them. I wouldn't mind trying them again.

Mine did the same, I had to bend the bracket around to get everything to line up. It will work, just don't be afraid to move the little tab as needed to get things right.
 
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Today is re-assemble day. I have opted to not fully disassemble everything. There are some sub-assemblies that look fantastic (further evidence that this was recently rebuilt?) and it just doesn't seem necessary. If I had more time and a larger workspace I might consider it. It's just more of the same; lock rings and thrust washers, but it will expand the number of pieces on the work table by about 5x. And then obviously the risk of not putting it back together right, but also I'm a little scared to introduce new parts that could change my clearances. My components all look completely new, actually.

Two other areas I'm not touching: The brass bushings. Mine look GREAT. The other area is the front drum piston, because I don't have the tool to compress the spring. I bought one off Amazon, but it was a piece of crap and wouldn't even fit. I'm comfortable not touching this spot based on the condition of the rest of the transmission. Obviously the kickdown band was trashed, but I found no evidence of debris anywhere else. When I put the new clutches in and check the clearance, if the clearance isn't within spec then I'll go ahead and solve for the tool and overhaul the rest of the unit.

So if you're keeping score at home, this is all I really will have ended up doing:
  • disassembled drivetrain to the sub-assembly level
  • replace kickdown band
  • polished front drum
  • replace low/reverse band
  • replace clutches
  • disassembled/cleaned valve body
  • thoroughly cleaned the inside of the case & extension housing
Hopefully not going the remaining miles is not a mistake.
 
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It may have been rebuilt, or not. It isn't unusual to find some or all of the clutches with minimal to no wear on a non-slipping or non-flaring unit. I saw that at the dealer. The best example was when I pulled down the TH400 (leaky) in my old 68 DeVille all of the clutches still had the GM part numbers printed on them. I replaced all the soft seals and put it right back together and into the car.
Good call on leaving the bushings alone. Some of those set endplay and really don't need messed with unless you have to due to wear or damage.
I'm interested about your theory for the band failure.
I'm not a trans tech per se, but have had a few apart. Usually the failure becomes evident as you start inspecting things.
 
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I'm interested about your theory for the band failure.
I'm not a trans tech per se, but have had a few apart. Usually the failure becomes evident as you start inspecting things.
Glad you asked, had been meaning to document all that.

My band failure theory is not really rooted in anything particularly scientific. And I don't know how bands typically fail so maybe mine failed in the typical way....although I would've expected it to just wear down over time rather than having large sections of the friction material just rip clean from the band. Honestly, the most likely thing is that it was a manufacturing defect in the band. I read in another thread where somebody said that water can break down the glues used in some of these parts, but I've never had any evidence of water in the transmission. The low/reverse band seems to be fine, as are the clutches, and I would expect that sort of cause to be present throughout.

But I'm also suspicious of coincidences. About a year ago I dropped the transmission to do the vent relocation. This involved 3 main relevant steps, the first being drilling the case for the new vent. I took great care in drilling the case (detailed in a How To thread on this site), using greased cardstock to catch the shavings from when we drilled the hole. You could see where they all landed in the grease, it was a normal distribution with a big pile in the center and less shavings as you moved away from center. There was nothing more than 2" from center, so I'm confident we caught 100% of it. This was done pretty much directly over the kickdown band (which ultimately failed).

The second potential cause step was to fill the exiting breather hole on the pump. I did this by tapping the existing hole (it was already the correct size for the tap). What I did not do was open the pump and catch the shavings created by the tap. Was this a bush league move? 100%. At the time I was already in over my head in even pulling a transmission, much less removing the pump & doing band adjustments to hold the drum in place. Turns out opening the pump halves is ridiculously simple (literally just unbolt it) so it was dumb of me to not do that. Regardless, it's likely some shavings from that tap found there way into the trans. Of course the pump distributes ATF to all parts of the transmission, not just the first band, so there's no reason to think that my bad judgement a year ago is responsible for this, but like I said I'm suspicious of coincidences.

The final potential cause step is that it's recommended to tighten the first band to hold the drum in place when you pull the pump. Otherwise the drum can sort of fall to the side & possibly cause the thrust washers to come out of their seat. First time I did it I was scared to do the band adjustment, so I didn't. Working horizontally, the drum did kindof fall down a little bit. We tilted it vertical to re-install the pump and had no issues there. I got lucky that the thrust washers didn't unseat. But I ended up pulling the pump again, and this time I did tighten the band adjuster. Repeated the same process, although I did need to loosen the band once vertical to get the pump to seat. I wasn't convinced that wasn't also coincidental though (says the guy who doesn't trust coincidences). To avoid somebody asking, I did follow the FSM process for re-setting the kickdown band adjustment to the letter.

Then I drove it for a year without any issue whatsoever until it decided to act up completely out of the blue, without any signs of degraded performance leading up to it.


TL;DR- I drilled into the transmission in 2 spots, both very close to the section that failed, and I also touched the band adjustment screw on the band that failed, and did so multiple times in the process.

Occam's razor would suggest that none of this is related, and the band just failed. I mean, would any of the above take a year to manifest itself, without presenting symptoms along the way? it feels like whatever secures the friction stuff to the band just gave up the ghost. Why it would do that is anybody's guess.

Conspiracy theory would suggest that where there's smoke, there is usually fire, and I somehow f'd it all up when I had my grubby hands all in there. What set of actions led to the failure is anybody's guess.

I believe @U8MYDZT did the same vent relocation during his rebuild, would be interested to hear his process to see if there was any major difference in our methods.
 

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Glad you asked, had been meaning to document all that.

My band failure theory is not really rooted in anything particularly scientific. And I don't know how bands typically fail so maybe mine failed in the typical way....although I would've expected it to just wear down over time rather than having large sections of the friction material just rip clean from the band. Honestly, the most likely thing is that it was a manufacturing defect in the band. I read in another thread where somebody said that water can break down the glues used in some of these parts, but I've never had any evidence of water in the transmission. The low/reverse band seems to be fine, as are the clutches, and I would expect that sort of cause to be present throughout.

But I'm also suspicious of coincidences. About a year ago I dropped the transmission to do the vent relocation. This involved 3 main relevant steps, the first being drilling the case for the new vent. I took great care in drilling the case (detailed in a How To thread on this site), using greased cardstock to catch the shavings from when we drilled the hole. You could see where they all landed in the grease, it was a normal distribution with a big pile in the center and less shavings as you moved away from center. There was nothing more than 2" from center, so I'm confident we caught 100% of it. This was done pretty much directly over the kickdown band (which ultimately failed).

The second potential cause step was to fill the exiting breather hole on the pump. I did this by tapping the existing hole (it was already the correct size for the tap). What I did not do was open the pump and catch the shavings created by the tap. Was this a bush league move? 100%. At the time I was already in over my head in even pulling a transmission, much less removing the pump & doing band adjustments to hold the drum in place. Turns out opening the pump halves is ridiculously simple (literally just unbolt it) so it was dumb of me to not do that. Regardless, it's likely some shavings from that tap found there way into the trans. Of course the pump distributes ATF to all parts of the transmission, not just the first band, so there's no reason to think that my bad judgement a year ago is responsible for this, but like I said I'm suspicious of coincidences.

The final potential cause step is that it's recommended to tighten the first band to hold the drum in place when you pull the pump. Otherwise the drum can sort of fall to the side & possibly cause the thrust washers to come out of their seat. First time I did it I was scared to do the band adjustment, so I didn't. Working horizontally, the drum did kindof fall down a little bit. We tilted it vertical to re-install the pump and had no issues there. I got lucky that the thrust washers didn't unseat. But I ended up pulling the pump again, and this time I did tighten the band adjuster. Repeated the same process, although I did need to loosen the band once vertical to get the pump to seat. I wasn't convinced that wasn't also coincidental though (says the guy who doesn't trust coincidences). To avoid somebody asking, I did follow the FSM process for re-setting the kickdown band adjustment to the letter.

Then I drove it for a year without any issue whatsoever until it decided to act up completely out of the blue, without any signs of degraded performance leading up to it.


TL;DR- I drilled into the transmission in 2 spots, both very close to the section that failed, and I also touched the band adjustment screw on the band that failed, and did so multiple times in the process.

Occam's razor would suggest that none of this is related, and the band just failed. I mean, would any of the above take a year to manifest itself, without presenting symptoms along the way? it feels like whatever secures the friction stuff to the band just gave up the ghost. Why it would do that is anybody's guess.

Conspiracy theory would suggest that where there's smoke, there is usually fire, and I somehow f'd it all up when I had my grubby hands all in there. What set of actions led to the failure is anybody's guess.

I believe @U8MYDZT did the same vent relocation during his rebuild, would be interested to hear his process to see if there was any major difference in our methods.

I would say either water got to the band adhesive or the damn thing just up and died. I highly doubt it was something you did while tackling the vent mod. Shavings left behind would cause clogs and sticking pistons, not band failure.
Also I did my vent mod when the transmission was gutted so I didn't even bother trying to catch shavings.
 
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It doesn’t look like it burned up from slipping, so probably hydraulic pressures were ok.
It does look like the glue or friction material just failed. Which really sucks
 
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Hit my first real setback tonight: I can't get the snap ring on the end of the output shaft, I'm taking about the one pictured here, or at least it would be pictured here if I could get everything seated enough to see the groove the clip would sit in. And it looks like the picture came out blurry, but this is the spot.

image0.jpeg


I have the governor & output shaft install, which I did not teardown at all; I just pulled the entire assembly out. In hindsight I probably didn't even need to do that, but what's done is done. So I put that back in and re-attached the extension housing. I installed the one-way clutch (re-used the old one as the new one is plastic so I'm getting my money back on that. Then I added the new low/reverse band and installed the low/reverse drum. It has to be in far enough because it sits behind a lock ring which I was able to easily install. That rear drum looks like it's about as far bask as it can go. The planetary gears and all the stuff that build up from there are all seated well, everything spins freely. But I'm like maybe an 1/8" away from being able to see the groove for the c-clip.

the rear end of the output shaft (the part in the extension housing) does seem to have a fair amount of end play which tells me something isn't right. If I push in on the output shaft from the tail housing, it pushes out the planetary gears that sit inside the rear drum, and everything pushes out with it, so I don't gain any clearance on the other end. I feel like I got the output shaft seated well, but how can I tell?

(sorry for the vertical video, I'm old)




image1.jpeg


Also had to tweak that gasket to clear that hole a little better. But that's the least of my worries right now. I'm packing it in for the night, I guess my plan is to remove the tail housing and see if I've got a problem in there. It did seem to drop right in without a fight, so I'd be surprised if it needed to go in further.
 
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