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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Daughter drives this car and reported some slippage. When I drove it a bit later there was no problem (maybe tranny was cooler?). Yesterday it left her in stop/go traffic with no forward drive. It would engage in reverse. Selecting alternate forward gear positions didn't help. Car was carried back to our home (courtesy AAA) and sits awaiting attention.

I do have an engine/tranny combo which can be swapped in to get it going, but if this is a known failure with springs in the hydraulic controls, it would be more effective to fix it there.

Thanks in advance for any help. The car has ~150k miles.

Michael

This is also the car on which the heater core failed and is now bypassed, so it was scheduled to have some work done this month anyway.
 

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Here is what the Saab shop manual says about no forward drive
check fluid level, check fluid quality, check fluid filter, check system pressure see pg 132,

If no drive check and clean valve body check especially traction valve 3-4

No drive causes:
selector lever incorrect adjustment
fluid filter blocked
time control valve 3-4 seizing
torque converter relief valve stuck open
clutch A faulty
one-way clutch 1 faulty
 

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Discussion Starter #3
What's involved with changing the transmission fluid and filter? This car hasn't had that done any time recently. Can a tranny shop be expected to have the materials on hand for _this_ Alfa task, or is it also something sufficiently unfamiliar that it should be done oneself?

Michael
 

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Just pull round filter cover (3 bolts use 10mm socket) catch magnet that rests in aluminum cover or fish out of oil catch pan, Pull filter element down and inspect it. You can clean it or replace it with one for Saab 9000. there is oring on filter element and one on cover you can probably reuse since you are troubleshooting at this stage of the game.
 

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What's involved with changing the transmission fluid and filter? This car hasn't had that done any time recently. Can a tranny shop be expected to have the materials on hand for _this_ Alfa task, or is it also something sufficiently unfamiliar that it should be done oneself?

Michael
I agree with Alfisto Steve of course in that you should check fluid filter etc. first, as pressure may be low at all times and dropping too low when fluid is hot.

However, I recall from my ZF auto-trans ownership in my Thema that there is a long-term insidiuous cause of this 'no-drive hot' condition. The front clutch has metal ring seals (like piston rings) on the input shaft, as I remember. Over time, these rings wear and allow pressure to leak away. There was an even worse problem where they would allow pressure 'in' when not desired, such as with engine idling at high revs in 'N' or 'P', partially-engaging the front clutch and damaging it. See http://member.rivernet.com.au/btaylor/BMWText/technical/AutoGearboxZF4HP22.html

I hate to say it, but yours does sound like a front-clutch problem to me, since you still have drive in reverse, and since the problem has come on fairly suddenly with slippage and then loss of drive.

I know that personally, if I had this condition develop, I would check those points mentioned and then swap out the transmission, rather than attempt an internals-repair. I didn't have much success with auto trans rebuilds myself :( But see http://www.disgruntledgoat.com/content/vehicles/dakar/ZF4HP22.php anyway. I know that neither of these links is Alfa-specific, but there are a number of other vehicles rolling around with the RWD version of the ZF 4HP transmission, so I tend to include them in my search for information.

Just my thoughts.
-Alex
 

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Michael for a quicker good answer to your specific problem I would call or email Nat Wentworth http://www.erikssonindustries.com/ He has helped me many times and stocks the parts to the ZF.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thank you very much, Steve and Alex. I've read the pages Alex pointed out, and they are interesting. I hope this particular 1990 manufactured tranny is not "internally impaired." I'll be getting a Saab 9000 transmission filter and trying the filter/fluid change very soon. I may put in an email query to Mr. Wentworth in parallel, as more information is better than less information.

I really appreciate the responses and hope that others can benefit from them, as well. I hope I don't have to swap out the tranny from the parts car, but that's what parts cars are for, no?

Michael
 

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Thank you very much, Steve and Alex. I've read the pages Alex pointed out, and they are interesting. I hope this particular 1990 manufactured tranny is not "internally impaired." I'll be getting a Saab 9000 transmission filter and trying the filter/fluid change very soon. I may put in an email query to Mr. Wentworth in parallel, as more information is better than less information.

I really appreciate the responses and hope that others can benefit from them, as well. I hope I don't have to swap out the tranny from the parts car, but that's what parts cars are for, no?

Michael
I would change that maybe to will call or email Nat first off and get up front info before you start project. See web site for phone number and email info.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Well, fluid and filter are changed now, but....

The diff plug was _clean_. The trans. filter plug was another story, shown in the picture below. There are flat shavings in the mix, not just filings. I'm not sure what these come from, nor why, but it doesn't look like a good omen to me. I would guess that if any of those pieces escaped the filter and magnet, they would be good candidates for plugging the 3-4 valve body mentioned above. I may be buying a Saab transm. manual from erikssonindustries.com sometime soon.

I ended up paying $30+ for a Beck-Arnley filter package and O-rings. Does anyone know what other costs are? For such things I might choose to do business with erikssonindustries, especially as they have been forthcoming with useful info lately to help us keep these cars on the road.

Michael
 

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That is some real art work on that filter cover. At least you know the magnet didn't fall out into the oil drain pan!
 

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The diff plug was _clean_. The trans. filter plug was another story, shown in the picture below. There are flat shavings in the mix, not just filings. I'm not sure what these come from, nor why, but it doesn't look like a good omen to me.
Yes, the mystery deepens!
I'm certainly looking forward to learning the outcome. Were there any odd bearing noises from the transmission? Was the fluid a burnt colour at all? The fluid we see in the picture looks clean and red. I guess you've caught the slippage in time then.

Thanks,
-Alex
 

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Discussion Starter #12
The filter itself didn't _look_ blocked, but it is a metal screen filter and not a small-particulate paper filter of the sort I vaguely recall seeing for typical older U.S. automatic transmissions. Small metal particles can readily pass through this screen, but one would hope that ferrous particles would be snagged by the magnets. The car _does_ move under its own power when cool.

When I drained the differential and filter areas, I got just over a U.S. gallon of fluid out. The one-gallon bottle of fluid I bought to refill it did the job with only a few ounces less fluid lacking. The tranny dipstick had indicated full on the cold setting (engine running and in park) prior to the activity and just over midway in the operating range after re-fill. The manual says full capacity including torque convertor is about 2.4 gallons. I'll probably get another gallon and drain the oil once more after driving it a while. The filter plate magnet will tell me how much crud is moving around inside the transmission, and I'll then have only about 1/3 of the old fluid remaining. (Now I have 1.4 gallons of the old fluid in 2.4 total gallons -- next stage will leave (1.4/2.4) * 1.4 of the old fluid in 2.4 gallons, just over a 1/3 proportion.)

Does anyone know how to do a full drain without disassembling the transmission?

Michael
 

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Does anyone know how to do a full drain without disassembling the transmission?

Michael
My auto 164 had an oil cooler radiator with fan (but came from a hot climate) - I presume yours does too. Perhaps if you disconnected oil cooler hoses and ran engine with one hose in clean container and the other in 'waste' container, would that do a purge? Might be quite wasteful of fluid but does avoid having to disassemble.

One US gallon is 4.16L from memory, so I think you've done pretty well so far. My handbook is ambiguous and gives two capacity figures: 7.8L or 9L ("The quantity depends on the type of transmission. You are kindly requested to apply to the Authorized Alfa Romeo Service Dealer").

-Alex
 

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You got out what fluid you are going to get out of filter drain and differential drain. Maybe a little more by disconnecting oil cooler line. Over time I guess you sort of flush out torque convertor but the only way to drain it is to have it out of car since it doesn't have a drain port on it.
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
to get back to questions from the audience....

Yes, the mystery deepens!
I'm certainly looking forward to learning the outcome. Were there any odd bearing noises from the transmission? Was the fluid a burnt colour at all? The fluid we see in the picture looks clean and red. I guess you've caught the slippage in time then.

Thanks,
-Alex
The fluid didn't _smell_ burnt, but it was off-color and pretty clouded up. With the sheer quantity of shavings on the magnet, it would be surprising if none were in the body of the tranny, potentially mucking up the valve operations. With lower temperatures and fresh fluid, the car _does_ drive. Daughter reported slippage previously, but it didn't persist through cooldown to when I test drove it. So, like a typical Dad, I filed it as an unconfirmed report. Which isn't _quite_ the same thing as forgetting it, because I didn't. It just showed up very soon as a non-driving condition for said daughter quite a miles from home.

On slowing the car, I'dnoted a strange feeling, as if the engine were flopping around in the engine compartment -- when finally coming to a stop, it felt as though the engine were settling back into position after leaning too for forward. But I had no indications of mounts failing. It was another mystery to me. Maybe the sensation was from something grabbing inside the tranny.

Additions after driving the car: It starts up sort of reasonably, but after 10-15 minutes of driving, it shows slippage in the upper gears (at least 3rd?). When driving toward a stop light at about 40 mph, I opened the throttle (yellow light) and the engine sped up but not much else to show for it. It is sluggish engaging 1st after stopping if I go to neutral, but otherwise 1st and 2nd seen fairly robust w/o slippage. Reverse works great. I think I'm in for a rebuild and/or replacement.
 

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Final Outcome?? My auto tranny exhibiting the same...

Hello Michael,

I have a 94LS auto that basically experienced the same issues as yours...lost drive immediately after an auto overheat warning light came on...yet when car is cold, it is driveable.

I have not yet inspected the tranny fluid/filter magnet/look for particles.

So did you go through a rebuild, or has flushing tranny fluid/new filter been a suitable fix...?
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Gosh, I'm sorry to have left the answer out (of this thread, anyway). I replaced the transmission/engine combination with one from another totaled out car I had. It's working just fine, but I had to replace the head gaskets on that one even though it had been working just fine prior to its being totaled. So I have an engine/trans combo (good engine, bad tranny) which I thought I might work on someday when I get enough projects out of the way to have some free time.

Sorry I can't be of more help. I did inquire of Ericksson Industries (see Steve's posts) and they have the necessary parts when I want to learn about the gut of A/T units.

Michael
 
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