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Author Topic: 1959 hydramatic transmission  (Read 2461 times)

Offline Bluebeast59

  • Posts: 9
  • Name: e lauinger
1959 hydramatic transmission
« on: April 26, 2017, 04:01:06 PM »
Can anyone tell me how much to expect for a rebuild kit and labor on a 1959 Cadillac with the hydramatic? All forward gears work fine, but reverse only works after the transmission fluid gets warmed up requiring a 10 mile drive. The shift into reverse is quite hard the first few times after it is warmed up, but eventually shifts normal. And yes I have searched for hours on this forum and elsewhere. Results range from 800.00 to 3000.00. There is one shop locally that has good reputation working on classic cars, but am still waiting to hear back from them. Would appreciate hearing anyone's recent experience. Thanks.
1959 2 door cdv

Offline 60eldo

  • Posts: 1439
  • EVERYDAY ABOVE GROUND IS A GOOD DAY
  • Name: Jon Kluczynski
Re: 1959 hydramatic transmission
« Reply #1 on: April 26, 2017, 09:17:20 PM »
  I had mine done for 1600 that was them taking out and reinstalling it.
Jon. Kluczynski

Offline fishnjim

  • Posts: 2430
  • Name: J. Bozin
Re: 1959 hydramatic transmission
« Reply #2 on: April 26, 2017, 09:28:33 PM »
You won't know until it's torn down, unfortunately.   You can call Fatsco and let them give you a ball park based on normal problems and mileage but you already have the numbers.   
If one thing fails and it's not caught immediately, other things get eat up.  Best to address trans problems right away.
The nice local tranny guy only charged me $300 labor, trans on the bench (I took out) but I had to chase and buy the ~$2000 in parts.  He also cleaned the radiator cooler, which I recommend also.   Clean or replace the lines or clean everything once it's back together before use.
It's always better to replace all the wear parts anyway and not try to save a few bucks only to pay twice later.   
Or find a $500 working used one and take your chances.

Online J. Gomez

  • Posts: 2377
  • CLC Number: 23082
  • Name: J. Gomez
Re: 1959 hydramatic transmission
« Reply #3 on: April 26, 2017, 09:54:02 PM »
The master rebuild kit can be close the $400+ (Fatsco or Auto Tran), the labor would be base on your geographical area and the person/shop doing the work it can range from $1K to $2.

Any other parts outside from the master rebuild kit can be $ or $$$ as others noted above.

HTH

Good luck..!
J. Gomez
CLC #23082

Offline Chuck Patton

  • Posts: 340
  • Name: Chuck Patton
Re: 1959 hydramatic transmission
« Reply #4 on: April 27, 2017, 07:26:17 AM »


Hello Mr. Lauinger

Glad to read you are investing in your 1959 Cadillac.  The advice you have received here is good.  I could not find a competent reliable organization in a 40 mile radius of Detroit to do my 1959 Cadillac.  I found an honest experienced company in Windsor, Ontario.  While he had it out and apart I had him do everything in the vicinity AND the steering box for $3100.....Canadian.

My advice is to find a guy with integrity, and  do not be pennywise and pound foolish.
Appraiser-Broker-Consultant
Past CLC National Board Director
Past CLCMRC Director
Past CLC Motor City Region President
CLC 1959-60 Cadillac Chapter Director
CLC Life Member #23147

Offline TJ Hopland

  • Posts: 10187
Re: 1959 hydramatic transmission
« Reply #5 on: April 27, 2017, 08:42:06 AM »
The one I had done almost 3 years ago I think ended up in the $2500 range.   Main reason we brought it in was age.   It still seemed to work alright but it leaked pretty bad.  They said there wasn't really anything really wrong just petrified rubber and worn stuff including bushings which they said is common on these.   Mine was a 57 and may have only had 60K on it.   They said if it had been worked on before it was a long time ago.   

My shop said they won't do one of these without the car.   There is apparently a lot of critical tuning required that can't be done on the bench.   They said soft parts and the bushing kit is readily available and reasonable prices.   Hard parts are another story, a few months before mine they said they had one that had something damaged in the front torus housing.   They said it took over a month to find a less bad one for $1000 that they were able to use for parts to combine with the original to make a working unit.  They said there are several parts in those that are often worn that are really hard to find these days.   Their theory is the wear comes from continuing to run a unit that is just old and tired.   A soft kit and a tune up every 15-20 years would prevent those issues. 
StPaul/Mpls, MN USA

73 Eldo convert w/FiTech EFI
80 Eldo Diesel
90 CDV
And other assorted stuff I keep buying for some reason

Offline bcroe

  • Posts: 3895
1959 hydramatic transmission
« Reply #6 on: April 27, 2017, 07:50:39 PM »
Quote from: TJ Hopland
They said it took over a month to find a less bad one for $1000 that they were able to use for parts to combine with the original to make a working unit.  They said there are several parts in those that are often worn that are really hard to find these days.   Their theory is the wear comes from continuing to run a unit that is just old and tired.   A soft kit and a tune up every 15-20 years would prevent those issues.

"A soft kit and a tune up every 15-20 years" is also my advice for any automatic.  That
throttle position rod needs to be set pretty carefully, which is why they want the car. 
The rod is replaced by the vacuum modulator for gauging torque in a TH400, ends
a lot of issues.  There are also no parts issues or anything else with a 400, which is
why I have one in every car regardless of what it was built with.  Bruce Roe

Offline russ austin

  • Posts: 819
  • Name: Russ Austin
Re: 1959 hydramatic transmission
« Reply #7 on: April 28, 2017, 08:01:14 AM »
For future reference, I have spare 62, 63 and 64 Transmissions. Whole and parts, at a fraction of the price that was previously mentioned.
R.Austin

Offline Bluebeast59

  • Posts: 9
  • Name: e lauinger
Re: 1959 hydramatic transmission
« Reply #8 on: April 29, 2017, 02:50:32 AM »
Thank you for all the replies. FishingJim is correct in that they have to take it apart to really know how deep repairs will be needed. Fortunately all the hard parts are in good shape, including the pump unit. The culprit was a cracked oil seal ring/washer, why reverse eventually worked after the trans fluid got warm enough. So all seals are getting replaced. The housing and pan all cleaned up and painted. Decided to do oil pan gasket while transmission is out, which will bring cost to the 2500.00 zone. A fair deal since they are fixing some fuel line connections on recently installed DIY fuel pump. Thanks again all. By the way I am in Fargo N.D where the driving season is short.
1959 2 door cdv

Offline Bluebeast59

  • Posts: 9
  • Name: e lauinger
Re: 1959 hydramatic transmission
« Reply #9 on: May 09, 2017, 09:31:00 PM »
It's great to have reverse again. Overall am very happy with the work done. I would like to ask for feed back from others about how noticeable the the 2-3 shift is on your vehicles. The 1-2 and 3-4 shift are almost imperceptible, but the 2-3 shift feels almost like one is pushing a clutch in on a manual transmission. It doesn't seem to upshift fast enough on the 2-3. I decided to drive it for a couple weeks before bringing it back to the shop for any adjustments they can do. I've read about others who have had results from the TV rod being adjusted. It isn't a harsh shift just kind of annoying. I don't remember how it's supposed to feel from when i was a kid learning how to drive the same car in the 60's.
1959 2 door cdv

Offline TJ Hopland

  • Posts: 10187
Re: 1959 hydramatic transmission
« Reply #10 on: May 09, 2017, 11:42:49 PM »
Not counting the neutral or reverse clutches there are 6 elements divided into the front and rear sections.  1-2 the front 3 elements change state and the rear stays the same.    3-4 the rear elements change and the front stays.   2-3 all 6 elements have to change at the same time so there is a lot that has to happen more or less at the same time. 

Both before and after I had mine rebuilt the 2-3 was noticeable.   Before the rebuild it didn't seem to matter how I drove it, it was always very weird.   After the rebuild I found there was a way I could drive it under most conditions that it was much less noticeable.    I can't tell you what that way is, its just something I do when I drive that car.   How long it takes me to get into that groove depends on what else I have been driving recently.   Its harder to get into if I have been driving a newer 6+ speed or my 81 that is likely starting to slip so I really have to be careful and ease off the gas just as it starts to shift. 

I would check with the shop just to make sure they are not concerned, if they are not I would do what you are thinking and give it a couple weeks to see if it changes or anything else comes up.     
StPaul/Mpls, MN USA

73 Eldo convert w/FiTech EFI
80 Eldo Diesel
90 CDV
And other assorted stuff I keep buying for some reason

INTMD8

  • Guest
Re: 1959 hydramatic transmission
« Reply #11 on: May 10, 2017, 01:35:06 PM »
It's great to have reverse again. Overall am very happy with the work done. I would like to ask for feed back from others about how noticeable the the 2-3 shift is on your vehicles. The 1-2 and 3-4 shift are almost imperceptible, but the 2-3 shift feels almost like one is pushing a clutch in on a manual transmission. It doesn't seem to upshift fast enough on the 2-3. I decided to drive it for a couple weeks before bringing it back to the shop for any adjustments they can do. I've read about others who have had results from the TV rod being adjusted. It isn't a harsh shift just kind of annoying. I don't remember how it's supposed to feel from when i was a kid learning how to drive the same car in the 60's.

2-3 on mine was noticeable. I switched to the new Dexron VI which smoothed it out a lot.

Offline dadscad

  • Posts: 618
  • Name: David Thomas CLC #14765
Re: 1959 hydramatic transmission
« Reply #12 on: May 10, 2017, 08:21:53 PM »
For my  63, 1-2 I don't feel but hear the motor tone change, 2-3 is almost a hesitation but pretty quick, 3-4 is the same as 1-2. Several years ago  I switched from Penzoil ATF to synthetic Amsoil ATF, what an amazing difference in the shift performance, very much improved! TV rod adjustment is critical for proper shift points. Adjust the TV rod nuts in 1/4 turn incriments for the fine tuning.
Enjoy The Ride,
David Thomas CLC #14765
1963 Coupe deVille

Offline TJ Hopland

  • Posts: 10187
Re: 1959 hydramatic transmission
« Reply #13 on: May 13, 2017, 09:29:08 AM »
Good point about how you more hear the shifts than feel them.   For those of us that are 'in tune' with our cars the sound can be a large part of the perception.     I'm working on a car now that the owner complained about it having absolutely no power.  Carb was a little screwed up and the timing was very conservative but the main issue was it had a severe duty fan clutch on it so at 2000 rpm the fan roar made you think you were at 4-5K so your brain kept saying shift shift.  Result was you were trying to drive the thing just off idle where there just isn't any power.         
StPaul/Mpls, MN USA

73 Eldo convert w/FiTech EFI
80 Eldo Diesel
90 CDV
And other assorted stuff I keep buying for some reason

Offline Bluebeast59

  • Posts: 9
  • Name: e lauinger
Re: 1959 hydramatic transmission
« Reply #14 on: May 13, 2017, 02:18:37 PM »
It does make a difference in how much acceleration is applied. It's not a slip just more like a delay, and more noticeable at a real slow acceleration. probably still under a second. I just couldn't remember how it felt back in 1967 when i first drove it out in the country with my dad. I still love driving her, 2 door blue with white hardtop, The shift points seem to be at the proper points, the speedometer is jumpy. Thanks all, have a great weekend!
1959 2 door cdv

 

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