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1960 Hydramatic rebuild.

Started by Chicken Coupe, March 17, 2023, 08:33:58 AM

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Chicken Coupe

Hello group,  If one were to attempt a rebuild.  What book , manual, documents, etc would be the most helpful?

What has helped you the most for those who have successfully rebuilt the trans?

Thank you .  Enjoy your weekend.


Not sure where you are but it is not unusual to drive 100+ miles these days to have a Hydro Matic done.
Lots of books online or Ebay. Not looking forward to the day when I will need this!
Just try to get an engine rebuilt in this day & age. The day is not too far off when an LS swap will be the only practical option :(
Flattie Caddy

Chicken Coupe

I am in Charlotte, NC.  I found one in area for $2500.   Not a bad price, but Im cheap and feeling froggy.

Joe Jensen

I rebuilt my Hydra-matic in my '49 recently.  Parts are expensive, I used Fatsco for the parts.

I had no prior experience on transmissions, so I made a few mistakes which required the transmission to come back out and go back in.  I liked the challange and learning about these transmissions so the effort was worth it to me but might not be worth it for everyone.  All education costs time and money, there are no short cuts.

I would make sure you have the specialty tools needed (purchase or borrow) before you start the job. If the rebuild done properly, the tools are required.

I would search YouTube, there is a lot there on Hydra-matics.  If you still want to proceed get a Hydra-matic manual or more than one from different manufacturers.  I liked the Pontiac version for my '49 but the '60 version I have not ever put my eyes on.  You can get the '60 version online:

Good luck!


The 1960 Hydramatic is a totally different transmission than the 49 (which was used in modified form up to 55). There is a very recent post on this about rebuilding a 61. I rebuilt my 54 many years ago and looking at the photos of the dismantled 61 in the other post it looks like there are a lot less parts to it, so hopefully an easier rebuild to do. Phil


Would not hurt to get this how to book


I'm about to rebuild my 60 trans. I've been collecting the special tools for a few years. There are a few threads on here about different rebuilds. With the aforementioned book, the shop manual, and numerous online resources, you should be able to pull it off. You may have to make a few tools, but generally there seems to be work arounds for this.



I rebuilt my first Hydro with my first 59 Eldo B.
I did it only after having rebuilt a 57 Ford trans - way back in the day - I screwed up my sister's convertible.
It is doable, and I liked to do it - ONCE.

There are specialty tools, but there are workarounds - just not surgical.

You've heard measure twice and cut once - well with a trans, it's read 3 times carefully and look at the pictures repeatedly while doing.

A nice clean uncluttered work bench covered in a light colored cloth with lots of light is best.
Be prepared for small check valve steel balls and springs and little stuff like screws etc.- so baggies & mark them for identity & location.
Sounds a bit crazy, but I took many cell phone pics - one, you can forget and second, you can enlarge the image if you're not sure.
I know it sounds more than a little anal retentive - your welcome.

Now - bottom line - if you can do more with your own time and hands elsewhere in the car while the expert trans guy with a guarantee does his thing - the $2,500 sounds like a fair deal.

Have fun,
Steve B.

PS  - the 60 is smaller around.
S. Butcher

Chicken Coupe

 I thank you all for the positive comments.  I will look into those books.   Joe and David.  What  do those books cover?   I assume the Pontiac is just like other manuals.  I purchased an Oldsmobile book before I realized that was for a 56.  And they changed in 58. Whoops!.    Still interesting to read.  Just like the 59 Manual and the 60 Supplement. Little changes are interesting.   


Attached are my books that all cover in some form or fashion hydra-matics.

It's one thing to know how to repair something but quite another to understand how something works. A hydra- matic is such an item.

Of course you would have to zero in on specific issue dates to get the more advanced 1960 hydra but the principle is the same.

Also, videos, videos, videos.

Also, obtaining or making the specific tools. My grandfather used to say he could fix anything as long as he had the right book and the right tools.

Good luck.


Yesterday I just happened to come across the invoice to rebuild the Hydra-matic in my 1956. $1850.00 including parts and labour; rebuilt in Phoenix Arizona in 2019. Money well spent shifts smooth.
1958 Series 62
1956 Eldorado Biarritz

Joe Jensen

My Pontiac manual is pretty much step by step manual.  It covers only 1948 - 1953. You will need the book covering your 1960 model year.  I have included a picture showing part of the disassembly instructions.

Good luck!


I'm sure the '59 and '60 manual is all you'll need. I don't know about the Pontiac manual. I believe it's a different transmission. Buick should be the same.
There are a few things missing about tools. One is the J6282. It's not needed if you use the alternate way of measuring, which I've seen listed on this forum. Do a search and it should come up. Post questions here and many very knowledgeable people will answer.

Roger Zimmermann

Cadillac, Pontiac and Olds had the same transmission with some external differences. Buick has a completely different transmission, not at all comparable.
The transmission's shop manuals from Pontiac are more detailed than the ones from Cadillac; I'm using a Pontiac manual when overhauling a transmission.
1956 Sedan de Ville (sold)
1956 Eldorado Biarritz
1957 Eldorado Brougham (sold)
1972 Coupe de Ville
2011 DTS
CLCMRC benefactor #101

Chicken Coupe

 I thank you all again for the responses.  Seeing how multiple people on here suggested the POntiac Book. Just purchased one from Evilbay.    Now only if it came with the tools. 


Chicken coup, I did my Hydramatic recently. I am not sure of the year since it seems to be a commercial chassis trans (serial code doesn't fit the normal). By all I can find it seems to be a 46/47. I found the Lincoln 49/50 manual to be the most helpful. The best valve body pictures are in the GM general service manual. I can't speak for the later models. I did film the whole experience on Not Factory Approved Episode 93a-d. The best theoretical video I found was by Weber Automotive (a transmission school). I am not an expert. I repaired 3 auto trans before this. Take lots of pictures. My HDD crashed and I lost mine. That put a wrinkle in the whole process. I also used Fatsco and found them helpful and the most reasonable with pricing. Hope this helps. Ron


Thanks for straightening me out on the transmission compatibility / differences.
I'm getting the Pontiac manual too.