'63 Transmission won't shift into reverse

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'63 Transmission won't shift into reverse

Postby mge825y » Wed Nov 24, 2021 12:12 pm

When I first bought my '63 LCC in 2017, it had the "Lincoln Morning Sickness" in that it would only shift into reverse after warming up for 15-30 minutes. So, in 2018, I had the transmission rebuilt and I replaced transmission modulator and the vacuum line to the transmission modulator.

Well, today the car was being loaded at Lincoln Land onto a hauler to come home to me in Charlotte, and it won't shift into reverse. So, they are going to keep it and trouble-shoot it.

I'm assuming that the transmission itself isn't the problem, but am trying to think of other things to check like:
- Transmission fluid level
- A bad transmission modulator
- A loose or damaged vacuum line to the transmission modulator
- Maybe the transmission gear selector on the steering column?

Are there any other possible culprits that they should check?
Mark in Charlotte
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Re: '63 Transmission won't shift into reverse

Postby TonyC » Wed Nov 24, 2021 2:57 pm

Well, you know the old saying about that "A" word...and it never rang truer than for me. That said, I have to admit that three years is too short a time for a rebuild to undo itself.

I know about pipes inside that model of transmission that may tend to fall out of place and cause all sorts of wonky shifting issues; but I don't know if Reverse can be affected. Maybe it is something simple, maybe not...but at least it showed itself while still at LincolnLand. Transmission fails are the worst mechanical job on any car, and you don't want to play Russian Roulette via guesswork where that is concerned, based on a presumptive hope for a simple fix (which more often than not yields only disappointment and frustration). I'd say, my advice is to wait for LL to tell you what happened and what needs to happen. They should know that particular transmission as well as anyone.

---Tony
Last edited by TonyC on Wed Nov 24, 2021 7:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: '63 Transmission won't shift into reverse

Postby JCSLOCUM » Wed Nov 24, 2021 3:07 pm

Not good news. :-(

Fluid level is an easy check and I'm sure LL did that.

Reverse and first just need pressure to work. When they don't if it isn't low on oil, the pump is usually the culprit. I don't know the insides of that trans but there are lots of moving parts and o-rings/seals to leak or fail.
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Re: '63 Transmission won't shift into reverse

Postby Dan Szwarc » Wed Nov 24, 2021 4:24 pm

Check the bellcrank bushings. Verify it is actually moving the transmission's shift lever into reverse.

The modulator has NOTHING to do with reverse. Forward upshifts only.
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Re: '63 Transmission won't shift into reverse

Postby action » Wed Nov 24, 2021 6:08 pm

The Turbo-Drive transmission, has two bands and two clutch packs
Assuming the 2017 overhaul replaced all rubber seals correctly

In reverse both the rear clutch and the rear band are applied

Exterior issues - things to check
Fluid level and/or type
Is shift shaft fully in correct detent

Internal -
Rear band and/or servo are not functioning - servo can be air checked
Valve body is partially plugged
Rear clutch pack is slipping
There is an internal leak such that hydraulic pressure is not operating either the clutch or the band or both
And the fluid distribution sleeve in output shaft is leaking

Generally, one would want to work from easiest to more difficult. Least expensive to more/

For a vehicle that has been sitting for months in a shop getting restored. incorrect fluid level would be the most common issue. However, the fluid level has to be checked and added as needed when hot and on a level surface with engine runnning

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Re: '63 Transmission won't shift into reverse

Postby bd94s10 » Wed Dec 01, 2021 8:56 pm

Mark, I hope all is well and sorry to hear about the transmission trouble… In Tony’s 65 he had the transmission rebuilt By the same company he referred me to end my transmission has been perfect however his ended up giving him a problem to the point that he swapped to a good original. He was back on the road within a day or so and it has been doing well so far… If there is internal issues with the transmission although it was rebuilt they can either have a Shop go back through it and double check everything or I’m sure Chris has plenty of transmissions he could sell you a good used one… Chris has told me over the years that if it’s not broke don’t fix it and he even recommended in some cases not to have them rebuilt… For instance my 64 transmission really had no issues with it however since I had it out I figured I would rebuild it… Chris was like well to be honest he wouldn’t have done it but luckily I haven’t had any issues… So after saying all this again that’s one option that you have and many tend to forget that these cars are not “numbers matching“ so if you ever did swap to a good used transmission it’s not really going to affect the value.

Just offering some suggestions please keep us in the loop
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Re: '63 Transmission won't shift into reverse

Postby mge825y » Sat Dec 04, 2021 1:12 pm

Dan, Action & Jason - thanks for all the intel. Chris and Team ended up pulling the transmission and provided it to Art at the transmission shop around the corner. Art found that the rear band was the problem. He's replacing it and possibly the rear clutch.

I don't think the bands were replaced when they did the rebuild in 2018.

If all goes well, they will reinstall the transmission back on the car on Monday.
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Re: '63 Transmission won't shift into reverse

Postby action » Sat Dec 04, 2021 5:52 pm

mge825y wrote:Dan, Action & Jason - thanks for all the intel. Chris and Team ended up pulling the transmission and provided it to Art at the transmission shop around the corner. Art found that the rear band was the problem. He's replacing it and possibly the rear clutch.

I don't think the bands were replaced when they did the rebuild in 2018.

If all goes well, they will reinstall the transmission back on the car on Monday.


Was kind of waiting with news on this one.
Surprised both bands and all clutch packs were not replaced during a rebuild.
I am taking apart a C6 now (MELinda's pale sister) If you get the transmission out of the car, the rest is not that difficult.

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2006 Lincoln Navigator Limited 5.4l 3V
1996 Lincoln Mark VIII 2DR Coupe Diamond Anniversary 4.6l DOHC, 4R70W, 3.07
1970 Continental Mark III Triple Black 460 4v, C6, 2.80 (Used for Woodward Dream Cruise or just generally stored in Michigan)
1966 Lincoln Continental 4DR Convertible 462 4v, C6, 3.00
1966 Mercury Park Lane 4DR Breezeway 410 4v, C6, 2.80
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Re: '63 Transmission won't shift into reverse

Postby TonyC » Sat Dec 04, 2021 8:44 pm

I say again, it's a fortuitous happenstance that the failure occurred while still at LincolnLand, where experts on that design of transmission could be called up immediately to fix the problem. Sorry for the additional cost, but at least you know you won't be stranded somewhere, and the problem will likely not reoccur for a long time.

---Tony
"Don't believe everything you read on the Internet, just because there is a picture with a quote next to it." (Abraham Lincoln, 1866)
"Question Authority!"

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Re: '63 Transmission won't shift into reverse

Postby mge825y » Fri Dec 10, 2021 10:59 am

action wrote:The Turbo-Drive transmission, has two bands and two clutch packs
Assuming the 2017 overhaul replaced all rubber seals correctly

In reverse both the rear clutch and the rear band are applied

Exterior issues - things to check
Fluid level and/or type
Is shift shaft fully in correct detent

Internal -
Rear band and/or servo are not functioning - servo can be air checked
Valve body is partially plugged
Rear clutch pack is slipping
There is an internal leak such that hydraulic pressure is not operating either the clutch or the band or both
And the fluid distribution sleeve in output shaft is leaking

Generally, one would want to work from easiest to more difficult. Least expensive to more/

For a vehicle that has been sitting for months in a shop getting restored. incorrect fluid level would be the most common issue. However, the fluid level has to be checked and added as needed when hot and on a level surface with engine running

Action



Good news - the transmission is fixed, back on the car. Test driving was a success as it's shifting better than before. The problem was a combination of a worn rear band and that the rear clutch packs were installed wrong in 2018 by the previous rebuilder. All is well for now.
Mark in Charlotte
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Re: '63 Transmission won't shift into reverse

Postby bd94s10 » Sun Dec 12, 2021 5:41 pm

Awesome. So glad to hear it Mark! Glad you have your baby back!
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