Torqueflite 904 Won't Start in "N" (neutral)

Dibbons

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I posted this on FABO also, but since the 904 is common to BBodies, I am posting here also:

The '65 Formula S had a transmission "rebuild" here in Mexico during the recent body restoration. After re-installing the engine/transmission, the vehicle sat for a few months. I could roll it in and out of the garage by placing the console shifter in "N" (neutral). When I installed the transmission, I pre-filled the torque convertor with one quart of Quaker State AFT 3.

More recently, I charged the battery. Then I filled the crankcase with oil (5 quarts) and added 7 more quarts of ATF. I noticed after having added the ATF, the vehicle would not move anymore in neutral. I went through all the gears a few times and after rocking the vehicle a little, it finally rolled. Weird.

I fired up the motor (without coolant) and let it run about 5 minutes. At first, I tried to start the motor in neutral, but the starter would not engage while the cable operated floor shift was in "N" (just nothing-like a dead battery). When I selected "P" (park) the starter motor and ignition switch worked fine.

The next day or so, I fired up the motor again and put the transmission in both reverse and forward gears. I felt no indication of any gears engaging, and neither would the vehicle move in any direction under its own power. And again, the starter will not crank when selecting "N".

Today I checked the terminal on the solenoid that serves as the neutral safety switch. With the ignition "off" or in the "run/on" position, no power. When the key is turned to "start", we have power.

The first questions I have are: Why won't the starter motor crank with gearshift in neutral? Why won't the vehicle move in "reverse" or "drive" or "2" or "1"? Thank you.

Photo is before restoration.

65 Ply Barracuda pic.jpg
 

Curiousyellow71

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If its the original 904 like our 65 dart there is a separate cable for park. It sounds like it was not releasing from park for some reason. Possibly the cable is sticking..could Try working some penetrating fluid into the cables.

I can't remember if the trans will start in neutral like it does park. There are better cable trannys experts on here then I. But I do have a 65 904 apart in the shop at the moment.
 

Dibbons

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Performed some more continuity testing this AM and made some progress. I found "N" is found when the gear shift is moved slightly rearward while in reverse. In that spot the tester "beeped" and when I turned the ignition key, the starter motor engaged. So without a doubt the shift cable needs adjustment. The detent on the gear shift and the detent inside the transmission must be at odds with one another.

Trying to think this thing through in my mind, I am thinking the cable pull must be lengthened to allow the gear shift to move a little more back and drop into the proper "N" slot (and all the other slots should follow suit if that slot is corrected).
 

Dibbons

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I had not mentioned that the 2 1/2" TTI exhaust had burned through the original "park" shift cable in one spot. I replaced it with a used cable I had for a spare. I lubricated the used cable with a graphite spray before installation. So while searching out this recent problem (mentioned in post #1) I did believe the problem was it that cable and so I have not even had a look at it yet. It seems to be working as it should.
 

Dibbons

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Update: Raised the four wheels off the ground and installed jack stands for easier access. I did not have a "helper" to hold the gear shift in "low" per the cable adjustment instructions, so I decided to use my previous continuity tester procedure.

After marking with white paint the position of the wheel that adjusts the shift cable at the transmission, I removed the 7/16" headed bolt. I spun the little wheel one full turn clockwise and checked neutral position of the shifter. The neutral safety switch was in the same position as before which was too close to reverse.

I removed the bolt again, spun the wheel back counter clockwise to where it was and then an additional turn counter clockwise. The switch was still off, but a little closer. After having spun the wheel 2 or 3 times more counter clockwise, it appeared that we could start the vehicle now in both park and neutral positions. I replaced the bolt.

I started and ran the motor for just a minute in neutral (still needs more coolant added) and checked the AT dipstick which still reads over-filled like before (of course, this is a cold check). I quickly tried the gear shift in both reverse and drive and saw the driver's side rear wheel spin. Then I shut down the engine.

The oil filter adaptor bolt (1 3/16") is still dripping oil. Later today or tomorrow I will need to remove the 2 1/2" TTI head pipe on the passenger side in order to get access to replace the little gasket under the head of the bolt.
 
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