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Old May 9th, 2008, 12:23 PM   #1
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1955 Oldsmobile 98 Holiday Transmission Problems

Iím new to automatic transmissions and this old girl has a problem. She will not shift out of 1st gear at all. She goes into all gears like drive, reverse etc. but will not up shift. Recently, after the car has been running for a moment or two, I can hear a hissing sound coming form the transmission. Is there anyone out there that I can turn to for some really stupid questions regarding this car? I would like to get it a bit more mobile than it is now. Any help at all would be appreciated. I really know nothing about automatics. I have a service manual for the car but I need some help to get started. Thanks!
-Kevin
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Old May 12th, 2008, 08:16 AM   #2
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No one knows anything about this type of problem? Help, Help!!!!!
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Old May 12th, 2008, 08:38 AM   #3
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Unfortunately most of us are not well versed in the early Hydramatics. A few on this site do have the experience and I'm hoping they will join in now that the weekend is over.
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Old May 12th, 2008, 02:54 PM   #4
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Thanks Joe i have had a very hard time finding out info on this car. I hope someone can help.
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Old May 12th, 2008, 06:49 PM   #5
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I'm no expert either, but to me the hissing sounds like its a vacuum leak. Alot of Auto's use vacuum to change so I would start looking in your manual to see what hookup there is for shifting up a gear? I would also get under the car and start looking for rubber hoses that aren't where their suppose to be. And or, a barb coming off the Auto without a hose attached.

That being, that you havent already done this?

what exactly have you done? that might help sort out where your up to.
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Old May 12th, 2008, 08:55 PM   #6
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The hissing noise is probably coming from a vacuum leak - there are no rubber lines attached to the Hydramatic at all..You may have rot holes off your vacuum canister which to me seems common ( but i live in a rust belt state anyways ) Start off simple - is the transmission fluid up to the fill line?? I had a Hyramatic that was working fine until it busted a rubber transmission cooler hose... it wouldnt shift out of first at all due to the pressure lost, but you would notice that since the fluid would be peeing all over the exhaust pipe and there would be a cloud of smoke you can see from outer space. You could also have a defective front pump that you may be confusing for a hissing vacuum leak
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Old May 13th, 2008, 01:02 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 59-59-59 View Post
........ Hydramatic that was working fine until it busted a rubber transmission cooler hose ........
Which hydro had remote cooling?

Norm
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Old May 13th, 2008, 06:01 AM   #8
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I checked the fluid first thing and it was full. Might be a bit over full but not much. There are no leaks that I can see. The only strange thing I know of is the fuel pump has been replaced with an electric pump thus bypassing the vacuum of the pump. But since someone mentioned no vacuum lines to the trans then that cant be it. How does this thing know when to shift? Is there a sensor of some sort? Thanks for all the help.
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Old May 13th, 2008, 10:10 AM   #9
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59-later that I know for sure, and I think radiator cooling might have started with 56 Jetaway. 55-57 shop books have been kind of elusive for me and not many of those year cars around here either.

Always thought it strange having rubber sections in the trans cooler lines, but when I pulled them off one of my Starfires and found swaged ends on the metal lines, I said, Hmm. Somebody meant to do this. Then there it was in the shop book.

Quote:
How does this thing know when to shift?
HydraMatics rely on a throttle valve rod integrated with the carb linkage to tell them when to shift. The rod moves a valve inside the transmission and changes hydraulic pressures inside it to make the transmission work. That's oversimplified, but that's the principle it works on. PowerGlides and Mopar Torqueflites too, and GM itself came back to TV cables for their OD TurboHydraMatics.

Your man on HydraMatics is Tom Kasper in IL. I'll try to find a number when I get home.

BTW, the vacuum chamber on the fuel pump works the windshield wipers and deluxe heater controls. Guess back then, they didn't fully understand orificing vacuum to reduce it to a workable level for those applications.
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Old May 13th, 2008, 02:46 PM   #10
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OK, thanks for the info. Could this be an adjustment in the linkage then? Knowing my luck it’s something internal.
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Old May 13th, 2008, 08:57 PM   #11
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Which hydro had remote cooling?

Norm
I replaced the high pressure 'rubber' lines on both my '57 and '59 Olds. It is a short section that comes out of the transmission thats about 7 inches long that connects to steel lines into the radiator. Actually Fusick sells them new
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Old May 13th, 2008, 10:42 PM   #12
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Quote:
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........ lines on both my '57 and '59 Olds ........
That explains it.

Jetaway ('56-up). No comparison to a real Hydramatic ('39-'56).

Norm
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Old May 13th, 2008, 11:04 PM   #13
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........ back then, they didn't fully understand orificing vacuum to reduce it to a workable level ........
They understood it. They also understood that it was the opposite of what was needed.

The auxiliary booster provided temporary vacuum to the wiper motor during low/no supply (WOT for instance) from the intake manifold.

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Old May 14th, 2008, 05:45 AM   #14
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Kevin, a good place to start would be to double check your fluid level and use the instructions in your service manual to set the Throttle Valve linkage. This is a very important adjustment! It might take a couple of tries to get it right. Let us know if this changes anything.

BTW, don't bother with ordering the high pressure transmission cooler hose from Kanter. You can usually get it at your local auto parts store.
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Old May 14th, 2008, 06:20 AM   #15
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OK I will try the adjustment. Right now we are getting rained out around here and the weekend looks like a wash as well. I will let you all know what happens with it. Thanks so much for all your input!!!
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Old May 14th, 2008, 07:52 AM   #16
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Quote:
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........ don't bother with ordering the high pressure transmission cooler hose from Kanter. You can usually get it at your local auto parts store.
Why would he want to order/buy a part that he cannot use?

Quote:
Originally Posted by 88 coupe
Which hydro had remote cooling?
Quote:
Originally Posted by 59-59-59 View Post
I replaced the high pressure 'rubber' lines on both my '57 and '59 Olds.
That explains it.

Jetaway ('56-up). No comparison to a real Hydramatic ('39-'56).
'55 trans did not have external cooling, therefore no hoses.

The part does not exist.

Norm
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Old May 14th, 2008, 07:52 AM
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