55 Olds Hydramatic transmission - Newbie

Old August 31st, 2006, 06:28 PM
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55 Olds Hydramatic transmission - Newbie

Hi, I'm a newbie here, so any help would be most appreciated. I recently bought a 55 Olds Holiday with (I think) a 3-speed Hydramatic transmission. Car runs like a top, and the transmission shifts fine, but when I start the car and try to put it in gear (D,R, whatever, the indicator (I guess thats what you call it jumps around and I sometimes have to play with it to get it in D instead of S or Lo - it often pops into Lo at first). Once its in D and I'm moving, it shifts just fine. Any suggestions on what the problem is and what I can do? Thanks from a new "cool car" guy.
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Old September 1st, 2006, 04:44 AM
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First, welcome to our site. Second, I have no experience with your tranny specifically but I would think that probably the detent mechanism that keeps the shifter indicator in position is the culprit. My experience with other atutomatic transmissions is that mechanism is actually in the transmission and not in the steering column. You might check all the linkage from the steering column, down the front of the firewall to the transmission, you may have some unusual loosness or play in one of the joint. Just an idea, hope you get it fixed.
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Old September 1st, 2006, 08:03 AM
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Your transmission is a 4 speed Hydra-matic. There is no shift indicator position for first gear. Second gear is "Low" , third gear is " Super", and "Drive" allows the transmission to shift into fourth gear. The transmission always starts in first gear, and then shifts to "Low" ( second gear). Thusly, you can't hold it in first gear, but you can hold it in second gear if the shift lever is in "Low". There is no full throttle kickdown into first gear, only into third or second. The shift indicator needle is usually controlled by a rather simple mechanism, sometimes just a string and a return spring in the steering column. You may not have to take anything apart.
As long as the transmission is shifting properly, your problem is minor, so get out your WD-40 and start looking for something to lubricate !
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Old September 2nd, 2006, 06:21 PM
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I honestly don't recall how the gear indicator is operated in a '55, although it probably is the same as a '54.
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Old January 13th, 2016, 07:38 PM
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55 shift indicator

Originally Posted by PetChemMan View Post
I honestly don't recall how the gear indicator is operated in a '55, although it probably is the same as a '54.
The shift indicator is electric, and is the same on 54.
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Old January 13th, 2016, 11:02 PM
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As mentioned, the indicator is electric, is adjustable, and is covered on pages 3-97 and 3-98 of the 1955 Oldsmobile Shop Manual.
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Old January 14th, 2016, 02:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Frank Allen View Post
The shift indicator is electric, and is the same on 54.
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See that? You just have to be patient on this site. Sometimes it takes us over nine years, but we always come up with the answer
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