A440 Woes - A question(s) on transmission fluid

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Feb 27, 2019
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I have been trying to chase down a shudder in my transmission for quite some time now. I want to try and throw as many variables out the door before dropping a staggering $5,000 to pull the trans and transfer off, replace the torque converter, and put it back in the car.
One of those variables is quite variable itself, and it got me thinking -- am I approaching the transmission fluid level correctly?
The car has a cooler and a temperature guage on the return (both installed by the previous owner).

Some questions to bounce off the community sound board:

1. Amount of fluid to add with a cooler installed after a rodney flush. Shouldn't this number be higher? Adding capacity means adding more fluid to reach the same level during test period. Is this wrong?

2. Temperature of fluid during test. The FSM states to test with a transmission fully hot. Does it ever get fully hot with a cooler? The last time I pulled the dipstick after a long 30-40 minute freeway drive and lots of upshifts / downshifts, the fluid barely was on the dipstick. The temperature barely read 140*F on the return line after the torque converter unlocked. I pulled the dipstick last night to add fluid and the level was about an inch over the "HOT" level. What gives?

Would appreciate any and all feedback/thoughts on the matter.

I have also not been able to find a reputable shop to do the rebuild for less than $5,000 in socal.
Edit: have also used a bottle of lubeguard, still shudders. Transmission has 210k on the clock.
 
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Joined
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If you're talking about shudder when the torque converter locks up, a tube of "dr tranny" might fix that.
PS. My torque converter has shuddered for years without getting any worse.
I've tried a friction modifier, and looks like the PO did as well maybe 10k miles ago for a flush. I did the Rodney flush a few hundred miles ago and the fluid was near black. I think a kinked cooler line may have prematurely killed my transmission. I've since remedied it but the shudder persists.
 
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sometimes large trans like a440f need a couple of tubes of lubegard . Does it shudder constantly? Worse with acceleration?
5 grand to swap out the torque converter seems a bit crazy. Could you do it yourself?
 
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sometimes large trans like a440f need a couple of tubes of lubegard . Does it shudder constantly? Worse with acceleration?
5 grand to swap out the torque converter seems a bit crazy. Could you do it yourself?
I thought about that too, lubeguard doesnt given any direction on how much per transmission and even sell little wasabi packet sized bottles all the way up to a whole 16 fl oz bottle (???). It does it consistently around 50-65mph and definitely is only happening "on throttle and cruise". Decel is fine.
Would love to pull the trans if I had a garage and a tranny jack. Heard it's a beast.
 
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For what it's worth, mine started shuddering only after a complete atf change. And then only every so often. Then it stops shuddering for weeks, and then one day it's back.
Never tried lubegard or the like.
 
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New Harmony, Utah
I would:

Drive it around town, 2nd/3rd gear, driving 40-50mph, no lockup speed, get it nice and hot around 170-190 (at the pan.... not the return line), Park it, but keep the LC running, run through all the gears with 3 sec. in between.
Then check your fuid level a the hot mark.

If the level is good, then don't worry about having to add extra fluid because of the cooler. What cooler are you running?

If you had almost black fluid not long ago and 200K on the clock, I'd maybe not go too long before doing another passive flush.
But replace it with something Amsoil synthetic / Allison Transynq.
You might be able to squeeze another 50K out if it, before its needs a rebuild.
And take it on a good long trip so the ATF can clean things up!
 
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I would:

Drive it around town, 2nd/3rd gear, driving 40-50mph, no lockup speed, get it nice and hot around 170-190 (at the pan.... not the return line), Park it, but keep the LC running, run through all the gears with 3 sec. in between.
Then check your fuid level a the hot mark.

If the level is good, then don't worry about having to add extra fluid because of the cooler. What cooler are you running?

If you had almost black fluid not long ago and 200K on the clock, I'd maybe not go too long before doing another passive flush.
But replace it with something Amsoil synthetic / Allison Transynq.
You might be able to squeeze another 50K out if it, before its needs a rebuild.
And take it on a good long trip so the ATF can clean things up!
No clue on the cooler, I can try snap a pic tomorrow. Was installed by the PO.
Will try the 2nd-3rd trick, that's a good idea. I'll borrow the IR gun from work to see what kind of pan temps I'm getting.
Maybe I can get creative and take pics too since thats what everyone likes to see on the forums.
 
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Pics are good and or a video of the actual shuddering. How bad is it? And you're sure it's your torque converter? Not engine mounts, prop shaft, joints, tires, wheel bearing etc?
 
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The trans temp gauge sending unit should be on the output line not the return line so you get the actual temp of the trans not the temp of the fluid after it's been cooled.
 
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It does it consistently around 50-65mph and definitely is only happening "on throttle and cruise". Decel is fine.

Given the agony of transmission pulling, I'd make doublely-tripley-super-sure this isn't a bad u-joint or loose pinion nut.
 
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Pics are good and or a video of the actual shuddering. How bad is it? And you're sure it's your torque converter? Not engine mounts, prop shaft, joints, tires, wheel bearing etc?
I will do that this weekend when I have a chance to do a long freeway cruise.

Engine mounts look fine, prop shaft was balanced and U-joints replaced a few hundred miles ago (I originally thought that was the reason), wheel bearings seem tight and non excessive play. It is pretty bad as its like driving over pronounced patch of rumble strips and shakes the coins in my center console.

The trans temp gauge sending unit should be on the output line not the return line so you get the actual temp of the trans not the temp of the fluid after it's been cooled.
Yeah, I agree. I may plumb one up there but actually if I was going to rebuild the trans I was going to tap the pan for a proper reading.

It does it consistently around 50-65mph and definitely is only happening "on throttle and cruise". Decel is fine.

Given the agony of transmission pulling, I'd make doublely-tripley-super-sure this isn't a bad u-joint or loose pinion nut.
Excuse my noob ness -- but which pinion nut are you referencing?
Just had the U-joints replaced recently with some quality aftermarket ones.
 
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I meant the rear differential pinion nut (the nut on the input flange to the rear diff).

You need to drop the rear end of the rear driveshaft to tighten it, but you can likely wiggle the entire pinion by hand (with the truck in neutral and parking brake on, so that there isn't any rotational pressure on the driveshaft) and see if there is any play in it. If there is, you need to drop what you're doing and tighten it immediately. When pinion shafts fall into the ring gear, the diff will lock up (at speed).
 
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I meant the rear differential pinion nut (the nut on the input flange to the rear diff).

You need to drop the rear end of the rear driveshaft to tighten it, but you can likely wiggle the entire pinion by hand (with the truck in neutral and parking brake on, so that there isn't any rotational pressure on the driveshaft) and see if there is any play in it. If there is, you need to drop what you're doing and tighten it immediately. When pinion shafts fall into the ring gear, the diff will lock up (at speed).
I can definitely do that. Just so I understand, the process is:
1. Safety Stuff, Truck in Neutral, Parking Brake On.
2. Drop the rear drive shaft on the side going into the diff.
3. Check the pinion for play by trying to move it in a (?) direction? (check for play in the same plane of rotation, or in/out?, and is there a spec for anything within tolerance?
4. If play, tighten to (??) torque spec, if not, move to next item.


no shudder in 3rd @ 55mph only with t/c lockup, it's definitely the torque converter.

You mean put it in 3rd and up to 55mph to check for shuddering? Can do that. It recently went away on a 40 mile round trip drive I took.. pretty annoying to try and diagnose. I am sure I can replicate it on video if it decides to "show up" that day.
 
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You mean put it in 3rd and up to 55mph to check for shuddering?
exactly. When my shudder appears I drop back to 3rd then accelerate to 60mph and put it in drive in an attempt to defeat the shudder. Shudder usually comes back.
PS Mine has never ever shuddered in 3rd at any speed. My problem is the torque converter.

Edit. You can feel the torque converter lockup. I feels like going up a higher gear. My shudder starts instantly when the lockup happens and only when it locks if that makes any sense.
 
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Hi, My two cents. I’ve never gotten more than 275,000 miles from a fj62 transmission. Once the shudders start it was a sign to rebuild. This is based on owning over 10 autos. Yes I tried just about everything to make the shudder go away. I’ve had good luck with rebuilds .Never spent 5,000 on a rebuild yet. Two good rebuilders in Dallas. Mike
 
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Hi, My two cents. I’ve never gotten more than 275,000 miles from a fj62 transmission. Once the shudders start it was a sign to rebuild. This is based on owning over 10 autos. Yes I tried just about everything to make the shudder go away. I’ve had good luck with rebuilds .Never spent 5,000 on a rebuild yet. Two good rebuilders in Dallas. Mike
@Michael Hanson

I have done a lot of research as well and have arrived to the same conclusion. I would "like" to try eek out a few k more miles before dropping the dough.
Can you send me any information on those rebuilders? I can have a shop pull the set and I can put it on a pallet to ship out and back.
 
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I can definitely do that. Just so I understand, the process is:
1. Safety Stuff, Truck in Neutral, Parking Brake On.
2. Drop the rear drive shaft on the side going into the diff.
3. Check the pinion for play by trying to move it in a (?) direction? (check for play in the same plane of rotation, or in/out?, and is there a spec for anything within tolerance?
4. If play, tighten to (??) torque spec, if not, move to next item.


@boredfast - yes - basically this is correct. But before you even drop the driveshaft, grab the pinion flange and wiggle it with the driveshaft attached. If it moves, you need to drop the driveshaft and tighten and restake the nut. The flange itself should have no play in any dimension - runout, lateral wobble, etc. The torque spec is fairly high (don't recall it offhand - 178 lb-ft?) so you will likely have to put the rear wheels on the ground (or use a pinion flange holding tool, homemade or rented) to tighten it to spec. Best to read the factory manual for this.
 
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I can definitely do that. Just so I understand, the process is:
1. Safety Stuff, Truck in Neutral, Parking Brake On.
2. Drop the rear drive shaft on the side going into the diff.
3. Check the pinion for play by trying to move it in a (?) direction? (check for play in the same plane of rotation, or in/out?, and is there a spec for anything within tolerance?
4. If play, tighten to (??) torque spec, if not, move to next item.


@boredfast - yes - basically this is correct. But before you even drop the driveshaft, grab the pinion flange and wiggle it with the driveshaft attached. If it moves, you need to drop the driveshaft and tighten and restake the nut. The flange itself should have no play in any dimension - runout, lateral wobble, etc. The torque spec is fairly high (don't recall it offhand - 178 lb-ft?) so you will likely have to put the rear wheels on the ground (or use a pinion flange holding tool, homemade or rented) to tighten it to spec. Best to read the factory manual for this.
Thanks Steve -- I'll do that this week.
 

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