Early 70's A'904 Torqueflite downshift

Transmission and Drivetrain Tech

  1. DLJ

    DLJ FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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    Hi, I have a 76 Dart with stock 318/A-904 all assembled in Brazil so I am not sure if the transmission could be an earlier model in USA.
    My question is, these TFs had 2-1 downshift?
    When in DRIVE, my TF will take off in 1st gear always but will upshift 1-2 at WOT at 2,500 rpm (max) and will NOT downshift to 1st untill the car is almost at full stop.
    I can manually downshift 2-1 no problem but it will not kickdown.
    TV linckage is all good and set right.
    The car will not rev over 2,500 rpm in drive in 1st gear even at wot.
    Kickdown 3-2 seems to be normal in drive, it will upshift 2-3 at 3,000 rpm max thogh.
    So when I am in drive, it will upshift from 1st to 2nd at max 2,500 rpm and will stay in 2nd until I am almost in a full stop. Is that normal? Manual shift works fine.
    I took the valve body apart for cleaning and put in Transgo SK but it is the most basic one. I am quite sure all VB work was done right.
    The car just feels like it could use a 2-1 part throtle kickdown.
    Thanks for any info.
     
  2. RustyRatRod

    RustyRatRod Weenie idiot loser. FABO Gold Member

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    Do you have the throttle pressure linkage hooked up?
     
  3. DLJ

    DLJ FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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    DSCN2414.JPG 20191208_170151.jpg 20191208_170142.jpg
    Yes, all stock and correctly adjusted.

    DSCN2453.JPG
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2019
  4. toolmanmike

    toolmanmike FABO Staff Staff Member FABO Gold Member

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    There was a valve body change some where along the way to give them a "part throttle downshift" . You may need to search that phraise for more information. I have never known one to downshift to 1st.
     
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    • DLJ

      DLJ FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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      Thx, that's what I thought. Bought this car when I was 18yo and this 76 Dart was 6 yo... and drove it a bit, always worked like that, stays in 2nd in low speed unless I stop or manually downshift.. Now I put it back on the road and it just seems it should downshift to 1st but maybe that feature is not there.
      I also have a 1999 318 Dakota with a 46RE so it feels much different.
      Wonder if all the A-904s are like that.
       
    • Garrett Ellison

      Garrett Ellison Amateur driver on public roadway, do not imitate.. FABO Gold Member

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      OldManMopar recently discussed this in another thread.
       
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      • RustyRatRod

        RustyRatRod Weenie idiot loser. FABO Gold Member

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        The lack of part throttle is not your problem. You say it only holds the gear change until 2500 RPM max into 2nd. If that's correct, there's another issue. Good luck.
         
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        • DLJ

          DLJ FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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          At Wide open throttle in drive, it will hold till 2,500 rpm max to shift into 2nd, then in 2nd gear at wot it will hold till 3,000 rpm then shift to 3rd.
           
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          • DLJ

            DLJ FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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            Thanks I will search his posts. I did a previous search and could not find anything...
             
          • RustyRatRod

            RustyRatRod Weenie idiot loser. FABO Gold Member

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            That's not shifting high enough. The lack of part throttle kickdown is a separate issue, IMO. You don't have enough throttle pressure as it is, IMO.
             
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            • toolmanmike

              toolmanmike FABO Staff Staff Member FABO Gold Member

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              Unscrew the slotted rod a few turns and take it for a drive. You might have to do it a few times to fine tune it.
               
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              • DLJ

                DLJ FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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                You may be right, seems low.
                I will try to find specs for the shift points and what could be causing it... Thanks.
                 
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                • DLJ

                  DLJ FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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                  I checked that today, it will not allow much. At idle the linkage at the transmission is all the way back and at wot there is not much further it could move.
                  Could it be an issue with the governor pressure valve?
                  At what rpm is a stock torqueflite supposed to upshift from 1stvto 2nd when in drive? Mine now is 2,500 rpm.
                   
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                  • toolmanmike

                    toolmanmike FABO Staff Staff Member FABO Gold Member

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                    I believe that's the correct way to adjust them. Wide open throttle should give you wide open transmission pressure. I think the governor controls your max shift speed. I could be wrong though. May be @lkopaska will chime in.
                     
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                    • Garrett Ellison

                      Garrett Ellison Amateur driver on public roadway, do not imitate.. FABO Gold Member

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                      This is the thread I was talking about, posted by another member but OldManMopar and a lot of other fine people offer input.
                      904 for Towing?
                       
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                      • TrailBeast

                        TrailBeast Slightly Twisted Member

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                        Correct, and the governor valves can be ground down to raise the shift points, or a different set of valves can be ordered from A&A transmissions.
                        Note the difference of the bottom valves compared to the top ones.
                        The idea is to make the valves lighter so they don't move until later in the driveshaft speed.
                        I have done a few sets before.
                        upload_2019-12-8_19-14-25.jpeg
                         
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                        • CudaFactHackJob

                          CudaFactHackJob FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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                          "TV linckage is all good and set right." ... I don't believe that...."At idle the linkage at the transmission is all the way back and at wot there is not much further it could move." Proves the first statement is incorrect. You've got a mess in the valve body.
                           
                        • DLJ

                          DLJ FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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                          Thanks for your reply!
                          I do not think anything is wrong with the valve body, the transmission works just like it was when I bought the car 37 years ago. It is just that at that time I was not looking at rpm much and the car was as fast as now.
                          The new governor valve may be the solution to raise shift points but I do not want it to raise shift points at low rpm, it is just fine the way it is now.
                          I just wanted to know if this A-904 at WOT is supposed to upshift at 2,500 rpm from 1st to 2nd gear and 3,000 rpm from 2nd to 3rd gear or if these numbers are low enough to tell there is something wrong or in need or repair, once it always ran like that as far as I can tell.
                          Also curious to know if this A-904 may not have the 2-1 kickdown (downshift) feature while in drive, it just allow downshift manually or when I come to an almost full stop, or it that is another issue I need to fix.
                          Thanks a lot for all the responses, people from this forum are very active and helpful.
                           
                          Last edited: Dec 10, 2019
                        • DLJ

                          DLJ FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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                          I am looking into that, thx.
                           
                        • Tims 66 Cuda

                          Tims 66 Cuda Mopar mid life crisis

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                          Check adjustment at kick down lever on trans. Move lever until you start to feel spring tension and lock the linkage down. Just my .02.

                          Tim
                           
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                          • Garrett Ellison

                            Garrett Ellison Amateur driver on public roadway, do not imitate.. FABO Gold Member

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                            Good advice. Correct throttle pressure valve setting will be set so that at wide open throttle against the carb linkage stop you won’t be able to push the slotted adjuster back any farther and it will still have spring pressure holding it against the throttle linkage pin at idle. If this isn’t happening, it’s usually because of non stock or damaged linkage.
                             
                          • TrailBeast

                            TrailBeast Slightly Twisted Member

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                            I don't think I have ever had a TF trans that kicked down to 1st from 2nd unless I was going super slow.
                            If I did I sure don't remember it.
                            Also, it seems to me they all shifted too early in stock form, and yours sounds about the usual.
                            One thing to note is that the TP can be really sensitive to small changes, so it does take some playing with.

                            I installed the "first an any speed" option of my TF2 shift kit just because of the trans not kicking down into low.
                            This part of the shift kit allows a manual downshift to low at ANY speed, which a stock trans won't do once a specific speed is reached.

                            I realize this probably doesn't answer all your concerns, but it doesn't sound like you have anything major or particularly out of the ordinary going on.
                             
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                            • DLJ

                              DLJ FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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                              Thanks! I am glad to hear that. In fact I was checking the TV linkage adjustment again and found out the gas cable from the carburetor and gas pedal was loose a bit, it was not pulling the carb open all the way and thus not pushing the TV rod all it should at WOT. Additionally, I could adjust the TV rod 1.5 turns to get rid of the gapes in the connections so now I am sure the shift points will raise a bit more and that is what I was really looking for, knowing there is nothing major wrong.
                              It is a 43 yo car all stock and I really don't want to kill it, just make it stand up again. In fact I am very happy with results, the car rides just like I can remember back in 82 when I bought it. Sounds like it stays in 2nd gear and 3rd only unless I come to an almost complete stop but it allows me to downshift to 1st gear manually at relatively high speed (40 mph) if I want to, I am just not used to shift manual and it sure would sound better if it downshifted 2nd to 1st by itself, as it does 3rd-2nd.
                              I will test drive it this weekend and post the results. Maybe this info will serve as reference.
                               
                            • DLJ

                              DLJ FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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                              Just to give an update for some who might be interested, I was concerned about the low rpm Wide Open Throttle 1-2 upshift on my A-904/318 DART torqueflite, and in fact, the throttle valve rod was not properly adjusted... mostly due to a misadjustment in the gas cable, it was not pulling the TV rod and carburetor all the way.
                              After adjusting it correctly and eliminating the gaps in the connections, the throttle valve rod moves about 3/16" further than before and it had a tremendous effect in the WOT upshifts and kick down numbers.

                              Now this transmission will upshift at WOT from 1st to 2nd at around 3700 rpm (40 mph) and 2nd to 3rd at WOT around 4000 rpm (73 mph). Sorry for the poor videos.



                              Now, if I take off easy and let the transmission shift 1st - 2nd - 3rd and then floor it, it will kick down into 1st till it reaches 3700 rpm then upshift to 2nd, so it does kick down from 3rd into 1st but at max. speed of 27 MPH (40 kmh).



                              I am not sure how it will kick down into 1st at part throttle, did not have enough time and can't drive the car on the road freely once I do not have the registration current ( been waiting for 5 months so far for the new registration from local DMV once the original registration was canceled due to not have been renewed in the past 20 years... I hope some day they will send me a new one...).

                              Now she is a happy 904...

                              Here is the only mod I made, installing this basic Transgo SK.

                              sk1.jpg

                              sk11.jpg
                               
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                              • fishy68

                                fishy68 Tyr Fryr's Inc. FABO Gold Member

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                                The VB you have pictured has the part throttle 2-3 kickdown module. They didn't have anything better. If the Trans-go kit had you grind down the TV valve (the TF-2 kit does but not sure about that kit) it will lower the RPM that it shifts into at WOT. I only grind the valve half the amount they say in the TF-2 kits. You can always back off the TV adjustment but if the valve is too short you can't do anything but pull the VB back out and change the valve. Not sure why they recommend grinding it so far
                                 
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