Vintage Mustang Forums banner

Toploader Downshift Issue

6292 Views 49 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  silverblueBP
I rebuilt a wide ratio TL last winter which is now in my car behind a new engine and clutch assembly. The trans shifts beautifully up through all gears at any RPM. It downshifts very smoothly fourth to third. It will not downshift third to second without grinding excessively or at all, or second to first. When I drop below say 10 MPH, it will downshift with no issues. Car not moving or not running, it glides into all gears up and down with no issues.

I spoke to Dan Williams where I bought the kit from and he suggested driving for 500 miles, changing the gear oil and seeing if it gets any better. I have a couple threads here saying Toploaders really don't get any better than day one after a rebuild. It is what it will be.

1 - 20 of 50 Posts
Well that sucks. I bought a case of it.
Mark, I always ran that in my T-5 as well.

I guess I will be hitting the local stores tomorrow to see if I can find GL-4 ONLY.
Not to high jack my own thread, but can the GL-5 LS gear oil be used in Trac-Lok rears safely? If so I'll use it for that.
I found this last night. NAPA closed all of there local stores here. We used to have a hub less than a mile from my house too.
Z you just took the wind out of my sails. I found one NAPA left in town this morning. They had one gallon of GL-4 in the store. No other chains in Huntsville stock it. Anyway, I swapped it in this morning. Might test this afternoon. Depends on how lucky I feel to drive around with no exhaust again.

See less See more
Probably going to test it this afternoon. I installed the passenger seat so my wife could ride. She doesn't know it yet. Her feelings were hurt the other day when I drove it and she couldn't ride.
  • Like
Reactions: 4
Well just took it for a quick spin (yes with my wife this time, biggest smile I've seen on her in a while). Changing the gear oil did not cure the 3/2 or 2/1 downshift. So it looks like the trans will be coming back out. Not sure what I did wrong. It shifts really nice up and 4/3 down.

Also discovered it has a slight miss above least that's where I was shutting it down. Will post that on my other thread.

Getting the exhaust put back on tomorrow hopefully, so I can start getting some longer runs on it.
Triple checked free play and full travel clutch pedal travel. Both adjusted exact to within spec per Ford shop manual. No springs on yet because my temporary partial exhaust is in the way.

Tried blipping throttle and without. I must have done something wrong on the 1/2 side because the 3/4 works effortlessly.
Me too sir. I need it. Live and learn...
Lee. Thanks for the input. I changed the fluid hoping that would cure the problem and I'm going to drive it for now. My wife signed me up for a show to benefit her kids sports teams in a couple weeks. So I have to finish reassembly of the car for that. I'll probably pull the trans after that show. Dan Williams is only a four hour drive from me. I'm really interested in determining what I did wrong so I'll probably drive it there, tear it down with him, and let him educate me.

I really hoped the fluid change would would fix it. I have spoken to Dan and he suggested I drive it at least 500 miles and I will. However, I don't have much faith that will fix this issue. If it didn't work so well in every other aspect, I wouldn't suspect that I screwed something up in the 1/2 area.
Probably a long shot...let me know if anything looks wrong in this pic.

See less See more
Had the input Shaft polished and the bushing matched for a slip fit at the machine shop. I guess anything is possible. How would that issue affect downshifts and not all shifts?
I think your probably right Z. I had to miss something. It's coming back out soon. Getting exhaust put back on right now. I'll open the box and try to determine what's happening. Beyond that I'll just take it to Dan.
Copy that.
Well got the entire car put back together today. Decided to take it around the block before I went to lunch with my wife. Started down the road, shifted into second. Came to end of road, shifted into first. Turned and started down the next street, shifted into second, accelerated and tried to shift to third...locked in second. Limped back home in second. Pulled into the shop and put it up on stands, could not get it unjammed. Yanked the trans, popped the of the 1-2 dogs was jammed half way into the first gear brass blocker ring, which was destroyed. Gear lube was full of brass shavings. Driving it to Dan Williams in the morning. Going to be a long day.
I'm sure I'll get proper needed education tomorrow. Will post the results.
  • Like
Reactions: 2
Just rolled back into the house. 8 hours of driving, 2 hours of R&R on the TL, and 4 hours of talking...well listening. That man Dan Williams can tell some stories, and if any of you need a little humility in your life, I know exactly where you can get a whopping dose. First, dont read the instructions which Dan includes with his rebuild kits...which I read at least four times, them show up at his house with a broken transmission.

Turns out, I only made a couple small mistakes, other than that, I had the trans assembled properly. There were a few things Dan didn't like in the shaft fits and shift rail lever fits...most were too tight for his liking. He was happy wth the bearing fits on the main shaft. I followed those instructions and had the shaft poloshed to within .0005 clearance.

So the culprit of my TL failure and undoing of my self confidence...the synchro teeth on the second and third gears were all but destroyed. Which I didn't know. Second being the worst which is why I could not downshift to second. The gear and bronze blocker ring would have never synced. This also led to one of the dogs in the one/two synchro to eject itself into the first gear bronze blocker ring locking the trans into second. When Dan showed me what a new gear looks like, especially the synchro teeth in this case...I understood the failure.

So before you slap your TL back together, inspect all the teeth on every single piece. If you don't know what they are supposed to look like, GTS and educate yourself, or call Dan and ask...just leave yourself plenty of time for the phone call.

I will also add, Dan has to be one of the most giving kind gentlemen I have ever met. He R&R'd my TL free of labor and only charged me for parts. He also gave me a very nice hardback Mustang book. If you ever have the opportunity to drive and meet him, take it. However, don't show up before noon because you will be waiting. He works noon to midnight and beyond.
See less See more
  • Like
Reactions: 1
1 - 20 of 50 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.