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Trimatic engine driven pump seal

Hi everyone
Had a look through Holdenpaedia but cant find anything around what might cause the pump seal to fail.

The ute has now blown two of these seals in two different gearboxs. The second gearbox was second hand - but came out of a trusted known good car (trusted in that I know the guy I got it off well and he would not rip me) and wasn't showing any signs of having problems - this box has been in the car since April and had no problems, including a trip to Port Maquarie and a 200km trip towing the van before the weekend drama.

Both times towing the van but not going up big hills or anything like that. I've had the car for about 15 years or so with no dramas until Feb this year, and then again on the weekend. I have only recently started towing the van.

Both auto experts (businesses) that I have asked have said the trimatic should be able to tow the van with ease - it is only a small van about 1000kg. Both have said that oil pump seal are not particularly common to blow in the Trimatics. Neither can point to anything that hasn't been checked - blocked trans cooler, missing dowels on the engine.

Engine temp is taken care of it is running around 90 degrees on the flat and got up to just under the hundred degrees going up the range at Crows Nest (about 10 km of failrly steep hill) and recovered quickly back to 90 degrees at the top of the range. Put in to second no signs of stress / slipping / heat etc.

Both times the seal has failed catostrophically and resulted in pumping all the transmission fluid out after a couple of km then of course no drive.

It is running a seperate oil cooler, new lines put in when last gearbox changed recently.

So to my way of thinking there are two possibilities ....

1. There is a problem with the car that has always been there but only shows up under the extra load of towing - if so what?
2. I am an unlucky bugger that scored a good box that was just about to blow its oil pump seal.

Any thoughts??????

Cheers, Doug.

Model: 

Comments

Hi All

Had a similar issue years ago, when i loaned my HQ LS 253 to a mate , he used to tow a 20 foot boat about 2 k's

I changed the seal and it leaked again, then when i went the second time to change it i noticed some fine cracks on the bell housing, i changed the bell and placed new seal and all was fine

then summer came again, jim used the car 3 times and then red oil started dripping on the garage floor again , out came the box and yes fine cracks again

It was my mats driving style , he is pretty much of a lead foot and he was doing the same with the boat hitched up

After that i had him call me and i done the boating duties about 6 times then stopped - he bought a cheap HJ van with tow bar

The secret was when taking of to take your foot of the brake and let the car roll forward a few inches so that you sort of get a rolling start, plus you have to be very slow and gentle in accelerating of the mark, this gives the car less " snatch and jerk " .

regards
george

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The above sounds like good advice.

I blew a Trimatic pump seal coming into Mildura at 6am once. I had a combination of an old motor (253) with too much crankshaft end float, and a Trimatic with a worn bush where the convertor sits into the pump. Either of these things can cause a problem (more so the pump bush).
As for me I got the local BP garage and the local trans expert to help me pull the Trimatic out and put a new pump bush and convertor seal in. Back on the road by lunch time and made it to Sydney that night.
Go well.

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Thanks guys
Forgot to mention its a 6 cylinder Trimatic, but I will check for end play best I can when the box comes out again. The auto guys should be checking the convertor bush when they do a seal I would guess???? - I will ask about it when it gets to that.

I think I can discount driving style, I have had other dramas along the way (coolant temp) which have meant I have been very light on the throttle when taking off and have been letting it find its own comfortable speed up the hills, not flooring it or anything like it and manually selecting a lower gear when the speed comes down. Now the cooling is sorted, I have been able to maintain a little higher rolling speed but have been not pushing it hard.

No signs of cracks around the housing on the old box, I will check the other one when it comes out though.

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You haven't mentioned the Torque Converter.

Are you still using the same one?
Does the Torque Converter have any score marks on the Snout?

The Front Seal has a big Hole behind it to allow ATF to drain off since it isn't designed to hold much pressure. Make sure that Hole isn't blocked.

Wear in the Oil Pump Bearing, as mentioned, is relevant. The Oil Pump needs to be aligned precisely to make sure the Pump doesn't wear out and Leak.

Is the Flex-Plate showing Cracks that might cause the Torque-Converter to flex?

Are you sure it's the Front Seal that's leaking and not the Oil Pump Bolts?

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T

My Shed

Holdenpaedia, they're the brakes Mate.

Make sure the Locator is in place ... http://holdenpaedia....

or the Torque Converter will not be centered correctly.

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T

My Shed

Holdenpaedia, they're the brakes Mate.

Thanks T for that I will check out the locator for wear I'm fairly sure its in there (box isn't out again yet). Torque convertor was changed with the box. Will also check the hole behind the oil pump seal but this has happened across two different boxes would be unlucky to get this happen twice?????

No obvious cracks on the flex plate visable from last time we changed it but will go over it with a fine tooth comb this time. Pretty sure its not leaking from the bolts its leaking big time it pumps all the oil out in a few kilometres.

Thanks again for your help I now have a few things to check out!
Cheers, Doug.

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I'm guessing you've fitted a red six to your FJ.

Is the Gearbox Rear Mount intact?

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T

My Shed

Holdenpaedia, they're the brakes Mate.

Yep T its running a 179, shoulda mentioned that aye!

Rear mount was replaced in January its HQ on a HQ cross member. The old one had gone to jelly from the constant oil soak from the breather tube (engine)and the leaky rear main seal.

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Oil from the Breather means the Oil Pump Front Plate is worn out.

Oil comes out when the Trimatic is cold and the Selector lever is in Reverse.

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T

My Shed

Holdenpaedia, they're the brakes Mate.

T its not leaking from the auto breather its leaking (vapours) from the engine breather (umbrella type) which end up all over the underside of the car, as well as the rear main seal on the engine. No leaks from either auto.

On another topic but related to the leaks, I plan on going to a full sealed PCV set up when the engine is out for paint as well as freshening up the engine with new rings and bearings. I've read through Holdenpaedia regards to the full sealed PCV set up, whats the go with the vac line into a triple carb set up - its a Cain mainfold with individual runners? (Pics in my shed) I'm guessing a three way connector in to each runner but how do you come up with the best spot to place it on each runner. Also, could the vac lines be done in metal tubing instead of rubber, the plan would be to place it somewhere on the underside of the runner out of sight as long as that would work??

Thanks again for your help.

Cheers, Doug

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A lot has been posted here about Vacuum Sources from Triples. It's not as straight forward as with a Single or Dual Throat Carburettor.

It's probably best to do a search for the answer.

On another note, Trimatic Bellhousing Bolts can be a problem relevant to your Oil Seal Drama. The Bolts come in different lengths to match the differing Boss Lengths that come with Six Cylinder Bellousings (V8 Bellhousings ate all the same).

Long Bolts can bottom out before they are fully tight leaving the Bellousing with movement.

Red Trimatics have short Bolts and thin Bosses. UC and WB Bellousings use the long Bolts because the Bellhousing Bosses are thicker.

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T

My Shed

Holdenpaedia, they're the brakes Mate.

Thanks for your input T the box will be coming out Monday hopefully so will let you know what I find.

Triples and PCV are a way off just want to egt back on the road at the moment!

All ready missing taking the car on a club run on the weekend ... bugger!

Cheers, Doug.

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I appreciate the Feedback. It would be good to know the exact cause of the problem and add the info to Holdenpaedia.

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T

My Shed

Holdenpaedia, they're the brakes Mate.

Well pulled the box out today (finally) and checked things out. Piccies added to first post can't work out how to put them in the reply.

Not cracked on the flex plate but some damage from a couple of poor engages with the starter. No sign of twist etc.
Not cracked in the housing.
Locator in place and no signs of wear. Fits snugly without free play.
Engine dowels in place.
No sign of bolts bottoming out.

BUT, check the last photo, its the cooler and the pipe at the end is damaged (crushed about half its diameter). It wasn't visible from the front (don’t know how it would have been damaged) but the auto place mentioned a blockage in the cooling system could cause it through excess pressure building up. I pulled the cooler to flush it out and check it and found it.

I will be taking the auto up to the shop tomorrow and see what he thinks, but I think this could be the answer!

Thanks again for all your input, sometimes its the simple things aye!

Cheers, Doug.

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If the Cooler Lines become blocked it's likely excessive pressure will build up behind the Seal and blow it out.

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T

My Shed

Holdenpaedia, they're the brakes Mate.

Many Thanks for sharing your info with us and for the Photos.

I'll add the info to the Trimatic Pages so others can benefit.

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T

My Shed

Holdenpaedia, they're the brakes Mate.

Make sure you get the pump bush replaced while the trans is out!

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Well seems I may have counted a few chickens .....

Just got back from the auto specialists and whil ethey say that the crush on the cooler wouldn't be helping cooling wise, its not likely to be bad enough to allow enough pressure in the line to blow the pump seal out of it ...

So back to not really having a definitive solution as to why this is happening :x :x

Yep the pump bush will be replaced as its getting an overhaul and beeefed up a little to help with the towing. Still not going to rest easy as I don't know what the underlying problem is ...

Cheers
Doug.

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Well I might be on to something (again) this time!

I took the locator down to my friendly auto specialist and he pointed out it has been ground down! Photo compared to a new one in the first post of this thread (last picture)

When I checked it for play, I pushed it all the way on to the convertor (as you would) and there wasn't a lot of play there, but when you pull it back a bit to where it would sit with the bit ground off, there is quite a bit of play!

Awaiting word from the "guru" at the workshop for his opinion of if this is the problem....

Will let you know!

Cheers
Doug.

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I appreciate you keeping us posted.

I'm still intrigued by the possibility of restricted Cooler Lines since the Trimatic Manual shows the Torque Converter Oil passes from a low pressure tap point on the Oil Pressure Regulator to the Torque Converter via the Cavity behind the Front Seal.

If the Oil Pressure behind the Seal becomes excessive there is little to stop the Seal being pressed forwards.

In the Factory Installation, the only thing in the Cooler Line Path is the Radiator bottom Tank which has very little resistance.

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T

My Shed

Holdenpaedia, they're the brakes Mate.

No worries about keeping posted, this is a bugger of a fault and has cost me big time (this is the 3rd time the box has been out in less than 6 months) if it saves someone else some drama by checking things out then its worth it.

Will find out tommorrow what the guru says about the locator ...

Guess we will never know exactly which problem caused the failures because I obviously will be changing both, as well as the flex plate for good measure, as long as it gets fixed I'll be happy! I am over looking for this problem in terms of both work and money!

As an aside, check this out for movement caused by pressure build up - don't know what motor box it is but there is some movement there!

http://www.youtube.c...

Also, from what I can gather the locator only comes into play when installing the trans, once its in it serves no further purpose - is that correct??

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Since you replaced the whole Trimatic it sounds as though the issue is with the parts that weren't replaced, like the Locator, Cooler Lines, Rear Mount etc.

A test of the Locator's integrity is to spin the Torque Converter just before bolting it to the Flex Plate and to make sure the Flex Plate Bolt Holes line up easily.

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T

My Shed

Holdenpaedia, they're the brakes Mate.

"Also, from what I can gather the locator only comes into play when installing the trans, once its in it serves no further purpose - is that correct??"

I think the Locator's function is continuous. Prior Posts claimed the Torque Converter spins out of true without it.

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T

My Shed

Holdenpaedia, they're the brakes Mate.

The picture of the flexplate on the motor tells a story to me. It does not look right. The torque convertor spigot looks wrong. Replace it and the torque convertor should sit right. I think if it (the spigot) was ground down the torque convertor would sit out of the trimatic too far.
Cheers
LMH

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Ecotec V6 Conversion Suspended. Keeping it original!
See My Shed: http://gallery.oldho...

G'day everyone
Well spoke to the "guru" at the auto specialists today and we seem to finally have nailed down the problem - its the ground down locator. It seems the locator does more than just locate the torque converter when you are assembling it, it is designed so that it puts a tension between the torque converter and the flex plate. This is my understanding of how it works from talking to the trans guy:

The centre of the flex plate is held by the six bolts bolting it to the crank, and the locator positions the converter both radially and to the correct distance from the crank, it forms a solid mount from the crank to the centre of the torque converter. When assembling there should be a small gap between the torque converter pads and the flex plate pads, which is taken up by the torque converter bolts placing the flex plate under a slight tension. In this way it is held by the three torque converter bolts as well as being supported in the centre.

With the ground down converter, the centre support is gone allowing more flex on the plate, with the additional load of towing the van, its allowing enough flex to walk out the pump bush which in turn chews out the pump seal.

So now I am "just" up for a overhaul of the box, a shift kit, heavy duty torque converter, forged servo piston, new locator and new flex plate ......

Hmmm big dollars but it should be all good from here

BTW that youtube clip isn't my car its something I came accross researching.

Thanks again for the interest and feed back, I feel pretty confident in saying the bodgy mod done to the locator has been the problem that has cost me a lot of dollars and frustration...

As to why the mod was done, my guess is that when the trimatic was being put on originally (14 years ago) the gap that should be there to be taken up by the converter bolts was misinterpreted as being a problem, and the locator was ground down to "fix" it. It was fine under the relatively light loads of just the car and even under hard acceleration with just the car wasn't a problem (short bursts). When I started towing, the load on the torque converter went from about 1200 kgs to closer to 2200 kgs maybe even more when you take into account the gear in the back of the ute; a significant increase in load and continuous as well. This caused the flex plate to flex enough to bring on the problem.

The last picture in the first post shows the modified locator versus a standard one.

Cheers
Doug.

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"I feel pretty confident in saying the bodgy mod done to the locator has been the problem that has cost me a lot of dollars and frustration..."

I agree.

If the left Locator is the ground down one, it will have no effect on the Converter to Flex Plate Gap because the untouched area sets the Gap. The ground area fits into the Crankshaft.

I do agree that the Locator is a likely cause of the trouble because the centrifugal forces that the Converter sees are greater than the Bolts themselves can contain.

The Locator being loose on the Converter meant the Converter did not spin true which made the problem more RPM sensitive than Load sensitive.

I suspect the reason the Locator was ground down was because the front of one of the Converters used had weld Dags on it (common from what I've seen) that should have been turned down instead of the Locator.

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T

My Shed

Holdenpaedia, they're the brakes Mate.

The Photo is somewhat blurred and led me to think it's the lower (Crankshaft side) of the Locator that's been ground down.

On closer inspection it's the upper (Converter side) that's been ground down.

I still feel the play between the Converter Front Shaft and Locator centre played a major part in allowing the Converter to get offline under load and with increased RPM if it was ever correctly positioned.

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T

My Shed

Holdenpaedia, they're the brakes Mate.

Thanks T

I've added a clearer photo of the locator, the modded one is on the left and it has been ground down on the converter side - you can also see in this pic that when its been ground down its been left at a slight angle which no doubt does not aid in getting a correct alignment!

Not really following you though T where you are reffering to extra rpm?? Its not being revved any harder apart from a few hundred rpm when I went to a lower ratio diff (between the second and third blow ups of the trans). The auto problems had started before I changed the diff, I went lower ratio in order to reduce the loads when towing. I went from a 2.78 to a 3.55 which adds anout 700rpm at 100km/h.

From what I understand from the auto guys, the reason it survived for so long before I started towing (14 years) is because the loads just moving the car around were so much less than when towing even a light van; the extra weight means a greater torque load through the converter meaning extra twisting forces which pushed it further out of alignment generating the problems...

Anyway, I think we are just backing the same horse with a different jockey!

Cheers
Doug.

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Thanks for the clearer Shot and for all the detail you've provided.

"Anyway, I think we are just backing the same horse with a different jockey!"

Agreed.

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T

My Shed

Holdenpaedia, they're the brakes Mate.

Once again thanks for all the help hopefully when I get it back and put in there wont be any more dramas!

Just as an aside I was reading through the Trimatic faults on Holdenpeadia (many times!!) and another reason they wont shift out of 1st gear is if there is no vacumn line connected - I have had this happen when a couple of mates were chasing other faults and someone took off the vac line at the manifold to test for vacumn and forgot to put it back on. Jumped in a for a test run and no gear changes....

Might be worth chucking in its a simple check.

Cheers
Doug

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The Modulator will see atmospheric pressure and try to hold the current Gear as long as possible.

Once the roadspeed becomes high enough it's supposed to upshift.

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T

My Shed

Holdenpaedia, they're the brakes Mate.

Well I've reinstalled my reco'd trans and it went well (other than my brand new selector cable having too much play for it to be able to be adjusted correctly!!). The assembly went well I have added a pic of how the torque converter should look before being bolted up. The top arrow shows the snout of the converter pushed up against the locator, and the lower arrow shows the gap left that should be taken up evenly when doing up the torque converter bolts.

With the ground down locator as it was, this gap would not have been there.

Only other problem I now have is it has a vibration above 80km/h it never had before ... I did change universal joints so I will pull the tail shaft and check the installation of those (and check the installation of the tailshaft itself for correct seating).

Cheers, Doug.

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Thanks for the photos.

Look for a tight front Universal Joint.

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T

My Shed

Holdenpaedia, they're the brakes Mate.

G'day Doug,

Did you mark the uni joint yokes before disassembly? If not, one (or both) may be out of phase.

If your other checks turn up nothing, change one uni over so it is 180 degrees to where it now is. Test drive. Fixed? Good. Better? Do the other one as well...

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Cheers...Dave

"Search more, Post less"

>E-mail Me
Qute's Shed

I decided to get the tailshaft rebalanced since the car always had a slight vibration above 120km/h, its all good now. Booked in for the new auto shift cable to be put in and adjusted on Monday. The current one has too uch free play, it is new so will be back to the place that made it for a refund, and going with a genuine B&M cable ... hopefully from there it will be all good!

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Good info for folks installing red Engines and Tris's into Humpies.

Many thanks.

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T

My Shed

Holdenpaedia, they're the brakes Mate.

Just by way of confirming that the locator was the problem, the ute has now towed the van about 1200km with no dramas.

Now I am a happy camper!

Cheers

Doug

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This is the sort of stuff I like to add to Holdenpaedia, the information that is not in the manuals.

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T

My Shed

Holdenpaedia, they're the brakes Mate.

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