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Old 12-12-2002, 06:14 PM
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Unhappy turbo 400 with deep pan

ok I have a turbo 400 in my 79 k5 blazer. I bought the trans from a junk yard and had it rebuilt. When I picked the transmission out of a pile of old cores I chose one that looked pretty good on the outside and had a deeper pan than the other ones. After having the tranny rebuilt I ordered a dipstick from my local napa store and installed the tranny. Sounds like no problem right. Well the next day when i tried to put the dipstick in it was not the same size as the bore in the trans. so i called the napa store and they said this was the only one offered for a turbo 400 of any year. The trans had a grommet in the hole that was way smaller than the tube. And the tube had a rubber o ring on it so i figured the o ring would seal it fine, i took the rubber grommet out and the tube would fit but the o ring would not go. I tried greasing up the housing and the o ring and tried it again. Well i made sure the tube was lined up straight and pushed but the fit was soo tight that it just tore the o ring. next i figured screw it and put silicone around the tube let it dry a few minutes and it fit nice and snug, end of problem right . Well i put in the recommended fluid level (11 quarts with dry converter) and guess what the fluid was not on the stick at all. i thought that the deeper pan was the problem so i called the tranny shop back and ask them, they also said that there was only one stlye dipstick and tube for a 400, and that the deep pan should take 3 additional quarts. so i figured i just needed more fluid and put in another three quarts and checked the level again and still no fluid on the stick. But this time the trans did pull the truck around it slipped a little so i put in another quart and the trans didnt slip anymore but the dipstick still didnt show any fluid. I made sure the tube was seated all the way down and it was. Now I'm up to about 15 quarts and after about two weeks the reverse is going out (actually reverse doesnt pull at all now). After all that does anyone know if there are different tube sizes for different year 400's and what year and application do you think i have? The pan is stamped as a product of GM. Also how many quarts would this trans take. I want to know before i take back to the shop and they laugh at me (or charge me more money) for not having enough fluid in it. Would low fluid cause it to only slip in reverse (all forward gears pull and shift firm).

[ December 12, 2002: Message edited by: orangecrush ]</p>

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Old 12-12-2002, 07:19 PM
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Deep or shallow pan the only thing that matters is the level of the fluid on the top, think about it, the fluid needs to cover the intake on the filter the same amount. Take an 8" glass of water and put a straw into the water 1/2" and drink, now take a 2" glass of water and put a straw 1/2" into it and drink, you still get the same amout of water.
Now the dipstick, there are two different types of seals and tubes. The type that takes an o ring fits tight into the trans hole. The other type takes a "hat" seal that goes into the trans first, the tube for this type seal is smaller at the trans end.
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Old 12-12-2002, 08:14 PM
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keep adding fluid until it shows on the stick. try adjusting the linkage or cable. If that fails, put it on stands or lift, disconnect the shifter and try moving it by hand at the tranny with the engine running. You might need to fine tune your linkage/cable forward or backward to get reverse.
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Old 12-12-2002, 08:33 PM
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The linkage is all good i can manualy shift the trans (from underneath) and it turns a littlebut will not turn pull the truck (only in reverse). I think i got a mixed up tube and dipstick. How far should the stick come out of the tube? This one only sticks out about an eighth to a quarter of an inch.
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Old 12-14-2002, 10:16 PM
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With that much fluid in the unit there should not have been an issue with fluid level. Since you have a deep pan be aware there are two different filter tubes, short & long. Be sure the shop didn't accidently put the short tube in the unit or since you got it out of a pile maybe someone put the deep pan on it instead of the shallow one. This could simulate a low fluid condition because the strainer is not down in the pan far enough causing it to cavitate or suck air into the pump.
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Old 12-14-2005, 08:43 PM
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turbo woes

a turbo 400 holds 12 quarts of fluid if i remember correctly.now i'am somewhat confused here.you had the trans rebuilt by a trans shop but you picked it up and installed it yourself right? okay first the trans shop should of had the stick installed,but you had the stick someplace else.okay most aftermarket deep pans will carry about 3 extra quarts and unless its been altered in some way thats what it will carry 15 quarts.now i believe you filled the trans with 11 quarts dry and you should always and i mean always put any where from a half to one and a half quarts in the converter first.i believe once you started the engine the front pump would have attemped to fill the converter and problems started right away.if the front pump was replaced or rebuilt it should have filled real fast if not working correctly?it would go in too slow and would burn things rapidly.if the fluid was not running out of the dipstick hole after all the fluid you put in means stick is too short if after the tube is removed and fluid comes out and on the ground then you have enough in there.if tube wasnt removed then you have way too much oil in there and that is causing alot of pressure inside.trans shops are notorious for being rip shops.yours might be a good one. hope so for your sake.take it back and they should resolve the problem.
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Old 12-14-2005, 09:50 PM
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ok... lets tart from the beginning...
1. Yes there are 2 different tube types. One is skinny at the bottom which uses the "hat" or "boot" on the end. The other is the same diameter the whole way down, with a little rib on the end to stop the o-ring from sliding up. The stick must match the style of gasket that you are using. I feel that the boot is better, and yes it is very, very tight.

2. Depending on the size of the converter and cooler, and if the converter was dry or full of fluid- then yes it may take up to 14-15 quarts. I have seen more in some race cars with large capacity coolers with extra reservoirs.

3. There is only one sure way to check a dipstick. ** This applies to almost all transmissions** Take the pan off. Insert the dipstick in the tube. Using a straight edge, mark a line on the stick that is EVEN with the bottom of the pan rail (the part of the case that the pan bolts to). This is your full mark. Obviously, this should be checked when the engine is running and the transmission is in park.

Drop the pan, mark the stick, refill, check the fluid level..... then see if you have reverse. If the pump was damaged enough to make you loose reverse, then you would have low pump pressure throughout all of the gears, which in turn would cause slippage when you were in a forward gear. If the fluid looks like new and does not smell, then I would assume that you have a shifter alignment issue.
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Old 12-15-2005, 12:02 AM
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Did you flush the cooling system before the instalation? Is it a new or used converter? Did the new converter get a quart thrown in before installation?
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Old 12-15-2005, 04:46 PM
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Please pay attention to the date of the thread.

cad500 brought up a thread that is 3 years old.

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