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I have a front wheel drive 3-speed Automatic 1988 Subaru DL

Recently I had the ol' "doesn't shift in drive!" issue that is notorious in this transmission in particular. (My story goes like this one: http://www.ultimatesubaru.org/forum/topic/158122-3at-problems-in-86-leone-turbo/)

I replaced the Oil Modulator on the transmission.... no difference. 
So now it's time to check linkage and the Governor. But first I have some questions. 

Does that linkage bar look alright? I am unsure where it should or shouldn't be bent.My shifter goes into park but needs a very hard push to actually CLICK the lever into the park detent. 

I also want to know if the second image is indeed the governor cap with the three bolts. If so, do I need to drain my ATF before I remove it? 


tumblr_oca4twUSJV1tvxh1vo2_400.jpgtumblr_oca4twUSJV1tvxh1vo1_400.jpg

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Yes that's the governor cap. Only a small amount of fluid will come out upon removal. Small enough you can wipe it up with a rag.

 

Also if cleaning the governor doesn't work I have a couple OEM ones new in the box for sale.

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Thank you!  I will be pulling it tomorrow (22nd).  How much are you selling them for? 

Edited by Casull

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Oh herro, that's my thread that I had actually forgotten about...

 

For the linkage - Disconnect the link altogether, manually push that lever on the side of the transmition to Park, and set the shifter inside up to Park (get a 2nd person) and lock it back up there if you suspect it may need adjustment.

As for the shifting problem, for me it was my Governor Valve, HOWEVER, it wasn't the G.V. itself, it turned out to be the drive gear on the end of it. When I removed it the drive was 'applecored', so like a moron I thought "its got 230000kms on it, probably worn out, she'll be right" and swapped in another gear out of a 3AT FWD I had laying about, not knowing that they are actually different.

 

Took it out for a fang and all seemed ok. Two days and about 230 kms later, same deal. Accelerating up a hill, then nothing. Limped home and inspected the new governor and its chewed out as well. So I decided  to do some investigating into what surface the drive gear of the governor runs on.

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This has the governor valve drive gear that chewed out circled.

 

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And this one details the Reduction Gear which the Governor is driven from. Images taken from the parts manual uploaded by Willy Fisterbottom.

 

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And this last one is taken from Transmax Australia's catalogue. This is a really good picture that shows the Helix that the Governor is driven off.



I still have not gotten around to pulling my gearbox out and tearing it down or else I would upload the photos of whats going on in there. At this stage I can only assume that there is some foreign material or a chipped tooth on that reduction gear.

If I were you, id pull the G.V., check it out and clean it, see if the drive gear is applecored. If it is, id be starting to chase another 3AT.

 

Good luck.

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The Governor is apple cored. It is a metal version. The Helix you speak of has slightly ground away. I will post images as soon as my internet behaves. 

 

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I ordered the Governor Gear. Although I feel tempted to learn all about pulling my transmission apart if it may be on its way to a junkyard if all this fails. Could I theoretically replace that helix if I had time and patience? 

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Anything is repairable mate, just depends on if you have the time, the tools, the workspace, the patience and the skills.

 

In my honest opinion, if it chews out again, you are probably better off finding another FWD 3AT at a wrecking yard and throwing that in. Simply because if you get a clear run at tearing that gearbox down you may have it in pieces for up to two weeks while you get it sorted. Assuming you can find a reduction gear that is right for the box.

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Governor swapped. Works, but I didn't tighten it enough and lost fluid! So that test is over, gonna drain transmission, change filter, all that. See how it fares! 

However, I also found a good parts car. I think.

It's an '85 DL while mine is an '88. It also has a FIVE speed auto trans. Should there be an issue if I swap my 3-speed out for that one? 

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It's an '85 DL while mine is an '88. It also has a FIVE speed auto trans.

never see a FIVE speed auto trans in a subaru from the 1980s that must be manual trans

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Indeed there were no 5 speed automatics. There were a handful of 4 speeds but they came mainly in GL10 models and the later year ones at that.

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If the owner knows nothing about transmissions then they may have thought it was a five just by feel. It will shift through all four gears then hit converter lockup which can feel like a fifth gear.

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