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Jean's Tranny

I wrote:  (abut the automatic in the 5K/100/200 cars)
> >  The failure point is usually the reverse seal, which first shows up as
> hesitation when trying to engage reverse gear; the problem spreads to other
> gears and is worst 
> when the tranny is warned up....as they're too d**n expensive - they can
> rebuild this unit. 

By "this unit" I meant the transmission, not the individual parts.  
But a good tranny guy knows the failure areas and can examine them to 
determine exactly what parts need to be replaced.

Dave Head replied:
> I'm trying to remember what the indepedent shop told me when I fought with
> mine - they said the bore itself wears out also - which makes rebuilds iffy,
> and good rebuildable cores hard to find.  I bought my rebuild from an
> independent shop in San Leadro, CA - $375.00. 

Heckuva good price, Dave!!

> It worked perfectly for 15,000
> miles until I sold the car.  Running strong 11/2 years later, when wrecked.
> The replacement is a job that can be done by any competent mechanic - takes
> me about 3 hours start to finish (but I've done it at least 10-12 times).
>  The hard part is getting the long drive rod properly seated. I can detail
> the job if anyone is interested.  If you're good, you can actually pop the
> tranny right off the back and slip it right back on (not in the manual, and
> not recommended - you may not seat the drive rod - but saves time when you're
> pi--ed off!)

Dave is right - the "seal" which fails is actually a heavy piston 
ring; it's on the front of the hydraulic pump for the tranny.  I 
would not expect the pump unit to be rebuilt - I would expect to 
replace it.  But at $600 retail, it is ABSOlutely ridiculous!

The pump is flat, round, and about 1" thick, and a shaft is built out 
of it; this shaft fits into a sleeve in the reverse drum, and the 
"seals" are like piston rings on the shaft.  When the rings wear - or 
the shaft on which they fit wears - you get leakage.  This is not 
repairable without replacing the hydraulic pump ($600 retail!!!!).  
This obscene price is the reason I counsel you NOT to buy the pump 
from an Audi dealer.  The reverse shell also must sometimes be 
replaced - but that's more of a judgement call.

ASCII art attempt follows:

         | | <-seal area (fits into reverse drum)
         | | <-seal area (ditto)  
     ____| |____
    |___________|  <- hydraulic pump 

The above illustrates the main part which fails....I saved mine for a 
shop ornament.  Weighs about four pounds.

Others on the list have also had problems with their automatics - I 
just moaned and wailed more about it on the list.  :-(

However - it seems like most of those who have had their automatics 
rebuilt have done OK with them afterwards.  I WILL say to Jean again - 
run a synthetic automatic transmission fluid.  The gent who did mine 
said that's the ONLY way he would do mine.  He said (and I agree) 
that this tranny really needs it.

IF you have transmission problems which are far advanced, you should 
replace the torque converter - and you CAN buy good rebuilts for that 
part.  Problem is, you must drop the transaxle to get at the torque 
converter.  You can drop and replace the tranmission without dropping 
the transaxle, but not the converter.  For some arcane reason, 
they're onopposite sides of the transaxle with a hollow tube/rod 
running between them.  This is the setup Dave refers to above.

IF your transmission problems are NOT far advanced, you can roll the 
dice and have the tranny done without doing the torque converter.  It 
all depends on whether you think you have loose debris floating 
around in the fluid.  I decided that I would do it right, and did 
both...but really had no choice, as my trans was so bad that it would 
not engage third gear when hot!

Good luck, Jean...

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Al Powell                           Voice:  409/845-2807
Ag Communications                   Fax:    409/862-1202
107 Reed McDonald Bldg.             Email:  a-powell1@tamu.edu 
College Station, TX  77843-2112
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