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Powerglide Refurbishment
Posted by: wittsend ()
Date: October 14, 2020 10:48AM

I've spent some time scouring the internet for information on the Corvair Powerglide. There is a lot at the Corvantics site by Bob Ballew but it is kind of wordy and is more a description of operation then repair and improvement. This is for my anticipated "100 miles a year Lakewood" that is why I choose to call it a "refurbishment" instead of a rebuild. I just want to make it decent for the short term use. I have what I assume is the original Powerglide (1961) and then a second Powerglide that was given me with the car. My questions are:

1. Both cases have the patent numbers on them. From what I read they both are EM Powerglides? There is no noticeable damage and the servo bore looks good.

2.Are the Valve Bodies interchangeable?

3. What isn't interchangeable between any Powerglide differences? I'm aware that the valve bodies can have different sized valves but I'm suspecting that both that I have are similar.

4. What are decent clearances on the bushings. Mine look OK and there is no excessive "feel" when mated to the surface that runs on them. Given the very minimal use my preference is not to change any. But if there is one to cause lot of issues I'm listening.

5. The clutch disc/plates and band looks good. There is no irregular wear/heat marks etc., the frictions all have decent thickness so I'm proceeding with these.

The worse part is this car sat for 47 years. What was in the pan had turned to "goo" but thankfully that did not circulate. A few other locations had what look like a paraffin wax buildup (maybe "trans fix in a can"?). At this point all that has been cleaned out.

I've appraised the two transmissions and selected the best parts of each. Thankfully the better parts split between the front and rear sections and from the two I seem to be getting one acceptable configuration. The plan going forward is to install a "paper and seals" kit. And yes, I am aware to check clearance between the Powerglide and differential. In the next few days I'll build the circular piece to adapt my dial indicator. Any advice appreciated, just remember - 80HP, very minimal miles and a low budget. Thanks.

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Re: Powerglide Refurbishment
Posted by: jamesolefjensen ()
Date: October 14, 2020 11:24AM

I have rebuilt 2 TH350's in my life time but I replaced everything so I don't have much experience reusing used wear items in an automatic. The only thing I can offer is some advice:

I would either upgrade to a kit that includes new friction items or added them piecemeal to your project. Even though the used parts look OK, they may have degraded over the last half century to the point that their durability is compromised. Another thing to consider is that material technology has advanced since the 60's. I am sure the new stuff is superior.

James
65 Corsa
SF Bay Area

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Re: Powerglide Refurbishment
Posted by: joelsplace ()
Date: October 15, 2020 03:23PM

I've rebuilt countless transmissions but I've always replaced all the wear items including bushings. I can tell you that transmission "rebuild" shops never replace the bushings unless they are obviously trashed. I have seen some transmissions fail due to the friction material crumbling due to age but not too many. I'm confused as to why you took it apart in the first place if you want to go cheap.
The lip seals on the reverse piston are the most likely to cause problems.

Joel
Northlake, TX
5 Ultravans, 113 Corvairs and counting...

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Re: Powerglide Refurbishment
Posted by: VairKing ()
Date: October 15, 2020 04:55PM

Change the fluid and run it. They are almost bulletproof. 100 miles a year? That should last forever!

_________________________________________
Ryan Counterman (Moderator)
1965 Corsa Kelmark V8 400 HP ///1965 Monza Sedan 110/PG /// Ultimate Corvair Hauler/// Don Eichstaedt's 1965 Corsa Racecar
West Michigan Corvair Club /// 1966 Corsa GTP Convertible Mid Engine 3.8L Supercharged project stalled

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Re: Powerglide Refurbishment
Posted by: wittsend ()
Date: October 15, 2020 06:18PM

" I'm confused as to why you took it apart in the first place if you want to go cheap."

This "sitting 47 years" Lakewood was given to me (free) over 25 years ago. Most would consider it a basket case. It needs floors, the engine barely ran (compression 20-90), it didn't go into gear. It was going to be the last of six cars I plan on getting operational. But I'm 63 and can feel I'm getting old (and men in my family don't live long). So, in the late Fall of 2019 it became a "now or never" decision I was going to work on the Lakewood - but only in the Winter. If I felt it was too far gone and I concluded it just had hit a wall project wise I could walk away from it. I have a basket case Sunbeam Tiger that has also sat for 20 years and it was suppose to be the next car up in the Spring of 2020.

Thinks changed when Covid 19 arrived, my son came home from the university and being a "tinker-er" like his father he tends to get underfoot and in the way. So, rather than divert to my intend Spring project (the Tiger) I just kept the Lakewood project moving slowly along.

I never had to do without the necessities of life but beyond that I never had much. So, I had to learn to "make do" and frugality is an ingrained way of life for me. If I won the lottery I'd still probably do my car projects the same. But anyway, to me this is a HOBBY and I actually enjoy breathing a small bit of life back into my old cars at a minimal cost. The 100 miles a year is a very real number. I have three old cars I've done my "process" on and, yes, about 100 miles year is what they see.

The short answer is I had to take everything (engine, trans, differential) apart to appraise its viability. Given the minimal intended use a "gasket and rubber kit" seems like it will suffice for the Powerglide. When I'm dead and gone no one will be tripping over themselves to want these cars. But as long as I can fog a mirror these cars are my "stray, wet puppies" and in a certain way we help each other out.

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Re: Powerglide Refurbishment
Posted by: joelsplace ()
Date: October 15, 2020 08:05PM

Makes sense to me. Thanks!
Seal/gasket kit will probably do what you need.

Joel
Northlake, TX
5 Ultravans, 113 Corvairs and counting...

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