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Towing a 1951 Ultramatic
#1
Quite a regular
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kunzea
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Can I tow my 1951 Ultramatic? Will the rear pump keep it from burning-up? I guess the front pump only turns with the motor if in neutral?

Posted on: 2019/8/1 18:16
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Re: Towing a 1951 Ultramatic
#2
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HH56
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From the 51 owners manual.

Attach file:



jpg  (55.54 KB)
209_5d43760360ad9.jpg 696X504 px

Posted on: 2019/8/1 18:30
Howard
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Re: Towing a 1951 Ultramatic
#3
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kunzea
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After running the engine at fast idle in neutral for 1 minute then stopping it to check the level, my transmission had a stream of fluid escaping from what I think is a leak drain hole in the lower bell housing cover. I believe the converter pump shaft seal is the problem. I guess there could be leaks from the converter drain plugs also. I have someone lined-up to rebuild it but that's still weeks off. I am going to pick-up a spare transmission on Sunday and take it apart to see how it works. I will probably try to rebuild it.

Posted on: 2019/8/1 19:12
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Re: Towing a 1951 Ultramatic
#4
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HH56
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Fluid from the drain hole in an otherwise undamaged trans is typically coming from the front seal. Transmissions that have sat for years generally have seals that are dry, hard and possibly cracked. When the engine starts turning, the dry converter pump shaft rotating against a dry and possibly hard neoprene seal doesn't need much time for a leak to develop. Once pressure is present and oil starts flowing into the converter it can get worse if the pump shaft bushings are worn. Instead of trying to hold back a few drops of fluid that might get past the bushing it needs to hold back considerably more fluid that is under pressure. Front seal leaks can really lose a lot in a short time.

Posted on: 2019/8/1 19:19
Howard
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Re: Towing a 1951 Ultramatic
#5
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kunzea
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The transmission seems to otherwise operate properly. I'm not sure that the converter is locking up. When I release the gas at 35+ MPH the transmission is surely slowing the car through its coupling to the engine. It may just be through the fluid coupling in the converter. I don't know how to test the lock-up.

Posted on: 2019/8/1 19:39
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Re: Towing a 1951 Ultramatic
#6
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Leeedy
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Quote:

kunzea wrote:
Can I tow my 1951 Ultramatic? Will the rear pump keep it from burning-up? I guess the front pump only turns with the motor if in neutral?


My very strong recommendation for any automatic transmission is NOT to tow it with the drive wheels on the ground. Remember that automatic transmissions are engineered so that they are designed to handle power (turning action) from the front to the rear of the trans-not from the rear to the front!

Regardless of what any manual may say (especially the old ones written where automatics and knowledge of same were in their infancy), this is an unchanging fact. And if you are dealing with an old automatic-any old automatic-you need to take all possible steps to protect that transmission. While it is possible to tow an automatic with drive wheels on the ground for very short distances (meaniing less than 5 miles at very low speeds) with no overtly noticeable damage, even then, damage can occur. And no tow truck driver today is going to slow-tow a car. These guys want to do 80 with a car dangling behind. Three months later you're wondering why the transmission has burnt fluid or worn parts.

Of course over the years, we have also discovered that towing a postwar Packard backwards (with front wheels on the ground) can also result in disaster. So this is not a solution either.

Because of the design of front steering and suspension, think of the front wheels as you might of the wheels on a shopping cart. The caster on those wheels makes them want to flip around and go in the direction of rolling. Also if a Packard has power steering, a slop can develop in the power steering (especially in the ram) that allows shimmy that again is impacted by caster. There are actual cases of Packard Club members over the years who have had cars flip or do wild things when towed like this. Cars have been totally destroyed this way. So beware!

In this modern time, the absolute best solution is to simply flat-bed the car to wherever it has to go. If you can't do that for whatever reason, then do the next best thing: unbolt and disconnect the drive shaft. Problem eliminated either way.

Posted on: 2019/8/2 8:07
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Re: Towing a 1951 Ultramatic
#7
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Charles
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I had my 51 towed about 30 miles in neutral at 70+ mph when I bought it. Once we got to my house the whole underside was smoking! I had no idea you shouldn't tow one of these cars like that. Needless to say, the trans needed to be rebuilt/replaced.

Posted on: 2019/8/4 16:46
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