: No reverse 1988 brougham

06-07-09, 03:23 PM
I'm restoring an '88 brougham and I drove it home about a couple months ago, no problems with the transmission. The brake lines were trash, and the fuel tank had pin holes about three quarters of the way up.

Anyway i just finished changing all the brake lines, and i checked the tranny fluid and it was real low. Before I could get some and add it my dad moved the car about 5 or 6 feet. Now the engine just revs when the car is in reverse. It will drive forward though.

Is the transmission shot? Any idea if I will I need a full rebuild on the 200r4? and how bad of a job that will be?

I have a th400 sitting around from a '77 deville should I put that in or try to rebuild the 200-r4 first?

just looking for some advice.

06-07-09, 04:33 PM
There is a laundry list of things that will kill reverse: binding throttle valve cable, misadjusted manual linkage, reverse boost valve binding in bore, blown lo-reverse clutch, or cracked direct clutch housing.

The car moves forward in drive. The direct clutch is also used in drive, so a cracked direct clutch housing is more than likely not your problem. A binding throttle cable or misadjusted manual linkage would more than likely effect more than just reverse.

To test the lo-reverse clutch, put the transmission into manual 1st gear and see if it will move. A faulty boost valve would also effect 1st gear, so to test the boost valve, select manual 2nd gear (2nd is still boosted, but the lo-reverse clutch is not applied).

The fluid passages to the lo-reverse clutch are probably blocked and this problem can be solved with a transmission flush. If it turns out that the internals are damaged, there is no way of repairing it without pulling the transmission. My recommendation is to have it professionally serviced.

As for the TH400: It doesn't have overdrive, which will kill your gas mileage (I lost overdrive in mine once and went from 16 to 11mpg). If it has been "sitting around" then it may need reconditioning to be ready for service; a cost which may top the rebuild bill for a 200, because of its age.

07-25-09, 05:27 PM
Sorry for resurrecting an old thread but I'm still trying to deal with this problem.

I tested all the things you suggested, and I ran through all the Oil Pressure tests for the 200r4 in my '84 master shop manual, and all the Info pointed to internal damage...Then today I figured WTH I might as well fire it up and try again, as I was downshifting I accidently shifted past Reverse and into Neutral, and the car moved forward! checking the shop manual the only things it said for that were: Cross Leakage, Forward Clutch issues, and a Misadjusted Manual Linkage, which is the only crossover problem to no reverse.

I looked at the linkage where it attached to the tranny, and appeared to only attach one way, so my question would be how do I adjust this? or is it possible/likely I have 2 different failing systems in my car?

07-26-09, 01:58 AM
Yes. It is possible to get more than one system failure. Cross leakage problems are usually in the valve body, which is the brain of the transmission. Allot of the work in the valve body is done by fluid pressure unseating check balls, which allows the hydraulic pressure to operate different functions of the transmission. It is possible that one of the check balls is not seating properly, because of dirt build up, and is allowing pressure to bleed to the wrong components. This is another thing that may be solved with a decent transmission flush.

My OEM manual doesn't give any procedure on adjusting the Manual Linkage. It only says that the parking pawl should be "freely" engaged in park, and that the engine should start in park and neutral.

05-08-11, 01:42 AM
Really sorry to have my first post reviving an old thread...... Here it goes. I just bought my 1984 Fleetwood Brougham d'Elegance a few days ago. It has 83k original miles and the story is that the original owner died in 1990 and the car sat in storage until 2000 when it was auctioned at estate sale. I bought it from the guy who bought it at the sale in 2000. Unfortunately he has basically used the car as a third car for the last eleven years, never stored inside and really didn't maintain it well at all. I saw pictures of it when he bought it and it looked gorgeous and now the top is cracking, paint faded etc. He drove it very little. He claims that about 5-6 years ago one morning tranny wouldn't go into drive and he had it rebuilt. I test drove it of course and the tranny seemed to operate fine. Bought it and had to drive home 30 miles. On the highway it was surging and acting strange. The next morning when cold it was surging then when shifted into 4th it started jumping between 3rd and 4th rapidly. I released the accelerator, manually shifted into third and when it warmed up put it back in 4th and it was okay. Got to work and checked tranny fluid and it was not registering on dipstick hot-yikes. Added 3 quarts and it was full. Immediately the surging stopped-must have been t.c. locking/unlocking? It was so much happier. The only thing it was doing is seems to revv a long time and harshly shift from 2nd-3rd-4th on highway. But no slipping or surging. Drove it nearly 300 miles last few days-loving it. Plan on fixing it up a good bit. Get home tonight and park it. It sits for an hour or so and I go to move it and there is no reverse at all. All other gears are fine, engine brakes in first, all seems fine. Reverse does nothing at all, no weird sounds nothing?! Tranny shot? Any ideas? Thanks a lot and sorry for the drawn out explanation...

05-08-11, 09:51 AM
Fluid level still okay?

05-08-11, 12:01 PM
Yeah the fluid was about a half quart low. Still in the safe range.