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1985 Sedan DeVille
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Discussion Starter #1
Starting a separate thread for the real swap.

I decided to replace the 440-T4 that's in my 85 with another 440-T4 for now, since its the cheapest and fastest fix, and I can take my time working on a 4T60-E build on the side without the car being down. I found an 89 SDV nearby with a trans that had been rebuilt for GM only $250, so went with that. car-part.com (Hollister) says its not interchangeable but I can't find any differences that would matter--TCC code is the same part number, CV shafts are the same part numbers, same gearing and tire size, same exterior wiring connectors and internal switches, etc. 89 should have the improved internals, so hopefully won't have the problems that my 85 has. And it has been rebuilt for GM so probably some other improvements.

The outside housing is filthy and covered in grime from sitting. There is a heavy grime stain on the side cover where tranny fluid seems to have leaked through the gasket (no engine oil sources nearby). The fluid was cherry red like it just came out of the bottle. The input seal behind the torque converter is in very good condition, metal is silver and rubber is black. So just from that it looks like the outside is in bad shape but inside appears to be very good. The donor vehicle has a little over 200k miles on it but the transmission is a reman that could have been installed whenever. I ran the VIN through car-fax but didn't get any hits on trans rebuild. I had it delivered to a trans shop nearby for inspection and rebuild, and he is talking like just clean it up and install as-is. Interesting to hear a trans shop say that--usually their solution to everything is a rebuild. We will see how the inspection goes.

Haven't had a chance to take pics yet sorry!
 

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1985 Sedan DeVille
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Discussion Starter #2
I went back to the trans shop and got some pictures of the donor. The shop is still backed up and hasn't gotten to it yet, but closer inspection by me shows the donor is obviously going to need some seals at least.

Top is filthy but its crap that landed on it, not stuff from inside



Bell housing inside is pretty clean by comparison. There is some grime but its even (like road grime) and not centrifugal staining. The VCC has an even coat of surface rust, which is very good (was not sitting in standing water), and doesn't have any heavy grime from leaks.



Input seal is in good shape, no junk, no directional grime



VCC inside is also very clean



Driver side output shaft has nasty grime. If you look closely, you see that there are two different patterns. First, look at the clean ring around the output shaft, and you can see how only the lower half is stained, and my guess is that fluid has probably been coming out from there. The rest of the grim on the top and rear appears to be spillover from whatever created the grime on top (the first pic). That seal is in need of replacement no matter what, and depending on damage the bearing behind may also need to be replaced.



Passenger side output is also filthy but seal innard looks clean and the junk on the outside is evenly distributed. Needs a new seal but it doesn't look like it was spilling all over.



I also bought a new Standard brand NSS, and a new stacked-plate ACDelco transmission cooler that supercedes the stock tube-and-fin cooler.



Shop said next week sometime
 

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1985 Sedan DeVille
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Discussion Starter #3
I got curious about a couple of things so I ordered the ATSG books. These are basically the same as the FSM chapters but consolidated and structured for transmission shops

What I found is that the wiring on the 5-pin connector is a little different. Here are some crops of low-resolution scans from Fiero site in side-by-side comparison (I have the originals in the book)



Code:
   1985        1989
A: Brake       Brake
B: 4th CL      4th CL
C: 3rd CL      3rd CL
D: Ground*     Ground
E: Temp        N/A
The 2 main differences are pins D and E. On the 85, pin D is the mystery temperature switch that is inline to ground and opens the brake circuit when something happens (nobody is able to tell me for sure and I have nout found a reliable part number), while on the 89 this is a straight path to ground. Meanwhile, the 85 uses pin E for a temperature sensor, while the 89 does not seem to use pin E at all.

Pin D should continue to work as-is, and must not be important if its function was deleted. Pin E needs to be dealt with since the 85 ECM uses temperature for a couple of inputs but I should be able to just install a temperature sensor somewhere in the aluminum block and connect a wire to it. It may be possible to run the car without it, but I suspect it will throw a CEL and/or code..
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Just got off the phone with the trans shop. Sprag fell out in pieces. Rest of it is pretty damaged. So we are in for the full rebuild and multiple hard parts.

Master Overhaul Kit
Reverse Input Shell
Bearing Kit
Bushing Kit
Complete Sprag
Pump Shaft
Pump Shaft Bearing
4th Gear Clutch Hub
Chain
Reverse Band
1-2 Band
440-JR Shift Kit
Fluids / Filter

He also wanted to do Torque Converter but I insist on keeping my VCC

I also bought the 85 harness from VPI

Looking at right at $2k rebuild and install
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Stopped at the shop today and took some more pics, still waiting for some parts so swap won't happen until next week sometime

Four transmissions going at all times, the guy is at mine







Broken sprag on right, probably from neutral drops he said. Both of those are being replaced



New clutches, gaskets, seals, etc. Some of the new hard parts are hardened steel



Got the 85 5-pin harness from VPI today too, need to find the sensors and switches



Blue wire is for the thermistor (which is almost certainly ACDelco part 8658389, since it matches all the line drawing artwork). The pressure switches are green and white wires. The blue wire is shorter than the green and white wires, and the thermistor is supposed to mount in the body near the connector, but we are looking at other options. Won't really know until we get mine open to see how large and deep the hole is. The other issue is the inline temperature cutoff switch, it appears to go in between the two terminals on the black wire, but we can simply cut and splice there and bypass it altogether. edit--looks like a plugged boss in the 89 valve body for the thermistor. and we are going to cut and splice the vcc solenoid wire.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
New sprags came into the shop but they are not compatible. Different diameter on the engagement splines, if I understand what he was saying correctly. We both looked around and it seems that the sprags were changed every couple of years and the ones we need are no longer available from anywhere, so he is going to try and assemble replacement units from parts.
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Shop owner got to looking for parts, and noticed his supplier had an 88 core on clearance for $75, which is only $25 more than the sprag he was looking for, and less than the sum total of the individual parts, so now I have three 440-T4 transmissions: the old one in my 85, an 88 for parts, and the 89 we are building.

:D
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Trans was swapped today, and I drove the car home tonight. Everything like its supposed to be. I need to make some adjustments but I want to let it break in first. The shifts are a little earlier and softer than I am used to--I have gotten used to winding it out then manually shifting, and it feels wrong to have early smooth shifts.

My old trans was pretty good condition, well the seals were intact and clean, apart from internal issues. We reused my VCC and I brought home the one from the 89 as a spare since nobody makes them anymore. I pulled the internal harness and sensors/switches for spares and reference. Also kept the vacuum modulators, so I have two of the old style and two adjustables.

Other than the hassle of trying to find parts, and getting the harness squared away, it was pretty straightforward operation. Hopefully I will get another 30 years from this one
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I was able to get this thing dialed in close to perfect with adjustments to the TV cable (shift points) and the aftermarket adjustable vacuum modulator (shift speed). If I hold the gas lightly the shifts are almost unnoticeably smooth, but if I get into the pedal at all it winds out and shifts sporty. I feel like I am able to really get full potential out of this 4.9 (finally) and I don't feel like I am missing anything by not swapping to 4T60-E. I am only about 250 miles on the break-in but as of right now I am very pleased.
 

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I really like the ability to "Tune" the 440-T4. It is easy and you do not need any special "programmers" or tools to do the job.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Developed a problem where it did not want to upshift when cold, worked fine when warm. Trans shop figures the valve is sticking. They dropped the pan and found some metal dust from something so they are gonna pull it out and tear it down.

It was driving sooo nice :(
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
It looks like the planetary gears overheated from the inside. Discoloration around a couple of the planetaries, but the other two are fine.



The worst one had a lot of up-and-down play--you can see where it was eating away at the housing, this is where the dust was coming from



Popped it open and the needle bearings and bushings were severely damaged. One of the bushings (not pictured) had bumps on it that looked like corrosion damage



The torrington bearing also was discolored and had a minor amount of wear, but it was incidental damage



Since the core had other damage, especially the sprag that mates to the planetary, our guess is that the bushing damage is the root problem--it was causing the gear to move around, which was producing the heat and wear that caused the other problems to manifest.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Got the car back yesterday, its running really nice now. They had to do another (third) rebuild to get everything dialed in right. They ate the labor under warranty, and I traded some stuff for the replacement parts, so no additional cost to me at all over the initial payment
 

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85 Coupe Deville 4.1 V8 & 4.3 V6 Deisel & 1970 Eldorado
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Glad to hear that it is back up! Better that they covered it under warranty! Keep it going. By the way i would love to find a set of those Fleetwood wheels for my diesel. I understand the 86''s have a center cap while the 85's do not?
 

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Discussion Starter #15
The ones I have are from a 88 Fleetwood. They were optional on Deville... I saw an 86 Coupe with a set

If you do an image search on car-part.com for wheels from ~87 Fleetwood, you'll find the yards that (claim to) have them
 
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