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Hill climb slipped out of gear


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March 13, 2005
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City, State
Martinsburg WV
Year, Model & Trim Level
84 BII "Li'l Samson"
I'm testing by extended wheel base B2 up a kinda steep hill when all of a sudden it comes out of gear and I went flying backwards. After I nearly sh#t myself and got control of it. The tranny kicked back in gear.

So I tried it again and this time my one foot was ready on brake. It did it again. But after those two times it worked fine.

Could a little low on fluid cause this and the level in pan was not adequate for the pick-up?

Will a deeper pan help even though the pick-up is not extended?

Or is this just something an auto C4 does from time to time?

Should I put more then normal amount of fluid in to compensate for the angle of the pan when doing an extreme angle?


This is where it stopped. My gusstement around 40ish degrees.

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DannyBoy had that kind of problem with his c4/c5 ******* trans. IIRC he had to change to a different kind of pan and pickup. You may want to PM him to get the real scoop.


I started a thread about this same topic a while back - ill see if I can dig it up later.
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Thanks guys, I'm still skeered.

Thanks IZ, read all the posts. Seems we all think about alike on this issue.
I had a swivel pick-up in the extended oil pan in one of my race cars. May have been made by Moroso, just been to long ago to remember. It even had a sail type thing casted to the top so the oil would slosh up against it and turn with the flow. But this would be so difficult in the auto tranny pan.
The pan I have now I like because it has those hollow air tubes in it running in the bottom that really keeps the oil cool.
Maybe I have to add more fluid like some suggested to take the place of the oil that those tubes displaced.
Next I will try the same hill and keep a careful eye on the level and see what happens with a little more fluid. Anything extra will leak out like it's doing anyway where he shifting linkage comes out of the side of case.
I have to change the filter and I'll check on possibly lowering it.


OK, guys I hope this is not info overload on the problem of popping out of gear. I use popping because there's nothing slow about when this happens as some of you know.
Now all this popping out of gear on a steep hill is probably just that the pump is unable to pick up the fluid because it was a little low to begin with.
But any suggestions would greatly be appreciated, if it is no more then keeping it at the proper level. But I do not have the correct dip stick and would like to mark on it, where should the proper level be.
Now it shifts fine if I do use the existing marks on anything other then steep.
So with that said it may be no more easier to fix then to take it a little past the proper daily driving mark for steep trails. Just cut in another mark for one more quart.

Here are some statistics. The truck is sitting on level ground, I know, that's a miracle in itself in West Virgina.
With pan removed the tranny is on a 4 deg incline toward front.


This will show you what 4 deg. looks like when sitting on level ground if the fluid was filled to the left hand side. Black mark is the level fluid with pan at 4 deg.
The bad news the pick-up is on the front end that is on the lower side of level.


Here you can see the raised inside where the filter bolts to the protruding cast part.
Notice where the fluid enters the housing. Right next to the tape. It is actually flush with the mounting surface that the pan bolts too.
Now here is where it gets interesting.
If I was able to extend the protruding cast another 1/4" down, would this help?
One other thing, where the bottom of the dip stick is at the top of those cooling tubes. And this is an after market pan that I don't know what is the correct amount of fluid it holds.
I'm thinking not, because once the fluid gets below the pick-up hole it would not make a difference how low the screen was even if the extension was air tight. Right,wrong?
Now here is the other question, where should the correct full level be when hot? Level with the mounting surface which is level with the opening in bottom of case, a half inch higher, or what?



Here is the filter. First pic is the screen part that faces the tranny.
The last clearly shows that he pick-up hole is at the end of the pan where it would be the lowest level and then it would just get worse on assending.


Now that I'm more aware of the layout of where the pick-up hole is in relation to the pan as explained earlier, which is in the worst possible place for climbing.
Here's my plan.
The pick up hole is the large one just to the right and up about an inch from the end of the dip stick. Angle makes it look crescent shape. The front of truck is to the right.
Where my finger is located is where the dip stick tube goes into the case.
What I did was to make a mark on the stick just below where the gasket goes around the tube.
This is about 3/4" higher then the fluid pickup hole.
Where I used to have a full marks was not much higher then the pick up hole in the case. Now I can see why ( I think ) it starved for fluid on up hill accents.

Next will be to go to the exact same climb and test it out :)

The solution is really simple.....

Always hill climb in reverse!!! Just go up the hills backwards.

Problem solved. :-)

The solution is really simple.....

Always hill climb in reverse!!! Just go up the hills backwards.

Problem solved. :-)

This in fact does have some merit. Had I known about the location of the pick up before the problem happened, I could have easily done the reverse climb just to see in fact if it would hold. Then if it did, bingo.
I have the case filled up like I explained but the only thing is, it will have to wait untill I extend the front drive shaft. Pushed the axle out further :cool:


Problem solved. Going up the same bank with the fluid right or very close to full it would still come out of gear sometimes. Sometimes meaning when I went a little too fast and it bounced around it would jump out of gear. But slow and easy it would not.
My thinking was like some of the posts here, that the pick-up was not emerged in the fluid when it started sloshing around.
Like I said previously, the pick up in the pan is at the forward location, so when going on an incline, if the fluid is low then the pick-up in not fully emersed in fluid. My thinking only.
So I overfilled it just a tad. Then no slipping out of gear. In fact I was at an even steeper angle then the first pic I posted.
Problem is that it always did leak some, but now even more since it was slightly overfilled, still better then jumping out of gear when all the weight is on your back :eek:
And might mention that the wheel base has been increased since the first pic to 101".
Both axles have been shoved, but more noticable on the rear. Had to modify gas tank area and track bar location.