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Old 07-14-2016, 03:03 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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gutless

my 96 international 3400 with T444E and auto trans wont crawl out from behind my house where its been parked for 4 year. It needs to go uphill (maybe 20% grade?) from basically a stand still, but it will not go, gets going then basically looses momentum and engine just revs.

Last time I had to have it towed out, so this isn't out of the ordinary for it. Once i got on flat ground it was able to get the momentum it needed, but its always been pretty sluggish on takeoff. Im probably going to have a buddy try to pull me out with his 4x4 army truck.

Is this a sign of the torque converter crapping out? Or are these things just gutless? Hoping to get it to a shop for trans fluids and filter swap. Might this help improve performance?

Its essentially empty, minus some flooring and minimal kitchen setup...
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Old 07-14-2016, 03:13 PM   #2
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sounds like the tranny is bad.
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Old 07-14-2016, 03:24 PM   #3
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Which tranny do you have?
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Old 07-14-2016, 04:53 PM   #4
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if the engine just revs either you are low on fluid.. (check the fluid level with the bus RUNNING not turned off).. or the transmission is on its way to going bad..

-Christopher
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Old 07-14-2016, 07:27 PM   #5
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Im not sure which trans it is, either 545 or 643?

Well ****... Will check fluid. Hope its not goin out...
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Old 07-14-2016, 08:19 PM   #6
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Yep transmission. The free reving engine is the tale tale sign.
Fingers crossed its low on fluids

Good luck!
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Old 07-14-2016, 08:32 PM   #7
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I've never been much of a believer in miracle fixes out of a can, but---I've had good luck with "TransX". I've used the stuff in half a dozen cars having the same symptoms as your bus. The symptoms are usually due to the internal seals getting hard with age and the product softens them up. As long as a seal isn't broken TransX should help. Also, as others have said, check the oil level with the bus running in neutral to be sure it is full. Then try letting the bus idle in neutral for half an hour or so as that will warm up the tranny and perhaps let it engage more or less normally. Be careful not to over fill the transmission as that will lead to foamy oil which has next to no hydraulic properties.

I see that Wallmart caries TransX. K&W Trans-X Automatic Transmission Slip-Stop & Leak Fix, 15 Fl Oz - Walmart.com.

Hope this helps. Jack
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Old 07-14-2016, 09:03 PM   #8
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ok ,so to be clear its not revving like its in neutral (free rev), it just sort of raises rpm but doesn't have momentum. I can tell the engine is straining, and the bus is struggling against the incline.



if the trans is going, what might it cost to have it replaced?
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Old 07-14-2016, 09:17 PM   #9
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There is the possibility the brakes or parking brake is locked up.
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Old 07-14-2016, 09:26 PM   #10
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well it was rolling free to get up to the incline so prob not. Reverse and D as well as 1 were working fine, its just when I hit this steep incline without necessary momentum it slows then just sort of strains against the hill.

getting pulled out tomorrow, gonna change engine oil and filters, fuel filters. Will double check trans fluid, then take it to a big rig shop for trans fluid and filters change.
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Old 07-14-2016, 11:14 PM   #11
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Retarder not stuck on?
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Old 07-14-2016, 11:32 PM   #12
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A quick Google search shows a remanufactured MT643 going for $1800. I can't believe labor would be more than an additional grand, probably less. Still not cheap though. A solid used 643 should be available around $700-800, I would think.

Good luck!
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Old 07-14-2016, 11:42 PM   #13
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power lose,? check tranny fluid, I would replace the fuel filter, it sounds like your not making power, is there blue, white smoke out the pipe? are you letting it get to full temp before you are trying to move? my bus was sorta like that, wouldn't have enough power to pull up a hill, at times would blow out blue smoke every now and then, I replaced all 8 injectors, problem solved, lots of power now.
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Old 07-14-2016, 11:46 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BusFiend View Post
A quick Google search shows a remanufactured MT643 going for $1800. I can't believe labor would be more than an additional grand, probably less. Still not cheap though. A solid used 643 should be available around $700-800, I would think.

Good luck!
Yep those prices sound about right.
I've seen nice low mile used units for around $750- some even include the retarder. If I ever have to replace mine I'll definitely add the retarder.
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Old 07-15-2016, 12:58 AM   #15
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yes smoking white at idle, need to replace fuel filters as pressure/vac gauge is showing significant strain on the diesel side.

i have both filters ready to go, the 1st one with the water settling bowl and the 2nd one with the built in cap that sits right on top of the engine. Any tips on how to replace these without letting air into the system/ how to prime them one installed?

haven't been letting it warm up to normal operating temps, good idea though. I know its a good thing to do for the engines sake, prob good for trans as well...

what is a retarder? and how do I know if its A. installed on this trans, and B. working or engaging?

thanks y'all.
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Old 07-15-2016, 06:44 AM   #16
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search youtube lots of vids on the process
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Old 07-15-2016, 06:57 AM   #17
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how steep is ther incline? if its really steep yes you will run the torque converter against the stall and not make enough torque to brong it over an oncline or an obstacle..

on old cars it used to be possible to "stall" an automatic car on asomething as small as a 6 inch curb.. as the incline of that curb was too much for the auto trans to overcome...

a very steep quick incline can stall an automatic and not have it be damaged or broken in any way... its how a torque converter works... if you can get any running start at all you have a shot at running it out of there.. esp if you keep it in '1' so it never attempts to shift...

-Christopher
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Old 07-15-2016, 03:36 PM   #18
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it was pretty steep, not sure the exact degree of the slope, but it was significant.

got it out today with a friends enormous 4x4 army truck. Once it was on flatish ground it crawled out of the yard and onto the street. parked it in a gravel lot to work on it.

The fuel filter on top of the engine has proven to be a nightmare to remove, all the plastic tabs broke when we laid a screwdriver across them to torque it. tried tapping it loose with a blunt socket extension and mallet, more plastic tabs broke off. Currently its just the inner plastic threaded ring remaining in the housing, we were able to dismantle most of the cap and pry the filter out, but now were stumped how to get the remaining plastic out without damaging the housing and metal threads. What a pain in the ass! judging by the brittleness of the plastic and the paint on the cap which matches the valve covers, were thinking this might be the original fuel filter?!? With 128,xxx on the engine I sure hope not, but it is seriously fused to the housing. Ugggg
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Old 07-15-2016, 11:16 PM   #19
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ok, whoops . . . sorry to post a frustrated mid-job freak out.

I got that fuel filter all out and cleaned the filter housing meticulously (used a shop vac actually). Also changed the other fuel filter, and got the oil changed. Its running a lot better now, engine wise. Its got more pep for sure.

Need to get temp plates to really test out the trans. Forgot to check fluid, will add to list for tomorrow.
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Old 07-16-2016, 02:27 AM   #20
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Way to go with those filters!
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