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Bought Truck w/Gen 1 Autoshift Problem and need advice

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Thanks for all of the info and experience you have all posted on this forum, I've learned nearly everything I know about HDT Rv haulers from here.  I'm up to page 95 of the 117 archived here.

I have just purchased a 2000 Volvo that has a Cummins ISM mated to a Gen 1 Autoshift thats having problems.  It shifts fine and engages into gear when its cold, after 10 minutes or so if it is taken out of gear it will not engage again.  It didn't do it on my brief test drive, but the seller and his mechanic both describe the same problem.  Seller says if truck is on slight incline and can roll just a little bit it will drop into gear, or if shifted into gear immediately after restarting the truck it will engage.  

My plan is to fuel the truck a few blocks away from the shop and drive it the 4hrs home without taking it out of gear.  Any suggestions about what to do if i do get stuck unable to get the truck in gear on the way would be helpful.  As the man said, no plan survives first contact with the enemy, lol.

The sellers shop 4 hrs away where the truck is told me they contacted Eaton who told them Gen 1 was no longer supported and best course of action was to replace it with a manual.  Eaton suggestion to try and fix the Autoshift was to put a harness and XY into it for about a 70% chance of resolving it.  Their diagnostic computer wouldn't even recognize the transmission.  He has a transmission shop in his area that said they could convert the trans to manual internally with sliders, bearings, etc. for about $300 in parts plus labor.  Of course would still need a tower/shifter for the manual.

I purchased it at a price reflecting a serious transmission problem, and have a friend who's been a tech at a local Peterbilt dealership for 30 years who will be fixing it.  He's told me he has done 12-15 replacements of Gen1 Autoshifts with used  manual transmissions due to the ongoing problems with the electronics on them.  He feels throwing parts at the Gen 1 would not be a permanent fix as something else, or the same thing, is likely to break again later.  He has been very clear that you cannot simply remove the harness, sensors and XY shifter and replace them with a manual tower and shifter, internal parts and clearances are different although the case and design are the same.   Usually they have been OTR trucks purchased cheaply and being converted for use as vocational trucks of some sort. 

My tech says the other option is to replace all of the harness, TCM, XY shifter, etc. with Gen 3 parts thereby upgrading it to a Gen 3 and reprogram the ECM on the engine to be compatible with it.  He feels the Gen 3 has proven to be a solid reliable system.  Both options appear to be similar in cost, prob $4-6k. 

I have tried to read everything I can find here and on Google searches about Gen 1 Autoshifts (including that according to Eaton, they have all been field upgraded to at least Gen 1.5) and their problems, although hearing that Eaton was no longer supporting them was a surprise.  Any knowledgeable advice regarding the path forward would be very appreciated.  

Thanks in advance for your time and consideration.

Robert

 

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When are you taking it out if gear?  And if you do, are you pushing the clutch "through the floor boards" to activate the clutch brake?  Sometimes a little roll will help that.

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What does the indicator say when it doesn't go into gear.  Does it say N or flashing 2 or 3?  Mine will sometimes say N when I go to D and I shift it back to N and then to D and it shifts.  Sometimes when I don't push the clutch far enough as Rocky says to activate the clutch brake it will flash 2.  At that time I push it to the floor or sometimes by letting the clutch out slowly it goes in gear.  
If they say to let the truck roll a little and it goes into gear, that leads me to believe the clutch brake may be out or needs adjusting.

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Sounds like the clutch brake to me. If shaft turning, it will not go in gear when stopped. I'm no expert on this, but from your post this going in gear stopped seems only issue. 

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I would agree with the others that it sounds like a clutch brake issue, either not adjust correctly or worn out. Maybe there is adjustment left and that would be the best case scenario, but I would plan for the worst.

My 2000 Volvo 610 is a manual transmission. If I try to rush going into gear while completely stopped, you can tell the transaxle is still turning and it won't go in gear until it stops completely. With just a little bit of forward movement, I can slide into gear no problem without using the clutch brake. Normally when I'm coming to a stop and need say 3rd or 4th gear to start out depending if I'm towing or not, I can get that gear just as I'm coming to a stop by just floating into gear or a little clutch work, but not enough to activate the clutch brake.  

I would say if everything else is good and you can keep it in gear and not stop, you should. I've never owned a gen 1 auto, but I'm guessing you can't start in gear with the clutch pushed down? Probably only starts in N? 

Edited by BlueLghtning

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A long time ago, roughly 2 years, Paul G had this same issue.  He eventually had something made to take up some extra slack he had in the clutch brake.  Hopefully, he'll wander along soon and enlighten us.

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I agree, sounds like a clutch brake. When you move shifter to D, do you get a 2 with down arrows? I'd so the down arrows are telling you to push the clutch pedal down more to engage the clutch brake. Up arrows are telling you to release the clutch brake slightly. These transmissions (computer) do not like to put it in gear if you are rolling. Once you get going let the computer control it. When coming to a stop and it gets into 2,3 or 4 move shifter to H. This will hold that gear. No load 4 will be fine to start off in. This will prevent it getting stuck in neutral at a stop. Make sure you move it to D again when you get moving. I love my autoshift. It has its quirks but if I don't try to rush it, it works great. If it ever gets stuck between gears, shut down truck and disconnect batteries. This will reset the computer. Removing the ecm fuse may also do the trick. Eventually I will put a relay and switch in line with the ecm fuse so I don't have to remove so much to reset it. 

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Thanks for all the replies tips and advice on things to check if I run into problems .  I had thought clutch and clutch brake as well but the shop it's at says they've checked it .  Of course my Tech will be doing a thorough diagnostic once I get it to him .

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16 hours ago, HERO Maker said:

On my truck there is a fluid reservoir for that clutch brake.  Make sure it is full.  My problem was stemming from low fluid.

There's only one reservoir for the clutch, not a separate one for the clutch brake. If it's low, throw-out arm travel will decrease, followed by clutch brake effectiveness.

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Please pm me. I just went through many of the same problems, eaton suggestions and an expensive fix that should have been minor cost. the actual problem was a short in the shift tower in the cab. I also have the xyshifter that was removed from our truck that is still good. You can have it for the cost of shipping. Yes I got really took by a volvo dealer in waco tx. JB

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20 hours ago, Darryl&Rita said:

There's only one reservoir for the clutch, not a separate one for the clutch brake. If it's low, throw-out arm travel will decrease, followed by clutch brake effectiveness.

Thanks Darryl.

Wasn't aware of that on my truck.  But makes sense.

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On October 3, 2017 at 11:28 AM, rickeieio said:

A long time ago, roughly 2 years, Paul G had this same issue.  He eventually had something made to take up some extra slack he had in the clutch brake.  Hopefully, he'll wander along soon and enlighten us.

The issue of clutch brake clearance happens after the flywheel has been turned a few times during clutch replacements.  The fix I have seen is to take the fiber portions of a three piece clutch brake and spilt one side. Then you can twist it up and into place on the head shaft.  

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Not going to go into the whole ugly tale, but suffice it to say that you likely have a clutch brake issue related to the thickness of the clutch brake disc.  My suggestion is to find one (or more) local clutch rebuilders and have them look in their stock for a disc approximately .040 thick.  If memory serves, the stock one (Eaton 10 speed autoshift gen 1 or 2 with a self adjusting clutch) is .035 and the next step for a 2 piece clip on is .045. The .035 won't hold, and the .045 will take up all of your top free play. No, you really can't adjust it out. Adjusting the clutch brake linkage from the stock setup will affect the throw out bearing adjustment and the truck clutch. If you can find a split clutch brake disc at .040, it will work perfectly, and will reduce the top free play to about 7/8" Keep in mind that slow shifts from Neutral or Reverse to Forward or vice-versa help. 

Torch to remove existing - Caution, it WILL catch fire, be prepared.  Alternatively, beat it to death with an air chisel.

Clean the slag and goo out.

Slip the new 2 piece around the shaft and click to lock it on. 

Replace gasket and cover

Drive on......

PM me if you need something else

Paul G

 

Edited by adept99

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did pick up the truck this weekend and took it to my local mechanic as I had planned.  Turned out that I did have problems getting into gear every time I had to stop and shut the truck off, on top of that it would not engage/energize the starter and I had to turn the key 15-20 times to get it to engage.  My mechanic told me that is often a symptom of electronic problems with the transmission - i.e. neutral safety switch not recognizing the transmission in neutral and preventing engaging the starter.  All of the things the previous owner told me would get the truck to go into gear were basically just coincidences, nothing i could come up with consistently resolved the problem.  Additionally, i realized that the hold and manual gear change buttons would not work either. 

There is no grinding, apparent servo noise or anything else when it is not shifting into gear, once engaged though the transmission operates and shifts smoothly

I will update as truck is fixed for everyone's future reference.

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 I was looking for a service document on your transmission.  With a quick look at the resource guide, I did not see one.

 It would be nice if there is not one there that some how we could get a copy in the resource guide.

 If there is ,I need help finding it.

 

 Thanks,.  Vern

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UPDATE - Gold Stars to all of you who said clutch brake and clutch.  Although the symptoms pointed to it, I was skeptical because first shop said they had checked it when I asked.  My tech replaced the clutch brake yesterday as it was down to bare metal - no lining at all.  He doesnt think the clutch had ever been adjusted, had to use some heavy persuasion to break the adjuster ring loose of crud and move it 4 tabs.  Took it for a 20 mile test drive and all worked perfectly - no misses going into gear, autoshifting or manual shifting.  Problem with gear indicator display turned out to be independent of tranny function, display itself has short in it, wiring to it checks out fine so getting it replaced.  What a relief!  Moving on to getting the truck serviced and some smaller items taken care of.  We are super excited to be joining the HDT ranks.  Will be using it to pull our toyhauler with vintage supermodified circle track car around the northwest.  Thanks again to all who post here, truly an invaluable resource - especially for newbies.

Cheers,

Robert

 

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Glad to hear you are fixed up. 

If you don't mind saying, what's a clutch brake job run ya? Can they get to that without dropping the trans? 

Edited by BlueLghtning

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The clutch brake and adjustment can be done without dropping the trans. If the short is in the display, shock the junk yards and put in a used one. 

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Thanks Robert for letting us know what it was.  
Yea, Blue they can replace it without dropping the trans.
The way we used to do it was to get the truck as high as possible put on a set of welding leathers, leather gloves and a full face mask.  Fire up the torch and watch all the hot molten grease fall down on you.  All the time trying not to burn the seal and cutting the input shaft.  Oh so much fun.
Have to say that's if its a one piece brake.  If its a two piece you just knock the pin out and pull it out.

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12 minutes ago, Rick & Alana said:

I have seen the single piece clutch brake removed with an air chisel also. Takes longer

Yea, I tried that way back in the day.  Bought a 12" long chisel off the tool truck and put in air gun and all I could do was mangle it all up.  Think I had to torch it out.

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