Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Shenandoah Valley
AOD TV Rod retainer/bushing broke ......
Maybe this will help someone else, maybe not.
We have a 1985 Thunderbird with 302 throttle body injection and AOD transmission that we've had since Feb. '86. We drive this car easy, always have. In the last few months, we've noticed it "clunking" as it shifts into OD from 3rd at light or no throttle like on a coasting or steady state cruise on level. It was a hard "clunk" and I took it to a friend who is a regular Ford mechanic and he said the trans shifted so well otherwise, and in view of the high mileage, he would just avoid using the OD except in high speed interstates.
Today I was doing some maintenance and I eased the air filter housing up and was inspecting things when I noticed a lot of slop in the TV Rod to Throttle arm joint. It also looked like the plastic retainer was shot. Nothing had slipped off, but the throttle rod has like a 3/8+" hole in it and the throttle arm being approximately a 7/32" or 1/4" pin with groove and the retainer is supposed to be a bushing as well.
As it sat with the throttle on the idle stop, the slop allowed the weight of the TV rod to partially depress the linkage. I removed what was left of the retainer and picked up on the rod to the point where the TV rod appeared to have no spring pressure one way or the other, where it seemed to want to rest, like a cable with no slack or tension would be ... and it was centered dead center for the pin. Surprise huh?
So I thought about what was happening as I drove. At light throttle, the rod's weight was causing the TV to be partially depressed until somewhere near half throtttle where spring pressure was enough to support the weight and then the pin had to push the TV rod only after using up the excess clearence. Then because of slop, the TV rod wasn't pushed as far as originally so shifts were softer. I wondered if maybe this was why passing gear was so hard to hit lately.
I made an aluminum bushing and retainer clip that will serve until I can get a replacement for the plastic original part, and it took all slop out of it while still allowing free movement.
I then test drove it. 138,895 miles on the odometer and it shifts like new once again. Firm full throttle shifts, a passing gear, and an OD that doesn't "clunk" into operation at light throttle cruise. Long post for something so simple, but the change made in eliminating that little bit of slop was astounding. The rod is non adjustable at the top and I never adjusted it on the trans, so it is now exactly like the folks at Mr. Ford's factory set it that day in 1985.
Thought it might help someone else sometime. Tomorrow I go over the newly aquired '92 and the wife details this '85 (she did the '92 today, it's like clean as new) and "the Merc".
A fine pair ... ... and whatever you do, Have a Safe Trip!