1963, 1964, 1965 Mopar push-button transmission tech tips
There is some confusion about the differences in Mopar transmissions from '63 to '64 to '65, and the corresponding problems with cables and valve bodies. I scanned in the text and photos from the 1964 Technical bulletin to Dodge dealerships, which details changes in the Torqueflite automatic from '63 to '64.
1964 Chrysler, Dodge, Plymouth Design Changes: Automatic Transmissions, Push-Button and Console
TORQUEFLITE DESIGN CHANGES
All 1964 model torqueflites, both for 6-cylinder and 8-cylinder engines, have a new internal oil filter. The oil screen assembly has been redesigned to contain a sheet of Dacron felt, over two layers of perforated steel. The filter assembly is installed on the transfer plate with three slotted head screws, in the same manner as the previous screen assembly. This change necessitated no change in the valve body or in the transfer plate. The new filter is thicker than the screen assembly it replaces, so a well is stamped in the oil pan to compensate for the increased thickness. The factory fill of oil, and the filter, should be good for the life of the vehicle in normal operation. In heavy duty operation at 32,OOO-mile intervals, and in extreme heavy duty operations at lO,OOO-mile intervals the fluid and the filter should be replaced.
Diagnosis - If the filter becomes clogged, the condition will first become evident in excessive delay in obtaining reverse drive. Some delay is normal when the oil is cold, but when the transmission is warmed up to normal operating temperature, there should be no noticeable delay in obtaining reverse.
This filter will do a more thorough job of excluding particles from the transmission hydraulic circuits than the previous
filter, because both the front and rear pumps draw through the filter, whereas only the oil passing through the torque con-
verter was filtered by the "T" Series, external, filter. Elimination of the external filter also eliminates two potential
leak points - the tubing connections at the filter.
TORQUEFLITE CONSOLE SHIFT
All Chrysler, Dodge, and Plymouth Console Models, whether equipped with automatic or manual transmissions, have gearshift
selector levers on the console. The A-727 torqueflite shift lever, in console models, extends through a fore-and-aft slot in the console and is spring loaded to the right against a series of gates. There are six selective positions, reading from rear to front - Low (1), Second (2), Drive (d), Neutral (N), Reverse (R), and Park (P).
In addition to the gating provided along the top of the lever bracket, each of the six positions is detented.
The back-up light switch is mounted on the cable operating lever and is actuated by a hump on the side plate when the shift lever
is moved into reverse.
The valve body is modified, mostly in the area of the manualvalve and the manual valve operating lever.
The valve, and its pressure passages in the valve body, has been modified to provide for the sixth (Park) selection.
The manual valve operating lever has six rather than five detents in its "Rooster Comb". It also has two "Fingers" so that the neutral safety switch is grounded in either "Neutral" or "Park" position.
The neutral safety switch in Console A-727 TorqueFlites is in the same location as in other TorqueFlites, but is of a new
design. It has a larger spring loaded nylon insulator plug with a pin-like metal contact in its center. The manual valve operating
lever must be precisely in Neutral or Park position before the starter circuit can be energized. As a matter of fact, difficulty
can be encountered when reinstalling a valve body in getting it aligned with the switch. Before tightening the ten valve body
retaining bolts, check to make sure that a "Finger" of the manual valve lever centers on the switch contact in "Neutral" or "Park".
The switch seal is a special design, unlike the cupped washer and O-ring seal used on other models. This is a one-piece seal,
consisting of a cupped aluminum washer entirely coated with Butyl rubber.
The switch and seal are installed by merely positioning the seal on the switch and threading the switch into the transmission case, tightening to 20-30 foot-pounds. There is no adjustment other than observing the 20-30 foot-pound specification.
CONTROL CABLE ADJUSTMENTS
GEAR SELECTOR CABLE ADJUSTMENT
The gear selector cable is attached to the selector lever in much the same manner as with a push button box, with a cable eye over a pin, secured by a flat washer and spring clip.
The removal and installation procedures for the gear selector cable at the transmission are the same as those followed
with push button cables, but the adjustment procedure is different. To make this adjustment, proceed as follows:
1. Have an assistant hold the selector lever firmly in the "1" (Low) position.
2. Hold the control cable centered in its bore in the transmission case, and pull outward on the cable with about two
pounds of force to bottom the manual lever in the "Low" detent.
3. While maintaining this pull on the cable, rotate the adjustment wheel clockwise until it just contacts the case squarely.
4. Turn the wheel counterclockwise just enough to make the nearest hole in the wheel line up with the screw hole in the case.
5. Counting this hole as number one, continue turning the wheel counterclockwise until the fifth hole lines up with the screw hole in the case.
6. Push the cable in toward the transmission until the adjustment wheel is tight against the case and install the lock
screw, tightening to 75 inch-pounds torque.
PARKING LOCK CABLE (SELECTOR LEVER END)
The parking lock cable operating lever on the selector lever assembly rotates on a cammed pivot similar to the one on a
push button box. The position of the parking lock cable operating lever is adjusted, as part of the assembly procedure for the selector lever mechanism, to establish the correct amount of parking lock cable travel.
To make this adjustment, proceed as follows:
1. Place the selector lever in "Reverse" position, and loosen the cam jam nut on the pivot.
2. While sighting through the opening in the left plate of the shift mechanism housing, rotate the cammed pivot until the
scribed line on the gear selector cable control lever bisects the parking lock lever guide pin.
3. Hold the cammed pivot in this position and tighten the jam nut to 95 inch-pounds.
PARKING LOCK CABLE (TRANSMISSION END)
The procedures for parking lock cable removal, installation, and adjustment at the transmission end are the same as for conventional TorqueFlites. [See the notes adn the 1964 Service Bulletin link at bottom of this page.]
With the exception of Imperial Models, all 1963 throttle linkage systems are carried over into 1964. A cable throttle linkage will be used in Imperial, similar to the Plymouth and Dodge V-8 throttle linkage, and adjusted in the same manner.
Adapters and cables are not interchangeable between push button and console models. In console torqueflites, the cable adapter contains a small overtravel spring and cup. Also, the lock spring groove in the cable end is wider than on push button cables.
The overtravel provision in console transmissions had to be made to accept the reverse-to-park travel of the cable after the manual valve is bottomed. The presence of the spring accounts for the change in shift cable adjustment at the transmission.
Adjusting Transmission Shift Cables
Thanks to Buck for the information!
- Before inserting the cable into the transmission, take out the neutral safety switch.
- Look inside and there should be two "fingers" inside. They are shaped in a "V", not sure of the technical name.
- Have an assistant hold the Neutral switch in.
- Insert the cable until it hits one of these "fingers". Not hard, but touches. The "finger" should not move.
- Adjust cable housing so it can be tightened without moving the "finger".
- Re-insert Neutral safety switch.
- Start the car and run through the gears. If it works fine, you are done; however, if it doesn't go to the next step.
- Do the same process over again, this time hit the other "finger".
- Re-adjust housing so it will tighten.
Put the shifter in neutral. Disconnect the brown wire on the starter relay (it is the neutral switch wire). Also disconect the other end of the same wire (attached to the threaded post on the neutral switch).
Now make a long "jumper" wire from a piece of wire in the 14 to 18 gauge range, and attach a male spade terminal to one end on the wire. Plug that spade terminal into the end of the brown wire that was attached to the starter relay. Hook up an "ice pick" type test light to the end of that same brown, neutral switch wire that is dangling under the car. That is the end you removed from the neutral switch. Now the jumper wire you made, attach to the positive cable on the battery.
Next,get under the car and remove the 7/16" head cap screw that is holding down the wheel adjuster on the transmission shift cable. Loosen the wheel by turning counter clockwise, until it is almost off the end of the cable.
Now with the test light pointer (ice pick type end) in one hand touch it to the threaded post on the neutral switch, while pulling, and pushing the cable in and out of the transmission case. When you are in the neutral position on the detent, the test light will light up, confirming you are in neutral. Once the light is in a position where the light remains on, rotate the adjusting wheel on the shift cable clockwise until it is against the transmission case. Now you may have to fine tune your adjustment. Usually by turning the adjuster left or right by 1 or 2 holes.
If it is not fine-tuned you end up with an adjustment where you have to push in on the neutral button slightly.
The method the factory uses in a service manual never worked for me, so I came up with this method. Give it a try. You can not mess up unless you ground out the hot end of that wire while it is attached to the battery.
After you are satisified with your adjustment, remove the jumper wire, re-install the neutral switch wire, and re-install the small cap screw in the adjuster wheel.
Thanks to Jimmy P. for this technique! [August 2009 - Revised July 2012]
Use an ohmmeter like the test light method: The ohmmeter gives a resistance reading between its two probes. If the probes touch it is zero resistance. When you touch the probes to another pathway it tells if there is a high or low pathway. The Neutral Safety Switch (NSS) completes a circuit by supplying a ground in this case. The terminal on the NSS will show no pathway until it is engaged. If the ohmmeter shows low resistance between the terminal and the case then it is engaged. Just like using a test light but no outside power required, as the meter has a battery of its own. Rich K. (March 2014)
The absolute best way to adjust the buttons is to remove the pan and adjust N for perfect central contact on the neutral saftey switch. Kickdwn linkage. Make sure when throttle is wide open, kickdown linkage is all the way back as well. That is all there is to it. Works perfect. Schuyler W.
Shift Cable Technique
There is a certain amount of lost motion in the shift-train...basically the pushbuttons get the cable in the right neighborhood then the manual valve detent spring pushes the manual valve detent ball into the manual valve lever (rooster comb, if you will) to precisely position the manual valve, through the manual valve lever. This precise alignment is critical to proper operation of the neutral start switch (and reverse lights on later models).
The original adjustment procedure seems a little nutty when youre standing there looking at the valve body, but it takes this lost motion into account. Steve C.
- Update March 2014: Paul L. notes: My 2 cents: I have used the Factory Service Manual method, test light method, Ohm meter method, and eyeball method. What I found was that there is a little inaccuracy in the shift cable mechanism. If you line up the neutral detent with the neutral safety switch by eye it will be close. However you need to use the push buttons to shift the mechanism a few times to see where things will 'land'. Most of the time it will be off slightly. You can then use the wheel to fine tune things. An analog type Ohm meter is then helpful because it will show if you are slightly off by showing varying levels of resistance as you adjust it in and out. The test light will work this way as well with the light getting brighter or dimmer as you home in on the sweet spot and the neutral safety switch makes good contact.
- Steve C. replies: Youre absolutely right, Paul. Depending on the condition (wear, bends/kinks, etc) of your shift cable, there is lost motion (hysteresis) when changing directions.
Picture this: You have a 3 foot long piece of 1/2" heater hose, and you have a piece of small diameter (1/8") wire rope inside the hose. The hose is laid out on a table in front of you in the shape of the letter 'U', with the open ends pointed toward you. If you pull one end of the wire rope toward you 1", the free end of the wire rope moves away from you just about the same amount. Pull another one inch, and the free end moves away another inch.
Now push the wire rope away from you 1". The free end of the wire rope moves little, if at all. Your 1" motion has been lost inside the hose as the wire rope moves to the outside of the 'U' shaped bend.
This is an extreme example, but exactly what happens with any push-pull type of cable application. This is the reason for the 'rooster comb' on the manual valve lever - basically we get it close with the shifter and cable, and the spring and ball force the rooster comb to precisely the same place every time. Unless of course, your cable is sticky, corroded, kinked, etc. and wont allow the manual valve lever to move that extra small amount.
Having fine threads and adjustment holes at 60 degree increments allows length adjustments of as little as .007" per hole, so finding that perfect spot is ensured, again, depending on the condition of your cable. And again, as long as there is not significant friction in the cable, close enough is usually close enough.
So if youre having a problem getting a 1962-1965 shifter adjusted properly, first check the entire system for lost motion. The shifters (pushbutton, console and column) are very robust and seldom the cause of problems (despite what youll read other places), but any attaching points of either the inner member or outer housing can cause issues.
Starting at the shifter end, check the fit of the eyelet on the shifter pin (not usually worn but sometimes the wrong cable is used), the fit of the bayonet 'pointy end' into the adapter, and the fit of the adapter into the manual valve detent lever (often incorrect if parts have been swapped or modified). Also ensure that the eyelet and bayonet are securely crimped to the wire. Check the housing mount where the shifter (or bracket in the case of pushbuttons) is crimped to ensure the connection is tight and there is no movement. For pushbuttons, make sure the bracket is tightly screwed to the pushbutton unit. You can use a thin nut inside the pushbutton housing in the event of stripped holes. Then check the integrity of the crimps at the upper ferrule and the adjuster to be sure the housing isnt sliding in and out as the cable is moved. Finally, check the threaded adjusting wheel to ensure there is no significant motion at the threads (there will be a few thousandths) and that the wheel is securely attached to the transmission case.
Last, if your transmission has been rebuilt or repaired, be sure the manual valve detent lever spring is of correct size. Very few transmission shops have the correct spring, and since the original spring is very light (we are, after all, shifting with plastic pushbuttons), technicians often replace the spring with a heavier one, as its obviously 'better'. Too heavy or long of a spring requires additional force to move the detent lever, resulting in bracket deflection, loosening of crimps, or accelerated cable wear. In extreme cases the inner member will kink. It should take very little pressure to move the manual valve lever, unlike the 1966-later models.
The bottom line is that the pushbutton shift system (as well as the console/column variants) is very robust and dependable. Stories of adjustment horrors are always the result of worn, damaged, or incorrect parts. Like the ball and trunnion, pushbutton vintage shifters get a bad rap because they are different, and many would rather swap them out than learn about them.
That said, some of the other manufacturers that used pushbuttons definitely gave pushbutton shifters a bad name!
1962-1965 727 TorqueFlite Interchange
1962-1964 pushbutton 727 TorqueFlites are the same. The 1965 727 TorqueFlite can be used with pushbutton with a minor valve body/cable modification. The main difference you have to check is the bell housing bolt pattern. Big block B/RB and small block A/LA engines are different. For example, if the engine is the right group the 1964 Fury 727 will work in a 1962. Both will have the 19 spline shaft using the same converter.
Note: Do not discard any pushbutton valve bodies! They are getting hard to find and many shops do not have exchange units. Nick T.
TorqueFlite Transmission Removal
I like removing the upper bellhousing bolts while the car is still sitting on the tires. If you have a remote starter switch that you can use to hook up to the starter relay, now's the time to do that too. Removing the oil filter on a small block motor makes it easier to remove one of the bellhousing bolts.
- Jack the car up, and get it on jackstands.
- Drain the transmission fluid.
- Remove the flange bolts on the driveshaft. Both ends.
- If you don't have a remote starter switch, take a 1/2 inch break-over bar with a 1 and 1/4 inch socket, and put it on the crankshaft bolt.
- Remove the inspection cover at the bottom of the bellhousing, If it is a small block, the plate will be in the center at the bottom, retained by two bolts. A big block inspection cover has a larger cover, and a
different starter seal.
- Rotate the crankshaft until you see the torque converter to flexplate bolts (9/16 inch socket).
- After you remove all four bolts, remove the shift cable, neutral switch wire, kick down rod, and park cable, and two fluid to cooler lines (5/16 inch tubing) from the transmission case.
- Disconnect either, or both, battery cables.
- Now remove the starter from the bellhousing and the remaining lower bellhousing bolts. One bolt is hiding behind the starter on a small block motor, so be sure to remove the starter, but there is no need to
remove the starter wiring.
- Get a floor jack under the transmission pan.
- Remove the two cushion bolts under the extension housing (5/8 inch socket) and the four rear mount bolts (3/4 inch socket, and combination wrench).
- You should be able to push the floor jack towards the rear of the car with the transmission on it.
- Lower the jack.
- If you have not raised the car enough on the jack stands, you wont be able to get the transmission out from under the car. A jack stand with a 21 inch rise should be enough.
- You should be done in 1.5 to 3 hours time.
Removing the shift and park cables is the only trick issue. Parking cable: loosen the lockdown, and pull the cable out until it stops clicking when the output shaft is turned. Retighten the lock nut. Jimmy P.
Additional 1962 to 1965 TorqueFlite Reference
- How to put a high-stall torque converter in an early 727 TorqueFlite transmission.
- Automatic Transmission Shift Cable Removal, Installation and/or Adjustment
Models: A11 1964 "V" Series Passenger Cars equipped with Automatic Transmission SERVICE BULLETIN
- Mopar transmission cable removal and maintenance tips: There is a hairpin clip that retains the shift cable, and the park cable. You can stick a screwdriver in the shift cable hole where the adjuster is, to release the hairpin on the cable end. Last resort is to remove the drain pan to release. It is easily seen then. Same thing on the park cable. There is a socket head hex screw in the bottom of the park cable housing. Remove that screw/plug, and insert a screwdriver. You kind of use the screwdriver as a lever on the shift cable once inserted in the hole. On the park cable, use a small pocket screwdriver to push up the hairpin retainer end. -- Jimmy P.
- It is tempting to remove the park lock housing without removing the cable first. But slow down: use extreme caution when removing this piece. There is a spring that attaches the cable adapter to the dog in the transmission that is virtually impossible to disconnect when removing the housing with the cable in place. The gaskets are only $4 but the springs are expensive and while they can be re-wound and re-installed, it is definitely the hard way to do the job. It is really tempting to just pull those 5 bolts out but if you plan to reuse the parts take your time.
Patience is the only way to get the cable loose without inflicting damage: soak the pinch bolt with your favorite penetrating oil for as long as it takes to get it to move back and forth in the housing. Too much or too forceful tapping will peen the end of the pinch bolt over so easy does it...a nice plastic, copper or lead mallet or piece of hardwood works well. Once the pinch bolt is sliding freely, then start gently twisting the cable ferrule in the housing.
Southern or gently used cars usually come apart easily but those of us who live in the snow belt have gotten used to allowing plenty of time for this.
The most prevalent failure mode for these cables is leakage. The lower ferrules are crimped over the vinyl coating on the cable housing to create the seal which keeps the transmission fluid in the cable. Engine heat and petroleum products work together over the years to harden the vinyl and the vinyl cracks right at the edge of the ferrule, resulting in a leak. We have experimented with many, many ideas over the years but the only durable solution we have found is to replace the cable. I know they sre expensive and I wish we could sell them for less, but we do what we have to in order to keep the doors open.
The best solution we found for leaky cables (other than replacement) is to remove the cable and thoroughly clean it. Decades of oil immersion has penetrated the long lay wires in the housing so it takes quite a lot of cleaning to get oil to quit oozing out of the wires. Once everything is clean and dry you can use your favorite sealant or epoxy to seal the crack. Take care to get as much in the crack as possible, then smooth a light coat over the repair, extending 1/2"- 3/4" either side of the crack. Avoid the temptation to build layers, the stiffer the cable gets the easier it will crack. Clean everything again and apply glue-lined heat shrink tubing over the repair. Butt the heat shrink up against the shoulder on the adjusting ferrule, then shrink the tubing until glue runs from each end. Make sure your adjusters and their mating holes are clean and lightly lubricated so things go together with a minimum of force, and use new o-rings. It is not a permanent repair, but with gentle handling it might get you through a few seasons.
Again, the best way to make these Mopar transmission cables last is to handle them gently. Use plenty of penetrating oil and do what you can to keep everything clean. If you have to twist to get something to move, grip the adjusting ferrule and do not pull on the vinyl housing... and only twist the ferrule enough to break it loose and work it a little. Use genuine Vise-Grips or high quality equivalents, save the Harbor Freight pliers for less delicate work. Repair engine and transmission fluid leaks: anything leaking from the radiator, engine, power steering pump, A/C or transmission follows gravity to the lowest point on the transmission before dripping...those usually being the transmission mount or the park lock cable. Degradation of both of these parts is accelerated when immersed in any of these fluids, so fix the leaks and keep everything clean! -- Steve C.
November 20, 2002; Revised August 12, 2004; August 12, 2009; July 1, 2012; November 5, 2012; March 6, 2014; May 6, 2014