29 March 2017

Ford Thunderbird Automatic Transmission Rebuild Time Lapse

We changed gears (get it?) for our latest Redline Rebuild time lapse. The inner workings of the automatic transmission are a mystery to most, so we decided to crack one open and show you what lurks inside. After scraping out some funky brown sludge and giving it a thorough cleaning it was ready for new clutch packs, seals and gaskets. Reassembly was a bit tricky, but we managed to get everything sorted and our ‘62 Ford Thunderbird is back on the road.

As for unlocking the secrets of the automatic transmission? Watch the video and see for yourself. It may not make you an expert, but it sure does look cool.

41 Reader Comments

  • 1
    Gerard (Bart) Bartasavich Pepper Pike, Ohio March 29, 2017 at 16:37
    Great video. I shared it on (ITC) International Thunderbird Club Facebook page and it is getting a lot of attention. Thank you for posting Thunderbirds on your site.
  • 2
    Robert Atwood Napa, CA 94558 March 29, 2017 at 16:43
    This Guy is the Coolest Trans Wizard ,I've ever seen..also a great Video! I noticed the CA License plate Can you share the name of the Shop Thx Robert
  • 3
    Car Collector Chronicles, Ed. WI March 29, 2017 at 16:48
    While entertaining, I do not know how informative or helpful compressing a multiple hour job into less than 5 mins. of video is to a mechanically inclined grease monkey/DIY'er like me who is an AT novice?
  • 4
    John Lissandrello Morgan Hill, CA March 29, 2017 at 16:52
    That was awesome. The knowledge that it takes to do that is awesome. Thanks for sharing!
  • 5
    Alan Detrick Automotive Salem, Or. March 29, 2017 at 17:01
    That's a proper and compleat rebuild. Note the attention to the valve bodies. When someone gives you a quote for $450 ( bench job) to "rebuild your trans" don't fall for it. This takes 8-10 hrs. just on the trans alone. Parts include bands, clutches, seals, gaskets and bushings along with washers. Now when you deduct that from the $450 just how many short cuts do you suppose your going to get?
  • 6
    Tracker D North Carolina March 29, 2017 at 17:02
    First observation: You better know what you are doing before trying this. Second observation: I'll tackle a manual transmission over an automatic any day of the week and twice on Sunday. Third observation: The man doing the work is a genius. Great video!!!!!!!!!
  • 7
    Bill Colorado March 29, 2017 at 17:10
    I love the high-speed engine rebuilds as I have "been there done that" many times and seeing it at warp speed is fun. But, having never rebuilt an automatic before, have you got this available somewhere where the tranny rebuild can be seen a weee bit slower?...say like in 8-10 minutes so you can actually see what he did?
  • 8
    Damon West Orange NJ March 29, 2017 at 17:41
    Well, after watching that I can honestly say I still have no understanding of how those things work, but interesting nonetheless.
  • 9
    Dick Diefenbach Danville, VT March 29, 2017 at 18:00
    Interesting but would have been a little more informative if the tape was slower and some dialogue added since I know nothing about auto transmissions.
  • 10
    Frank Tressider Arizona March 29, 2017 at 18:18
    You think he's done this before?
  • 11
    John Gilbert Berkeley March 29, 2017 at 18:19
    These videos, while entertaining to watch, go by so quickly that there is little or no instructive value in them. An option to slow them down by 4-8x would actually provide greater value. Nice work, just way too fast.
  • 12
    lenny Ca March 29, 2017 at 18:30
    That could have been a great, informative video, but it was sped up so fast it was just annoying and worthless.
  • 13
    Greg NJ March 29, 2017 at 18:37
    Awesome quick view inside the complex inner workings of slushbox. Makes me appreciate how much easier the rebuild is on a manual!
  • 14
    Bruce Madden GA March 29, 2017 at 18:52
    whew--fastest tm. rebuild I've ver seen!
  • 15
    Bobby New York March 29, 2017 at 19:37
    That was awesome
  • 16
    bud bombaci glendale, az March 29, 2017 at 20:15
    looking for information regarding an automatic overdrive transmission on 1968 mustang 302 engine and c-4 tranny. has any classic mustang owner had one ?
  • 17
    Jim ID March 29, 2017 at 20:33
    WOW. Too many parts for me to remember
  • 18
    Patrick Regan West Monroe, LA March 29, 2017 at 20:58
    I have thoroughly enjoyed all of the Hagerty time lapse videos of engine and tranny rebuilds. Who would have thought of such a cool thing to do and then orchestrate it all to awesome tunes!! You guys are great. Keep up the great work and I'll keep my Hagerty policy
  • 19
    John Ft Wayne March 29, 2017 at 21:05
    Incredible video, well done guys. I've installed a shift kit, swapped a 2-spd AT w/ a 200-4R (fabricating my own TV cable hookup to my 2 bbl carb), rebuilt a rear axle, suspension work and am planning on rebuilding my own engine. But tearing into the guts of an AT scares the bee-jeebers out of me.
  • 20
    keith C Cuda Nothern CA. March 29, 2017 at 21:18
    CAN HE GO FASTER BUT REALLY FOKES, WHO HAD THE SKILLS TO DO THIS NOT ME AND I DONT WANT TOO.AND YOU CAN MAKE ME .FOR ME TO SALE MONEY I JUST GO AND FIND A GOOD USED ONE,, AND YEA YOU GOING TO SAY GOOD LUCK , WEELL I NO WHERE ONE THESE CAR IS RIGHT NOW .IF THE TRAN IS THERE WELL.WHO KNOW.
  • 21
    KELLY Georgia March 29, 2017 at 22:39
    Was this supposed to be a joke. You wasted my time on nothing
  • 22
    Weldon Knape Sun Lakes, AZ March 30, 2017 at 01:22
    Scared the hell outa me!
  • 23
    Norm California March 30, 2017 at 14:17
    GREAT video. Now, can I have access to it done in real time? I think it would be even more interesting/instructive.
  • 24
    john nebraska March 30, 2017 at 15:29
    to show it correctly slow it down on first try one keeps all bolts to an item togeather and everything else separate so one knows where it came from not all dumpted togeather
  • 25
    Bob S MD March 30, 2017 at 15:34
    Nice video, took me 6 days to rebuild a 350 turbo. I wish I could be this fast.
  • 26
    BIRDMAN NC March 30, 2017 at 16:51
    HOW ABOUT DOING THIS JOB ON A 1957 FORD-O-MATIC THUNDERBIRD???? THE WHOLE ENGINE HAS TO COME OUT.
  • 27
    Paul J Decker NY March 30, 2017 at 05:32
    Many advanced DIY car mechanics feel that an automatic transmission is too intense; they see the valve block with all its passages and assume they have to know what is going on there. Not so. Rebuilding is nothing more than removal, teardown, clean, rebuild with new wear parts and reinstall (sounds a lot like an engine rebuild and it is). The most difficult thing I encountered is the removal of snap rings in very deep places; special tools go a long way. When I rebuilt my first automatic I encountered another problem (mostly due to ignorance). It was in a 1978 full size Blazer. I assumed it was a turbo 350, quite standard in the day so I purchased a rebuild kit for such. Upon tear down, I noticed there were more plates in one of the clutches than in the rebuild kit but I did nothing about it. Put it all together and while it worked, it took some time to engage in one of the selected positions. Later on I found out that GM made an experimental transmission called the Turbo 375. Guess what? It had an extra set of plates and was only used in one application---a 1978 Blazer.
  • 28
    Chris Niagara Region, Canada March 30, 2017 at 06:40
    ...if only it were done that fast...
  • 29
    Larry Wilson Michigan March 30, 2017 at 06:43
    As a retired trans tech I can say this video is cool. But these older transmissions are easy, Just make sure you follow a service manual, & do air checks to make sure all clutch packs & seals work properly as you are re-assembling your trans. Keep your work area very clean.The last thing you want is to have it not work properly.
  • 30
    Chris J Raleigh, NC March 30, 2017 at 08:20
    You can see how complicated an automatic transmission is! I "rebuilt" the Torqueflite from my Challenger and it looked really shiny and pretty when I was finished. Now I can go into reverse and first. Just don't try to get her into second or third...
  • 31
    Greg Edwards Andover, Mn March 30, 2017 at 08:37
    That is one ugly handful of sludge in the pan! With a good manual, and usually a specialty tool or two, this is something that is easier than most think it is. Although they look to be a million parts if spread all around, usually breaks down to half a dozen main assemblies.
  • 32
    Steve R. Boulder CO March 30, 2017 at 09:23
    That's a lot of work! I had no idea and older automatic transmission was so complicated. That's a lot of expertise to be able to disassemble reassemble without messing up. WoW!
  • 33
    Rick O. Elephant Butte, NM March 30, 2017 at 11:04
    After reading the comments I just want to reiterate, when I started this video I expected I might learn a little something. Unfortunately that is not possible at this speed. An annoying joke.
  • 34
    Brian Phoenix Napa, Ca. March 30, 2017 at 12:06
    Great video, but keeping everything super clean is very important! I always clean everything a second time before assembly!
  • 35
    Daniel Filice Burbank, CA March 30, 2017 at 12:26
    Just think how many DIY mechanics have started a tranny rebuild on their car and gave up, stranding their car in their yard or garage? Not something you want to try at home.
  • 36
    Andy A. Denver, Co. March 31, 2017 at 14:44
    WOW!
  • 37
    Doc B West Virginia March 31, 2017 at 14:45
    I'm running a powerglide in my '60 Belair with a 327 3-duce. I asked a trans guy about rebuilding it. He said is it working? I, of course said yes but I do have a few leaks, and would like a filter change. He said, if it's working, leave it alone lol. Don't mess with it!!!
  • 38
    Michael Kingsville, Ontario March 31, 2017 at 07:33
    Wow! That was a lot faster than I can do mine... :) Excellent video
  • 39
    Kevin western NY April 3, 2017 at 01:05
    Under 5 minutes is a very good time, but what's his time when blind folded and has one arm tied behind his back? Just sayin.'
  • 40
    BOB Eastern PA April 6, 2017 at 00:34
    Anyone know of an O.D. kit for one of these BW "2 speed" units???
  • 41
    Phil Chicagoland April 7, 2017 at 16:23
    What is the actual time lapse to complete this transmission rebuild?

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