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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello (am new to corral.net)

I own a 1989 Mustang GT Convertible (see picture attached). It has been garage kept it's whole life. I aquired the mustang from my grandparents about 2 years ago. It was my grandfather's car. He died of alzhiemers in 2009 and it sat from then until 2019 whenever my grandmother gifted it to me. From then, I began to drive it every now and then just on a pleasant cruise. Whenever I first drove it, the shifting was very... unnatural is what I will say. It ended up being that the TV cable bushing fell off. I replaced it with a new metal one and it shifted much better and was drivable once more. Well, as long as I keep it in Drive and not Overdrive. In drive the transmission is perfect and shifts amazing but accelerated sluggishly compared to overdrive; however when in overdrive, the transmission wants to maintain 3-4k RPM. at all times. The transmission also does not shift into fourth gear even at 5,500 RPM. and I do not know if both this and it only wanting to drive at 3-4k RPM. correlate with one another, but it frightens me as after driving in overdrive for extended periods of time, the car begins to overheat.

Thank you for taking your time to read this! Any and all input and help is very much appreciated!
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Did you mess with the tv pressure at all when you installed the new bushing? When it shifts does it shift rough? Hopefully it’s not an internal issue.
Whenever I installed the TV cable I did put slight pressure on it to where it wasn't completely loose but was snug. I have gone and tried increasing it, decreasing it (not below 0, though) and it changes how it shifts in drive but when the gear selector is in overdrive it seems the same.

Whenever it shifts it shifts very, very smooth. You don't feel or hear anything at all through the car and the only way you can tell it shifted is to look at the tach, but that is only with cruising. When flooring it and accelerating hard, it shifts, well I dont want to say rough but it is VERY noticable and jerks the car a bit. I assume this is normal, but I could be wrong.

Also another thing I should mention is that in Drive, if you floor it the tranny will downshift and accelerate then shift again at the end of the powerband, but in Overdrive it always stays in the same gear until you either let off of the gas completely and it downshifts, or if you are at nearly 5k rpm, at which it upshifts.

Edit: Accidentally made the reply inside of a quote
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Also I should probably mention that I changed the transmission fluid and filter recently. The car has ~50,000 Miles and had never had the transmission fluid changed before. The old fluid was dark brown and smelled horrific and I had to lay in it and couldn't get the smell out of my hair for around a month...

Lol but in all seriousness there was a thin coat of metal shavings lining the bottom of the pan but not enough to where I would think it would indicate extreme wear in the internals of the transmission. Every time I park it I always check over the fluids (radiator fluid whenever it cools down. Have made that mistake before.) and they all look perfect. The tranny fluid is a little brown but the red hue is very visible so I believe it is just residue of the old fluid.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Messing with the TV cable without using a pressure gauge to set the correct pressure is a quick way to ruin the clutches in the trans. My suggestion is get the required tools and follow the correct procedure for setting the TV cable correctly. Having the bushing missing could have took out the trans. A missing bushing would most likely reduce pressure and then the clutches would start slipping. Slipping destroys the clutches. The cable is supposed to have some slack at closed throttle.

Whenever I put it back on I left it at the same place that it was before and did not move the notch. I had a pressure gauge and all the right attachments for it but it broke right before I went to use it...

But after that I put a little pressure on it because it seemed to be shifting really late and that fixed everything, in drive at least. In overdrive the tv cable does nothing. It drove the same with it on and off but just in overdrive. It is like the engine is forcing the trans to shift at the limiter.

So should I get a new vacuum gauge and set it correctly? And would the damage to my trans already be catastrophic if it has been far off for this long? I didn't think I would have 4th since the cable fell off but all 3 gears (4th/od not tested but wont engage) in overdrive act wierd but the 3 in drive act fine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Shifting late would indicate too much pressure. Shifting early would indicate too little pressure.
Sorry I misspoke (mistyped?)

It was shifting very late, like near the limiter, and that was how the cable was before any adjustments. I decreased the pressure little by little until it felt like it shifted good (in drive). In drive it will shift at around 3500 while cruising and not on the gas and around 4500-5000 when flooring it. In overdrive it just resides at 3000-3500 when maintaining a constant speed and only shifts at 5500-6000
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
A little bit of tension on the tv cable is fine, too little is not because it causes excessive slippage and leads to band failure. A little bit of material is normal but if it was the whole bottom of the pan I think that’s a little excessive. Can you engage 4th at all? Will it catch or freewheel? Your od band could be on its way out. Does it slip in 2nd?
The trans doesnt slip in any gears and is perfect in 2nd. You can floor it, cruise in it, or launch in it and there is no slippage.

With 4th I have only pushed it to shift hard once and i was on the limiter. Sorry i dont understand what freewheel means but it doesnt engage or try to and it just feels like the car is no longer accelerating at all, which is what i assume is the end of powerband
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I had a very good video of where the Mustang sat for about 15 years that i took about 3 years ago on my iphone 8 (which I am using currently, actually) but that singular video is the only one that is corrupted on my entire phone... what are the odds

I will work on recovering that, but in the meantime i will just describe this to you. The garage is a 3.5 car garage without insulation or hvac; however it is covered with a roof and has a concrete floor. The car was protected from all weather except for temperature and the tires even held good pressure for all 15 years, but could temperature alone cause problems with the tranny?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Also, one more thing that I forgot to mention is that in drive the temperature stays at around 200-210, but when in overdrive the temp keeps rising and stops near 255-260.

And to clarify, when I say drive I mean where the gear selector is in D (drive), and by overdrive i mean when the gear selector is in (overdrive), sorry for any confusion.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
How are you verifying temp? Have you dropped the valve body? It might be a good idea to open it up to make sure there’s no crap in it.

Also, that shift point with low throttle input is a little high.

Freewheeling is like pushing the clutch in and revving. It sounds like you don’t have od for whatever reason. Without going into the transmission I think opening the valve body is your best bet.
To verify the temp I am looking at the temp gauge and get a rough estimate of the temp by looking at the notches. Its hard to just look and know so I am most likely off in my estimates, but it gets 1 notch before 270 degrees :|

Whenever I changed the fluid and filter for the trans, funnily enough a few bolts for the valve body had came out and were in the pan... The trans had never been opened before so i dont know how it happened, but I did end up dropping it and it is clean. I went through all of the bottom of the trans and torqued all the bolts to Ford specification.

And what rpm should it be shifting at with low throttle input? I took it out today and drove probably 15 miles and when in overdrive it was doing what it has been doing, but when I was in drive I made sure to take note of what rpm it shifted at. For 1-2, it shifted at around 2,500 rpm, and for 2-3 it shifted at around 3,000. That rpm seems to be what it likes to shift at in drive, but then I did check the shift points in overdrive and it was shifting from 1-2 at around 4,500 and almost never shifted into 3rd except at around 5,250-5,500. Just to clarify this was me city cruising on streets and not on highways, though I did give it some gas a few times and overdrive was the same with shifting and drive shifted at the end of the powerband at like 3500-4000 and downshifted when flooring it in 2nd at low speeds like it should, so maybe just a problem with overdrive within the trans??? But I would imagine that it would only effect the overdrive gear and not overdrive on the gear selector.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
You’re trans is toast, more specifically the over drive band. Soon you will loose 3rd gear as well. When you loose pressure on an AOD, it takes out the OD within a few miles. Third will hold for awhile, but small parties of burnt clutch material will soon clog the governor filter and small passages in the valve body if they haven’t already, changing fluid won’t help. No trans fluid should ever be brown or smell bad no mater how many miles unless you fried clutches.
What is the governor filter in the AOD?

Also I have put probably 50 miles on it since the trans fluid and filter change, how many more would it be before I lost 3rd? I took it out today and 3rd feels strong and doesnt slip or feel wierd at all. It shifts in and out smoothly and at the appropriate speeds/rpm, but could third still go out soon?
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
How are you verifying temp? Have you dropped the valve body? It might be a good idea to open it up to make sure there’s no crap in it.

Also, that shift point with low throttle input is a little high.

Freewheeling is like pushing the clutch in and revving. It sounds like you don’t have od for whatever reason. Without going into the transmission I think opening the valve body is your best bet.
Sorry I forgot to address the last paragraph.

When at high rpm in 3rd in overdrive on the gear selector, it does feel as though the clutch is pushed in and it is just revving- well its an AOD so more accurately like it is in neutral and is just revving. Im hoping to get it out on the highway and try 4th once more in a few days, will update you when I do. I know a really flat and long highway that is empty most of the time right next to me... I like to call it the American Autobahn lol
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
That AOD needs some help. You have done some correct things with fluid, filter, and TV bushing. But the bushing gone is likely to be why it has no OD. So forget 4th gear for now, the shift timing is the big deal, and that is probably from debris in the VB, or the governor or its passages. The governor on the tail shaft has great affect on shift rpm's.

The gauge in the dash is for water temp, not ATF. 270* is way high for the engine temp. Forget OD for now, if you don't fix the shifting issues, the other gears will be lost and then the trans must come out. So drive it easy, stay out of the gas, WOT is the fastest way to ruin it if there is any slippage of any kind.
Sorry I did mean engine temp I didnt realize it sounded like I was saying trans temp.

Would it be fine if I just kept it in drive and not overdrive? Drive is perfect but overdrive just likes to cruise at high rpm and generally just shifts high. There isnt any slippage in drive or overdrive until you try and get into 4th/overdrive gear and it just freewheels as someone described above.

Also in the next few weeks I am going to be doing a full resto on the car which is primarily cosmetic. Such as upholstry, scratches, etc., but I am also hoping to get a 2 or 4 post lift soon so pulling the trans is not going to be that difficult in theory. I want to pull it anyways as I belive the od band is smoked but if 4th actually is still somehow hanging on then I may not pull it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #22 ·
A stock AOD car, if you drive it at a constant 30mph, should be in 3rd gear, and with very little gas it should shift easily into 2nd. It shouldn't take much pedal to make it downshift.

You can adjust the TV cable manually, but never do it by "loosening" the cable(adding slack to it). Shortening the cable with the adjustment raises the TV pressure, which firms the shifting and raises the shift rpm slightly. You can shorten/firm the TV cable(shifts) as you like until it becomes too harsh for you. But that will not damage the trans, going the other way is like having no bushing, that will kill it.

If you take that adjustment block loose(remove the tiny plastic locking pin from it), you better have first marked the plastic cable carefully so you know where it began. It's a decent idea to adjust the cable shorter by a good 1/8" or more to begin. But if it has already been altered, just know it may need more to get it back to the proper psi range.

The proper TV pressure is about 33psi with the proper checking tool installed(it pulls the cable tighter while at idle, for the test). You can replicate that tool with a simple "X" bit, though that is hard to hold in place between the cable end and the housing etc. I measured that about 24 years ago with the proper tool that I used on my first 91 Mark VII. The proper tool just slips over the cable after you pull the end(TB opened). But you need a pressure gauge on the TV port to check that.
When I cruise at 30, it likes to stay in what i believe is 2nd at almost exactly 1k rpm, and when giving it gas it will immediately downshift and take off. It may be third though and I may not be feeling the 2-3 shift.

Also whenever I have manually adjusted the tv cable I have only shortened the cable, and before it had 0 psi at idle (completely centered in the hole for the bushing) and it took about 1/4 inch of shortening it for it to become drivable. I was afraid to adjust it any more, but would you recommend me to try and adjust it more? I dont know much about AOD trannies, th350's are what im used to lol so I dont know much about them/adjusting them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #23 ·
I would bet that at least the VB has to come off again to hunt for more debris, but also the governor might need to be cleaned out.

The 4th/OD gear should be obvious to be working, or not, in OD. The shifting sounds very messed up, so the OD is meaningless until you can get it to shift better in 1st-3rd. If the OD is gone, you will want to rebuild it. But if it turns out to be okay, you might be fine to install a VB kit and various Sonnax parts, plus accumulators etc. The clutches could be okay if the TV cable wasn't off for long, but the seals are very old and a rebuild could still be wise.

I have a 92 Mark VII with just 53k miles, soon I will get the cooling system and steering fixed, to drive it again. I wouldn't trust a low mileage trans that's 30+ years old. I'm swapping to a 4R70W next year at some time, I like the AOD's but they are weaker and not that good when there are issues.
The fluid has become a little nasty again but I believe it is just remnants of the old fluid, but I am probably going to change it again when I resto the car and will clean the vb and the other parts. Also, I am aiming to keep the car 100% original other than some basic stuff like lightbulbs, otherwise I would absolutely put a shift kit and some more stuff in the trans.

The tv cable was on and fell off while I was driving one day because the bushing completely fell apart. After that I believe the cable was only off for a max of 5 miles of driving, so would that be enough to smoke the clutches? I have heard of 4th going in less than that, but also it going at more than 50, so I really dont know what to think of it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #26 ·
The TV cable is an additive pressure source, it must contribute to the line pressure at anything above idle. The setting process is with the throttle opened slightly, by the thickness of the "X" bit holding the TV cable shorter than stock. So it's checked with the TB at idle, and the tool pulling the TV cable tighter by the proper amount.

Typically a stock AOD with a 302 HO engine will shift around 4500rpm, and slightly lower at each higher shift. The HO models had the highest shifting governor(on the tail shaft), it's a tiny counterweight device that affects the shift points. I had a TransGo HD kit in my first Mark VII, and had it shifting at 5600(302 had Edelbrock heads and intake). The 2nd to 3rd shift was at maybe 5200rpm, rarely a little higher.
4500? That sounds really high. I thought the rev limiter on the 5.0 ho was 5,500. For me I once hit the limiter without realizing and it was at about 6,250. If it was cruising at 3-4k and shifting at 4.5k wouldnt it get really hot and overheat? The engine I mean, it overheated yesterday when I cruised at 3-4k for about 10 minutes with some stops, turns, etc. thrown in there.
The TV cable is critical, but more so at high throttle, so a mild cruising with the bushing gone, for a short while, won't burn up the clutches or bands.
Thats good to know, so maybe 4th actually is still there. When the bushing was off I didnt give it a lot of throttle even once.
 

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Discussion Starter · #29 ·
Watch your coolant temps, it's likely the car needs a new thermostat, all the hoses, and maybe a fan clutch and/or fan. Over heating the engine would be worse it if blows a head gasket, don't let it get too hot for very long.
When it began to overheat the past few times I put it in drive and within 2-3 minutes the temp dropped about 40-50 degrees. The plastic fan has some cracks in it but seems structurally sound, but I may replace it anyways. All hoses, the thermostat, radiator, and overflow tank seem to be in good condition so I really dont know why it would be overheating and why it only does so in overdrive. It has never overheated in drive, and, it was even at around 280 in overdrive once until i realized... Luckily didnt crack the heads/block and didnt blow a head hasket. Truly a miracle
 

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Discussion Starter · #31 ·
Drive it lightly until is all goes, and it will go bad. You have clutch debris all throughout the transmission, and also the radiator so it’s dust a s well. You will have to pull the trans and take everything apart to clean. You will never get all the debris out of the radiator as it has already clogged the cooling passages. chances are your converter is all also toast, same issue with debris. AOD’s are not hard to rebuild but do require a few specific tools.
Ford in their infinite wisdom used a plastic ferrule to hold the pressure cable to the throttle body. Overtime the ferrule’s got hot and cracked thus allowing the pressure cable to just sit on the intake manifold. Lots of fried transmissions because of this ferrule.
Its not my daily, its a weekend car to have fun in, so what I hear it to have a lot of fun and blow the tranny since it will go anyways 👍

But yeah my trans fluid it turning black-ish again and smells terrible and the radiator has a layer of black material on top of the fluid after driving for a while. Im assuming that both of these are most likely clutch material? My plastic "ferrule" disintegrated while driving and I replaced it with a metal one that I got off of LMR (Link) How long of driving (very careful driving, not giving it gas at all) would it take to guarantee destruction of the tranny?
 

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Discussion Starter · #34 ·
What. You dont see any transmission fluid when opening the radiator cap. Yes trany fluid does flow through the internal cooler BUT in no way shows up in your coolant. You have cooling system issues if there is a layer of black when you open the rad cap.
I typed that without even remembering about that lol. I dont know why because I have dealt with the tranny cooler lines so much on chevys and have dealt with radiator problems before. I wonder what that black stuff is then? It looks similar to, basically identical to the stuff polluting the tranny fluid. Wierd. Every time I drive it though there is less and less. But yeah I guess I will just pretend I didnt see it and go on with my day, it is probably just what is causing the car to run hot, no biggie
 

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Discussion Starter · #35 ·
I bought my current fox with a bad trans. Guy I bought it from said it had a problem with OD so he only drove 1-3. First thing I did when looking at the car was to open the hood and look at the throttle body and trans cable, sure enough no plastic ferrule. Got the car for $1k less because of that.
I put ~100 miles on the car before 3rd gear started acting up. When I pulled the trans apart it was pretty nasty. The reverse drum was trashed due to excessive heat from the fried OD band. It took awhile to get all the clutch fragments out of everything, especially the valve body. Rebuilt with all upgraded parts and it ran perfect up until I sold it and went with a 4R70W to better suit the engine hp I was making. if you can build a turbo 350, you won’t have any issues rebuilding the AOD.
Did your 1-3 act similar to how mine does when it was about to go bad? And I am going to try and get it up to speed soon on the highway and push it into od, whether it be automatically or me manually trying it. Do you know at about what speed that it shifts into od?
 

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Discussion Starter · #37 ·
ypc0cnz ... first off nice looking foxbody. I am late to the conversation but will put forward my 2 cents and experience with an AOD.

Another option to the TransGo VB kits is a VB from Lentech. A couple features that I really enjoyed. First they reprogram the shift pattern. Your stock shift is P-R-N-OD-D-1. Lentech's is P-R-N-OD/D-2-1. For those that pull it down to first and powershift to accelerate from time to time it eliminates the need to do the 1-D-1 shuffle to get and hold 2nd gear. Much like I assume the TransGo kit does, they speed up the shifts, making them firmer and quicker (less heat generation). Last feature I liked when pushing my car hard - they have a built in lock out of OD at WOT - it will not shift into OD at WOT.

When I installed my Lentech VB in an otherwise 100% stock AOD with 200k on it I followed their instructions for setting up the TV cable and found my shift points were really high. It shifted very firm and I could not get OD until almost 50mph. Then when coasting down it would hard downshift at about 35mph from OD into 3rd. I wanted a more behaved around town shifting manners so I ended up backing it off (through trial and error) to where the connection to the throttle body was essentially aligned with the TV cable bushing, no pull or preload on the cable. That got me nice manners at part throttle yet still 4500-5000 rpm shifts at full throttle.

Above when you say you set the TV cable to get 0 psi, are you talking fluid pressure at the TV Test Port or pull pressure on the TV cable?

The shifting in your car should not be different from D to OD. The only difference is the shifter has now allowed OD to be engaged. Is there any misalignment or out of adjustment of your shifter cable? Maybe you are only going half way into the OD detent in the trans and this is causing your issues. Not sure, just a thought.

Regarding your overheating - are you only getting readings off the factory gauge or have you check actual with a mechanical gauge or infrared gun on rad tank? The factory gauge is known to be inaccurate (but can be considered accurate if verified by some other method). The debris in rad would not likely be trans fluid as your trans would be empty in short order if you had a leak. Besides, the trans line in the rad is only a single tube that connects the two fittings - nothing more. It really doesn't cool the trans fluid very much and is mainly there to warm the fluid on cold days. Adding an aftermarket cooler would be better at controlling the trans fluid heat.

The black gunk in the rad could be someone's "stop leak" material that didn't fully desolve. I would drain and flush the system, check that your fan clutch is working right and no leaks, check that the thermostat is good. Before you drain the system, open the rad and start the car. Let it idle and observe when the coolant draws down in the rad and starts to flow through the tubes into the tank. See if the flow looks good. If not, have the rad cleaned and flushed at a local rad shop.

The nasty fluid after your fluid and filter change could be old fluid that was in the torque converter that didn't get changed. It has now circulated and contaminated your new fluid.

Good luck with the diagnostic and keep us in the loop.
You have a sweet foxbody yourself kind sir!

With the 0 psi, I mean whenever the cable has no tension on it and is not loose with no throttle but is perfectly centered in the hole.

The overheating is me reading it on the factory gauge. I have heard that they are inacurate and I believe mine is off a bit aswell, but whenever it is reading at around 250 on the gauge, then I can smell coolant from inside of the car if the top is down. I can verify that the fan clutch and thermostat are working properly and that stop-leak was never added to the radiator, making the black residue issue even more confusing. The mustang has been a family car its whole life, and it has never had any leaks or had overheated prior to these recent events. I pondered adding some stop leak to the rad to see if there is a coolant leak within the system, but that stuff is expensive right now. $50 per 1/2 quart where i am. I am begining to wonder if it is a blown head gasket between the exhaust valve and coolant port that is allowing carbon/soot to enter the system...
 
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