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Seized Transmission?

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Cdykstra View Drop Down
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    Posted: 21 Sep. 2022 at 4:56am
Hey All! I've been lurking here for a minute, and coincidently, everything I know about these jeeps I learned here, but it's time I register and make a post. 

I'm having a little issue with mine and I'm hoping someone can either confirm my suspicions or tell me I'm wrong before I break open the transmission.  

Skip to the last paragraph if you do not care about the back story / history of the jeep. 

The jeep is a 47, and a project that spiraled out of control. I got it for free, and for free, you might imagine the condition it was in. Wooden windshield frame and half cab (with glass iut of a double wide front and rear), doors made of foam board insulation and alluminum angle, and the body was patched poorly at least 4 times with just sheet metal riveted or screwed over the original, but still rusted beyond any integrity and almost falling off. The frame was worse yet: random chunks of steel bolted and welded on to the point I couldn't even find original frame underneath, and alas, with all that repair, it was still cracked. However. Despite all that, it started right up and would drive with all of its gears. The clutch was horribly out of adjustment, only the rear brakes were hooked up, and it leaked more a quart of oil in 5 minutes out of the oil pan gasket. But it has a functional plow running off a hy-lo belt drive pump, and it did operate. Also included was the pto and rear gearbox; more on that later.  

I did not seek this nightmare out, it was merely an accident I ended up with it. My father and law found it for sale a year ago, told me about it, I declined to buy it then, but 8 months later, my father in law tells me a guy he knows bought it, let it sit the whole time and now doesn't want to look at it, come with a trailer and it's free. I still wasn't going to get it BUT, the wife thought it was cute so here we are. Our plan was to use it more or less as a golf cart around our property and let my wife practice her welding skills on it. Can't hurt it right?

Fast forward to 3 weeks ago, I was perusing the web looking for a windshield frame (I just wanted something that wouldn't kill me if I hit a low hanging branch) and I stumbled across an entire steel body, plus a soft top and door set for a price that was incredibly stupid to pass up. So I went and got it. Realized I couldn't take this super nice body and put it on my twisted and broken frame in good conscious. So I found a guy with an m38 frame and a bunch of other miscellaneous parts I needed. I had always kindve envisioned procuring the PTO driveshaft and using my jeep as a little tractor around the yard, but it dawned on me that it was probably more useful to someone that likes these jeeps more than I do, so I traded it away for the frame and parts. Brought the frame home, patched a small section and dropped the body on. And that long-winded backstop brings me to my current issue. 

When I parked the jeep 3 weeks ago to cut the body off, I drove it to where it sat. No issues. Now, the transmission is totally locked up. It's stuck in first gear. No amount of force by hand will rotate it and the shifter absolutely will not budge. I disconnected it from the engine to confirm the engine wasn't locked, and the transfer case will engage and spin freely in nuetral, so I'm 80 percent sure its not that. I have not completely isolated it out of the equation. That's my next step. Tonight, I did remove the shifter tower, and had to disassemble that and give it love. On its own it would barely slide, but a little magic to the rails and that operates like butter, but when bolted back to the trans, it's still as stuck as can be. Upon opening the trans, I saw that it was 90 percent water and 8 percent mud. MAYBE 2 percent of the fluid in the bottom was actual trans fluid. My gears are also showing rest specs on them, from the top side. My fear is that the gears have a rust build up somewhere and seized together. So the question, has anyone experienced anything like this, or does anyone have any better thoughts before I start pulling apart a transmission. I've spent the last 20 years working on cars and have done my best to never have to rebuild a transmission. I just dont want to, and REALLY don't want this jeep to be my first. 
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oldtime View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote oldtime Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Sep. 2022 at 6:03am
 Welcome…..
Most certainly “this will” be your first.
Learn to love that fact since it will be repeated on many levels as you begin to form a bond with your tired old Willys.


Edited by oldtime - 21 Sep. 2022 at 6:08am
Currently building my final F-134 powered 3B .
T98-A Rock Crawler using exclusive factory parts and Approved Special Equipment from the Willys Motors era (1953-1963)
Zero aftermarket parts

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Agas46cj Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Sep. 2022 at 6:59am
It’s an incredibly easy transmission to rebuild. It was my first transmission rebuild. Get your parts and rebuild kit from Novak and watch the video on rebuild several times and have it available on your phone or computer when you do. I found the most difficult bit was getting the counter cluster in place with its thrust washers, but even that wasn’t bad. I found it to be easier than any engine or axle I’ve ever rebuilt and I’ve done many of them.

Have you checked to make sure it’s not in 2 gears? If it slipped into 2 gears due to gunk or a bad top cover that would bind it up. With the cover off make sure the synchronizer slider is midway between the 2 helical cut gears and the straight cut slider gear is centered in the space of the cluster gear below it. Then it will be in neutral and should be able to make sure everything spins as it should.   


Edited by Agas46cj - 21 Sep. 2022 at 9:32am
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Tom in RI View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tom in RI Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Sep. 2022 at 9:03am
Good story and welcome!
The transmission is an easy rebuild and fun to do especially if you already have it out to move it from one frame to the other.
But, I'll go against the grain here. 
It sounds like you are building a  yard tractor and there are lots of things that may or may not need repair.  If your T90 was full of water there is a good chance you'll need replacement gears/parts etc. to make it perfect.  Your budget will need to make the decisions for you.
Since you won't be trying to hit new speed records over the road, pitted, noisy gears and bearings may not be a problem and the low miles you will put on it may let them last a while so you or your wife iron out other items.
What about flushing the transmission (and transfer case) with diesel (or Kerosene or your favorite concoction).  Then over filling it with automatic transmission fluid and trying a long soak to get gunk and rust free.  That may let you free the transmission to spin again.  If it does, jack the rear axle, run the jeep in gear so everything is spinning and loosening, stop, drain, refill with your favorite light oil concoction of ATF or Kero or diesel, flush then put GL4 oil back in and drive it around.
Don't forget the transfer case - and your transfer case seals will probably leak at the driveshaft so dont overfill it.    
I did this to my GPW 40 years ago and used it for about 10 years before I had the time and money to do it right and fix other things on the jeep that were more critical.  All these years later, I am planning to refresh it again (popping out of gear) at some point.  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Cdykstra Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Sep. 2022 at 6:24pm
Thanks for the replies! 

Since posting, I've been soaking the internals with PB blaster and working at it a few minutes every few hours. I was actually able to get it to spin again. I do believe it is stuck in first gear, but it will rotate mostly freely. At this point it requires a small prybar on the transfer case output to spin. If I were to place the transfer case in nuetral, should I be able to spin the trans by just grabbing the front input shaft, or will it always have too much resistance to do so. 

I believe I'll try soaking it like Tom suggested before committing to a rebuild. He nailed it on the head in regards to the jeeps actual usage and drivesbility requirements; I never intend to put a license plate on it, and my yard doesn't even accommodate speeds over second gear (high range). The speedometer never worked, but I've really only ever gotten it fast enough to use half of second gear in high. If that makes sense. That's all it needs to do. 

Attached is what it currently looks like if anyone is a photo person. 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Bill2A Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Sep. 2022 at 8:49pm
Along with the rust blaster I would try some mechanical rust removal with a dental pick, exacto, wire brush, etc.
Tom's idea of soaking it also sounds somewhat promising.
I expect that it might work enough around the yard, but never really be right until it gets rebuilt.
Even if you do rebuild it, having everything freed up will help get it apart.

I also agree that this is the best time to do a rebuild.
1946 CJ2A 14098
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drm101 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Sep. 2022 at 7:55am
Ours looked like that when I first bought it. I'm sure you can clean as much gunk out as possible and fill it up with clean fluid and run it, but I also agree with others that while it's out, why not rebuild it. One less thing to do in the future, and there will be a future. 
It always starts with driving it around the yard, and then you get attached, and your wife likes it, and before long you'll want to drive it on the road and you'll have to pull that trans again later and rebuild it properly. 
Where are you in MI? We are in Clarkston. 
Dean
'47 CJ2A "Mud Hen"
The less the Power the More the Force
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote duffer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Sep. 2022 at 10:46am
Soooo, what likely happened is that as long as that "cab" was in place, your transmission was fine.  But the minute you pulled it, the transmission was exposed to the weather and those shift towers, unless swapped out for M38 or M38A1 covers, are not waterproof.  It doesn't look to me like long term exposure which makes a considerably more messy gear set.

For your use, if you can free it up and flush as above posts, I would just use it.  That said, with a new tub and M38 frame, I would be inclined to rebuild it so it matches the rest and, at some point, you may actually want to use it off the property.
1955 3B: 441sbc,AGE 4 speed transmission, Teralow D18w/Warn OD, 4.11:1 D44's/ARB's, glass tub & fenders, aluminum hood/grill, 8274, York OBA, Premier Power Welder; 67 CJ5: 225,T86AA, D18, 4.88's, OD
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Cdykstra Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Sep. 2022 at 7:53pm
Originally posted by drm101 drm101 wrote:

Ours looked like that when I first bought it. I'm sure you can clean as much gunk out as possible and fill it up with clean fluid and run it, but I also agree with others that while it's out, why not rebuild it. One less thing to do in the future, and there will be a future. 
It always starts with driving it around the yard, and then you get attached, and your wife likes it, and before long you'll want to drive it on the road and you'll have to pull that trans again later and rebuild it properly. 
Where are you in MI? We are in Clarkston. 

Quite honestly I hope you're wrong about getting attached. Lol. But where I'm at, everything I go to is less than a 5 minute walk or a 30 minute drive on highway. I dont ever forsee myself wanting to take the jeep for a cruise as I've got other "weekend warrior" type vehicles for that (I have too many of those if im being honest with myself) 
I'm a bit north of Grand rapids.


Originally posted by duffer duffer wrote:

Soooo, what likely happened is that as long as that "cab" was in place, your transmission was fine.  But the minute you pulled it, the transmission was exposed to the weather and those shift towers, unless swapped out for M38 or M38A1 covers, are not waterproof.  It doesn't look to me like long term exposure which makes a considerably more messy gear set.

For your use, if you can free it up and flush as above posts, I would just use it.  That said, with a new tub and M38 frame, I would be inclined to rebuild it so it matches the rest and, at some point, you may actually want to use it off the property.

That's what I was assuming happened as well. Seems to be horrible timing though, as in all reality, due to how much of the body was missing, the shift tower was exposed all the same with or without the body. My trans tunnel was pretty much gone. 

I really hope to avoid a rebuild at this time. While I understand all of you are correct in this being the right time to rebuild it, this project was only supposed to last a week, and had the trans not seized up, it would have only lasted a week. Everything else went according to schedule. But currently I've got other projects on my plate that are really more important. I just want it out of my shop so I can continue on with the rest of my life. Lol 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote cpt logger Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Sep. 2022 at 12:05am
Whatever you do, figure out a way to protect the shifting canes from the weather. There is no need to make this worse.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jpoole Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Sep. 2022 at 8:36am
From the one picture shown and your use case I'd definitely clean what I can and then run it with one or two pretty quick trans/transfer oil changes to get the chunks out.  You can rebuild it later if it's making a lot of noise, won't stay in 2nd gear, etc.  Based on my experience with these it will likely maintain current functionality for years, and may even improve, if you keep good lube in it and don't run it on long drives which are what have typically triggered degradation in my Willys transmissions.

There are likely better options for keeping the water out and possibly cheap, off-the-shelf solutions, but I've had luck with using:
  -a section of motorcycle tube, a hose clamp and a dab of butyl

Install:
-slide the tube onto the shifter cane just above the shift tower
-fold/wrap the lower end of the tube pretty tight around the cane
-put a dab of butyl between the cane and the seam to keep water from seeping in there
-clamp the lower end of the tube segment to the cane with your hose clamp
-flip the tube inside out and slide it down over shift tower

Sun will degrade the tube rubber pretty quickly so you can create a sun cover that slides over the tube out of cloth (sunbrella is a good option if you have a scrap piece around, or use whatever is on the seats so it matches).  This isn't the fanciest option but is quick/easy if you have the materials around and depending on how you protect it from the sun can look nice and last years. 

I'll add that I used a similar sealing approach for years on the through-deck mast on one of my sailboats.  The relatively expensive off-the-shelf seals started leaking pretty quickly and I got tired of replacing them.  Motorcycle tube, butyl, large clamps and a sun cover was good for years on that boat.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Cdykstra Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Sep. 2022 at 10:07am
Am I correct in thinking the biggest entry point for moisture on the shifter is right on top where the can itself protrudes from the body? Seems to me every other part of it should be sealed up when installed. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Bob W Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Sep. 2022 at 12:22pm
A properly installed M38 shifter boot will keep rain water out of the transmission.
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