Chevy Tri Five Forum banner
1 - 19 of 19 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,532 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
There's probably very few tri-fivers this would be of interest to, but...

As many are aware, the Turboglide was not well received in '57. While it's incredibly smooth, there were reports of a fair number of problems with them.

While searching for some other stuff, I came across this factory service bulletin that describes recommended upgrades to the '57-58 Turboglide. Note the imperative wording of this bulletin.

If you happen to have a Turboglide, it might be worthwhile to check whether these upgrades were done when you have it apart.
 

Attachments

·
Administrator & Tech Articles
Joined
·
54,216 Posts
Thanks SBG...Added it to my library
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,532 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I`ve heard good and bad mostly good if they were driven normally, if you tried to gear shift them hard they would breakdown but overall a great transmission when produced.
Much of the problem was due to operator error/abuse.

The Turboglide GR/HR range (grade retarder/hill retarder) was intended for "downshifting" when going down steep hills. Unlike other transmissions, it didn't really downshift - it created turbulence in the torque converter, which ultimately dissipated the excess momentum as heat.

This is completely different than the '50-52 Powerglides, which never actually downshifted into Low. They did funky things with the torque converter stators to simulate Low when starting out. If you were climbing a steep hill and needed extra power, you had to manually put it in Low. 1952 Chevy Owner's Manual

So, someone who traded in a '52 Chevy with PG on a '57 with Turboglide would be in the habit of manually downshifting when going up a steep hill. Oops.

A long time friend who's a bit older than me remembers people driving Turboglides as daily drivers. Some people thought it was really a Low range. He said some people thought "GR" stood for "great racing!". They'd put the tranny in GR - thinking it was like Low on a PG - and stomp on the gas. As I mentioned above, the actual way the GR/HR works, that's a recipe for disaster.

All that being said - I drove a low mileage '57 with TG that was up for sale in the mid 1990s. I must say it was the smoothest shifting automatic I'd ever driven. It didn't really shift - it just sort of transitioned to the next range. Very nice and smooth. But, I was too nervous about owning a TG to buy it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
821 Posts
Much of the problem was due to operator error/abuse.

The Turboglide GR/HR range (grade retarder/hill retarder) was intended for "downshifting" when going down steep hills. Unlike other transmissions, it didn't really downshift - it created turbulence in the torque converter, which ultimately dissipated the excess momentum as heat.

This is completely different than the '50-52 Powerglides, which never actually downshifted into Low. They did funky things with the torque converter stators to simulate Low when starting out. If you were climbing a steep hill and needed extra power, you had to manually put it in Low. 1952 Chevy Owner's Manual

So, someone who traded in a '52 Chevy with PG on a '57 with Turboglide would be in the habit of manually downshifting when going up a steep hill. Oops.

A long time friend who's a bit older than me remembers people driving Turboglides as daily drivers. Some people thought it was really a Low range. He said some people thought "GR" stood for "great racing!". They'd put the tranny in GR - thinking it was like Low on a PG - and stomp on the gas. As I mentioned above, the actual way the GR/HR works, that's a recipe for disaster.
My '57 Owners Manual first edition shows the shift gate window below the speedometer as HR and my third edition shows GR.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,532 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
There is ONLY one upgrade for ANY automatic transmission-------------------------REMOVE IT AND THROW IT IN THE RIVER!!!!!!!
Come on guys - I'm trying to be helpful and share information that might be useful.

Granted, there are very few '57-up Chevys still running around on Turboglides. But, those that are might find this info useful.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,277 Posts
I purchased a Surf Green Bel Air Hardtop from the original owner in 1976. It had the Turboglide, and I' m sure the owner knew the trans wasn't long for the world. Luckily, there was a local guy who loved turboglides and I took it to him, but he told me to find a 59-61 turboglide and he would use the 2 to make one. He only used the tail housing and shaft out of the 57 trans, and a piece out of the torque converter. The rest was 59, with all plates clutches, no cone clutches, a reinforced case with more spokes in the converter hub(5 instead of 3) but he drilled the case which had the pads for the trans mounts, which also happen to be stick motor mounts. The original trans had over 80K on it and the rebuilt trans got about the same amount of miles, being driven around town by my wife. The whole trans is aluminum so it was a lot lighter than the powerglide.
Wheel Tire Car Vehicle Land vehicle
 

·
Registered
🐔County, TN. 55 Bel Air Sport Coupe
Joined
·
10,015 Posts
All that being said - I drove a low mileage '57 with TG that was up for sale in the mid 1990s. I must say it was the smoothest shifting automatic I'd ever driven. It didn't really shift - it just sort of transitioned to the next range.
That tells me that the clutches slip a lot when it shifts.
As a kid, a friend bought some big boat with a PG and it took some major slipping of the clutches to get it moving when it was cold. Once it got warmed up a little it worked fine, but it wasn't long until he lost 1st gear.
Two speeds just never made sense to me. What were the advantages of the PG? Lower cost?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,532 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
That tells me that the clutches slip a lot when it shifts.
As a kid, a friend bought some big boat with a PG and it took some major slipping of the clutches to get it moving when it was cold. Once it got warmed up a little it worked fine, but it wasn't long until he lost 1st gear.
Two speeds just never made sense to me. What were the advantages of the PG? Lower cost?
A Turboglide doesn't shift in the traditional sense. For a description of how it works, see T-O-P-58-S&M-6

The history of automatics is a little odd. GM produced the first commercially successful automatic transmission - the HydraMatic - beginning in 1938. It was a 4 speed automatic. GM used it in all their makes except Buick and Chevrolet. They even sold it to some of their competitors.

Buick went their own way with the Dynaflow. I've heard it referred to as the "Dynaflop". If you don't like Powerglides, you definitely won't like Dynaflows.

The Powerglide is a much simpler transmission than the HydraMatic, and therefore cheaper to build. Remember - Chevy was the lowest price car in the GM lineup as well as the highest volume. Both were considerations.

Interestingly, the tri-five trucks used the HydraMatic (both Chevy and GMC). The big trucks used the PowerMatic, a heavy duty version of the HydraMatic.

Powerglides don't slip their clutches to get going. Drive uses a clutch pack, and low uses a band. Neither is designed to slip to get going - that's the job of the torque converter. If the low band was slipping when cold, it was either out of adjustment or worn out.

IMO, Chevy held on to the Powerglide for way too long. They brought out the aluminum case PG in 1962 with the 327, and 1963 for all engines. I had a friend with a 1972 Chevelle with a PG, and a girlfriend with a 1973 Vega with a PG. I guess GM figured they hadn't milked the aluminum PG long enough to get their return on investment - I don't know. But it made no sense to me why cars built in the '70s had a PG.

IMO, Chevy should have skipped the aluminum PG entirely, and gone straight to the THM350. You could get a Ford or Plymouth with a 3 speed automatic (C4/C6 and Torqueflite) - why not a Chevy?
 

·
Registered
🐔County, TN. 55 Bel Air Sport Coupe
Joined
·
10,015 Posts
A Turboglide doesn't shift in the traditional sense. For a description of how it works, see T-O-P-58-S&M-6

The history of automatics is a little odd. GM produced the first commercially successful automatic transmission - the HydraMatic - beginning in 1938. It was a 4 speed automatic. GM used it in all their makes except Buick and Chevrolet. They even sold it to some of their competitors.

Buick went their own way with the Dynaflow. I've heard it referred to as the "Dynaflop". If you don't like Powerglides, you definitely won't like Dynaflows.

The Powerglide is a much simpler transmission than the HydraMatic, and therefore cheaper to build. Remember - Chevy was the lowest price car in the GM lineup as well as the highest volume. Both were considerations.

Interestingly, the tri-five trucks used the HydraMatic (both Chevy and GMC). The big trucks used the PowerMatic, a heavy duty version of the HydraMatic.

Powerglides don't slip their clutches to get going. Drive uses a clutch pack, and low uses a band. Neither is designed to slip to get going - that's the job of the torque converter. If the low band was slipping when cold, it was either out of adjustment or worn out.

IMO, Chevy held on to the Powerglide for way too long. They brought out the aluminum case PG in 1962 with the 327, and 1963 for all engines. I had a friend with a 1972 Chevelle with a PG, and a girlfriend with a 1973 Vega with a PG. I guess GM figured they hadn't milked the aluminum PG long enough to get their return on investment - I don't know. But it made no sense to me why cars built in the '70s had a PG.

IMO, Chevy should have skipped the aluminum PG entirely, and gone straight to the THM350. You could get a Ford or Plymouth with a 3 speed automatic (C4/C6 and Torqueflite) - why not a Chevy?
Well I'll be darned, I've been completely clueless about them as long as I've ever known they existed! Maybe someone told me that they were two speeds, power and drive? That's why I really couldn't understand why they are used in racing. It's beginning to make sense now. Thanks for the link to the tutorial! Always something new about something so old.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,532 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
The aluminum Powerglide was really cheap to build and extremely reliable. That's why they stuck with it.
I'm not arguing that point. What I'm saying is - by 1964, you could buy a Ford with a 3 speed C-4 or a Plymouth with a 3 speed TorqueFlite. A 2 speed automatic was simply not keeping up with the competition.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,532 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Oh my, how did they even sell a low priced car in the mid 60's? They kept up fine.
I started this thread to provide useful information to a very small group of tri-fivers who are still running the Turboglide. Theirs can be a tough situation. Sharing a bit of information I found buried in my personal stack of documentation seemed like the right thing to do.

I am happy to explain the few nuances I understand, such as pointing Tony to info on how a Turboglide works. However, I am not interested in chasing the bait thrown out by trolls. So, do us all a favor and take it somewhere else.
 
1 - 19 of 19 Posts
Top