Author Topic: R154 - acting strange  (Read 579 times)

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Hodgdon Extreme

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R154 - acting strange
« on: Jul 30, 2018, 09:50:38 AM »
I'm hoping some folks more familiar with the R154 can help me out here.

I bought a car with a turbocharged 2JZ-GE. Previous owner had broken the W55 trans and swapped in an R154 he said came from Marlin Crawler. Claim was 5000 miles on the trans. I've not found any evidence of the previous owner lying about anything, and the trans looks brand new - so I believe it was recently redone.

It seems there are 1000 different tailshaft/shifter variants on the R154. Not certain which this one is, but nothing was chopped/welded to make the shifter fit... It has a Ralco shifter installed.

The problems:

Regardless whether engine is running or not, the shifter doesn't go into ANY gear easily. Kinda gives feeling like trying to select gears when the clutch is not fully disengaging - really gotta force it to go. But again, it feels this way engine running or not. Also, I've checked to be sure the clutch is in fact fully disengaging. It is.

Selecting 2nd, 4th and reverse feels particularly vague (engine running or not). Kinda gives feeling like you haven't moved the linkage far enough to have moved the shift rail fully. While the feeling of 1st, 3rd and 5th isn't "sweet", it does provide positive feeling that it actually went in. Not the case with 2nd, 4th and reverse...

Changing up into 4th from 3rd, or changing down into 4th from 5th - you must be VERY deliberate and shift like you really mean it to successfully engage the gear. If you don't, it'll feel like the it went in (as well as it ever does, anyway), but when you re-engage the clutch sometimes you get a grind, other times it'll kick the gear out. Both of these symptoms indicate to me the 3rd/4th dog slider is not fully coupling with 4th gear.

At no time does the transmission grind when attempting to select gears. The only grind I've experienced is upon re-engagement of clutch after *thinking* i'd selected 4th.

When selecting 4th while driving - if you do not immediately attempt to engage 4th (whether changing up or down), it becomes impossible to select.

Example: Say that 60mph in 4th gear = 2500rpm

So you are coasting down a hill at 60mph in neutral... If you blip the throttle to 2500rpm, dab the clutch and attempt to select 4th - it won't go in regardless how much force you put on the stick. I've tried this 20 times and only been successful once. No amount of rev-matching, double clutching or force seems to work. Don't know what i did that one time that made it actually go.

The trans has fresh RedLine oil in it. I've made sure my clutch is fully disengaging. I've ensured the shifter itself is not restricting the internal shift rail's travel. I've ensured the little ball/bushing on the bottom of the shift lever is fully engaging the receiver on the end of the shift rail.

Doesn't seem like a synchronizer thing because I'm experiencing no grinding when trying to select gears. Doesn't seem like a bent/broken shift fork because 2nd, 4th and R all have the vague/undertravel feeling. And if the 3/4 fork was bad - wouldn't I be experiencing 3rd gear strangeness too??

Thoughts on this? I'm all ears!


Snowtoy

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Re: R154 - acting strange
« Reply #1 on: Jul 30, 2018, 10:46:58 AM »
My first guess is it is the Ralco short shifter, read similar reviews with shifting issues.  I would start with replacing the bushing on the bottom of the shifter, to see if that doesn't help, a lot of aftermarket parts are "close to specs" but close often isn't the same, or try to source a stock 154 shifter.
'90 black X-cab mod'd 3.0, 33's/4.88's, rear ARB, custom bumpers, sliders, safari rack, etc.
'91 Blue X-cab 22re, 35's/5.29's,Truetrac front, ARB rear, dual cases, and custom Safari flatbed, bumper, interior.
The money pit '87 Supra resto/mod

Hodgdon Extreme [OP]

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Re: R154 - acting strange
« Reply #2 on: Jul 30, 2018, 02:01:04 PM »
I suspected the shifter myself, which is why I disassemble, inspected and evaluated...

Don't see how the shifter could be causing this...?

It feels like the 1/2 (and 5/R) shift fork is not able to move far enough forward to completely engage the gears.

It *acts* like the 3/4 fork is not able to move far enough forward to fully engage 4th...

Which is why I made sure the shifter itself is not preventing the internal shift rail from completing it's travel. When pulled as deeply as possible into the 4th gate, the shifter is not out of swing travel.

Open to discussion....

Snowtoy

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Re: R154 - acting strange
« Reply #3 on: Jul 30, 2018, 07:31:11 PM »
I suspected the shifter myself, which is why I disassemble, inspected and evaluated...

Don't see how the shifter could be causing this...?

It feels like the 1/2 (and 5/R) shift fork is not able to move far enough forward to completely engage the gears.

It *acts* like the 3/4 fork is not able to move far enough forward to fully engage 4th...

Which is why I made sure the shifter itself is not preventing the internal shift rail from completing it's travel. When pulled as deeply as possible into the 4th gate, the shifter is not out of swing travel.

Open to discussion....

The distance between the base of the shifter and the end relates directly to how far the shift forks move forward and back, if this distance wasn't maintained with the short shifter, the forks wont move as far as they are supposed for the gears to engage.


Researching the Ralco shifter I couldn't find anything for it regarding the an MKIII Supra, just the MKIV, if it was designed for the Wseries, that would explain why the forks don't move far enough.

You might try shifting it into gear, then remove the shifter and see if you can move still move the selected fork more, if you can it would indicate the short shifter isn't designed correctly, if you can't, then that would indicate something with trans.
'90 black X-cab mod'd 3.0, 33's/4.88's, rear ARB, custom bumpers, sliders, safari rack, etc.
'91 Blue X-cab 22re, 35's/5.29's,Truetrac front, ARB rear, dual cases, and custom Safari flatbed, bumper, interior.
The money pit '87 Supra resto/mod

Hodgdon Extreme [OP]

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Re: R154 - acting strange
« Reply #4 on: Jul 31, 2018, 08:05:56 AM »
The distance between the base of the shifter and the end relates directly to how far the shift forks move forward and back, if this distance wasn't maintained with the short shifter, the forks wont move as far as they are supposed for the gears to engage.


Researching the Ralco shifter I couldn't find anything for it regarding the an MKIII Supra, just the MKIV, if it was designed for the Wseries, that would explain why the forks don't move far enough.

You might try shifting it into gear, then remove the shifter and see if you can move still move the selected fork more, if you can it would indicate the short shifter isn't designed correctly, if you can't, then that would indicate something with trans.

Thanks for the reply!

While I agree with your pictorial representation and basic premise; I'd amend it to say:

The distance between the base of the shifter and the end relates directly to how far the SHIFTER IS CAPABLE OF MOVING THE shift forks forward and back, if this distance wasn't maintained with the short shifter, the forks MAY NOT BE ABLE TO move as far as they are supposed for the gears to engage.

My point is that my shifter, even with reduced travel as compared to OEM (which is the nature of ALL short shifters), is not limiting the motion of the internal shift rail; there is something else internal to the trans that is limiting the motion. If I remove the shifter and watch how far it can swing fore/aft, then compare it to how much it swings fore/aft when actually installed; I can see that it has some travel left.

In my case, the shift shaft/fork is coming to a stop before the shifter runs out of travel... Which is why I don't see how my shifter could be causing this.

But, point taken. I have a W55 with a stock shifter in my other car. Tonight I will pull it off and stick it on the R154. I don't expect it to help, but it's easy enough to try that I definitely should. I will report back after I test this.

Pursuant to your second statement about removing shifter while in gear and then trying to manipulate the internal rail more - great idea, but I am unable to remove the shifter unless it is in neutral on account of the size/shape of the hole in my trans tunnel...

Snowtoy

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Re: R154 - acting strange
« Reply #5 on: Jul 31, 2018, 01:12:41 PM »
Quote from: Hodgdon Extreme
In my case, the shift shaft/fork is coming to a stop before the shifter runs out of travel... Which is why I don't see how my shifter could be causing this.

Given Toyota's design, if the forks aren't traveling far enough to engage the gears, there would have to be something blocking the rails in both directions, or the rails being used were not the right ones, which both seem unlikely.


Quote
But, point taken. I have a W55 with a stock shifter in my other car. Tonight I will pull it off and stick it on the R154. I don't expect it to help, but it's easy enough to try that I definitely should. I will report back after I test this.
While you are at it, install the ralco and see how it feels in the W55.

How does it act when you aggressively shifting through the gears, i.e., like you are at the track or pushing it on a twisty road, reviews seem to indicate it works better when driving aggressively than just cruising around town.
'90 black X-cab mod'd 3.0, 33's/4.88's, rear ARB, custom bumpers, sliders, safari rack, etc.
'91 Blue X-cab 22re, 35's/5.29's,Truetrac front, ARB rear, dual cases, and custom Safari flatbed, bumper, interior.
The money pit '87 Supra resto/mod

Hodgdon Extreme [OP]

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Re: R154 - acting strange
« Reply #6 on: Jul 31, 2018, 01:31:48 PM »
While you are at it, install the ralco and see how it feels in the W55.

How does it act when you aggressively shifting through the gears, i.e., like you are at the track or pushing it on a twisty road, reviews seem to indicate it works better when driving aggressively than just cruising around town.

I will indeed try the Ralco on the W55...

While I'm not impressed by the "feel" of the R154 (as compared to every other manual trans I've ever driven... T5, T56, T6060, T10, SR4, 3550, 3650, T45, TKO, etc etc etc), it seems to engage every gear just fine (including 4th) provided you shift it like you really mean it.

If I shift into 4th with authority, it seems to engage ok. It's when I attempt to drive with finesse that 4th either doesn't engage - or partially engages then pops out. However, that makes me question if the shift hub EVER fully engages the dogs on the gear...

The thought of ~400lbft being transferred by a halfway engaged gear makes me sick to my stomach!

Snowtoy

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Re: R154 - acting strange
« Reply #7 on: Jul 31, 2018, 02:11:09 PM »
I will indeed try the Ralco on the W55...

While I'm not impressed by the "feel" of the R154 (as compared to every other manual trans I've ever driven... T5, T56, T6060, T10, SR4, 3550, 3650, T45, TKO, etc etc etc), it seems to engage every gear just fine (including 4th) provided you shift it like you really mean it.

If I shift into 4th with authority, it seems to engage ok. It's when I attempt to drive with finesse that 4th either doesn't engage - or partially engages then pops out. However, that makes me question if the shift hub EVER fully engages the dogs on the gear...

The thought of ~400lbft being transferred by a halfway engaged gear makes me sick to my stomach!

If shifting with authority works in all gears, than it is likely the shift lever itself, as the amount of leverage you have is reduced with both the short shifter and a short throw shifter over the oem one.  Before you swap the shift levers, you might slide something over the ralco that makes it longer, increasing the amount of leverage, and see if it shifts easier.  I wouldn't force it it of doesn't, came across a thread where the lever broke after 2yrs of use while shifting into first to leave from a stop.
'90 black X-cab mod'd 3.0, 33's/4.88's, rear ARB, custom bumpers, sliders, safari rack, etc.
'91 Blue X-cab 22re, 35's/5.29's,Truetrac front, ARB rear, dual cases, and custom Safari flatbed, bumper, interior.
The money pit '87 Supra resto/mod

Hodgdon Extreme [OP]

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Re: R154 - acting strange
« Reply #8 on: Aug 01, 2018, 07:15:37 AM »
Last night, I swapped the shifters. My W55 shifter had been modded, and wouldn't clear the console in my r154 car - so I had to modify the W55 shifter again.

Aside from it being a bit too far back in the car, the shift feel is way way better than with the short shifter. I can feel the engagement of each gear much better than before.

But... 4th gear is still a problem. If you bang into it very firmly, it engages fine. If you are anything less than FIRM, it doesn't engage. It'll feel like it's in, but when you re-engage the clutch - it kicks it out. Once it's actually in 4th, though, it stays in.

In my first post I mentioned that I couldn't hang out in neutral for any length of time prior to going into 4th gear, or else it just wouldn't go in. That's still true, but a proper rev-match gets it to go in fine...just so long as you pull it in FIRMLY.

Also tried the Ralco short shifter on my W55. Really hurt the shift feel, but it had no trouble engaging every gear.



« Last Edit: Aug 01, 2018, 08:47:20 AM by Hodgdon Extreme »

Hodgdon Extreme [OP]

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Re: R154 - acting strange
« Reply #9 on: Aug 01, 2018, 07:51:14 AM »
Another thing: Googling around, I found these pictures:





Note how the ring on the end of the shifter arm (that receives the bottom tip of the shifter itself) is concentric to the shifter bore... I called the outfit (Freed Engineering) that posted these pics on their website. They offer a shifter housing extension service for R154 swaps. Anyway, I asked them if that pictured concentricity was always how it should look in neutral. Dude said "yes".

Well, here is my W55:



And here is my R154:



So, seems to me that either my r154 shifter arm is too short, or my 4th gear/hub/synchronizer package is hurt. Both of which require the trans to come out of the car. Not sure how my shifter arm could be wrong, considering that my shifter base is OEM and not chopped/welded/extended. But I suppose it's possible...

As always, I welcome your thoughts.
« Last Edit: Aug 03, 2018, 09:37:27 AM by Hodgdon Extreme »

Snowtoy

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Re: R154 - acting strange
« Reply #10 on: Aug 01, 2018, 10:43:01 AM »
Well you are starting to narrow it down, and given that the issue was more with 2/4/R, and the pic of the r154 in the car, leads me to think it could still be partly a shift lever issue or an issue caused by the shift lever+boots+lack of clearance, that caused the issue.

How much clearance do you have between the shift lever and the trans tunnel when in 2/4/R?


What may seem like enough clearance w/o the boots on, may not be once they are installed and driving, have experienced similar issue with trucks I have built over the years. 

If you haven't done it yet, I would leave the boots off and take it for drive and see what it does?  If it is still there and lever isn't hitting the tunnel, then it could be the syncro's due to the previous owner not resolving the issue after installing the engine and trans.  With engine and drivetrain swaps, the little things always cause more trouble than the swap themselves, and usually cost more as well.



'90 black X-cab mod'd 3.0, 33's/4.88's, rear ARB, custom bumpers, sliders, safari rack, etc.
'91 Blue X-cab 22re, 35's/5.29's,Truetrac front, ARB rear, dual cases, and custom Safari flatbed, bumper, interior.
The money pit '87 Supra resto/mod

Hodgdon Extreme [OP]

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Re: R154 - acting strange
« Reply #11 on: Aug 01, 2018, 10:50:23 AM »
I had all the boots off when I drove it last night (sure blows a lotta hot air up on you!). I have at least an inch of clearance between the shifter and console when it's in 2/4/R...  Sigh...

Pic of my hackjob shifter installed and 4th gear selected:



It's a bit too tall and a bit too far back - need to modify again, but it worked for testing purposes!
« Last Edit: Aug 03, 2018, 09:39:16 AM by Hodgdon Extreme »

Snowtoy

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Re: R154 - acting strange
« Reply #12 on: Aug 01, 2018, 07:09:38 PM »
With clearance not being the issue, it is likely the syncros due to the PO's set-up, if it isn't livable getting it repaired wont be that costly if nothing else has to be replaced.
'90 black X-cab mod'd 3.0, 33's/4.88's, rear ARB, custom bumpers, sliders, safari rack, etc.
'91 Blue X-cab 22re, 35's/5.29's,Truetrac front, ARB rear, dual cases, and custom Safari flatbed, bumper, interior.
The money pit '87 Supra resto/mod

Hodgdon Extreme [OP]

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Re: R154 - acting strange
« Reply #13 on: Sep 25, 2018, 09:35:45 AM »
Well, pulled trans out and apart...

The 3/4 fork is quite worn, reducing the effective travel of the slider. The 4th gear lead-ins to the dogs on the slider itself are peened and beat up.

Checking the "endplay" of the sliders themselves (how far they can move back and forth within the fingers of the forks):

5th gear has about .015" endplay, 1/2 fork has about .025", and 3/4 fork has about .075"

Good news is the bearings and gears are all tip top. It's really surprising to me the engagement dogs on the input shaft (4th gear) can be pristine, meanwhile the dogs inside the slider are screwed? Either way, it's obvious the previous owner was banging 3rd and 4th a lot!

I think some billet forks, new synchs, a 1st thrust washer and a 3/4 slider will take care of the issue.
« Last Edit: Sep 26, 2018, 12:18:06 PM by Hodgdon Extreme »

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CrawlerBrennan

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Re: R154 - acting strange
« Reply #14 on: Sep 26, 2018, 08:59:18 AM »
I'm late to the game but after reading all the posts it sounds like you already have it figured out. If you have any questions let me know.
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Hodgdon Extreme [OP]

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Re: R154 - acting strange
« Reply #15 on: Sep 26, 2018, 12:07:41 PM »
I'm late to the game but after reading all the posts it sounds like you already have it figured out. If you have any questions let me know.

Actually, I could use a little help...

My readings suggest there was a synchronizer design change (for 3rd and 4th) at some point. They switched from an "arrow" shape to a "wedge" shape tooth. Do these different synchs require a specific slider? Or, do both arrow and wedge synchs take the same slider?

How to tell if slider is arrow or wedge? What happens if you have a slider/synch mismatch?

My trans has the wedge synchs, and it never gnashed or crunched going into any gear. However, I'm pretty sure I need a new 3/4 slider, and wondering if the replacement from MC (or AMP Distributing??) is suitable.

Hope that all makes sense...

Hodgdon Extreme [OP]

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Re: R154 - acting strange
« Reply #16 on: Sep 26, 2018, 12:14:02 PM »
Also, curious to get your analysis of "root cause".

I measured how much axial end play my 3/4 slider had on the fork last night before pulling the shift shafts and forks apart. I measured .105" - not .0105...  POINT one - oh - five. As in a hundred and five thousandths of an inch. Spec is .035 max.

My theory is the worn shift fork was under-engaging 4th gear, and because such a small amount of slider tooth surface area was carrying the load, it wallowed out the dogs in the slider.

If this is the case, all I need to do is replace the fork, solving the under-engagement issue - and replace the slider, solving the wallowed out issue.

Thoughts?

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CrawlerBrennan

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Re: R154 - acting strange
« Reply #17 on: Oct 01, 2018, 12:20:26 PM »
As for cause its just a swag but id say the transmission had been abused by 1st owner he/she most likely knew of the issue and sold the transmission because of it. I base this on the huge amount of end play that I would say has been caused by holding the shifter in place while driving down the road/track/strip. By holding your hand on the shifter you push everything out of place and cause very very fast damage to the shifting parts. As for internal details on differences between years. Its company policy to not give out any information on things like that so I cant help you there, sorry. 
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