Transmission Adjustment

Dear Mr. Motorhead,

The other day, my faithful companion Spot, and I decided to take advantage of our beautiful weather. Contemplating for a short moment, it didn’t take us long to decide boating was the program for the day. After reading your previous articles on coils, I now have plenty of good reasons to bring along my favorite ACBS soft-sided cooler chock full of ice and beer. With a handful of dog biscuits for my pal, we set out to explore the shores of our favorite waters, Lake Kashapiwi. When you get up this way, don’t forget to pay me a visit, I know you will like it here.

Anyway, back to my problem. Everything was going just fine, cruising the shoreline at about 1000 rpm, when up from behind appeared my old friend Rocky Waters. That crazy guy, he drives so fast all the time, you just wouldn’t believe it. He motions for me to kick her up a notch and drive along side. Well Mr. Motorhead, that’s when the troubles began. I hit the throttle and it was like I threw the transmission into neutral. I brought it back down and everything was just fine. But, as soon as I tried to speed things up again, she would rev like the dickens. Using what little common sense I have, I decided to drive along at 1000 rpm, enjoy the scenery and let my old friend go on his way. Contemplation can generate great wisdom, but contemplation didn’t solve my problem, nor did it generate any thoughts on what might be wrong. Can you help, or do I need to sell my boat?

All revved up, with no place to go.

Dear Rev,
Sounds like your transmission is slipping. Don’t sell your boat; all you need is an adjustment. By the way, what color ACBS cooler did you buy? I have a green one, and it’s the best. Transmissions are easy to adjust and if you read on, you too will be able to master the technique. Do as I do, fix it yourself and save your money for a trip to Iowa or some other exotic destination.

Now back to your boat. Get to your engine and remove the cover or inspection plate on the top of the tranny (motorhead talk for transmission.) Making sure you have the shift lever in neutral, rotate the pressure plate until you see the bolt that comes out of the back face of that plate. There is only one bolt, so when you see it, that’s the one. The pressure plate is a metal disc that is at the biggest part of the inner portion of the transmission. You will probably need a flash light to help you see everything in there. A rag is nice as it’s awfully oily. Back the bolt out most of the way; you don’t need to remove it. The bolt keeps the plate from rotating while the engine is running. Now with the bolt backed out, you can rotate the plate to adjust your transmission. With your flashlight, look behind the plate and you will see there is a hole that the bolt screws into. Rotate the plate clockwise to the next available hole. Re-tighten the bolt. If the plate and the reverse drum rotate together, put the transmission in reverse to clamp the drum. Then you should be able to rotate the plate even if the threads are clogged with carbon.

Go up front and push your shift lever forward. There should be some resistance. The lever should lock into place with a positive sort of clunk. If it does not, go back and turn it some more to the next hole. It doesn’t take much, usually no more than two holes. Make sure the bolt is tightened securely and close the cover. Never operate your engine with the cover off, this sprays oil all over everything. A terrible mess. Take it out for a test drive. Everything should work just fine.
If by some chance you back the bolt out all the way, chances are very good that you will drop it into the transmission housing. If you do, don’t despair. You will need to buy one of those telescoping pointers with a magnet on the end. You should have one anyway – about five bucks at the hardware store. Poke it down to the bottom of the transmission and pull up your bolt. Nothing to it.
Oh, by the way, I just completed my Doctorate studies at the University of Minnesota. I wrote my thesis on Existential Engine Repairs and the practice of Mind over Motor.

Happy Boating!
Dr. Motorhead