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The Mysterious World of Automotive Transmissions…

Without a doubt, the automotive automatic transmission is the most mystifying and least understood part of your car. It has been that way for decades. Transmissions have been around since the late 1800’s when the first car transmissions were developed. At that time they were relatively caveman in construction and there was no automatic transmission back then. Standard or manual shift transmissions were it, no put it in drive (D) and go.

The first automatic transmissions were introduced in the late 40’s. Most drivers over the age of 60 may have heard of; The Dynaflo, Hydramatic, Slim Jim, CastIron Powerglide, Ford-Omatic, Jetway, Ford’s Cruisomatic, Borg Warner small, medium and large case transmissions and many more. Strange names for strange power train components. FYI, the names are getting more complicated and silly sounding as they run out of names. We called the two speed Ford automatic a Mickey Mouse, use your imagination and figure that out! With great love, we would call a Ford Explorer, an Exploder!

The automatic transmission is a marvel of modern technology. It was that way in the 40’s, and as technology has evolved, so has the automatic transmission. Now tranny’s are fully computerized with dozens of input and output sensors and electrical solenoids, rheostats, potentiometers, and items we will talk about in the future. I can’t say ‘simply put’, because they are a maze of hydraulic circuits and valves (not the type of valves in a car engine) return springs, clutch plates, sprags, one way metal clutches, bearings, bushings, modulators, pumps, and more. Complicated, to say the least.

I want to dispel quickly the notion that a standard transmission is easier and cheaper to fix than an automatic tranny. The only people that say and think that have never worked on one. Standard or manual transmissions are very heavy, can be hard to disassemble and reassemble and are real finger smashers. The parts cost a fortune too. Not good for a guy like me who’s passion is playing the hi energy blues on my guitar. The standard transmissions made for the last 10-15 years are very hi-tech, not at all like the gear clashing hard to shift early models. I still prefer an automatic, unless it is my vintage ’70 Porsche! BTW Porsche uses Mercedes transmissions.

The education starts here on all automotive/car and light to medium duty trucks. After owning and operating a successful transmission shop in Florida for 25 years (I sold it 3 years ago) and rebuilding transmissions for 35 years total, I am more than qualified and glad to share my knowledge, answer your questions and provide a reliable and real world accurate source of information to you through the GotTransmissions.com/Blog.

We will cover every aspect of transmissions from purchacing one to choosing a shop and how to determine what is in your best interest. Stay tuned in. Thanks and Enjoy.

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