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Thread: Another Flex Plate?!

  1. #1

    Another Flex Plate?!

    Hey Everybody,

    Well, I made it as far as the Outer Banks of NC, back down to Louisiana and now I'm in New Mexico - Roswell of all places. I can't believe I'm writing this, but the same exact sound as was happening right before the flex plate went south in AZ about 2 months ago started up again. I tried leaving town yesterday but only got about 30 miles before it got worse and decided to come back to town to be safe.

    The "resident mechanic" of the RV Park where I camped last night seemed to know a lot about old cars (in fact his family - two adults and five kids - drove a '62 Falcon from Oxnard, CA to Oklahoma in the summer of '69 with a cake pan full of ice and the vent open on the passenger side open for AC!) and figured I could tightened down the Flex plate bolts and be set. I did that today - there were some small cracks around some of the bolts but I was optimistic - and tried to get on the road. Well, I got about 30 miles outside of town (where there is NOTHING) and the sound got REALLY bad. I limped back to town on the shoulder! What's the right punctuation for tears? ==?

    I guess all this - aside from hopefully being entertaining - is to ask if any of you know of someone in NM that might have a flex plate. I dealt with Dave of Antique Automatic Transmission Parts before and was pleased but he had to overnight it from the east coast. Not sure I'll have any luck around here, but figure it is worth asking.

    Thanks for any suggestions.

  2. #2

    More Details....

    I got a reply from Dave who I got the previous flex plate from and he says that those are for 144 and 170s only, that they were never meant to hook up to a 200 and that it not matching up right with the torque converter might be where the problem came from.

    The other part of the story is that 3 of the 4 bolts holding the trans. in place were missing. I figure that the guys that installed the 200 were either totally negligent and forgot to replace them or only slightly less so and didn't tighten them down enough. Either way, I figured that it was the trans. moving around that caused the damage to the flex plate. Now I'm not so sure.

    Any thoughts?

  3. #3
    The transmission moving around would certainly cause the flex plate to fail. Tightening the bolts is important.

    As to what fits what, and all, that I don't know. Here are all the things to watch for:

    1) It needs to have the right diameter for the ring gear.
    2) It needs the right hole spacings for the the converter bolts.
    3) It needs a hole for any drain-plug on the converter.
    4) It needs to correctly bolt to the crank.

    I've seen more than once a car I worked on where they didn't have the converter drain plug in the hole - at all - and tightened all the bolts up, which tweaks the flex plate.
    Roger Moore

    63 "Flarechero"
    powered by: 347ci stroker | Tremec T5 | 8" 3:45 TracLoc rear

  4. #4
    Thanks for the reply, Roger.

    Did you mean there was a hole in the flex plate but they didn't line it up correctly?

    Had to make the call and ordered another one same as is in there. Honestly, it was cheaper and knew the guy was prompt.

    Don't know if my thinking is right here but if it didn't line up, etc. wouldn't I have noticed much less than 8000 miles into it? Seems the trans. bolts (or lack of) were probably the culprit. Kind of all beyond my knowledge level. At any rate, it will likely get me home even if I have to deal with it in the future.


  5. #5
    Yes, there was/is always a hole, which is between two of the four holes used for the torque converter mounting studs.

    Most (I think all) torque converters have drain plugs that stand off the back side of the converter about 1/4-3/8" depending on the number of times they are removed and tightened. They are tapered pipe plugs and these will go a little further in every time you tighten them because of their taper. These need a hole so you can take the access plate off the bottom of the bell housing, rotate the flex plate to expose the drain, and drain the dirty fluid out.

    The studs for the converter (4 of them) are about an inch long. So you can get them in their holes, get nuts on them and tighten the heck out them - and maybe never know you forgot to align the drain plug first. It will bend the flex plate between the two holes where the drain is wedged between the torque converter and the flex plate.

    Whether you notice it depends on how proud the drain plug stands from the surface of the torque converter and how much it forgiveness there is in any warp the ring gear sees - as it engages the starter.

    You should be good to go if you make sure these guys doing the work know you know this stuff.
    Roger Moore

    63 "Flarechero"
    powered by: 347ci stroker | Tremec T5 | 8" 3:45 TracLoc rear

  6. #6
    I'm certainly no expert one the L6. From my experiance with my old 170, the ring gear is part of the converter. The flex plate is actually quite small and looks almost square with the points sticking out to line up with the mounts on the converter.

    My C4 behind the V8 has the ring gear on the flexplate and has a hole that lines up with a drain plug.

    There are not that many bolts holding the whole thing in so a loss of four would be bad.
    Patrick Brown
    331 Stroker / T5 / 8" / Wilwood Disks / RRS R&P Steering / Megasquirt EFI

  7. #7
    Thanks for all of the help. The guy that sold me the flex plate said he checked around and found a reference online that stated the p/n of the one he sold me and the p/n of the one that "fits all 6 cylinders" are essentially the same. Indeed, when the guys installing the new flex plate yesterday removed the old one, it had chunks missing from around the outer bolt holes, indicating that it was the transmission moving around and clipping the flex plate that was likely the cause of its demise.

    Now, I can't tell you how much it pains me to even admit this but I HAVE A NEW F&%$ING PROBLEM!

    Yesterday I finally got out of Roswell in the late afternoon. Aside from the c-lock popping off the accelerator in the middle of nowhere (I only admit this because, c'mon, really?), fixed out of necessity with a metal lock tie, everything was going great from Roswell to Albuquerque (100 miles).

    About 20 miles outside of Albuquerque, the car started to bog down, jerking intermittently. After a few miles, I found a gas station, pulled over. I checked the fluids, checked the fuel line, filter at the carbeurator (blew through it, no resistance) - everything was fine.

    I checked the timing. It was low, about one degree above TDC. I rotated the distributor (that since the 200 was put in about 5000 miles ago is from an old Maverick they had at the shop, same old cap and rotor I think) as far as it would go, ie; vaccuum advance touching block, brought it up to about 7 deg. above TDC. I think it is supposed to be between 8 and 10. Thought I was good to go.

    Here's the weird part though. It was still jerking, running poorly. I stopped again. The dist. was still as far as it could go but now the timing is even lower than TDC (approx. one degree). The spark plug wires all are sparking. I get spark from the points, though I don't know if they are gapped properly. To make matters worse, once again, I'm in the middle of nowhere. I can probably get to the part store 18 miles away, but don't think I can trust the kid behind the counter. I have a repair manual but have just read enough to be dangerous.

    Let me know if this should be a new thread. Figured you all might be checking this one. Sorry if this is too much information but I would rather not waste anyone's time by omitting some important part of the puzzle. Any help, as always, would be greatly appreciated.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Ugg, I'll just toss some idea's out there.

    I would not totally trust your timing light if your timing looks like it is creeping. It's possible the outer ring in the pulley (the one with the timing notch) is slipping on the 40 year old rubber ring that holds it to the rest of the harmonic balancer.

    If you don't think it's a carb/fuel problem... I would clean/replace the point and gap.

    Grab a spare coil at the parts store to try or keep in the trunk.

    Check the two nuts that hold the carb to the intake manifold.. .I've had these loosen up on me causing major vacuum leak... although that usually is problem at idle.

    I'm sure you will get some more advice but know you are standing on the side of the road waiting for reply. Go for clean and gap of points first.

  9. #9
    One thing you mentioned makes me wonder if you were just saying the wrong thing or doing the wrong thing. Timing is usually set at "Before Top Dead Center" and rarely, if ever After TDC. You'd be setting it at about 10 B-TDC if all things are actually good - like timing gears, harmonic balancer pulley not slipping like Jeff mentioned.

    You should also check to see if your vacuum advance is working, since it'll be quite doggy if you don't have one of those working right.

    Hope you figure it out. I struggled on a road trip a couple years ago -- shot-gunning all kinds of things. Ended up being a carburetor seriously needing a rebuild.

    Good luck!
    Roger Moore

    63 "Flarechero"
    powered by: 347ci stroker | Tremec T5 | 8" 3:45 TracLoc rear

  10. #10
    Using my phone so i'll make it brief. Dwell wasn't set properly when they put the 200 in. Also no vaccuum advance and the carb needed love. I'll look for the right dist. when I get back but i'm on the road and making a beeline for seattle. Thanks for the help.

  11. #11
    Aaahhhhhh........It's good to be home.

    Thank you to everyone who replied to my posts while I was on the road. It helped immensely.

    I am going to try to get some of my money back from the guys that dropped the 200 in the 'Bird in Austin. Does anyone have a Mitchell Labor Guide for a '61?

    I am trying to gather as much info as I can in the next few days so that I'm armed with knowledge when I call them up on Monday. It seems they charged me for about two to three times as much labor as it should have taken (30 hours), gave me a junk distributor (no charge), used a crappy bolt to mount it (that kept slipping, making my timing slip multiple times), should have mounted it about 30 degrees counter-clockwise from where it is, didn't set the dwell, didn't tighten down the transmission bolts enough (causing 3 of the 4 of them to back out on the road, ruining the flexplate I bought less than 10,000 mi. before), and - well - I think that's enough to merit getting a few dollars back.

    Anyway, if anybody has any info that you think would help to know, I'd appreciate it.

    I was out of town this week, but look forward to the next meeting. Thanks.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    My advice is have as many pictures, receipts, and documents as you can before you call them. Some shops can be worse than fighting a traffic ticket where you need 17 witnesses, Robert Shapiro, and documentation dating back to Watergate. I wonder what their Yelp rating is? Maybe there are some resources in Austin you can use for leverage in case they play hard ball.

    Good luck with it all and next time you need some help on her don't hesitate to reach out.
    '67 Falcon Bus/240/C4/Offy DP/MSD Duraspark II/Holley 4160

  13. #13
    Thanks for that. The mechanic in Albuquerque that set me up for the last leg home said he would write an email detailing what he thinks they should have done.

    I do have one question, though. This kind of shows my hand, here, but if there are little metal flakes down in the distributor (definitely not from the cap/rotor but lord knows from where) could those potentially get sucked up into the vacuum advance line? In other words, what's the most logical explanation for no vacuum advance?

  14. #14
    Yeah - good luck with all that. I don't think, short of small-claims court - or very honest respectable folk who will acknowledge wrong-doing and step up the plate (which I suspect if they were that, this wouldn't be a topic at the moment)... you may be exercising futility. Futility seems to be pretty strong already, as it is. So, let us all know what the outcome is.

    As for the vacuum advance, it is a diaphragm in the distributor which if you hook a hose to and suck on, you should see the points plate move. Should move with very little suction.

    If there was too much crud inside the distributor, I doubt seriously it would make it into the vacuum advance, but would probably act more as "grit" keeping the plate itself from rotating. Hard to say. Just "years" of grime could do the same thing.

    The only way to check whether the advance circuit is working is to run it and watch a timing light as you throttle it up. You can also check the advance vacuum with a tee inserted and vacuum gauge attached to make sure the carb vacuum source is actually working too.

    Sounds like a tech day in the making....
    Roger Moore

    63 "Flarechero"
    powered by: 347ci stroker | Tremec T5 | 8" 3:45 TracLoc rear


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