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The Gentleman's Express: Tech-Tips from the JIOC

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Kickdown Linkage Adjustment

Author: Joe Sicignano

A discovery whilst reworking my engine was getting the transmission kickdown to work optimally. Typically, with repeated transmission service or rebuilding, the multiple curves built into the linkage, to begin with, sustain further ‘bends’ and shortening, thus not permitting maximum flexibility of the shift points. The transmission is designed to kick down from third into second and hold it until 70 mph or so on hard acceleration (flooring it), but it also kicks down with less extreme pedal pressure at lower rpm’s. The shift is even more extreme from third into first if the car is under 15 mph or so. If the linkage bends or shortens, some or all of these functions can be lost. The car can still be manually down-shifted but the fun and responsiveness of using higher rpm’s and consequently more instant torque and horsepower is made more difficult. Removing the linkage and straightening it in a vice usually solves the problem.

Note, however, that there is such a thing as too much kickdown. In this case the car will stay in second gear too long, either cranking too high in rpm’s, wasting gas or climbing to too-high a speed for the traffic situation. The shift should be quick in and quick out with slight moves of the pedal accomplishing the maneuver with ease and security.

Factory settings are:
Gear Change @ mphUpchangesDownchanges
From Gear:1- 2 2 - TT - 1 T - 2
At light throttle11 158 <40*
At full throttle40 7632-11 66-32
Total kickdown range:11-66 mph
* Part throttle for all G H J 4 & 5 Series gearboxes

Note: If these kickdown points cannot be achieved by adjustment of the clevis on the kickdown rod, then it’s time to see your transmission specialist about adjusting bands and, more particularly, pressures -TECH

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