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Sticky Chasing and Solving Powerflite and Torqueflite leaks - switches on trans
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   Forward Look Technical Discussions -> Transmission and Rear AxleMessage format
Posted 2022-01-18 8:03 PM (#618607)
Subject: Chasing and Solving Powerflite and Torqueflite leaks - switches on trans

Expert 5K+

Posts: 9900
Location: Lower Mainland BC
There were two types of switches that were installed on the Powerflite transmission but just one on the A-466 cast iron Torqueflites.

The Powerflites had a neutral safety switch and a reverse ("back-up") light switch. Both could leak. Torqueflites only has the neutral safety switch (no factory reverse (back-up) switch). The leak fixes are easy but they might require new parts.

1. Neutral Safety Switch:

The Neutral Safety Switch is in the starting circuit to prevent the starting of the engine while in gear (R, D, 2, or 1). With the Neutral Safety Switch in place and functioning properly, the starting circuit is only complete when the transmission is in Neutral.

In all cases, from 1954 to 1961 Powerflites and 1956 to 1961 Torqueflites, the Neutral Safety Switch is Part Number 1704 283. This consists of the plunger-type switch, a metal cup washer and a large O-ring. If the switch is not tightened into the Powerflite or Torqueflite case enough *OR* if the O-ring (or metal cup washer) have failed, there will be a ATF leak at the switch.

The solution is a) tighten the switch and see if it stops the leak, b) find a suitable O-Ring and replace it or c) buy a new switch with metal cup washer and O-ring and install it.

In all cases, I believe that you could swap these out the O-ring or the switch for new ones by jacking up the driver's (left) side of the car to tilt the ATF away from the Neutral Safety Switch hole and not have to drain fluid to do the job. At least that is what I did when I replaced the Neutral Safety Switch on the Powerflite that was in my 56 Dodge when I purchased it.

As can be seen from the photos below, when I got my 56 Dodge, somebody had tried to stop the leaking with red RTV silicone sealant. They were not successful. A new NOS switch solved the problem in a few minutes (once I jacked up the car (on the left side frame) - with safety jack stands) and I removed the old switch and scraped off all the RTV and installed the new switch. (Obviously remove the wire first and add it back last).

The switch:

My switch when I bought my car (I don't see the metal cup washer and I can't remember if there was an O-ring or not):

My new NOS switch installed with new cup washer and O-ring:

The location of the switch is slightly different on the cast iron Torqueflites:

Example first generation (my 57 Windsor) TF that got rebuilt and installed into my 56 Dodge):

An example second generation (59-61) TF:

MORE Neutral Safety Switch Information:

2. The Reverse (back-up) Light Switch

This switch was only used on the early Powerflites ( After that the switch was part of the push-button shift box). The Powerflite switch is a pressure switch with NPT threads.

If it leaks, it could leak through the switch itself or at the threads. If the leak was at the threads then the quick answer is try tightening the switch a bit harder. If that doesn't work, then you could remove the switch and add some yellow (gas compatible) Teflon sealing tape and re-installing and tightening until the leak is stopped.

If the leak is through the switch, you will need to buy a new one. PN is 1603 328. They are still out there to be had if you look.

Here is the reverse light switch on my 56 Dodge Powerflite (as an example):

Here is the exact same reverse light switch installed on my rebuilt 1957 Windsor TF using the reverse/low pressure test port (because it is there and it is NPT thread)


Edited by 56D500boy 2022-01-18 8:17 PM





Attachments 1955and56BackUpLightSwitchesPowerFlitePN1603328.jpg (233KB - 155 downloads)
Attachments NOS1603328_55and56PowerfliteBackUpSwitch.jpg (140KB - 150 downloads)
Attachments Example1603328PowerFliteBackUpSwitch.jpg (73KB - 149 downloads)
Attachments Example1603328PowerFliteBackUpSwitch_CloseUp.jpg (28KB - 146 downloads)
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Posted 2022-01-20 8:54 PM (#618639 - in reply to #618607)
Subject: Re: Chasing and Solving Powerflite and Torqueflite leaks - switches on trans

Extreme Veteran

Posts: 350
A foot note. My back up lights did not work as the switch was hooped. Taking it out and looking at it, it looked very much a brake light switch. As I had a couple of oldies kicking around I thought I might pressure test one. Hooked it up to a port a power pump and pressured it up to 600 psi before it destroyed. Down to our local Lordco auto parts store a picked up a couple of brake light switches. These switches are normally open so I tested to see where they close. #1 at 80 psi, #2 at 85 psi. I used the 80 psi switch in the brake light circuit and the 85 in the b/u light circuit. So far so good. If I refer back to a post on brakes, I worked on mine a long time getting a stiffer pedal and jumped on the brakes many time while road testing. All good.

Del S
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