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91 K5 350 Auto Torque lock issue

Old 11-24-2018, 08:48 AM
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New here, and to the truck. Prior to this 91, the newest thing I have is a 72 C20, and then a 69. Read into that, Iím good with old stuff. Iíve acquired a 1991 K5, 350 w/automatic transmission. Everything is stock, and good shape (forest service rig). Zero frills, rubber floor, painted metal for headliner, not a stitch of cloth in the thing. Right down my alley, but this automatic transmission is stumping me and the local shop, and the local transmission rebuilder, the neighbor, my friends.... you get the picture.

The History is revealing itself as I move forward. After having an issue with trans overheating, a trip to a local shop found the rig in familiar hands. This shop had just replaced the transmission, before I bought i the truck. They used a rebuilder thatís not local, but the best in the state. They would honor their work, and send the trans back to the rebuilder, who honored their work. Wow, I wasnít sure about this move to a South Dakota, but that really frames up the folks Iíve run into, here.

The transmission was found burned up, and they sent it back, freshly rebuilt. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the crew installed a new cooler, lines and an oil temp gage for the trans. Put it all back together, and it overheats again. Dang. Out it comes, and a different trans goes in. Flush the lines/cooler. Same thing. Really? Ok, the shop isnít done with me, yet- these guys should have cut me loose, but they are stubborn, if nothing else! Trans shop sends out modules/valves and a torque converter, and a new bigger cooler goes in. Thatís GOTTA be it, right?

Around town driving is perfect. While working the trans on their dime, H&H was attacking Old Truck Syndrome on mine; suspension and drive train parts were flying out the back door into the scrap pile, replaced with shiny coolness underneath. This thing drives like a new truck. Tight, responsive and a real joy to run around in. The shifting was sewing machine smooth, the steering and suspension perfect, the eager growl of a nice engine/exhaust combo. Temps were spot on. Then I took it on a road trip, this week...

In South Dakota, itís hours to get anywhere. Therefore, the main drag across the state doesnít mess around. 80 MPH speed limit to help you get where youíre going. I have to avoid this highway in the 69 CJ, as anything above 60 is insane in a rock crawler. The 72 C20 isnít much better, with no overdrive and towing gears. Thatís why I was excited to have the K5- Overdive With a locking torque converter! That sounded perfect! However, perfection is still out of reach. The trans began its rapid temperature rise, once above 65. Dang.

Pulled back on the gas a bit, and it felt as if the TC locked up. Temps dropped, immediately. However, I couldnít get above 65 MPH on level ground, with the TC dropping out and the temps climbing fast. Downhill, or with a tail wind, I could get up to 75 MPH with the TC locked, and temps stayed low. As soon as a load pressed, Iíd feel the little kick and the rise in oil pressure that Iím taking for TC lockup disengagement, followed by trans temp climb.

Iím not familiar enough with how all the parts and players work, with this K5. Iím not even sure whatís in this thing, so Iím looking for some 101 on all things 91 K5. Not sure if itís the 700, not sure what transfer case lives there. Not sure what the options are for torque converters, and what you experienced folks have found to overcome it. I could sure use a little help.

Iíve let H&H run with this, tried to stay out of the way. Now I think I need to pick up the reigns and do some work. Whatís next? Is there issue with rear diff load up? Is there a better set up for the parts I do have, or do I need to start upgrading?

It looks like there are some very experienced voices on this forum. Excited to hear any suggestions.

Old 11-28-2018, 05:08 AM
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I hope someone can jump in to enlighten you on the TCC. It's still odd that temps rise immediately once the TC is not locked.
With the trans cooler it should still take time to build up.

Where is the trans cooler located?
Ventilation issue there?

I think I would start looking into the governing of the TCC (torque converter clutch). It might be something silly such as vaccuum or MAP which makes it open up again.
Old 12-01-2018, 07:14 AM
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Error_401~ thanks for the shout out! I appreciate it. I will learn more about the TCC and it's voodoo master, it seems like a pretty busy system. I've gone back to the shop and had another discussion, and they're going back to the rebuilder for another talk. I really like this truck, I want it to work!

The cooler is the second cooler for this problem, and is large and in front of all the 'rad stack' up front. Flow has been verified during a run on the rack, with clear poly. We've double and triple checked the cooler line hookups. Changed the temp pick up location. I asked if the rear end could be locking up, he's confident that while it's aged, the drive line is in real good shape. I've done a lot of work to make things right, it's crazy to still have this issue.

There must be someone out there who's gone through this, before? I've done a search on the forum, and found very little on my problem. If anyone has had such temperature problems, I'd sure like to hear how you fixed them.

Thanks again, 401!
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