Torque converter problem?

1983 chevy c10
I bought this old truck about a week ago and I noticed a few things right from the start.
Engine revs kind of high before the transmission engages (about 1,200+ rpms).
at highway speed the truck shakes and vibrates really bad at times. the steering wheel doesnt vibrate so I dont think it`s ball joints or tie rods.
The truck barely goes backwards when in reverse, the engine revs high (over 2000 rpm) but the truck barely moves backwards.It almost feels like the emergency brake is on.

yesterday the truck (transmission?) started slipping and then it stopped working. I was stopped on the side of the road and this old guy stopped.I told him what happened and he said it was probably the transmission but he knew a way to get it working again long enough to get me home.
He picked up a handful of sand from the side of the road and put it in the transmission dip stick hole and then poured half a bottle of brake fluid in.He said the transmission is gone anyway so the sand and brake fluid wont do it any more harm. The truck ran again but not far enough to get me home I had to get it towed. Now Im wondering if it really was the transmission and not just the torque converter. I guess it doesn`t matter now because the transmission is probably toast now.

No scientific progress is possible without some trial and error experimentation I guess … lol …

I think the transmission was about to give out anyway. You’d need a transmission expert to say for sure, but this doesn’t sound like a problem specific to the torque converter. Time for a transmission rebuild.

The problem w/putting the sand in, while it probably didn’t cause much more add’l damage, you have to wonder if all the sand will be extracted during the rebuild process. Maybe hold off on the sand idea next time.

Oh, and to satisfy your curiosity on what’s possible to make a machine work in an emergency situation, watch that film “Flight of the Phoenix”.

From the early years sawdust was preferred. A trans flush and new filter and miricle in a can would be my first stab at the cat.

Hopefully the transmission filter didn’t allow any of the sand to get into the transmission itself. It should have blocked it. Now the filter must be totally clogged which is why it quit on you.

Problem is, judging by your symptoms (before the sand was added) it sounds like the transmission is toast anyway.

I remember the days when sawdust was added but that was for manual transmissions and rears. It would never help an automatic.

The transmission was likely toast before the sand but it is quite certain now that it’s well done toast.

I’d be inclined to look for a boneyard tranny and repurpose this one as a boat anchor…
or perhaps as a base for the mailbox post.

I think that “old guy” needs to be in a retirement home somewhere. Sand and brake fluid?

2wd truck trans swap? 3 hrs tops. That includes beer break.

The transmission may or may not have had trouble before, but it’s a lost cause now.

The brake fluid ruined every seal in it. Any sand that got past the screen ruined everything else in it.

You’re looking for a junkyard transmission now.

Thanks for nothing pal. If it was the converter, in my experience when they go, they blow all the crud from the converter through the transmission anyway. So you need an overhaul either way. I’ve never just had a bad converter without having to OH the transmission too. I hope they won’t charge extra to clean all that sand out though and hope they can get it all out.

Which transmission do you have in this C10? It would be either a TH350, TH400, or 700R4. These are quite common transmissions and fairly robust so you should be able to find a good used one easily. Also, there are Jasper rebuilds sold through the parts stores. BTW you will have to replace the torque converter as you can never get all the smutz out of it; and you will have to flush the transmission cooler as that will be contaminated also.

This is the first time I have heard about using sand and brake fluid to jury rig a transmission. That has probably ruined the front pump, torque converter, piston seals, and valve body. You may lose any core value from an exchange. The best method to make a transmission get a truck a few more miles up the road is to let the transmission cool down; check and/or fill the fluid level; and run the transmission in a gear that does not exibit slipping.

I’m with researcher. Way back I had my 74 Olds parked in the ramp across the street from work and it was about 10 below out. It was fine in the morning but at night all forward gears were gone and all I had was reverse. I backed it out of the ramp and to the small lot at work where it had to sit for a few days before the dealer had room to tow it. Kinda strange backing out of the ramp but usually you have one forward or reverse function.

Kinda funny, the car was only a few years old but had 180K on from commuting but of course in those days the odometer only showed 80K. The dealer really apologized for the trans going out at only 80K. I said don’t worry, that was 180K on it not 80.

More than likely it was low on fluid. My 86 has a 700r and it lost reverse, tsb. I would drop the pan and clean it. Add new fluid, then drive it and drain and refill again. If it works great. If not it was only $25.