I bought a 1970 Oldsmobile Cutlass about three years ago in Texas, the seller never told me and made sure we never used the reverse.

  1. The transmission tail was changed, I saw that when I got under it on a lift.
  2. When car is at driving temperature parked, and when I shift it in reverse it takes a few (4 to 6 seconds) unless I rev the engine up slightly for it to go in reverse. When I do, since rpm's a little high nothing wild , just 600/950 rpm it will need a few seconds and then I can feel a jerk( or car bounces slightly when gear is in place) and then it drives in reverse as it should .... I think ... didn't want to make any experiences...it's a dual gate on a console. When I put in reverse I wait and then (clunk,you can feel the gear falls into place.

What could be the problem? The governor, does it play a role for reverse ? the fluid , I checked...it's ok, a solenoid..does it have a part in reverse gear ....?? It's an issue being overseas with the car now in Europe France, not too many qualified persons.../any suggestions will be appreciated for any one having or had similar issues on there car and found the solution..thanks, regards

  • Welcome to Motor Vehicle Maintenance & Repair! There is a separate band and servo/solenoid for reverse. The governor shouldn't play any part of this. I'm going to assume the transmission in question is a TH350? It may be the reverse servo is worn out or is sticking. A tranny flush may or may not help (there are other considerations with a flush). You might also consider changing out the tranny fluid with DEXRON VI, which is completely synthetic and might clean thing sup a little bit. If you go that route, you'd want to change out the filter as well. May 19, 2021 at 15:01
  • Starting with the simple things, I'm assuming you've checked the transmission fluid level with the engine on? My family car growing up had a THM200, and it would slip a bit when low.
    – GdD
    May 19, 2021 at 15:08
  • @GdD - OP stated they checked the fluid and it is good. May 19, 2021 at 15:10
  • I know @Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2, but because it seems so much like a familiar problem I thought I'd call it out, the OP didn't state how it was checked.
    – GdD
    May 19, 2021 at 15:46

1 Answer 1


You very likely have a "can of worms" , depending on what may have been done to the trans. Any disturbing like changing oil, may stir up wear debris which could have worse conditions. Sounds like a servo or a valve is sticking, revving the engine increases pressure from the front pump ( runs at engine speed). The increased pressure operates the servo or valve. Possible some wear debris is causing the servo/valve to hang up. The problem is that an oil change can stir up wear debris. My last Olds was a '79 Cutlass ; In about 85 , an acquaintance who ran an independent trans shop advise me not to change trans oil as it may stir up wear debris. GM trans of that era generate a lot of debris ; I have cleaned a few ,starting with a putty knife in the bottom of the pan. I had a few turbo 400s in Buicks and one Pontiac - I can't remember which ones I cleaned. My reference for clean is an 85 Nissan 300 ZX, when I dropped the pan it was clean , a wipe with a paper towel and it shined. Assuming your trans has not been serviced , I would just drive it And not touch it. I congratulate you for having a '70 that runs. If you were in the US and loved the car you could consider having an independent shop rebuild the transmission.

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