The British Bus Club's Forum

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Transmission not engaging 4th and 5th gear

I am hoping someone can help me troubleshooting a problem with my bus. A few weeks ago I was driving along and noticed that the transmission would not go into 4th or 5th gear. After several attempts of selecting 3rd then 4th the bus finally went into the high gears. The problem occurred a couple times more, but persistent shifting from 3rd to 4th finally paid off. Unfortunately, the failure came back to stay the next day, and I have been unable to diagnose the cause.

My bus is a 1982 Olympian from Arriva, registration CWR 517Y. It has the semi-automatic shift with 1-5, R and S (start). I checked the inputs from the shifter to the translator panel and they seem to be ok. The gear selector lights on the translator panel come on for 1-3 and R, but not when 4th or 5th are selected. I have checked at stop and while moving.

The shop manual does not have a lot of detail on what is going on in the translator panel, but I think this is where my problem is.

Does anyone have any suggestions?

Re: Transmission not engaging 4th and 5th gear

You should call Vic Rabb at Us Bus Co he is the only other club member that has a working knowledge of this type of bus his number can be found in the supplier page of this web site . Try his cell phone first.

He should be able to tell you what to check.


Re: Transmission not engaging 4th and 5th gear

Hi- dont fear the worst regarding the trans. There are a number of factors that could be causing your problem. First things first, you check the electronic shifter. Two bolts hold it to the steering column, gently turn it over and remove the two backing plates. You will see wires going to each side of the inner workings. Check each wire for firmly secured, no corrosion, move joystick around to see that the tabs are connecting. If they look filthy or corroded from high humidity or not being driven often enough, you will have problems shifting. If all looks well there, reinstall and remove the right rear quarter panel bolts and swing open the access panel. The transmission is a beast and difficult to destroy, but it has 'electro-pneumatic' or a combination of an electonic solenoid opening a pneumatic valve. If your compressor blew out or has alot of oil bypass, you can get a build up of oil in your air supply. Oil buildup can gum up the pneumatics and those little valves are somewhat delicate. Check the gear/air valve box located above the trans, it has wires going to it and air lines. Carefully remove the cover and inspect the valves. The far right valve is 5th...(MAYBE), just pay close attention to each valve and surround the work area with a white garbage bag if you open the valves. There are tiny springs and scary little pieces in there you don't want to lose. If they are gummy, just clean and reinstall. This isn't a massive undertaking, you wont be taking big parts off, just small air valves that are under that control box cover. If electronics check out and valves all look clean and easy to engage, air pressure should be above 80psi to engage gear box. Check trans fluid, if it looks burnt, change it. If you have problems beyond this, let me know. I have a guy in England that can get you a clean gearbox, I would be scared to take on a tranny rebuild in the US of A! Regards