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November 5, 2019

1961 New Owner Questions on Transmission & Top

Hi Bill,

Just bought this 1961 convertible which I've done about 2000 miles with so far. I'm a little concerned with the transmission. When shifting from 2nd to third, RPM's go up for awhile (like 2 seconds) before 3rd is engaged. This happens especially when the transmission/engine gets hot. When cold, it works normally. Is this normal? Other issue is with the top operation. Sometimes the pump/motor runs really slow and sometimes not at all!!! It always wakes up when I gently tap the pump/motor with a wrench! I measured the voltage at the motor end and it's only 11,5. When I measure straight from the battery, its 12,3. And 12,1 when measured from the power wire before deck up relay. Is this power loss normal after all these relays and solenoids? I'm thinking of replacing the pump/motor unit but then I thought if the problem is caused by loosing power somewhere between battery and pump/motor. Many thanks in advance for any advise Bill!



Hi Tomi -

Since you have only recently purchased your Continental and have no history available regarding any service previously performed on the transmission I can only advise that what you describe is not normal. You should first check the transmission fluid to find out if is up to the "full" level on the dipstick with the engine running and warm and that the color of the fluid is clear and appears clean and free of bad oil odors. If the fluid does not look very good a fluid flush and change may be needed in order to diagnose further. If the situation does not improve with new correct fluid, a visit to a trusted transmission shop in your area will possibly be needed as an overhaul may be required. A good shop will be able to correctly determine this for you with a road test.

The convertible top pump problem sounds like a bad motor if you need to tap it in order to get it started. These complicated power top mechanisms require the technicians to have the proper manuals and wiring diagrams available for reference etc. when repairing them.

You don't advise us if you have the engine running with the battery charging or if you have the battery on a charger while testing. If you do suspect a bad connection of a sort that is causing a power loss to the pump motor you could test as follows. Using the correct wiring diagram and a volt meter start at the battery and test the circuit towards that pump motor where you are reading a power loss. You could also start at the pump motor and follow the circuit towards the battery looking for a voltage increase from your low of 11.5 volts to a higher voltage through a faulty connection or component on that circuit. We have manuals and wiring diagrams available for you as well as parts if needed.




Hi Bill,

Thank's for your reply! The fluid level is ok and the fluid looks ok to me. I think I'd better take it to transmission shop and ask for diagnose! Hopefully I find a good one here in Helsinki, Finland!!!

The top is a tricky beast! I've been able to track the voltage all the way to deck open relay where the voltage is still ok. Then things get complicated!!! I have manuals and wiring diagram but I'm still lost! But we have a long winter ahead so with a reasonable amount of beer I think I'm gonna have a lots of fun with it!

I'm totally fallen in love with this car. My uncle had one, '62 model, when I was a kid and I've always wanted one since then. I turned 50 two years ago and decided to give myself a birthday present. I finally found one in reasonable condition last summer. I believe we go together all the way till the end!

Kind Regards,