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6.9L Diesels Technical discussion of topics related to vehicles powered by the 6.9 Liter In-Direct Injection Navistar engines.

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Old 06-10-2005, 02:07 PM   #1 (permalink)
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vacuum regulator valve (VRV) = rough shifting

during the bringing back to life of my new old f-250 i noticed this black thing with a broken male connection on it and kind of waved it off. after buying a modulator and looking through the manual, i realize that this black thing (the VRV) is most likely causing my high rpm shifting. but in the manual, it states that to check it, you needa vacuum pump and a guage that measures vacuum, both of which i do not know where to buy.

if there is someone with knowledge of this piece that is causing my problems, please enlighten my mind.
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Old 06-10-2005, 05:16 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: vacuum regulator valve (VRV) = rough shifting

You are correct...the VRV is what determines the shift points on your tranny.
I had to adjust mine, and didn't have everything the manual called for. If you look at it, there are 2 phillips screws through arcs that tighten it down. I marked mine, then moved it about 1/2" and went for a ride. First try was the wrong direction...shifted even higher. Stopped on the side of the road, popped the hood, went back 1/2" the other way and it was perfect.

Give it a try, just move very small increments, and mark off where you are NOW so you know how to get back if you go the wrong way.

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Old 06-10-2005, 05:27 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: vacuum regulator valve (VRV) = rough shifting

thanks. even though part of the thing is broke, maybe this can fix it, if it doesnt, ill simply buy a new VRV and replace the tranny modulator and that will give it a sure fix hopefully.
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Old 06-10-2005, 06:53 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: vacuum regulator valve (VRV) = rough shifting

I talked to a couple of tranny guys and they said that that VRV if not adjusted to a fine degree will cause the tranny to fail [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/eek.gif[/img] [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/eek.gif[/img] LOL
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Old 06-10-2005, 09:40 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: vacuum regulator valve (VRV) = rough shifting

[ QUOTE ]
I talked to a couple of tranny guys and they said that that VRV if not adjusted to a fine degree will cause the tranny to fail.

[/ QUOTE ]I doubt that greatly, as vacuum-modulator-controlled transmissions just aren't that sensitive. If you adjusted it such that too much vacuum was passing to the modulator, the trans would shift too early and too soft, and soft shifts are hard on the clutches, but unless you drove it hard like that for a long time, a C6 will last a long time misadjusted. High, hard shifts are actually a lot easier on the transmission, as illogical as that sounds: fast shifts do not generate much heat, the clutches aren't sliding.

The seat-of-the-pants adjustment method works fine for the same system that was used on the 6.2l GM diesels coupled to the TH400, and Nissan LD28/L3N71B in early Maxima Diesels. I don't have any experience with the Ford system, but it sounds like it's the same idea exactly.
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Old 06-11-2005, 01:54 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: vacuum regulator valve (VRV) = rough shifting

hey guys, im having the sam prob, where is the vrv on an 85 350 6.9?
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Old 06-11-2005, 05:16 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: vacuum regulator valve (VRV) = rough shifting

And while your at that, describe what "high and hard" shifting is. In other words, how high? how rough?
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Old 06-11-2005, 09:47 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: vacuum regulator valve (VRV) = rough shifting

All ATs shift below the engine's peak torque at light accel, so what you feel at the seat-of-the-pants is more-or-less constant rate of acceleration, tapering off when the HP required to move the vehicle down the road meets available HP.

If the AT shifts higher up at the same torque delivery (ie the accel pedal is not moved), the truck will accel at a decreasing rate at the engine RPM rises. Then, when the AT finally gets around to upshifting, the accel rate rises again. Gives a surgy/choppy ride because instead of a smooth accel curve, the truck is surging forward, the holding back, then surging forward again.

That's what I mean by "shifting high". The shift point is higher than it should be for a given accel position.

The vacuum modulator is supposed to sense how hard the engine is working and indirectly how hard you're pushing on the accel pedal, via the vacuum level. On a gasser, this is intake manifold vacuum, and when you put your foot down the throttle opens, manifold pressure rises (that is, vacuum "drops" or falls off) and the AT's vacuum modulator uses that signal to raise the line pressure (changes the clutch/band apply pressure, preventing slippage), move the upshift point higher against governor pressure (or perhaps precipitate a part-throttle downshift), and change the next shift's apply rate -- that is, speed up the amount of time to accomplish the next shift.

Therefore, when the vacuum is weak the trans "thinks" that there is a lot of torque being applied to the trans, and it modifies its hydraulics and timings to suit.

On your diesel, if you have no or low system vacuum (failing vacuum pump, large vacuum leak at the brake booster, cruise control servo, HVAC vacuum motor, broken vac. line), the trans is going to "think" that you've got your foot down further than is the case, and will shift late (high) and harder than it should for the actual torque applied via the engine. You get a late shift, and it's sudden and harsh. This is not hard on the transmission, it's what some shift kits do (like the TransGo and B&amp;M Shift Improver kit) except that shift kits don't move the shift points significanly higher at light loads.

Because a trans that is controlled via a vacuum modulator uses it to modify both the shift point and the shift application speed, it's a compromise -- but one that has been tailored to work pretty well. But you can see why a misadjusted VRV or low system vacuum will affect both the shift quality and shift point. The blunting effect of an unlocked torque converted masks some of this, but when mfgrs universally went to locking torque converters in the early 80's, more sophisticated controls became necessary to control the shift point separately from the shift application speed, as many torque converters were in a locked condition as low as 2nd gear, never mind OD, and when the rate of shift application is wrong on a solid gearset, people complain! That's why, for example, my A4LD in my Aerostar uses the PCM to control when OD or TCC lockup occurs, by providing (separately from the vacuum modulator, which it still uses) that shift point information separately from engine manifold vacuum.

Nowadays, of course, this is all old tech, because everybody's automatic transmission are under computer control to some extent, and I haven't seen a vacuum modulator on a new car in years.

Sorry I took so long to get there.
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Old 06-13-2005, 04:30 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: vacuum regulator valve (VRV) = rough shifting

[ QUOTE ]
Sorry I took so long to get there.

[/ QUOTE ]

No NO, good info. Thanks a bunch!

WHere is the VRV?
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Old 06-13-2005, 10:55 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: vacuum regulator valve (VRV) = rough shifting

I have never been under the hood of a 6.9l, but every other one I've seen has had the VRV on the injection pump. Someone who owns a 6.9l with AT, or a good FSM will have to answer more exactly.
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Old 06-13-2005, 11:09 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Re: vacuum regulator valve (VRV) = rough shifting

Very good info!! I posted a similar question on the 7.3 forum, but I also read somthing about the VRV is getting a signal from the position of the inj pump lever or somthing like that, is this true and if so how does it work?? Also does the VRV bleed off vac to allow the trans to shift?? Im not sure if my vac line are routed right on the tree can you help???
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Old 06-18-2005, 01:58 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Re: vacuum regulator valve (VRV) = rough shifting

See this picture of the VRV.
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