How-To: 3speed ATX kickdown linkage adjustment

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GTS
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How-To: 3speed ATX kickdown linkage adjustment

Post by GTS » Fri Jul 28, 2006 5:29 pm

Here we go guys.

Intro: For the longest time I've hated how my Neon shifts. If I accelerate normally it will shift into second ~12-20mph and into Third ~ 30mph so I decided to look around and see if there is some sort of an adjustment I can do to it knowing that its fully hydraulic unit. So it turns out that there is a way and here is how it goes.
(Info taken from Chrysler Repair Manual)


If you have a CAI this would be easy since you get a real easy access to the transmission shifter cables.

1. Take a look at the throttle body on the top side there should be two cables that go to it one to the gas pedal and the other one to the cruise control.
On the back side or right below those two there is a third cable.

2. Look closer at the cable itself and you will notice a weird cylinder looking piece of plastic ~1in dia and ~2in long. Its hallow and the cable from the Trans goes to it. In front of that cylinder there is a small clip.

3. Pull that clip out but remove all the way. It will unlock that cable and you can adjust it. If you pull it out no biggie you can always stick it back in.

4. Start pulling on the housing of that cable and watch the little lever on the transmission.
Ideal location for that lever is full clockwise.
As soon as it starts turning stop and hold it there while carefully slide the clip back in order to lock the cable in that position.

This should bring your trans to stock setting as when it was brand new.

Now what I did was I pulled on that cable just a little more in order to allow that lever on the trans to turn counterclockwise ~1cm or less, so basically when the throttle is shut the lever will have some tension on it and keep it partially open.

Now first driving impressions.

The car when driven as usual/normal it shifts all the way up to 2800RPM on both 1-2 and 2-3rd gear. It used to bog down ~2000 as it shifted into second and now it doesn’t any more due to the higher shift speed.

I can also feel the shifts being a little more bumpy but nothing too bad I actually like it cuz it seems like it shifts in the next gear faster.

Now you can always reverse the setting or play around with it until you find a comfortable shift speed.

If you like to force the trans to shift at earlier point just hold the accelerator steady or back off just a bit and it will shift just like before.

(I read in the manual that this lever increases trans pressure thus moving the shift points up higher)

Warning! Do not pull the cable too far out because you will end up breaking something because the lever will reach a max position and the butterfly wont be fully open yet so I can imagine something will brake. Always make sure that at WOT the lever on the Trans can still move or does not reach full position. I don’t want to know what will happen if that mismatch happens.
Also I don’t take any responsibilities for any damage done to your car by performing this mod. I did it and it seems to work but I haven experimented the two spectrums of the adjustment. However if done smart you will love that ATX again...
Last edited by GTS on Sun Jul 30, 2006 1:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by GTS » Sat Jul 29, 2006 4:06 pm

I should have pictures of this shortly. Just hold on tight.

BTW after some more driving with the adjustments I noticed that the car feels healtiher then ever before. It shifts just right and is a blast to drive. It seems to be more responsive as far as downshifts go.
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Post by Paralyzer » Thu Aug 03, 2006 11:26 pm

I am going to try this mod....I think this is the mod I have been looking for....my gas pedal doesn't feel loose, but I have to push it all the way down to the floor to get it to accelerate, and my car revs really high b4 shifting if I get on it. But normal driving it shifts fine.

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Post by badgett » Fri Aug 04, 2006 8:14 am

very interested , subscribed.
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Post by MyNeonSaysHi » Fri Aug 04, 2006 11:24 am

Paralyzer wrote:I am going to try this mod....I think this is the mod I have been looking for....my gas pedal doesn't feel loose, but I have to push it all the way down to the floor to get it to accelerate, and my car revs really high b4 shifting if I get on it. But normal driving it shifts fine.
This is for 3 speed ATX's you have a 4 speed.

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Post by cgneon » Fri Aug 04, 2006 12:42 pm

a pic of the levers position would be great.. i know all the cables and where the lever is and such, but call me stupid: cant picture what full clockwise means in relation to the levers position. im in my office and not under my hood, so i cant go look till later..
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Post by Paralyzer » Fri Aug 04, 2006 8:22 pm

I knew it wasn't just me then....I just went out and stripped out everything looking for a 2nd and 3rd cable and they wasn't there....so what type of options to we have with the 4 speed ATX's?

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Post by Ifixyawata » Fri Aug 04, 2006 8:35 pm

I might be wrong, but I think the 4-speeds are all electronically controlled.

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Post by MyNeonSaysHi » Fri Aug 04, 2006 11:28 pm

Theres a how to somewhere on the 4 speed atx mod, you have to mess with the wires.

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Post by z3roneo » Sat Aug 05, 2006 12:53 pm

Interesting... I'll wait for pics til I try this... I'ma visual learner... :P
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Post by GTS » Mon Aug 07, 2006 6:04 pm

Ops sorry boys I've been out of it for a while. The neon got smashed up on the highway. I ran over one of those damn retreads and i need a new bumper now as a result. The car is in Chicago now and I am all the way in MI. I will remember to take pix next weekend when i am home and I will post them on here asap.

After driving some 500 or so miles with the so called mod not really its more of an adjustment the car feels kick ass very responsive and it actually kicks a little harder when it shifts up or down. < I am loving it.
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MyNeonSaysHi
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Post by MyNeonSaysHi » Mon Aug 07, 2006 11:25 pm

What tools do you need? Do you need to jack up the vehicle? Noob easy?

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Post by GTS » Tue Aug 08, 2006 11:13 am

Nope just need enough access to see the linkage on the transmission and two fingers to pull the little clip on the TB. once clip is released pull housing of the cable towards the fender all the way. THat would be the stock setting from the factory.

Now just take that housing and start pulling it towards the intake manifold and watch the lever. once it starts to turn stop and snap the clip in and that should do it. Mine is like 3/8 of an inch couterclockwise from full right setting. The lever has a max clockwise position and thats where you want it to be for max.
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Post by dangerdavex2 » Tue Aug 08, 2006 3:52 pm

I am pretty sure that you are talking about these two pieces, right?
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I cant get that damn clip off :evil:
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Post by cgneon » Tue Aug 08, 2006 5:52 pm

just did mine... easy. the clip doesnt come all the way off.... just pull the white away from the black housing with your fingernail, and feel on the bottom and do the same it'll slide half way off (kinda like a clothespin)... (i think i did this part right)-> i pulled the cable till the lever moved and backed off until where it just started to move then slid the clip back into place. the lever sat almost straight up at 12noon
if i was understanding the directions right gts just pulled his a tiny bit more, but i didnt wanna fXXX with that too much. i'll post any results later through the week, only drove it about 1/2 mile to the store, and it pulled better with no dead lag spot at 2k. but florida weather changes so quick with heat and humidity, have to wait and see how she runs through the week for an average...
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Post by GTS » Tue Aug 08, 2006 11:11 pm

Yeah that little addjustment will simply trick your tranny into thinking that you have the throtle plate open more then you actually do so it will force it to shift later. Mine would stay in first gear no matter what i do up to around 2500RPM and then it would shift on its own. If i want to force it to shift earlier i just let off and it upshifts. But lets say you are making a turn at a traffic light and you want to let off just a bit, the car actually stays in that gear it doesnt try to upshift to the next one. So thats all that this lever does when set to stock the car should function as intended from the factory. However a slightly tighter setting would simply have the car thinking higher RPMs and it will hold off the shifts.

Now i guess if you push the cable all the way in then the trans would upshift at like 5mph into 2nd and at like 15mph into third. < if you try to accelarate it will probably upshift at like 4K even at WOT.

All i have to say is play around with the setting and see where you like it best and leave it at that point. Now mine still upshifts at 6400RPM but i imagine messing with that lever may actually prevent that shift and you may have to watch your tack when you are doing WOT and if it doesnt watn to upshift just let off and step right back into it. It should do the trick.
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Post by dangerdavex2 » Tue Aug 08, 2006 11:42 pm

So should this adjustment, whenever I do figure it out, help my tranny shift @ 6500 RPMs again instead of 5900 or 6K?
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Post by BlackRoseRacing » Wed Aug 09, 2006 6:26 am

On a 3speed yes, as he mentioned you have to play around with the settings.On my old K-car I would hole the throttle wide open, then move the cable till I could not move it anymore, then locked it into that position. And if the car would not upshift at WOT I would also just let off the throttle a lil to let it upshift and then get back right into it...

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Post by jonnymopar » Wed Aug 30, 2006 10:11 pm

BlackRoseRacing wrote:On a 3speed yes, as he mentioned you have to play around with the settings.On my old K-car I would hole the throttle wide open, then move the cable till I could not move it anymore, then locked it into that position. And if the car would not upshift at WOT I would also just let off the throttle a lil to let it upshift and then get back right into it...
Heh, that got old with my Daytona. It no longer shifts itself :) .
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Post by badgett » Tue Sep 05, 2006 1:51 pm

Tried this mod on my 00 ES. I love it ! Makes a big difference. The only thing is it will go into passing gear quicker than it used to when you step on it. Very simple to do. I pulled the arm about a 1/4 of an inch to the left. Perfect shifts and no more dead spot in the mid rpm range.
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Post by kplaya186 » Fri Sep 08, 2006 2:56 pm

badgett wrote:Tried this mod on my 00 ES. I love it ! Makes a big difference. The only thing is it will go into passing gear quicker than it used to when you step on it. Very simple to do. I pulled the arm about a 1/4 of an inch to the left. Perfect shifts and no more dead spot in the mid rpm range.
You say that it goes into the passing gear quicker? Isn't this a good thing? I don't know about this mod, you are changing the RPM's at which the transmission shifts. I don't know how long a transmission will be able to take the higher RPM shifts. However, I am thinking about doing this to my car.

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Post by MyNeonSaysHi » Fri Sep 08, 2006 3:35 pm

kplaya186 wrote:
badgett wrote:Tried this mod on my 00 ES. I love it ! Makes a big difference. The only thing is it will go into passing gear quicker than it used to when you step on it. Very simple to do. I pulled the arm about a 1/4 of an inch to the left. Perfect shifts and no more dead spot in the mid rpm range.
You say that it goes into the passing gear quicker? Isn't this a good thing? I don't know about this mod, you are changing the RPM's at which the transmission shifts. I don't know how long a transmission will be able to take the higher RPM shifts. However, I am thinking about doing this to my car.
The 3 speed trannies are tough as nails. Get yourself a auxillary tranny cooler and you will be fine.

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Post by kplaya186 » Fri Sep 08, 2006 9:46 pm

I got a CEL when I did the adjustment. My car was shifting right at 2500 RPMS with regular acceleration. I liked it that way, but I moved it to the stock location, and the CEL turned off. I figured I would just leave it in the stock postion. BTW the car shifted a hell of a lot harder, so harder shifts = bad on trans. Goodluck to you all that have done this because your trans is gonna dump on you!

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Post by badgett » Mon Sep 11, 2006 7:35 am

I did not go too extreme with mine. It shifts slightly higher rpm's , passing gear shifts a little sooner (which is a good thing). The main thing I wanted to do was get rid of the lag on take off. Which I did. So I'm happy with the way it is and I don't think it's too hard on my tranny. If it breaks I will just get to do my MTX swap sooner than I planned. :lol:
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Post by GTS » Tue Sep 12, 2006 6:55 pm

I dont think that this mod is going to cause any damage to your trans. All it does is move the shift points up/down depending on the setting and thats about it.
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Post by neonpimp00 » Sat Mar 31, 2007 9:48 pm

hmm I did this.. I held the throttle wide open, pulled it out a little bit, and pushed the clip in.. we will see how it is when i go into town tonight :)
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Post by srtjesse » Sat Aug 23, 2008 6:56 pm

i like this idea im gunna try it
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Post by GTS » Mon Aug 25, 2008 10:05 am

UPDATE:

I have had the mod for a few years and I liked the performance of the trans, so far no issues just nice and somewhat hard shifts that can almost chirp the tires, and also the car stays in gear a lot longer before it decides to upshift...

When I Installed the magnum manifold, I adjusted it the other way and now it upshifts very soon if you do normal accelaration it goes to the next gear around 1200-1300rpm, and I can get up to 3rd around 20-25mph, seems nice better MPG, and the magnum mani gives a nice torque too...

The shifts seem very smooth and very seemless so just play around with teh setting move it a notch up and down and see where you like it...

All you are doing with it is simply you are tricking the control systems as to where the throtle is. I thinks you are at much higher throtle thus it keeps it in that gear for a lot longer... if you back off the throtle often times it forces it to upshift...

Might sound :tardbang: but trust me on it...

Any REVIEWS are welcome as well.
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Post by OhNo2.0 » Thu Jul 30, 2009 6:05 pm

MyNeonSaysHi wrote: The 3 speed trannies are tough as nails. Get yourself a auxillary tranny cooler and you will be fine.
The only real downside to these trannies are the torque ratings and very common diff pin failure. :salute:
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Post by OhNo2.0 » Wed Aug 05, 2009 9:00 pm

Sorry for the double post but it has been some time since I posted the last post.

I did this mod, at first it seemed like the shifting was sloppy. After a few more modifications and driving a few km's to test it out I found the sweet spot about 1/4"in from the passenger side. Instead of having to floor it to achieve High RPM shifts, I simply have to push it about 3/4 the way and 1/4 way is only needed to be pretty quick off the stop line(quick meaning not slow like I'm trying to save gas, but also not fast like I'm driving like an idiot).

Also, since I swapped this tranny in because my old tranny had diff pin failure I have had a shift slip between 2nd gear and 3rd (or more like 2-3 to 3 cause neons tend to sit between gears and achieve proper gear ratio) Well it pretty much went away except for sometimes when I let off the pedal and back too quick.

Not sure if it cured the issue (bands may still need to be adjusted), but at least it covered it up.
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