How to Adjust the Kickdown Cable on a Turbo 350

by Max Stout

The kickdown function of General Motors vehicles equipped with the Turbo 350 automatic transmission is perhaps better known as "passing gear." As the accelerator is depressed, the throttle lever on the engine is drawn back by a cable, which in turn pulls another cable attached to the transmission, causing it to downshift into a lower gear. The coordination of these two cables is essential for proper operation of the kickdown function. You can adjust the kickdown cable with the aid of a helper and basic automotive knowledge.

Step 1

Park the vehicle in an area away from traffic, turn off the engine and allow it to cool. Set the emergency brake and disconnect the cable attached to the negative terminal of the battery.

Step 2

Remove the engine air cleaner from the carburetor. Turn the wing-nut at the top of the air cleaner shroud counterclockwise by hand to remove.

Step 3

Locate the throttle lever on the carburetor. The lever is on the right side as viewed from the front of the vehicle. Attached to the lever are two cables, the upper is the throttle cable and the lower is the transmission kickdown cable.

Step 4

Loosen the lock-nut on the kickdown cable with an adjustable wrench. Turn the nut in a counterclockwise direction two or three turns.

Step 5

Have a helper depress and hold the accelerator pedal completely to the floor.

Step 6

Turn the steel shoulder of the kickdown cable with combination pliers. Turn the cable counterclockwise, adjusting until the cable is fully extended with a small amount of slack in it. The slack prevents the cable from breaking when the accelerator pedal is forced to the floor.

Step 7

Tighten the lock-nut clockwise using the adjustable wrench. Check the slack once more after tightening to make sure the kickdown cable is properly adjusted.

Step 8

Replace the air filter and tighten the wing-nut clockwise by hand. Close the hood securely.

Step 9

Drive the vehicle to test the proper operation of the kickdown function.

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