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Old 05-18-2023, 08:16 AM   #1
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OH NO! Allison 1000 5 speed broke!

When I shopped for used motorhome in 2017 I zeroed in on the Workhorse chassis because I believed the 8.1L Chevy engine was superior in power and just as durable as the V10 Ford and the Workhorse had an Allison transmission. The bullet proof transmission, you can't hurt 'em in normal use transmission!

I found a 2003 Georgetown on a W20 chassis. It has been everything I expected....up to NOW!

Yesterday we headed south on I25 in Colorado Springs at about 7:30 AM. Slight down hill, in 5th gear, on cruise control at about 60 MPH. We heard a strange noise that sounded like a piece of plastic had broken loose, flapped a couple times and broke away. This sound seemed to come from somewhere forward of the driver. The sound lasted for maybe 1 second. Nothing else happened. No vibrations, sounds, surges or anything. We continued on, traffic was heavy and finding a broken piece of plastic or fiberglass didn't seem prudent. Then a few seconds later...the same thing. Then the noise for maybe half a second and something broke. The engine was no longer connected to the rear wheels! I managed to thread my way through traffic onto the shoulder of the highway. We were about 10 miles from home.

The symptoms:
  • The transmission would not engage in any gear.
  • Reverse included.
  • With the engine idling when the gear shifter was placed in park there was a sort of gear grind sound before the park pawl found the hole.
  • When in park the motorhome still crept forward on the slight downgrade.
  • Unverified...It seemed that the MH would coast forward with the parking brake engaged. I'm not sure on this one.
  • There was NEVER any transmission slip at anytime.
  • Shifts were always crisp but not harsh.
  • Fluid was nice and clean and smelled good 400 miles ago.

I have State Farm insurance. I called for Emergency Road Service. Their phone contact was sort of baloney and directed me to go to statefarm.com or hold! I went to statefarm.com, through the website I requested Emergency Road Service. It assured me I had coverage and would send help. I won't go into details but they screwed around for a couple hours and then decided they had no provider to help me. I tried to suggest some heavy tow companies in Colorado Springs but they would not listen! They then offered to call 911! Or I could arrange tow on my own and file a claim. I arranged tow on my own.

I had called around and found a shop to work on it although they scheduled actual work to begin in 2nd week of June. Long story short, the MH was finally delivered to the truck repair shop.

Shop found symptoms VERY strange. Said it was extremely unusual for an Allison to just quit like that when going down the road. Usual symptoms were slipping in one more more gears that got worse with time. Flex plate or torque converter maybe! My thoughts having experienced the symptoms is there is a broken shaft or stripped shaft splines somewhere after the input shaft. Maybe the output shaft between the transmission and parking brake drum?

I don't know but I will know sometime in June. They said if the transmission is broken inside they will not attempt to repair it but install an official Allison remanufactured transmission. I cringe at the thought of the cost...$7000?! They wouldn't say. They had no comment on availability of Allison 1000M version either!

So much for Allison being bullet proof! This repair bill will not make the good deal I got on the MH not quite as good a deal! But I will have a NEW transmission!

I worked in Quality Assurance for a large company for a long time. My experience says this is probably a defective part failure that just took a long time to show up! My luck!

Motorhome has 67000 miles on it.
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2003 34' Georgetown on W20 Workhorse Chassis. UltraRV power mods. Doug Thorley Headers and MagnaFlow 12589 mufflers. Front Sumo Springs, Rear P32 Sumo Springs, UltraRV Track Bar.
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Old 05-18-2023, 09:06 AM   #2
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I shudder at the thought. Hope a fix is possible. Weíll be watching. Good luck!!!
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Old 05-18-2023, 03:46 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yeloduster View Post
......
I had called around and found a shop to work on it although they scheduled actual work to begin in 2nd week of June. Long story short, the MH was finally delivered to the truck repair shop.
.........

I don't know but I will know sometime in June. They said if the transmission is broken inside they will not attempt to repair it but install an official Allison remanufactured transmission. ........ I cringe at the thought of the cost...$7000?! They wouldn't say. They had no comment on availability of Allison 1000M version either!
..........

Motorhome has 67000 miles on it.
yeloduster: I feel your pain ! I understand you had to find your own shop for the tow truck to deliver to, BUT I would hope you will at least consider finding an Authorized Allison dealer, or distributor, to get a second opinion. Not sure I would leave it at a "truck repair shop" that won't even give you an estimate while you wait weeks for them to get started.

FOR WHAT ITS WORTH, I've never heard of an "Allison 1000M". Looking at a build sheet I have for a 2003 W-20 chassis shows the tranny description as "1000 HS / HM / RDS / EVS ", but I don't know what that description means about the 5 Speed Allison they were using back then.

I wish you good luck getting going again, and hope you will update here when you know more about what happened. Ed
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Old 05-18-2023, 03:57 PM   #4
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Last spring I had the Allison 3000 detonate on me. There were no new transmissions, no rebuilt transmissions available. To rebuild mine might take 6 months depending on parts availability. My only option was the junk yard so...........I now have a junk yard trans in the coach. The repair facility.WW Williams in Tucson flushed the trans and torque converter, did a dyno test, checked all the valves and away we went. Only took 3 weeks all the while us hooked up in their parking lot. Happy hour every day in nice Arizona weather.


Good luck
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Old 05-18-2023, 04:10 PM   #5
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Yeloduster,
How handy are you?
If you can pull the Tx and bring it to Buena Vista (2hrs) Ken's Transmission can rebuild it. He works on all the county trucks here in B.V. and is very familiar with the 1000 and 3000 Allisons.
PM me.....

Mike In Colorado
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Old 05-19-2023, 04:14 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by edgray View Post
yeloduster: I feel your pain ! I understand you had to find your own shop for the tow truck to deliver to, BUT I would hope you will at least consider finding an Authorized Allison dealer, or distributor, to get a second opinion. Not sure I would leave it at a "truck repair shop" that won't even give you an estimate while you wait weeks for them to get started.

FOR WHAT ITS WORTH, I've never heard of an "Allison 1000M". Looking at a build sheet I have for a 2003 W-20 chassis shows the tranny description as "1000 HS / HM / RDS / EVS ", but I don't know what that description means about the 5 Speed Allison they were using back then.

I wish you good luck getting going again, and hope you will update here when you know more about what happened. Ed
Thanks Ed. It is an Allison Authorized Repair shop. They will give me an estimate once they have it in the shop to access the symptoms. At this point the shop has no more information on the symptoms than I described.

The shop manager says I will have an estimate as soon as they have looked at it. By the way, the shop is one of MANY Inland Truck Parts and Service shops. They are all over the west US.

I don't know why I thought it was a 1000M. Attached is the build sheet info from Allison for my particular transmission. The last item says, "39-843
1000-P PWL/9X3 PBRK/NO TA". I assume that relates to the model number. Also attached is a picture of the tag on the transmission. I can't make out the model number on the tag from the picture.

I will keep everyone informed as I know more.

By the way, IRV2 think I should move this to the Allison Forum. What do ya'll think?
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1998 Jeep Toad.
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Old 05-19-2023, 04:29 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Flyer15015 View Post
Yeloduster,
How handy are you?
If you can pull the Tx and bring it to Buena Vista (2hrs) Ken's Transmission can rebuild it. He works on all the county trucks here in B.V. and is very familiar with the 1000 and 3000 Allisons.
PM me.....

Mike In Colorado
Thanks Mike, I am really handy for a shade tree mechanic, however I don't have the equipment necessary to R&R an Allison transmission.

I have experience with repaired/rebuilt transmissions. My experience is that although the people doing the repair have excellent reputations the repair is NEVER as good as a factory unit!

If it needs a total rebuild I will go with an Allison factory unit.
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2003 34' Georgetown on W20 Workhorse Chassis. UltraRV power mods. Doug Thorley Headers and MagnaFlow 12589 mufflers. Front Sumo Springs, Rear P32 Sumo Springs, UltraRV Track Bar.
1998 Jeep Toad.
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Old 05-19-2023, 10:30 AM   #8
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Duster,
Sounds like you are in good hands.
Yes, please keep us informed, as mine is a "sister ship" to yours and I'm very curious as to what went wrong just cruising down the road.
Just did a search for Allisons and they seem to range from 4K to 8k for reman's to upgraded reman's. WHEW !!!!
Best of luck!!!!

Mike in Colorado
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Old 05-19-2023, 10:34 PM   #9
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you said when you put it in park it made a gear grinding sound before the park pawl found the hole.now this gets me because i didn't think any allisons had a park mechanism.my 99 winne with a 454 and allison doesn't and my freightliner fl60 didn't my 2000 bluebird school bus.none of em had park they all had a brake drum on the back of the trans.supposedly because of the weight of the vehicle was too hard on the park mechanism.
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Old 05-20-2023, 12:06 AM   #10
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It almost sounds like the splines on the output shaft have worn out. But that would make a bit more noise I would think. Hope it's a fairly painless fix.
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Old 05-20-2023, 01:38 AM   #11
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you said when you put it in park it made a gear grinding sound before the park pawl found the hole.now this gets me because i didn't think any allisons had a park mechanism.my 99 winne with a 454 and allison doesn't and my freightliner fl60 didn't my 2000 bluebird school bus.none of em had park they all had a brake drum on the back of the trans.supposedly because of the weight of the vehicle was too hard on the park mechanism.
Most, maybe all, Allison 1000 models have a parking pawl. This is the same transmission used in 3/4 ton and 1 ton Chevy pickup trucks with the Duramax diesel engine.

Workhorse W20/22 have the Allison 1000. The Workhorse W24 has an Allison 2000 series transmission that does not have a parking pawl.
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1998 Jeep Toad.
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Old 05-20-2023, 01:55 AM   #12
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It almost sounds like the splines on the output shaft have worn out. But that would make a bit more noise I would think. Hope it's a fairly painless fix.
Having been there and witnessed the failure I tend to agree with you. The symptom is incongruent with splines shearing off, allowing the shaft to spine in the socket then the broken pieces bind stopping the spin temporarily.

This sound had occurred before. I just couldn't pinpoint the source. It did not sound like it came from the transmission.

In any case, it appears the output to the driveshaft is no longer connected. Maybe an sheared shaft anywhere in the transmission AFTER the parking pawl. The shaft with the parking pawl is still connected to the engine. I think the pawl catches in slots on a part connected directly to the output shaft. I don't have enough knowledge to be more specific. That almost has to be the output shaft!

We will know more in June.
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1998 Jeep Toad.
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Old 05-20-2023, 07:34 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yeloduster View Post
Most, maybe all, Allison 1000 models have a parking pawl. This is the same transmission used in 3/4 ton and 1 ton Chevy pickup trucks with the Duramax diesel engine.

Workhorse W20/22 have the Allison 1000. The Workhorse W24 has an Allison 2000 series transmission that does not have a parking pawl.
Hmmmm, my W24 has a parking pawl. I always thought that the W20/22 had the automatic applied park brake, but was wrong I have the manual applied park brake. So many changes over the years.

Also the 6 speed option was used in the later W24s like our 2008. The park pawl was omitted in the MH applications that were using the AAPB.
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Old 05-20-2023, 08:39 AM   #14
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Hmmmm, my W24 has a parking pawl. I always thought that the W20/22 had the automatic applied park brake, but was wrong I have the manual applied park brake. So many changes over the years.

Also the 6 speed option was used in the later W24s like our 2008. The park pawl was omitted in the MH applications that were using the AAPB.
ONLY the early model year W-24s (2004-2005), which have an Allison 2000 series 5 speed, don't have the PP, hence they got the J72 AAPB. I believe WCC began using the six speed trannies in 2006, and I also think that is the first year for the W-24s to have a PP in the tranny, which allowed WCC to "retire" the J72 AAPB system.

NONE of the W22 series chassis (W20, W21, W22) ever had the J71 or the J72 AAPB system, because they used the Allison 1000 series that included a PP and a foot-applied PB.
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