"SFI is a foundation that conducts independent testing of parts that can cause damage to a race car, race-car driver, or surrounding spectators, if they fail. TCI has to submit products to the SFI Foundation and meet their testing standards before we can sell them to consumers. Transmission shields, flexplate shields, flexplates, and balancers are some of the products that must be submitted for SFI approval. SFI testing on shields involves spinning a drum or flexplate until it explodes, then making sure the shield adequately contains the debris. Flexplates must spin at a certain rpm for a certain period of time without failing before they can pass the SFI test. In addition to parts costs, TCI must pay the SFI Foundation for each test it conducts. Once TCI parts pass the test, we then have a standard to build our products by."
Loose converters are great for launching hard out of the hole, but slippage simply wastes power at the far end of the track. While older GM converters don't incorporate lockup mechanisms, they can still be tightened up near the end of a quarter-mile pass to improve trap speed by 1 or 2 mph. "In order to accomplish this, you need to tighten up the clearance between the turbine and the pump assemblies to 0.060-0.080 inch," explains Stan. "TCI's standard turbine clearance is around 0.080 inch, although in some NHRA Super Stock and Comp Eliminator cars we have run as little as 0.040 inch to reduce slippage at the far end of the track. When you run such tight clearances, the alignment of the input shaft to stator support is critical, and the distance from the converter case and pump to the engine block should be kept to a minimum."
While very few people are daring enough to tackle rebuilding an automatic transmission themselves, TCI offers complete rebuild kits to get the job done. More importantly, TCI has some sound a a transmission manual on the type of transmission you are attempting to rebuild," suggest Stan. Although TCI's kits come with instructions, they explain where the parts go, not the actual process of how to perform the rebuild. "I would also suggest one or two classes in a college vocational program. I've taken four during my time at TCI, just to learn the basics of transmissions and how they work, and our tech guys have all taken one or two courses. It's a necessary evil."
Pro-X Billet Converter
"TCI's new PRO-X billet-aluminum torque converter is an absolute top-of-the-line converter designed for 2,000- to 3,000hp race cars running big tires. The bolt-together design allows the converter to be cleaned and maintained, but the big news is its adjustable stall speed. In 10.5 Outlaw classes, a 200- to 400-rpm difference in stall speed can be the difference between making a great pass and blowing off the tires. Changing the stall speed is a simple process that involves disassembling and shimming the stator closer to the turbine or closer to the pump. It's this simple change in clearancing that enables the change in stall speed. That means you can fine-tune your setup without the downtime involved with sending your converter back to us for adjustment."