Who Needs Stinking Instructions?
As an alpha male, there was a time in my life that I went by the mantra, "Who needs any stinking instructions?" I guess with all the gray hair I've accumulated over the years, I've begun to realize that the parts manufacturers are usually smarter than the consumers installing said parts. As you guys know, I'm not bashful about sharing when I kill some parts. If I can save you some pain-in either the wallet or by fewer busted knuckles-then I've done my job.
Back in the day, all I ever wanted to be was a mechanic. All through my teenage years this was my focus, and I got my education based on this profession. When I graduated from LA Trade Technical College, I went straight into the field, first with a local private shop as its transmission man. I really took a liking to automatic transmissions and their complexity. Then I moved on to our local Chevy dealership as a heavy line mechanic. There I further applied my craft as a transmission rebuilder. Where I'm going with this is that if I've built one TH350 I've built hundreds!
So, instructions? As I was taking the Stocker combination out of our wagon earlier this year, I noticed a good amount of metal flake in the transmission fluid. I'd just installed a new A1 8-inch converter tuned for our 305 less than 30 runs before. All I could think was that there may be a problem with the converter. Dropping the pan on the trans to check everything out before putting the engine and trans back in the car, I came to find a ton of junk (metal shavings) in the bottom of the pan and around the filter. The last time I rebuilt the trans, I had just installed a lightweight aluminum front drum and Second gear sprag for better performance. The drum assembly came from the manufacturer with no instructions. At that point, I should have given them a call and asked if there were any special instructions for running an aluminum drum. But hey, I've built well over 100 TH350 transmissions, so how hard could it be?
Where did the metal shavings come from? You guessed it. The aluminum drum is not compatible with the Second gear band that applies to the outside of the drum. This band tore itself up and cut into the drum. It cut thin, fine, hairlike strands off the aluminum drum and dispersed them throughout the trans. Luckily, I caught the error soon enough that it didn't kill the $700 drum! In a drag-racing application, you don't need the Second gear deceleration and you omit the band.
The bottom line: If you get custom parts that are very specific to your needs and you don't get any documentation from the manufacturer, take the time and give them a call. I know I will next time.
'66 GEN III
Q: I'm a longtime subscriber, currently building my latest and greatest, and I need some engine advice. I purchased a GM LQ9 engine GM PN 89018179 to put in my '66 Chevelle hardtop with a Tremec TKO-600 trans with 0.64 overdrive. I'll be using full-length headers (Edelbrock stepped), 21/2-inch duals with an X-pipe. The car will have power steering and A/C with the GM Corvette pulley system. It will be for street use only, so what mods do I need to do to the engine to get an honest 340 rwhp and 350 rear wheel torque? From what I've read I believe I will only need a mild cam swap, something along the line of the LS6 cam. I am looking for a setup that gives me some low-end torque with good street manners yet has a nice, noticeable idle to it. I plan on topping the engine off with the FAST EZ EFI. What carb intake would you recommend? I think I have only two choices: the Edelbrock dual-plane or the single-plane from GM. Finally, does this engine have a 58X? Oh, and part numbers that would be great.
Overland Park, KS