July 2012 Chevy High Performance Q&A

Chain Reactions, Part II

Kevin McClelland May 29, 2012 0 Comment(s)
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Last month I gave you a blow-by-blow of the broken carnage in my Powerglide racing transmission in my roadster. When it was all said and done the pile of dead parts was extensive with the planetaries, direct drum, front pump, and input shaft lying in a pile. With the help of our pal Jimmy Galente at RaceTrans, we had spec’d out all the components needed to get me back on the track with a bulletproof trans. I’m not one for working on our cars. I much prefer racing them! So I’ll spend the extra dollars to keep me from bending the wrenches.

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With this being said, we went top shelf on all the components, which put my checkbook in serious overdraft territory. First, I knew that I wanted to go with billet 9320 1.80 straight-cut planetaries. Next, we went with a Reid SuperPump, which has upgrades throughout the pump as compared to the stock Powerglide. One major upgrade is a much larger pump assembly and passages, which increases the pump’s volume. Next, was a TCI Vasco 300 input shaft, and finally Alto Red Eagle clutches and Kolene steels. With the direct drum needing to be replaced, we upgraded from a seven-clutch pack to eight on the direct. On the reverse Alto has designed a “low-friction” clutch pack. What they have done is put neoprene buttons on the ears of the steels, which force the steels apart and give the friction plates extra clearance. When a Powerglide transmission is in high gear, the direct clutch locks the planetaries and spins the reverse frictions at the input shaft speed. Therefore, when you’re flying down the track in high gear at 7,000 rpm, the frictions are spinning at that rpm between the steels that are stationary. Any drag there slows down the car and wears the clutches.

To round out my new killer transmission I also upgraded to a Reid roller bearing case with built-in flexplate shield and transmission shield. In addition to the roller bearing case I also installed a billet roller bearing governor support. These two upgrades are to also reduce friction and give you added performance. In my roadster there is very little room for the external flexplate and transmission shields. The interior barely fits and with this case everything fits like a glove. Also, the trans case can be recertified every five years. I even swapped out the trans flexplate, so I shouldn’t have to pull out the trans for three years as that’s when the cert will be out on the flexplate.

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With all these new parts I dropped around $2,500. The reason I did this is that now I have a transmission that will live with a 1,500hp engine and should never give me one bit of trouble behind my relatively mild big-blocks. As an added bonus for spending all of this hard-earned money, I did pick up around 8 hundredths of a second, and two full mph in the quarter-mile! I was blown away with the performance gain. I was hoping to get the performance that the manufacturer promised, but sometimes it can rarely happen.




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