Building your own racing transmission can be tricky, but luckily for you we’ve compiled some great advice from the pros here at BTE Racing. Check out their tips before you dive into your project head first.
Use strong, reliable components that are designed for high performance applications. Choose manufacturers with history and experience in racing transmission design and manufacturing.
A great resource for step-by-step powerglide assembly is Carl Munroe's excellent guidebook.
Snap ring pliers, torque wrenches, sockets and a good hammer should always be in arm's reach at the building table.
We asked our veteran transmission builders for some insider tricks that make transmission builds or rebuilds more successful. Here’s what they had to say:
Cleanliness counts! A clean work area and clean parts should be a priority. Any amount of dust, grime, metal shavings, or even hair can cause a moving valve to stick or drag. At BTE, we wash parts in a hot steam pressure washer and also use solvents and media blasters when required.
Design a workspace that is comfortable and accessible. A work table that requires you to bend over or reach too far can be a headache (or a backache). Good, clean lighting is also a must for seeing details on component parts and for making difficult part installations go more smoothly.
The "right" tools for the job are critical, but having a few *extra* tools doesn't hurt either. A lathe for machining pistons, seal installers, ring compressors, an air compressor for testing seals, and a dyno testing machine for trouble shooting are used by our builders every day to ensure perfect assembly.
Don't forget the assembly lube! A small amount of grease is required for many seal and other component installs. We like Life Automotive's Trans Prep.
Think outside the "box." When troubleshooting, always consider the external forces at work on the automatic transmission. From the electronics to the differential and tires, the automatic gearbox is affected by any out-of-the-ordinary operation from its mated component systems.
We encourage more racers to manage their own transmission building and service. It's a rewarding (and potentially money-saving) experience. Have any suggestions of your own? Please post a comment on our blog!