Category Archives: Derby Transmissions

Electric Valve Body Prototype



old design for 1st/reverse only

line pressure constant to the rear band then control psi to the direct and forward clutch assemblies . maintain direct/reverse clutch bleed to apply via a controlled orifice in the set crew in the center support. forward is un-metered. the valve to do the job was tentatively found and available for 150 bucks. system pressure still dictated by front pump modifications and at this point not impede system opressure to cooler or converter/lube circuits.

1/2 inch steel plate with 1/4″ pipe tapping will replace the valve body with 4 lines to a hydraulic control valve. this would be line in-forward-reverse-and bleed to sump. open center valve. this would work to eliminate shifter but leave 4 hydraulic lines….actually 6 hydraulic lines to rupture causing not only a routing issue but a safety hazzard.

it was built never finished. wasn’t right. new design concept:

i need electric over hydraulic.  base design using 4L60 or 4L80 technology is more desireable. accessable parts and solenoids. i think we can keep the constant flow to the rear band for 1st/reverse hold and use the two prong plug off the older th400 kickdown. one would be used for forward and one for reverse triggering. obviously neutral would be no power but fluid would still flow to the rear band via line pressure. free flow of clutches to sump while line is blocked off completely. this would be better as if i went open center with old design i may lose all system pressure bypassing the regulator feeding everything else to converter-cooler-lubricating. so we need  two triggering solenoids to that both deadhead line psi when not engaged and vent the clutch pack.

basically we are looking at a custom valve body out of aluminum with two spool valves- fed by line pressure and allowed to vent to sump off the clutch pack when dissengaged. each valve would have independent constant pressure from the control line off the regulator. when energized the vent port would close and line pressure sent to that clutch pack. when de-energized a spring would return the valve to vent the clutch fluid as well and block off the line psi to maintain system pressure.

so what we are looking at is two spool valves most likely normally closed to line psi while maintaining vent to the clutches. basic two power wires out the transmission and system is grounded through the case/chassis. when energized it engages a clutch. all shift controlling would be done externally this would cut cost and simplify the routing of wiring to trigger the car.

to prevent multiple clutch lock up we could use an industrial controller which automatically dissengages one power while engaging the other, and leave a toggle switch for neutral next to the two place switch. basically and arming switch. possibly have a solenoid to hit and dissengage park next to the arming switch. either way i think a two place switch is the way to go either forward or reverse no neutral. simplfy the shift and leave neutral or park separate. therefore eliminating false shift

looking at if i am thinking 2 inch thick aluminum with a custom 4-6 inch deep pan. i am thinkin either no filter or a custom filter “sock” of some kind. no paper element.

grove on the line psi side  toward the right of the diagram for supply, then cut the port to the left side supplying fluid to a trigger over the direct-reverse passage and following through to the rear servo. the forward clutch valve/trigger oil/spool is a different story. being at the front i can either run it sideways over the old rooster head manual shift area of replumb it to the rear next to the reverse spool.

here again we leave some kind of solenoid to trigger a park or abandon it all together, which is not an option to me. overall the valve body is only concerned with 1 supply line-1 constant supply while running- and two control ports. if we need a second gear it would be three ports and there is a possibility of using two solenoids both energized to create a 2nd gear shift via spool valving, but it is over complex and unnecessary at this point.

so at this point i have the concept but i need to figure out the valving and the solenoids. we are going with an aluminum plate for the control body for sure. re-examine gm electric tranny stuff i think would be the way to go. if we can find an existing valve to use and simply use one part of both. also could we use i long valve on one solenoid to move it forward after armed and energize solenoid for reverse. forward being the stronger end of the car in failure AND stronger circuit for the most part. even in this design we would need a separate arming solenoid to dissengage the tranny but would be a simple circuit such as a TCC circuit in comparison to the rest. this would leave one valve for machining reducing cost.

if we do two inch thick we can tier the passages, however 1″ with one valve also simplifies cost and machining as well. we have a cost factor. so we do a static passage to the rear servo-to supply one valve. no energized we got forward/reverse energized. a second valve would have to vent and deadhead line psi. either we use two control valves of 1 control valve and one arming valve. it would be left up to a cost issue.

the overall goal is a 1 or 2 wire control valve body on the existing design of th400 1st/reverse only. possibly an upgrade for existing trannys.

it appears that the modern solenoids control the oil flow via an internal pintle on the valve on the solenoid to move the main valve to trigger shift. this adds a layer of complexity. we will be looking at an oil tolerant valve from the old design to go into the pan. these exist in an industrial enviroment. engineering two oil circuits to accomplish one goal is ridiculous. i am thinkin two valves-oil tolerant externally to go in the pan, leave the valve body in the air. more research but not abandoned. this is neat!


after a day or research, the older design seems more practical than i thought before for both cost AND perception because it is a visual difference AND mechanical may sell moreso over than an electrical design. i believe i can use a 1/4″/-4an metal braid line with the modified log splitter valve as before. i would use a two piece oil pan with a drop out center plate so i can fab the lines to the steel plate. the original had brass fittings they may be swapped for steel, welded, then faced on a lapping machine for proper seal to the case. omit the oil filter and tap the oil pick up and modify a chevy engine pick-up to weld to the tapped case pump pick-up tube.

the electrical design is not abandoned. i think the proven product and method to do this would be a custom aluminum valve body with milled passages and drilled for two spool valves. a mid plate is a definite in this design to isolate the passages. i would use two solenoids out of a 4L60E. i believe these fire an oil charge at a valve to create shift. i think if i can use an existing valve out of either a 4L60E of 4L80E then mill the aluminum to fit the passages it would be the most cost effective. exhaust each out the top(bottom to sump)/ deadhead pressure when not in use to line. basically two 3-way spool valves. as for an arming switch it would be nice to have a switch to arm the panel and dissengage park. a biondo type solenoid to go in and out of park would be ideal. so when you arm the panel it energizes to dissengage park while arming two switches for forward/reverse. this would require a 3 wire plug though. it would be much simpler to omit the park but it is a liability concern. perhaps a pinion brake with a park pin is a better option or a pin engagement to a nerat yoke.


First/Reverse only Transmissions

First/reverse only is a concept that has been around in demo derby for years and years. i remember walking around in the pits with my dad talking to people back in the 80’s as a kid. they modified their stuff for first/reverse only….or had a transmission shop do it….along with water in the tires……and running all thread instead of wire and chaining the hood. Anyways, when i started out to build a first/reverse only transmission(which started as a wager), i wanted to not only keep it from shifting, but eliminate moving parts. in essence K.I.S.S.(keep it simple…..stuipid).

the actual modification to prevent shift is actually rather simple. you unplug the modulator valve from engine vacuum and disable the governor. modulator valve is low speed shift control. governor drives just like a speedometer off the output shaft.  on both the th350 and th400, line oil pressure from the pump is supplied to the gear drive end of the governor. as road speed increases, weights fly out in a governor action working against supply oil(instead of a spring like an engine governor would work). the faster you go- the more signal oil is let by. this signal oil is then sent to the 1-2 and 2-3 shift valves. the tension of the springs in the valving controls shift point……and the size of the holes in the mid plate control how fast the gear applies.

on a th400, my method for disabling shift is to remove the governor and both supply lines entirely. you then drill and tap the oil supply port at the rear of the valve body which is meant to supply the governor. you leave the signal oil/return port open. this does two things: you line pressure is not lost anywhere in the governor circuit cause it is essentially completely removed. the other is there is no bleeding past of the fluid on any of the valving that may eventually build up and try to trigger a shift. if you are familiar with case drain on a hydraulic system, in essence that’s what it is.

Now, after298116275 the fact i figured out that by simply modifying the governor to stay closed would give you the same effect. contrary to what anyone claims, i had 15-20 transmissions running successfully in events across northern IL before i ran across this modified governor from a builder out west. it does work but it would still have the effect of wanting to shift into 2nd at high speed. here again this was caused by case drain effect. so i discovered people sticking clips into the 2nd gear shift valve. i never did this on anything i built. in fact, i use to modify my pile of old governors and sell em for a few bucks at shows years ago. this still works on th350’s and th400…….just not as effectively as my method. i would say this is about 85% effective whereas the other is 100%.

The other part unique to my 1st/reverse design is locking in the first gear holding member. on any automatic transmission to get gear reduction you have to have one holding member and one driving member to get what is called planetary action. on a th350 it is a piston style holding clutch to the rear of the case. on a th400 it is a rear 3 rib band on the front planetary gearset. a 727 also uses a band if i remember right. anyways,on both the 350/400 transmissions, reverse and 1st gear are the same gear-powerflow. the forward clutch drives first gear, while the forward clutch releases and the direct clutch is engaged to drive in reverse. so i reasoned that by permanently anchoring the holding member you not only eliminate moving parts but ensure the gearset is held. you also reduce friction and strain on your first gear holding sprag.

on th350 transmissions, i tried many different methods of doing this, as well as my friend Jim. it was hit and miss one trans would win derby after derby….the other wouldn’t pull out of the driveway. after a ton of thought i realized what was happening and found the fix, but elected to quit building th350 for demo derby cause i started seeing gearset damage and snapped output shafts. for this reason i quit building th350 for derby specific. i will rebuild one and use the 4L60 center support … can use it for whatever you want after it leaves my shop and it will work!

on a th400, i had much more luck. just find a way to lock the rear servo completely engaged so the the rear band doesn’t dissengage. the picture to the right was my first attempt at figuring this out using a modified rear servo cover and a hommemade adjustment screw. i then removed all the seals and pistons from the bore, plugged the oil ports off, and set the tension on the rear band manually. this didn’t work out at all… sucked royally. so i took a different approach to it entirely.396007827 it happened qute by coincidence i had a GM 8.5 rear end i was setting up in the shop at the same time…..looked at the servo……looked at the shim kit of that rear axle……and that worked. i eventually abandonned the idea of blocking off the oil ports to the rear servo and ended up suing the stock rear servo/accumulator with new seals but both return springs removed. you then use shim washers to shim the piston down in the bore to tension the rear band. HOWEVER, i also discovered this is an adjustable thickness of shim. there are 3 different pins used on the rear servo all different lengths….and you also have wear to the fron planetary and rear low 1 holding band. i have used a specific washer from lawson products, and on average you use 2-3 washers….sometimes one.

the most successful way to set the rear servo/band tension like this is remove the rear servo…….remove both both springs and seals ….set the accumulator on the bench…..then reassemble it back into the bore. you then stick about two washers under the servo cover and press down to the case. you want the servo cover to barely hover above the aluminum case. if there is a giant gap there it is too much. if there is no gap and you don’t feel the tension on the band……you need more washer/shim. when you get it where you want it, you then install your seals, the inner accumulator, shim washers selected washerand torque it in.

Now, it is very important that you do not overload the rear servo tension. you are suppose to prevent movement moreso that set tension. you are still getting oil flow to it in low 1/rev for holding. what we are doing here is preventing it from dissengaging fully causeing friction/heat. it will still move slightly even when shimmed. if you overtension it, it will warp the case and even screw up how the whole planetary gearset rides in the case/center support. i showed several different people how to build my style 1st/reverse only. pictured here to the right is precisely how not to do it. the 3/8″ washers will float around against the rear servo cover and your apply will jump all over the place. you would be better off just running a stock rear servo set up over this. the yellow spring works out quite well for rear servo return/accumulator springs.

There are numerous other small things i do to my derby transmission builds, and they all kinda work together. first/reverse only in my opinion is somewhat overrated in modern demo derby. with these huge geared rear axles and what not, you almost need more than one gear. and for a wire car it is a bit overkill for what your going for. a properly built stock th400 transmission driven wisely and maintained properly can win any derby, and have. the whole object of going 1st/reverse only or 1-2/reverse manual shift is to add longevity and performance to a transmission for a performance edge


360 Modular Brace for TH400/Mid-Plate Pan Bracing

Years ago i came uS3700012p with the idea of putting in a mid plate between the oil pan and the transmission case. On a th400 aluminum transmission case, they can be prone to breaking at either the rear tail shaft housing or just up from it off of the locating lugs for the rear band. When the shifter is mounted off the back of the case, it becomes a weapon next to you if the rear of the case lets loose. i had 2 or 3 friends take one hell of a shot to the legs when it happened. So, by adding a plate off the 13 oil pan bolts to the rear 2 tailhousing bolts/ transmission mount, it prevents the shifter from comming over and nailing you.

of course, this has evolved into a complete underbracing solid steel oil pan. you then add a rear tailhousing plate and build gussets from the steel oil pan to the rear tail plate. in this picture to the right is a finished mauler brace pan. i named it mauler cause it reminded me of wolverine’s claws that shoot out of his hands. on this one,  i did not use a rear plate. i elected to drill and tap the tailhousing  so i could bolt the pan brace from beneath. this allowed a 4X4 crossmember to butt up to it and use a port-o-power to wedge it into the car.

there are some plus’s and minus’s to this. you have to use allen head screws to make everything clear. it ends up about a 4 quart capacity but has a smaller depth profile than the deep sump th400 truck oil pans.  it is damn near bulolet proof, but when you finish welding it up, it can be a complete pain in the ass to get it to seal at the pan gasket. also it can be a pain to remove for simple service. i highly recommend running good old dexron II/III and servicing your trans frequently. i would pull the drain plug after every run and change out the filter every 3-4 events…….or once a year. by circulating in 3-4 fresh quarts every run it keeps your fluid juiced up… to speak.

what a lot of people forget though is that those big nerat bell housings have a tendency to want to pull upward and off the front of the aluminum case as the car noses up. even with top bracing….it can still pull the bolts. simply drilling and installing two bolts to the bottom of the bell is all you need(also pictured). all it is doing it keeping the bottom of the housing from moving forward. think of it as a safety strap.

now with the big push of people either going back to more stock builds or selling out completely, i decided that htere has to be a more simple and easy way of doing this other than the freaky warlord monsters i have built. so i came up with a spider bracing plate. it fits over the stock oil pan with an access hole to pull the drain plug, so there is minimal sealing issues of fit problems from welding. it can be removed without dropping the pan and is able to be removed without battling your rear bracing plate/top bracing. it is bolted to the housing and the rear bracing plate.

you then run 4 tubes cross the top for your top bracing. you can build one of these elaborate spider’s web looking things for a top brace(i have), but i have had successful builds out there wil as little as four 1/2″ I.D steel pipes from rear plate to back of the steel housing. the distributor protector and/or the nerat housing takes most of the abuse of keeping the nose down on the car. your bracing is there to keep the aluminum case in tact. the nice thing is that this set up is easy and straight forward, cost effective, AND can be removed in pieces to comply with different rules. i mean you can remove all of it and swap on a J.W. Performance bell housing for a stockish approach……or drop the bottom spider brace plate if no skid plate is allowed at the track from under the car……or you are 4-6 hrs from home and something grenades in the transmission and you need to swap in a different center unit into all you bracing.

Parasitic Drag/Oil Shear Effect on Clutch Packs

so something i have been trying to find a happy medium on transmission builds is what is largely known as parasitic drag. this is the amount of power it takes to make the transmission function. on a stock th400 it is around 30-35hp it taxes off the engine, whereas a th350 is about 10hp less than a th400 on the average.

parasitic drag i always thought was due to rotating mass and power requirement of the hydraulic pump. simply put, a hydraulic pump needs power, and the resistance to flow creates a power loss as well. you also have slippage in the torque converter as it is a fluid coupling(essentially a pump). internal components also have some weight to it. basically the more it weigh’s- the more it takes to get it moving. i’ll spare you the law’s of physics.

there is also something i have been trying to deal with lately called oil shear. on your clutch packs, oil circulates from the center out for lubrication and cooling. when the clutch is not applied, the surface area of both the clutches and steels are still covered in circulating lubricant oil. now, if we are spinning a dissengaged clutch pack at any kind of an rpm, the oil will sling to the outside…..literally sucking the flat clutches and flat steels together and causing them to drag. i want to say it is fairly similar to a kind of capillary action caused by centrifugal force. obviously a dragging clutch pack will increase tranny temperatures, and if severe enough, clutch failure.

the solution is basically put a relief area in the clutch pack for the fluid to escape. the easiest way to battle this is to loosen up your clutch pack clearances. this though is a catch 22 as if your clearances are too loose you will have other consequences.

the use of radial grooved clutch discs and waffle clutch discs are the best solution to resolve the problems caused by oil shear on most of your older trannys. gm did it on different clutch packs in both the th400 and the th350.

later model 4L80E’s and 4L60E transmissions used what is termed as turbulator steels. basically they are steels that have an oblong hole in the middle to relieve the oil shear caused by centrifugal force. they are found in the 97 and newer 4L80E’s in the overdrive clutch packs.

on the 96 and newer 4L60E’s , they used turbulator steels in both the reverse input drum and the low 1/reverse drum. ironically it is erie similar to the same areas that fail on a th350 in a demolition derby….anyways the late model turbulator steels can be swapped into earlier 700R4’s as an upgrade.

now as an example of oil shear. on my 1st/reverse th400, i got a guy that gives it time to shift, but floors it from one side of the track to the other all night in forward. after 40 minutes of running the piss out of his suicide lincoln……he loses reverse or it starts to slip. upon teardown there is nothing wrong with the seals- the seal rings-the pistons- the forward clutch is fantastic- gearset is fine. the direct/forward clutch is burnt to a crisp- i mean no linings. on a 1st/rev the direct drum spins just as fast in the opposite direction but dissengaged. even when using stiffer trans brake springs to keep the clutches dissengaged- the discs still suck together!

this is chronic oil shear….and can happen on ANY transmission used for demo derby. even with the use of waffle clutches, chronic oil shear still can happen. we are experimenting even to this day with combinations of different linings-number of discs vs number of steels, different fluids/additives, and clutch pack clearances to prevent this. there is no answer at this time for derby transmissions.

Billet Derby Tail Housing Project

S3700067 When i built the original warlord, one of the biggest problems i had with it is that officials with several different promotions claimed the tail housing was illegal, with claim “it wasn’t made of stock material”. so, my machinist Bob and i decided on billet aluminum and a short shaft design. at the very least i could use the housing on my buddy’s drag car! although it doesn’t have the advantage of steel in that you have the option of welding braces to it, it has easy machining capability, lightweight, and damn near as strong as a steel counterpart, at equal or less cost.

SinceS3700062 i did a longshaft last time, i went with a 4″ short shaft so it would fit into the newer body style cars easier. the 6 bolts were allen headed and went all the way through and there was a full inch of aluminum to drill and tap as you please for custom bracing. at one time i even had it fitted to the mauler brace i built for display purposes. but like most everything else even though i tried to build around the rules…..they changed the rules…..therefore abandoning the project and all components were disposed of. neat concept, kind of like the olds Hemi motor. with the billet roller bearing tail housings already on the aftermarket, there is really no point in having this piece other than bracing for extreme abuse like demo derby.

The Original Warlord: Pt.4

190548_1900068617911_1127542558_32235499_7251568_n188573_1900069577935_1127542558_32235504_3141742_n195943_1900068817916_1127542558_32235500_7020513_n199279_1900068257902_1127542558_32235497_5370664_n196523_1900068417906_1127542558_32235498_858964_n205316_1900069137924_1127542558_32235501_7167623_n167790_1786825746910_1127542558_32075548_7478079_n168121_1786825466903_1127542558_32075546_6603062_nwell, this was the aftermath of two runs of the first two runs on the warlord. it was installed in a lincoln with rotted crush boxes. the real overall goal was to see if a tranny could be built to take all the strain and keep the nose of a car down by utilizing the floorpan. this was the raffle car at the blizzard bash in kansas dec of 2010, and another derby a month later. other than the bolt to the back of the housing rubbing through the floorpan, i would call it a success for the most part. it went on to compete in metal mayhem the next year, and two other derbies in the same mayhem car later that summer, both of which the car was victorious.

Hydraulic Shifter Prototype Th400

S3700029So i had this idea,”i wonder if we could get rid of the shifter”. so i proceeded to go through my books and chart the flow through the housing and before long i had the blueprint for the adapter plate that you see here.

Basically, on a 1st/reverse only transmission, you basically have 3 components getting oil in the valve body since we are not worried about shift: the rear servo to hold the reaction carrier in reverse and low 1, the forward clutch pack, and the direct clutch pack which gives you reverse. i reasoned that basically we could use a hydraulic valve to make the clutch packs shift direct from line pressure. this would eliminate the valve body, mid plate, and mechanical shifter entirely so there is no more tail mounted shifters and holes in the floorboard.

so i started my taking a 1/4 inch plate and fabricating it to the valve body. i then tapped and installed 4 1/8″ pipe fittings so they lined up in the passages of the case. these were line pressure(pump supply psi), reverse oil port, forward clutch port, and rear servo port. i then plumbed a hard line from rear servo to the line psi port so whenever the engine is running, line psi is applied to the servo to maintain the gearset in a locked low 1/reverse orientation. this leaves 3 ports: forward, reverse, and pump.

now, what next? i need a hydraulic control valve. my first thought was a valve off a log splitter so you can still get that slam shift effect, but the plumbing is all wrong. you see a common valve is open center and locks psi to the work ports when in neutral. our clutch packs once disengaged must release psi to sump to release the clutch pack. unlike on a cylinder of a log splitter we have springs to return the clutch pack to home position. i considered using multiple valves- but ended up on a control valve used for a hydraulic motor-which allows the work ports to bleed to the tank(or in this case the oil pan is our supply tank). the prince number for the closed center valve is RD2575M4EDA1. in it’s original use like on a conveyer belt or a stump grinder, when you shift it to neutral the hydraulic motor cannot come to a dead stop so it allows it to spin and bleed psi to the sump. in this case i would be using the float position to bleed clutch pack psi and allow for neutral.the line/pump pressure is also is blocked off on this valve due to being closed center, which is necessary so we don’t disable the other circuits within the tranny that feed the converter and oil cooler. pressure relief is a non issue as there is still the psi regulator in the tranny maintaining psi at 150-225psi.

Are you confused yet? here let me simplify it for ya now. basically what we sould be doing is getting rid of the stock tail housing shifter and rod entirely and replacing it with a hydraulic valve for shifting- eliminating the need for a floor shifter of any kind. you would mount the valve on the cage and run the hydraulic lines through the firewall and down to the tranny- and there would be 4 signal lines. i believe i would need a custom oil pan and plumb the lines oil the passenger side of the pan to the valve.

would it work? hell yes it would work. will i be building it… the plate and fittings you see in the photo is about all i am willing to develop for a multitude of reasons. it’s going to take time and money to get a finished product developed and producing several could be a nightmare. if someone could mass produce these…….THEN you have to deal with chicken shit promoters who will make it illegal cause everyone will bitch about it to em at the derby til they do make it illegal. THEN you also have to consider everyone and their brother who build the best shifters on the planet bitching to officials and promoters to make it illegal because it cuts into their profit. And finally, i really thought it was a bit overkill for what you would end up with.

So piss on it, i packaged it up with the blueprint i had drawn up and its in a place gathering dust til hell freezes over. But since i decided to abandon it, i figured i would share the idea with you guys to show you what is possible.

Cutting a case for an aftermarket bell housing

390168847Well, you could say i have prepped a few 400 cases for the jw performance ultrabell. it is pretty straight forward, and the kit comes with instructions and hardware. this is pretty much how i have found to be the quickest way to get the job done.

The installation to me is done in two parts: 1- remove the bulk of the housing 2-grind the edges for an flush true fit. To remove the bulk portion of the housing, i like to use my 4 1/2″ milwaukee grinder with a cut off disc rather than a sawzall. 390168894 On a lot of cases like the one shown, there is usually some kind of impression left from years of oil pan gasket contact. use this as a guide and make your first two cuts above this mark….cutting through to the thin part of the bell. I then basically make a circle cut around the housing above or even with the top of the oil pump flange. keep in mind we want to remove a large portion of the bell to get it out of the way.

390168856390168859Here in the two pictures to the left, you can see the housing with the bulk of the bell removed. Also noticed i am pointing to two of the 8 bolt bosses needed to attach the case to the bell. Not all housings can accept the ultrabell. if your case does not have both of these bosses, don’t even bother cutting it. you need all 8 bolt bosses for the case to stay attached properly. the pump is no big deal however, just flip the pump over and drill out two holes to turn a 6 bolt pump to an 8 bolt pump. A lot of the ultrabell failures are due to two things happening, either not enough clearance when it was cut to fit the housing or not all 8 bolts were used because the case was cheap shitted. i have tore down ultrabell trannys from other builders where the housing ripped off……and find that it only had 6 bolts holding it on rather than 8, and they simply put a nut on the back side to make it look like it had 8 bolts in the case!!!! 390168849 At this point it is time to switch wheels and finish fitting the housing. i use a flap wheel style grinding wheel to knock the material off the housing. It doesn’t plug with aluminum like a metal griding wheel would, and removes material rapidly. wear your safety gear with this too cause it throws a lot of material all over. pull the wife’s car out of the garage first and save an arguement!!!

390168896390168868First thing you do is knock the 3 casting ears off so the bell sits flush. you then set your pump in the case….or what i do is use a tore up piece a shit as a dummy plug…..then set the bell housing down on the pump using two bolts as alignment dowels through the works. Now if you have a working tranny with a busted bell and just want to fit the housing, they say removal is necessary to install the bell housing. Although i have never done it, i think if you are careful you can do it without removal. i always cut for fitting during a rebuild. Basically at this point you take your flap wheel and keep knocking down the edges until the bell housing sits completely flush to the face of the pump. Basically trial and error fitting. You have the case clearanced correctly to the bell housing when you can hold it flush and still wiggle it against the bolts slightly. the only point you have to worry about taking down too far is getting into the oil pan gasket.390168903 You don’t want any part of the case touching the bell housing- just the face of the pump. Remember to refer to your instructions or call JW performance with questions. the picture to the right is a bottom view of a properly clearanced bell housing where it meets the oil pan.

after clean up and final installation, you then install the 8- grade 8 bolts provided. the o-rings go between the bell housing and the pump face to prevent leaks. i torque them to 18-20 ft/lbs. DO NOT OVER TORQUE these things. it is just aluminum. the bolts that come with the bell housing are actually a special length as well and thread into the case beyond a stock fastener. these bell housings may seam like they aren’t worth a shit, but they do work! i just wish you could run something bigger than an 11″ torque converter!!

The Original Warlord:Pt.3


there are some issues with the Nerat housing that came up though. first off the top two holes of the bell housing did not line up with the top two bolt bosses ot the rear of the block. I actually had someone at metal mayhem tell me about the problem so i was expecting it to be a real bitch. it actually was not that far off. a few minutes with a die grinder and it was resolved. the guide pins were machined VERY tight but still fit. i had to evenly tighten all 6 housing bolts to press the housing flange to to the block over the guide pins. i may have a terrible time getting it removed after it’s done. the converter spun freely and never bound up at all. installing the converter bolts is done though the starter hole with starter removed. it was actually easy in spite of how it looks, i used arp fasteners and had to hold a nut on the back side of the converter ears. no problem. BUT, i did discover that a stock chevy old iron starter does not fit. i had to use my high torque starter as seen in the picture. it fit excellent and the loop of steel around the nose was clearly a nice feature to help protect the starter.

389637116The oil filter was also somewhat protected by the thick round flange. i used a PH30 FRAM oil filter. it is a little shorter than the PH5 Fram filter but still not as small as that real shorty ac delco oil filter- of which i cannot for the life of me remember the number. if someone knows what i am talking about and the part number please e-mail me i will post it up here for all to see. It is worth mentioning that with a few added holes to the bottom of the bell housing flange a few bracing rods up to the engine motor mount pad area would be no problem at all. and THAT is something definitely worth taking into account for some of you guys. with all the bracing on the market for demo derby, these days, and some beer/ imagination, it is no telling what you could create here!

The teeth of the flex plate clear by as little as an 1/8th of an inch in some spots, but did not require any special clearance. i used a 12″ converter, but Brian claims 389637093a 13″ stock diameter converter will fit. Now when i fit my stock converter in the heads of the front pump bolts lightly scraped the back of the converter, but did not with the 12″. this may be a non issue as the converter does pull back out a bit when bolted to the flex plate, but i didn’t like it. on the JW ultrabell this is a non issue so you be the judge.

i will get some pictures of the whole deal when it is installed. looks like it is headed to the northwoods for installation into a rather rot box lincoln town car.

The Original Warlord Build Pt.2

the original intent all along was to make a steel plate cocoon from front to back. with the way the steel bell housing was built and tapped on the back side- and the dimensions of the flange i had on the tail housing, the cocoon idea just didn’t seem practical this time around. not to mention i would need a custom shifter to fit around a steel cocoon, and that was a turn off.

So i elected to use 1/2″ solid steel rods with rod ends. this was a simple solution and had enough variance to make up for the angle issues from the outside of the rear flange to the back of the housing.S3700005 i then took 3/4″ flat stock, cut it into short pieces, then drilled them 2 directions. one direction was drilled 1/2″ for the 1/2″ bolt holes in the back of the housing, and the other 3/8″ for the rod end diameter.

S3700010the flange was then tapped in 7 more spots(in addition to the two bolts on the bottom hooking the mid plate to the bottom of the tail flange), as you can see from earlier post’s, to accomodate the rod ends. the rods themselves as i said before, are solid 1/2″ steel. As it turned out the ideal length turned out to be about 15 1/2″ from front to back. i then chucked em into the lathe to drill and tap fine thread for the rod ends. the rod ends were purchased through one end is tapped reverse thread, so adjustment is simply done by spinning the rod instead of unbolting one end and spinning the end. i feel this is a real half-assed cheap way so i spent the 85$ for the reverse thread tap. i tell ya what i was glad i did it.

S3700006Fitting 5 rods tight to the case was a not near as bad as i thought it would be. with the freedom of adjustment with the housing adapters and adjustable rod, it made clearing all the vital things somewhat of a breeze once i got it all set up.S3700007 i ended up flipping the governor cover inside out along with grinding a bit of the right side of the case to fit the rod tight to the case in order to get the cooler line fittings to clear right. the pipe dipstick just barely cleared once i got the rod tight to the case on the lower right hand side.

one concern about the rod ends is the fact that they swivel, which could allow the case to still twist and crack. the steel mid plate is meant to absorb a lot of the twist, and i felt the primary job of the support rods was more to relieve the stress from the car bending vertical rather then rotational strain. plus there are 5 of them, so the rods have a tendency to triangulate once they are preloaded, even though they have swivel ends.

S3700011the transmission mount i came up with was a simple weld-on mount drilled on the bottom for a regular rubber tranny mount. the tail piece is so damn strong you probably don’t a tranny mount at all, just use a truck u-bolt and put it right on the crossmember. My theory was you put it in the car and weld your tranny mount pad to your transmission crossmember location rather than deal with modifying the crossmember all the time. the feedback i got though indicated that having a mount pedistal that could move from one end to the other of the tail piece would be awesome. toward the base for crown vics and toward the rear for old iron. for this summer and this prototype i am just going to weld the bitch and go, but the next model i am working on WILL have a removable tranny mount pedistal that relocates the mount to the crossmember rather than the crossmember to the tranny.