Final wrap-up on my transmission swap - GM Forum - Buick, Cadillac, Chev, Olds, GMC & Pontiac chat


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Old 01-16-2007, 04:36 AM   #1
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Default Final wrap-up on my transmission swap

I know there are a few other scattered threads relating to the transmission swap we just completed earlier tonight, but I feel this occasion deserves a designated thread for final thoughts, pictures, and videos relating to the past weekend.

First of all, I owe everything to Bob, Thomas, and John (a local GP club member who helped on three of the days). These guys really made this swap happen. Thomas did us a huge favor in volunteering his garage, tools, and extensive knowledge of motors and transmissions. John had tons of pertinent advice on general automotive maintenance, assembly, and disassembly, and turned wrenches like a professional. And Bob.... I seriously cannot say enough about this man'* willingness to help others. I am continually blown away by his generosity toward me and by his attitude of responsibility. Bob tackled tons of difficult jobs throughout the whole swap, and was always there to encourage me when things looked doubtful. Not to mention the fact that three nights in a row he insisted I drop him off at his house and use his car to get home. We give Bob a hard time around here (in good fun, of course), but the reality is that you won't find a more generous, caring guy than Bob Antila. No two ways about it. And together, these three gentlemen made the swap and awesome, funny, informative experience.

Tonight was pretty wild. We got everything back together, then started up the motor. It purred like a kitten from the beginning, but something was funky with the transmission. We had the front wheels in the air, but when I put it into gear the tires did not start to roll. Everything was full of fluid, and all the connectors were in their proper harnesses. We stared at that thing for an hour getting depressed, trying to face the reality that the transmission might need to come out again. All the sudden, Bob pointed my attention to the adjustable vacuum modulator and asked if it could be an issue. I had cranked the adjustment screw all the way out in order to soften the shifts for initial break-in, so I pondered the idea for a minute. It made sense that having too little line pressure would keep the tranny from popping into gear, so I tightened up the screw a bunch of turns and tried it again. Lo and behold, the car went into gear with a satisfying "clunk", and when I let off the brakes the wheels started turning! You should have heard me laughing on the phone with Doug. It was an awesome feeling to go from sadness and dejection to excitement in that split second. I couldn't freaking believe how good that felt.

The other crazy thing that happened was on the way home. Shortly after getting on the freeway I was cruising in overdrive with the torque converter locked, and suddenly I lost TCC lockup. It was just totally gone. I was driving at 65-70mph with the engine turning 3000rpm, so I called Doug to discuss the issue with him. We eventually decided that the tranny must have purged enough air to make the fluid level drop below the point where the TCC would lock, so I quickly pulled off the freeway into a gas station to check the level. Sure enough, the dipstick barely had any ATF on it, so I locked the car and headed into the gas station to get some fluid. The only problem was that the car keys were still in the car. Add to that the fact that the gas station doors were already locked (you had to do business with the clerk through a window) and my cell phone was flashing "Low Battery" at me, things were starting to get very interesting. After about half an hour of trying to reach my wife on the phone, she finally answered just a few minutes before the battery completely died. She had to drag out of the house at 11:30pm to come get my sorry @ss from a ghetto gas station, but the car still wasn't fixed. Luckily the clerk at the station was able to sell me some Dexron III, and I put in 2 quarts with a paper funnel. After that the transmission ran smooth as glass, and the converter locked perfectly. I celebrated with another good burnout from a stoplight.

So, to make a long story short, there were two distinct times tonight when I thought this tranny had some major issues. However, Doug and Bob were able to help out with some timely suggestions, and now I'm convinced that Doug did one hell of a job on this thing. With a proper PCM tune, I expect this car to be in Zilla 1/4 mile territory in no time . This has been a crazy night, but with a happy ending. The car is running, it'* in my possession, and it shifts like a sonuvabitch. And with all the engine repairs we did, I'm confident the motor is sealed up extremely tight. In fact, I'm sure it'* in the best shape of its life since it rolled off the factory floor a decade ago. We did a great job, and it shows in the final product.

Damn.... thank you, everyone. What an awesome experience!
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Old 01-16-2007, 05:16 AM   #2
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Wow. You had me on the edge of my chair pretty bad there Ben. Its good to hear it all came together for you guys. When I lost 4 quarts in my 94SSEi it scared the heck out of me when the same thing happened. Its a great thing when people join together in a time of need.
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Old 01-16-2007, 05:41 AM   #3
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In addition....

This trans shifts pretty hard, even without my modulator cranked up. The 2-3 shift is really weird, because it doesn't bang into gear, but just smoothly transitions from second to third. You almost can't tell it'* shifting. It'* kinda odd, but it works. Other than that, everything is very firm, especially lockup. It pops in with a thud.

The differential is nice and strong. I can lay twins easily, with little indication of either wheel trying to break free on its own. It puts the power down through both tires equally, which is definitely necessary with the 3.73 gears.

The TC doesn't feel as loose as I expected, though it definitely stalls higher. I think it'* stalling around 2800-3000 rpm. The official stall is listed at 2795, though it supposedly changes per vehicle weight and engine torque. You definitely give it more gas before it really gets rolling.

The 3.73 gears make it really easy to change speeds. I'm still getting used to the stabs of the throttle making such a difference, as the car doesn't lag down as much anymore when I try to punch it. It'* snappier, and just "goes" when I want it to. I need a ported TB to make the throttle response really sharp.

I definitely need PCM work for this thing to run optimally. The WOT shift points are all jacked up. I nailed it coming out of a gas station, and the damn thing ran all the way up to the rev limiter (6200rpm) and started bouncing off it! I had to get out of the throttle so it would shift. It seems like the downshifts are goofy as well. However, in another week Thomas should have the necessary HP Tuners access to give this car a fully custom tune. I'll have him change the shifts and rev limiter, and any other tranny stuff that needs done. I also think he'* going to take a look at the engine tune and see if there'* anything that can be improved upon. All in all, this car should run like a raped ape when all is said and done.
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Old 01-16-2007, 06:28 AM   #4
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6200, aww thats nothin!! haha
Sounds awesome Ben!!
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Old 01-16-2007, 09:33 AM   #5
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The 2-3 should get harder over time. That was one of the packs that got an extra clutch. So it'* really tight right now. Well... that'* my unproffessional diagnosis.

That said...



...or vid...
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Old 01-16-2007, 11:50 AM   #6
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Is it faster? Where'* the vids of burnouts etc....launches etc...
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Old 01-16-2007, 11:52 AM   #7
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Bob has the burnout vid.
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Old 01-16-2007, 12:19 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by big_news_1
All in all, this car should run like a raped ape when all is said and done.
I want to see the vids too, I need to know what a raped ape runs like! Thats got to be one sweet ride now.
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Old 01-16-2007, 12:33 PM   #9
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My first time taking video with my camera (I have a lot to learn)



Dark out, but still fun

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Old 01-16-2007, 12:44 PM   #10
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Good burn for an L36! Very good!

Front struts shot? And your trunk is unlatched.
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