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Old 07-19-2005, 12:03 AM   #1
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Default My 97 SSEi gets a much stronger transmission

Below is a rather long article I posted on the Ontario Quebec Club Grand Prix forum. I thought I would post it here in its' entirety but also give some details first because not all of this is relevant for everybody.

Firstly, the work was done by Redline Transmissions in Scarborough, Ontario which is a 325 mile drive each way for me. Where a fellow by the name of 'shimmy' is mentioned, he owns Brock Car Care in Pickering, Ontario. Jerry is a friend who came along for the ride.

All shafts replaced were new and hardened using a propreity technique by the University of Toronto. All clutches, seals, gaskets and bushings were replaced including the instalation of a shift kit and a higher stall torque converter and a tranny cooler.

Here'* a list of hard parts changed;

Turbine Shaft
4th Clutch Hub & Shaft Assembly
Final Drive Sun Gear Shaft
Driven Input Carrier Assembly
Pump Shaft
3.29 Gears and New Dual Chain
Pressure Control Solenoid
...and one other shaft I can't remember the name of.

There is a link at the bottom to a photo gallery of much of the work. Once I got home I also worked on adding more timing as well, I now run 13 Lbs boost at 95*F on a 2.8" pulley using 19* advance (+4) on 92 octane gas. It'* pretty neat with this setup when you downshift into first gear, 60 feet of rubber in two solid strips is no problem :P .

Anyway, grab some popcorn, here'* the story;

After finally getting the chance to drive my car on home turf after having the tranny done at Redline Transmissions, I can once again I can say WOW.

Of course Lee, Scotty and Kenny at Redline did their utmost in doing the work and looking after the customer. Lee, being a friendly but somewhat reserved guy, offered up his transportation so that Jerry and I could have breakfast after our 4 hour drive. Once we got back Lee and Scotty quickly found out we’d be in their hair most the day by snooping around and taking lots of pictures.

Lee thought I was leaving the same day and so was working hard to have my car finished by 2:30 PM, to me that seemed unachievable but to Lee it was just another day. As the day progressed, and as the temperature hovered in the mid-thirties, Lee eventually realized I was staying overnight and said ‘OK I’m not rushing anymore’. With that, I noticed my subframe looked a little uncared for and saw Lee had a pressure washer. I asked if he’d mind if I cleaned and painted my subframe and he immediately said go for it. He quickly arranged to have the pressure washer hooked up while I borrowed his truck in a quest for paint.

Somewhere around this time lunch became the topic and soon pizza was ordered, Kenny went off for drinks and work continued.

By now Lee had dug into the tranny and was about finished. To most people, the internals of an automatic transmission are a complicated mess put together with black art. To Lee, he can do a 4T65E blindfolded, in fact he says he can do 4 or 5 a day. Every motion Lee makes while working has been thought out in advance. He never searches for a part, hesitates or slows down. Actually, he did hesitate once while taking it apart, while taking off the valve body he stopped before removing a bolt, looked at me and said someone had been in the tranny before and this bolt should be over there and that one over here…OK…guess he’* done these before.

I’m not sure if any of you guys mind if people watch while you work but I can tell you Lee was very patient with us. With Jerry and I both with our cameras and questions the poor guy must have felt crowded. In fact Kenny commented Lee usually draws an imaginary line around his bench so that he has space, many times though as he was about to do something Jerry’* camera lens was in the way. Lee would just smile, wait long enough for the shot and then continue.

I mentioned to Lee I must be one of the few who has done the tranny while it was working well. Now, if you’ve ever seen Lee work, he usually doesn’t like to change his train of thought so he just answered with a brief no. He soon showed me what he was thinking about. I thought the tranny was ok but then he showed us the 3rd and 4th gear clutch packs. Some disks had no clutch material left and others were missing various chunks. Those that were intact were burnt including the bands.

When Jerry saw this, he brought up our little adventure a few hours earlier. We had left my place at about 2:00 AM. There is construction on the Trans Canada highway near my place so you go a ways on the service road before merging onto the highway. There was a stop sign just before the merge, I was in the left lane with a VW Jetta behind me. Buddy in the VW pulls to my right thinking he’* going to cut in front of me to the merge 300 feet ahead. I didn’t step on it hard, instead I just paced him to make sure he’d pull in behind me. As we pull onto the highway I continue rolling into the throttle, as we get to about 170 or so Jerry says my car doesn’t pull as hard as his at this speed. I keep on the throttle, Jerry’* shaking his head and the VW passes us as we’re doing over 200…remember it’* 2:00 AM on Thursday morning.

On Friday morning on our way the shimmy’* Jerry was keen to see if there was any improvement with the new tranny, we got close to the same speeds on the 401 and Jerry was convinced the difference was night and day…and so was I.

Once Lee was finished his exercise of continuous motion in putting the tranny back together, it began to sink in that I had brought my own black paint because I didn’t want the silver he usually uses. Lee, half jokingly and half serious, said I wouldn’t be allowed to paint it black, that black transmissions are slower and that’* not the way he does it. He eventually gave in come time to paint and wheeled the tranny over to me and said have fun, let him know when I was done…it was friggin hilarious the way he did it.

Fast forward to the test drive, Lee and go for a roll up the street having the tranny shift through all the gears. We turn around and pass the shop and there’* Jerry standing on the side of the road taking a video with his camera, seeing this Lee pipes up “who is that guy, media or something?”. LOL, you had to be there, but it was funny, after being in his face all day with camera Lee was starting to get suspicious LOL. Once we’d gone back and forth a few times, Lee checked the tranny fluid again and then asked if I was in a rush because he would need another 20 minutes with the car. No worries I said as Kenny came along with beers to celebrate another successful job. Turns out they always wash the car when finished so we had a couple of pints and a few laughs as the day wound down.

All in all, it was a very positive experience with Redline Transmissions. For those that know me well, I am extremely picky about how work is done on my car. In this case I was a little nervous seeing Scotty taking it apart and throwing all the fasteners into one box, I was relieved when he laid them all out before putting it back together and never looked for a missing bolt. Lee himself is passionate about his work and takes it very seriously. He says he loves what he does and it shows. He’* not always talkative while working but when he does have a few moments to chat he’* a very personable guy. Once again, chalk this up as another positive experience at Redline transmissions.

I finally got to drive the car a little more yesterday as the trouble I’ve had with block heaters finally seems cured. Now that I’ve been on familiar roads I’m once again impressed with the car. Ask Jerry, 2 days after I did the cam and everything I said the car no longer felt fast and that I was already used to it. Now with the tranny being done with the 3.29 gears and the stall torque, the car feels impressively quick. Actually it’* not a completely fair comparison because I added more timing (about 3*) by using Will’* Good_Fuel_Spark table.

Awesome feel to the car now, all the engine work coupled to the new tranny feels great. Those that have been in the car know there have been a few compromises because it’* a daily driver, the suspension isn’t firm and the car is not too loud…but to be sure…it’* fairly quick.

Can’t wait to hit the track on a day with good traction with the Nitto drag radials I bought…



See the photo album;

Bonneville SSEi Redline Transmission
Pictures coutesy of JerryH

Cheers,
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Old 07-19-2005, 12:17 AM   #2
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Great story. What a great experience, I cant even imagine. I probably burnt up my clutch packs from shifting manually so much.

Anyway now you can do burnouts and not hurt it so much right?
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Old 07-19-2005, 12:19 AM   #3
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Great write up and I'm glad you like the improvments Cant wait for your new track times.
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Old 07-19-2005, 12:56 AM   #4
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That'* not actually the whole story :P :P

We met up with some local Grand Prix guys for dinner on Thursday night at 'The Keg' restaurant right next to our hotel. There was about 10 of us and one of the guys is a fleet representative for a local GM dealer.

He brought a brand new Cadilac STS for us to play with after dinner . It'* not really my kind of car but for $91,000 CDN ( $75,000 USD) we had to check it out. Since it was now 11:00 PM and it was still 85*F outside, the air conditioned seats were kind of nice, if not a little cold. The tap shift, laser based cruise control and auto sensing wipers and keyless ignition were all very amusing but the overwhelming conclusion was this was a dangerous car. Dangerous because either people think the whole car is so automated you can't get into trouble, or so distracted by the endless controls they're not paying attention.

But wait, there'* more...

Friday comes along and we meet up with more Grand Prix guys around lunch. One of them happens to be Kevin Margitta, owner of Cartuning Turbos and one of the 3 partners in DHP. He insisted on a ride in my car and quite impressed, saying over and over again 'wow this car pulls great and feels like it has much more in it'. Cool I thought

I was also to meet with a fellow by the name of Will for a tuning session. Not that I felt I needed help, the car currently locks in the Short Term Fuel Trims and Long Term Fuel Trims at exactly 0 with not even a blip in KR...but hey, what can it hurt. By the time Will showed I had given at least 5 rides. When finally we got all the programmers hocked up went for a ride, I had to take 2 others as well so we were 4 for the ride.

Everything was peachy keen, we'd done some scanning, cooked some rice :P and were heading back to ponder changes. Just as I was exiting the 401 West I had a loss of power, I recognised it immediately as the SC belt having been thrown...everything else seemed ok.

We got back to the shop we were based at when I noticed my car was now spewing coolant at a ferocious clip. I popped the hood, saw the belt was ok just thrown. I asked if I could bring the car in and put it on the lift, the fellow said sure. Not thinking the belt would be a problem, I started it up and drove onto the lift. Before I made it all the way in I heard a brief squeal of the belt and a puff of blue smoke, right away I knew not having put the belt on was a big mistake because I had just trashed my 8 rib SC belt.

Turns out I blew out the seal on the block heater. I t was noe 3:30 PM on a Friday afternoon. The plan was to drive back to Montreal that night after dinner and a car meet. We were able to find a block heater but the belt was a problem, the only supplier with a Gates belt wanted $110 CDN for it, I can buy it for $56 CDN. I decided to do without the belt for the drive home and made arrangements to pick it up Saturday morning. The block heater was repaired, but not to my satisfaction, though I was assured all was fine.

We left Toronto at 9:40 PM and 3 hours and 40 minutes later the 325 mile drive home without the SC belt was complete.

The next morning I went to the parts store to pick up the belt, he said it would be in at 10:00 AM but I arrived at 11:10 AM and my guys wasn't there, he'd gone home to fill his pool. The other guy at the counter says there were no belts there for me and my guy said there was no pickups at the wharehouse today. Hmmmmmm. I got the guy to call my contact at home and he put me on the phone, Ron apoligised profusely , it was the first time in the 20 years I've known hin that he forget to arrange the pickup.

Both the parts store and the wharehouse close at noon, it'* now 11:20 AM. Ron tells me to pass the phone to the driver whom he tells to get his *** to the wharehouse asap and that he'll deliver the belt to my house in aout an hour. I was worried but things are looking better.

I put the belt on and go out scanning with my new PCM programming. It'* now 95*F out and there'* tons of traffic. I make a short run without going WOT down one highway and exit on to another. I'm just passing a minivan as I roll into the throttle and all of a sudden there'* no power. I exit immediatley, fortunatley it right in front of me. I pull into a grocery store parking lot, kill the motor and coast into the far corner of the lot. I open the hood to find coolant everywhere once again and the SC belt thrown but not shredded...lovely.

I called my wife to come pick me up, went off and bought another block heater and coolant, gather my tools and went to fix the car in the parking lot in 95*F heat. In all it took about 3 hours to do the job including returning all the vehicles.

I went out to play later on Sunday and all finally seems well. I cranked up the timing a bit and it'* feeling very strong. Hopefully I'll play more soon but that'* about enough for me on very little sleep over 4 days. All in a day'* fun....

Cheers,
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Old 07-19-2005, 02:23 AM   #5
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Wow sounds like you really got taken car of.
And i love the pics.
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Old 07-19-2005, 03:55 AM   #6
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What pics??
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Old 07-19-2005, 09:50 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by auroradude
What pics??
the pics from his link
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Old 07-21-2005, 02:04 AM   #8
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When he was rebuilding your trans, did he use a lot of special tools?
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Old 07-21-2005, 12:59 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dumbsioux
When he was rebuilding your trans, did he use a lot of special tools?
A couple, mostly stuff to ease putting seals and whatnot.

Cheers,
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Old 07-21-2005, 01:35 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dumbsioux
When he was rebuilding your trans, did he use a lot of special tools?
there'* a lot of things that can be put together on the trans with regular tools, but for people who spend a lot of time doing it, having a specialized tool saves a bunch of time.

that'* not to say though, that you could tear down and rebuild one in your garage... there are occasionally tools that you do *need* to have access to. I haven't done a t60/65, so I don't know specifics on this tranny, but I know when I was working with the L'*, you ran into a clutch pack or two that required a jig (which could be home built, if you knew what you needed) to tear it apart...
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