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Project Shamu
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Discussion Starter #1
Well guys, this long awaited review is finally finished. Now this in incredibly long and probably over detailed, and over explained, but I think its necessary under these circumstances. Now this all started a while ago when my transmission threw a code for excessive torque converter slip. I knew it was already on its last leg, so it was finally a kick in the butt that it was time to replace it. Now I’ve already replaced the transmission in this truck once before, and installed a used unit (bad idea). Anyways, I set out doing ALL the research I could do, and I wanted something that was going to be able to last me, be ready to handle more power In the future, but wasn’t going to make me go bankrupt at such a young age haha. Now I know those 3 never go together, but I was looking for the best compromise between the 3. I looked at Factory Ford Reman units, Monster transmissions, Diesel Site, Brian’s Truck Shop (BTS), John Woods, and a few local shops. I decided against the Ford Reman unit, it was the one I pulled out originally, so it obviously wasn’t something I’d want again. Monster transmissions I’ve read are the same as Ford Reman units, very simple rebuilds and not very strong, just get the job done (but they are the cheapest complete transmissions out there). John Woods I tried calling several times, left several messages, and emailed him several times, with no response or call back, so I moved on. And there were no local shops around me that I had enough faith in to fork out the money to.

So then I emailed DieselSite, now they have their transmission on their website retailing at $4099 with their Torque Converter (view it here: E4OD Heavy Duty Transmission ). Which isn’t cheap to anyone, but like I said, I don’t want to end up putting another transmission in the truck in a year or two, or even 5 years for that matter. So I was willing to fork out the extra cash for some extra insurance. Dan at the DieselSite, and I went back and forth for several weeks about the “Legendary” transmission they build. But, me still being interested in other manufactures, I called BTS one morning before work. I ended up putting my name down for one from them. They started at $5000, but only later did I find out that their lead time was over a month! So I called up Dan the next day, and after speaking with him more about it, he convinced me to change.

Now Dan is a fantastic guy, super helpful, very knowledgeable, and happy to help. Dan truly is a dying breed of customer service, and you’ll understand why if you ever get on the phone with him. I also ended up purchasing the Tru-Cool 4739-1 Transmission cooler (which they have the best price around on) and External Transmission Filter Kit from him. Now to go along with the cooler, I wanted to step up from the 5/16” cooler lines that come one the E4OD, to 3/8” cooler lines that come on the 4R100’s. So I asked Dan if they had anyway to convert the E4OD to accept the larger lines, and thankfully, they make just the thing. They make a custom fitting with the check valve and spring removed, then a custom spacer remove the bypass tube (since I live in California and we never see temps below 30* lol) to ensure there is no restriction in the cooling system. You can read more about them here: Cooler Bypass Delete Kit. Then I just had to purchase some 3/8” cooler lines, which thankfully Dorman makes a set for about $40! These are the ones I bought: Amazon and Amazon. So now I had a game plan, Legendary E4OD, Legendary Torque Converter, Tru-Cool 4739-1, External Filter Kit, 3/8” cooler lines, and I even purchased a new transmission mount to go with this entire setup. Dan also mentioned if I ever do get over their 550-600hp mark, I can always box up the transmission, send it back and they can beef it up even further for just the cost of the parts. So say I pass the 600hp mark, I send it back, and they can install a billet input shaft, and if I intend to go even further with it, a billet front drum, and so on and so forth. Then, if it has some miles on it and I feel like it needs a refresh, for $1800 they will go through and replace all the wear parts and inspect all the hard parts to ensure it’s just like new again!

While also speaking with him, we got on the topic of warranty, what was covered, what would void the warranty, etc. And pretty much as long as I change the fluid every 30,000 and I stay below the 600hp mark, its covered. No questions asked. Now I know some other company’s (i.e., Monster, Jasper, etc.), have in their fine print saying roughly, “If you tow in overdrive, the warranty is void”. After telling Dan this, he laughed and said, “I DARE you to tow in overdrive!”

I finalized all this with Dan on a Saturday, (yes he was nice enough to work off the clock, on his own time to help me!), going over everything about it, what my options are, and what I could do in the future etc. Then Monday morning at about 6:30 am he sent me over the Invoice for it all, and they started building it at 7am. Pics of the build that Dan sent me:






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Project Shamu
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Discussion Starter #3
It was done at 11:30am and in a box ready to ship! Almost NO WAIT TIME! Simply incredible! It was on the delivery truck Tuesday August 29th, coming from Florida to California. Now of course it was hung up on its way through Texas because of Hurricane Harvey, and Monday was Labor Day, so it ended up arriving on Tuesday the 5th. So now, with full permission from PSN and Dan at the DieselSite, I’m going to break down the price for you, with exactly what’s on my invoice.

E4OD 2wd Transmission: $3,399
Billet 6-Stud Multi-Disk Torque Converter: $700
Transmission Core Charge: $1,200
Tru-Cool 4739-1 Cooler: $125
External Transmission Filter kit for 4R100 (because I am upgrading to 3/8” lines): $239
Freight or Delivery Charges: $465 (that is round trip from Florida to California, and back to Florida for the core)
Sub - Total: $6,128
After Core Return: $4,928

So yes, I spent just a hair under $5k for this entire setup, but now I have a transmission that can take a beating (up to 600hp!), I don’t have to worry about overheating it from extra weight when towing, and with the external filter kit, maintenance intervals are extended, and dropping the pan to replace the internal filter can be done every 100,000 miles now.

I’m going to jump back in time a few days, on Saturday, September 1st, in preparation for the new transmission; I figured we might as well pull the old transmission and clean everything out. I had help with the removal of the old transmission, and with a friend, a few beers, and about 3 hours of time, we had the transmission out and on the ground. Then on Sunday, I crawled under the truck with a creeper and my pressure washer, and went to town, getting 21 year old grease, road grime, soot, and mud off the underside of the truck (and all over me as well). I also pressure washed any parts that were already removed (i.e. cross member, driveline etc.). So then I was ready for a nice and easy install! I went and bought 4 gallons of Valvoline Max-Life ATF, about 6 feet of 3/8” Transmission cooler hose, and a couple bell housing bolts (since a couple of mine didn’t match).

Pic of the old transmission once out:

Cleaning underneath the truck, it made a full on mess!!!

But the finished product, was well worth it!



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Project Shamu
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Discussion Starter #4
Now the unboxing:
It comes in a molded plastic box that they purchase from Ford, (and $200 worth of the $1,200 core charge is just for this box!) and can be shipped as is, keeping cost down, and protects the transmission at the same time. It comes with the torque converter already installed, and a new transmission pan. Better yet, they install a pan with a drain plug at no extra cost!




 

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Project Shamu
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Discussion Starter #5
I had no help to reinstall the transmission this time, but I had it up in the truck in less than an hour, and with only a floor jack and a couple 4x4’s. Then the drivelines, dipstick tube, cross member, wiring harness etc. all together in about another hour.

 

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Then came the install of the transmission filter kit. Now this kit is very, very well put together, the quality of the parts is outstanding and well worth the money. I did have a couple complaints, one being with the instructions, not that they are hard to understand or anything, but because routing of the stainless braided lines is a little vague and *up to you* kind of thing. So I had to try and route them a way to where they wouldn’t run under the frame and possibly get caught on anything, but also didn’t run close to the exhaust the burn the hose or rub constantly. Secondly, was securing the lines after being installed. The only way you really can is with a few zip-ties and it doesn’t look like a professional or “factory” install. After about 30 min of fumbling with it, I ended up drilling a hole in the frame for one hose to run through, and using an existing hole for the other one to run through. Several other people have reported that they can run the hose over the frame, but I found it being too short for where I wanted the filter to be mounted.
Now heres what comes in the kit, a nice machined billet block for the filter mount, stainless braided lines and the correct fittings required to finish it all off:


In this pic you could see the filter base with the built in bypass valve, this is just in case the filter becomes plugged up, and starts to restrict flow, fluid is bypassed past the filter, and continues on into the cooling system, ensuring the cooling system is never compromised.

Then the filter kit installed with the lines ran.



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Discussion Starter #7
Then came the 3/8” Dorman cooler lines, I got them installed and all zip-tied together, and they look very nice together.


Up next was the transmission cooler. Now this one was very straight forward actually, I thought I was going to have to mess with it a whole lot to get it mounted, but the existing tabs on the cooler are in the perfect position for you to just drill the back of the bumper and bolt it straight to it, very easy, and looks very clean.


 

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Now the fittings that come with it only are straight fittings, so they point straight down, well then the hose hangs down quite far and looks pretty silly, so I scoured every parts store and even some hydraulic shops looking for a 90* fitting to fit this, but NOBODY carries a 90* Inverted Flare fitting (which is what this cooler uses). After the hydraulic shop told me that nobody even makes it, I miraculously found one online, on summit racing: 90* Inverted Flare Fitting. After installing those fittings and the 3/8” cooler hose, everything looks perfect!

Before:

After:


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Discussion Starter #9
So I filled her up with all 4 gallons of fluid, while checking at every quart after 3 gallons. It ended up using all 4 gallons and it left it right at the low mark when cold. Perfect. I ran it through all the gears while in the backyard. You couldn’t imagine the joy I felt when going from drive to reverse, and it NOT taking several decades before actually engaging reverse!!! I never thought that was going to go away! So I drove it into the driveway and let it idle for a little bit, while checking for leaks. The only thing I could see was the tail shaft bushing had a little drop of oil on it, and figure it might have been from me. Now start to finish, I started installing the transmission at 4:00PM, and had it idling in the driveway by 8:00PM with a short dinner break.

So off I went on my first drive, I noticed the shifts aren’t near as lazy as they used to be, but they were quite firm, a little too firm for my liking. I originally chalked it up to it being new and maybe “breaking it in”. So got it up to about 120* and started laying into the skinny pedal a little bit, and holy COW this thing has so much more engagement compared to my old trans! 1st and 2nd gear feel like the torque converter is locked there is almost ZERO torque loss! After getting it up to temp more, I really let her have it! In extreme mode, this thing was putting power to the ground like I couldn’t believe, it was almost hard to KEEP traction in first gear! After calming down from my excitement a little bit, I started driving normally and noticing most of the gears are pretty rough. So I parked for the night, and decided to call Dan in the morning.

The next morning I came out to the truck to find a spot on my driveway. Turns out the tail shaft bushing was leaking after all, but only about a half dollar size over 7 or 8 hours. So Dan over-nighted me a new output seal for me to install. But unfortunately, it did not fix the problem. So, the next step, Dan shipped out an entire tail shaft assembly, with a new bushing installed and a new gasket to put it together. Install was very easy, remove the 8 or so bolts, scrape the old gasket, and reinstall. Poof! The leak was gone and we are back in business.

After that was situated, I was talking with Dan over the phone, and since it shifted very smooth when on the transmission dyno at the shop, we both concluded that the tuning was to blame for the harsh shifts. So I emailed Dave at Swamps Diesel (who I currently have tuning through), and he said he would look into it. Well some time goes by and he got back to me with “My tuning software doesn’t allow me to adjust transmission tuning within the MIF7 PCM code, as it is a special California calibration”. So I was pretty much SOL… Dan on the other hand was entirely optimistic about the situation and assured me that we would “get this taken care of”. So Dan and Bob Riley, (also a Diesel Site employee), got together to write a custom tune for the bastard, MIF7 PCM code.

The first tune he sent me was unreal how well it shifted from 1st to 2nd, and 2nd to 3rd, it felt like a damn sports car! Under light throttle, the shifts were so smooth, and under heavy throttle, they were very firm and crisp. The torque converter lock-up in 3rd gear was still a little too firm for my liking. Bob assured me that the E4OD is not adjustable that way, and since the new torque converter has over 300% more force being applied, the locking event is going to me much more pronounced than stock. The 4R100 on the other hand is adjustable, and can make for butter smooth lock-ups. So, I gave him a small list of changes I would like (mostly engine tuning), so we could get this finished up.

The second time around though, I actually called up Dave at Swamps to try and see if him and Bob could collaborate and get Swamps engine side, with DieselSite transmission side on a tune. Now I really loved the way the truck ran when Dave tuned it, very manageable smoke output, EGT’s weren’t a huge problem (even without an intercooler), and it just seemed to run right. Dave was nice enough to actually send me the unencrypted version of all 5 tunes to give to Bob. Now, for a company to just give out and unencrypted version of their own custom tuning, is almost unheard of. Why would someone put all this time and knowledge into writing a tune, only to give it away? Well, Dave wanted to help, and after Bob got the tuning finished up, the results were unprecedented.

All in all, I’m very pleased with my purchase. Would I buy it again, if I had to? Even with some of the problems I had along the way? Absolutely. I now have peace of mind, knowing that I can go anywhere, or do anything with this truck, and have 1 less thing to worry about.

Thanks again to, Dave Armstrong from Swamps Diesel Performance, Dan Shoda, Bob Riley, and all the rest of the guys/girls at the Diesel Site for a wonderful product!
 

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They make a custom fitting with the check valve and spring removed, then a custom spacer remove the bypass tube (since I live in California and we never see temps below 30* lol) to ensure there is no restriction in the cooling system.
Temperature has nothing to do with the bypass. It has nothing that measures temperature. Contrary to what many people seem to believe it does NOT bypass when cold. It has full flow at any temperature.

It is designed to bypass if the cooling circuit gets restricted. The reason for the bypass is that the return from the coolers is used to lubricate the rear half of the transmission. If something happens to the cooler flow there is no lube to the rear of the trans, and spells a quick death for the trans.

If the bypass is in place and the cooling circuit gets restricted it opens and maintains flow to the lube system. That's it's only function, to prevent total destruction of the transmission if something happens to the cooler circuit.

I recommend getting a bypass valve and tube and installing it. It doesn't restrict the flow and it may save your transmission.
 

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You really tore into the underside - looks spotless! Great job!

Edit: btw didn’t see any billet - hard to believe it can hold 600hp/1200lb torque.

At least a billet input? That’s what I have from dieselsite. All steel planetaries. Etc etc.

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Project Shamu
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Discussion Starter #12
Temperature has nothing to do with the bypass. It has nothing that measures temperature. Contrary to what many people seem to believe it does NOT bypass when cold. It has full flow at any temperature.

It is designed to bypass if the cooling circuit gets restricted. The reason for the bypass is that the return from the coolers is used to lubricate the rear half of the transmission. If something happens to the cooler flow there is no lube to the rear of the trans, and spells a quick death for the trans.

If the bypass is in place and the cooling circuit gets restricted it opens and maintains flow to the lube system. That's it's only function, to prevent total destruction of the transmission if something happens to the cooler circuit.

I recommend getting a bypass valve and tube and installing it. It doesn't restrict the flow and it may save your transmission.
You got me, that does make sense, but I was also under the impression that the bypass tube is never fully "closed", thus constantly bypassing some transmission fluid, and not sending it through the cooling system.

In all reality though, it didn't have one before, and seemed to do just fine?

I'll talk with Dan about it and see what his explanation for removing the bypass is.

​ DieselDC;5880753 said:
You really tore into the underside - looks spotless! Great job!

Edit: btw didn’t see any billet - hard to believe it can hold 600hp/1200lb torque.

At least a billet input? That’s what I have from dieselsite. All steel planetaries. Etc etc.

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Yeah the underside was a mess! I got it ALL over me! I put on some old clothes and some safety glasses, and went to town! The neon green long sleeve shirt i was wearing was totally BLACK when i was done! You couldn't tell it was green before!

And no, no billet, just all steel innards. He said right at the 550-600hp mark is where the billet input starts to break, and the front drum after that. But don't forget, its not strictly just about horsepower numbers, he mentioned if I'm doing 20psi boosted launches, (which the truck will do) I'll break the stock one right now, its all about how you drive it.
 

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You got me, that does make sense, but I was also under the impression that the bypass tube is never fully "closed", thus constantly bypassing some transmission fluid, and not sending it through the cooling system.
When the cooler circuit is not restricted from something going wrong 100% of the flow goes to the coolers. It does not bypass until the restriction gets high enough to force the bypass to open.

In all reality though, it didn't have one before, and seemed to do just fine?
If nothing ever goes wrong with the cooler circuit the bypass will never open and you'll never need it.

But what happens if you're going down the highway and run something over. It's just high enough to hit a cooler line and bend it. That blocks the flow to the trans cooler. If you have a bypass it will open and the trans will run hotter. If you have enough load it may even overheat and flash the OD OFF light. Now you have a warning that something is wrong and you need to investigate.

If you don't have a bypass and this happens your first indication that something is wrong is when the transmission self destructs because it ran with no lube when the cooler line was damaged.

You may never need the bypass, but if you do need it and don't have it the cost is a new transmission.


I'll talk with Dan about it and see what his explanation for removing the bypass is.
If he sticks to the same story that is on Dieselsite's website, ask him to have Bob Riley call me. Bob has my number.
 

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He said right at the 550-600hp mark is where the billet input starts to break, and the front drum after that. .

Wow wow now, their billet input will break at 550-600hp??? That’s what I got!

Yeah they got some tricks other builders don’t specify and utilize but it could just be words so who knows. Just reading their transmission builds on their site is impressive.

Also what’s the trickle down effect as far as what you stated: input goes, then drum, then what else ?

I pieced building my own billet transmission out and with just the billet parts, it’s $3200. Doesn’t include TC and labor. I can omit the output and OD 4 pinion planet b/c it doesn’t break (I don’t sled pull lol) and it could saved $1300. Then again, what you ordered wouldn’t break and can be used to tow some heavy heavy loads.

My current build cost $2200 with all upgraded hard parts. The 2002 actually has all the hard parts already so it was less than $2200. The only thing my transmission had that was the weak point was the drum that wasn’t updated - updated one was only $80 (half splined instead of fully splined).

I’ll do the full build once my transmission breaks - which isn’t anytime soon - was thinking of upgrading to a new VB (already have one upgraded but missing a few goodies).



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Project Shamu
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Discussion Starter #15
He said right at the 550-600hp mark is where the billet input starts to break, and the front drum after that. .

Wow wow now, their billet input will break at 550-600hp??? That’s what I got!

Yeah they got some tricks other builders don’t specify and utilize but it could just be words so who knows. Just reading their transmission builds on their site is impressive.

Also what’s the trickle down effect as far as what you stated: input goes, then drum, then what else ?

I pieced building my own billet transmission out and with just the billet parts, it’s $3200. Doesn’t include TC and labor. I can omit the output and OD 4 pinion planet b/c it doesn’t break (I don’t sled pull lol) and it could saved $1300. Then again, what you ordered wouldn’t break and can be used to tow some heavy heavy loads.

My current build cost $2200 with all upgraded hard parts. The 2002 actually has all the hard parts already so it was less than $2200. The only thing my transmission had that was the weak point was the drum that wasn’t updated - updated one was only $80 (half splined instead of fully splined).

I’ll do the full build once my transmission breaks - which isn’t anytime soon - was thinking of upgrading to a new VB (already have one upgraded but missing a few goodies).



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Whoops! I typed that wrong! 550-600hp is where the stock input shaft breaks, not the billet, I'm not sure when the billet one would break.

As far as trickle down, I'm not sure what is weak after the front drum.
 

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There is a little confusion in discussions of the cooler bypass, especially when we are in an E4OD discussion. The E4OD didn't have a cooler bypass, but did have a rear fitting with a check ball in it. That rear fitting was designed to hold converter charge so you don't have an extended engagement time upon first startup in the morning. When we build an E4OD, we build the pump for full time converter charge, so the converter is full before you can put it in gear. With this modification to the pump, it allows us the use fittings with no check valves for better cooler flow.

In regards to the 4R100 Cooler bypass: The bypass valve has a valve that operates from fluid pressure differentials primarily from fluid viscosity changes. The rear fitting is calibrated to play against the spring in the CBV. By design, even when the transmission is up to temperature, it will always bypass some fluid. It is never a 100% transfer of cooler fluid to the cooler. In fact, the exact flow loss is about 10% by design. Also, the failure rate of these valves is enough for me to never take the risk of using them again.

On to Cooler Bypass Delete kits: If you remove the cooler valve and leave the rear fitting valve in place, you increase restriction in the cooler line and reduce volume flow through the cooler since the spring pressure is now higher without it's designed counter pressure spring (the one in the cooler bypass valve). The proper way to delete the valve is to remove all the parts out of the rear fitting. We build a new fitting to do just that. Further more, since we don't need the "banjo" part of the either fitting, we made the fittings now shorter with only one washer and less leak potential.

Now, on a cool note. Since the case threads are the same in the E4OD and 4R100, you can simply use our new CBV delete kits to convert E4OD cases to 3/8" cooler lines very easily. ------- If you have on of our builds or you will have delayed engagement every morning.

Bob
 

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There is a little confusion in discussions of the cooler bypass, especially when we are in an E4OD discussion. The E4OD didn't have a cooler bypass, but did have a rear fitting with a check ball in it. That rear fitting was designed to hold converter charge so you don't have an extended engagement time upon first startup in the morning. When we build an E4OD, we build the pump for full time converter charge, so the converter is full before you can put it in gear. With this modification to the pump, it allows us the use fittings with no check valves for better cooler flow.



In regards to the 4R100 Cooler bypass: The bypass valve has a valve that operates from fluid pressure differentials primarily from fluid viscosity changes. The rear fitting is calibrated to play against the spring in the CBV. By design, even when the transmission is up to temperature, it will always bypass some fluid. It is never a 100% transfer of cooler fluid to the cooler. In fact, the exact flow loss is about 10% by design. Also, the failure rate of these valves is enough for me to never take the risk of using them again.



On to Cooler Bypass Delete kits: If you remove the cooler valve and leave the rear fitting valve in place, you increase restriction in the cooler line and reduce volume flow through the cooler since the spring pressure is now higher without it's designed counter pressure spring (the one in the cooler bypass valve). The proper way to delete the valve is to remove all the parts out of the rear fitting. We build a new fitting to do just that. Further more, since we don't need the "banjo" part of the either fitting, we made the fittings now shorter with only one washer and less leak potential.



Now, on a cool note. Since the case threads are the same in the E4OD and 4R100, you can simply use our new CBV delete kits to convert E4OD cases to 3/8" cooler lines very easily. ------- If you have on of our builds or you will have delayed engagement every morning.



Bob


Can you tell us what fails in order after 550-600hp (generally speaking): input, drum, then what else? Thanks


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Its not quite as simple as 'X" hp breaks this part. We look at many aspects of what the customer does with the truck. If you are a consistent "overweight" hauler (you know who you are) and have even 450hp, the drum seems to be the weakest link. The E4OD used a fully splined forward drum. The 4R100 was only splined 50%. The 4R100 splines strip easy. Many use the E4OD drum calling it a "fully splined drum", as if its some kind of upgrade. While it's stronger in terms of the splines, it's at least 20 years old by the time you get it in your build. We use brand new fully splined drums in every build. The lube hole passes through the hub of the drum which creates a thinner area of steel. The hub splits in this location. Being new stock, we have far reduced this from happening. If you get a billet drum, this design is the same, but the steel is much stronger. If you had us build one of our Hercules units, this drum hub is considerably thicker and stronger. If you have stock power levels and like to drag or play where shock load occurs, the input is a good idea. But in simple terms, in order of weakness, I have found drum, input, intermediate, output, then planet cages. All that assumes you have clutches that are removed from being any weak link in the equation. If a clutch slips, part breakage falls off of course. My clutches don't slip.

What we do say that gets a little misinterpreted is we build our "standard" build with our standard converter is good for 550 or so, with the statement your towing within your legal GCVW, don't sled pull or drag race on weekends.

Bob
 

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Its not quite as simple as 'X" hp breaks this part. We look at many aspects of what the customer does with the truck. If you are a consistent "overweight" hauler (you know who you are) and have even 450hp, the drum seems to be the weakest link. The E4OD used a fully splined forward drum. The 4R100 was only splined 50%. The 4R100 splines strip easy. Many use the E4OD drum calling it a "fully splined drum", as if its some kind of upgrade. While it's stronger in terms of the splines, it's at least 20 years old by the time you get it in your build. We use brand new fully splined drums in every build. The lube hole passes through the hub of the drum which creates a thinner area of steel. The hub splits in this location. Being new stock, we have far reduced this from happening. If you get a billet drum, this design is the same, but the steel is much stronger. If you had us build one of our Hercules units, this drum hub is considerably thicker and stronger. If you have stock power levels and like to drag or play where shock load occurs, the input is a good idea. But in simple terms, in order of weakness, I have found drum, input, intermediate, output, then planet cages. All that assumes you have clutches that are removed from being any weak link in the equation. If a clutch slips, part breakage falls off of course. My clutches don't slip.



What we do say that gets a little misinterpreted is we build our "standard" build with our standard converter is good for 550 or so, with the statement your towing within your legal GCVW, don't sled pull or drag race on weekends.



Bob


Are all the billet items for the 4r100 made in house or are they from a third party - don’t mean to put you on the spot. I assumed all this time they were in-house parts and I rave about your business all the time and some times I get that asked and I too wanted to know.


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