Once the rig was finished, we took it for it's maiden voyage - straight
onto a trailer, and to competition! The transmission worked flawlessly,
and never even heated up. We elected to use a tranny cooler with a thermostatically
controlled fan, and the only time I've ever noticed the fan come on was
when I had to tow another rig that was completely dead off a trail in
Moab. Even then, the fan only cycled on every now and then.
Now what don't I like? I don't
like the torque converter stall I picked. We went with a stockish 1800
stall. While it works nicely while crawling, it doesn't quite get the
little 4.3 motivated enough when launching up the most extreme walls during
competition. Last week in Cedar City I was able to drive the vehicle in
the UROC West event, and could not make a climb up a 60 degree 27 foot
tall climb. Yes, you read that right - 60 degrees, and 27 feet tall! The
rig just didn't have the UMMPPHHH to get up the wall. We determined that
it wasn't nescessarily the lack of power, but possibly too low of a stall
in the torque converter. So after the competition, we went back to the
wall for some redemption...
** Now kids, don't try
this at home, because you'll most likely grenade your tranny into a million
pieces! This manuver is only recommended for Shift Management/Dedenbear
Powerglides and rental cars!!! **
I inched up to the base of
the wall, put the tranny into neutral, revved it till it was bouncing
off the rev limiter, and "neutral dropped" it into 1st. The
vehicle launched at neck breaking force, and literally caught air over
the top of the climb. We definitely are going to be swapping out the converter
for a higher stall. How much higher is still up in the air. Possibly 2500-3000.
We'll keep you posted.
UPDATE - 9/14/04
We decided to try replacing
the torque converter before the St. George event. The tranny was yanked
out of the rig, and a TCI 3,500 stall torque converter was installed.
First impressions in the parking lot were immediate - the rig launched
in a smoky burnout that would make John Force proud! But how would it
crawl? We'd have to find out on our first obstacle in St. George...
The rig was definitely different,
and took some getting used to. One very noticeable difference was the
increased braking power it now had. The rig didn't overpower the brakes
any longer.The transfer case also seems to shift a little easier with
the higher stall not loading up the drivetrain. Of course our first obstacle
of the weekend would be the test of all tests - a verticle, off camber
wall that required a full thottle launch to get the belly of the rig up
and over the breakover at the top. I lined up at the bottom, looked down
to Mike for the nod of approval, and he yelled "GET IT!!!!"
I stalled the rig up hard, and let off the brakes and put the pedal to
the metal, and the rig launched every bit as hard as when I did the neutral
drop in Cedar City! I rocketed up and over the climb (doing a spotter
ride, mind you!) with one of the cleanest runs on the day on that obstacle.
I was impressed...
As for the crawlability of
the high stall, it works fairly well. Don't get me wrong, it is considerably
different. The motor wants to wind up in high bind situations such as
crawling up a 4' ledge. You need to drag the brakes to have control. Looking
back, I think I would opt for about a 3000 stall over the 3500 if I were
to do it again. However I will keep the 3500 for now, and we will learn
to get used to it, and enjoy the nitrous-like lauching. One thing has
remained constant through our torque converter experimentation - we LOVE
our Shift Management Dedenbear Powerglide!
Shift Management, Inc.
6200 Warehouse Way
1917 Oak Park Blvd.
Pleasant Hill, CA 94523