Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Transmission Ceased and "while we're in there"

Car currently down for repair. During the first run session at the last NASA event I went to, the transmission stuck in 4th gear. I limped back to the paddock, and collected a DNF for the session. Too bad, as the weekend had gone well up to that point.

Now, I get to learn about transmissions, and my wife gets to learn about the lovely phrase almost unique to the car hobby "While we're in there."

See, the transmission is the middle part of the drivetrain, between the engine and the differential. Thus, you have both ends of the drivetrain exposed, and the exhaust off, and so forth. Thus, you tend to think about what you could do "while we're in there."

It's a bit like legislation, I expect. While we're doing this bill for project x, why not throw something in for project y, to garner some votes for the package? But I digress.

So a new transmission from GM will cost FAR too much money. I found a superb shop that would sell me an RPM trans for much less. If you need a good racing transmission, look no further than IPS Racing. They rock, and customer service is great.

So the main part is ordered. Now, they also want to sell me a differential. It fits the "while we're in there" rule, but the old one is working, so I won't replace it just yet. The clutch is 70000 miles old now, so I could get a new one of those in, and "while we're in there" it'd be downright foolish not to put a lightweight flywheel in.

But the final blow was from the shop itself. The owner says "well, I have a set of headers up in the loft, never used. Since we have the exhaust off anyway, while we're in there, we could get those on for you..."

It was too good to pass up. The car needs around 40 more HP, which is about what the headers make.

Now, there is some validity to all this. From the labor point of view, with half the car disassembled, it costs no more to put it back together with new parts. It just costs to buy the parts. There are sound financial reasons to work this way.

But it doesn't make it any less amusing when I tell Sheri about it.

So at the end of the day, the car will be far from stock. Lightweight Fidanza (Italian name, makes it faster) flywheel, LG headers (longtube, of course, because the RPM/torque range is favorable), LS7 clutch, RPM transmission with stock ratios.

I can't wait to drive it. Should be ready in a week or so.