Pursuit of the Nines: Upgrading an S550 Transmission and Converter

By Hootinanny / December 26, 2020

Pony Wars is a battle from the Big Three’s muscle cars heading head-to-head in a variety of challenges to test the particular limits and determine the best option to get ultimate fun-having capabilities. Last period, a 2019 Mustang GT required on a Chevrolet Camaro and an Avoid Challenger on the autocross, braking mat, drag strip, and dyno to find out who would reign supreme. You can cope up on the play-by-play here , but we’ll provide you with an in-depth look into the Mustang’s overall performance.

The Mustang GRAND TOURING is equipped with a ProCharger P-1X, Phase II intercooler, and Race avoid valve, putting it in the strength range of a smidge over nine hundred horsepower and 637 lb-ft torque capacity on an otherwise stock engine. The particular Mustang held up well through the competitors, but the team found its fragile spot – the stock 10R80 transmission.

While the Mustang had flown through autocross as well as the braking challenge with nary the technical issue, the drag remove threw a wrench in the things.

The Steeda drag-suspension-equipped Mustang was outfitted with Weld RT-S S71 wheels wrapped within Toyo Proxes TQ drag tires, and started off its time around the quarter-mile doing pretty well.

Though the weather was hot (we’re talking nearly 100 degrees) on Muscle Cars at the Strip with Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the first circular went off without a hitch, allowing the Mustang an 11. 03-second pass at 131. 83 with following a soft launch. The group opted to skip round 2 to adjust the Mustang’s tune, yet came back with a vengeance for circular three, hammering out a 10. 83-second pass at 131 mph. It had been obvious on this pass that some thing wasn’t right, as the 5-6 equipment change proved impossible. After coming the tires off in circular four on a 140-degree track surface area, a 10. 64 at 134+ your was achieved in round 5, although the transmission woes continued. It had been decided that the amount of power the particular Mustang was cranking out has been just too much for the stock transmitting. These issues of course did not improve, evoking the Mustang to take the loss on the pull strip.

The current method of trial and error in our sector is fading, and being able to get a simulated converter run is informative as well as amazing, ” Chris Sehorn, Circle D Specialities

Once put on the dynamometer, the Mustang group was delighted to find out just how much energy it was producing. It put down more than 900 hp at the rear wheels, and the group decided to try its luck for the strip once again (this time, not really in competition mode). The Mustang managed a 10. 35 at 136 mph – a huge improvement. Pertaining to reference, it was on this pass that this Mustang achieved a 6. 962 at 106. 64 in the eighth-mile. This will be important later! But also still, the transmission wouldn’t change properly, and Fifth gear has been left unvisited. The team drawn the 10-speed automatic transmission plus realized the clutches of the 10R80 were badly smoked.

Mission: Fresh Transmission

It was decided that will in order to handle over 900 steering wheel horsepower, the Mustang would be furnished with Circle Deb Specialties ’ new billet torque converter , several 10R80 upgrades, plus 3. 31 gears. Previously, the particular supercharged S550 was utilizing all-stock components with 3. 55 equipment, and they didn’t handle the stress all that well. Brett Lasala associated with MSRacing was the tranny builder of choice (you may keep in mind his green, twin-turbo, 6R80-equipped S197 we featured a while back ) .

We asked Brett an entire slew of questions about the transmitting build and he broke it lower for us. Basically, the only upgrade which the 10R80 needed was new handbags, which was the transmission’s weakest hyperlink. The new clutches will provide better “holding power” than its stock alternatives, and this upgrade won’t break the bank possibly. For the McLeod clutches and set up, it’ll run you about $1, 700 at LaSala’s shop.

“We haven’t seen any kind of common hard part failures within the 10R80 yet, but now that there are a better holding clutch kit, I am sure we will, ” he described.

LaSala noted the stock clutches do well up to regarding 600 rear wheel horsepower. “Above that, the clutches slip, plus you’ll experience flared and skipped shifts. ” Upgrading to the McLeod clutches should allow us to place down horsepower numbers in the one, 000-1, 200-wheel horsepower range with no issue.

While presently there aren’t currently different options available, LaSala explained that his team is usually working on modifications that will allow for improved clutch count for the problematic percussion.

The McLeod clutches ( PN: 88098 ) were designed in cooperation with Raybestos and are advertised because able to withstand high-stress applications plus high temperatures, as well as repeated biking, resulting in an improvement in transmission functionality and durability — both things that the Mustang could benefit from. The heat treated steel clutch plates are believed to outperform OE materials by as much as 20%, and have a finish that offers a greater apply area and rubbing clutch life. Noise and shiver are lowered, and the OE width is maintained for maximum temperature sink.

LaSala obtained the fresh clutch kit installed, with the transmission back in order, it’s nearly time to move on to the installation. However, let’s talk about the Circle M Specialties torque converter we selected for this application.

Torque Converter Talk

A torque converter comprises of five components: a housing, water pump, turbine, stator, and transmission liquid.   When a car is at nonproductive, the engine is turning gradually, delivering just a small amount of torque with the converter. When you hit the fuel, the engine spins harder, moving more fluid into the converter, plus transferring more torque to the tires.   The converter’s housing will be bolted to the flywheel, and the water pump of the converter is made up of fins that will turn at the same speed as the motor.

That sounds not so difficult, but consider that the new 10-speed transmission stuffs four extra things into nearly the same overall dimension thanks to its revised, “squashed” rpm converter design. In addition , extremely specific timing of clutch engagement is required to make each shift in milliseconds.

The Circle D bar stock torque converter was chosen with this Mustang because it is based off the STOCK converter but paired with Group D’s CNC-machined billet stator plus impeller modifications. Circle D provides a variety of options to accommodate a number of motor, power adder, and vehicle programs. Plus, you can make yourself $250 back again if you turn in your original converter for a core credit!

Group D says this particular converter includes a fifth  axis CNC-machined billet stator, hand TIG welding throughout, plus impeller fin recalibration. It also functions custom CDS internal clearances plus Torrington-style bearings.

Utilizing the correct torque converter for your app, even with a bone-stock engine, can lead to improved performance (specifically when it comes to those people pesky 60-foot times).

The Stator

Perhaps considered the most “interesting” section of a torque converter, the stator is the finned piece of the procedure in the center of the torque converter. The way in which it’s designed directly affects effectiveness and stall speeds, and its work is to recirculate transmission fluid through turbine to pump, resulting in torque multiplication.

“Stator technology has improved by using OE stators to full five-axis CNC machined billet stators. Utilizing the particular multitude of OE options on our 245mm, 258mm, and 265mm platforms, we are able to target different torque curves plus power levels to achieve exceptional overall performance, ” Chris Sehorn, owner associated with Circle D explains. “We have discovered a lot over the last ten years by learning from mistakes, and we can dial-in a set up. Our latest in stator style comes from our engineering department making use of Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD). ”

Engineering Jargon

All of us spoke with Ronnie Combs, Older Design Engineer at Circle G, and he explained Circle D’s Computational Fluid Dynamics software, utilized throughout the design process to ensure that the converter is built for the torque curve from the Mustang.

“Computational Liquid Dynamics (CFD) is an engineering device that makes use of computers to analyze the behaviour of fluids interacting with physical techniques. This is accomplished by solving the particular Navier-Stokes equations, which is a set of incomplete differential equations that represent the particular mathematical statements of three preservation laws of physics. The preservation of mass states that bulk cannot be created or destroyed. Regarding incompressible flow, this means the bulk flow rate in must similar the mass flow rate out there. Based on Newton’s second law associated with motion, the conservation of energy states that the rate of alter of momentum is the sum of the particular forces. The conservation of energy can be described by the first law associated with thermodynamics which states that the price of change of energy equals the sum of the rate of heat transfer plus work done.

“From the information gained in the simulation option, Leonhard Euler’s equations for turbomachinery are used to produce the dimensionless plus semi-dimensionless performance parameters: K-factor plus torque ratio. These parameters have got advanced our ability to design the particular torque converter by allowing all of us to be concerned with more than the booth speed and the slip when bridging the traps. ”

Simply put, CFD software assists develop products for new transmissions, whilst also allowing Circle D to analyze older units and make enhancements. Circle D invested in the device in 2018 and has been with it tirelessly ever since. It’s not new technology persay (companies like Ford have been utilizing it for years). In the old days, an one-off part would need to be built prior to testing it and making adjustments to adjust and make it perfect. This particular software completely removes the extra methods.

“In theory, CFD permits us to control the torque multiplication a bit more. We can hit areas hard, but it will surely show us what the number can be. The current method of trial and error in our sector is fading, and being able to visit a simulated converter run is informative as well as amazing, ” Chris states. “We can take a look with the software program and apply certain theories to find out where the pressures are too low or even too high. We can even see in which the fluid is as the converter begins to couple. It will even calculate rpm multiplication for you, and it applies to almost all two- to 10-speed transmissions. ”

The Set up Process

Naturally , the transmission had previously already been removed and sent out to LaSala for a refresh, so our Mustang sat on the two-post lift meanwhile. Once it made it back into the hands, it was time to put it back again where it belonged, along with the brand new torque converter. This part has been pretty easy, but it helped to get a couple of sets of hands (and that aforementioned lift).

We were sure that we had the correct rpm converter for our application, thanks to the assist from our friends at Circle-D. However, you should always be sure you’ve received the proper part prior to installation by making sure the pilot fits into the back of the crankshaft without excess measurement. You’ll also want to be sure that the particular converter’s bolt holes or studs line up with the bolt pattern from the flywheel.

Before installing the converter onto the transmission, we put about a half of a quart associated with automatic transmission fluid (ATF) to the converter. We also used a few of the ATF to coat the transmitting seal, front pump bushing, as well as the converter neck. The converter had been installed onto the transmission along with extra care not to damage front side seal or bushing, before the initial of the converter was held to middle it as much as possible. The front mounting parts were rotated in a clockwise path, allowing the splines and centre flats to engage with the pump. All of us knew installation was going because planned, thanks to two “drops” from the converter before it was all the way within.

Light lithium oil was used to grease the rpm converter pilot and crankshaft initial so that the converter could easily glide into the crank with no binding.

With the torque converter in place, the particular transmission was ready to be set up back into the Mustang. The transmitting was guided onto the motor dowel pins before the mounting bolts were installed, continually checking converter clearance. With this step done, all of us pushed the converter into the tranny as far as we could and measured the length between the end of the stud as well as the flywheel. The converter was after that pulled forward a fraction of the inch, and flat washers had been utilized to remove any additional space among our new converter and the flywheel. Finally, the converter nuts had been tightened before measuring again.

The particular transmission was reinstalled and attached to the block, being sure to constantly check the converter clearance. A exercise bit or feeler gauge may be used to check clearance. We were looking for 1/8-inch clearance or pull back, in addition or minus. 025-inch. If in your installation you find there to be extreme clearance, supplied SAE washers could be added. If there is no clearance, CEASE. Circle-D tells us this is probably since the converter is not seated.

The transmission installation was finished before the recommended 13 quarts associated with ATF were added gradually. The particular team also installed 3. thirty-one gears into the Mustang’s Torsen gear, replacing the stock 3. 73 gears, for better utilization of every gear throughout the quarter-mile. Finally, tall Mickey Thompson   ET Street Ur tires (305/45R17) were chosen in order to soften the hit in conjunction with the reduce gear, helping to keep the tire grown upon launch.

Heading Back to the Track

With the transmission refreshed plus torque converter and gears set up, it was time to head back to the monitor to see what the Mustang had upward its sleeve. Unfortunately, the group was unable to run a quarter-mile monitor, so the results we’re able to reveal are that of the eighth-mile range. As we mentioned earlier, the Mustang’s best pass previously had an eighth-mile elapsed time of  6. 962 at 106. 64 mph.

On the first run out, the particular Mustang trapped a 7. 342 at nearly 73 miles each hour. That pass was followed upward by its best of the day — a 6. 480 at 113. 26 mph with a 60-foot moments of 1 . 592. Track conditions upon passes three and four demonstrated difficult for the Pony, causing wheel spin and wheel hop problems and rendering the time slips practically useless.

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After a couple of adjustments, the Mustang managed the 6. 274 at 116. sixty-five, followed by a 6. 878 on 73. 08 and finally, the last move of the session, a 7. 048 at 73. 04. While these types of runs are kind of all over the place, it is important to note that this was the first time the particular Mustang returned to the track following a removal of its stock torque converter.

The return to the particular track definitely showed a clear enhancement! The best pass should’ve translated in order to somewhere around a 9. 96-second move at 143 mph in the quarter-mile (using the Wallace Racing calculator ). We are counting this as an achievement, but we’d like to hear whatever you think. Please comment below plus let us know if you prefer quarter-mile or even eighth-mile testing.

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