What are you getting for $900?
Around here a rebuild will run between $1200 and $3600 with a convertor. The Racing transmissions from the internet can be had for less than most but then you add the torque converter, cooler, and installation and it gets expensive quick.
If you find a tranny with a torque converter for $900 you better check to see if it is a stock converter - if it is I would question the amount of power the tranny is built to take. If you can order it witha torque converter to fit your engine torque curve and your vehicle weight then it should be alright. You will need a 3000 RPM stall with your engine unless you have a very light car. The way to figure the stall speed is it should be no less than the peak torque RPM of the engine minus 10% and then add 10% for every 500 pounds over 3000 lbs of car with driver weight.
The truth is ......many of us on this board are building our own C4s. You will find people on here that build mild to wild.
I started building my own when I got tired of other people's mess ups. I was tired of being mad at the guy building it. I figured that I can screw it up as good as the next guy and I don't have to be mad at anyone but myself. With many of the tips in the "monster thread" I have had great success.
I've been building mine for years. They are easy as long as you pay attention to the details. Lately, I've been doing some for the local racers as well. $250 for a build, I get the clutches, steels, seals, gaskets, rings, etc. They'll supply me with a core trans and their own converter from an outside company. I don't do installations..no lift and I'm getting too old to bench press transmissions.
I've been buying the overhaul kits from a local trans supplier. $72 is what I have been paying for a decent kit. Stock kits are $64 last time I checked. The ones I'm buying are using a different raybestos friction material that supposedly lasts longer. I don't know if it does or not...I have a couple stock rebuilds behind some 400 HP smallblocks that are still kicking strong with probably close to a thousand runs on them. They DO have aftermarket vavlebodies though, FWIW.
Anyway, back to the subject. The very first transmission (auto) that I went into was a Turbo 350 from a friend's old '79 Chevy truck. These autos are pretty simple when you sit down & think about what each part does. That particular truck was given to me....and the trans didn't work (reverse worked but no forward). So, I pulled it out, took it apart and with help of a book from the local library, I kind of figured out how everything works. Once you get that far, the rest is pretty straightforward. BTW, the stock sprag in a T350 is a POS. I broke I think 3 of them in my old '72. The C4 is PLENTY strong for about anything you can throw at it, but I have seen many times where they have been improperly assembled and the assembler has racked his brain until it was figured out. This speaking from experience! One particular C4...thing would lock in 2nd and reverse at the same time for some unknown reason. It would kind of shudder and if I let off the throttle it would lock the rear tires. Changed valvebodies, problems solved...probably a warped channel casting or leaky gasket if I had to guess. Point is, the school of hard knocks will always teach you a lesson.
Now, anyone can go out & buy a $900 transmission. What happens when it breaks? You spend another $900 for another trans? Or, do you spend $64 and rebuild it yourself, and when you're done rebuilding it and make your first pass with that home-build C4, you have the self-satisfaction of knowing that you accomplished something that others are afraid to try.
"it is better to appear ignorant than to open your mouth and remove all doubt"--Mark Twain
<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: mavman on 9/7/06 9:42am ]</font>
I think the crux of the matter as I understand it, is they have dropped their guard as far as customer service goes. They all have their "technical" problems from time to time and if they sort these problems quickly and professionally, then the wound isn't too deep. If you are sending transmissions back and forward for minor issues, then I guess this would wear thin pretty quick, especially if the problem is not cured properly or something gets overlooked.
Building your own is definitely way cheaper no question but its not everyones bag. There is a learning curve too that most self builders seem to fall into...but hey, you can freshen these for less cost than most people would pay to freight theirs back to their trans guy.
Dynamic is definitely the flavour of the month at the moment, even the high HP guys i've been in touch with seem to be getting a great run out of them.....
Thats what im sayin' is the issue a "flavor of the month" or a whos coolest issue, or is one company making a better product ? shouls i order my PA c-4 from summit or from PA just incase of grief ??? i assume their 750 horse big block c-4 will handle my lil 351c---
From feedback I have had recently, I think Dynamic has the better product IMHO. The free "freshens" is a pretty big carrot if you don't what to mess with them though..... even if shipping is probably worth more than the parts. You choose...
I have a racer local to me that owns a shop and he freshens my tranny's for a cool $150 parts and labor. He does not put anything special in the trans and they only last 400-500 passes before the high gear clutches are weak. I can live with that.
I actually run 24 spline c4's behind all my engines. The guy that freshens them for me just uses ATP rebuild kits. The only aftermarket parts I know of in the trans are the valve body and convertor. I have Art Carr and PA valve bodies. Other than that I do not know what he does inside the trans. All I know is they work.
I could write a book with what I do to a "run of the mill" street build up. When someone gets one of my transmissions they get a list of things they need to do to make it live, a list of adjustments for periodic maitenance, and complete installation instructions. They get things like a larger capacity cooling system, higher volume lube circuits, positive lubrication to the thrust washers, more clutches in forward and direct packs, modifications to the apply and release sides of the intermediate servo, plus the modifications to the valve body to change the timing and speed of shifts and higher main pressure and governor mods. I could build a normal rebuild using new parts only when necessary but I put all new wear parts into my trannys and I want them to last. I don't build as many these days as I used to but I can't move as fast as I used to either. I don't need to build them to keep bread on the table so I can take time to drill the clutch hubs and drums. I can turn the pressure plates to accept more clutches and even regroove the drums when necessary. I have (and still can) build a tranny that can take 1000 hp with all the machining done in my shop but I don't do many of those. I do build 400 and 600 hp trannys for weekend racers who drive their cars on the street daily. That is something that takes skill - you can get a book at the library to rebuild your transmission but I don't know where you can go to get the tooling and knowledge of what to do to which sections of the case, clutch packs, servos, valve bodies, governor and modulator to make a transmission that will stay together with 400hp as a daily driver. I have never had one of these after market trannys - what do you get for your money? Is it a stock tranny for a performance car with a valvebody or shift kit put in it? I would like to know what it is that they are selling because I know what I sell and it is worth a lot more than what they are asking for theirs. They are worth a lot more than I ask for them. It's a hobby for me and gives me something to do in my spare time.
Paul .Your builds sound real good. I too only do my builds as a hobby and am choosy who i build for.
They get things like a larger capacity cooling system, higher volume lube circuits, positive lubrication to the thrust washers, more clutches in forward and direct packs, modifications to the apply and release sides of the intermediate servo.
It would be great if you could share some details on what you do .Maybe via email ?? or on here. If you don't wish too that is fine too. I have quite a few articles from various sources on what goes into several of these aftermarket transmissions i could email to you .It is interesting to see how they do it just s a comparison..
Sure, greghaust, we could trade info on the things we do - you are half a world away and may have some ideas I haven't used. Maybe I can supply a new bit of info for you too. I must say that I concentrate on '72 to '81 trannys and when I get the older C4's or new C5's the get converted to the late C4's. I have done others but I find it easier (yep, I'm lazy) to work with the C4's. Light, rigid, strong and ready to to respond to even little things.
My email is: [email protected]
Talk to you soon. I will be out and about for the next couple of days so don't get concerned if you don't hear from me before then.