Welcome to Expo 2018 and Las Vegas, Nevada!
For many people, Las Vegas is the entertainment capital of the world. All of the largest hotels and casinos are here. It’s become famous for its ability to separate you from your money while you enjoy it. You may not know it, but the ATRA annual Powertrain Expo is the only event devoted exclusively to the transmission rebuilding industry, and it looks like this year will be the best Expo ever...

6L80/90 Snap Ring Popout
Using the wrong snap ring to retain the 3-5 reverse piston on a 6L80E will result in snap, crack, and pop: the snap ring pops out! There’s been a change to the snap ring and groove on the 6L80/90E 1-2-3- 4, 3-5 reverse drum. If you aren’t aware of this change and use the wrong 3-5 reverse snap ring, the snap ring won’t snap in when you install it. And later, it’ll pop out, resulting in ...

Kit Component Materials: Yesterday,Today, and Tomorrow
As automatic transmissions have evolved, so have their components. The demands on these transmissions in relation to efficiency, load capability, and technology have increased significantly. They’re running at higher temperatures and cycling more often than ever. These technological advances require that the sealing components withstand the rigors of today’s and tomorrow’s transmissions. ...

Converter Pilot Concerns and Consequences
Converter rebuilders have been challenged with torque converter pilot wear for years. A worn pilot can cause all kinds of problems if not addressed: Vibrations, leaks out of the front of the transmission, irregular noises, and cracked flywheels are just a few. Torque converter wear seems more prominent on the heavier converters. For example, it’s not uncommon for pilots on the 4L80Es to devel...

3 Ways to Build Trust Through Your Online Presence
In any industry, trust is incredibly important. In the transmission industry, that trust is vital in gaining new business. Historically, so much of this industry’s business came from word-of-mouth. With the introduction and rise of things like Google and social media, the concept of “word-of-mouth” still exists in a big way — it’s simply grown to include them. From online reviews to r...

Fluid Wars!
Sitting on the side-line for the last 15 years observing the OEM versus the aftermarket ATF conflict, (about where you source and how you use ATF) has lead me to believe the battle has taken a new direction recently. OEM’s have had their knickers in a bunch for years because the transmission aftermarket and dedicated service shops have insisted on making their own decisions about what and how to...


Improve Your Business Through AAR
It’s late Friday afternoon and you’ve already had a long, stressful, rollercoaster of a week. Your shop foreman just walked into your office to tell you the major customer that you’re stressed over — you know, the one whose truck you promised a week ago, who’s just one more mistake from pulling his business — well, his truck won’t be finished before Monday. Your options: Explod...

Planetary Gearsets in a Honda?
In 2013, when I presented the Honda 6-speed at Expo in Washington, D.C., I speculated that Honda was pushing their traditional helical gearset design to the max. Their 6-speed transmission weighs about 250 lbs without fluid, it’s about 15.5” long, and it has a whopping five shafts to deliver six speeds and reverse. With the competition moving to eight and nine speeds, something had to give....

Are More Gears the Answer to Improve MPG?
In case you haven’t noticed, many automotive manufacturers now offer transmissions with eight to ten different gear ratios. This has been a major change in the past decade where four-, five-, and six-speed transmissions dominated the market. The additional transmission gearing is mainly due to the increased demand for fuel economy, where the automotive manufacturers are challenged to achieve ...


Rise of the MAF
From the beginning of the electronic era, we’ve been chasing inputs and outputs as root causes for failures. In this case, we’ll talk about how no line rise can cause the 3-4 clutches to burn in a 4L60E. Here’s the customer complaint: The driver gets in his truck, gets ready to take off, and puts his foot to the floor in his heavily loaded, half-ton pickup. As the vehicle pulls away, t...

Getting to Know More About the 6L80/6L90E
Introduced in late 2005 to become the 6-speed replacement for the 4-speed transmissions such as the 4L60E, the 6L presented several new challenges. The early release of this product line was introduced in Cadillacs and Corvettes, but before long it became mainstream for GM’s light duty pickup and SUV lines. What does this mean to all of us in the industry? Well, if your focus is domestic torq...

Acura DCT8 Electronic and Hydro-Mechanical Control
Honda/Acura transmissions have evolved quite a bit over the past couple decades. When looking back to the five-speed transmissions from the early 2000s, you’ll find a fairly complicated electronic and hydraulic system that uses shift solenoids to position shift valves, where either line pressure or clutch pressure control (CPC) pressure is directed to the clutches. The shift solenoids states ...


You're In Full Control
The term “You’re in full control” isn’t something you hear getting thrown around a lot when talking automatic transmissions. But wait! What is now available is a new smart phone enabled standalone transmission controller from HGM Automotive Electronics or “Compushift” as many of you may know them. There is no doubt that transmission controllers have come a long way, but few would have ...

Acura DCT 8-Speed Transaxle
Modern Honda and Acura vehicles have their fair share of transmission options. The most familiar transmissions are the 5- and 6-speed units, with constant mesh gearsets that resemble manual transmissions. This is how we’ve come to know Honda and Acura transmissions and, along with the many aftermarket enhancements, the Honda 3-shaft, 5-speed is a good moneymaker. So what does the future hold ...

Handling the Irate Customer
Admittedly I am not very familiar with transmissions. In fact, the first time I even saw one; was when I spoke at ATRA in 2015. But that’s OK - it’s not my job to be familiar with transmissions; it’s YOUR job. My job is to be familiar with your customers and how people, primarily your customers, like to be treated. And I’m as good at that as you are working with transmissions. Fair enou...

Introducing Standalone Controllers for 5-, 6-, 7-, and 8-Speed Transmissions
As we reflect on all the modern transmissions that we now deal with on a daily basis, and look back on the old 2- and 3-speed automatics that most of us cut our teeth on, it makes you think about how things have changed in our lifetimes. While many of us are already working on 5-, 6-, 7-, and 8-speed transmissions, with even more gears to come over the next few years, there’s one area that’...