Finding the Right Automatic Transmission Shift Kit
- The shift kit comes in various designs but is crafted with one thing in mind: to bypass the common restrictions in the stock valve body, so the fluid can flow more freely.
- The automatic transmission shift kit can minimize or eliminate shift overlap, the key benefits of which include firmer shifting and a harder-wearing transmission.
- Installing an automatic transmission shift kit can be straightforward and usually just requires a common set of hand tools.
- Check the shape of the transmission pan and its bolt design and/or measure the overall dimensions of the transmission. This will help you find out what kind of automatic transmission your vehicle is equipped with.
- The part number or product code found on the transmission pan or anywhere in the transmission may be used for cross-referencing when looking for a compatible shift kit.
- Figure out the specific performance or application upgrades you are aiming for to find the right kit for your vehicle.
- The price of an automatic transmission shift kit ranges from less than $50 to a little over $100.
If the engine is the power source, then the powertrain is the brawns that transform power into motion by driving the axles. When fine-tuning the performance of automatic transmission (A/T) vehicles, car enthusiasts would most likely want to squeeze out every ounce of horsepower and torque they can get from the engine. But another way to go about it is to allow shifting between gears to be firmer and faster, which will give an added oomph to the powertrain. For this, you will need an automatic transmission shift kit.
What is a shift kit for automatic transmission?
The transmission system is not exactly built for performance but designed mostly for comfort. So if you want it to go the extra mile and for you to enjoy a more spirited drive without burning out the tranny, you may install a transmission shift kit, instead of replacing the entire stock valve body. The valve body is a series of passages where the transmission fluid flows.
The shift kit comes in various designs but is crafted with one thing in mind: to bypass the common restrictions in the stock valve body. It alters the way the transmission fluid courses through the body, so the fluid can flow more freely and reach the channels more easily. This will calibrate shift timing and fix irregularities in transition between gears.
What does a shift kit do?
Automatic transmission is built around the idea of smoothly shifting between gears without stepping on a clutch. For that to happen, it has to go into two gears at once. This is what you call the shift overlap. The automatic transmission shift kit can minimize or eliminate shift overlap, the key benefits of which include:
Shifting becomes faster even in just fractions of a second, and the quicker response makes shifting firmer or crisper. Slippage during extended overlap is minimized. As a result, less strain is put on friction surfaces while more energy is diverted into forward motion, thereby increasing the overall efficiency.
More durable transmission
Modifying the shift timing not only leads to firmer shifting but also in a harder-wearing transmission. Although extended shift overlap can make way for smoother shifting, this can also accelerate the wear and tear of automatic transmission parts. When more pressure is placed on friction surfaces, this creates excessive heat that can damage the seals and other transmission components. Ultimately, a shift kit for automatic transmission helps extend the life of the transmission.
Is it easy to install a shift kit?
Although the task may seem daunting, installing an automatic transmission shift kit is not as complicated as some may think. It can be straightforward, especially if the kit comes with a detailed set of instructions.
Make sure that the kit is specifically designed for the configuration of your vehicle’s transmission system. This eliminates the need for further modifications.
Installing a shift kit usually requires the use of a common set of hand tools, even when reprogramming the valve body. For many car enthusiasts and do-it-yourselfers (DIYers), the job can be finished on an afternoon spent in the garage. This may involve removing the transmission pan, separating the valve body, and drilling holes in the plate, depending on the kit.
However, when dealing with the channels and passages or basically the inner workings of a transmission system, be careful not to lose the shift valve, spring, or any other component. This may lead to a malfunction or break the transmission. If you have limited DIY experience, it would be best to leave shift kit installation to the experts.
What are the main considerations when buying an A/T shift kit?
A shift kit basically includes a set of springs and a steel plate. It may come with varied assemblies of parts, depending on the techniques or approaches used by the manufacturer for the modification. To find the right kit, here are some things to consider:
A shift kit is a set of components that are made to enhance shifting between gears. However, not all car owners have the same goals in mind for the upgrade. For instance, some kits are specifically built for towing and hauling, while others are designed for performance driving. Some can even change the rpm (revolutions per minute), although fuel efficiency may suffer.
Shift kits may offer better control of transmission. Heavy-duty ones are designed not just for towing. They also allow firm, positive shifts that are useful when driving through a lot of stops-and-gos. They are suited not only for towing and/or hauling vehicles but also for daily drivers.
Usually, off-road vehicles or racing vehicles may require quicker, harder shifts. In which case, look for shift kits that are built for high-performance driving or more demanding applications. You may also overhaul the transmission.
The kit should be suited to specific performance or modification requirements. Most importantly, it should fit right in with other automatic transmission parts. Aside from faster, easier installation, compatibility with the vehicle’s transmission also means that it will work seamlessly with the rest of the system and will not cause any damage.
How can you figure out the auto transmission used by your vehicle?
To figure out what kind of transmission your vehicle is equipped with, you have to check the shape of the transmission pan and its bolt design. Another way to do this is to measure the transmission’s dimensions. This comes in handy for customizations, especially when you are putting a different transmission into the chassis. You can use the information for cross-referencing with the charts provided by the manufacturer.
You can also look for that code in the case or tag in the transmission. Usually, it is stamped on the pan. The code may likewise be found in the vehicle manual.
How much does an automatic transmission shift kit cost?
The price of an automatic transmission shift kit ranges from less than $50 to a little over $100. The price varies largely based on the type of shift kit that you will buy and the vehicle you are driving. While you may use the part number of your transmission as a guide, you can also search for a kit that will fit by indicating the year, make, and model of your vehicle.
Who wouldn't want a transmission that shifts smoothly and ensures better fuel economy? No one, right? This is the reason automatic transmission shift kits are now becoming more and more popular to auto enthusiasts. These kits are designed to help you modify or recalibrate the transmission's shift timing, therefore improving the firmness of your shift and the durability of the transmission parts. Whether you're using your ride for towing or for your daily commute, this shift kit will help fix or prevent common transmission complaints such as shift irregularities. When looking for an automatic transmission shift kit for your ride, here are some of the things you need to consider:
You'll be spending your hard-earned bucks for it, so it is but right that you take time to know the capabilities of the shift kit you're eyeing. Go for one that will make your stock transmission capable of making crisp shifts and eliminating shift overlap, which just make the friction surfaces work harder, thereby reducing their efficiency. A shift kit that helps prevent excessive wear on bands and clutches because of slippage is also a good buy.
Durability and compatibility
Automatic transmission shift kits are available for majority of import and domestic vehicles. If you're planning to use the kit on an SUV, a truck, or a race vehicle with automatic transmission, you have to make sure that the components included in the kit are free from durability issues. They must also be compatible with the rest of the transmission components and other parts they need to work hand in hand with.
Ease of installation
You can save big time if you'll do the installation yourself, so choose a shift kit that's easy to install. It should come with detailed step-by-step mounting instructions and all the hardware you need to properly set up the shift kit.
Product warranty is a guarantee that the part you are purchasing is free from workmanship and material defects. So before you pay for an automatic transmission shift kit, find out first the warranty plan that comes with it and the manufacturer's warranty options. This way, you'll be assured of a high-quality product that's well worth your bucks.
Don't Lose Control: Repairing an Automatic Transmission Shift Kit
One of the most critical components of your vehicle is the transmission. This car part allows you to control your vehicle with ease and moderation. When you notice signs of damage and difficulty in operating your car, then you should probably have the automatic transmission shift kit checked. To repair this component, simply follow the following steps:
Difficulty level: Moderate
- Drain pan
- Socket set
- Owner's manual
- Safety gloves
Step 1: Carefully remove the bolts of the pan and let the fluid drain out. Keep an eye out for the fluid color; It should be pink with a fresh scent. If it's burned to brown, then this could indicate that you have some other problem with the transmission.
Step 2: Remove the filter and inspect the screen for friction material or other contaminants. Take note of the location and length of each of the bolts. You may take a picture of the assembly before taking out the bolts. Then, remove the valve body by taking out the bolts with a 3/8" socket.
Step 3: Locate the throttle valve or vacuum modulator, and remove it together with the rod. Put the rod aside and keep it in a safe place, as it can easily get misplaced. Next, prepare the automatic transmission shift kit, which usually comes with a filter, throttle valve, springs, and parts of the valve.
Step 4: Get a 5/16" socket and use it to remove all bolts in the valve body. Record the location of each bolt by taking a snapshot before removing them. You usually have to remove the shift detent last.
Step 5: Detach the drain-back valve by removing the filter. Keep it in a safe place, as this part usually gets lost in a drain pan. Then, remove the remaining bolts on the top half using a 5/16" socket.
Step 6: Rotate the cover of the valve body before continuing to the next step. It helps keep the check balls intact. Next, remove the separator plate from the lower half of the valve body. Note the location of the check balls by taking a snapshot of the assembly before detaching the end plates.
Step 7: Remove the end plate for all three valves - the transition valve, the 2-3 back-out valve, and the cut-back valve. Then, manipulate with caution and detach the back-out, transition, and cut-back valves.
Step 8: To re-assemble the transmission, return the back-out, cut-back, transition valves, and end plate.
Step 9: If you have a separator plate, drill onto these using your old plate as a guide. Then, install the check ball, if applicable. Set up the separator plate into place, and re-attach the halves while making sure all the check balls are in place.
Step 10: Torque the bolts in a crisscross fashion using torque fasteners. Refer to your owner's manual for the appropriate torque amounts.
Step 11: Reinstall the torque converter drainback valve. Next, reinstall the manual valve detent. Examine the assembled valve body, the kickdown, and the detent. After returning everything into place, install the new throttle valve. Adjust it according to your vehicle's specs.