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Converter-less manual-shift automatic Powerglide???

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by slepe67, Jun 2, 2009.

  1. slepe67
    Joined: Jan 22, 2008
    Posts: 1,146


    This is a wierd one, and I figured I'd ask in here, as well as I am building a 32 Roadster to Land Speed Race out on the flats. I plan to run a Windsor block (289, 302, or 351W).

    I was at my local hot rod shop, having a cold one, and this older dude, who had been racing vintage stock cars for YEARS, said I should run a converter-less, 2 speed Powerglide, mated to said Windsor.

    This is where it gets gray. He said that off of the two holes on the case, I hook up two lines, which go to my clutch reservoir/assembly. I push in the clutch, it disengages the trans, so I can shift gears while at a stop (or from D to R, etc). While driving, I just shift normally as I would any auto trans, no clutch pedal required.

    He also said the clutch is a TINY roundy round style clutch, and it wasn't meant for hard shifting, such as you would need for drag racing, but for stock cars, and LSR, he said it would be PERFECT. Apparently guys HAVE used this type for drag racing, but they only last for a pass or two, then they crap out.

    I've read a lot of the high power guys run autos without torque converters. I assume these are the guys who need a push off the line ???

    This would also help out in the horsepower loss associated with a normal auto trans, correct? I'm shooting for around 350 RWHP, but that may or may not be the case. Depends on how much money my wife will let me have! haha, but seriously....

    Anyone know if this would work on a SEMI streetable hot rod/LSR car? I don't plan on driving all over town, just down the highway once in a while.

    What do you think? Would you do it? Oh yeah, it's final drive is 1:1, and the rear end gears I have currently are 4.10:1, posi. That is changeable.
  2. carkiller
    Joined: Jun 12, 2002
    Posts: 850


    It actally a control valve, stop fluid f/start fluid flow. Direct drive when valve opened. Okay for soft surface racin where your whheels can spin on takeoff. No converter just a coupler off flywheel.
  3. slepe67
    Joined: Jan 22, 2008
    Posts: 1,146


  4. toms37gmc
    Joined: Aug 10, 2006
    Posts: 147


    This type of setup is fairly common in dirt track race cars that are required to run automatics, but are not required to run a convertor. Check with ATI, I know they sell a lot of them. The biggest advantage is you dont have the convertor slippage to worry about. There is no real "clutch" in this type of setup, the bands on the planetarys serve that purpose. One advantage the dirt track guys have on takeoff with this deal is they are running rear gear ratios in the 5.00 to 6.50 range. The other deal you could look into would be an internal clutch type "2speed" dirt track transmission. These are sold under the Bert, Brinn, Falcon brand names. They have a small internal clutch and are basicly direct drive in high gear with little rotating losses. They can stand up for many laps under severe usage behind 800+ HP dirt track motors and many options are available for rear mount fuel pump drives etc. Stop down at the local dirt track parts supply house and they can filll you in.
    The only problem is neither of these setups is really streetable as the clutches will never stand up under "street type usage in either setup..
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  5. rq375
    Joined: Sep 23, 2008
    Posts: 103

    from Washington

    There were street/drag units as well, they used a full size clutch and had a 'spider' device that engaged the pump on one side and the pressure plate fingers on the other. Have you considered a lockup th-350?
  6. 56sedandelivery
    Joined: Nov 21, 2006
    Posts: 5,908


    Like already stated, these are normally used in DIRT TRACK cars. They either use a torque converter that's been gutted and welded up internally, or a coupler in place of the converter; some use the "valve" that's been connected to a pedal, like a "clutch pedal", others use a hand operated valve. If you used a Powerglide with a rear pump you could push start the car also, and do away with the starter motor, flywheel/flexplate, to save a few pounds. It would work, on salt, like it works on dirt. There has to be some give/slippage to get under way, because it's either "on or off", and shocks the drivetrain. I have heard of guys that use a dumby converter, and just pull it manually into gear; think about it, it's like dumping the clutch on a manual trans car, ALL THE TIME. I'm not familiar with land speed type racing, anyone else have experience with this? It would work; but, should you do it? Also, think of it this way, it'd be like doing neutral drops all the time. Don't even concider it with a street car, or on asphalt/concrete. Butch/56sedandelivery.
  7. Highway or not - and highways have stops - I don't see what advantage you'd gain other than the "whiz-bang" feature . . . as in, "wouldja look at that."

    Just run a stick, the parts are readily available and somewhat inexpensive compared to a specialized Powerglide setup.
  8. RichFox
    Joined: Dec 3, 2006
    Posts: 9,830


    Or run an automatic with a lock up converter. I have seen guys spend all their time on the salt fighting some trick transmission when they should be trying to make more power. Like the clutch-flite in my roadster when I bought it. Came right out and left my place right away. KISS.
  9. Bruce Lancaster
    Joined: Oct 9, 2001
    Posts: 21,683

    Bruce Lancaster
    Member Emeritus

    The big clutch device referred to in post #5 is a different rig...callsed "Clutch-flite (or turbo or whatever), usually three speed AT, no comverter, nomal manual trans typr clutch. Spider thing drove the pump from pressure plate fingers...
    Used for a short time in drag racing, I think late 60's, when automatics had become popular, tires were getting big and sticky, and converters were still primitive. Only a clutch could allow enough revs for a strong launch...soon obsoleted by high stall converters.
  10. the tranny guy i go to builds dozens of them a year for the roundy round dirt track guys. i see them when i go there for a normal automatic transmission. i think he told me that they hook a 1/4 turn ball valve to the clutch pedal. he is always looking for aluminum case cores , which i can get about $100 credit..just brought him one. i always had the impression it was a race only thing
  11. RichFox
    Joined: Dec 3, 2006
    Posts: 9,830


    Yeah with a rear pump added and for some reason unable to shift into netural at speed. As I understood it Al, the guy I bought the car from, wanted to cut clean to read the plugs after a run. Put it in "N" and locked the rear wheels. Spun all over the salt. Maybe that's when they put the rear pump in it. Don't know. It was always something. I put a four speed in it in '84 and that same trans is still there.
  12. slepe67
    Joined: Jan 22, 2008
    Posts: 1,146


    Yeah, the more and more I read up on this, the more I think about going with the toploader. anyone have a wide ratio??? hahah

    oh well, I learned something, which is good. I guess this will be a good starting point for somebody in the future to use the SEARCH function with! haha thanks fellas!
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2009
  13. thall
    Joined: Jul 12, 2008
    Posts: 51

    from nc

    used a fairbanks 'clutch turbo' 400 to launch this jeep back in the 1980's ...

    4 cylinder 'slant' pontiac a lil over 200 cubic inches... ram air IV head

    ususally launched at 6500 to 7000....

    Attached Files:

  14. I had a lot of dirt car customers running these back in the 90's for one reason. Fast as hell off of the corners because of the low rotating mass inside. Especially when you take the torque converter out of the equasion. The two lines the dude is speeking of are tapped into the front pump as you need to get the fluid from the pump back into the trans and remember the torque converter used to do this job. The pump has to be drilled and tapped for the fittings and the ball valve is used for the engagement as a clutch type effect. Don't think one of these would be street friendly as dirt cars have a rolling start. Most dirt cars are loaded with a winch and drove as least as possible when running these type trannys. This set up was ment to race and not really ment for easy type driving .>>>>

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