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Diesel Truck Transmission Improvements - Pulling Its Weight

Transmission Improvements To Make Your Diesel Truck Handle The Load

The Staff of 8-Lug
Feb 1, 2009
The pressure to perform in the heat of battle is always a challenge. Such is the life of today’s diesel-powered trucks, which are constantly challenged to battle heavy semi-truck-style loads. But, while today’s torque-monster diesel engines may be up to the task of towing the load, it is often the factory transmission that can become the weak link in delivering the power to the turf. But there is a solution.
Photo 2/29   |   The Ford 4R100 is an excellent transmission that is plenty beefy for most purposes. It’s also one of the heaviest, but also one of the most compatible with heavy-duty applications.
Diesel truck transmissions are fairly beefy from the get-go. But unfortunately, as you dig deeper, you can often find significant areas for improvement. Inside, these transmissions are outfitted with basically adequate components that will get the job done. But for anyone who is pulling larger trailers or adding performance engine equipment, not upgrading the factory transmission is sending an invitation for disaster. The TCI diesel transmission improvement package includes not only an upgraded-strength billet steel torque converter (very important with any diesel applications), but also a number of internal transmission enhancements.
The most obvious and simple modification you can make to increase the durability and longevity of your diesel truck transmission is installing a deep, high-capacity aluminum pan. TCI’s premium-cast aluminum pan increases the fluid capacity of your transmission by a full 7 1/2 quarts. The more fluid in the system, the cooler your transmission will run—not to mention the fact that more fluid means less contamination and longer life. These pans feature a special O-ringed mating surface delivering an excellent seal and a drain plug to help make fluid changes easy.
Step two in the diesel transmission upgrade requires the installation of a new TCI Maximizer high-torque towing torque converter. Incorporating a steel billet case (not so with factory torque converters) to ensure long life and excellent performance, these torque converters feature full- brazed internal fins and the best internal parts you can purchase, including INA bearings and high-quality construction. These torque converters reduce engine rpm at highway speeds to improve fuel mileage. During testing in the TCI lab, these torque converters have proven to lower overall transmission temperature by as much as 20 degrees.
The final step in the process is the internal transmission and shift kit improvements. Anyone can make a transmission shift hard—the secret is creating a transmission that reflects the needs and style of the driver. TCI Maximizer truck transmissions use Red Eagle clutches and other state-of-the-art transmission products designed to generate the perfect towing transmission, whether the need is handling heavy loads, or increased power and torque modifications. With a major focus on increasing fluid flow, lubrication, and thrust capacity, the Maximizer transmission is then triple-tested including final assessment on the TCI Axiline transmission dyno.
Follow along as we walk through the steps involved in upgrading your transmission and internal parts. While internal transmission modifications should be left to the experts at TCI, the torque converter and pan upgrades are potential home-shop projects you can do. Regardless of how deep you dive in, know that any of these steps will increase the performance of your transmission. It’s just a matter of how serious your truck transmission needs are.
“Since I mainly use my truck for towing an enclosed race-car trailer fairly long distances,” one TCI customer told us, “it was very important to install a transmission/converter setup that would take the punishment and wouldn’t leave me stranded on the side of the interstate. The worst thing in the world is to miss a race event because your tow vehicle broke down on the way to the track. The TCI triple-tested transmission/converter package provides me with the peace of mind that it’ll handle anything we throw at it.
“Having used several diesel trucks of this type, I know that the transmission and converter tend to be the weak link. With the TCI unit installed, I now can add a power programmer, an exhaust upgrade, and other various popular performance upgrades without feeling like my drivetrain is a ticking time bomb.
“While I haven’t done an official fuel mileage check, I definitely feel that it has improved slightly.”


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