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Old 06-17-2010, 02:39 AM   #1
Sticks n Stones
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3600 Phoenix Performance stall in a bolton GTO: First impressions

EDIT: Converter failed on me. Turns out it started going out at around 4,000 miles of mostly daily driving: lasted another 5,000 miles before I got a replacement Yank SS3600 converter and had a trans shop do the swap/ check trans out for damage. Turns out it needed a full rebuild because the oil filter was totally plugged, parts where falling out of the converter when it was removed, and the converter was ballooning= even though it supposedly had a anti-ballooning plate on it and I am only a head/cam GTO. Also, a couple months before it developed its issues, it dyno'd at 420rwhp. Same dyno/ same stall rating Yank converter put down 445rwhp. 25rwhp of inefficiency going up in always high trans temps.
I just had a Phoenix Performance twin disk lockup, anti-ballooning, 3600 stall installed. Turns out it's a pretty loose converter that requires me to rev to a MINIMUM of 2,000-2,100 rpms to get it to move at all, and never truly seems to fully 'engage' even at WOT at 6,000rpms.

Talk about annoying! Ever stoplight takeoff sounds like I'm riding the wholly hell out of a M6 clutch. Can't even tell when it changes gears under normal accelleration: rpms barely move and the converter is so loose that you can't feel the shift 'hit'. Gas mileage went to shit, too: stop n go incity driving dropped from 16-18mpg to 12mpg. Drove it in the rain last night: wow talk about having to be carefull!! No more playing around in the rain, thats for sure.

It's not all gloom and doom though! The minute it gets annoying to drive around town, you simply hit the go pedal. At ANY speed. There is no more dead spots, PERIOD. Flashes to a minimum of 4000rpms when I romp on it at 20mph holding 2nd gear: At the start of my first dead spot (30-40mph) it flashes so high I initially thought that it actually downshifted to 1st gear! Go WOT from a dead stop (IF you can get traction) and be amazed at the seamless pull all the way thru the gears: there is no torque curve surge as each gear climbs through its rpm range. just linear power.

And last of all, something I never expected: better freeway mpg. I picked up a solid 2mpg cruising at my normal cruise control speed of 68mph to work. I was stunned! It ALMOST offsets the city driving loss of mpg in my overall DD driving.




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Questions from a high stall noob
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Question 1: Is Dexron VI such a high temp trans fluid that it's taking 3 days to burn off the fluid that hit the exhaust?
I keep smelling hot/borderline burnt transmission fluid through the car vents even 200 miles later. Mainly when I come to a stop after a freeway jaunt. No leaks anywhere, trans fluid level is normal.

Question 2: Speed Secrets told me my converter used a front wheel drive converter welded onto the front half of my torque converter - 'a billet piece is used by top of the line companies'. That true?

Question 3: What does "Blowing through the converter" mean? I think I might be doing that if it refers to a car having a stall so high that it's shifting gears before the flash extension runs out. That true?
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Last edited by Sticks n Stones; 12-26-2010 at 08:50 PM.
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Old 06-17-2010, 02:34 PM   #2
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We use billet front covers as well as a 1 piece billet lock up piston. all converters start out as a converter for a different car.
Blowing thru the converter means more power than the converetr was designed for and the converter is not efficient enough to handle the load against it therefore making it slip during coupling phase.
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Old 06-17-2010, 03:55 PM   #3
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How much did you pay for it? Front wheel drive converter? The design process you mention sounds weird.

Also, a 2,000-2,100RPM low throttle/speed slip is not as loose as you think. My converter slips to 3,000+ under those conditions and is a 2.5STR.

Need more info about the stall, how it was built and who the company is to really dive into it. A quick look at the website shows a budget price and possibly a pic of a 4cyl converter with an adapter plate a la TCI. Hate to say it but my converter motto is "if it doesnt cost at least $650, walk away". In order to get exactly what you want out of how a converter should behave you gotta spend the dough on the true custom made, built to order stuff.

Sounds like its stalled too high for your combo and too loose for your style. See if they will re-spec it lower stall and tighter in the STR range, otherwise try and sell it and give FTI or Circle D Specialties a call.

Good luck!
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Old 06-17-2010, 05:02 PM   #4
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I agree with Cool-Aid, see if they will restall it for you. Hope they get it the way you want it.

If not, call greg (FTI) and he will get you setup the way you want. I couldnt be happier with his service and the converter is great. The nice thing is he will explain alot of it to you so dont worry about being a Noob.
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Old 06-24-2010, 01:21 AM   #5
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Well, here's the update: it's growing on me. Alot. Once warm, it engages earlier than when it's cold- by around 200rpms. Ignore the higher reving engine and just drive it off of amount of throttle applied and it's fine. Leaving stoplights I find it best to just give it a decent amount of throttle and get to the speed limit quickly instead of pantsy assing it at part throttle and creating unnecessary heat.

Gas Mileage: again, it's confusing the hell out of me. I get the same mpg going to work now as before the stall. Got rid of the canned SLP 455hp tune and installed my new tune: mpg went up by 1/2 a mpg back exactly where it was before the stall and on my last custom tune (had shift points changed).

Around town mileage is still bad, probably averaging 14mpg. But freeway mpg is most definitely up at least 2mpg. TWO FRIGGIN MILES PER GALLON INCREASE!! Amazing.
Quote:
Originally Posted by FTI CONVERTERS...View Post
We use billet front covers as well as a 1 piece billet lock up piston. all converters start out as a converter for a different car.
Blowing thru the converter means more power than the converetr was designed for and the converter is not efficient enough to handle the load against it therefore making it slip during coupling phase.
Greg

Thanks for the info! Just spent too long with a stock stall - been at least 15 years since I drove a high stall car and didn't recall it being that loose up at 6000+rpms. Converter is there custom made top of the line, guaranteed for 1000rwhp.
Quote:
Originally Posted by CoolAid...View Post
How much did you pay for it? Front wheel drive converter? The design process you mention sounds weird.

Need more info about the stall, how it was built and who the company is to really dive into it. A quick look at the website shows a budget price and possibly a pic of a 4cyl converter with an adapter plate a la TCI. Hate to say it but my converter motto is "if it doesnt cost at least $650, walk away". In order to get exactly what you want out of how a converter should behave you gotta spend the dough on the true custom made, built to order stuff.

Sounds like its stalled too high for your combo and too loose for your style. See if they will re-spec it lower stall and tighter in the STR range, otherwise try and sell it and give FTI or Circle D Specialties a call.

Good luck!

Had zero plan on getting anything but a FTI converter until I came across this one. Leary of a off brand so I researched it: they have been installed by a few big name car magazines in there build cars with good results but the low price threw me until I called them: they don't list there high performance converters becuase they are custom built. A converter spec'd out like the one I got for $350 NIB retailed for right around $1,000 from them. Wasn't happy it wasn't a billet front half, but it is what it is: Oddly enough, I couldn't find a single online complaint when I searched through Google. Not a one.

PS: I need slicks. My Star Specs are great, as sticky as any DR but with stiffer sidewalls. But I got the worst craving for a WOT launch and they just aint gonna cut it!

Last edited by Sticks n Stones; 06-24-2010 at 01:23 AM.
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Old 06-24-2010, 09:01 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sticks n Stones...View Post
Talk about annoying! Ever stoplight takeoff sounds like I'm riding the wholly hell out of a M6 clutch. Can't even tell when it changes gears under normal accelleration: rpms barely move and the converter is so loose that you can't feel the shift 'hit'.

Normal, gotta love it huh?

Filmed this tonight after thinking about your post.


3200 Vigilante & Built trans, 1st through 4th gear going up hill LOL
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Old 06-24-2010, 11:12 PM   #7
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^^ Might do a video myself. Yep, you got it, except you need to add a couple hundred rpms to what you see.

I do miss my oomph lost on the freeway though. Just feels mushy and lacking above 5000rpms. Wonder how much rwhp I lost? Seat of pants says 15 to maybe 20rwhp gone up in heat.
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Old 06-25-2010, 03:13 AM   #8
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So was the converter with just bolt ons worth it in your opinion?
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Old 06-25-2010, 03:47 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 99blkgt...View Post
So was the converter with just bolt ons worth it in your opinion?

If you get the right one for your current combo yes, if you get one made for heads and cam that your planning for the long run, but just running bolt-ons it wont be as efficient

Last edited by Element; 06-25-2010 at 03:49 AM.
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Old 06-25-2010, 05:17 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 99blkgt...View Post
So was the converter with just bolt ons worth it in your opinion?

Multipointed question: is a 3600 stall worth it in a bolton GTO? Yes if and only if you go to the track often and want the best 1/4 mile times or do alot of dig races on the street or want the ability to destroy other cars from ANY speed below 60mph regardless of any vaunted "A4 deadspots". --- and are willing to give up topend power. Noteable topend power loss.

Is a stall converter worth it at all? Yes. IMO the GTO should have came with a 2400 stall from the factory. And a 3000 stall would be great on the street with limited track or dig street racing in mind.
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Old 06-27-2010, 09:13 PM   #11
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i have the same problem going on right now ...i just picked up a 2800 stall from FTI put it in a week ago the thing is loose all the way up to 2000 rpms i told them i wanted somthing i could brake pedal to about 2800 rpms at the track but could still daily drive it he said this would be fine for street use ...i spent some decent $$$ on getting this thing in and tuned and i'm a verry unhappy camper right about now .i did put a tranner cooler in it but i'm sure this tranny is going to have a melt down as much as this converter slips .....i had a B&M tork master 3000 on my 68 firebird and is was not this loose..and i was able to stall it up to 3200 rpms ..this will be a costly fix and car being down if i have to pull it out and send it back for them to adjust it ..and no way em i saying FTI are bad converters cus i have only heard good things about there converters,that's why i called them,but this one does not seem to be a good fit for my application ..any idias ???
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Old 06-27-2010, 09:52 PM   #12
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^^ what is the str of your converter?
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Old 06-27-2010, 09:58 PM   #13
raygnicky
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not sure what your about on str
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Old 06-28-2010, 01:13 AM   #14
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Stall is the point at which - if you had a trans brake to keep the driveshaft from powerbraking your rear tires - the engine will not rev any higher at WOT, and the torque converter refuses to 'slip' any more. Stock is somewhere around 1800rpms.

STR is how sudden that power comes in. A high STR is generally considered anything above 2.5 (dont know what that number means), and a low STR is 2.0 or lower. A high STR will not even start to engage in forward motion until near it's stall rating then it comes on like gangbusters: great on the drag strip where a sudden massive power hit can be handled by slicks and a prepped track, and a danger on the streets where the sudden power sends you sideways when you werent expecting it.

A low STR engages gradually, so that at part throttle you can drive around almost like you are on a stock converter: until you input more torque (more throttle) then it slips to a higher speed. At the track, you generally will never hit close to your stall rating when staging because your tires will spin first: BUT that "tighter" or "low STR" converter will still be slipping up at the higher rpms, providing what they call torque assist. For instance, a 3600 2.0 STR converter by a good manufacturer will be only 100-200rpms higher in around town, low rpm driving but can "flash" up to 3200+ if you go WOT (assuming it doesnt downshift). It will also "slip" and provide "torque assist" up to 4500+ rpms. Very similiar to riding a clutch in a stick shift! The drawback is that you will lose some topend power.

Here is where I'm just guessing based of what I know of fluid dynamics and jet engines:
EDIT: I wrote this at 1am in the morning, while half asleep. I just reread it and started to confuse myself! lol So let this just be a lesson: converter manufacturing and engineering is a black art best left to the pros! There's a reason the fast, veteran guys swear by there converter makers: they have ALL seen guys run bad or ill matched converters and go slow on a supposedly fast setup.
A high STR converter hits hard and suddenly. It uses sharper blade angles than a low STR converter (which normally would give a lower stall speed) but combined with larger gaps before that fluid hits the stator vanes that are attached to the shaft that enters the transmission (at least in aircraft engines it's called a stator vane- not sure in a TC) the fluid has to be moving at a higher speed before it has any affect, ie higher stall speed. Once that fluid gets above the speed needed to reach "stall" or stator lockup then it's more like stock, ie it is kinda locked in where a low STR converter is still slipping.

Imagine blowing an air hose or garden hose at a turned off fan: point the hose at the big part of the fan blade and you get instantaneous spin: but even though it has alot of torque (quickly starts spinning) you will not get very many rpms. Now point that hose at the sharp angled base of fan blades: takes longer to start spinning, but once spinning it spins at a much higher speed, right? Thats the basics of STR: one is quicker to start moving but more innefficient at higher rpms, the other is very inefficient at low rpms but once the rpms pick up it is better.

Torque converters are often talked about by size: 8.5", 9", 10", etc. Thats because a higher stall converter is by necessity a smaller converter: again relating it to the garden hose, the bigger the hose (utilizing the same pressure) the more force hitting the blades thus equalling a faster spool up. Smaller converters mean that it takes more rpms to reach the required flow rate/ pressure to turn the stator blades.

Last edited by Sticks n Stones; 06-28-2010 at 01:22 AM.
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