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Monthly Archives

November 2019

Transmission Tech Tips for Hard-Cornering, Fast Drivers

Performance Transmission Tech Tips for Hard-Cornering, Fast Drivers - Gearstar Performance

You have a high-performance vehicle alright, and you love to drive it fast and pull hard into corners. While that may give you the needed thrill and excitement, it could be causing a great deal of strain to your car’s OEM driveline and suspension fasteners.

The reason cannot be far-fetched since manufacturers have built these cars to handle regular driving. It’s evident in the quality of parts and the level of performance they can offer.

That is why putting more speed/force on the same load can take a toll on some components. Generally, high-stress environments can affect the reliability of the parts of your vehicle.

But hey, that can be kept at bay by having some important transmission tech tips that will ensure that while you get a great driving experience, that is not at the expense of your car’s functionality.

Tips to Maintain Quality Performance in Impact Driving

Here are some transmission tech tips that will enable you to maintain the quality of your ride. These are processes employed by Automotive Racing Products, Inc. (ARP), a manufacturer of car parts for racers and car builders.

ARP has designed and engineered several fasteners that can offer safety margins for a variety of applications. That being the case, you can find a repair shop that can also implement these changes on your vehicle.

1. Quality Wheel Studs

If you’re only going to pull your car on and off the road without trying out stunts, then the 8.8 or 10.9 rated metric studs it comes with is just right for it. The same can be said for the SAE equivalent Grade 5 (120,000 psi tensile strength) or Grade 8 (150,000 psi) the car comes with, which is suitable for normal driving.

On the contrary, if you’re going to be pulling 9 to 1.0+ G’s while driving a 3,500 – 4,000 lb. car, greater consideration has to be given since there are a lot of lateral forces that will be at play. What’s more, dumping the clutch at high RPM could multiply torque through the transmission and rear end, thereby leading to a strain on the studs.

These forces may take a toll on the ride, but the use of premium wheel studs can handle sideloads and ensure a breakdown does not happen. How’s that? You may wonder.

a. Using Quality Materials for Wheel Studs

Wheel studs that are made of quality materials are free of any laps, seams, or material impurities. This level of quality can be ensured by designing these materials from premium SDF/CHQ grades (which can be compared to aircraft quality) 8740 chrome-moly steel. The SDF in, this case, denotes that it is Seam and Defect Free.

b. Cold Forging of Wheel Studs

Asides from using quality materials to create wheel studs, the studs are cold-forged into an oversize blank. Which is then transferred to a heat treatment process- in a bid to attain a nominal rating of 190,000 psi.

The Wheel studs are then shot-peened, and CNC machined to a specific diameter and shape. Also, the threads are all rolled upon completion heat treating. It is worth noting that the threads are formed when the material is hard, instead of being cut or rolled before heat treating.

This way, the threads are of high quality.  They have a fatigue strength that is ten times higher than other threads that are designed using common commercial methods.

As a result, the resultant product has precision and tolerance. The wheel studs can now handle the tremendous shock loads that may be evident when the clutch is dumped at a high RPM.

2. Quality Bolts

Designing clutch/flywheel and converter/flexplate bolts to be of high quality instead of relying on commercial specifications that only harden the case can be highly beneficial.

Also, certain considerations have to be made. Such as the design of the ARP flywheel and flexplate bolt to feature a 12-point head design; a large shank diameter to provide increased strength and improved flywheel register.

The use of a design of this nature can save you a lot of trouble. Especially if you tend to dump the clutch a clutch at a high RPM. A clutch dumped at high RPMs poses several concerns, including the easy failure of the converter/flexplate fasteners or conventional clutch/flywheel within the bell housing.

What causes this failure can be associated with the load mounted on the bolts as the clutch engages at high RPMs. Much more, a stiffer clutch will be more impactful upon release. A possible solution to this problem is to use the high-quality bolts, that are not only hardened at the case.

3. Ring gear Bolts

Ring gear bolts can also be damaged since excessive shear loads can be more at the rear end. Nonetheless, the gear bolts that can handle the power will be susceptible to help to curb any potential issues.

Specifically, the use of premium grade 190,000 psi tensile strength bolts will prove useful. It is advisable to get bolts in bulk due to the range of application and custom nature of some installations.

Some options in the market are 10-32 x ½” bolts to as large as ½” by 6-inch bolts. The bolts can also be polished stainless steel, thereby making them less susceptible to rust and corrosion.

Transmission Tech Tips Conclusion

These are the transmission tech tips you should employ in ensuring that the components of your high-performance car stand the test of time. It also means that you do not have to sacrifice hard racing, pushing the RPMs, or hard turning in corners.

A car whose wheel studs and bolts are of high quality can  impact the level of performance that can be provided. That being the case, your ride will stand the test of time and serve you well in the long run.

Find a company that can put these transmission tech tips in place, all in a bid to revamp your ride. If you’re confident that it has been built to handle the power, then you can be more confident to give it hard turns.

10 Performance Upgrades Your Car Will Absolutely Thank You For

10 Performance Upgrades Your Car Will Absolutely Thank You For - Gearstar

What else can you be thankful for? The best performance upgrades that can transform your car into a fast and furious ride just by increasing its horsepower. There’s also the benefit of more torque for quicker passing, improved acceleration, and increased towing capacity.

Thus, your vehicle can be the ride to be on the lookout for, and probably one to emulate among hundreds out there. Now while this idea may sound good to you, the problem of where to begin may set in.

Nonetheless, we have outlined some of the best performance upgrades that will use your car’s functions optimally and, therefore, enable it to reach its full potential. The best part? These performance upgrades don’t require mechanic services; so long as you have a basic knowledge of car parts, you’re all set!


Simple Performance Upgrades for Cars

Below are some super simple performance upgrades that can boost and revamp your ride.

1. New Tires

New tires and good ones to begin with, can give your car more power, and as such, it is where you should begin if you want to improve your car’s performance significantly. Great tires will give your ride a greater grip on the road, and help to move swiftly along it. Hence, you can look forward to a pleasurable and smoother driving experience.

2. Engine Control Unit (ECU) Flash

A car’s ECU controls the air and fuel mixture (air-fuel ratio) in your engine, which helps to maximize the engine’s power and efficiency. However, manufacturer’s usually program this ECU to perform below the engine’s true capability as a precaution.

That being the case, you can improve the programming of the ECU that will help to unleash its full potential. The engine’s performance will be enhanced as well as the return on gas mileage.

3. Cold-Air Intake

The installation of a cold-air intake system helps to circulate the airflow in your car’s engine and also provides cooler and denser outside air into the engine. For this reason, cold-air intake can help to boost your car’s performance significantly. Its impact is evident in its ability to allow your car to breathe better and as such, drive better.

4. Spark Plugs

Spark plugs with great quality can aid in better combustion, and as such, it would mean more power and fuel economy in your ride. Pairing the two side by side can be extremely rewarding since you don’t get a ride with a high level of performance at the expense of low fuel consumption. But what about the old spark plugs you have? You may wonder.

While these may have also been great quality spark plugs, they could’ve become worn out due to wear and tear. As such, it could impact on the results delivered significantly. That being the case, you can try an affordable swap to new spark plugs on your new or old ride.

5. Bolt-In a High Flow Exhaust

A bolt-in a high flow exhaust will enable your car’s waste to be exited conveniently. And that can be compared to the removal of wastes from the human body! But in this case, your car needs to do the same.

When a bolt in a high flow exhaust is used, it reduces the pressure that is built up within the ride, and therefore, helps the driver to move more efficiently. A bolt also increases the removal process of waste.

6. Bushing Replacement

Bushings are rubber suspension components, and they are employed in providing cushioning, isolating vibration, and reducing friction between metal parts in the car. Manufacturers add rubber bushings which could get damaged easily and thereby cost you better performance of your car.

On the contrary, a replacement of these bushings can ensure that they stand the test of time to provide the level of support they should for a long time. You can, therefore, try polyurethane bushings that have been proven to last longer than rubber bushings. They also take it one step further in minimizing weight transfer and ending vibrations.

7. Forced Induction

A turbocharger or supercharger can help to increase your engine’s power output, and all it’ll take is to increase its horsepower. A turbocharger helps to force air at high speed into the engine. It needs the exhaust gases to build up as the RPMs increase.

In this case, you need to increase the efficiency of the existing turbo to have more engine power without affecting the OEM reliability. A supercharger comes with a belt-driven compressor, and they provide a power hit low in the RPM range.

8. Nitrous

Nitrous provides a temporary-boosting, cooling effect that enters the combustion chamber, which makes the air entering the chamber denser as well. As a result, there can be a more powerful burn that will help to push your ride forward. However, if you need 50 horsepower right away and not a couple of minutes of hours later, you can try a nitrous kit.

9. Camshafts

A performance camshaft, also known as a bump stick, can also be useful in increasing your car’s performance. The camshaft bears a resemblance to a metal stick with bumps at its circumference.

Here, the bumps are cam lobes that decide when air enters in and out of the combustion chamber since they open and close the intake and exhaust valves. Therefore, a change of the cam can improve horsepower significantly. The horsepower can be increased between 30 to 100.

10. Fine-Tune and Reprogram Computer-Controlled Systems

A hand-held reprogrammer in a computer-controlled engine can help to improve fuel delivery, advance timing, and the change shift points on automatic transmissions. Nonetheless, you will need to have a good idea of what you’re up to by following instructions strictly.


The Bottom Line

These are some of the best performance upgrades for car, which you’ll be thankful for after implementing them. They are quite easy to work with, and some require inexpensive components that can still turn your car into the ride it needs to.

Your ride can be fast, offer great fuel mileage, and have reliable components that won’t break down. Hence, you can resort to these upgrades when trying to improve the performance of your car.

Overview of the 700R4 Transmission

Overview of the 700R4 Transmission - Gearstar Performance

The 700R4 transmission is an automatic transmission that was found in GMC and Chevrolet cars and trucks. It was developed with the aim of improving fuel economy in cars, and it achieved this goal thanks to the overdrive it featured.

Over the years, the transmission has had a change of name, and there have been significant upgrades to its build. We’ve outlined an overview of the 700R4 transmission, its upgrades, problems, and what made it one of the best transmissions in its time.


GM’s 700R4 Transmission

The 700R4, also known as Turbo Hydra-Matic, is a 4-speed automatic transmission that was launched by General Motors in the early 1980s. It is an upgrade to the 3-speed TH350 automatic transmission and older models of rear-wheel-drive cars.

Also, the 700R4 transmission featured a 30% overdrive in 4th gear which brought about fuel economy. This overdrive allowed sports cars and pickup trucks that came with it to be more affordable to drive.


Vehicles Equipped the 700R4

The 700R4 transmission was used in cars between 1982 and 1993. Specifically, it could be found in trucks and rear-wheel-drive cars including:


    • Blazer: 1982-1991
    • Caprice: 1982-1992
    • Corvette: 1982-1992
    • Camaro: 1983-1992
    • Suburban: 1984-1992
    • Astro Van: 1985-1992
    • S10 Blazer: 1989-1992
    • S10 Pickup: 1989-1991


    • Fleetwood: 1990-1992
    • Brougham: 1990-1992
    • Limousine: 1990-1992


    • Jimmy: 1982-1993
    • Safari Van: 1983-1990
    • Syclone: 1991-1992
    • S10 / S15 Sonoma: 1983-1991
    • S15 Pickup: 1983-1991


    • Pontiac Firebird: 1983-1992
    • Buick Lesabre: 1984
    • Holden Commodore: 1988-1992

That being the case, the widespread use of the 700R4 (4L60) was 1992. Also, the 1993 Corvette, Camaro, and Typhoon were the vehicles to feature the last production of the 700R4.


Build of the 700R4

The 700R4 transmission is made from cast aluminium, which adds to its sturdiness and ruggedness. It’s 23.4 inches long, weighs 155 pounds, and has 16 bolts. The tail shaft housing is connected to the main case by four bolts, and the bolt spacing is comparable to that of the THM350 transmission. Dimensions of the 700R4 are:

    • 625 in. tail shaft housing.
    • Transmission’s width where it bolts to the engine is 20 in (51 cm).
    • 5 in. from the engine/trans mating surface to the cross member mount bolt.
    • 375 in. from the engine/trans surface to the output shaft housing mating surface.
    • External dimensions are the same as that of a THM350 with a 9-inch tail housing as found in the GMC long wheelbase truck/vans.

This transmission can store about 11 quarts of transmission fluid and its recommended fluid is DEXRON VI. That aside, there was a K-case 700R4 transmission, and this was the 700R4 with the label K on its case. The transmission case was stronger and thicker since it was designed for heavier 4×4 trucks used for off-roading.


700R4 Performance Specs

The 700R4 transmission first gear, second gear, third gear, fourth gear, and reverse gear are 3.06, 1.63, 1, 0.7, and 2.9 respectively.

Its lower first gear ratio provides excellent performance for low vehicle speeds. Besides, a 30% overdrive brings about enhanced fuel economy, a reason that can also be attributed to the popularity of the 700R4.

The torque that can be handled by a 700R4 transmission varies depending on its production year. Nonetheless, you can expect a max engine torque around 350 lb-ft and a max gearbox torque of 650 lb-ft.


700R4 Transmission Problems

Like other automatic transmissions, the 700R4 transmission problems are also evident in certain cases. Some of these issues include:

1. Overheating

A notable issue of the 700R4 transmission is overheating. Usually, the vehicles that use this transmission produce high power output and are put to extreme use, which could lead to overheating. The overheating of the ATF could cause damage to the internal components of the car. On the other hand, this problem can easily be avoided by installing an auxiliary transmission cooler.

2. Broken Input Shaft

The 700R4 upon its launch featured a 27 spline input shaft (also found on the THM200C and 2004R transmissions). This input shaft was unable to handle much torque; hence, it was not a surprise when it broke down. Nonetheless, 30 spline shafts were used in Chevrolet small-block V8s 1984, and this helped to give this sturdy gearbox more reliability.

3. Stuck Governor

Dirty transmission fluid in the 700R4 governor can cause the springs located in the governor to be inoperable. If this happens, the vehicle could experience delayed shifts. However, regular servicing of the 700R4 can keep this problem at bay.


700R4 vs. 4L60

GM renamed the 700R4 to 4L60 (4-speed Longitudinal 6,000 lb GVWR) in 1990, even though it was the same transmission without any significant changes. However, there was an enhancement to the 4L60 in 1993 where it was electronically controlled instead of hydraulically with a TV cable.

Here, electronic controls replaced its hydraulic shifting system, and the transmission was called the 4L60E. It is also worth noting that the 4L60E cannot be easily swapped for the 4L60 since the 4L60E shifts using a powertrain control module (PCM).


700R4 Transmission Updates

Specific updates were made to the 700R4 transmission after its launch. Some of these were:

1. Spline Shaft

Instead of 27 spline input shaft, the 700R4 latter featured 30 spline input shaft as found in the TH400 transmissions. This upgrade was made in 1984, and it combated the common failure point of the transmission.

2. Internal Components

Also, internal components such as the oil pump housing and ring gear were updated in the 700R4 between 1984-1987, and this ended with an auxiliary valve body for 700s in 1986.

3. Electronic Controls

The 700R4, after being renamed to the 4L60, featured electronic controls that replaced its hydraulic shifting system. This electronic control came with Vehicle Speed Sensor that alerted the engine’s computer of the speed at which the car is moving and when it was time to switch gears. These shifts in gears were then made possible by transmitting a signal to a shift solenoid.


The Bottom Line

The 700R4 is one of the best automatic transmissions that was launched by General Motors. It was renamed to the 4L60, and the latter also became a popular transmission name. Today, more enhanced transmissions have been launched, and they can still find their roots to the 700R4.

The 700R4’s need to offer fuel economy and enhanced performance were its major selling points, and its ability to be electronically controlled as is the case of the 4l60E made it a force to reckon with. Nonetheless, there are still transmission problems you need to be wary of to ensure your transmission stands the test of time.

Importance of Fuel Stabilizer When Storing Your Vehicle Long-Term

Importance of Fuel Stabilizer When Storing Your Vehicle Long-Term - Gearstar Performance Transmissions

The importance of adding a fuel stabilizer when storing your vehicle for a long term cannot be over-emphasized. If you’ve just refilled your tank or still have a significant amount of gas in it, and you’ve made plans not to drive your car for weeks or months, then a fuel stabilizer needs to be added to the tank to preserve the fuel’s quality.

Fuel stabilizers ensure that your gas does not go stale so that the fuel stays fresh until the vehicle is started again. Take a look at why gas goes bad in the first place, and the importance of using a quality fuel stabilizer for small and large engines.

What Causes Fuel to Go Bad?

Driving a car often means it will be refilled regularly with fuel, and as such, the fuel system will always use fresh gas. On the other hand, leaving the car for months can cause the fuel to go bad. More so, it takes a while for fuel in a tank to go stale, and this can be attributed to the following:


A car’s fuel system is not airtight. The fuel is exposed to moisture and oxygen while it sits for weeks unending. This causes an oxidation process to occur as well as evaporation of the fuel’s constituents, which could make the fuel to gum in the insides of the carburetor or fuel injection system.

If the fuel goes bad, it loses its potency and can also pose serious problems to the fuel system by breaking it down gradually. The only way to start the engine would be to clean the carburetor before the car is refueled. However, this issue won’t be the case with the addition of a quality fuel stabilizer that preserves the quality of fuel in your car, irrespective of how long the ride will sit without being driven.


There are Ethanol infused fuels that can have an effect on the delicate parts of the car’s carburetors or fuel injection parts. If that’s the case with your vehicle, storing your car in the winter and trying to start it in the spring could pose a problem. The latter could lead to spending more money than necessary on car repairs due to the damage to these components.

What Is Fuel Stabilizer?

A fuel stabilizer is a liquid agent added to fuel, creating a protective layer and preventing the fuel from deteriorating or going bad after a while. Fuel stabilizers also prevent fuel from gumming to the insides of the fuel system, even after the vehicle’s long-term storage.

As a result, you can store your car for the long term (24 months) and the fuel will still be as fresh as when it was bought at the gas station. Alternatively, the deterioration of fuel due to oxidation and the absence of a fuel stabilizer would require that the car’s carburetor be cleaned before it is refueled.

It is worth noting that fuel stabilizers are meant for seasonal types of equipment, classic cars, or boats, and not everyday usage.

Importance of Fuel Stabilizer

Some benefits of adding a fuel stabilizer to the tank include:

1. Helps to Store the Car Long-Term

You can store your car for winter without worrying that the fuel may go bad or break down vital components of the car. Instead of stale fuel in your car, it will be as fresh as it was the day you filled up. It all begins with having the best fuel stabilizer in your tank.

2. Saves Repair Costs

Bad fuel in the car can damage the car’s carburetor or fuel injection system. It could also lead to the engine’s corrosion. A stabilizer helps the fuel maintain its full strength while preventing chemical break down too.

Similarly, the fuel will not stick to important components, which could lead to the car’s failure. This and many more saves you the cost of repairs that would’ve been triggered if these parts were damaged.

3. Saves Refueling Costs

Gas does not come cheap, especially if you had just filled it fully some weeks ago. Hence, you can still make use of it since it has not degraded, without spending to have a new refill.

4. Takes Away the Need to Drain the Tank

A possible solution to preserving the internal parts of the carburetor while the fuel is inside the car would’ve been to drain and dry the whole fuel system. However, you won’t have to do this with a good fuel stabilizer.

How to Use a Fuel Stabilizer

To use a fuel stabilizer in a car that you won’t be driving for the next few weeks or months simply pour it in the fuel tank. First, fill the car with 95 percent of fresh fuel, and then add the recommended amount of fuel stabilizer.

Next, start your car and let it run for at least five minutes, ensuring that the fuel and fuel stabilizer mixes thoroughly. A good practice to ensure that the stabilized fuel reaches all parts of the fuel system is to add it to the tank one or two days before you store the vehicle.

The Bottom Line

The importance of fuel stabilizers range from their ability to keep fuel fresh, to prevent a breakdown of your vehicle, and to ensure that you can drive your car after it has been sitting idle. Now that you’re aware of the benefits of using fuel stabilizers, be sure to purchase a quality stabilizer for the next time your vehicle sits parked. You will save yourself the cost of replacing the fuel, cleaning the carburetor, or even changing a mechanical component.