Skip to main content
Monthly Archives

July 2022

5 Tips for Choosing a Transmission Rebuild Kit

5 Tips for Choosing a Transmission Rebuild Kit - Gearstar Performance Transmissions

One of the most challenging repairs anyone can make on a vehicle is rebuilding a transmission. A transmission is a complicated mess of small parts, plates, and synchronization. Some highly experienced technicians or mechanics won’t touch a transmission with a ten-foot pole due to the considerable amount of work involved. Therefore, if you’re a DIY enthusiast and believe you can take on the massive work of rebuilding a transmission, you will need a few things. First, you need the right tools and components, a.k.a. a transmission rebuild kit. However, choosing a transmission rebuild kit is the easiest part. You need a transmission rebuild kit that perfectly matches your vehicle’s model and make. This transmission rebuild kit must come with everything you need to make the rebuild process a success. You need to be careful when you’re about to buy a transmission rebuild kit. Go for one that comes with a detailed instruction manual.

Does Your Transmission Need a Rebuild?

Before you even start the transmission rebuild process, the first question you need to answer is, ‘Does this transmission need a rebuild?’ In some cases, you don’t have to carry out an entire rebuild; all that may be required are replacing a few components and fixing others, and the functionality of the transmission will be restored. But how can you determine what your transmission needs? This is where the professional input of a highly skilled mechanic comes in. If you don’t know the transmission mechanisms, you must take your vehicle to a reputable repair shop for an accurate diagnosis to identify the problems. Fixing several components will undoubtedly cost far less than rebuilding your transmission. Therefore, have the transmission diagnosed at an authorized repair shop. This will save you a bucketload of your hard-earned cash.

How to Rebuild Your Transmission

How challenging can rebuilding your transmission be? As mentioned earlier, many technicians or mechanics shy away from rebuilding a transmission. However, if they decide to take up the task, it will cost you as much as $3,000 or even $4,000, including labor costs. The prices of the damaged components within the transmission are also factors you need to consider. Moreover, rebuilding the transmission of sports or luxury brands like Porsche, Mercedes Benz, or Ferrari is much more expensive than a regular Honda or Toyota vehicle. However, you can reduce the amount of money you spend by handling the entire rebuild process yourself. This is not recommended, especially if you know nothing about rebuilding transmissions. But if you have DIY chops and want to make a go at it on your own, here’s how to rebuild your transmission:

Buy a Transmission Rebuild Kit

This is the essential step you should take on your quest to rebuild your transmission. A transmission rebuild kit has all the tools you will ever need for some replacement components and reconstruction. Four types of transmission rebuild kits are on the market today. Most usually include:

  • Bushings
  • Gaskets
  • Clutches
  • Seals
  • Washers
  • Bands
  • Filters
  • Modulators
  • O-rings

Ensure you purchase the right transmission rebuild kit; this is the one that matches the make and model of your vehicle. Transmission rebuild kits are not expensive. You can get one at a pocket-friendly price at the local repair shop.

Create and Prepare a Dust-Free Work Environment

You need a clean, prepared location free of dust and other contaminants or particles. You can ensure a dust-free work environment by covering your chosen surface with plastic trash bags.

Remove Engine Block and Transmission

The next step is to detach the engine block and unhitch the transmission oil pan and the torque converter before removing the transmission. Do this carefully and ensure you keep track of all the components that look very similar so that you don’t mix them up. Drain the fluid after disassembling everything. Label each component carefully to avoid confusion when reassembling the transmission.

Clean and Replace Transmission Components

Since you choose to rebuild your transmission, you must probably have an excellent idea of which components require replacement and cleaning. Therefore, clean all the components after disassembling the component. Replace every broken or damaged component with brand-new manufacturer-approved products.

Reassemble Your Transmission

This is where you have to be incredibly careful. If you reassemble your transmission the wrong way, it won’t work. You will have to tear it down again and rebuild it from scratch, which will take a lot of your time and enormous effort. Therefore, ensure you get it right the first time. This is where the labeled components come in handy. It makes it easy to identify what goes where and how during reassembly. After the entire process, perform several pressure tests to ensure you did everything correctly. You can consult a professional mechanic and have your vehicle checked thoroughly before taking it for a spin.

Establish a Transmission Rebuild Timeline

The time it takes to rebuild a transmission depends primarily on your skill level and the pace at which you work. It usually takes one to four days to send your vehicle to the local repair shop, and a trained mechanic handles the entire transmission rebuild process. Of course, the transmission must have been diagnosed before the rebuild began. But it will take a bit longer – i.e., up to four or five days – if the mechanic has to, first of all, discover the problems, ascertain whether or not a transmission rebuild is necessary, remove the transmission if a rebuild is crucial, perform a few repairs, reassemble and reinstall it in your vehicle. This implies that it will undoubtedly take you a bit longer, i.e., up to a week or even more, to rebuild your vehicle transmission by yourself.

The Bottom Line

Rebuilding a transmission is a challenging process that even the best mechanics don’t like taking on the task. However, taking on the challenge can save you a lot of money in the long run. You will need to get your hands on a transmission rebuild kit that is perfect for the model and make of your vehicle. This will help make the entire process somewhat less challenging. Follow the tips shared above, and your transmission will be almost as good as new when you’re done with the challenging task.

GM Turbo 350 Transmission Fluid Types to Consider

GM Turbo 350 Transmission Fluid Types to Consider - Gearstar

If you need to service your transmission, you must beware of the type of transmission fluid to use, especially for GM Turbo 350. This can be somewhat challenging since many brands have flooded the industry over the last few years. However, you can avoid the information overload you will encounter when searching for the best ATF by sticking to these GM Turbo 35o transmission fluid types:

  1. Royal Purple 06320–6PK Max ATF
  2. Castrol 03520C Transmax DEX/MERC ATF
  3. Valvoline ATF +4 Full Synthetic

Let’s take a more in-depth look.

Royal Purple 06320–6PK Max ATF High Performance

Most of the failures that plague automatic transmissions are due to overheating. It is essential to know that automatic transmissions generate lots of heat due to excessive demands, and the only for them to cool off is via dependable transmission fluids. This is where the Royal Purple ATF comes in. This synthetic transmission fluid is orchestrated to reduce the considerable wear and heat on your transmission, which helps extend its life. Royal Purple ATF is highly compatible with a wide variety of transmission fluids. This implies that you don’t have to drain your vehicle’s current automatic transmission fluid.

But if you want to enjoy the overall and optimal benefits of the Royal Purple Max ATF, experts highly recommend draining the existing transmission fluid in your transmission. You will enjoy premium protection and excellent performance. The Royal Purple Max ATF offers more resistance to increases in viscosity and oxidation, unlike many other automatic transmission fluids. This gives you extended drain intervals and liquid life. Since this automatic transmission fluid is long-lasting, you will enjoy increased performance, improved fuel economy, and better gear shifting.

Experts highly recommend the Royal Purple Max ATF for multiple passenger vehicles as it has zero issues working in freezing and high temperatures. When temperatures are exceedingly high, you won’t experience any problems shifting gears or any form of disintegration. Royal Purple Max ATF also comes with several additives that include cleaning agents. These cleaning agents remove deposits that collect in areas or components susceptible to friction. This ensures your vehicle transmission remains clean, resulting in better performance and an extended life span. Some of the benefits and drawbacks of using Royal Purple Max ATF Synthetic fluid are as follows:


  • This synthetic transmission fluid helps in cooling your automatic transmissions.
  • It is a high-quality compatible fluid that mixes remarkably well with other transmission fluids.
  • It helps minimize wear and extreme heat.


  • Pouring this transmission fluid into your vehicle transmission can be cumbersome.
  • Another issue some vehicle owners have with the Royal Purple Max ATF is not noticing any significant difference in overall performance.

Castrol 03520C Transmax DEX/MERC ATF

Castrol Transmax is what you need if you want to boost the overall performance of your transmission. This fluid promotes improved friction durability as you change gears, giving users a better experience. Moreover, Castrol Transmax is versatile as it can be utilized across multiple car models. It performs much better than other products within the same category, making it one of the best transmission fluids on the market today.

Some transmission fluids give problems when performing under extreme temperatures. But you will never have such issues with Castrol Transmax as it provides the most desirable protection in high temperatures. This makes the transmission fluid the perfect option for those who go on long-distance trips. Here are the pros and cons of Castro Transmax:


  • It is highly suitable for power steering and transmission for General Motors and other vehicles.
  • It works remarkably well under high temperatures.
  • Improves the overall smoothness of transmission in your car, thanks to improved friction durability.
  • It is available at a pocket-friendly price.
  • This transmission fluid offers resistance oxidation while preventing significant viscosity increase.


  • The only drawback is that you can’t see the transmission fluid level inside its container.

Valvoline ATF +4 Full Synthetic

Valvoline ATF is a fully synthetic transmission fluid loaded with improved additives. The advanced additives and formulation help prevent leaks and minimize wear and tear. This transmission fluid guarantees 100 percent a considerable shift of gears. By decreasing significant wear and tear and other causes of severe transmission breakdown, Valvoline ATF helps extend your transmission’s life. It also efficiently optimizes the overall performance of your vehicle’s transmission.

Valvoline ATF also comes with several cleaning additives. The additives ensure your transmission remains as clean as possible and offers optimal performance. When the transmission fluids start circulating, it efficiently collects and does away with every foreign deposit from components susceptible to friction. You will notice significant differences when you compare synthetic and conventional fluids.

As mentioned earlier, Valvoline ATF is a synthetic transmission fluid that never disintegrates even when it performs optimally in extreme weather conditions. This is due to the thermal properties that enable the transmission fluid to serve exceptionally well in high temperatures. You will end up getting additional extended drain intervals. Valvoline is highly compatible with several European models like Saab, Audi, Mercedes Benz, and BMW. Here are the pros and cons of the Valvoline ATF synthetic transmission fluid:


  • This synthetic transmission fluid offers exceptional oil flow in freezing temperatures and enhanced protection of the entire system at incredibly high temperatures.
  • It contains several cleaning additives that help ensure your transmission remains as clean as a whistle, devoid of contaminants.
  • It has anti-wear technology that helps to boost the durability of the transmission significantly.
  • It is suitable for a wide variety of European vehicle models
  • The synthetic fluid has anti-shudder protection attributes that enable smooth gear shifting and maximum power transfer.


  • It is costlier than conventional transmission fluids of the same caliber.

The Bottom Line

The GM Turbo 350 transmission fluid type you use in your vehicle will significantly determine the longevity of your transmission. Fortunately, the ATFs discussed above come with several properties that help ensure your transmission has an extended lifespan. But as you can see, there’s no one-size-fits-all GM Turbo 350 transmission fluid; each has its pros and cons that you need to consider before making your final purchase decision. Therefore, take note of the drawbacks associated with each transmission fluid, and make your choice depending on your budget and your love for your vehicle transmission.

Signs of a Faulty Torque Converter

Signs of a Faulty Torque Converter - Gearstar Performance Transmissions

The torque converter is a susceptible, complex, but essential component of traditional automatic vehicles. In technical terms, a torque converter is a form of fluid coupling generally known as ‘hydraulic coupling.’ It is a perfect alternative to the mechanical clutch you find in manual transmission. In ideal working conditions, torque converters multiply torque at lower revolutions per minute. This enables you to generate more power than possible via simple fluid coupling. When a torque converter goes bad, it can severely damage the transmission. A faulty torque converter can also result in overheating, friction, and degradation of the transmission fluid.

How Does a Torque Converter Work?

Torque converters operate in three distinct phases, as outlined below.


Whenever you brake at a red light or come to a halt when you come across a ‘stop’ sign, your car engine still runs or idles. The torque converter applies power to the independently-rotating impeller without coupling with the turbine.


As soon as the red light turns green and you press down on the gas pedal, the impeller responds immediately by rotating at very high speeds. Since the turbine often rotates slowly, torque multiplication is generated instantly.


The turbine rotates at approximately 90 percent of the impeller speed when your automobile starts moving at a fast clip. This results in torque multiplication. The lock-up clutch efficiently locks the turbine to the impeller at this point. This provides greater efficiency while preventing slippages.

The Torque Converter and Components Around It

The torque converter is often positioned between the transmission and the car engine’s flex plate. It comprises the following different components below.


The impeller is mounted on the torque converter housing. The latter is connected to the engine.


The impeller is a vital component that comes with curved blades and is usually filled with fluid. When the impeller’s blades spin, the impeller sends forth fluid via centrifugal force. The faster the blades rotate, the more fluid is forced backward, resulting in energy transmission to the turbine.


The stator is a component conveniently interposed between the turbine and impeller. It receives fluid and turns the flow of fluid at nearly 90-degree angles. This results in torque multiplication.


The turbine is positioned opposite the impeller. It comes with curved blades designed similarly. The turbine receives fluid from the impeller and rotates as this fluid flows against the blades. The turbine trades the fluid back and forth, which transmits rotating mechanical power via fluid coupling.

Turbine Output Shaft

The turbine output shaft connects the transmission and turbine and the vehicle’s wheels. These are the components that surround the torque converter. If any of these components suddenly fail, your torque converter will go bad, too.

6 Telltale Signs of a Faulty Torque Converter

The following are the top common signs of a faulty torque converter you should know.

1. Loss of Acceleration

If you notice that your vehicle shudders when you step on the gas pedal or feel somewhat sluggish or find it difficult to accelerate, your transmission may have a problem. In many cases, the key culprit behind such developments is the torque converter.

2. Leaking Transmission Fluid

The transmission fluid is essentially the ‘blood’ of the transmission. It is crucial to the overall health and extensive performance of the torque converter and the entire transmission system. If torque converter seals get damaged or worn out over time, it may lead to transmission fluid leaks. This is why you shouldn’t take any chances whenever you notice that your transmission fluid is leaking. Leaking transmission fluid indicates something is wrong and must be addressed immediately. This helps avoid significant internal damage and costly repairs if ignored for a long time.

3. Slipping Between Gears

Automatic vehicles are primarily designed to shift seamlessly between gears. Most drivers feel this smooth movement, especially when they decelerate or accelerate quickly. However, if you feel your vehicle slipping between gears or find it challenging to stay in a specific gear, you may have a torque converter problem. You should arrive at this conclusion when the shifting also feels strange or rough.

4. Contamination of Transmission Fluid

Transmission fluids can get contaminated. Therefore, it is a big sign of trouble if you suddenly notice that your transmission fluid looks milky, burnt, dark, or filled with debris such as metal fragments or shavings. You need to service your transmission right away. This could be everything you need to get fresh transmission fluid flowing through the system again. Bad transmission fluid could also imply issues with the torque converter or other internal transmission problems. Getting an expert transmission specialist to perform proper inspections is essential.

5. Overheating Transmission

Your vehicle transmission comes with an ultra-sensitive temperature gauge. This gauge warns you as soon as your transmission starts overheating. It is not ideal for your transmission to overheat. If it does, it causes serious concern. Therefore, get your vehicle to the best transmission specialist in your area. A failing torque converter – or internal damage – may be the culprit behind an overheating transmission. Let the issue be addressed as soon as possible to avoid extensive and costly repairs.

6. Refusal of the Vehicle to Shift

The most prominent sign of a faulty torque converter is when your vehicle refuses to shift into a particular gear. If you cannot get your car to shift into forwarding drive or reverse or refuse to engage, something is wrong with the torque converter. It must be inspected immediately by a specialist for prompt repairs.

The Bottom Line

 These are some of the top common signs of a faulty torque converter. Therefore, if you notice any of the symptoms discussed above, find your way to the nearest local mechanic as soon as possible for multi-check inspection and road tests. Make sure you work only with certified torque converter technicians as they know how to perform minor repairs and simple component replacements. They can also complete overhauls if required and use only brand-new tools, diagnostic technology, and equipment.

6 Tips to Boost Auto Transmission Performance

6 Tips to Boost Auto Transmission Performanc - Gearstare

A vehicle auto transmission is a complex mechanical system that can be expensive to replace when damaged. This cost is why utmost care is essential to ensure it remains clean and operates efficiently for a longer life span. The primary goal of transmissions is to move vehicles from one point to the other with some assistance from the engine.

The 3 Types of Vehicle Transmissions

Three types of vehicle transmissions exist:

  1. Manual transmission
  2. Automatic transmission
  3. Continuously variable transmission

The automatic transmission and manual transmission often require service intervals. But the continuously variable transmissions have no need for service intervals as they come as sealed units.

How to Improve Your Auto Transmission

There are up to 6 ways to significantly improve the reliability and performance of your vehicle’s automatic transmission. Here they are, arranged in no specific order:

1. Regular Auto Transmission Maintenance

Servicing your auto transmission regularly helps guarantee its longevity. You can take your vehicle to the local mechanic, though it is something you can do on your own if you’re a DIY enthusiast. However, you will need the following tools/materials:

  • Protective clothing
  • Disposable gloves
  • A flashlight
  • Torque wrench
  • Jack stands
  • A pair of safety glasses
  • A drip pan
  • Creeper
  • SAE and metric socket set
  • Wheel chocks
  • A small funnel
  • SAE and metric wrench set
  • Floor jack
  • A new filter

Ensure your vehicle is parked on a flat surface. Confirm the transmission is in “park” since your car is automatic. Secure the rear tires with the wheel chocks. Then engage your vehicle’s parking brake. This action locks the rear tires and prevents them from budging. Position the floor jack under your vehicle at its specified jacking points. Operate the floor jack until it lifts the car off the ground, with its front wheels balanced in the air. Fix the jack stands at the appropriate jacking point locations and lower your vehicle until it rests on the jack stands. Most modern cars come with jack stands on the pinch weld, right under the doors, and along the vehicle’s bottom.

Get the creeper under your vehicle to locate the transmission oil pan. Position the drain pan beneath the transmission oil pan. Drain the fluid out by removing the oil pan plug if your vehicle comes with one. If it doesn’t, remove each bolt of the transmission oil pan but leave one bolt each in the rear and front of the pan. Then remove the bolt at the end slowly so the fluid drains out.  Detach the transmission oil pan. Remove the bolt at the front to allow the remaining fluid to drain out. Remove the oil filter and replace it with a new transmission oil filter. Install the new grommet, which helps prevent leakages at the pump’s inlet.

Scrape off the old gasket from the transmission oil pan and case. Fix the new gasket onto the transmission oil pan and install it onto the transmission using two bolts. Start your vehicle engine with your foot on the brake. Tighten the bolts and fill up the transmission via the open port using the funnel. Put the transmission in gear for some seconds and then into neutral for another couple of seconds. Put the transmission in neutral before putting it in “park.” This action helps prevent damages that may occur if the tires spin through the brakes.

2. Lowering Gears When Driving With Heavy Loads

Using the right setting for your auto transmission is also one of the most efficient ways of improving your vehicle’s performance. If you’re driving through heavy traffic or bearing heavy loads, use your vehicle’s drive selection for the transmission. Do not overdrive, as this puts much undue pressure on your gears. Overdriving could lead to slippage and irreparable damage. Therefore, always lower the gears whenever your vehicle bears heavy loads.

3. Changing Driving Habits

When you change your driving habits, it enhances the auto transmission’s performance and reliability. Start by operating your vehicle and getting someone to monitor all the dash gauges. Take note when the transmission shifts and the particular RPM at the change occurred. Most cars come with a tachometer gauge to measure RPMs, but you can also take note of the speed at which the transmission shifted if your vehicle doesn’t come with an RPM gauge. Analyze the data you recorded to note the speed or RPM at which the shift occurred. Then perform another test drive that you change as soon as you shift the transmission.

4. Ensuring Proper Tire Alignment

Your vehicle’s tire alignment makes a considerable difference in the operation of your transmission, especially during driving conditions. If you’re a DIY enthusiast, you may need the following tools:

  • A flashlight
  • Protective clothing
  • A pair of disposable clothing
  • Jack stands
  • Floor jack
  • Wheel chocks
  • Tape measure
  • A pair of safety glasses, etc.

However, leave proper tire alignment and other essential tasks to professionals who know what they’re doing.

5. Proper Engine Maintenance

Transmissions get neglected when it comes to the overall performance of a vehicle. As soon as your car engine overheats, it causes the coolant within the radiator to boil. The boiling causes the transmission fluid to vanish within the radiator heat exchanger. Fixing a transmission may be easy for most mechanics. But it is not uncommon for these mechanics to forget one simple fact: the excess heat burns out all the additives in the transmission oil. When this occurs, or when the transmission oil evaporates, the transmission is exposed as there’s no fluid to clean and protect it. If your car engine overheats or misfires, fix this problem with your vehicle engine before you service the transmission.

6. Having and Using the Correct Tire Size

Using the correct tire size is essential to prolong your transmission’s performance and life span. Tires contribute to the wear and tear within a transmission system. Wear and tear occur due to overspeeding or overloading. Take your car to your mechanic and get them to work on the wheels.

Key Auto Transmission Takeaways

Boosting your auto transmission performance is not rocket science, especially for DIY enthusiasts. However, if you aren’t, ensure certified professionals perform these procedures to prevent unexpected but costly repairs.