Installment #6:
We build a transmission

Words and photos by Steve Oldani

hope in this article to show more details in the process of building a Powerglide transmission. For some other basics, you can refer to my previous "Trick Tranny Tips" here on DRO. I got a phone call from my long-time friend, Jok Nicholson, advising me he and his son were on the way with a carload of JW Performance transmission parts for me to assemble for the "Back-2-Basics" Vega he is currently constructing.

We went over what the goals and intended use for the trans would be, and then set out a plan of attack. I still had the 1.76 gears and 180 of the lovely little needle bearings they require in the box, left over from when I installed the 1.80 straight-cut gearset in the Project 4-link dragster trans some time ago.

Jok had all of the needed parts to assemble the planetary, including the new billet output shaft carrier, and the pins and lock-plate for them. I first used Dykem and a punch to set up the locations to drill and tap the front of the carrier housing for the three screws which retain the lock-plate for the aftermarket pins. After these were done, all parts were washed and, after a liberal application of gel lube to the 180 needle bearings, the new washers and the gears were assembled into the carrier. Then, I added in the bleed holes to the case crescent area. The reverse piston was installed in the case, and then the reverse clutch assembly was put in.

There is a small "window" under the valve body area of the case where you can check the reverse clearances, as shown in the photo. Once this was checked, then the high gear drum and clutches were assembled and checked for correct clearances, as shown in the photo. Then the drum was installed after placing the Torrington bearing under the flange gear, on top of the planetary center gear. The low band was then put in over the drum, and the dual-ring low gear servo was assembled. I omit the stock cushion spring and small washer, and replace them with a washer so there is no play between the servo piston and the servo piston shaft. Then, the pump was taken apart to double check things.



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