Transmissions are usually one of those things that only gets touched when it has to. If it isn't broke, it must be fine.
We put that myth to rest in more ways than one with the 47RE automatic transmission out of our 1998 Dodge Ram 12-valve Cummins. The truck has 185,000 miles on the odometer. The transmission was slipping pretty badly. You could feel it slipping on the road anytime you got into 4th and laid into the throttle.
We have plans to build this truck up to more appealing horsepower standards (215 hp doesn't cut it anymore). We knew that if we began adding power to the engine it would get lost in the transmission. We wouldn't be able to tell how much we were gaining, and the trans would likely experience a catastrophic failure at an unpredictable time.
So we contacted Level 10 Performance Transmission Systems about rebuilding the 47RE before it exploded. We needed something that would handle 550-horsepower, and asked for a torque converter with a high stall speed to match our elevation.
What we learned from Level 10, however, is that there is another reason to let them rebuild our transmission aside from the reason we already had. That was to use Level 10's new Performance Transmission System (PTS) to maximize our truck's fuel efficiency.
Level 10 treats each transmission build differently. First, they gather all the information about the truck, its performance modifications, driving usage and typical conditions from the truck's owner, which goes on to a spec sheet. Level 10 technicians analyze the truck's power train needs and build a transmission the best suits the particular vehicle.
If we have two of the same trucks, but one has a simple tuner/exhaust/intake combo and is used for driving to and from work, while the other truck has a longer list of mods and does more trailer towing. Some shops would sell you the same trans for both trucks, with just a few minor differences. But Level 10's approach is more targeted and more individualized.
When you bring the cost of diesel fuel into the mix, the idea of having a transmission that is built both for power and fuel efficiency becomes much more attractive. Level 10's research has resulted in a strong balance between power and fuel efficiency.
The PTS system is available in more than one way: either the complete spec-built transmission upgrade, spec-built torque converter, and programmer. These components are built for your usage specifically.
If you don't need a complete transmission overhaul like our '98 Dodge did, the PTS is also available in separate components: Master Overhaul Kit, Super Pump, Hydrosystem valve body, Spec torque converter, and programmer.
So far, we've regained lost power from our 12 valve Cummins and seen an improvement in fuel efficiency. The truck shifts better than ever before and holds towed loads in taller gears, which also helps fuel economy.