Get In Gear

Transmissions & Drive Trains

Published in the August 2011 Issue August 2011 Feature, Transmission Brandon Barrus

For those who are about to get started on modifying their diesel truck, it may be embarrassing to admit you don't know a lot about transmissions. Well, here at DT, we're not only the place to learn about what a transmission does, but also point you in the right direction to find a great one, whether you build it yourself or buy it complete. We'll also show you the top places to have the work done for you.

In short, a transmission provides the power and torque needed to turn the wheels of your truck. This is done mostly through gears, involving ratios and other math you don't necessarily need to understand.

An automatic transmission will shift to different gear ratios depending on the speed of the truck, while this is done by the driver with a manual transmission.

The transmission reduces the higher engine speed to the slower wheel speed, increasing torque in the process. Transmissions are also used on bikes, fixed machines and anywhere else rotational speed and torque need to be adapted.

For trucks, the transmission is usually connected to the crankshaft of the engine. The output of the transmission is transmitted through the driveshaft to one or more gears, which drive the wheels.

Here are eight outstanding places to look for more information on a transmission for your soon-to-be upgraded diesel.

Adrenaline Performance

From the toughest race transmissions to basic rebuilds, Adrenaline Performance offers whatever you need to keep your diesel pickup driving down the road. Adrenaline Performance specializes in built transmissions designed to hold the power and torque of a modified diesel engine. Adrenaline uses machined pressure plates and additional friction and steel plates where possible for increased durability and performance. Adrenaline is extremely thorough on all of its rebuilds, disassembling every component to clean and inspect before reassembly. And on Allison-equipped trucks, Adrenaline will clear the adaptives and run the truck through the transmission re-learn process to ensure the process is done correctly for the customer. Adrenaline Performance also builds its own tail housing brace to reinforce the connection between the transmission and transfer case.

Adrenaline Performance services all Dodge, GM and Ford transmissions.

Phone: 208-357-5603



As high power output modifications become more common on the 6.7L Dodge Ram, along with the ability of the ATS-built transmission to support increased torque, the input shaft of the 68RFE Transmission has become a weak link. Horsepower is now easily modified in the engine and upgrades such as the Co-Pilot Controller allow for increased clamping-control of the clutch packs inside the transmission. This means that torque is now transferred to the transmission's input shaft and can lead to breakage during heavy towing or aggressive take-off.

To avoid breakage, ATS has released a vacuum-melted 300M chromoly steel version of the input shaft. This 300M super alloy material is an ultra-high-strength metal which supports vastly more power than the original or OEM input shaft. This American-made material is used in mission-critical applications such as aircraft landing gear, and while being more costly than imported variants, offers the best strength and durability available.

Phone: 800-949-6002

BD Diesel Performance

Are you a looking to rebuild your own transmission and needing some specialty parts to match your application? BD Diesel Performance offers a range of part kits featuring the same parts they use in their own performance transmissions for the seasoned builder to complete the job.

All kits include the basic rebuild parts and gaskets, and have the added touches that range from stock horsepower up to the Stage 4 Master Kit-which is pretty well everything they put in their own transmission rebuilds.

For the race and drag applications, BD's Dodge Track Master Competition Stage 5 kit features heavy-duty pan, all hardened shafts, "Big" fine input shaft, billet steel direct drum, one-piece servo/cover, extra wide solid band with red lining, racer red forward/direct frictions and Kolene forward/direct steels.

Before you bolt your transmission back into place, consider BD's line of performance and heavy-duty torque converters and flex plates.

Phone: 800-887-5030

Sun Coast Converters

The GMax-Allison transmission is the latest from Sun Coast Converters, Inc. Since GM began offering the Allison 1000 in 2001, Sun Coast has been an industry leader in aftermarket upgrades. The GMax-Allison includes the GMax frictions, made exclusively for Sun Coast.

The transmission contains Carbonite, a high-energy carbon-based friction material that has very high thermal properties. The single-sided frictions also incorporate a waffle pattern which allows the fluid to remain in the clutch and aids in heat reduction. When you combine the superior GMax frictions and Kolene steels with the many other internal modifications, you have an Allison transmission that is unlike any other.

Whether you have an everyday driver, tow a boat, tow an RV, have a hot-shot rig, sled pull, or drag race with over 1,000 horsepower, the Sun Coast GMax transmission and torque converter will impress with its performance.

Phone: 800-868-0053

Diesel Power Products (with Valair Performance)

The G56 Spring Hub Dual Disc Clutch with Organic Facings is the clutch for the guy who tows heavy with a modified truck. Good daily driving manners along with plenty of holding power. The way that Diesel Power Products puts it is, if you use your truck as a truck, not a toy, you want this clutch. For the G56, nothing holds up like a dual disc, but everyone wants to install a ceramic facing. Ceramic facings are most notable for great holding power, but they are also incredibly grabby and have no differential engagement, making backing up a trailer really fun. That's where the organic faced dual disc comes into play. It features great holding power-up to 550RWHP-and is super smooth. So no more cussing at your clutch when you're trying to back up a dump trailer, just smooth and strong engagement.

Phone: 866-379-8685


With the cost of repairs or replacement transmissions climbing, the Mag-Hytec #68RFE Transmission pan for Dodge's 2007.5 and up six-speed automatic, provides quick servicing and cooling of fluid to extent fluid life. Quality you would expect from Mag-Hytec, with 2 1/2-quart increased capacity, added strength and rigidity for the case, Quality Gasket, drilled and tapped hole for temperature sending unit, Zink plated bolts and stainless steel washers with allen wrenches, and O-ring sealed magnetic drain plug. And all is 100 percent made in United States. In addition, Mag-Hytec's heavy-duty differential covers and transmission pans provide increased lubricant and cooling capacity for hard-working recreational and service vehicles.

Mag-Hytec's covers and pans set your vehicle apart in both aesthetics and function-cast in A356-T6 aluminum and texture powder-coated black with machined cooling fins. Magnetic drain plugs trap worn gear material promoting fluid integrity, and each unit is fitted with ARP 568 O-rings for superior sealing. All hardware is 303 stainless steel, so in most applications no gasket or sealant is required.

Phone: 818-786-8325 or 877-786-6816


Transmission Pan for workhorse Suburban and Yukon diesels: prolong the life of these "classic" diesels with a sand-cast aluminum, extra capacity transmission pan from PML.

Additional fluid capacity keeps the transmission cooler, while the heavy-duty, sand-cast aluminum fins have been designed to dissipate heat. There is no logo on the surface to help maximize the fin area. The pan's pre-drilled drain hole saves time on oil changes, while the magnetic drain plug helps keep oil cleaner by collecting any metal that may accumulate.

Worth noting, the drain plug and mounting bolts are included. For those desiring a temperature sensor, one can be machined in to accommodate various size gauges, and thick walls add strength to the transmission case.

Gasket flange is machined and over a quarter of an inch of material to provide a secure, leak-free seal using a stock gasket.

The employees at PML are automotive enthusiasts, and their choice to focus on the automotive aftermarket was a conscious decision to do what they love to do. In fact, the first products PML manufactured they made for themselves, and they have been adding to their product line ever since.

Additional pictures and dimensions are available on PML's website. Designed and manufactured in the USA by PML.

Phone: 310-671-4345

Pacific Performance Engineering

PPE's Stage5 is one of the strongest transmission upgrade kits on the market! It's built to handle everything you can throw at it: street, towing, sled-pulling and drag racing. This kit features clutches that can withstand higher temperatures and stresses than virtually any other clutch available. Increased clutch surface area provides for increased holding, heat absorption, shorter lock-up time and decreased slippage.

All of the clutch friction and steel plates are made from high-heat, wear- and fatigue-resistant material to ensure your Allison 1000 transmission can handle over 1200 plus horsepower at the crank (approx 1000+ RWHP) and 1,800 ft./lbs. of torque without damage. This kit is designed to handle a Duramax with stacked performance chips and the use of propane and/or small nitrous kit.

Included in the Stage5 kit is a Triple Clutch Converter, valve body kit, upgraded clutches and Kolene steels with HighFriction C1, C2, C3 and C4 clutches.

Phone: 714-985-4825

Powerlabs Diesel

Powerlabs Diesel in Idaho Falls, Idaho, is excited to announce the release of their pld800 Adrenaline transmission. The pld800 is built to handle 800 horsepower for sled pullers and drag racers and anything in between. This premium transmission is built with triple disc billet converter, valve body, clutches and steels. The transmission is built for abuse and carries a 2-year unlimited mile warranty that covers all failures unless caused by overheating or low fluid level. For information please contact

Phone: 208-542-7793


South Bend Clutch

South Bend Clutch is a leader in the business of manufacturing heavy-duty clutches for diesel pickup trucks. Their most popular item is a dual disc clutch made for high horsepower trucks which are also daily drivers. Trucks used for work in industry, on the farm, or for heavy towing, need a reliable clutch, and what sets South Bend apart from its competitors is the fact that they use only the best quality materials, manufactured in the U.S.A., and their tireless attention to the factors that are most important to the customer. The street dual disc was designed to hold extreme power, but still offer a quiet and smooth engagement. Longevity and reliability, coupled with unparalleled service, have been the key components to South Bend Clutch's ability to make some of the best clutches money can buy.

Phone: 800-988-4345


Some of these processes include the famous Centerforce weight system, Dual-Friction discs, and ball bearing actuated pressure plates, precision flywheels and more. Each application is developed to provide you with the right amount of clamp load, friction, durability and ease of use. Currently, Centerforce offers both Dual Friction and DFX clutch assemblies for many diesel applications.

Note that replacing a factory dual-mass flywheel with a performance single-mass flywheel may increase gear noise from the transmission. The Dual Friction system offers great holding capacity with smooth driving characteristics. The DFX series clutches have been built to handle even more holding capacity with that aggressive feel you may be looking for.

Phone: 928-771-8422

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