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Kirkham Motorsports

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  • 1 Post By patrickt
  • 1 Post By Grubby

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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 10-23-2020, 01:11 PM
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Default Tko 600

I have been reading some discussions about problems with TKO 600 transmissions. Some have sent the transmissions to liberty and had them blueprinted and with some modifications.
I have a BRAND NEW TKO Roadrace transmission sitting in my shop waiting to be installed. I got it from Modern Drive Line... Is this something I need to be concerned about? is this common on EVERY transmission or just a few here and there? I have no problem doing this upgrade but I dont want to waste my time or money if not needed. It is fairly easy to remove the transmission later, but as I said It is sitting on my bench now brand new... advise??
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Old 10-23-2020, 01:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ERA 626 View Post
I have been reading some discussions about problems with TKO 600 transmissions. Some have...
Here is my personal opinion, having engaged in this discussion for many years. The TKO600's shifting problems are directly related to how careful you are dialing in the bell housing. It took the better part of the day to get my Lakewood (known for being a real PITA to dial in on an FE) dialed in as close to perfect as possible and it has shifted beautifully for 15 years. I have driven other TKO600 cars where that was not the case. I can 2-3 shift at high RPMs with no problems whatsoever. With other TKO600s, that's not the case. Now, is it possible that there's a quality control issue at Tremec that accounts for all the differences? Maybe. But I'm still betting on the bell housing alignment. Fortunately, I'm told the QuickTime BH is way easier to dial in than the old Lakewood. Anyway, that's my two cents and I'm stickin' to it.
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Last edited by patrickt; 10-23-2020 at 01:29 PM.. Reason: typo
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Old 10-23-2020, 02:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by patrickt View Post
Here is my personal opinion, having engaged in this discussion for many years. The TKO600's shifting problems are directly related to how careful you are dialing in the bell housing. It took the better part of the day to get my Lakewood (known for being a real PITA to dial in on an FE) dialed in as close to perfect as possible and it has shifted beautifully for 15 years. I have driven other TKO600 cars where that was not the case. I can 2-3 shift at high RPMs with no problems whatsoever. With other TKO600s, that's not the case. Now, is it possible that there's a quality control issue at Tremec that accounts for all the differences? Maybe. But I'm still betting on the bell housing alignment. Fortunately, I'm told the QuickTime BH is way easier to dial in than the old Lakewood. Anyway, that's my two cents and I'm stickin' to it.
Thank you for your reply, Yes I am also being told the QT bell housing mated to the new version to the shelby block may not need adjustments at all... but I will check... ty
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Old 10-23-2020, 02:23 PM
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I spoke with a factory rep at a show and he told me the alignment is critical, as Patrick has said.

The spec given on alignment is to assure the transmission will not be damaged avoiding warranty issues. For better shifting cut the spec in half.

Liberty upgrade will give you the best shifts. If I were going to race it, I would go with that for certain, and no matter what alignment is critical.

If it is a street car, ask yourself how fast and hard are you going to shift it. If a perfect fast shift is very important to you, then do the upgrade now.
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Old 10-23-2020, 03:54 PM
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Here's a Facebook thread by David Kirkham on dialing in a QT bellhousing on an FE. Check out the photos and commentary: https://www.facebook.com/KirkhamMoto...58777198870775
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Old 10-23-2020, 04:34 PM
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The shifting problem is real and the bell housing alignment is also very real. When I did my bell housing I did not use the Lakewood adjustable alignment dowels. If you ever use them you will know why — they are difficult to use in the extreme if you are looking for a near zero runout on the finished job.

When I did my bell housing I drilled out the dowel pin holes in the bell housing to allow movement on the back of the block. Here is a pic of the bell housing in the mill as I drill out the holes. You don't need a mill, a drill press will work fine. The mill was free the drill press was not.



After drilling out the Lakewood registration holes, you mount the can to the back of the block w/o a clutch or flywheel. Attach a dial indicator to the crank by using one of the flywheel bolt holes and the usual erector set hardware to position a dial indicator.

Check your alignment at 12, 3, 6, and 9 o'clock. The first check is going to be way out of whack. Take the total misalignment left and right (later top and bottom) divide it by 2 and write the number on the can with a sharpie. Loosen the attaching bolts and using a large rubber mallet tap the can at either 3 or 9 o'clock to bring it as close to zero as you can at this point. Do the exact same procedure to get the vertical alignment to it's own zero.

Here is a pic of my can in the alignment phase;



The process will likely take you three attempts and each one will get progressively closer. Because the job (done this way) is so easy I shot for a zero run out. I got close. My vertical mis alignment was zero and my horizontal misalignment was 0.001" which for all intents and purposes is zero.

At this point you want to tighten all your attaching fasteners down and recheck the can to make sure it has not moved. Mine did not. If yours does loosen the fasteners slightly and use the large rubber mallet to bring the can back to a zero runout and retighten the fasteners with one last registration check.

Now you need to make two relatively thick 1" diameter spacers with a drilled and reamed hole for the locating dowel pins to register in. Slip your spacers over the locating dowels. Massage them for can clearance and push them down until they are flat against the flange of the can.

At this point you weld them to the can. All you need is two (three if you are paranoid) stitch welds to permanently attach them to the can. This is what the job will look like just before welding;



Do not use a gas welder it will put too much heat into the flange and warp it. Use a TIG welder or a cheapo Harbor Freight MIG welder.

When you are done you can remove and install the can as much as you want and it will always index the same.

Like Patrick said this will make an unbelievable improvement in the shift quality department for a TKO box. Sadly this is not the end of the story. Most TKO's will still misbehave, some more often than others. The fix is the Liberty suite of modifications. Here is link to another thread where I describe the Liberty stuff, click here => Liberty Shifting Mods

An unmentioned co-conspiritor in the TKO shifting quality problem is the rear mounted shifter that adds complexity and additional internal shift linkage to accomplish the shifting event. My next recommendation is going to offend the originalists but it will make the owners smile with shifting excellence. BTW it is a mod that Kirkham has done on more than a couple of their cars including the uber expensive billet Cobra for Larry Ellison.

The mod is to move the shifter up to the mid shift position. The link above will document the mod and here is a pic of the Ellison billet Kirkham with it (using Kirkham manufacutred items) click here => Kirkham Mid Shift scroll to page 158 (the section starts on page 150)


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Last edited by eschaider; 11-13-2020 at 11:34 AM.. Reason: Spelling & Grammar
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Old 10-23-2020, 06:00 PM
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I agree with Ed. I have had TKOs that still had 2-3 shift problems. It is real.

John
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Old 10-23-2020, 07:01 PM
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I have a TKO600. I had problems 2-3 for 17,000 miles with the Tremec brand mid-shifter. Gordon Levy hooked me up with a shifter that he said has better leverage. I did nothing else and problem GONE. 351w/427 Dart from Craft and bell housing was set up by Craft.
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Old 10-23-2020, 07:43 PM
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I have a TKO600 in my Backdraft..... It shifts okay and that is about it. It will never shift as nice as my old Borg Warner T-10 or my M 21 both of which had a Hurst Competition plus shifter. Then again, this car would rip the both of them to shreds. It's a truck tranny adapted for a car.
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Old 10-24-2020, 01:41 PM
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I must be lucky. My shifter is located at the rear of the transmission, with the mechanism turned around to allow for a more foreward position of the stick, and it works fine. Shifts great, no problems. I've only tracked it once, so it is esentially a street machine. I do get on it from time to time and haven't missed a shift.
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Old 10-24-2020, 04:13 PM
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I have one on my manowar block with quicktime bell housing and it shifts fine. I am using the pennzoil manual trans stuff. I have had two reverse 5th rail failures not sure why. last time replacing the rail re shimmed the gear cluster it was out of spec. To be honest it is tighter now liked it loser before better but it still goes in gear at 5500 rpms no problems. All said I would still use this transmission if I were you just make sure you take your time and do it right like others have already told you.
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Old 11-12-2020, 04:33 PM
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TREMEC is replacing the TKO with a new box - TKX. They claim it addresses the TKO shift issues.

John
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Old 11-13-2020, 05:46 AM
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Had a TKO600 and it shifted great, zero issues. I did however have it connected by the engine builder who knows Tremecs very well.
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