Photography: David Kennedy and Jerrod Jones
The Ford Power Stroke is an awesome Engine, with the stock
turbo and intercooler, these diesels make great power that should be more
then enough for any 4x4. “Should be” are the keywords. For
many of you, too much power is just enough, but unfortunately your Super
Duty’s automatic transmission doesn’t see things the same
After we added a larger turbo, propane injections, and
high-performance computer tuning, and mounted the 46’s on our F-250,
the tranny was having hard time keeping up. If was as if the engine had
all the power in the world to give, but only about two thirds of it was
getting to the tires. We needed a solutions, and as we searched and researched
all the rigs out there with built Power Strokes, we kept hearing about
Brian’s Truck Shop in Lead hill, Arkansas. It turns out Brian’s
upgrades for the Ford E4OD and 4R100 transmissions are legendary, and
when we told owner Brian Thompson about our truck he said, “No Problem.”
“But what if we want to run 46-inch tires?”
we asked. He simply said, “With this transmission goes to shift
there is so much more clutch material compared to the stock setup that
the transmission can’t slip.” At $3200, this kind of heavy-duty
upgrade is not for the light-wallet wheelers out there, but it is the
ultimate transmission for any Power Stroke Truck.
thought about swapping the Brian's Truck Shop 4R1 00 into our 46-inch-tire-equipped
Super Duty ourselves in the driveway, but pewe's got this "No
dying till the magazine's written" rule that we can't break.
Luckily for us, Frank Gilliland, owner of South Bay Truck & 4x4,
is less than 20 minutes away and is well equipped for any type of
4x4 repair- including transmission swaps. To make the - exchange as
easy as possible, Gilliland removed the transfer case first and then
lowered the transmission with a jack. While the transmission was out
he flushed the cooler
lines with carb cleaner and a compressed air chaser to remove any
|Plugging in the
upgraded 4R100 was a simple remove-and-replace deal for South Bay
Truck & 4x4. The original factory wiring plugged right into the
new unit, and the transfer case was heaved into position and bolted
back on. Notice how Gilliland modified his tranny jack with scraps
of welded-on steel to secure the monster automatic-you don't want
to drop one of these things!
|Any time you
replace an automatic transmission you're doing so because you smoked
the last one. Usually it's because you over- heated the fluid from
towing, engine upgrades, or running large tires. In our case it was
all three. To protect our new transmission from fluid failure, we
ordered the largest ATF cooler we could get from Flex-a-lite. This
32,OOO-pound-GVW unit (PN 45321) measures 1 O~x21 x1 ~ inches. We
plan to fit it where the factory auxiliary cooler mounted and adapt
the original Ford cooler lines to work with its female NPT fittings.
these trannies that makes them so strong? Well, unfortunately, it's
proprietary information that Thompson isn't comfortable with us publishing.
But it sounds like additional clutches are added to manage the torque
without the need for increasing transmission line pressure above stock.
Thompson did assure us that every one of the upgrades developed for
his 4R100 and E40D comes from tearing down smoked trannies and strengthening
whatever failed. Every transmission he builds is stronger than the
last one because people are pushing the Power Stroke engine further
(now well over 1,000 Ib-ft!) every day. We'll take his word for it
because he backs these babies up with a two-year warranty-even in
trucks like ours.
conver1ers are all the rage now. They increase the torque conver1er's
clutch holding power by tripling the friction surface to almost 130
square inches. To prevent converter deformation and tearing the flexplate
mounting bolts off the converter face, Brian's Truck Shop also sells
a new (billet) converter with a shell that is machined from steel
and welded onto the converter.