Are shift kits really worth it? - F150online Forums

Go Back  F150online Forums > F-Series Trucks > Lightning
Are shift kits really worth it? >

Are shift kits really worth it?

Lightning

Are shift kits really worth it?

 
  #1  
Old 05-21-2001, 01:44 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2001
Posts: 90
Question Are shift kits really worth it?

This is just a question: I'm just wondering whether shift kits actually provide ANY performance improvement? I know they make the shifts harder and shorter, but has anybody tested their shift kits and shown an increase in HP or better track times?

Also, yes or no, do shift kits cause more wear and tear on the tranny than the stock shift programming?

My thoughts (as uneducated as they are)is that shift kits provide harder shifts (which makes it "feel" like you are going faster/harder) but they don't actually improve performance. In fact, they increase the likelihood of chirping/spinning in the 1-2 shift (i.e. lost performance) and banging your transmission harder (i.e. faster wear and tear = blown tranny sooner than normal). I heard somebody say something about shift kits are "better" because they reduce clutch time and actually prolong tranny life.

Your thoughts guys?

----------------
Martyr
2001 Silver Lightning
 
  #2  
Old 05-21-2001, 02:14 PM
felonious's Avatar
Senior Member
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: San Diego, CA, USA
Posts: 436
Post

From what I've gleaned reading these boards (and a little logical thinking)...

1. You should not expect a HP gain from a shift kit, since it's not an engine mod.

2. You should expect improved performance due to shorter shift times. When shifting, power is not put down to the tires, therefore making you slower. Less time shifting = more time putting power down. More time putting power down = better track times.

3. From what I read, the most damage occurs to transmissions (under normal circumstances) while shifting. Apparently there's a big heat buildup when the gears are disengaged. Reducing the time period for this should therefore reduce heat buildup. It follows then that your transmission should benefit due to reduced operating temperatures.

-Ollie


------------------
"Our Lady of Blessed Acceleration, don't fail me now!!!"
-Elwood Blues
 
  #3  
Old 05-21-2001, 02:19 PM
Senior Member
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Allen, TX, USA
Posts: 1,173
Post

Heat kills trannies. Slipping clutches on upshifts/downshifts builds heat. Add gobs of power on full throttle upshifts (and our trucks come with gobs of power from the factory) and you significantly increase the likelihood of clutch slippage and lots of heat buildup in the process.

A shift kit will not improve horsepower, but by keeping the shift time (the time when the trans is not actually in gear on the upshift) down, you will lessen slippage and excessive heat generation.

Also, a quicker shift means you're in gear for a longer time down the track, so ETs will improve. Chirping the tires is not going to hurt ET, but of course blowing them off badly will. There's a fine line here.

I compare the stock shifting characteristics to a manual trans being "granny-shifted" and the shift kit giving you a more "powershifted" feeling. This is worth a decent amoung in a drag race.

But, I think installed properly a shift kit will also increase the life of the trans by keeping trans fluid temps down due to less clutch/band slippage.

Combine this with a chip that raises line pressures too high, and you could be in for some trouble. I have both a JL chip and a Trans-Go shift kit, and mine performs flawlessly. I wouldn't drive the truck again without them.

------------------
Wes Tarbox
90 LX 5.0 (10.69 @ 134.7)--597rwhp/590rwtq
98 Saleen S351 #15 (12.63 @ 113.8)
99 Lightning (13.20 @ 103.8)--364rwhp/447rwtq
00 Expedition XLT 5.4
http://hometown.aol.com/wa2fst/home.htm
 
  #4  
Old 05-21-2001, 02:27 PM
Senior Member
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Wentzville, MO
Posts: 157
Thumbs up

I installed a B&M ShiftPlus Electronic shift improver and it works great! The shift is more firm and doesn't prevents the tranny (E40D)fromslipping in between shifts.

Here's a old pic of my truck.

http://phildac.www8.50megs.com

[This message has been edited by phildacf150 (edited 05-21-2001).]
 
  #5  
Old 05-21-2001, 03:24 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2001
Posts: 90
Post

These are some GREAT replies guys, just the stuff I'm looking for! Keep it coming!

Your logic certainly seems valid to me...shorter shifts, shorter clutch engagement, less heat, lower tranny fluid temps, less wear/tear and breakdown.

However, is there any type of consequence for what I perceive to be "banging" it into gear so hard? I kinda see it like popping your clutch, no? If you use a shift kit (e.g. Level 10) AND a chip that increases the line pressure, isn't that sort of a double whammy?

BTW, I am sort of playing Devil's Advocate here because I'm trying to be cheap and convince myself I don't need a shift kit. If you guys keep it up then you are going to change my opinion...then I'll end up spending the money and hate each and every one of you!

-----------------------
Martyr
2001 Silver Lightning
 
  #6  
Old 05-21-2001, 03:46 PM
Senior Member
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: NJ
Posts: 4,565
Post

Get a shift kit, then later down the road get a chip and tell them you have the shift kit, so they can program according to that.

You have a 2001 and can't have that much mileage on it. Everywhere I read these engines don't start showing real power til about 3000+ miles on them.

So I'm gonna just do a shift kit, and a few thousand miles down teh road I'll look into getting my chip. That way I'll have all my mods and can tell them when I get chip, so if any programs need to be changed it could be changed and shipped in 1 shot.
 
  #7  
Old 05-21-2001, 05:43 PM
felonious's Avatar
Senior Member
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: San Diego, CA, USA
Posts: 436
Post

Martyr, I haven't heard anyone complain about problems due to the extra shifting force. I see your point though, and don't have an answer for that question. To be honest, I have zero performance mods on my truck. I'm just an avid reader of these boards.

-Ollie


------------------
"Our Lady of Blessed Acceleration, don't fail me now!!!"
-Elwood Blues
 
  #8  
Old 05-21-2001, 08:09 PM
Senior Member
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Portland, Oregon. USA
Posts: 3,451
Post

The $150 is well spent. Not something to be cheap on. Even if your truck never sees a track it will benefit from the kit. PSP is now offering complete valve body exchanges. Check it out. Your truck will thank you. The valve bodies do not shift as hard as the full Level 10 kit. Which by the way can be tuned to be softer.

------------------
2000 Silver Lightning 13.16 (so far)
PSP 4-way
PSP Filter Kit
PSP Lower Pulley
Level 10 Shift kit
F-250 Trans pan
MagnaFlow 12468
Snug-Lid

I feel a 12.xx coming on.

Team PSP West
 
  #9  
Old 05-22-2001, 12:29 AM
Senior Member
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Auburn Wa
Posts: 1,514
Post

Martyr
One question you raised that hasn't been answered yet is tire spin on the 1-2 shift.
Yes the shift kit will hit your tires harder and it will knock the stock tires loose easier. If you go with a chip, they generaly improve the shift firmness and also raise the mph that the truck can be down shifted into 1st gear when you stand on it. I think the JL chip will drop into 1st gear at as much as 40mph. Believe me this is alot of fun but is a little hard on traction sometimes, it all depends on how strong your truck runs.
Dale
 
  #10  
Old 05-22-2001, 01:12 AM
Senior Member
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Camano Island, WA
Posts: 298
Thumbs down

I'm on the other side of the fence. I wouldn't put one in my truck for any reason. In fact if I ever get a chip, I'll have it custom burned to keep the factory shift power drop.

I drove with a shift kit in my Trans-Am for 10 years. I broke two tranny mounts, two sets of rear-end gears, a clutch pack end plate, a sprag, and one torque converter. And that POS was only putting out 160hp from the factory (more like 220 when I was done with it).

It is my experience that they will damage parts. Which would you rather wear out - a clutch pack that you can get the same day for $40, or a cracked reverse-input housing that takes two weeks to order for $300?

And you can forget about your warranty. Imagine that something internal does break. As you hand them your keys, you remind them that it's a hybrid with extra planetary gears and HD clutches and who knows what else. Then when you pick it up, you ask again "So you did use the heavy duty lighting specific parts, right?" "Huh? Oh yeah, of course, you betchya." It's not like you can slide under and check their work.

Also, passengers hate it. Especially chicks. "What's wrong with your car, why does it do that?" "Uh. 'Cause it's cool." They never seem to appreciate that 1-2 chirp. It becomes a real chore when you always have to try an anticipate the shifts so you can feather the throttle to reduce the snap.

But that's just my opinion. I intend to keep mine for a long time.

------------------
Mark
'00 Lightning
'79+ Corvette
 
  #11  
Old 05-22-2001, 01:21 AM
Senior Member
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Camano Island, WA
Posts: 298
Angry

Oh yeah, almost forgot the most important one- they suck a$$ in the rain. I'm from Seattle and that is a major problem. The tires want to brake loose around every damn corner when it's wet. I spent so much time sideways, I must have thought I was driving a sprint car.

------------------
Mark
'00 Lightning
'79+ Corvette
 
  #12  
Old 05-22-2001, 01:41 AM
Senior Member
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Bay Area, CA
Posts: 789
Question

So why are so many people complaining about tranny problems... if firm shifts are so good for the tranny?

Alphadoggy is out like $2k on a tranny rebuild. Others are complaining about firm shifts softening with use, etc, etc.
 
  #13  
Old 05-22-2001, 08:35 AM
Senior Member
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Hammonton, NJ 08037
Posts: 846
Post

I started out with a Superchip R9 and noticed that it shifted a little harder but nothing to talk about. The chip brings up the shift points, lets the trans shift down at a faster speed and seems to keep the converter in non lockup longer.

Now after I installed the Lever 10 kit, the shifting became tighter during regular driving. During 1/2 to 3/4 throttle 1-2 shifts it churps the tires. Anything past 3/4 the tires give out.

Another thing I noticed is without the chip in and the shift kit installed, the truck shifts a little tighter than stock but not much.

My Superchip was purchased before the Level 10 kit so the chip program is set for no shift kit. I am going to purchase the 90mm mass air from JDM and have them reprogram the chip for lower line pressure at full throttle shifts.

------------------
1999 Black Lightning
Custom 9" K&N, Superchip R9, Dual 3" 2 Chamber Flowmasters, Level 10 Shift Kit
Bed Rug, ARE Tonneau, Carbon Fiber Interior Pieces
Best Time:13.23 sec. @ 104.5 mph
 
  #14  
Old 05-22-2001, 08:48 AM
Senior Member
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Cincinnati, OH
Posts: 1,985
Post

Shift kits CAN BE better for the transmission, as someone mentioned, wear occurs during the shift, so having a shorter shift duration (what a shift kit does), reduces wear on the friction parts AND lowers fluid temps, double bonus. Some kits are really hard and they do take some of the daily driver factor out of it, but most are pretty mild and just take the "slush" out of the shift. The PSP accumulator kit is a good one, (disclosure, I designed that kit) but there are several brands that do the same thing. One thing I do strongly urge is not to use a chip to control shift duration (as opposed to shift points), there are issues with the software starving the lube circuit in order to maintain line pressure which an accumulator based kit doesn't have. hope this helps,

G
 
  #15  
Old 05-22-2001, 08:50 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2001
Posts: 90
Post

Sigh, I should have known better than to think I would get a unanimous opinion from you guys.

Mark_2L and Dreamin are hitting the negative aspects that I'm curious about. Is the shift kit just gonna tear up the tranny faster? Some say the shift kit is better for it (prolonged life), others say it's worse. I know some people with shift kits have had to get their trannies replaced, but was it actually due to the shift kits? It just so happens that these guys were also making gobs of power with other mods.

I guess I'm looking for a definitive answer and maybe there just isn't one. I'd like to have tighter shifts, but if they don't help performance (debatable) and they tear up the tranny quicker (debatable), then what's the point?

-----------------
Martyr
2001 Silver Lightning
 

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Quick Reply: Are shift kits really worth it?


Sponsors

Archive Advertising Cookie Policy Privacy Statement Terms of Service

© 2019 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.
 
  • Ask a Question
    Get answers from community experts
Question Title:
Description:
Your question will be posted in: