Driv­e­line up­grade with a Per­form a Built Level 3 In­vin­ci­ble 4L60E trans and QA1 REV Se­ries car­bon-fiber per­for­mance drive­shaft

Chevy High Performance - - Contents - TEXT & PHO­TOS: Chuck Vranas

So you’ve fi­nally in­stalled that hopped-up mill of your dreams be­tween the ’rails of your Chevy mus­cle car and it’s time to think about get­ting as much of that horse­power to the ground as pos­si­ble. Re­gard­less if you’re run­ning a nat­u­rally as­pi­rated small-block or big-block, su­per­charger, or sin­gle or twin tur­bos, one sure­fire way to put a stop to the fun is to ex­pect the orig­i­nal trans­mis­sion and drive­shaft to han­dle the in­crease in thrust. Sure, you can give it a try, but more of­ten than not you’re go­ing to leave a trail of bro­ken parts once they give up the ghost un­der the strain of the in­creased horse­power and torque.

For Pe­ter Newell at Com­pe­ti­tion Spe­cial­ties in Walpole, Mas­sachusetts, the fu­sion of a Pro Street car with cut­ting-edge Pro Tour­ing el­e­ments pro­posed a unique ap­pli­ca­tion meld­ing mile-wide rear rub­ber and twin-turbo per­for­mance while also want­ing to be able to cruise hard on the high­way at get­away speeds. For Newell, it’s all about the long haul, and if you can’t do it while haulin’ like you stole it, why do it at all?

To take on the com­bi­na­tion of his newly built 750hp twin-turbo small­block, we went to Per­for­maBuilt to check into the trans­mis­sion op­tions avail­able. Their Level 3 In­vin­ci­ble 4L60E is the ultimate com­bi­na­tion of ex­cep­tional per­for­mance com­po­nents and a re-en­gi­neer­ing of the ba­sic trans­mis­sion to func­tion at the high­est pos­si­ble level. They tell us, “By chang­ing the over­all func­tion­al­ity of the unit we have achieved a bal­ance that en­ables the trans­mis­sion to ex­ceed its OEM ca­pa­bil­i­ties far be­yond what GM ever en­vi­sioned. It’s de­signed for ex­tremely com­fort­able daily driver per­for­mance and rau­cous per­for­mance when called upon.” There’s no neck snap­ping or tire chirp­ing when cruis­ing down the street, just quick, ef­fi­cient shifts that get more ag­gres­sive as you do.

To get the mes­sage across, they con­cluded by telling us, “You can raise the devil on Fri­day night at the track and se­dately re­pent on Sun­day morn­ing,” which sounds like it’s all busi­ness in each neigh­bor­hood. Se­ri­ously, the unit is packed with

up­grades al­low­ing it to han­dle up to 800 rwhp (rear wheel horse­power).

Re-en­gi­neered to over­come many of the fac­tory short­com­ings, each unit gains added strength and dura­bil­ity. Some of the many up­grades in­clude a BorgWarner 29-el­e­ment dual-cage sprag assem­bly, Son­nax Smart Shell to elim­i­nate the strip­ping of splines and break­age, a set of Raybestos car­bon com­pos­ite per­for­mance clutches with new Raybestos steels, and two Son­nax Su­per

Hold bil­let ser­vos for Sec­ond and Fourth gears for max­i­mum hold. An FTI Per­for­mance Street Racer Bil­let Lock-Up Se­ries 9 1/2-inch torque con­verter sealed the deal.

Built for plenty of both street and strip per­for­mance, it fea­tures triple clutches and can be built specif­i­cally for your ap­pli­ca­tion.

To dial ev­ery­thing in, an MSD Atomic TCM (trans­mis­sion con­trol mod­ule) with hand­held mon­i­tor paired with their GM Har­ness al­lows the car owner the ca­pa­bil­ity of mon­i­tor­ing 11 dif­fer­ent pa­ram­e­ters while also be­ing able to set up two sep­a­rate cal­i­bra­tion modes, sup­port­ing street and race op­tions.

Cre­at­ing the fi­nal link, push­ing all the new­found horse­power rear­ward you need a drive­shaft crafted to pro­vide the ultimate in strength and tech­nol­ogy to get the job done. Gone are the days of reusing an orig­i­nal steel drive­shaft since weight sav­ings and, most im­por­tantly, safety are now of ut­most con­cern. The team at QA1 tells us, “From the very be­gin­ning, we have set out to en­gi­neer and

man­u­fac­ture the best drive­shafts on the mar­ket.” They fur­ther ad­vise, “From us­ing high-tech equip­ment and qual­ity ma­te­ri­als to work­ing with 3M to de­velop our ex­clu­sive Ma­trix Resin, to test­ing with na­tion­ally known driv­ers, ev­ery sin­gle step has been thor­oughly re­searched to pro­vide the most cut­ting-edge prod­uct in drive­shaft tech­nol­ogy.” On the safety side, many of us have seen the dam­age done to the cock­pit of a race car when a steel or alu­minum drive­shaft fails. In the un­likely event of a fail­ure, a car­bon-fiber drive­shaft shreds it­self like a broom, re­sult­ing in no dam­age to the driver or other parts of the car.

With re­gard to in­creased strength and dura­bil­ity, it’s ob­vi­ous that a car­bon-fiber drive­shaft will save weight. QA1 upped the game by start­ing with a fo­cus on in­creased torque ca­pac­ity and longevity. We spoke with Dave Kass, Cus­tomer Ser­vice Man­ager for QA1, who told us, “Wind­ing our drive­shafts in-house al­lows us to con­trol the tor­sional stiff­ness through se­lect wind an­gles and wall thick­nesses. The tor­sional stiff­ness is crit­i­cal in the over­all per­for­mance of the drive­shaft. In some ap­pli­ca­tions we’ve found a stiffer tor­sional stiff­ness per­forms bet­ter, whereas a softer tor­sional stiff­ness works bet­ter in other ap­pli­ca­tions. We op­ti­mize this by ap­pli­ca­tion and in­tended driv­ing style to max­i­mize the per­for­mance out of your ve­hi­cle.” The REV Se­ries drive­shafts are cer­ti­fied to the SFI 43.1 stan­dard, meet­ing strin­gent spec­i­fi­ca­tions for safety and per­for­mance. The shafts are also high-speed bal­anced to en­sure they are vi­bra­tion free.

Let’s fol­low along as this first-gen Ca­maro gets a new lease on life. CHP

To han­dle the chal­lenge of man­ag­ing a 750hp twin­turbo SBC, Pe­ter Newell of Com­pe­ti­tion Spe­cial­ties in Walpole, Mas­sachusetts, se­lected a Per­for­maBuilt Level 3 In­vin­ci­ble 4L60E, one of their strong­est units de­signed for ex­treme per­for­mance. It’s packed with mod­i­fi­ca­tions ca­pa­ble of han­dling up to 800 rwhp, com­pared to the fac­tory rating of around 300.

With the unit on the trans­mis­sion jack it was then set in po­si­tion, bolted to the block, and se­cured in place.

With the trans on the bench, Newell mounted the new torque con­verter to the in­put shaft, mak­ing sure the splines lined up, then care­fully spun it till it locked into the pump.

The FTI Per­for­mance Street Racer Bil­let Lock-Up Se­ries torque con­verter was a per­fect com­bi­na­tion for the Ca­maro and is built for plenty of both street and strip per­for­mance. Mea­sur­ing 9 1/2 inches, it fea­tures triple clutches and is built specif­i­cally for your ap­pli­ca­tion.

09 | An MSD Atomic TCM (trans­mis­sion con­trol mod­ule) with hand­held mon­i­tor (PN 2760) was paired with their GM Har­ness (PN 2770), al­low­ing the owner a sim­ple setup and ca­pa­bil­i­ties for ad­vanced set­tings to dial in the trans­mis­sion to their lik­ing.

08 | The Lokar shift link­age in­cluded with the floor-mounted GM 4L60E shifter kit was ad­justed and se­cured to the trans­mis­sion.

10 | Here you can see the MSD Atomic TCM har­ness se­cured in place.

11 | QA1’s cus­tom-made REV Se­ries car­bon-fiber per­for­mance drive­shafts are lighter and stronger than alu­minum, steel, and other car­bon-fiber drive­shafts. They are avail­able in lengths up to 65 inches and of­fer a va­ri­ety of slip yokes for a num­ber of dif­fer­ent trans­mis­sions, de­pend­ing on your ap­pli­ca­tion.

12 | All QA1 REV Se­ries car­bon-fiber drive­shafts are cer­ti­fied to the SFI 43.1 stan­dard, meet­ing strin­gent spec­i­fi­ca­tions for safety and per­for­mance. To en­sure the high­est qual­ity they tor­sion test each drive­shaft man­u­fac­tured to ex­ceed the SFI stan­dards.

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