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Shift Enhancements for your Automatic
The term "slushbox" was coined to describe the less-than-optimum shift characteristics of factory automatic transmission. All major manufacturers between the '50s and '70s offered mushy-shifting two- and three-speed automatics. To increase performance for non-standard uses such as towing or racing, automatics often received internal adjustments, machining and other refinements.
Nowadays, automatic transmissions are more popular than ever. Computer-controlled four and five-speed autos are in countless vehicles. How can you enhance the shifting elements of a computer-controlled transmission? By tuning the computer, of course. It's no longer necessary to drop the pan and access the valvebody to improve shifting—the trans processor can be reprogrammed to alter shift points and firmness.
The manufacturers' engineers must design transmissions that will be reliable in many different situations to accommodate everyone from the proverbial little old lady from Pasadena who only drives to church on Sunday to the tournament fisherman who tows his bass boat behind his "Cowboy Cadillac." So, actual transmission performance is muddled by other requirements like smoothness and ease of repair. The design must also be cost-effective to manufacture. The problem is that some drivers like firmer shifting, shift points at higher-than-factory rpm and quicker gear changes.
Author: Jim Brightly
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