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Happy Holidays!

Dont Forget to
Diagnose the Engine!

No 3rd after Servicing

SHOW WRAP: Expo 2014
Nearly Perfect
CVR-1214a.indd 2


12/9/14 7:52 AM

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sonnax 1214.indd 2

Sonnax is an Employee-Owned Company

Sonnax Industries, Inc

12/8/14 1:18 AM





PHONE (805) 604-2000

Managing Editor
Technical Director
Senior Designer

Dennis Madden
Rodger Bland
Lance Wiggins
Frank Pasley
Jeanette Troub

Street Smart: AW55-50N/AF33-23/

RE5F22A: No 3rd after Servicing
Page 4

Contributing Editors: Thom Tschetter

Steve Bodofsky Lance Wiggins
ATRA Technical Staff:
Bill Brayton
Keith Clark
Pete Huscher
Jarad Warren

Seminars & Convention Mgr

Rolando (Rolly) Alverez

Mike Brown
Rob Faucett
Mike Souza
Vanessa Velasquez


GEARS , a publication of ATRA, 2400 Latigo Avenue, Oxnard, CA 93030,

is published for the betterment of the transmission industry and is distributed
ten times per year. No part of this issue may be reproduced without prior written
permission of the publisher. GEARS is distributed to members of the transmission industry in the United States, Canada, ATRA Members in Mexico & Europe,
and related automotive industry firms and individually. Send changes of address
to GEARS in care of ATRA. Subscriptions are available by contacting GEARS in
care of ATRA.
Advertisers and advertising agencies assume full liability for all content of advertisements printed and also assume full responsibility for any claims arising therefrom against the publisher. The publisher reserves the unqualified right to reject any
advertising copy as it deems appropriate, with or without cause.
GEARS is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard
to the subject matter covered. It is distributed with the understanding the publisher
is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional service. If legal
advice or other expert assistance, is required, the services of a competent professional person should be sought from a Declaration of Principles jointly adopted
by a Committee of the American Bar Association and Committee of Publishers.
GEARS also welcomes articles submitted by members of the industry. GEARS
considers all articles for publication that contribute positively to the welfare of the
transmission industry, and reserves the right to edit all articles it publishes. If you
would like to submit an article to GEARS, include background information about
the author and a telephone number where he/she may be reached. If you want
submissions returned, enclose a self-addressed, stamped envelope.

Editorial and Business Offices

POSTMASTER: Send address changes to GEARS, P.O. Box 16118,

North Hollywood, CA 91615-6118
Publications Mail Agreement No. 40031403
Return Undeliverable Canadian Addresses to:
Station A, PO Box 54, Windsor, ON N9A 6J5
Email: gears@atra.com
Issue #190

1TOC-1214.indd 2

Printed in U.S.A.

STREET SMART: AW55-50N/AF33-23/RE5F22A: No 3rd after Servicing

by Mike Brown

DIAGNOSIS TO DELIVERY: Dont Forget to Diagnose the Engine!

by Keith Clark

KEEP THOSE TRANNYS ROLLING: Taking a Mini Look at a Mini

by Pete Huscher


EVT PARTS: The Best Box for Transmission Rebuilders


FUN WITH TRANSMISSIONS: CFT-30: Rebuild Highlights and

Must-Have Special Tools

by Lance Wiggins

30 RE7R01A: Internally Speaking

by Bill Brayton


WORD ON THE STREET : So, Who Are These New Guys?

Getting To Know the Dodge RFE Transmissions






by Mike Souza

UP YOUR BUSINESS: Doing the Right Thing for the Right Reasons

by Thom Tschetter

Put Yourself in Their Shoes: How Much to Rebuild My Transmission?

by Steve Bodofsky

Transmission Repair Marketing Using Google Adwords

by Corey Turner

SHOW WRAP: Expo 2014: Nearly Perfect

by Steve Bodofsky


by Frank Pasley

58 SHOP PROFILE: Do It Right Transmission and Auto Repair

Working Hard to Do It Right Every Day

2400 Latigo Avenue,

Oxnard CA 93030
Phone (805) 604-2000
Fax (805) 604-2006


Do It Right Transmission and Auto

Repair, Evansville, IN
Page 58


The views expressed in this publication should not necessarily be interpreted

as the official policy of the Automatic Transmission Rebuilders Association (ATRA).
Publication of product information or any advertising does not imply recommendation by ATRA.

Keep Those Trannys Rolling: Taking a

Mini Look at a Mini
Page 14

by Steve Bodofsky



It Doesn't Take a Lot of Words

by Dennis Madden




Copyright ATRA 2014

12/8/14 11:44 AM


It Doesnt Take
a Lot of Words

ts been just a couple weeks since

we got back from Expo, and Im
still riding on a high from my
experiences there. It wasnt just that
this years Expo was exceptional
which it was; you can read all about it
in the Expo show wrap on page 58.
But theres more to it than that:
Expo provides a reflection of the industry, and its a great place to get a feel
for how things are doing out in the
streets. So the attitudes we see at the
show arent just a measure of the show
itself; theyre a measure of the business
climate and perspective for the past
year. And its been a long time since the
mood being reflected was as positive as
it was this year.

1fm ceo1214.indd 2

Theres no denying that this industry has had its share of struggles over
the years, but to see the excitement
at this years show reinforces what I
already knew: This industry is made up
of people who dont give up.
Moods are infectious: Excitement
breeds excitement. When one persons
feeling good, it doesnt take long for it
to spread to the whole room.
And at Expo, everywhere I turned,
people were happy and they were
thrilled to share their enthusiasm with
anyone they came near. That attitude
spilled out into the hallways and corridors. You could see it in the packed
seminar rooms and trade show floor.

by Dennis Madden

People were smiling easier and

standing just a bit taller. And it wasnt
just the shop owners and technicians:
You could see it reflected in the exhibitors, too. Their booths were grand and
filled with new products.
To those of you who wouldnt
quit who stood your ground and
made it your goal to turn things around,
I have this to say: Thank you. Thank
you for sticking it out and for letting
ATRA and GEARS Magazine be part of
your life. This is a wonderful industry
and Im proud to be a part of it.
Enough words now lets get
started on next year!

GEARS December 2014

12/5/14 2:25 PM

raybestos 1214.indd 2

12/8/14 1:54 AM



by Mike Brown

No 3rd after Servicing

Band Anchor

Figure 1

ne of the most problematic

transmissions on the road
today is AW55-50SN. This
transmission has been fitted to different vehicles from different manufacturers, including General Motors, Volvo,
Saturn, Nissan, and Saab (These arent
interchangeable as they have operational differences).
The AW55-50SN is a 5-speed,

1brown1214.indd 4

electronically controlled transmission.

The TCM (transmission control module) sends signals to the solenoids to
achieve the best possible ratio. The
TCM also controls line pressure and
the apply and release pressure for the
torque converter clutch.
There have been some major problems these transmissions, including
valve body and solenoids wear. But

one problem can occur as a result of a

simply fluid change. Heres where the
do-it-yourselfer (or even the transmission professional) can find themselves
in big trouble. Thats because the fill
plug and band anchor look almost alike
(figure 1). Loosening the anchor by
mistake releases the band (resulting in
no 3rd gear).
Figure two shows the band out of
GEARS December 2014

12/5/14 2:27 PM

This Is What The Band Will

Look Like When Out Of Place

... most do-ityourselfers dont

know how to
check and fill this
position once you remove the anchor.
You can move the anchor back in place
(figure 3) but as soon as you release it,
the band moves out of place again.
The factory approved repair for
this requires removing the transmission
to install the band anchor correctly. And
thats an expensive proposition.
Just look up the R&I time on the
vehicle youre working on. For example a 2002 Volvo V-70 calls for 8.4
hours. At a labor rate of $89 an hour,
that comes to $747.60, and thats just
R&I time. A lot of money for a selfinflicted wound.
But theres some good news: You
can repair this problem in less than an
hour without removing the transmission. Im pretty sure your customer will
be happy about that!
The repair involves creating an
access point in the case that allows you
to hold the band in place while you
reinstall the anchor.
To make the repair, youll need:
15/64 drill
1/16-27 NPT tap
1/16 NPT plug
GEARS December 2014

1brown1214.indd 5

Figure 2

Moving Band
Back Into Place

Figure 3

12/5/14 2:27 PM

AW55-50N/AF33-23/RE5F22A: No 3rd after Servicing

The factory
approved repair
for this requires
removing the
to install the
band anchor
And thats
an expensive

X Marks The Spot

Figure 4

Heres the procedure:

1. Drill a 15/64 hole in the spot
marked with an X (figure 4).
Hold the hose from a running
shop vacuum by the case while
you drill to keep any metal chips
from getting into the transmission.
2. Move the band back into place
with the screwdriver, and slide a
pick into the hole you drilled to
hold the band in place.
3. Remove the screwdriver and
install the band anchor.
4. Tap the hole so you can seal it
with the plug; put a little grease
on the tap to catch any shavings
to keep them from getting into the
5. Install the plug with a drop or two
of Loctite on the threads to help
hold it in place (figure 5).
Thats all there is to it: problem
solved! And all this in less than an hour.
Part of our job as transmission
professionals is to minimize the amount
of time it takes to make repairs, so as
to keep the cost down for the customer. As simple procedure like this can
save your customer a bundle, especially
when they blunder a service like this.
And thats not just smart! Thats street

1brown1214.indd 6

Figure 5

GEARS December 2014

12/5/14 2:27 PM




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Diagnosis to
Diagnosis to Delivery: Dont Forget to Diagnose the Engine!

by Keith Clark


Dont Forget to Diagnose the Engine!

Typical MAF Sensor,

Check For Debris On
The Elements

he transmission is a vital component in the powertrain, but

dont underestimate how the
engine can affect the life of the transmission. Getting the vehicle to move is
the ultimate goal.
Engine enthusiasts brag about their
horsepower, while transmission specialists are quick to point out that all

1keith1214.indd 8

of that glorious horsepower is worthless without the transmission behind

it. The fact is that both components are
interdependent, more so now than ever.
Overlooking the health of an engine
can mean many unhappy returns for a
transmission that has every reason to
last a good, long time.
So how can a poor running engine

affect a professionally rebuilt transmission? Some of the answers are obvious; others arent as clear. Lets take a
closer look at what to consider when a
vehicles engine exhibits questionable
performance qualities and how it can
affect your transmission.
Start by reviewing some fundamental operating principles which will
GEARS December 2014

12/5/14 2:37 PM


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the beginning. Open a Transtar box today and see what you can find.

To learn more, visit Transtar1.com.

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12/8/14 1:27 AM

Diagnosis to Delivery: Dont Forget to Diagnose the Engine!

help clarify the connection between

engine performance and transmission
To do so, its critical to understand how an engine works. The typical
4-stroke cycle engine (which covers the
vast majority of the automotive market)
is like a giant pump: It relies on pressure differentials to work.
The induction cycle (or intake
cycle) is when the engine creates vacuum in the manifold. The amount of
vacuum created at idle is an indication
of the health of the engine. Typically, a
good engine will generate vacuum levels around 17 inches of mercury (in/Hg)
at sea level. This value decreases with
altitude or as the engine works harder.
The chart shows that the manifold
vacuum signal is a reliable, accurate
measure of engine load. Its also a good
indicator of engine health. An engine
that produces 12 in/hg of vacuum or
less would most likely have internal
issues, provided there are no exhaust
Old-school builders knew the
importance of having good vacuum for
modulator-controlled transmissions. If
vacuum was too low, it would cause
high modulation pressures and late,

1keith1214.indd 10

builders knew the
importance of having
good vacuum for
transmissions. If
vacuum was too low,
it would cause high
modulation pressures
and late, hard shifts.
hard shifts. Trapped vacuum would
cause low modulation pressures, and
early, soft shifts.
These days we no longer have
to worry about checking the vacuum
to the modulator, but we still need to
be concerned with the vacuum signal to the sensors. Instead of modulators, todays cars use manifold absolute
pressure (MAP) sensors and mass airflow (MAF) sensors.
These sensors act like electronic
versions of the modulator; they convert the engines vacuum signal into

an electronic signal to the computer.

This signal provides vital engine load
information to control engine functions
as well as (youve guessed it) transmission functions.
Now lets look at the world we live
in today: A typical 4L60E comes into
your shop. Its in a truck thats being
passed down to one of the kids in the
family for a daily beater. The check
engine light isnt on, the engine idles
smooth as butter, but the transmission
has a flare on the 2-3 shift.
The transmission has burnt 3-4
clutches; typical, right? Maybe, but
never assume! If the vehicle has a MAF
sensor, it could be creating a false low
load signal, which would burn up your
freshly rebuilt masterpiece without ever
throwing a code.
If the vehicle uses a MAP sensor and the engine has low manifold
vacuum at idle, the transmission could
end up shifting like a drag racer, and
may never go into lockup.
So how can you keep from getting
burned by poor running engines and
bad sensors? You need to know what
good looks like.
The typical MAP sensor will vary
from around 1.5 volts at idle to 4 volts
GEARS December 2014

12/5/14 2:37 PM

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12/8/14 1:27 AM

Diagnosis to Delivery: Dont Forget to Diagnose the Engine!

Close up of
MAF Elements

with the key on, engine off, or maximum engine load. The MAP sensor
uses a direct engine manifold vacuum
signal. Since the MAP sensor depends
completely on the engine vacuum signal, a poor-running engine can cause a
good sensor to provide inaccurate load
The MAF sensor can provide different types of signal, but responds very
much the same electrically. The MAF
sensor measures how much air is coming into the engine and converts that
measurement into a voltage or relative
value. Some manufacturers use gramsper-centimeter, others use a voltage
reading, and some interpret the reading
as load percentage parameter.
Whatever measurement is used,
the sensor value should read low with
the key on, engine off, or at idle, and
high under full load.
Youll need to use a scan tool to
verify what the computer is seeing for
the value of the MAF or MAP sensor
under all driving phases. If you can
set your scan tool in graphing mode
to monitor this, itll give you a more
accurate representation of how the sensor is responding to throttle transitions.

1keith1214.indd 12

This vacuum issue

can be the root
cause of numerous
unhappy returns for
customers with burnt
Compare your readings with a cold
engine to when it reaches operating
temperature. And pay attention to any
shift quality changes from open-loop
(warmup mode) to closed-loop mode.
A bad sensor signal wont always
set a trouble code. A dirty MAF sensor
can send a constant low load signal to
the computer, and the computer wont
see an issue with it, as long as it falls
between expected minimum and maximum values.
In turn, the transmission programming will respond with early shifts and
low line pressure. This vacuum issue
can be the root cause of numerous
unhappy returns for customers with
burnt transmissions.

Since there are so many manufacturers with different MAP and MAF
sensor parameters, its important to
know which sensor (maybe both) the
systems using, and what good values
look like.
Some scan tools offer specific tests
for the MAF and MAP sensors with
the expected values under different
operating conditions. If your scan tool
doesnt perform this function, you can
usually find proper testing procedures
from factory or aftermarket resources.
Its important to find the root cause
for problems thatll cause long term
issues with a job youve put your time,
energy, and heart into. You need to
examine all of the elements that can
cause your transmission to be compromised.
Itd be a shame not to take the
time and use the tools that you have
available to find potential problems.
So sharpen your diagnostic senses and
look outside the box at problems that
can put a mustache on your Mona Lisa!

GEARS December 2014

12/5/14 2:37 PM

Taking a Mini Look at a Mini



Figure 1: 2004

n this issue of Keep Those

Trannys Rolling, were going to
take a mini look at a problem I
encountered after replacing the clutch
on my 2004 Mini Cooper. The 2004
Mini Cooper is a base model, equipped
with a 1.6 liter engine, and a manual,
five-speed transmission (figure 1). The
vehicle had 80K on it and was in excellent condition.
After receiving an estimate of over
$3000 ($1000/parts+ $2000/labor) to
replace the clutch from their local Mini
dealership, the owner of the vehicle
decided to sell it; thats when I got


1pete 1214.indd 14

by Pete Huscher

Mini Cooper

HO2 Sensor Connector

Figure 2: Engine Compartment Is Congested

GEARS December 2014

12/5/14 2:44 PM

prec euro1214.indd 2

12/8/14 1:30 AM

Taking a Mini Look at a Mini

Figure 3: Left Inner Fender Liner Removed

Figure 4: Removing Sub-Frame Is Pretty Straight Forward

Figure 5: Side Pan Repaired And Reinstalled

Figure 6: Service Engine Soon Light


Figure 7: DLC Is Located Left Lower Dash Area

Deals on Wheels

From time to time (as with most

of us in the automotive repair industry)
I come across some pretty amazing
opportunities. Ive had the opportunity
to wheel and deal just about everything
from cars, trucks, motorcycles, ATVs,
helicopters, hang gliders, boats, yachts
and yes, even a mini submarine.
Ill be the first to tell you that life

1pete 1214.indd 16

is abound with opportunities; you just

have to be smart enough (or stupid
enough) to take the risk and grab them
when they come by.
After doing a bit of research on the
clutch replacement procedure (quoted
at 10 hours labor) and parts availability
($300 aftermarket), I decided this 2004
Mini Cooper was an opportunity waiting for a place to happen and the price

Figure 8: DLC Connector

was right. With an opening offer of

$100 (my favorite starting offer) and
little-to-no negotiation, I ended up purchasing the little Mini for $800.

Clutch Replacement

After reviewing the manufacturers

clutch replacement procedure, it was
clear that this wasnt going to be your
usual four-to-five hour clutch replaceGEARS December 2014

12/5/14 2:44 PM

Automatic Transmission
Hard Parts

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Remanufactured, & Used
Valve Bodies
Complete Line of Miscellaneous parts

Torque Converters

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Soft Parts

Master Kits
Banner Kits (Less Steels)
Overhaul Kits
Paper/Rubber Kits
Filters & Kits
Flex Plates & Flywheels
TeckPak Conversion Kits
Superior Shift Correction Packages
Transgo Reprogramming Kits
Transgo Shift Kits

Standard Transmission Parts

Rebuild Kits
Bearing Kits with Syncro Rings
Gasket Sets
Gears & Shafts

Rebuilt Transmissions

Clutch Parts

Sachs & Valeo Clutch Kits (New)

Pilot Bushings & Bearings
Clutch Alignment Tools

Transfer Case Parts

Gasket & Seals Kits
Overhaul Kits

Shop Supplies & Tools

Assembly Lubricants
Builders Benches
Parts Washer Soap
Rough Service Light Bulbs
R.T.V. Black, Blue, Clear
Technical Manuals
Tools & Equipment

Version 5.0
For quicker access & more info, including
our Tranny Guide, ask for our CD Catalog.
With clickable links to take you from index,
to complete photo layout, to individual part
descriptions instantly!


wit 1214.indd 2

12/8/14 1:31 AM

Taking a Mini Look at a Mini

But when I attempted

to make the 3-4 shift,
I couldnt move the
transmission shift lever
to the 4th gear position.
It felt like something
was blocking the shifter

Figure 9: HO2 Sensor Connector Located In Engine Compartment

ment. As with most front wheel drive

vehicles, removing and replacing the
transmission assembly to replace the
clutch requires suspending the engine
in place and disconnecting or removing
the front suspension, rack-and-pinion,
and power steering system.
But this little Mini Cooper needed
a little extra TLC. The engine compartment in a Mini Cooper is quite congested (figure 2). Everything is so compact
it makes it very difficult to do anything
under the hood. You need to remove the
air intake system and battery box from
the engine compartment before you can
even see the transmission.
After removing the air intake and
battery box and securing the engine in
place, you can remove the rear transmission mount and bracket. Once youve
removed the left inner fender liner (figure 3), disconnecting or removing the
front suspension, rack-and-pinion, and
power steering systems and sub-frame
are pretty straightforward (picture 4).
With the transmission removed,
the clutch replacement, flywheel resurfacing, and rear main seal replacement
was also pretty basic. After replacing
the clutch assembly and installing the
transmission, installing and reassembling the sub-frame, power steering
system, rack-and-pinion system, and
front suspension went pretty fast.
During the transmission installation I took the opportunity to replace
a cracked inner C/V boot on the right
axle. After bleeding the clutch system,
this little Mini was ready to hit the road.

The Road Test

Figure 10: HO2 Sensor Wire Lying On Exhaust Header


1pete 1214.indd 18

During the first part of the road

test, everything was going great. The
GEARS December 2014

12/5/14 2:44 PM

transmission shifted from 1st to 2nd,

and then from 2nd to 3rd. But when
I attempted to make the 3-4 shift, I
couldnt move the transmission shift
lever to the 4th gear position. It felt
like something was blocking the shifter
movement. I was able to shift into 5th
gear with no problem.
After several attempts it became
obvious that the shift lever wasnt
going to engage 4th gear. So I returned
to the shop, put the vehicle on the
rack, and inspected the shift linkage; it
looked good.
While inspecting the shift linkage,
I noticed a dent in the transmission side
cover (probably occurred during transmission R&R). After reviewing the
factory manual, I discovered that the
dent in the side pan was directly over
the 3-4 shift collar assembly. I removed
the side pan, pounded out the dent, and
reinstalled it (figure 5).
After reinstalling the side pan, I
checked the shift lever movement into
4th gear; it seemed to work fine. A short
road test proved that the transmission
and clutch were operating properly.

eration and the SES light came back on.

I returned to the shop and rechecked
the DME system; code 54 was back.
With code 54 resetting within 10 minutes of driving, it was time to take a
look at the upstream O2 sensor circuit.

After the Road Test

Diagnosing Code 54

During the road tests it became

pretty clear that this was a cool little
car. So I parked my other car (a 2002
Mini Cooper S) and started driving this
After several days of driving back
and forth to work, the car developed a
slight hesitation on acceleration from
a stop. A couple days later the SES
(service engine soon) light came on and
stayed on (figure 6). So I brought the
vehicle back to work and connected our
scan tool to the diagnostic link connector (DLC), located above left kick panel
(figures 7 & 8), and attempted to access
the DME (Digital Motor Electronic
control unit; basically their version of a
PCM) to retrieve codes.
After several failed attempts to
access the DME with several different scan tools, I was able to access it
with the Launch Scanner. I was able to
access several on-board systems, such
as the DME, ABS, TCS, and BCM.
I found code 54 (upstream oxygen
sensor circuit) in the DME. I cleared
the code and took my little Mini for a
long test drive. After about 10 minutes
of driving, it started hesitating on accelGEARS December 2014

1pete 1214.indd 19

Figure 11: HO2 Sensor Wire Repositioned

I started my diagnostic routine by

trying to gather up as much information as I could about code 54 and the
O2 sensor circuit. As most of us have
found out over the years, good diagnostic information on BMWs computer
system is pretty hard to come by.
All you get from the scan tools is a
code if youre lucky. And its usually
a manufacturers code with no definition, or an OBD-II code that doesnt
seem to apply to the vehicle youre
working on. Then the scan tool will
tell you to refer to the factory manual
for diagnostic routines (which there are
none; they just refer you to the wiring
So, armed with a single wiring
schematic, I started my diagnostic routine by inspecting the upstream O2
sensor circuit. I checked the wiring
and connections going from the DME
computer to the upstream O2 sensor
connector (figure 9) in the engine compartment. Engine compartment wiring
and connections looked good.
Next I raised the vehicle and
inspected the upstream O2 sensor circuit wiring from the engine compart-

ment connector to the O2 sensor itself.

I found the upstream O2 sensor circuit
wire was lying on the exhaust header
and was starting to melt through the
insulation (figure 10).
I repaired the wire and repositioned the upstream O2 sensor circuit
wiring harness away from the exhaust
header (figure 11). Then I took the car
out for another drive.
I took the little Mini out for a long
test drive (about 50 miles) and everything seemed to be working properly.
No signs of a hesitation, no service
engine soon light coming on, and the
transmission and clutch seemed to be
working perfectly. All in all, things
seemed to have worked out for this
little Mini.

In Conclusion

Well, there you have it. Weve

taken a mini look at a Mini. Weve
discussed removing the transmission to
replace a worn clutch. Weve checked
the DME system for codes and weve
inspected and repaired the upstream O2
sensor circuit.
As you can see, with a little bit of
time (6.5 hours to complete the clutch
replacement) and a few parts ($300
aftermarket), you, too, can make an
opportunity happen. I hope this information will encourage you to keep an
eye out for ways to keep those trannys

12/5/14 2:44 PM

EVT Parts Since 1951

The Best Box
for Transmission

EVT Transmission Parts is

not the Big Box Transmission
Parts Store. You know, the
kind of company that tries to
be all things to all shops, but
cant solve a part problem for
the car youre working on
today. Big Box, as in the sort of
company where the first words
you hear when calling is: This
conversation may be recorded
instead of Hello this is EVT
Parts. How may I help you?
Big box store? No can do! Not
that way, never! The personal touch
has always been the plan. says
long time ATRA Member and owner
Vince Hall. EVTs General Manager,
Walter Quintanilla and the rest of the
EVT staff like the personal touch too.
Walter says, Every day were a real
partner with the transmission shop.
We help them, they help us. Its that
simple. With all of the hoopla over
parts telemarketers driving you nutty,
internet sales where the parts company
forces you to do their work to get an
order placed, and delays because your
account isnt big enough, there is one
company where Face-to-Face still
matters EVT Parts.
Shop owners and technicians
instinctively know they are talking to
real transmission people when they
call EVT Parts for a rebuild kit, hard
part, lubricant or torque converter. The
staff of EVT even understands how
the part works and what other part
or parts you need to get the job done
right, the first time. In the transmission
rebuilding business doing the job right
the first time is the difference between

1EVT story v2.indd 20

Team EVT at ATRAs Powertrain Expo L-R; Juan Osuna, Vince Hall and Walter Quintanilla.

a satisfied customer and little to no

chance for any future customers.
No matter how you slice it, when
a car is not delivered on time or is
returned for any reason its a darn
comeback, again. Whoops! There it
goes, Lost Money. A comeback creates
customers that will not give shops the
most important positive thing they
need to stay in business: Word of Mouth
Advertising. Its how the business
relationship with consumers in our
industry works. But you know that!
M o s t AT R A M e m b e r s a n d
GEARS readers attend one of the 25
plus ATRA Regional Seminars for
technical training across the U.S. and
Canada, and then attend EXPO too.
For many years Vince, Walter and
many of EVTs staff have worked the
ATRA Seminar trail and exhibited at
ATRAs Powertrain EXPO. Its a total
team effort with a reward for each
of them personally and the business.
They talk with technicians,
diagnosticians, shop owners and
even the competition about industry
business, technical issues and the Face
to Face Service provided by EVT. This
Face to Face approach develops new
personal relationships to make a strong

company stronger and a great company

for you to do business with.
This year at ATRAs Powertrain
EXPO Vince Hall mentioned how
many people stopped him to say hello
or mention they noticed his picture
on the back cover of GEARS. He was
surprised at the recognition, warmth
and kind words from so many people.
His comment was a humble one. Its
never been about me. It always has
been about our staff, the transmission
rebuilding industry and serving the
shops better than anyone else. The
money and business will always
follow our personal service, speedy
delivery, knowledge and the genuine
smile. At EVT Parts, We are the REAL
Transmission People.
Here at GEARS were not
surprised even a little bit. If youve
been in the transmission business since
1951, a founding member of ATRA
and an ATRA Chapter Volunteer for
many years, a lot of people know who
you are and what you do. Thank you
for over 60 years of service Vince Hall
and everyone at EVT Parts!
EVT Parts 1-800-EVT Parts
Se Habla Espaol.
GEARS December 2014

12/8/14 7:07 AM

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12/8/14 1:33 AM
11/17/2014 2:54:26 PM

RE7R01A: Internally Speaking


Internally Speaking

ast time out we touched on the

Nissan 7-speed and some of
the basic introductions to this
unit. This time well take a look at the
internal components and some of the
important things youll need to know
before your rebuild.


1Lance tech 1214.indd 22

Before we get started, you should

know that this transmission has similar components to the RE5R05A. This
means there are some areas youll really want to pay attention to. Well cover
those areas and more in this article.
The valve body has the same wear
areas as the RE5R05A. The areas to

by Lance Wiggins

look at are pilot valves A and B. Pilot

valve A feeds the anti-interlock, front
brake, low brake, TCC, and high-low/
reverse solenoids. Pilot valve B feeds
the line pressure, input, 2346, and
direct clutch solenoids (Figure 1 & 2).
Another valve to look at is the TCC
solenoid accumulator valve. We listed

GEARS December
December 2014

12/8/14 3:39 AM

Figure 1

...always take all

valves and springs
out of their bores
and check them for
wear as part of your
normal rebuilding
the spring dimensions for you (figure
3); always take all valves and springs
out of their bores and check them for
wear as part of your normal rebuilding
The TCM is located in the transmission, as it is in the RE5. You can

GEARS December
December 2014

1Lance tech 1214.indd 23

Figure 2


12/8/14 3:39 AM


Figure 3

remove the Hitachi-made TCM, solenoids, and TFT sensor during the valve
body cleaning process. The TCM and
solenoids adjust clutch pressure to
match the engine torque. The clutch
pressure control solenoids are controlled by the signals from the switches
and sensors (Figure 4).

Figure 4


1Lance tech 1214.indd 24

The line pressure necessary for

shift change is set. For this reason, line
pressure pattern setting corresponds to
engine torque and gearshift selection.
Line pressure corresponds to engine
speed during engine brake operation.
The fluid has a direct effect on shift
patterns. When the ATF temperature
drops below normal, line pressure rises

higher than normal to speed up the

action of each friction element.
This could result in shift characteristics that may change the customers
driving habits. It could also cause you
to assume the transmission has failed;
be sure to diagnose the transmission
thoroughly before removal or repairs.

Figure 5

GEARS December 2014

12/8/14 3:39 AM

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RE7R01A: Internally Speaking

The sun gear shafts appear

interchangeable; theyre not
This unit looks almost identical to the RE5R05A internally,
and some of the same issues are associated with both units.
Nissan has done a good job of shoring up the radiator
issues, so computers and valve bodies wont be an issue. On the
other hand the sealing rings and operation of some of the gears
are identical.
The high-low/reverse clutch and how it seals are identical
to the RE5R05A. It was plagued with a 2-3 flare. The RE7R01A
has the same condition, but it happens on the 3-4 shift. Some
areas to check are the output shaft, center support, mid-sun gear,
high-low/reverse drum, and of course the scallop-cut sealing
There are two, one-way clutches: the F1 roller clutch and
the F2 sprag. The F1 roller clutch assembly rotates counterclockwise while holding the drum assembly (Figure 5). The F2
sprag mates with the small and large sun gears; the small sun
gear should rotate counterclockwise when youre holding the
large sun gear (Figure 6).
The sun gear shafts
theyre not. The sun gear
shaft is designed with the
same look but has different
sealing and bushing locations. It does have the same
scallop-shaped sealing rings
as the RE5 and the sprag is
the same. Remember, there
are three different ratios, so
make sure you have correct
tooth counts before attempting gear interchange.

Figure 6

Figure 7B

Figure 7A

Figure 8A


1Lance tech 1214.indd 26

Figure 8B

GEARS December 2014

12/8/14 3:40 AM

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12/8/14 1:36 AM

RE7R01A: Internally Speaking

Figure 9


1Lance tech 1214.indd 28

GEARS December 2014

12/8/14 3:40 AM

The lower half of

the transmission
is similar to the
RE5 but doesnt
have the low
sprag assembly.
Instead, it uses
the low brake
clutch and a ring
gear driven by the
sun gear shaft.

GEARS December 2014

1Lance tech 1214.indd 29

The output shafts arent interchangeable, but the parking gear is.
The lower half of the transmission is
similar to the RE5 but doesnt have the
low sprag assembly. Instead, it uses the
low brake clutch and a ring gear driven
by the sun gear shaft. It also has two
antirattle clips: One is secured between
the case and the low brake clutches and
is the smaller clip (Figure 7a & 7b); the
other is secured between the case and
the reverse brake clutches and is the
larger clip (Figure 8a & 8b).
The center supports are also similar but arent interchangeable. They
work the same, so, if you air check the
system, you may find a serious leak;
this would be considered normal! Its
identical to the RE5 with regard to air
testing; the leak is due to the scallop-cut
sealing rings. Refer to the air test ports
(Figure 9).

The direct drum is completely

interchangeable as an assembly or for
parts needed. As you start your rebuilding process, make sure your final clearance is good and you use quality parts.
Lastly, the 2346 drum rides on the
stator support and is used to overrun
gears similar to the RE5 front band.
When the 2346 clutches are applied,
the front and underdrive sun gears are
Sure, the RE7 is a new unit to
many of you, but so was the RE5 once.
Pay attention to the similarities, be
aware of the differences, and it wont
be long before its as familiar as those
5-speed units are now.


12/8/14 3:40 AM

CFT-30: Rebuild Highlights and Must-Have Special Tools


CFT-30: Rebuild

by Bill Brayton

Highlights and Must-Have

Special Tools


Figure 1

heres a CVT on the road thats

becoming a popular sight at
many transmission shops. Its
the CFT-30 from Ford.
The CFT-30 was introduced in
2005 and is used in the Ford C-Max,
Escape Hybrid, Five Hundred, Fusion,
Freestyle, Mercury Montego, Milan,
and Mariner.
Weve recently published a rebuild
book that covers disassembly (includ-


1bill1214.indd 30

ing the disassembly of the pulleys and

drive chain removal), subassembly and
bellhousing repair, and reassembly. As
a bonus it includes a valve body section
with all the valve names.
Its a fairly simple transmission
to rebuild but requires a few special
tools. Unlike some special tools these
dont just make it easier theyre a
must! Dont try rebuilding one of these
without the tools. We wont go into the

Unlike some special

tools these dont just
make it easier theyre
a must! Dont try
rebuilding one of these
without the tools.
GEARS December 2014

12/8/14 2:15 PM

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and made). All are OE quality or better. And all are
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12/8/14 1:47 AM

CFT-30: Rebuild Highlights and Must-Have Special Tools

Figure 2


1bill1214.indd 32

Figure 3

Figure 4

Figure 5

Figure 6

GEARS December 2014

12/8/14 2:15 PM

As Im writing this
article I found
all three kits
on ebay for $150
and this was the
buy it now
complete rebuild procedure here; youll
want the book for that. So lets look at
how these tools come into play.
There are five procedures where
youll need the tools:
1. Pulley removal
2. Chain removal
3. Pulley disassembly
4. Assembly
5. Torqueing the drive pulley
Rotunda has a kit with most of the
tools youll need and it runs around
$4,500. The part number is: TKIT2005D2-F1. All the tools for this transmission (you dont need all of them)
come in three kits with a suffix of F1,
F2, and F3. As Im writing this article
I found all three kits on ebay for $150
and this was the buy it now price.
You can also find components of the
kit online as well so as we go through
this Ill list the part number for the individual tools as well.
Lets get right into the unit.

Chain Removal

1. 307-547-1
2. 307-564 (not included in

With the components still in the

holding fixture attach the pulley compressor (307-564, figure 3) to the drive
pulley and holding fixture (figure 4).
Tighten the compressor to release the
chain. This tool lists for around $1,000
so get on line now to find your best

Pulley Assembly

Im throwing this one in as a

bonus; you dont need a special tool
for this one. Disassembling the pulleys
is pretty straight forward. Its getting
them back together thats tough. For the
drive pulley just use a piston ring compressor (figure 5). The driven pulleys
a different story though. As of now,
the seals arent available for the driven
pulley so youll have to reuse the seals
as long as theyre in good shape. If not,
youll have to replace the pulley.

Hard Parts?
Just Ask!

Pulley Removal

Once you get the bell housing off

you'll need to remove the pulleys from
the case. The tools youll need are:
1. 307-547-1
2. 307-547-2
3. 307-547-3
4. 307-547-4
5. 307-547-5
6. 307-547-6
Place the holding fixture (307-547-1)
over the two pulley shafts (Figure 1)
and then invert the case. Now install
the remainder of the tools to press the
bearings and shafts out of the case
(figure 2).
GEARS December 2014

1bill1214.indd 33

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3/22/14 7:40 PM

12/8/14 2:15 PM

CFT-30: Rebuild Highlights and Must-Have Special Tools

Figure 7


Torqueing the Drive

Pulley Nut


The holding fixture (307-547-1)

includes a couple of legs; youll need
them now. Install the holding fixture
(with the legs, figure 6) then install the
remainder of the tools (figure 7). Now,
as you tighten the fixture itll pull the
assembly into the case.

Figure 8


1bill1214.indd 34

Here youll need tool number

307-545 (figure 8). Its not included in
the kit and lists for around $250. We
didnt cover this up front but youll
use the socket to remove the nut during
disassembly. You can find a substitute
socket to remove the nut but youll need
the rest of the tool to tighten it. Attach
the tool to the case (figure 9) and torque
the nut to 369 lb-ft. Thats some heavy
torque so get a friend to help, then take
a break.
As I mentioned earlier, theres a
bunch of special tools for this transmission; some you just gotta have.

You can get by without some as long as

youre creative.
The point is, you can tackle any
job with the resources you have on
hand, but consider whether its really
worth the effort. The special tools for
the CFT-30 make this job fast, efficient,
and profitable. And, as always in this
business, if the methods are fast, efficient, and profitable, its much easier to
have fun with transmissions!

Figure 9

GEARS December 2014

12/8/14 2:15 PM

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12/8/14 10:20:00
2:03 AMPM

So, Who Are These New Guys? Getting To Know the Dodge RFE Transmissions


So, Who Are

These New Guys?

by Mike Souza

Getting To Know the

Dodge RFE Transmissions

Figure 1

here have been a lot of questions from techs about the

new designations for the Dodge 68RFE. The two new
designations are the 65RFE and 66RFE transmissions.
So lets take a moment and look at a little history on the
Chrysler RFE transmissions.

The Evolution

As with all of these transmissions, the RFE stands for

Rear wheel drive, Full Electronic. In June, 1998, Chrysler
introduced the 45RFE in the 1999 WJ Jeep Grand Cherokee.
Then in 2001 the 545RFE arrived, which was the base
from which Chrysler created three six-speed transmissions:
65/66/68RFE (gure 1).
In 2006, the 68RFE was derived from the 545RFE for
use with the 6.7L Cummins diesel. For model year 2012, the
65RFE arrived in the V8 Ram 1500, Durango, and Grand
Cherokee. The 66RFE also appeared in 2012, using all six
forward gears in heavy duty vehicles.

1mikesouza1214.indd 36

Figure 2

The 545RFE was recalibrated in 2012 and introduced as

the 65RFE in the Ram 1500, Durango, and Jeep V8 models
with an improved torque converter. Physically its the same as
the 545RFE. So, for the rest of this article, when referring to
the 65RFE, just think of it as a 545RFE.
GEARS December 2014

12/8/14 2:12 AM

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the snap ring section, the major
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Our 4R75W direct drum is

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12/8/14 2:04 AM

So, Who Are These New Guys? Getting To Know the Dodge RFE Transmissions

Figure 3

The Differences

The key difference is the 65RFEs

ability to use all six forward gears in
sequence when using Electronic Range
Select mode (ERS; Tap Shift). This
shifter design is the same as the one
used in the NAG1 Chrysler applications
available in WK models in the later part
of 2005.
The Electronic Range Select
(ERS) shifter allows the driver to
select the desired top gear range,
providing more control. Since there are
different strategies used to control these
transmissions, some of the components
inside the shifter assembly are different.
In the normal drive position, the 65RFE
uses the same shift pattern as the


1mikesouza1214.indd 38

545RFE, never using 2nd and 3rd gears

in succession (gure 2).
The 66RFE derives some of
its components from the 545RFE
and others from the 68RFE. The

components carried over from the

545RFE are mainly in the front end
of the transmission. These include the
torque converter, pump, underdrive,
overdrive, and reverse clutch steel

Figure 4

GEARS December 2014

12/8/14 2:14 AM

Figure 5

plates and friction discs. The valve

body is also derived from the 545RFE.
Most of the other components
found further back in the case are from
the 68RFE. These include the 2C, low/
reverse friction discs and steel plates;
and the reaction, reverse, and input
planetary gearsets (figure 3).
The 2500 and 3500 model trucks
with the V8 gas engines received the

GEARS December 2014

1mikesouza1214.indd 39

66RFE packaged in a 545RFE case.

The 68RFE has the same torque
capacity as the Aisin AS68RC in Ram
heavy duty pickups. The AS68RC case
provides the capability to mount a power
take-off (PTO); the 68RFE doesnt. The
AS68RC also has a steeper first gear for
better low end acceleration, with the
same sixth gear ratio shown in figure 2.
66RFE operates closer to the

68RFE than to the 545RFE. The gear

train is identical to the one in the
68RFE. Specifically, the connections to
the reaction sun gear and reaction ring
gear have been swapped compared to
the 545RFE.
The 66RFE, like the 68RFE, is
designed to allow for full time 6-speed
operation. On the 66/68RFE, the 4C is
welded to the sun gear, causing the ring


12/8/14 2:14 AM

So, Who Are These New Guys? Getting To Know the Dodge RFE Transmissions

Figure 7

Figure 6

One way to distinguish

between the two is that
the 66/68RFE has only
one set of splines on
the overdrive shaft, as
opposed to the 545/65RF
which has two.
gear to be driven by the planetary. The
4C clutch on the 545/65RFE is welded
to the ring gear as the planet is driven by
a sun gear (figure 4). The chart (figure
5) demonstrates how the 545/65RFE
and the 66/68RFE components work
One way to distinguish between
the two is that the 66/68RFE has only
one set of splines on the overdrive shaft,
as opposed to the 545/65RF which
has two (figure 6). You can identify
this difference by looking into the
bellhousing before disassembly.
Another area where youll find a

1mikesouza1214.indd 40

Figure 8

difference in components is the rear

planetary gearsets. The rear planet
and ring gear are one assembly on the
66/68RFE (figure 7). Also because of
their design, the 66/68RFE assemblies

dont use a number 7 thrust bearing

(sun gear attached to the 4C hub) and
the number 11 bearing is trapped in
the input and rear planetary assembly
(figure 8).
GEARS December 2014

12/8/14 2:14 AM

cap core full 1014.indd 2

10/10/14 3:24 PM

So, Who Are These New Guys? Getting To Know the Dodge RFE Transmissions

Figure 9

As with all RFE

transmissions, you
should check the
input and output
shaft endplay prior
to disassembly for
diagnostic purposes.
Then you should
check it again
afterward to ensure
correct endplay
as well as correct

1mikesouza1214.indd 42

Figure 10

Finally theres a difference in

sprag assemblies. The 66/68RFE
transmissions use a sprag-type
overrunning clutch while the 545RFE
uses a roller clutch (14 rollers; figure 9).

The Adjustments

On all RFE applications, the

underdrive, overdrive, and reverse
clutch assembly snap rings may look the
same but they arent interchangeable.
When it comes to clutch clearance
adjustments, there are some similarities
and some differences between the three
Underdrive clutch clearance isnt
adjustable on any of the transmissions
according to the factory manuals. In the
real world, you can adjust the clearance
by shaving a clutch or by other means if
Overdrive clutch clearance is
different. Its adjustable on the 68RFE
using a selectable overdrive/reverse
pressure plate, but not on the 545RFE
or 66RFE. For now these are the major
differences seen between these two

As with all RFE transmissions,
you should check the input and output
shaft endplay prior to disassembly for
diagnostic purposes. Then you should
check it again afterward to ensure
correct endplay as well as correct
assembly (figure 10).
Thats all for now; there will no
doubt be other changes in the future and
ATRA will be sure to keep you up to
date on those differences as they appear.

GEARS December 2014

12/8/14 2:14 AM

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12/8/14 2:40 AM


Doing the Right Thing

for the Right Reasons

p Your Business is an exclusive GEARS Magazine

feature in which I share stories about real customer
upsets. Many of these stories come from cases Ive
helped settle through mediation and arbitration. As in this
months article, some of the stories come from shop owners
who unselfishly share their own experiences hoping to spare
others from similar situations.
Shortly after returning from this years Powertrain Expo,
I received a phone call from Mark Piechowski, the owner of
Berkshire Transmissions in North Adams, Massachusetts.
Mark gave me permission to share his story without personal
anonymity thank you, Mark. The other parties will remain
As Marks situation unfolded, I couldnt help thinking
about how well it fit into the underlying theme of Expo. My
description of the common thread that was woven through
each of the management presentations was service above self

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1tschetter1214.indd 44

by Thom Tschetter

trumps self-service.
By the way, if you missed this years Expo, you missed
one of the best, if not the best. Just ask anyone who attended;
Im confident theyll concur.
As I was saying, Mark called me the week after Expo.
He was seeking guidance with respect to an active customer
upset. By active, I mean the incident had actually just begun
that day. His intuition told him that he might be headed into a
serious dispute. Lets look at what lead up to the dispute, how
it progressed, and how it ended. Bear in mind that this story
is based solely on information provided by Mark.

The Backdrop

A wholesale general repair account of Berkshire

Transmission (lets call them ABC Auto) contacted Mark,
reporting that they had a 2007 Jeep Liberty with a noisy
They originally thought it was the transfer case, but
when they installed a good, used transfer case the noise was
Berkshire determined the noise was inside the transmission. An internal inspection confirmed gear train damage,
and ABC Auto, with the approval of its customer, authorized
Berkshire to rebuild it.
The rebuild was completed on August 1st; the noise was
eliminated and Berkshire issued a written, 12-month/12,000mile local shop warranty to both ABC Auto and the customer
(well call her Ginny). Both ABC Auto and Ginny signed the
The customer was advised to return to Berkshire for a
complimentary recheck in two weeks, which she failed to do.
On Sunday, October 26th, Ginny called Berkshire and
left a voice message and a call-back number. Since this was
outside normal hours, Mark didnt get the message until
Monday morning. He returned her call and left a voice message confirming that he had received her message, and asked
her to call him back.
Ginny didnt call Mark back until November 3rd to tell
him she had her Jeep towed to a Jeep dealership and had
authorized them to diagnose the problem. They felt it was in
the transfer case, and she authorized them to do a teardown
inspection of the transfer case, only to discover there was
nothing wrong with it. They charged her $350 for the transfer
case inspection and told her it must be in the transmission.
Mark asked if shed received his voice message on the
27th, and she said she had. He asked why she took the Jeep
GEARS December 2014

12/8/14 2:35 AM

to the dealer without speaking with him

and advised her that the warranty was
only good at Berkshire. She said she
was in Watertown, NY, about 4 hours
from home, and it would have cost
$1000 to tow it to Berkshire. She added
that she expected Berkshire and ABC
Auto to reimburse her for the repairs.
At this point, Marks intuition told
him he had a difficult and perhaps
unreasonable customer, and he decided
to contact me for guidance.

Enter Coach Thom

After Mark shared the details of

the situation, I suggested that he begin
documenting the date, time, and content of every conversation with ABC
Auto and Ginny, as well as create a
record of everything that had occurred
so far.
I asked Mark what he was willing to do to resolve the situation. He
replied that he was willing to participate in helping the customer, including
a full refund if necessary. He was concerned whether he potentially had any
exposure beyond a full refund. I told

him that you never know how things

would turn out if it went to court, but
he should take some proactive steps to
attempt to resolve the matter.
First, I told Mark to let ABC Auto
know what was happening, just in case
Ginny hadnt contacted them. ABC
Auto wasnt totally onboard with getting
involved, but agreed to work with Mark
if they reached a reasonable solution.
Next, I suggested that he begin a
dialog with the service manager at the
Jeep dealership. I warned Mark that
Ginny would most likely need to contact
the dealership to authorize them to speak
with him about the matter. I suggested
that he explain to Ginny that he would
try to help protect her from the possibility
of the dealership taking advantage of her,
especially since theyd already charged
her $350 for a misdiagnosed transfer case
He also advised her that he was a
member of ATRA, an international network of transmission shops that work
together in situations like this, and that he
would like to get a fellow ATRA-member
shop involved if it wasnt too late.

Still on November 3rd, Mark

reported that Ginny agreed to let him
talk with the Jeep dealership, and she
gave him the name and number of the
service advisor whod been helping her.
But when Mark called the dealership,
the service advisor wasnt available, so
he left a message for her.
When the service advisor didnt
call back, Mark called her the next
day (November 4th); this time he got
through to her. She advised Mark that
Ginny called her and told her not to talk
to anyone about the Jeep.
When Mark heard this, he called
Ginny to find out what was going on.
She said her husband told her not to let
Berkshire or anyone else get involved;
they wanted to retain complete control
of the repairs.
When Mark called to tell me, my
immediate thought was that this wasnt
a good sign. I thought it was headed to
court. I suggested that he preemptively
notify Ginny by phone and email advising her that if she authorized the Jeep
dealership to work on the transmission
without Berkshires approval, she had

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1tschetter1214.indd 45


12/22/13 4:33 PM

12/8/14 2:35 AM

Doing the Right Thing for the Right Reasons

technically violated the terms of the

written warranty agreement.
I also suggested that he mention
that the Jeep dealership will have failed
to protect her if they were aware of the
warranty. I suggested that he should
reiterate his offer to help her, but to
stand firm on the fact that her independent actions had jeopardized her
On November 6th, Ginny came
to Berkshire Transmissions and handdelivered a letter demanding that
Berkshire and ABC Auto reimburse her
for the $2555.46 she paid to the Jeep
dealership and some other miscellaneous expenses she incurred. Mark kept
his cool and told her that he would read
the letter and have an answer for her in
the morning.
I told Mark that I felt he had a
strong defense and would most likely
win a favorable decision if he went to
court. He said he would prefer to settle
the matter and was willing to accept
some financial responsibility if a reasonable settlement could be reached.
Mark and I composed a letter that
accomplished a number of things.
1. It clearly chronologized the pertinent, factual details of what had
happened. All story and emotional stuff was left out we kept to
the facts.
2. It emphasized that, in spite of her
independent actions, which had
technically voided her warranty, Berkshire Transmissions and
ABC Auto were willing to work
with her in the spirit of customer
service and goodwill.
3. In addition to the simple fact
that the warranty was valid only
at Berkshire Transmissions, the
customers specific warranty violations included:
She failed to return her Jeep
for the 2-week complimentary
She failed to contact Berkshire
before authorizing another
facility to work on and tamper
with the transmission.
She didnt allow Berkshire to
engage in a dialog with the Jeep
dealership at any point.
She didnt give Berkshire the
opportunity to resolve the problem, even after Mark offered to

1tschetter1214.indd 46

help through his ATRA membership.

She ignored Marks admonishment that by allowing the Jeep
dealership to work on the transmission, she was violating the
terms of the written warranty.
She was seeking reimbursement for charges that were specifically not covered by the
4. It clearly stated that Ginny does
not have the right to independently authorize a third party to repair
her car and then expect Berkshire
or ABC to pay the bill.
5. It contained a detailed offer to
settle the matter and clearly stated
that if she didnt accept the offer,
Berkshire and ABC were both
prepared to defend the terms of
the warranty in court. The essence
of the offer is as follows:
While we cannot undo what has
already been done, we can look at
things as though you had given us
the opportunity to resolve this matter
through our affiliation with ATRA. If
this had occurred, based on the guidelines of our network warranty program,
we would have paid less than $850 for
the exact same repairs listed on the Jeep
dealerships invoice.
As a goodwill gesture and to settle
this matter, Berkshire Transmissions is
willing to pay this same amount, $850,
to you.
Additionally, and for the same reasons, ABC Auto will match our offer,
resulting in a total reimbursement of
Your acceptance of this settlement
offer will fully and completely relieve
Berkshire Transmissions and ABC
Auto of any past, present, or future
warranties or liabilities associated with
your 2007 Jeep.
Be it known that Berkshire
Transmissions and ABC Auto are prepared to enforce the terms of the warranty if you prefer to have this matter
brought to small claims court.
Mark gave Ginny the letter on
November 7th and gave her until
Monday to consider it and let him know
her decision.
On Monday, November 10th, I
received the following email from

Hey Thom,
The customer did accept the offer.
She waited until the end of the day
to tell me, which left me wondering
all day how far this will go. Glad its
over with. Due to sympathy of the
courts sometimes, there was a chance
this would be the lesser of two evils.
Plus, taking some of the burden in this
situation is the right thing to do.
Thanks very much for all your help,
Mark Piechowski
Berkshire Transmissions
North Adams, Massachusetts
PS -What size T-shirt do you wear?

What Can We Learn

So what do you think? Was this a

good resolution to a potentially expensive problem? Would you have handled
it differently? I know many shop owners would have dug in their heels and
taken the matter to court. But who
knows how that would have turned
out? And what about the heartburn of
fighting it?
I think Marks ability to keep his
composure and make thoughtful choices was remarkable. By doing that, he
was able to remain in control, not only
of his emotions, but of an otherwise
out-of-control situation brought about
by an out-of-control customer. By handling things the way he did, he really
demonstrated that he runs a customercentric business.
Mark, thank you for sharing this
story and thanks for being one of the
many Good Guys of our industry.
Share Your Stories
If youve personally experienced a weird or
unusual customer dispute and wouldnt mind sharing
it to help your industry, please contact me. You just
tell me the story and Ill do all the heavy lifting to
write it. We can make it an article about you like this
months contributor, or you may remain anonymous.
The main thing is we want to share stories that will
help others avoid similar problems. Call me at 480773-3131 or email to me at coachthom@gmail.com.
About the Author
Thom Tschetter has served our industry for
nearly four decades as a management and sales educator. He owned a chain of award-winning transmission centers in Washington State for over 25 years.
He calls on over 15 years of experience as a
certified arbitrator for topics for this feature column.
Thom is always eager to help members of our
industry and continues to be a proactive in pursuing
ways to improve your business and your life. You can
contact him by phone at (480) 773-3131 or e-mail to

GEARS December 2014

12/8/14 2:35 AM



ATRA has always been a great technical resource. But, in todays business
environment, it takes more than being just a great technician to survive. ATRA
has stepped up to the plate and brought us some of the best business trainers
in the industry. Along with their continuous market research, our industry will
continue to thrive. Thank you ATRA for your support of our Industry.
Doug Dirks, Owner of Dirks Automotive & Transmission
Oroville, CA


atra testimonial1214.indd 2

12/8/14 2:41 AM

This was a cast iron flange and was

mounted in a concrete floor.
So I had to hire a plumber;
only thing is, I didnt know any
plumbers. So I called a few friends
in the construction business to see if
they could recommend anyone. They
Next I did a Google search for
plumbers in my town. That returned
about a hundred pages worth of
listings. So I started calling from the
top of the list. How much would you
charge to replace a cast iron closet
flange? I asked. (I can almost hear
you cringe, but what else could I ask?)
So I asked for a price, but what
was I really looking for? Well, sure,
price was a consideration. But was I
really looking for the lowest price? Not
really. I didnt want to pay a lot more
than I had to, but I was really hoping to
make a connection with someone who
I felt had my best interests in mind.
I ended up calling seven plumbers.
Three came in at $250, one was at
$265, and two others at around $450.
The last one gave me a price of $1185,
and immediately asked when Id like to
schedule them to do the job.
I wouldnt, I replied. When
asked why not, I pointed out that
they were over 4 times what several
other plumbers wanted to do the job.
They seemed surprised by that, but
not enough to offer an adjustment to
their estimate. Like I said, I wasnt
necessarily looking for the lowest
price, but I certainly wasnt about
to spend that much without a really
good reason.
Naturally you might assume I
chose the cheapest plumber. I didnt
at least, not right away. First I called
the plumber who quoted $265.
Why him? Because when I called
initially, he spent some time speaking
with me about the details of the job,
and he even suggested an inexpensive
repair kit that I could buy at a local
hardware store and install myself.
When I explained that the concrete was
in the way, he told me how to chip a
little away to gain clearance.
I considered his suggestion but
decided Id rather have the flange
replaced than do a piecemeal repair.
So I called him back, even though
he was a little higher than the others.
GEARS December 2014

1whats working1214.indd 49

And I left a message on his voicemail.

Then, about three hours later, I called
again and left him another message.
Unfortunately he never called
back. Thats too bad: It was a decent
job and it could have meant a good
reference, because other folks
tend to call me when they need a
When I didnt hear back from
him after about five hours, I looked
into one of the plumbers who came in
at $250. His name was familiar and I
discovered that he had an extremely
high approval rating from several
online sources: over 4.7 out of 5 stars,
with hundreds of reviews.
I called and they set up an
appointment for the next day. The guy
came out on time, was friendly, and
did a terrific job. He even installed the
toilet including providing a new
wax ring, new brass mounting bolts,
and a new fill line for another fifty
bucks. It would have cost me at least
$25$30 for just the parts he provided.
I made it a point to get some cards
before he left so I could refer him to
other homeowners and businesses in
the area.
So, when a customer calls and
asks, how much? what are they
really asking? In many cases theyre
looking to make a connection. Price
has its place no one wants to pay
a lot more than they have to! but it
may not be their biggest concern, even
though thats what they asked.
Sure they asked for a price: What
theyre really looking for is to be
reassured. They want to know that

youre going to do an honest job at

a fair price. They want to know that
getting their car fixed and back on the
road is as important to you as it is to
them. They need to know that they can
trust you. They just dont know how to
ask that.
Thats your job: You need to give
them a reason to believe that you have
their best interests in mind. Find out
what their problem is. Ask questions.
Get to know why they think they need
a transmission.
Remember, they dont understand
transmissions the way you do. As far
as they know, if the transmission slips
or doesnt shift, its bad and needs to
be replaced. They have no concept
about computer controls and dont
realize there may be other, much less
expensive possibilities.
So let them know youre on their
side, and that, if they bring their car to
you, they wont pay for a transmission
unless thats really what they need.
Maybe even remind them that the
lowest price over the phone may
not turn out to be the cheapest or
smartest solution.
Then, when they bring their car
in, prove to them that they made
the right decision. If they do need a
transmission, give them a fair price
and do a great job. And get them
back on the road quickly, with as little
inconvenience as possible.
You do that, and you can bet that
theyll be the ones singing your praises
to all their friends even if your price
isnt the lowest in town.

12/8/14 3:27 PM

Transmission Repair
Marketing Using
Google Adwords

by Corey Turner
Drivetrain Technology

ouve probably already tried

Google Adwords or maybe
youre using it now. Here are
several tips to help you make the most
of your campaign budget.
Adwords is both an art and a science. Click costs have changed significantly throughout the years. Back in
2002, cost per click for transmissionrelated keywords was around 5 to 10
cents. In 2006 it averaged about 30
cents. Today its roughly $3$5 per
click in most areas, with some markets
going as high as $9 to $14 per click!
What does this mean for you?
Well, it means you have to optimize
your campaign to bring in the most
leads possible for your budget.
Google Adwords initial recommendations arent the best things to
stick with in the transmission industry.
For example, Adwords will default you
to both the search and display network.
But you generally dont want the display network because it rarely drives
Also, make sure you only advertise in your geographic area. For most
shops, a 10- or 15-mile radius around
the shop is a good start. You can always
adjust this later once you have a working campaign.


1adwords 1214.indd 50

For a budget, I recommend starting

out at $25 per day to test the waters.
You can increase or decrease from
there as you discover where your ad is
positioned and how well its working.
If your budget is maxing out and the
campaign is working, increase it. If the
campaign isnt working, keep revising
it until it is.
The three most important considerations for creating a lead-generating
Adwords campaign is the combination
of keywords, ad, and landing page you
With keywords, keep them generic and related to transmission repair.
There are only about 10-20 keywords
that seem to drive good leads. Make
sure you also use a set of negative
keywords to limit your search, such as
-semi, -used, -motorcycle or mower,
so you dont waste your budget with
unrelated clicks.
For example, if youre bidding on
the word transmission but not using
any negative keywords, you can get
clicks for [anything] transmission,
including used transmission. I had a
client even have clicks for the phrase
ebola transmission!

When building ads, search for

transmission repair in your local area.
Look at competing ads. What you want
is an ad that sets you apart from the
competition. Using 2-3 ads at the same
time lets you test which one works best.
Use ad extensions such as sitelinks and
callouts to increase the size of your ad.
The last thing is to have a great
landing page (web site) that generates
leads and provides you with the ability
to track conversions. Your conversion
rate is the percentage of Adwords clicks
that either call you or fill out the form
on your web site.
You can set up conversion tracking
on your form to track when an Adwords
visitor completes the form. You can
also use conversion tracking to track
telephone calls from both your ad and
your web site.
If you have a form to fill out on
your web site, make sure you ask for
a bare minimum of information. The
more fields they have to answer, the
less likely they are to fill out the form.
Ive found that asking for an e-mail
address decreases conversion rate; do
you need it? The key pieces of information are name, telephone number, and
basic vehicle information.
GEARS December 2014

12/5/14 3:45 PM

When a visitor clicks your ad and

comes to your landing page, how many
options do they have? If there are 12
different things to click on, plus a
video, you may be overloading your
visitors with choices.
The key is to have only one or two
options. Perform a Google search for
landing page examples to see some
great examples on how to design a converting landing page. If your web site
looks like Lings Cars (search it!) then
its time to make some changes.
The goal of a landing page web site
in our industry is to get the customer to
either A) call you, or B) fill out a form
so you can call them.
Remember that a large percentage
of customers are using smartphones
now: Have you tried going to your site
using a smartphone? Is it easy to call or
fill out a form? If your site isnt easy
to use with a smartphone, this could be
where youre losing leads.
The fix is simple: Have a mobile
version of your site designed to remedy
this. Use a mobile redirect script on
your web site to automatically send
them to your mobile version when visitors are using a mobile browser.
When you have a good keywords,
ad, and landing page combination with
GEARS December 2014

1adwords 1214.indd 51

a mobile version of the site, you can

expect a good return on your Adwords
Your quality score for each keyword also affects your rank in the listings. Using the most relevant keywords
and having a great landing page are the
secret to a good quality score. A higher
quality score will rank your ad higher,
get you more clicks, and generate more
When you log into your Adwords
account and click on the Keywords tab,
Google will tell you exactly what your
quality score is for each keyword and
whats affecting it.
What happens after a visitor fills
out the form is just as important. Does
that lead sit in your e-mail box for a few
hours before you or your manager get
around to it?
Consider adding text message notifications for your new leads so you can
get back to them promptly; every cell
phone has an e-mail address tied to it.
Just run a Google search for your carrier, such as AT&T text message email
address. For AT&T, you can e-mail
any phone at xxxxxxxxxx@txt.att.net
(where xxxxxxxxxx is the phone

Callouts and sitelinks can also be

added to your Adwords ad under the
extensions tab. Good callouts such as
coupons, financing options, or specials
work well. Sitelinks can link to different sections of your site, such as your
specials, reviews, and types of services
you provide.
Finally, dont forget to register your site at other search engines
beside Google: Other sites you can
register your shop to drive leads are
MechanicAdvisor, Openbay, AutoMD,
and CarHelp.
While the Adwords program is
constantly changing, its still a terrific
way to drive customers to your shop.
The trick is to stay on top of it, and
adjust your strategy to take full advantage of this powerful marketing service.

Corey Turner at Drivetrain

Technology started
generating Internet leads for
the industry in 2006 and is
always available to help with
pay-per-click campaigns.


12/5/14 3:45 PM

Expo 2014: Nearly Perfect

Expo 2014:
Nearly Perfect

by Steve Bodofsky

uring the development of the

original You Bet Your Life TV
show, the producers planned
to introduce Groucho Marx as the
funniest man in the world. Groucho
put the kibosh on that right off: If you
introduce me like that, I better be pretty
damn funny! he said.
So when we started suggesting that
this years Expo might be described as
perfect, well, we were just asking
for trouble. When you say somethings
going to be perfect, it better be pretty
And now that Expo 2014 is in the
history books, theres really only one

1show-wrap.indd 52

with ATRA m
d personal
gets u
one Doctor,
during her pr ming across a
an, The Teleph from Anchorage, Alaska
pond: On the surface everyButch Novot

way to describe it: perfect.

Or as close to perfect as we could hope
to be, working from our end alone.
Thats not to suggest that we just
phoned it in and then sat back and let
the program unfold. A lot of effort goes
into creating a program the size of
Expo; even more if youre shooting for
the descriptor of perfection.
Its like watching a duck swim-

thing looks smooth and serene. But

under water, those webbed feet are
paddling away like crazy.
From the background we could
see people scurrying from one place to
the next, putting out fires and making
snap decisions. Seminar room isnt big
enough? Well get it expanded and add
tables by next session. Problems with
the mike? Get a new right away. Pizza
GEARS December 2014

12/5/14 2:08 PM

L-R; ATRA CEO, Dennis Madden with ATRA President, Jimmy Rodd
and Events Coordinator, Vanessa Valesquez cut the ribbon to open the
2014 edition of the Tradeshow Floor.

Smile guys its almost time for pizza and ice cream sundaes!

A full day of technical seminars on Thursday kicked off

this years Powertrain Expo

ATRA Senior Technician, Bill Brayton gave a hands-on lecture that was
recorded live at the event.

running low? Add another 50 to the order.

A lot of effort by a lot of dedicated people, all to create
the semblance of an event that looked effortless and professional. It was impressive to see from the sidelines, and the
effect was one of pure elegance and grace.

The Seminars

The program began in earnest at 8 oclock Thursday

morning with the technical seminars. This was the earliest
start weve ever had, but with so many programs on the
schedule, starting early became a necessity to fit everything
You might think that those first seminars would be playing to an empty room; we didnt expect too many people to
get in that early. But that wasnt the case, not by a long shot:
The room filled up almost immediately, and we had to start
adding tables to handle the overflow.
The same was true of the management program, which
got started at 2 oclock that afternoon. The room nearly filled
up right from the start, and by the time we reached the break
we had to bring in more chairs.
For the following day the rooms were enlarged and even
more seats were set up. And a good thing: The rooms still
filled up and were bursting at the seams.
So what was it that got everyone out of their luxurious
suites at the Rio in Las Vegas, to come down to a packed room
GEARS December 2014

1show-wrap.indd 53

This years kick-off reception featured pizza and

ice cream sundaes (it tasted a lot better than it sounds).


12/5/14 2:08 PM

Expo 2014: Nearly Perfect

Guitar Master and motivational speaker, Mike Rayburn entertained and inspired during the ATRA luncheon, hosted by Raybestos Powertrain.

Seal Aftermarket Product was awarded the 2014

ATRA Distinguished Supplier Award during the
luncheon. See page 62 for details.

to listen to a bunch of seminars?

The speakers! The management
program was packed with world-class
speakers like Nancy Friedman (The
Telephone Doctor) and our own Jim
Cathcart (Cathcart Institute).
Then there were the perennial
favorites like Maylan Newton (ESI
Seminars), Danny Sanchez (Autoshop
Solutions), Scott Johnson (ProfitBoost),
and Bill Haas (Haas Performance
Consulting), plus newcomer Alex
Goldfayn (Evangelist Marketing
And lets not forget ATRAs own
Dennis Madden and Rodger Bland.
For the technical program the
speakers kept getting bigger and bigger:
From ATRAs technical department
we had Bill Brayton and Mike Sousa.
From the OEMs we had Alan
McAvoy (Chrysler), Dan Nagy (GM),
and Dirk Fuchs (ZF).
From the supplier side we heard
from John Parmenter (Precision); Bob
Warnke, Steve Garrett, and Randall
Schroeder (Sonnax); Mark Puccinelli
(Transgo); Bob Nuttall (Autotech); and
Jack Rosbro (Perfect Sky).
From the educational arena we
had Sean Boyle (Southern Illinois
University) and Dan Marinucci

1show-wrap.indd 54

Raybestos introduced their new HT-Hybrid technology friction clutch during the luncheon.
Pictured are the winners of the fabulous prizes awarded during the program.

And from all the way around

the other side of the world we heard
from Neil Speetjens, of Speetjens
Transmission Service.
Whew! No wonder people were
lined up to get in the door! There was a
lot to be learned, and not a lot of time
in which to learn it.

Pizza and Ice Cream

Thursday evening after the seminars, ATRA hosted a welcome reception with pizza and ice cream. There
were four kinds of gourmet pizzas on
hand that seemed to keep coming without an end in sight.
That was followed with an ice
cream sundae bar: You got to scoop
your own ice cream and build your
favorite sundae with toppings that
included brownie bits and chocolate
chip cookies, chocolate and strawberry
sauces, fresh whipped cream, and more.
And, in true Expo tradition, this
was where attendees got their first
real opportunity to touch base with the
folks they only get to see at Expo each
year. This is where it started to feel like
Expo where we made first contact
with some of the folks who weve
learned to call friends.
It wasnt the last time over the
weekend that wed get to make those

Lunchtime with

The Friday luncheon, hosted by

Raybestos Aftermarket Products, has
become a tradition; one looked forward
to by everyone who attends Expo. This
years was a packed house: It was
sold out over an hour before the lunch
And, as usual at the luncheon, it
opened with a performance. Over the
years weve enjoyed a lot of performances at the luncheon, from a wide
variety of disciplines.
But this years performance by
Mike Rayburn may have set the bar
higher than ever before. Theres an
axiom that says a great musician makes
what he (or she) does look easy. As a
longtime guitar player, I can say with
confidence that what Mike did with
a guitar didnt look easy; in fact, Im
pretty sure it was impossible! I can only
assume it involved computer animations and holograms.
After playing a particularly difficult passage, he said, Some people ask
why I do that. I do it because I can! He
certainly could.
In between the breaks, Mike shared
some of his thoughts, posing the question, what if reminding us that
were often the biggest obstacle to our
own successes. He left us all thinking
GEARS December 2014

12/5/14 2:08 PM

Wow! is probably the only word needed to describe this years Transtar industry reception.

about that while we stood and applauded his guitar wizardry.

A short video presentation by the
folks at Raybestos was followed by
a room-wide competition to win four
iPads. Then the meal was served.
Lunch was a sumptuous affair of
petite filet and chicken. Then ATRA
CEO Dennis Madden and Board
President Jim Rodd led the way to the
trade show entrance, where they cut the
ribbon to open the Expo trade show.

and put a face with the names youve

seen in GEARS and the voices youve
heard over the phone.
And the show didnt end there: Just
a few doors away were the Big R and
ReMaTec show floors, with suppliers
for other rebuildable parts, like starters,
alternators, and more. You could make
connections with a rebuild company or
find a supplier for the parts to rebuild
your own, all under the same roof as
ATRAs Expo.

The Trade Show

An Evening with Transtar

This years trade show was one of

the largest in the last several years, with
vendors packing the house from one
end to the other. And not just vendors:
There were show attendees three and
four deep at every booth.
There were specials galore for
those who had the foresight to attend,
and terrific giveaways and drawings
throughout the event.
Virtually every supplier to the
transmission industry was in attendance, presenting their newest and best
parts, programs, and services. And it
provided an opportunity to meet with
the leaders of those service companies,
GEARS December 2014

1show-wrap.indd 55

After a long day of education

and deal-making, attendees capped
off Friday with the Transtar reception;
always a favorite for ATRA attendees.
But this year the reception was entirely
new: a new venue and a new menu.
Unlike past Expos, this years reception was held by the pool under an open
sky; a dicey decision any way you look
at it. But Lady Luck was on Transtars
shoulder: The weather was perfect not
too hot or cold, with just the right breeze
to keep things comfortable.
And instead of the traditional hors
doeuvres, this years spread featured
a full buffet dinner, including fried

chicken tenders, baked potatoes, and

prime rib, sliced to order. It was a delicious and welcome treat for everyone.
The band was also a little different than those from years past. They
claimed to be a Reggae band, but
they sounded like more of a fusion of
Zydeco and oldies pop. But whatever
you decide to call them, they were a lot
of fun to listen to and to watch.
Whats more, the reception was on
Halloween eve, and a few adventurous souls attended in costume. There
was a pirate couple, an undead couple,
and a somewhat adventurous-looking
Catwoman in search of trouble.
Even GEARSs Jeanette Troub got
into the act while taking pictures to
memorialize the evening; there was
some speculation as to whether she was
planning to run off and join the band!

Nearly Perfect

No doubt about it: This years

show went off without a hitch, and it
was one everyones sure to remember.
So if everything went off so well,
why limit the call? Why nearly perfect? Why not an unqualified acknowledgement of perfection?

12/5/14 2:08 PM

Expo 2014: Nearly Perfect

See more EXPO Photos at: www.flickr.com/photos/70397541@N06

Because in far too many cases,

there was one thing missing: you. Some
of you stayed home and waited to hear
how it went.

1show-wrap.indd 56

Thats too bad, because there was

a lot to be learned at both the technical
and management seminars. And there
were a number of prizes to be won,
performances to enjoy, and deals to be
The most successful shops were
well represented. They know that their
success is enhanced by what they bring
back from Expo each year. And theyve
already started putting some of what
they learned and the deals they made
to work for them, turning them into

So maybe next year? Its never too
early to start planning to attend next
years Expo. Well be back at the Rio
and our team is already working on
making next years show better than
this one (as hard as that might be).
Well continue to work on getting you
and your crew at Expo next year. And
maybe then well be able to proclaim
2015 as truly being the perfect Expo.

GEARS December 2014

12/8/14 2:59 PM


Shop Safety


n the October EXPO Issue of

GEARS Magazine there is a great
article on ATRAs 60th Anniversary.
Its been quite a ride for the industry
and for everyone associated with
ATRA over the past 60 years. It was
only a few years later the founders of
the association started a partnership
with the California State Fund and
created Safety Group 273.
The initial premise of Safety
Group 273 was Transmission
Rebuilders were safer than General
Repair Shops and should have a
lower rate for Workers Compensation
Insurance. This presumption of better
and safer operations has been proved
repeatedly by better loss ratio results
over the past four decades.
Fluid Contamination
In addition to developing safe
daily operational procedures, safety
meeting agendas and lower cost for
Workers Compensation for Shop
Owners, ATRAs Safety Group 273
was the catalyst for investigating and
reporting the dangers of transmission
fluid. This action came after hearing
reports from shops across the country
of odd ball symptoms of illnesses
that were so serious builders couldnt
come to work. In some cases they
could no longer work in the industry
because their body was contaminated
by prolonged exposure to hydraulic
fluid. It took a while to figure it out,
but the problem was their hands were
in new and used hydraulic fluid every
working day.
Prior to the 1990s there were
no warning labels on transmission
fluid containers. Today every bottle
of fluid includes a warning stating;
Caution: Avoid prolonged or repeated
skin contact. It has been shown to
cause skin cancer. What the label is
really saying in a more practical way

GEARS December 2014

1safety1214.indd 57

is Wear protective gloves

when on the job!
When people in the industry
read the first report of fluid
danger, written by Dennis Gad of
the State Fund, in GEARS Magazine
it was jaw dropping. No wonder my
dad was so sick! Am I going to get
sick too? Will the illness affect my
family and ability to earn a living?
That single article was the start of the
universal industry understanding that
no one should work with transmission
fluids, or any automotive fluid, without
using one simple, but important
guideline: Glove Up!
Today we know even more
about the danger of contamination by
automotive fluids. Its not just your
hands that get contaminated; its your
car on the drive home. Its the favorite
chair you sit down in for a rest. Its
your wife and children when they
give you a hug. Its the carpet in your
house contaminated by work shoes.
Now we know mechanics should wear
a uniform and shoes that are removed
and replaced by regular street cloths
before driving home every day.
But the industry still has problems
of non-compliance, a term many in
the industry hate simply because
we see it as one more rule The
Government is forcing on us. The
real cause of failure is a combination
of procrastination, being lazy or just
too tired to worry about something
that seems so minor on the surface.
Its not a minor problem! Its a serious
problem requiring serious attention
from everyone in the industry. We
know the results of non-compliance,
dont we? The warning label on the
bottle is truthful. The health problems
from prolonged exposure are very real.
A large part of the workforce in the
transmission industry is related family,

by Frank Pasley,

ATRA Safety Director

passing knowledge and skills down

from one generation to the next. One
of the more disturbing sights is to walk
into a transmission shop and see Dad
behind the counter selling customers
on a rebuild or fix, after building
transmissions himself for 30 years.
Then you walk out to the shop and
there is his son on the bench building
a transmission. The owners grandson
is nearby tearing down and cleaning
parts of the next unit to rebuild. Then
you notice no one working on a unit or
doing R&R has protective gloves on.
They know the problem and ignore
it regardless of how many warnings
labels and or articles they see or read.
Dad knew about the problem before
the grandson was born, but Its no big
deal. The priority of the problem is
so low on the totem pole no one gives
a rat about it until some one gets
sick. By that time its too late. Once
the health problems start, the residual
effects can last a lifetime.
What to do? Glove Up! Make sure
everyone that works in the shop with
you does the same.
Safety, its on you!
Editors Note: This space provided
on behalf of the California State
Fund, ATRA Safety Group 273. For
more safety information or to apply
for discounted California Group 273
Workers Compensation provided
by the State Fund please visit:


12/8/14 10:40 AM


by Steve Bodofsky

Do It Right


Transmission and Auto Repair:

Working Hard to Do It Right Every Day

The crew at Do It Right Transmission and Auto Repair L-R: Steve Hawes, Larry Straub, Kevin Sensmeier, Robyn Krutchkoff, Mike Rueckel Jr.

ts no secret that one of the most

effective marketing tools for any
auto repair shop is community
service. But to be truly effective, community service has to be a selfless act;
you cant do it with a personal benefit
in mind.
Its kind of a Catch 22: If you do it
to help your business, it doesnt; if you
do it for its own sake, it pays dividends.
Maybe thats part of why Kevin
Sensmeier, owner and service manager
for Do It Right Transmissions and Auto
Repair, in Evansville, Indiana, is doing
so well. Hes one of the founders and
trustees for the Tri State Auto Mission
(www.tristateautomission.org); a group
of local businesses that helps provide

1shop profile1214.indd 58

Kevins modified 2008 GMC 3500 HD and 1996 Impala SS with 29,000 original miles sees the
road maybe 3 times per year.

GEARS December 2014

12/5/14 10:09 AM

transportation solutions for people in

I approached one of the pastors
at my church about creating a program
for people who either need help with
auto repairs or finding a working car,
explains Kevin. Turns out two other
members came to the same pastor to
suggest something similar that same
week. We didnt even know each other
at the time!
So the pastor got the three of us
together. We went out to eat one night
and began to hash out the details for
the program. There are other organizations around the country with similar
programs, so we called them and asked
how theirs worked.
Im on the board of trustees and,
since I have the automotive experience,
Im the one they come to when there
are questions about auto repair. Other
board members come from all different
Some people come to us who
cant afford to have their cars fixed;
others donate cars for us to fix up and
place with people who need them. For
the last couple years we did about 90
to 100 cars a year between repairs and
We dont generally give work
away; we provide assistance with
repairs. Theyll pay maybe half the bill
and Tri State will cover the balance.
There are about three shops including
ours that provide service, and we work
at a greatly reduced rate just barely
enough to cover our overhead. And I
usually donate three or four transmission rebuilds a year.
On cars that are donated, well fix
them up and someone will clean them
and get them ready for sale. Then one
of our board members will go through
the applications and see who should
receive the vehicle.
Depending on the persons financial circumstances, theyll either get the
vehicle for free, or the organization will
help them purchase it, usually at a fraction of its value. Tri State will work out
a no-interest loan for them; sometimes
as little as $50 a month.
Whats important is that they have
a stake in the car. That gives it a value;
theyre more likely to take care of it and
they appreciate it more.
Weve been doing this for about
GEARS December 2014

1shop profile1214.indd 59

Kevin and Robyn in the front office area.

Larry Straub diagnosis a 4T65E. This Pontiac will need a rebuild and is a free job
for the Tri State Auto Mission

six years now. In that time the program

has had its ups and downs, but overall
its doing pretty well.
It sounds like an amazing program,
and no doubt it helps put the Do It
Right name out in front of potential
customers. But when asked about the
effect its had on his business, Kevin
had to give his answer a bit of thought.
Turns out he never really considered
the value that Tri State Auto Mission
would have for marketing his shop.
But after a few moments con-

sideration, he was able to remember

receiving referrals as a result of his
participation in the program. And its
likely he receives a lot more attention
than he realizes. Because thats how
community involvement works: It pays
off when youre not looking for it.

Unusual Beginnings

Unlike so many other shop owners,

Kevin didnt get into fixing cars as a
kid. And he didnt start in the business
right out of high school. Oh, sure, he

12/5/14 10:09 AM

Do It Right Transmission and Auto Repair, Evansville, IN

Three of the seven lifts in the shop. Do it Right Transmission and

Auto Repair has the capabilities to work on a variety of vehicles
including stretch limos.

In the build-room. Kevin gets started on

another 4T65E rebuild.

helped his dad who was an engineer,

not an auto mechanic with some
repair work on their own cars, but thats
about as far as it went.
In fact, after graduating high
school he went to work in the fast food
business for a few years. By the time he
was 24 he was an assistant manager at
a couple different fast food restaurants,
trying to figure out what I wanted to
do, said Kevin.
The hours were horrible and I got
tired of trying to keep a bunch of young
kids working, he continued with a
At the time he was doing a bit
of general auto repair work out of his
home. Then, in 1998, a job opened
up for an R&R technician at Mikes

1shop profile1214.indd 60

Steve Hawes getting ready to install a transmission

in a Dodge Dakota..

Transmissions, right in Evansville.

Kevin took the job. At the same time he
began taking courses at the local branch
of Ivy Tech Community College.
He continued learning on the job
while earning his associates degree in
automotive technology. And, after graduating, he also worked at the school for
a year-and-a-half as an adjunct instructor, teaching general repair and engine
After three-and-a-half years with
Mikes, he went to work for a car
lot, handling virtually every type of
auto repair, including transmissions.
He worked there for about a year-anda-half when a local shop became available right near his home.
Kevin decided to take the plunge
and leased the shop space about
2500 square feet with two lifts
and opened Do It Right Transmissions.
Back then he had one employee working for him.
Business began growing and space
became tighter; they packed two more
lifts into that tiny area. So, two years
after opening his business, Kevin made
arrangements to buy the building and
he expanded Do It Right to fill the rest
of the building.
He began major renovations about
two years ago; the new shop is a terrific
example of great curb appeal. They
now have seven lifts, with four employees, plus Kevin.
And hes not done yet: Were finishing up a new addition; when we get
that done well have 11,000 square feet

and nine lifts. Quite a remarkable level

of growth in such a short time.

Improving Business

Kevin has made a couple changes

to Do It Rights business model over
the last few years to help improve his
bottom line. One thing thats helped
has been the renovations to the shop.
Another has been to add general repair
to the mix.
While Do It Right began as a transmissions-only shop, about five years
ago they expanded into general repair.
They also changed the name of the
shop to Do It Right Transmission and
Auto Repair.
The reason? Its hard to survive
on just transmissions anymore, says
Kevin. When I started in this business,
Mikes was the number one transmission shop in Evansville. They were
doing 20 to 25 transmissions a week.
Three years ago, they closed their
doors. When they closed, the business name was sold to another shop
and Kevin bought some of their old
While they have added general
repair, when it comes to transmissions,
theyre still predominantly a custom
rebuild shop. We use maybe one reman
a month, says Kevin. Everything else
is rebuilt individually.
That actually says a lot, because
Kevin is the shops only rebuilder.
What happens when they get busy with
rebuilds? I work more hours; its not
uncommon for me to get in at 6 in the
GEARS December 2014

12/8/14 8:33 AM

Mike Rueckel Jr, technician in training, flushing a transmission

with a Hot Flush machine.

morning and work until 10 at night.

My wife understands: If were
busy I go to work. If things slow down
I go home early and we can spend time
About the same time he added
general repairs to the mix, Do It Right
became a NAPA-approved repair
shop. And with that they began offering Synchrony financing; a program
that used to be offered under the
CarCareONE name.
According to Kevin, offering
financing has increased their sales by
about three transmission jobs each
month, or about $5000 in gross sales.
Thats a lot of additional money for
something that isnt costing him any
more than accepting a credit card.
Another change has been how he
advertises. When I opened, nine years
ago, the Yellow Pages and Yellowbook
were everything. Today we still have
a small presence, but in a few years
I doubt theyll even be around any
Mostly Kevins been switching to
digital advertising: He has a beautiful web
site at www.doitrighttransmission.com.
Hes also scheduled to run his first
radio ad this December.
Of course, as with any good shop,
the vast majority of their work comes
from referrals and repeat customers.
Advertising helps, but nothing beats
a referral for bringing in new customers. This is how they get about 75% of
their work.
Kevins also a big believer in conGEARS December 2014

Chevy pick-up on the lift waiting for a Do It Right rebuild

to be installed.

tinuing education. He tries to attend

Expo every year, and goes to the local
seminars when they come to town. He
even attends non-ATRA seminars, to
make sure hes up to date on everything
thats hitting the streets, transmission
and otherwise.
At Expo, he switches between the
tech seminars and the management
program. The automotive market in
Evansville is about 90% domestic cars,
so he attends the tech seminars for
those units and then switches to the
management program while most of the
import seminars are going on.

Planning Ahead

Many shop owners today are

finding themselves staring down the
barrel of their own mortality as they
begin to consider their exit strategies.
Basically theyre on the lookout for the
Egress (GEARS, April 2014).
For that, Kevins way ahead of
the curve. Although hes just shy of
turning 40, he and his wife, Holly, are
building their portfolio of rental properties. They already have four houses
and two subdivisions, with financing
for three more houses scheduled for
2015. Some are existing houses they fix
up; others are new construction.
Kevin and his wife do about half
of the work themselves: Kevin does
some construction and repair work
while his wife handles painting and
cleanup. They hire professionals for the
rest of the job.
And these arent just cheap boxes

Looking good! Kevin and crew are finishing

up on 2 years of major renovations. When
the new addition is compete, Do it Right will
boast 11,000 sq.ft. and 9 lifts!

they toss together: Were trying to

stick with upscale homes. We charge
maybe $900 a month and, when we put
a house on the market, within a couple
weeks we have four or five people begging to rent it.
While they stay busy most of the
year, Kevin and Holly try to get away
for a nice vacation at least once a
year preferably out of the country. Last year they took a cruise to
Barbados. We flew to Puerto Rico,
stayed there for two days, then took a
cruise to Barbados, Saint Thomas, Saint
Kevins favorite place to visit?
San Juan. Well probably go back and
spend a week there in a couple years,
he says.
A strong commitment to community, a good business model, and a powerful exit strategy no doubt about it,
Kevin is doing his best to live up to his
business name: Hes working hard to
do it right, each and every day. We
could all afford to take a page out of
his book.



Seal Aftermarket Products
Receives Distinguished
Supplier Award for 2014

GEARS does not endorse new products but makes this new information available
to readers. If you have a new product, please email the press release information
with applicable digital photo or drawing to fpasley@atra.com or send by mail to
GEARS, 2400 Latigo Avenue, Oxnard, CA 93030.

support to the industry than ATRA,

stepping up to different generations
and reaching out to a global market.
Were proud to be part of that effort.

Sanford Sandy Landa

Receiving the award for Seal Aftermarket

Products; L-R Chris MacLeod, Domestic Sales
Manager; Fred Burkhart, Managing Director of
Marketing and Sales; Nikki Rubi, Director of
Operations with ATRA CEO, Dennis Madden

Seal Aftermarket Products, of

Pembroke Park, Florida a leader
in the aftermarket transmission parts
industry was honored by the
Automatic Transmission Rebuilders
Association (ATRA) with the 2014
Distinguished Supplier Award, in
recognition of their ongoing support
for the Association and its many efforts
on behalf of the transmission repair
When we first suggested a new
training program, where we could
bring training right into the shops
several times a year, the folks at Seal
Aftermarket Products stepped right up
and were eager to lend their support,
says ATRA CEO Dennis Madden.
Theyve been behind us from the start
and their support has never waned;
without them, our webinar training
program might never have gotten off
the ground.
Madden presented the award at
the Raybestos Powertrain luncheon
at ATRAs annual Powertrain Expo,
held this year in Las Vegas at the Rio
All-Suites Hotel and Casino. Receiving
the award for Seal Aftermarket
Products were Nikki Rubi, Director of
Operations; Fred Burkhart, Managing
Director of Marketing and Sales;
and Chris MacLeod, Domestic Sales
Were committed to taking a
leadership role in helping improve the
industry, says Chris. No one is doing
a better job of providing education and

1PINS 1214 v2.indd 62

November 3, 1927 November 9, 2014

Sandy Landa,
industry icon
and longtime
ATRA Member,
passed away
on November
9th at the
age of 87. Landa was the founder of
Alto Products Corporation, a clutch
manufacturer for the OEM and
aftermarket for over 60 years.
According to his son, David
Landa, who now runs the company,
Dad started out in the auto
parts business. Then, in 1952, an
opportunity came along; a company
that was stamping metal parts went out
of business and their equipment went
up for sale. He bought some of the
equipment and started a manufacturing
company, originally making parts for
army vehicles.
He went on to form the Alto
Products Corporation, makers of
Alto clutches, steel plats, and bands.
Today theyre the only family-owned
company in the clutch manufacturing
Dad claimed to have invented the
master kit, says David with a smile,
but Im sure there are 20 other guys
whod claim the same thing! He was
one of the original guys in this industry
for certain.
Landa retired from Alto in 1997,
but he continued working his other
business ventures right up until a
about a year ago. When he retired
from Alto, David took over the reigns
and continues running their family
Landa is survived by his wife,
Dossi, and their children Howard,
David, and Donna. He was well
respected and well liked throughout
the industry, and will be missed by all
who knew him.

BRAND ONE Introduces

Instant Shudder Stop
Transmission Additive


just introduced its new Instant Shudder
This new additive is
specifically designed to
stop torque converter
shudder instantly, using
concentrated synthetic
friction modifiers. It
restores key friction
modifiers lost due to heat
and excessive mileage.
Shudder Stop is compatible
with both conventional and
synthetic ATFs.
For more information
contact BRAND ONE at 901-754-7923
or visit www.brand1lube.com.

Capital Core Introduces

Honda 3rd Gear Piston Kit
for BVGA / BYBA and

New 3rd gear piston kit is an economical

way to service Honda transmissions.

A new Honda 3rd gear piston kit

designed as an economical way to
service Honda transmissions is now
available from Capital Core, Inc.,
a leading supplier of transmission
components serving the Midwestern
United States.
Designed to service BVGA,
BYBA, and MGHA transmissions, the
new Honda piston kit comes complete
with the piston (A20965E), retainer
(A20985E), snap ring (D90862E), and
spring (A20975E), and is designed for
pistons with a 4.865 outside diameter.
GEARS December 2014

12/5/14 10:19 AM

The new 3rd gear Honda piston kit

may be ordered from Capital Core by
calling toll-free 800-223-1884.

TransTec Introduces
New Overhaul Kit for
DPS6/6DCT25 2010Up

LUBEGARD Introduces
New Dual Clutch ATF

Dual-clutch transmissions are

the fastest growing passenger car
transmissions in the world.
To service these vehicles,
LUBEGARD is pleased
to introduce its new,
Multi-Vehicle Dual
Clutch Transmission
Fluid, designed to
pressure protection
in high performance
DCT vehicles.
LUBEGARDs Multi-Vehicle
DCTF is the service solution for more
than 99% of the wet-clutch style,
DCT passenger vehicles, giving our
customers the ability to stock one
technologically superior DCTF at a
price that outperforms the competition.
For more, visit LUBEGARD on
line at www.lubegard.com.

Raybestos Introduces HTHybrid Technology at the

2014 ATRA Powertrain

Raybestos Powertrain and ATRA

kicked off the ATRA Powertrain
Expo exhibitor events by unveiling
the Raybestos Hybrid Technology
(HT) friction clutch at the Raybestos
sponsored luncheon.
The new Raybestos HT friction
plate combines the oil flow benefits of
segmented plates with the strength and
durability of a full-friction wafer.
During the luncheon, the audience
was entertained by Andy Mayfield,
VP of domestic sales, followed
by a fast-paced video highlighting
Raybestoss innovations throughout
American history.
I am extremely pleased with
the Raybestos teams performance,
said CEO David Coolidge. From
our talented team of engineers who
developed the Raybestos HT product
to the unveiling at this event, it shows
our commitment to exceed customer
For more, visit Raybestos on line
at www.raybestospowertrain.com.
GEARS December 2014

1PINS 1214 v2.indd 63

Now available TransTec overhaul kit 2636, which covers the

DPS6/6DCT250 dry dual clutch
6-speed transmission.






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Input Shaft Seal,




Manual Lever Seal


Kit 2636 is in stock and available

for immediate delivery.
For more, visit TransTec on line at

Precision International
Introduces New Kits




Precision International has just

introduced four new overhaul, banner,
and master kits to fit a variety of
The first set of kits were designed
to fit the following vehicles equipped
with the JF613E/W6AJA/F6AJA
Mitsubishi (USA) Outlander
Mitsubishi (Non-USA) Lancer 2008-12
Nissan (Non-USA) Qashqai
and X-Trail
Renault (Non-USA)
Scenic/Grand Scenic
Here are the numbers for these kits:
Overhaul Kit:
K73900TX-MD (without pistons)
K73900T-MD (with pistons)
Banner Kit:
K7300TXW/O (without pistons)
K7300TW/O (with pistons)
Master Kit:
K7300TX (without pistons)
K7300T (with pistons)
The second set of kits were

12/5/14 10:20 AM


designed to fit the following vehicles
equipped with the ZF 9HP48
Chrysler 200 6 cyl
TLX 3.5 L
MDX 3.5L
Land Rover Evoque
Here are the numbers for these kits:
Overhaul Kit:
K82900S (with pistons)
K82900SX (without pistons)
Banner Kit:
K8200SW/O (with pistons)
K8200SXW/O (without pistons)
Master Kit:
K8200S (with pistons)
K8200SX (without pistons)
The third set of kits were designed
to fit the following Audi vehicles
equipped with the ZF8HP55AF
A4 L4 2.0L
A5 L4 2.0L, V6 3.2L
A6 L4 2.0L, V6 2.7L,
2.8L, 3.0L, & V8 4.0L
A7 V6 3.0L
A8/S8 V6 2.8L, 3.0L, V8 4.0L,
4.2L & V12 6.3L
Q5 L4 2.0L, V6 3.2L
Allroad L4 2.0L
Here are the numbers for these kits:
Overhaul Kit:
K82900T (with pistons)
K82900TX (without pistons)
Banner Kit:
K8200TW/O (with pistons)
K8200TXW/O (without pistons)
Master Kit
K8200T (with pistons)
K8200TX (without pistons)
The final set of kits was designed
to fit the following Ford vehicles
equipped with the 6F35 transmission:
Edge (L4 2.0L)
Escape (L4 1.6L, 2.0L)
Explorer (L4 2.0L)
Fusion (L4 1.6L)
Taurus (L4 2.0L)
Here are the numbers for these kits:
Overhaul Kit:
KP59900Y (with pistons)
KP59900YX (without pistons)
Banner Kit:
KP5900YW/O (with pistons)

1PINS 1214 v2.indd 64

KP5900YXW/O (without pistons)

Master Kit:
KP5900Y (with pistons)
KP5900YX (without pistons)
For more information, visit Precision
on line at www.transmissionkits.com.

OSG Tap & Die, Inc. (OSG)

Launches Viewer Friendly
Tool Selector App for
Mobile Devices

OSG has
its popular Tool
Selector to be
easily accessed
and viewed
on mobile
devices such as
Apple products
iPhones, iPads,
and iPods, and
all the Android smart phones.
Now users can add the Tool
Selector to the home screen of their
devices as an application icon. The
Tool Selector provides visitors with
precise tool recommendations based
on their application in 5 simple steps.
It will continue to be available on
OSG website as well. Please follow
the following instructions to add the
Tool Selector to the home screen as
an application icon for Apple devices:
Step 1: Go to www.osgtool.com/
Step 2: Select the box with the
up pointing arrow and select Add to
Home Screen.
OSG Tap and Die, Inc., which has
its US corporate headquarters located
in Glendale Heights, IL is a subsidiary
of OSG Corporation. OSG Corporation
was founded in 1938 and is a publicly
held company headquartered in
Toyokawa, Japan.
For more information, visit

Introduces New Quick
Reference Guide

CO. introduces the latest quick
reference guide for standard
transmission and transfer case kits,
with over 550 kits listed.
The typical transmission kit

will contain gaskets, bearings, seals,

and small parts, with synchro rings
optional. The typical transfer case kit
will contain gaskets, bearings, seals,
and small parts, with chain optional.
EXCHANGE CO. at 800-776-1191
or visit them on the web at

Mister Transmission
Shop Owner Wins
Canadian Technician
of the Year

Chris Kennedy,
Owner of Mister Transmission Moncton

Mister Transmission, Canada's

largest chain of transmission and
technology experts, is proud to
announce Chris Kennedy, owner of
Mister Transmission Moncton, was
awarded Canadian Technician of the
Year for 2014.
The Canadian Technician of the
Year Award is chosen from a wide array
of nominees from all over the country.
This award was developed to recognize
industry leaders in the automotive
space and inspire technicians to strive
for this type of excellence. As an
industry, we look for role models like
these to inspire our apprentices.
Mister Transmission has been
keeping customers on the road since
1963. They are the leading specialists
in transmission repairs and rebuilds in
For more information, visit

Impeltronics Extendable
Magnetic Flashlight gives
Customers More for Less

Impeltronics offers clear definition

to an everyday business phrase through
its flashlights clever design and price.
Has a magnetic piece of metal ever
been dropped in a hard to reach area?
Impeltronics offers the ideal retrieval
tool. Whether the customer is an auto
GEARS December 2014

12/5/14 10:20 AM

mechanic, technician or someone active

around the house or car, two tools come
to mind for retrieving that dropped
piece of metal. Those two tools are a
flashlight and a telescoping magnet.
The featured Impeltronics
product is an Extendable Telescoping
Magnetic Flashlight. This product not
only includes a flashlight but is also
extendable and magnetic at both ends.
This 3 LED Flashlight shines bright
and is packaged as a sturdy aluminum
telescoping magnet that includes a
strong stainless steel pocket clip. It is
able to extend from a compact 6.75
inches to almost 22 inches.
Impeltronics offers its customers
two tools packaged as one with one low
price. This is a product that truly lends
a hand. The customer gains a free hand
by only needing to hold one tool. Stick
the flashlight to a magnetic surface
using the strong bottom magnet for
completely hands-free directed light!
Impeltronics, a wholesale
manufacturer of high quality high
lumen LED Flashlights, offers
everyone a strategic advantage against
the darkness. Whether youre in
search and rescue, hunting and fishing
or in need of light and magnetism in
any application, Impeltronics invites
everyone to Light the Way.
To learn more about this tool, visit

Sonnax GM 6T40/45/50
(Gen. 1) Pressure Switch
Rebuild Kit

144510-09K. Installs easily with no

special tools required!
Visit www.sonnax.com for
more details.

Parts 4 Automatics
Introduces New L/R
Sprag for the 68RFE

Parts 4 Automatics now

offers a spring-and-roller design
low-and-reverse sprag for the 68RFE
transmission. It replaces the failure
prone OEM 68RFE low/reverse sprag.
This new sprag is built to handle high
performance and towing applications.
The 68RFE low/reverse clutch is
only on when the output shaft speed is
below 150 RPM. Once you start doing
hard accelerations or burnouts, the
driveshaft speed reaches 150 RPM, and
the clutch releases, dropping back onto
the low/reverse sprag. The OEM sprag
wont hold up to this kind of abuse,
resulting in the loss of 1st and 2nd gear
For more information contact
Parts 4 Automatics toll free at
1-888-452-8660 or on the web at

Rostra Introduces
Two New Solenoid Sets

First generation GM 6T40,

6T45 and 6T50 transmissions often
exhibit various trouble codes and
shift irregularities related to the
transmission electro-hydraulic control
module (TEHCM). Previously, the
only solution was to replace the entire
TEHCM. Now, you can salvage the
TEHCM while effectively restoring
normal switch operation, eliminating
codes and providing renewed shift
performance with Sonnax patent
pending pressure switch rebuild kit
GEARS December 2014

1PINS 1214 v2.indd 65

Rostra Precision Controls now

offers Part # 52-9040 (Long wire
harness type) Solenoid Group for the
RE4F04A/B Nissan units 1992-2006.
This 5 Solenoid Group (EPC,
TCC, Overrun Clutch, SSA & SSB
Shift) replaces OEM #s 31940-80X25,
31940-80X00 & 31940-80X05.


Part # 52-9041 (short wire harness

type) Solenoid Group for the RE4F04B
Nissan units 2000-2006.
This 5 Solenoid Group (EPC,
TCC, Overrun Clutch, SSA & SSB
Shift) replaces OEM #s 31940-85X01,
31940-85X05 & 31940-85X0B.
Rostra Manufactures these in
the USA in a Quality Controlled
Environment and makes them available
at a Low Price.
For more information, visit

New Performance
Brake Rotor Kits

Brake Performance now offers

4-different styles of Performance
Brake Kits for Auto, Truck and SUV
applications. The four different styles
that are offered are Dimpled and
Slotted, Cross Drilled and Slotted,
Slotted and Cross Drilled. Each kit
includes Premium Semi Metallic
brake pads to give you great stopping
power even in high heat situations.
Performance Brake kits are guaranteed
to be a factory direct fit, and include
the best warranty in the industry. All
performance kits include free shipping
and the rotors are Zinc coated in silver
or black to help prevent rusting.
Great Factory Direct Pricing! Order Online at brakeperformance.com
or Call Toll Free at 1-866-756-5536 to
order over the phone!

12/5/14 10:20 AM


GEARS Shopper advertising costs $325.00 for a one time insertion ad, (2 1/4 X 3) 2.25 X 3. Larger ads can be placed
elsewhere in the magazine and are charged at comparable rates. Check or money order must accompany all orders.
For information on Shopper advertising in GEARS, contact GEARS, 2400 Latigo Avenue, Oxnard, CA 93030, or call
(805) 604-2000.

Division of Wentworth Engineering


Parts Distributor

Reman Trans 6HP - 5HP - 4HP

BMW - Audi - Jaguar - Range Rover
Valve Bodies & Torque Converters

Soft Parts / Friction Kits / Steel Kits / Repair Manuals
Lifetime Fluids / Rebuild Kits / Valvebody Kits

Fax: (860) 395-0047

146B Elm St., Old Saybrook, CT 06475



Foreign & Domestic

Computer Module Specialist

Off Vehicle Flash Programming

Engine Control Module (ECM)

Transmission Control Module (TCM)

A/C COMPRESSORS A/C Parts Specialist

Accept Major Credit Cards

One Year Warranty


Technologies, Inc.

8515 North Freeway, Houston, TX 77037


CASH for

Solenoid CORES
Aisin AW 5- & 6-Speed
Chrysler 45RFE/545RFE/68RFE
(early & late) & 62TE
*Ford 5R55N/W/S & E4OD/4R100
Honda 5-Speed Dual Linear

Visit www.sonnax.com
to start a core return online, or call
(800) 843-2600, Ext. 379
*OE & Remanufactured


1shoppers 1214.indd 66

GEARS December 2014

12/8/14 4:08 AM

Equipment Manufacturing Corp.

BMW Mercedes-Benz Audi


Remanufactured to

In Stock

Hundreds of Transmissions in-stock.

Immediate installation available.
2 year unlimited warranty.
Remanufactured torque converter included.

Toll free 800 - 372 - TRANS

1331 Rollins Road Burlingame, CA 94010
tel 650 - 348 - 3990 fax 650 - 348 - 3019




Light duty manual

transmission parts for both
foreign and domestic
Transfer case component parts
Fully dyno tested
remanufactured transmissions
and transfer cases
Superior Technical Knowledge
Give us a call TODAY!


8933 NE Marx Dr Ste A1 Portland, OR 97220-1472

Need Hard

by Wes

We specialize in rebuilt ZF
Transmissions (5HP24 / 6HP26 /
6HP28) for Range Rover 2002-2010!

Just Ask!
Rebuilt valve bodies available
Comes with ONE-YEAR unlimited mile warranty
TWO-YEAR warranty available
All transmission include torque converter


(310) 231-8962


GEARS December 2014

gcor-just-ask-2014-2.25x3-shopper.indd 1

1shoppers 1214.indd 67

12/1/13 7:18 PM

12/8/14 4:09 AM


GEARS Shopper advertising costs $325.00 for a one time insertion ad, (2 1/4 X 3) 2.25 X 3. Larger ads can be placed
elsewhere in the magazine and are charged at comparable rates. Check or money order must accompany all orders.
For information on Shopper advertising in GEARS, contact GEARS, 2400 Latigo Avenue, Oxnard, CA 93030, or call
(805) 604-2000.



Fix it in less
than fifteen
minutes with
one of our
easy to use
No machine
shop required.

Northland Transmission Inc.



Phone: 715-458-2617

Fax: 715-458-2611


Standard Transmissions
Transfer Cases
New & Used Parts
Rebuilt Units



4 3 2 7


* Complete Remanufactured*
*Individually Tested*
*SONNAX Updates*
* 1 YR Warranty*
*Tech Support*
*Family Owned & Operated*
*SONNAX Updated Pumps*

(877) 337 - 4681




Have you ever wondered where your

competitors are buying their parts?
We are the premier wholesale
provider of new and remanufactured
manual transmissions,
transfer cases, differentials,and all
related components.
622 West 1st Street
Zumbrota, MN 55992
Multiple Distribution Locations


1shoppers 1214.indd 68


Domestic and Foreign
Late and Early models

CALL 602-971-0477

Overhaul System!

Call for a free catalog

6747 Whitestone Road Baltimore, MD 21207

GEARS December 2014

12/8/14 4:09 AM

Transfer Case Assemblies

with Encoder Motors
Reman Transmissions
New & Reman Engines
3 yr./100,000 Mile Parts &
Labor Warranty
Nationwide Delivery
Truckload Pricing
Only at



SPRINTER Transmissions
722.6 Transmissions

Updated with latest Sonnax

performance parts
3-year/100,000-mile warranty





The Industry Since 1978







Expect the




Torque Converters

Distributorships Available
Visit our website:





GEARS December 2014



1shoppers 1214.indd 69

12/8/14 4:09 AM


December 2014

GEARS classified advertising cost $95.00 for up to 50 words for a one time insertion. ATRA members are eligible to receive up to three (3) FREE classified
advertisements in GEARS annually (per 9 issues). Members wishing to place ads once their three FREE ads have been placed may do so at the cost listed above.
Ads exceeding the maximum word count will cost $1.50 for each additional word (not including phone number and address).

Maxx Fluxx
Minimal or No Adjustment Required

For The Ford 5R55N/W/S

Highest Quality
Valve Bodies

PRO-Proven BEST In The Industry

PRO-Proven Best Warranty
PRO-Proven Best Unparalleled
Product Support

Valve Body Pro

Sales@ValveBodyPros.com ValveBodyPros.com



the year to be in business for yourself.
Extremely profitable transmission shop
located in Chicago is looking for a new
owner. A complete turn-key operation,
all personnel in place for the new owner
to step right in and continue running this
successful 30 year old business. Has
experienced 20% sales growth in 2014
and 2013. Great seller financing for the
new owner. Call today (847) 347-8304
BUSINESS FOR SALE: Owner retiring
- A 50 year old established transmission
business in middle Tennessee area.
Business is located in the heart of the
nations top 10 for best economy and
job growth with several large companies moving to the area. Over 2300
new jobs created in this county alone
in 2013. A great place to raise a family!
Please email contact information to:
SUBJECT: BB-1214-01 dbland@atra.
All electric Transfer Case Dyno for
sale, with Eddie loads - electric host.
Designed and used for a major USA
OEM test project. Less then 100
hours in like new condition with warranty. Original Cost $85,000.00 its


1classfd1214.indd 70

Get Shop
(Restrictions may apply)

License #0564249

yours for $25,000.00. For additional

information contact: Steve Glassinger
at G-TEC Inc. (417) 725-6400, (800)
725-6499, Fax: (417)725-3577.
Email: steve@g-tec.com. ATRA Mbr
Sales Manager and Inside Sales
Representative seeking a new opportunity. Open to relocation for the right
company and right fit. Several years of
experience in transmission parts sales
and management. Resume available
upon request: Newopportunity333@
HELP WANTED: Large Midwest production transmission remanufacturer is
looking for an experienced leader for
its Light Duty transmission operations.
We are a fast paced, growing operation. Applicant must be experienced
in all models of GM, Ford and Dodge
transmissions, quality drive, and have
strong leadership abilities, understand
production remanufacturing and be
an excellent communicator, both oral
& written. You will work closely with
our ISO team to set remanufacturing
standards, procedures and will work
with team members. This is an excellent opportunity with salary, benefits,
vacation, 401k and much more for
the right person. Please send resume
to: rkdk@rocketmail.com
HELP WANTED: Well Established
Transmission shop. 4 locations, moving

Pushes 18,000 lbs up a 5% grade

Safe for use on plastic bumpers
Variable SpeedSoft Touch Control
Built-in 115V charging system

powerpusher.com | 800-800-9274
our torque converter rebuilds in house,
located in Central North Carolina.
Looking for a Converter Rebuilder with
good leadership skills to lead this project and then head up the operation.
Send resume: Convertershopgm@
gmail.com or call (336) 558-5051 ask
for The General Manager on Duty.
HELP WANTED: Are you are a great
builder who is underappreciated and
have been at your current shop for
years. You advanced from R&R to
building, but now feel trapped and
In todays economy, its way too risky
to set out on your own and incur the
expenses, responsibilities, and risks
associated in opening your own shop.
But even so, you feel just stuck and
unfulfilled in your current situation and
want more. Solution: Partner up with
an existing shop where you can use
your valuable skills as a builder and
also enjoy the benefits and challenges of shop ownership. Manchester
Transmissions is an established shop in
central CT whos builder/partner is retiring. We are seeking a builder with the
ambition to own their own business by
buying into this existing profitable shop
and thus avoid risking your life savings
or amassing huge debt. Contact Jay at:
(860) 646-0022 or email manctran@att.
net to advance to the next level in the
transmission industry.

GEARS December 2014

12/8/14 7:39 AM


2015 ATRA Technical Seminars Coming Soon!
Check members.atra.com for more dates and
locations to come!

HELP WANTED: Well-established Southern California

Transmission Shop looking for an experienced rebuilder who
wants to be a rebuilder, partner or buyer. Owner is retiring. This
is a very clean, professional and positive shop environment.
Beautiful and unique shop layout in ideal location. Tremendous
potential for growth as rebuilder. Excellent opportunity to
become a shop owner. Call: (818) 425-7260.
HELP WANTED: SHOP MANAGER - Salary plus commission:
Transmission Shop Manager needed in Virginia or Washington
DC. We have a strong advertising program. Must be enthusiastic, must have strong sales experience. Must have management experience. Experience in a transmission business.
must be willing to follow set procedures. Contact Mark: (757)
725-0201 or email: markabrahim@gmail.com.
We have full time position open for experienced Transmission
Rebuilder. ASE not required, but you must be a self starter and
have your own tools. We are not looking for a helper, but a
real experience Builder with diverse skill set and with qualifications. Contact Mark: (757) 725-0201 or email: markabrahim@
HELP WANTED: Middleton Transmission And Auto Repair
is currently accepting applications for an experienced
Transmission Builder, Full time, Part time, Auto Transmission
R & R mechanics , Auto Repair technicians, Diagnostic
Technicians ,ASE Certifications a Plus. Employees must
be able to work occasional overtime, and Saturdays till
noon. Requirements to include own tools, valid drivers license,
knowledge of Foreign and Domestic Vehicles. Contact: Philip
(978) 777-7072.
HELP WANTED: Transmission specialist and Automotive
Repair specialist needed for a premiere automotive repair
company in the Middle East.A minimum of ten years experience working on Domestic & Asian vehicles Transmission
Diagnostic experience needed. Relocation Package Offered.
Please send resume to the following:tristartrans@outlook.

GEARS December 2014

1classfd1214.indd 71

HELP WANTED: Busy Western Colorado Transmission Shop

looking for experienced, detail oriented transmission rebuilder.
Benefits include paid time off 1 week after 1 year, 2 weeks
after 2 years, plus a matching IRA plan after 2 years. Great
location for outdoor activities fishing, hunting, camping, jeeping, mountain biking close by. Fax resume to (970) 242-8589
or e-mail to bakerstransmission@gmail.com. Check us out at
HELP WANTED: REBUILDER WANTED - Must be experienced in late model units (10 year old & newer units). Excellent
working conditions, $64K to start, paid hourly plus benefits,
health, dental, vision, & retirement. 5 day work week. Check
out our shop tour videos, and others at http://www.transteam.
com/memweb/LarryBloodworth.html -or- call (801) 523-1313
Fast, Easy and Free service to industry employees! Low
cost and an easy way to recruit nationwide for shop owners!
Serving the transmission industry since 1997. Visit our website
at: www.transteam.com or call us toll free at: (888) 859-0994.

Subscribe Today!
Grab Your GEARS Now!

I want my very own subscription

to the next 10 issues of GEARS.

Please enclose check or money order in U.S. funds and send to:


or call: (805)604-2000
U.S. $30 ~ Canada $45 ~ Other Areas $65


12/8/14 7:39 AM





AAM - Aftermarket ................................................................ 25


Precision European Inc ........................................................ 15


ATRA .................................................................................... 47

Precision International .......................................................... 31


Capital Core Inc.................................................................... 41


Raybestos Powertrain ............................................................ 3


ETE Reman .......................................................................... 11


Rostra Precision Controls Inc............................................... 44


EVT Parts ......................................................................... OBC


Seal Aftermarket Products.................................................... 35


Ford Customer Service Division............................................. 7


Slauson Transmission Parts ................................................. 45


G-Cor Automotive Corp ........................................................ 33


Sonnax Industries............................................................... IFC


GearSpeed ........................................................................... 29

Superior Transmission Parts ................................................ 21


GFX, Inc ............................................................................... 37


Sussex Auto Parts Ltd. ......................................................... 39


Jasper Engines & Transmissions ....................................... IBC


Transtar Industries, Inc. .......................................................... 9


Life Automotive Products Inc................................................ 43


TransTec By CORTECO....................................................... 13

Mid States Transmission Parts............................................. 39


VBX - ValveBody Xpress, Inc. .............................................. 27


North American Powertrain Components ............................. 38


Whatever It Takes Transmission Parts, Inc. ......................... 17





listo1214.indd 72

ATRA Supplier Members

Reserve your free table top display for the
ATRA 2015 technical seminar series today!
Call (805) 604-2018

See ATRA Seminar Schedule information at:


GEARS December 2014

12/8/14 12:36 PM

jasper1214.indd 2

12/8/14 2:43 AM


A340 O/D Planet

Set Planet
V6 #340-225A
A340 O/D
Set V6 $125
V8 #340-225
V8 $175
EVT chgs414.indd 2

4/1/14 9:44 AM