Dec 13, 2011 update to the Lincoln Mark VII project car

Snappier shifting

Removing the valve body wasn't much of a challenge.
Make sure to keep track of all the small parts you'll remove. Bolts, springs, and checkballs are easy to lose.
Creating the new fluid paths seemed intimidating, but in practice wasn't too difficult.
The valves were removed to access to the springs behind them.
The instructions suggest a helper. We suggest a floor jack, helper, and the aid of Martian gravity.
Red Line High Temp ATF was just the ticket for our automatic trans. We can't wait to get back on track for testing.

The uncertain condition of our transmission led us to a stop-gap upgrade: a shift kit.

Buttery-smooth shifting is the goal of most automotive engineers when they design an automatic transmission. It makes for great cruising in the city, but isn’t ideal on a race track. Slow shifts mean, among other things, that the bands slip more as they engage and so wear out faster. The uncertain condition of our transmission led us to a stop-gap upgrade: a shift kit.

For a mere 60 bones, we got some springs, drill bits, and other relevant parts shipped to our door. By swapping in different springs and drilling holes in certain spots, the manufacturer promises hard shifts as well as a manual gear holding. Less slipping while shifting will hopefully eke a bit more life out of our trans, and the ability to hold a gear will give us more control of engine RPM on track.

We’ll install a better shift gate with more positive action as soon as we find one in our local junkyard. But with all these upgrades, we won’t know until then how effective they’ll be until we actually get to try it on the track. A test day is in our future.

Before we can consider the shift kit job done, we need to refill the transmission fluid. In the case of our auto trans equipped Lincoln, Red Line Oil helped us satisfy two specific goals. First off, we’re trying to make the slushbox AOD shifter faster. We’re also seeking thermal stability over the long haul. After a quick consultation, Red Line Oil recommended their High Temp ATF transmission fluid. It’s similar to Ford’s “Type F” spec, but has higher viscosity and is devoid of friction modifiers. Let’s see if this trans lives through another season.

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