Mar 16, 2012 update to the Lincoln Mark VII project car

Getting the Most Out of a Shift Kit

Before we even had it painted, we knew we needed a throttle valve cable.
Step 1: Read the instructions.
We mocked up where the cable would mount and attach, and quickly discovered that the valve cover interfered with its travel.
The solution, since the cover was glued on super-tight, was to notch and hammer at it while it was still on the car.
Clearance resolved, we drilled a hole and mounted the sucker up. We bent the mounting tab a bit to get it to line up nicely with the arm's travel.
This end of the cable attaches to the transmission.
So we got to installing it. We spent a little time deciphering the instruction sheet, but once we figured it out it wasn't a hard job.
An important part of installing these guys is getting the cable to line up with the arc of the arm's travel. When you're done, set up the cable's initial tension to be just barely slack.

Transmissions have a very important input: throttle. Ours had no such input.

Transmissions have a very important input: throttle. Knowing the throttle position, the transmission can tell whether you’re trying to cruise or trying to pass—which is the difference between fourth and second gear.

Ours had no such input. All the transmission had to go on was wheel speed, which, combined with our open differential, was bad news. When we romped on the gas exiting a corner, the inside wheel would spin. The transmission, thinking wheel speed was way high, would shift to top gear. This dropped the engine way out of the powerband until the next corner, and we’d lose tons of speed on the straights. No matter how hard you pumped or mashed the throttle, the transmission just wouldn’t kick back down to a usable gear.

Enter our new Lokar throttle valve cable we bought from Summit. That’s often abbreviated to TV cable, but it’s not the kind that transmits Starsky & Hutch. By linking our carburetor’s linkage to the transmission with this cable, the transmission will know when we want all the beans, or if we just want half a can and a little pork.

The TV cable also affects shift firmness, which can be equated to shift speed. Low throttle angle means less shift pressure which, in turn, slows shift time. The inverse is true as well. Without the cable, our shifts were dead soft. The Red Line Oil Racing ATF trans fluid also plays a big role in reducing shift time.

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