SwedeSpeed - Volvo Performance Forum banner
1 - 18 of 18 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,337 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Holy, long time no post for me over on swedespeed. Been hanging out with the VS/TB crowd too much I guess.

So after going through 3 trannies on my father's T6 (one under volvo warranty, and another one JUST before we bought it - both Volvo rebuilt units), we got fed up. My dad has always wanted to tow the boat with the truck instead of the XC70 but as never trusted it. He's played around with buying a V8 for quite some time but just couldn't justify it because who's going to buy a T6 with 240,000km that's been through 3 trannies and has another one that's slipping and constantly going into safe mode? The T6 was in way too good of condition just to get money for a non-running car.

So, instead of just throwing in another POS rebuilt unit, we did some research on what some of the Pontiac GTP guys were doing to get this tranny to hold +400hp. We found a guy who specialized in GM/Ford/Chevy automatic transmissions and let him have a go at building up our current unit (for someone looking to do this, find someone who has some experience on XC90's, most mechanics would look at it and run away crying). I was headed there to take some pictures of the process but he was done so quickly that I didn't get a chance!

He put in stronger clutches, hardened and cryo treated gears, much stronger shifter spring kit, and a much larger tranny cooler. The difference is night and day. No more slipping, shifts are crisp, faster and more direct, and 4th gear locks up beautifully during highway cruising. The shifts are sometimes a bit too direct during slow city driving if I wanted to get real picky, but during half throttle/WOT it's completely worth it. The truck has never launched so hard in 1st gear (chirps the front tires even) and the 1-2 shift that usually takes 3 years to complete happens in no time!

Total cost including parts and installation was just over 3K which is a bit less than another rebuilt transmission installed would have been. We're installing a class 2 towing package this spring as well as an iPd softloader and OBX exhaust. We've only put 4,000km on the upgraded tranny but we have no doubt that it will hold up just fine.

For anyone thinking about giving up on their T6 or holding back on modifying it just because of the transmission, I highly recommend going this route for the MUCH better drivability, reliability and piece of mind (much cheaper than going the V8 route or putting in another rebuilt unit). The T6 is such a beautifully matched engine to the XC90, the tranny was the only thing holding it back from being a fun drive and a towing machine!

Anybody have anymore questions post up! I'd be happy to answer them.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,005 Posts
Interesting! Could you give a bit more technical details ... kit numbers, if used? ... part numbers, etc? Perhaps this rebuild is described in some technical bulletin by GM or some aftermarket group?

Good luck with the tranny. There are a number of T6's available in the used market ... if this is a real solution, that can be repeated, it is very valuable.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
138 Posts
This is very interesting! The T6 cars are often on the market at a very low price, much less than the other engines. If this is a solution (which I fully believe is possible), it could make some great opportunities!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,337 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I'm still waiting on specific part numbers from the mechanic. He sourced them from a few different companies. I believe the gears were listed for a supercharged Buick and the clutches and spring kit were for a GTP. I know the same trannies but different companies. Not many people know that tranny was used in a billion different cars, pretty much everything that used the 3400 and 3800 V6's.

I'll post up the specifics as soon as I get them back.

Hopefully this is a cheap fix. It's definitely cheaper than the cost of the last two rebuilt tranny swaps, we have the invoices. Volvo's was still under warranty so we don't have an invoice but other people have spent upwards of 6K and the last one from an independent Volvo mechanic was 5200. This was just over 3K and should (let's hope) end up with a stronger, better shifting transmission that should last longer than the car.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,337 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
We heard back from the mechanic. Apparently he bought new gears from GM and got them hardened and cryo treated himself because he said it was about $100 cheaper (he said if you don't have connections to people who do this it's just cheaper to buy some. He said there are plenty of companies that offer them). The shift spring kits he always orders custom. The spring kits for the buicks and pontiacs for these trannies are a little weak for the the heavier XC90 so he orders springs that are a bit stiffer. He said there are a few companies like trans-go based out of the states that offer both premade kits and caters to custom orders for specific vehicles.

He also explained the problem areas of these trannies. Sometimes why 4th gear doesn't lock up properly is because the 4th gear shaft gets the teeth worn off very easily. It doesn't necessarily mean it will be worn out to the point to cause actual slippage, the TCU just thinks there's slippage and therefore still things you're accelerating and won't lock up.

1st gear is just a problem because he believes the gearing was made with too much tolerance between gears which causes the trailing edge of each gear to be the last thing to make contact before the next gear begins to lock. Once again, they get worn down to not the stage of actual slippage, but to the stage where the TCU thinks there's slippage and just gets confused and goes into safe mode (3rd gear only).

Apparently ALL of the clutches have been redesigned by GM already for these trannies so if you purchase them from GM you are getting the redesigned units. GM seemed to have admit fault on that part since a lot of their GTP's came back with burned up clutch plates still under warranty.

He also gave me the reason why working on these trannies is so diffilcult. These trannies, as we all know, are parts bin trannies that were used to cut costs by ford instead of designing a brand new unit for the T6 engine. A lot of the access panels to work on these transmissions without removing them from the vehicle while working on GM cars are either blocked, or not there on the Volvo units. So the only simple way to open up anything on them and work on them is to completely remove them from the vehicle. And with the bi-turbo setup, AWD, and cramped engine bay, this is no easy task. The first time he took one out it took him an entire shift, and then even longer to put it back in and put everything back together which is why most mechanics will run away with their tails between their legs. Kind of like why Audi owners can't take their vehicles to anyone but an Audi mechanic who is aware of the madness that which is Audi engineering.

Anyways, I hope this helps out.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
633 Posts
Thanks for sharing, could you post the name and location of the rebuilder?

I have a second transmission put in by Volvo, but it feels funny.

Easiest way to describe it is much less lock up, in the rebuilt one, with new TCM software.
The RPMS will dance around much more, loosely correlated with the speed increase, than the original Trans with original TCM software.
Had a Master Tech drive it and he said it is normal.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,337 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
That feels like our last one between safe mode spurts.

This new one I'd describe as responding more like a manual, locking up a lot sooner. It makes it feel a million times torquier and I'm sure it is. I'll get the mechanics name from my dad, all I have is his phone number.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
41 Posts
I bought some items from following establishment(http://www.tripleedgeperformance.com/Upgrades.html) and got my local transmission shop to perform the rebuild. The rebuild was complete in Oct 2010 and I have since done a MTE Stage 2 retune, am now awaiting the arrival of my twin outlet Ferrita cat back stainless steel exhaust.

Have also done some dyno runs before and after the ECU reflash, following are figures at wheels:-

Stock ECU (With iPD HD Ignition Coil & Autolite XP plugs)
265.4BHP @ 5365rpm
424.6nm @ 4210rpm

MTE Stage 2 Tune (With iPD HD Ignition Coil & Autolite XP plugs)
308.8BHP @ 5365rpm
464.8nm @ 3930rpm

Will do another dyno run after I install the Ferrita exhaust in mid April. Not sure how well the transmission will hold up with the increased bhp & torque, only time will tell. Also, using MSD Dashhawk to mesure the 0-100kmh(0-60mph) timings, there was a reduction by 0.5 seconds.

BTW, when sourcing for the upgrades I provided the following specifications that I want for the transmission:-
- 400 to 450BHP
- 550 to 600nM

Following are the items I purchased:-
1) Upgraded Input Shaft
2) 7/8" Single Chain Upgrade
3) Custom 12 Clutch 3rd Clutch pack (Original has 10 clutch)
4) Also receieved instructions to modify valve body for firmer 1-2 and 2-3 shifts.

The other friction materials and rebuilt kit was provided by my local transmission rebuilder.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
827 Posts
They have been beefing up the GM transmissions for a long time, just have to not take it to Volvo and branch out to the GM market.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,337 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
They have been beefing up the GM transmissions for a long time, just have to not take it to Volvo and branch out to the GM market.
Pretty much dead on.

Not everyone is willing to jump on that grenade though, haha.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,337 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
MTE Stage 2 Tune (With iPD HD Ignition Coil & Autolite XP plugs)
308.8BHP @ 5365rpm
464.8nm @ 3930rpm

Will do another dyno run after I install the Ferrita exhaust in mid April. Not sure how well the transmission will hold up with the increased bhp & torque, only time will tell. Also, using MSD Dashhawk to mesure the 0-100kmh(0-60mph) timings, there was a reduction by 0.5 seconds.

BTW, when sourcing for the upgrades I provided the following specifications that I want for the transmission:-
- 400 to 450BHP
- 550 to 600nM
You made on 308 at the wheels with just a tune? Did you run FWD or AWD? FWD I can maybe fathom, but 308awhp?! That's basically 100hp over stock.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
41 Posts
You made on 308 at the wheels with just a tune? Did you run FWD or AWD? FWD I can maybe fathom, but 308awhp?! That's basically 100hp over stock.
The figures came from a 4 wheel dyno, this establishment I went to for the dyno is known to produce the lowest dyno figures in my area.

I'd asked the technician if the figures are corrected @ crank or AWHP, was told I should read them as AWHP. I don't have the JPEG of the dyno with me now, will post it another day.

The before and after gains in percentage with the stage 2 tune:-
Horsepower - increase of 15%
Torque - increase of 9%

Was expecting 15-20% improvement in torque, hopefully I'll get gains in that range after the exhaust is fitted.

Bernard
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
58 Posts
You should ask the mechanic if he would do a group discount if a few of us wanted to get it done.. I'd be interested in getting it done before mine went... The independent up here useless unless it's says F150 they haven't got a clue...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,337 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
The figures came from a 4 wheel dyno, this establishment I went to for the dyno is known to produce the lowest dyno figures in my area.

I'd asked the technician if the figures are corrected @ crank or AWHP, was told I should read them as AWHP. I don't have the JPEG of the dyno with me now, will post it another day.

The before and after gains in percentage with the stage 2 tune:-
Horsepower - increase of 15%
Torque - increase of 9%

Was expecting 15-20% improvement in torque, hopefully I'll get gains in that range after the exhaust is fitted.

Bernard
Not to sound douchish, because i believe you, but I think the mechanic must have had the wrong preload or something. You dyno'd stock hp levels at the wheels what it should be at the flywheel. And everybody knows the haldex systems on these cars is anything but efficient, so there should be a ~20% loss there. I'm thinking it was automatically converted into bhp because those figures are spot on for power at the crank. What kind of dyno?

I'm super glad we're finding ways to solve the weak spot on T6's. It really is an amazing engine. Ours is still running as strong as ever at almost 280,000km. Still idles quieter than a mouse, gets 10L/100km at 110km/h, and perfect compression, zero oil loss between changes. They sure built them to last.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
41 Posts
Not to sound douchish, because i believe you, but I think the mechanic must have had the wrong preload or something. You dyno'd stock hp levels at the wheels what it should be at the flywheel. And everybody knows the haldex systems on these cars is anything but efficient, so there should be a ~20% loss there. I'm thinking it was automatically converted into bhp because those figures are spot on for power at the crank. What kind of dyno?

I'm super glad we're finding ways to solve the weak spot on T6's. It really is an amazing engine. Ours is still running as strong as ever at almost 280,000km. Still idles quieter than a mouse, gets 10L/100km at 110km/h, and perfect compression, zero oil loss between changes. They sure built them to last.
I was skeptical of the numbers when I first saw the charts but they assured me its 'close' to wheel horse power and the dyno is 'Dyno Race'.

Attached is the dyno charts, click on it for larger image.


Bernard
 
1 - 18 of 18 Posts
Top