S197 C4 Installation - Box Stock
This Coyote stock racer gets a much needed C4 installation
From the December, 2012 issue of 5.0 Mustang & Super Fords
By Michael Johnson
Photography by Michael Johnson
When it comes to drag racing, there are two schools of thought. One group subscribes to the notion that real race cars have three pedals, while the other contingent believes an automatic transmission is the best way to get from Point A to Point B in the shortest amount of time. Stick-naysayers' argument is that forward momentum is killed on gear changes. An automatic...they'll tell you, maintains forward momentum on gear changes. Stick bangers answer that argument by simply saying, "You must not know how to drive a stick!" And that's their only argument, and frankly, besides saying a stick car is more fun to drive, in their head, that's the only argument they need.
Then there's the argument of which transmission is easier on equipment. There's no question an automatic is easier on surrounding drivetrain equipment. A power-shifted stick delivers a sudden shock to the drivetrain, whereas an automatic doesn't hit so abruptly. The drivetrain has a chance to gather itself with an automatic, but with a stick, unless the car has a slipper clutch, the car goes from standstill to go-time... right now!
Because of that shock, stick bangers also run into the issue of perhaps too much power combined with too much traction, which can significantly reduce clutch life, or kill a clutch altogether on one pass. Sounds like a lot of work, huh?! Well, running an automatic isn't any easier. We've heard of guys changing converters many times over in an attempt to come up with the right balance of tightness, slip, and stall speed.
Many people think swapping to an automatic is an end-all answer to going fast, but ask anyone who's made the swap, and they'll tell you different. The trial and error between both transmissions is much the same, but both deal with the power-engaging component, the clutch or the torque converter. When it comes to drag racing, the decision to race an automatic or a stick is based on class rules. Many times there are weight breaks that come with running an automatic, as opposed to running a stick.
Unfortunately for Joe Charles and his Coyote Stock classmates, there's no weight break for running an automatic instead of a stick. However, Joe wanted to see how his car would react with an automatic so we're following along as he adds Performance Automatic's C4 Coyote Stock Pro Heads-Up Package and a Hurst shifter.
Horse Sense: The car Joe Charles pilots in Coyote Stock was originally his car, but MV Performance's Tim Matherly bought the body-in-white from Joe and built it into his Real Street car. Now that Tim has moved to an SN-10, Joe is "borrowing" the car for Coyote Stock.
Here's everything we're installing....
Here's everything we're installing. Obviously, the big part is the Performance Automatic Pro Mod C4, which features high-performance clutches, a Pro-shift servo, a hardened input shaft, a Pro pump, a deep aluminum pan, a reverse-manual Pro Tree transbrake valvebody, a six-pinion Power Planet forward planetary gearset, and a lifetime warranty. Other parts of this equation are an SFI-approved bellhousing, flexplate, a Coyote-specific engine block plate, a Coyote Stock-specific 8-inch torque converter using class-legal weight and actual chassis dyno information from Joe's car, and a Hurst Quarter Stick shifter.
This is where we started on...
This is where we started on Joe's car at MV Performance. MV's Tim Matherly owns the car Joe races in Coyote Stock so it was only natural for the swap to take place at MV. Tim probably knows the car like the back of his hand since he raced it in NMRA's Real Street for several years before stepping up to the SN-10 Mustang he currently races in Renegade. Joe's combination consists of a sealed Ford Racing Coyote crate engine with a ATI Performance Super Damper, Kooks headers, a UPR Products tubular K-member and A-arms, and the like. Keen eyes may see a certain cable that won't be needed with the Performance Automatic C4.
Moving to part of the engine...
Moving to part of the engine we're concentrating on, you can see Tim is ready to start getting the Performance Automatic Pro Mod C4 in place. You can also see how many times the car has been on the lift. This car has been a warrior for Tim, and now Joe, and it's got some battle scars for sure.
The first thing to go on is...
The first thing to go on is the engine block plate. The '11-'13 Coyote engine has a unique engine block plate that uses dowel pins on the back of the engine to locate itself, and it's sandwiched between the transmission and engine.
Next up is the flexplate....
Next up is the flexplate. On a stick car, the clutch attaches to the flywheel, but on an automatic car, this component is called a flexplate. Notice it looks similar to a flywheel, and many people call this a flywheel regardless of it being a stick or automatic car. As you can see, the flexplate is an eight-bolt to mate the Coyote eight-bolt crankshaft, just like SN-95 and New Edge Cobras. To install the flexplate line up the bolt holes and attach the flexplate bolts in a star pattern just like you would do with wheels. Torque the flexplate to spec, and you can move on to the rest of the install.
With the flexplate installed...
With the flexplate installed Tim can get busy actually installing the transmission. He adds a quart of transmission fluid to the torque converter, then installs the converter onto the transmission's hardened input shaft. The torque converter, much like a clutch, connects to the flexplate, and spins with the engine. The torque converter decides the amount of stall and slippage based on specs given to the converter manufacturer by the owner. In this case, Performance Automatic dialed in the converter via dyno information and the car's weight, which for Coyote Stock is 3,200 with driver.
Since a C4 is pretty heavy,...
Since a C4 is pretty heavy, Tim uses a tranny jack to maneuver it into place. I know, plenty of you guys have swapped trannys in the driveway or in the grass at a race, but I bet you were wishing you had a lift and a tranny jack while you were flat-backin' it.
To back up a second, here's...
To back up a second, here's a look at the SFI-approved bellhousing installed on the transmission, and the transmission's input shaft. The torque converter is installed on the input shift much the same way an input shaft connects to a clutch. The torque converter rides on the splines of the input shaft, converting engine torque into acceleration.
Once the transmission is in...
Once the transmission is in place, you'll need a really long extension(s) in order to reach the transmission bolts. Tim uses a small impact wrench on the bolts to tighten them up.
With the transmission installed,...
With the transmission installed, Tim readies the Energy Suspension transmission mount for installation. The polyurethane mount attaches to the transmission, while the crossmember attaches to the mount in the middle, and the framerail on the outside ends.
With the crossmember mounted,...
With the crossmember mounted, Tim turns his attention to the shifter cable. The shifter cable is routed from the shifter down to the transmission to a shift mechanism, which is mounted on the driver side of the transmission.
Last but not least, Tim installs...
Last but not least, Tim installs the shifter. Joe and Tim chose Hurst's Original Quarter Stick, which is available with a forward- or reverse-pattern valvebody. Of course, since the Pro Mod C4 has a reverse-pattern valvebody, the reverse-pattern Quarter Stick is the one Tim is installing. The chrome handle is used to disengage the shifter out of park and down into reverse, neutral, and the forward gears. Once in First gear, Joe will simply pull the shifter back one detent to engage Second gear, and do the same for Third gear. The shifter won't allow you to go from the forward gears to Neutral or--heaven forbid--Park unless you pull the chrome handle. We wouldn't recommend anyone trying to go from a forward gear right into Park, though. Doing so will cause a pretty horrendous noise. Ask us how we know. Your author tried it on a dyno once.
Before Tim moves up top to install the shifter, he installs the Dynotech Engineering Services aluminum driveshaft in place. An aluminum driveshaft reduces parasitic drag through the drivetrain because of its light weight. You may have to order a custom driveshaft for the swap so do your measuring before blindly choosing a driveshaft. If you're not sure about how to measure for a driveshaft, give Dynotech a call, and the company can walk you through the measurement process.