In the first of this two-part series, we looked at the operation of
electronically-controlled automatic transmissions and began checking out the
aftermarket controllers that give you adjustment of shift patterns, firmness and torque converter lock-up.
Now it’s time to examine the remaining aftermarket trans controllers...
HKS ALC II
Japanese-based tuning company, HKS, offers their ALC II (Automatic Line
Controller) specifically for the Nissan Z32 300ZX.
The ALC II is a plug-in interface with the factory auto trans control unit
and is designed to maintain constant line pressure for consistent, crisp
high-performance shifting. If line pressure in the transmission starts to drop,
the ALC II signals the factory auto trans control unit to increase line
pressure. This applies a firmer positive force on the transmission’s bands and
clutch and part-throttle shifts become considerably firmer.
Cost is around US$300 through your local HKS dealer.
JET Transmission Conversion Kits and
JET Performance Products (based in California ) offers two
conversion kits to allow fitment of electronic-controlled GM 4L60-E and 4L80-E
overdrive transmissions into any vehicle.
The 4L60-E Transconversion kit is a stand-alone system that will control the
transmission behind fuel injected, carby or diesel engines. It uses a
reprogrammed GM computer and GM ‘Weather Pack’ connectors to ensure OEM
reliability and durability. Software is custom-tuned to individual vehicle
specifications to ensure suitable shift points, shift quality and lock-up
functions. JET says the 4L60-E is perfect for use in street rods, custom trucks
and performance cars. Note there is no user adjustment.
The 4L80-E Transconversion kit follows the same theme, but with the heavier-duty
trans. JET recommends the 4L80-E for street rods, custom trucks, tow vehicles
and performance street cars making more than 400hp (294kW) with high torque
JET also offers their Power Shift product to suit the GM 4L60-E transmission.
Power Shift is a plug-in electronic control unit that’s used to adjust shift
firmness. There are four settings – Stock, Stage One, Stage Two and Race. The
Power Shift Plus is also available with a valve body kit to provide extremely
firm shifts for high performance use. The Power Shift should be of particular
interest to Holden owners who have cars using the 4L60-E trans.
The Transconversion kits start at around US$900 and the Power Shift retails
for around US$160.
B&M ShiftPlus Electronic Shift
Long-standing aftermarket parts company B&M sell their ShiftPlus
interceptor unit which increases transmission line pressure. It is claimed to
improve shift firmness to “make driving more pleasurable and reduce transmission
slippage and heat”. It makes no difference to shift pattern.
Available to suit an assortment of GM, Ford and Mazda transmissions, the
B&M ShiftPlus has a switch that allows you to select between standard and
performance mode. This very simple device takes only a few minutes to install
and costs just US$30.
Twist Machine Shrifter
The Twist Machine Shrifter isn’t a transmission controller, but it is
certainly worth mentioning.
The Shrifter is up/down paddle shifter designed for use on 1967
– 194 Chevs and accepts most popular aftermarket steering wheels. Note that
custom applications are also available on request.
Constructed from billet aluminium, the Shrifter gives sequential style gear
control along with sensational looks. A rocker switch can also be used to change
from manual to full automatic modes. The unit’s proprietary RF electronics
(which negate the need for wiring) are compatible with aftermarket trans
controllers from PCS, COMPUSHIFT, TCI and more.
for further details.
Digital Pulse Adjuster
The Digital Pulse Adjuster (DPA) is a universal electronics kit designed by
Silicon Chip magazine.
The DPA isn’t a stand-alone transmission controller, but it can be used to
increase the shift firmness at high loads. To
achieve this, the DPA isconfigured to intercept the pulse signal that
the factory transmission controller sends to the line pressure control valve.
The DPA uses a separately available hand controller to give 128 points of
adjustment and is available for just AUD$79.95 (US$61.56).
See Digital Pulse Adjuster
Delta Throttle Timer
Silicon Chip’s Delta Throttle
Timer (DTT) is another universal application electronics kit that can be used to
improve the intelligence of all transmissions that use a power/economy
The DTT can be configured so that it monitors the voltage signal
from the throttle position sensor. When the throttle is moved quickly, the DTT trips a relay
that stays on for a user-defined length of time.
Wire the DTT-controlled relay to your car’s power/economy switch and you’ll
enjoy a whole new driving experience – an assertive right foot immediately
switches the trans into power mode. No need to manually push a button.
See Improving Your Auto Trans Intelligence
for full details.
The Five-Minute Shift
If your car uses a Bowden cable to convey throttle position information to
the transmission, an effective shift upgrade should take only a few minutes.
By increasing the cable pre-tension (as seen here, using a 1991 Lexus LS400
as an example), the transmission will think you’re always using more throttle
that you really are. This improves eagerness to downshift, each gear will be
held to higher revs when using part throttle, and shifts may be made more
See Tweaking the Shift
for our complete article on this no-cost and very effective modification.
Factory ECU Recalibration?
If you currently have an electronic-controlled transmission that you want to
improve, it’s possible that the car’s trans control unit can be reprogrammed to
give the desired results.
But you’ll only be able to do this if you own a popular car with an ECU that
has been fully ‘hacked’.
Sophisticated programming software (such as EcuTeK for Subarus and LS1 Edit
for Holden/Chev Gen IIIs) give adjustment over various automatic shift
properties. What you can adjust will vary depending on the vehicle and the type
of rewriting software being used.
We suggest that you contact specialist tuners of your vehicle to see what’s
If there are any other aftermarket transmission control products that haven’t
been mentioned, please email us at email@example.com
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