Older Sports Cars With Good Gas Mileage latest 2023

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Tremec TKO Transmissions Part 3 – The Ideal Muscle Car Overdrive Transmission

The real joy of owning a muscle car is driving it. Muscle car owners who want to get the most out of their car often travel to distant auto shows or other events, but without an overdrive transmission, a long highway trip becomes tedious. If the car has a performance rear axle ratio, it’s even worse. I love the sound of a V8 at speed as much as any guy out there, but constant 3600 rpm for three hours with a loud exhaust gets tiring. Most of us have gotten used to being able to carry on a conversation and/or listen to the radio on long journeys, and we’d like to be able to pass by at least a few gas stations without stopping to fill up! An overdrive transmission solves these problems and offers many other benefits as well.

The Tremec TKO is a five-speed manual overdrive that’s ideal for powering classic sixties and seventies muscle cars. With your choice of a 0.82:1, 0.68:1, or 0.64:1 overdrive ratio depending on the model, you can really get those revs down to a manageable number. Lower engine speeds on the highway provide several benefits.

First of all, as already mentioned, is the noise level. If you have a 3.73 axle ratio with a 235/60-15 tire (26.1″ tall), 75 MPH equals 3600 rpm with a four-speed without overdrive. The TKO-600 with a 0.64:1 fifth gear (the most popular version) will bring that 3600 RPM down to a leisurely 2300 RPM at the same 75 MPH. RPM wouldn’t!

Another benefit of lower RPM that I have already mentioned is increased fuel economy. All things being equal, the engine will obviously use less fuel at 2300 rpm than at 3600 rpm, but with a muscle car engine built for performance, another factor comes into play. At 3600 rpm min, some 4-barrel carburetors may have the secondaries partially open. If you have a steeper axle ratio, the secondaries are even more likely to be open at highway speeds. With 4.10 rear gearing, that 75 MPH number I’m using gives nearly 4,000 rpm with a non-overdrive transmission. At this point, many carburetors will see the secondary barrels dump fuel. Reducing the rpm needed for highway cruising will lower the throttle angle, closing the secondaries and making a huge difference in fuel economy. I have actually seen highway fuel mileage doubled by installing a TKO, as I could drive without having the secondaries open!

Engines wear faster at high revs. In simplified terms, every engine has a lifespan which consists of a certain number of revolutions, barring abuse, neglect or catastrophic failure. If you use fewer of those revolutions every time you go 200 miles to a car show, your $5,000, $10,000, or even $20,000 engine will last longer. It will be the same for everything attached to it that rotates with the engine. Your alternator, water pump, mechanical fuel pump, power steering pump and air conditioning compressor will all run at less rpm on the highway and their life will be increased.

High performance engines produce more heat than normal passenger car engines. Many muscle cars have heat issues due to high revs on the highway. Reducing the rpm with overdrive can reduce engine temperature and prevent overheating on long trips.

The intangible benefit of all of the above is that overdrive will allow you to drive your muscle car more. You will be able and more likely to drive it to more distant car shows, or even on vacation! Overdrive lets you get more out of your car by driving it places you wouldn’t consider going with your 4-speed engine (or 3-speed automatic) running at 3600 rpm.

The TKO is powerful enough for most muscle cars. It is rated for 500 or 600 lb-ft. continuous entry, and these numbers are very conservative. There are a large number of cars running much more than rated torque with TKO, and failures are rare. While I cannot officially condone the use of TKO in any application that exceeds the rated torque capacity, I can tell you from experience that many people have done this and had no issues even in harsh conditions. race.

The Tremec TKO will reduce the noise level on the highway, increase your fuel mileage, increase the life of your engine and everything related to it, may reduce or eliminate temperature issues and allow you to drive your car in places you wouldn’t. with an old four-speed. It is stronger than older Muncies, T-10s, Toploaders and A-833s. Versions are available that bolt directly to a common GM or Ford 4-speed bell, and custom Mopar bells are available to fit a TKO to a Mopar small block, big block, or late model Hemi. All in all, it’s an ideal transmission for a muscle car that drives on the highway. For more detailed information on TKO specs and options, check out my other articles in this series.

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