Thursday, January 15, 2009

Circle-D Torque Converter

When writing up a review it's always hard to come with good descriptive terms that convey what the experience is like. In case of the Circle-D Torque Converter my initial reaction is best described by Peter Boyle, who played Frank Barone in the Tv-Show 'Everybody loves Raymond'. His catch-phrase? "HOLY CRAP!"

Some people who are not that much into cars may not even understand what a torque converter is. The Converter is what transfers the power from the Engine to the Transmission. It basically is comparable to a clutch in a manual transmission car. And we all know that if you step on the gas and rev up the RPMs before releasing the clutch you get a lot more power to the wheels than if you were to release the clutch at a lowly 1000 rpm. Going with an aftermarket converter is similar to this; it provides a way for the engine to raise the rpms to a certain spot (the stall speed of the converter) so that you're at that sweet-spot in the rpm band faster. (warning: the above explanation may not be 100% accurate and is just to clarify the basic principles to people who are not familiar with torque converters ;) )

Circle-D has been synonymous with quality converters for quite some time now in Ford,GM and Chrysler markets. They have a track record for products that can take abuse over and over using quality Billet front ends and Lock Up Pistons. When we first started looking into available torque converters for the G8 we were basically left with 3 big names: Yank, Precision Industries, and Circle-D. While they all make 'good' products, based on comments & experiences we felt that Circle-D was above & beyond these other converters.

Circle-D offers 3 levels of converters for the Pontiac G8 (6L80 transmission). They are:
  • Billet Street Series - Stage I
    Billet Front & Billet Lock Up Piston
    Fully Furnace Brazed & Hand Tig Welded
    High Carbon Lock-Up Clutch
    Lightweight Design ~ 30lbs
    Heavy Duty Roller Clutch
    9.5" 245mm - Stalls from 2500-4000
    Rated up to ~450 RWHP
  • Billet Racer Series - Stage II
    Custom Billet Front & Billet Lock Up Piston
    Fully Furnace Brazed & Hand Tig Welded
    Lightweight Design ~ 30lbs
    Rigid Billet Front Cover
    Anti Balloon Reinforcement Spokes
    All Torrington Needle Bearings - 3 Bearing Design
    High Carbon Lock Up Clutch
    Heavy Duty Roller Clutch
    9.5" 245mm - Stalls from 2500-5000
  • Billet Pro Series - Stage III
    Custom Billet Front & Billet Lock Up Piston
    Fully Furnace Brazed & Hand Tig Welded
    Unique Square Tab Design on Clutches Prevents Rattle
    Lightweight Design ~ 34bs
    Rigid Billet Front Cover
    Anti Balloon Reinforcement Spokes
    All Torrington Needle Bearings - 3 Bearing Design
    Heavy Duty Roller Clutch
    10" & 9.5" 245mm - Stalls from 2500-5000
    100 Square Inches of Clutch Lining
    And look at their statement for their Stage III: WOT Lock-Up - We dare you to break it!!
I had received mine a while ago, but just had not yet had the opportunity to get it installed. Since I'm new to the entire torque converter thing and had no clue what I wanted/needed I had Charlie come up with a good spec for my car & future plans. He and Chris @ Circle-D ended up going with a 2800 RPM stall speed and slightly larger with 258mm. It comes in an attractive black color (not that you'll see it after it's installed, but at least it avoids the 'pink inside' jokes like with some other converters ;) )



I had it installed by a local shop who had never worked on a G8 before (Turbo Technology in Tacoma,WA) and their quote was for 7 hours of labor at $85/hr. (I'll do a separate write-up on my experiences with them). I had read before about yank/precision saying you needed to break the converter in by 'casual' driving for the first 100 at least. So i took it easy.... until i was out of their parking lot!

Just as a comparison, beforehand if I wanted to spin my tires I would have to brake torque and then get going. If I just stomped on the gas from a deadstop, the tires would 'squeak' just a little and that'd be it.

The street was empty so I just stood on the gas, no brake torquing or anything. Instantly the RPMs shot up like a rocket and besides a roaring engine I heard the lovely squeal/swooshing sound of tires spinning on blacktop. It took off like a rocket going sideways & spinning tires through 2nd... HOOOOOLY CRAP! This thing definitely put a perma-grin on my face the rest of the day! I did several more passes down the street with and without traction control and either way this thing will have you sideways before you now it. I noticed (though this may be purely me imagining things) also that when cruising on the freeway and stepping on it, it gets to the 3000-5000rpm range way quicker.

At this point it's actually HARD to keep traction if I step on it from a dead-stop so i'll have to learn to 'roll into' the throttle instead if I want a good 0-60 time, but it's just too much fun to stand on it and break out the rear-end!

It totally transformed the car into a MUCH more fun/responsive car to drive and i would recommend this to ANYONE looking to improve their driving experience.

So if you're in the market for a Torque Converter I Highly recommend Circle-D!


http://www.circledspecialties.com

converter@circleDspecialties.com

Voice - 713-895-8834

Fax - 713-895-0636

13807 Aston St. Houston TX. 77040

2 comments:

  1. Hi Steve, though i'd let you know that after reading this blog at the start of the year, i made the call from australia to circle'd and ordered one of there stage 3 3500 converters for my own car and must say that it definantly makes the car much more enjoyable to drive.

    The car had previously ran flat 12's @ 115mph ~ 118 cam only. unfortunatly i didnt gain anything with the stall installed but i suspect this is because it wouldnt flash stall to more than 2500rpm. I did afterall tell the guys i was going forced induction (which is why i went the stage 3), so i can only put it down to not having the torque to make it flash higher.

    On the road with the blower now i get flashes as high as 3800rpm. so i cant wait to get to the track next month. Hopefully the A6 will hold togethor and not hand grenade on me.

    for those interested, i did the install myself at home and it took me 8hrs.

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  2. Any write up on Turbo Technology yet? They are a few hours away from me and I'm thinking of going there.

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