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· Tech Specialist
1,781 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
This is my experience installing a VB and TC on my truck.
Hopefully, it will give you some insight into what this modification requires.

A little history may be in order here.
I originally was trying to save for a fully built transmission, but soon tired of waiting for $6000.00 to drop in my lap, and determined that SOMETHING was better than nothing, and better to do it sooner, than later. So I looked into a Torque Converter and Valve Body. My transmission has about 9000 miles on it, and hopefully, the addition of the TC and VB will allow it to last longer, operate cooler, and put more HP to the ground.

I gave Gus a call at Farmboys Diesel, and although he recommended doing more than the TC and VB with the HP and TQ goals I had, all I could scrape together was the funds for the TC and VB for now, especially in today's economy. Gus is a vendor on Cummins Forum, in case you haven't heard of him. He takes good care of his customers, is knowledgeable and just an all around great guy to talk to and do business with. Although I purchased the parts a short time ago, I had difficulty creating time to do the Install and write up. Work has finally slowed, so I decided to dive into the install. This procedure was performed on the truck in my signature line. Wherever possible, I reinstalled bolts and nuts once the pieces were removed to keep track of them and where they go.

The first thing I do anytime I'm wrenching on the truck, especially when disconnecting harnesses is involved, is disconnect the batteries (Usually the negative terminal).
Next, I blocked the rear wheels, to prevent the truck from moving when the drivelines were disconnected.

The front driveline at the front Axle pinion requires a T40 bit to remove. I removed it at the front differential first.

This allowed me to swing the driveline down, and access the driveline bolts at the Transfer case, which are 5/8". Spin the driveline until the bolt at the top can be accessed with a socket, repeat for the remaining 3.

This is a shot of the “Elusive” front driveline grease Zerk. The Zerk is for the CV, not the U-joint.
The only way it gets grease is if you put it there.

Grease it using a needle fitting on your grease gun.

The rear driveline is disconnected at the rear differential, by removing 4 -15mm bolts, then pulling the slip shaft out of the rear of the transfer case.

Note the large size of output shaft on the transfer case.

Next, I began removing all the connectors to the transmission and transfer case. (My transfer case is electric shift).

This is the 8 pin connector going into the VB... Note I have spliced a wire into it for a TC lockup switch...

I’m not sure why, but when I disconnected the neutral/Park safety switch connector, a little ATF fluid came out..

The connector that gave me the most trouble was the VDO shift position sensor on the Driver's side of the transmission.

There are 2- 1/2" bolts that need to be removed to gain access to the connector release mechanism.

The little red tab is the release mechanism

Next, I removed the breather tube for the transfer case.

Next I removed the shifter linkage, first, by prying upward on the shifter pivot, then by removing the bracket on the transmission. The top nut is 18mm, the bottom bolt is 3/8"

With the harness out of the way, I began removing the transfer case nuts. 14mm is a tight fit, 9/16" is a correct fit. I found it necessary to use both wrenches to loosen and remove the bottom nut by the transmission mount, there just isn't enough room to get at it, and it was the most difficult to remove.

After removing the nuts, I separated and removed the transfer case from the truck. It weighs about 110 pounds, so get help if you need it!

There are several brackets attached to the transmission Bell housing, and I decided to remove the bolts that hold the brackets on first. Bell housing bolts are 9/16" I did not remove all bolts at this time, just the ones with brackets associated with them, including the transmission dipstick bracket.


· Tech Specialist
1,781 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)

I now removed the bottom inspection cover for the Bell housing, 8mm bolts, and loosened the passenger side access plate, 10mm bolts. This will be used for access to the torque converter bolts.

Next, I removed the Transmission cooler lines at the transmission. These are 3/4", and required a 15/16" wrench to hold the Brass adapters while loosening. I placed a pan underneath to catch any fluid.

I disconnected the Starter Solenoid connector, for access to the solenoid terminal. With the battery still disconnected, I connected my "Homemade" remote starter switch. One lead to the +Batt terminal of the Starter, and the other to the now exposed Starter Solenoid terminal. Access to connect this is thru the driver's side front wheel well. I then reconnected one negative lead on one battery.

Using the remote starter switch, I "Bumped" the engine around until a Torque converter/Pressure Plate bolt became visible thru the access port.

If you go a little too far, or the engine compressions back a little, you can use a large screwdriver against the teeth of the Pressure Plate and the bottom bell housing inspection port to carefully rotate the engine in the desired direction.

Remove the Torque converter bolts they are 5/8" take care not to drop them inside the bell housing! I used a ratchet, socket and extension to loosen until I could rotate the extension by hand, I then removed the ratchet, and loosened the bolt the rest of the way, tipping the socket end up and the extension end down to ensure I captured the bolt for removal. There are 6 of these bolts. When you think you have all of them removed, you should be able to spin the Torque converter by hand without the Pressure Plate moving.

NOTE: I would NOT recommend moving the Pressure Plate at this point. It is already in position for the 1st bolt during re- assembly. There are several holes on the Pressure Plate, and confusion as to which ones to use may complicate re-installation.

At this point, I decided to drop the transmission pan ½” bolts, and install the Valve body.
When removing the pan, leave the 4 corner bolts in after removing all the others. Then Loosen 2 corners, to get the pan to “Tip”. This will make saving the ATF+4 a little easier by actually giving a stream of fluid, which you can catch in a pan.

Even with less than 10K miles, the magnet on the pan (Black fuzzy donut in lower Right corner) had some metallic material on it.

Valve body with filter still in place

The instructions that come with the valve body are pretty good. Basically, you remove the transmission shift position sensor, shifter shaft linkage 10mm, the filter 2- T25 bolts, valve body, 10 10mm bolts,

To remove the VB, push down lightly on the 8 pin connector (It has the 2 blue O-rings in the pictures.) The springs and plungers shown to the right in the picture will probably fall out, they are shown here as they should be reinstalled. The VB comes down slightly, and then the long rod with piston has to be slid out (Overdrive?)

Here’s a picture of the transmission with the VB removed.

Swap over the electronics to the new valve body T25 bolts.

Reinstall the new valve body and pan. Due to needing both hands during this juggling operation, I didn’t take any pictures of the steps, but it is pretty straightforward. The important things to remember when it is going together, is to make sure the shifter shaft goes into the transmission housing seal without deforming it.

Next, I supported the rear of the engine at the oil pan with a block of wood, and a Jack, I put a little tension on the jack, to hold the engine.

Remove the 4 bolts holding the transmission mount to the transmission.

I used a transmission jack under the transmission pan to support the transmission, place the jack under slight tension.

Remove the 4 bolts that hold the transmission cross member to the frame, and remove the cross member.

Remove the remaining Bell housing bolts.

My torque converter separated easily from the Pressure Plate, if yours does not, Use a large screwdriver inserted between the torque converter and Pressure Plate and pry the transmission rearward gently.

Once the torque converter is free of the Pressure Plate, guide the transmission back and lower it down, carefully.

Here is the stock Pressure Plate, A beefier unit is available from FBD if your funds allow it.

To remove the Torque converter, simply grab it with both hands and pull it off of the Transmission. It is heavy, so be prepared.
Transmission without torque converter

This picture compares the stock converter to FBD torque converter.

During the disassembly, I captured as much of the ATF+4 fluid I could, as it only has >10K miles on it, I poured it into a Clean bucket, straining it with an old T-shirt.

Pre filling the torque converter with ATF+4, Go slow and avoid spillage.

Moving the transmission with a full torque converter attached is a little beyond my capabilities, so it is advisable to place the transmission close to the truck before installing the Torque converter.
I also Pre-filled the transmission with ATF+4 at this point.

To Install the Torque converter, place it over the Input shaft and rotate and wiggle until it seats all the way back in the Transmission housing. 2 distinct shaft couplings can be felt. When it is properly seated, you will not be able to put your hand in between the housing and converter.

The transmission is now ready to go back up. Once in place, with the TC snout seated in the back of the Crankshaft, and the Bell housing flush with the back of the Engine, install a couple bolts to hold it in place, and then install all the bolts with the brackets attached.

Re-install the Transmission cross member, and start the 4 transmission mount bolts into the transmission. Once all are installed, go back and tighten them. Use Loc-Tite Blue on these.

Before starting on connectors, lines, and linkages, I’d recommend getting the torque converter bolted to the Pressure Plate. Use Loc-Tite Blue on these.

Note: You will first install all 6 bolts without tightening, then go back around and tighten them. This will prevent misalignment, and actually speed the installation process.
As you go back to tighten the bolts, mark them each in numerical order (1-6) using a red sharpie.
This will ensure you get each and every one of them tightened.

After I was finished, I closed and tightened the access port bolts and also the inspection cover bolts. I also removed my remote start and reconnected the solenoid connector.

At this point, I reinstalled all connectors, lines and linkages.

Next, I reinstalled the Transfer case, Use Loc-Tite Blue on these, as well.
Next, install the drivelines, and reconnect the batteries.

Give it a moment to think of what you may have forgotten, then start the truck and begin checking Transmission fluid levels. I was about 2 quarts short. BTW, ATF+4 is about $5.50 a quart, so be sure to factor that cost it if your fluid is older. You’ll need somewhere around 12 quarts or 3 gallons ($60.00)

Driving impressions:
When I put the truck in gear, the truck immediately responds. It feels like I need more brake pedal to hold it at a stop. I can actually “Feel” all the shifts now. They are not harsh, just well defined. When braking, I can actually feel the 2-1 downshift a little.
The Overall response of the truck now seems to be greatly improved! It shifts like a truck transmission should shift, and feels more “Responsive” right after each shift, instead of “Slushy”.
I never really noticed just how unresponsive the stock transmission was. After driving my truck with this VB and TC, I’d HIGHLY recommend this modification, even to a STOCK truck!

Next up, a trip to the Dyno to see if any extra power is getting to the ground!!

I’ll be sure to edit that data in!

As always feel free to comment, or ask questions!

· Tech Specialist
1,781 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks, Guys!

It's well worth the work! :thumbsup
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