Transmission / Drivetrain

Transform Your Transmission: Adding Easy Maintenance with Mag-Hytec!

OK, we all know that it is easy to ignore automatic transmission maintenance—its messy and time consuming and no one really thinks about it until the trans starts to slip. Most transmission pans are simple stamped steel and do not have a drain plug so draining the fluid makes a big mess on your garage or shop floor. If maintaining your automatic trans was easier and less messy you would probably stay on top of the maintenance wouldn’t you?

A Tough Act to Follow

Though clutches rank below power-adders on the desirability scale, they are every bit as important. In fact, you’d be better off not spending the time and money on a trick blower or turbo kit if you do not plan on upgrading the stock clutch assembly. Sure, it is possible on some applications to improve the performance of your motor without a clutch and pressure plate upgrade, but you can only take things so far. Eventually, the engine will let you know by racing to the moon when you least expect it. Your clutch will likely slip under full throttle, and most probably at the highest load. Better hope you have a rev limiter or things can really get ugly. But have no fear … Advanced Clutch Technology (ACT) has come up with a variety of effective combinations to cater to the needs of performance enthusiasts and racers.


Our old 350 Chevy-powered ’47 International was running a three-speed 350 Turbo trans with 4.11 gears, which, as you know, is not a great combination for this type of highway cruising. It is fine, however, for those who absolutely love in-town, short-?distance, stop-and-go cruising, as it does prove great low-speed throttle response. On the highway, however, it spins up the engine and uses more fuel. We decided that after having our low-speed fun, we were using too much fuel and weren’t comfortable listening to the whine of the small block as we approached 70 mph. It was time to make a change. We looked around for a number of answers and talked to many classic truck owners who had either installed a new set of gears, an overdrive trans or a Gear Vendors overdrive/underdrive unit. We figured that the new 700R4 trans best fit our application budgetwise, although future plans may call for a Gear Vendors unit, as it represents the best of both worlds. But we first wanted to start with a newer, more modern trans.



The pictured F-100 is a 1954 model, and it was purchased by Carl and Marianne Lewis from Milwaukie, Oregon, in 1992. The truck had seen better days, as it had been sitting out in the elements under an awning next to a storage shed. In primer, and with a transplanted 289 small block, the truck was partially disassembled as it sat on four flat tires. It had not been moved for some 10 years. Mel Nichols was hired for the much needed makeover, which took 3-1/2 years to complete.



Embark on the extraordinary journey of the “F-This” F-100, a groundbreaking collaboration between Chip Foose and Super Rides by Jordan. This radical pickup, born from a 12-year project, captured attention with its rapid 12-month transformation. Uncover the intricacies of the custom-fabricated chassis, boasting elaborate plumbing systems for air suspension, fuel delivery, hydraulics, and brakes. Experience the thunderous power of the 850hp 540ci ZZ 502 GM big block and the innovative design elements, including a tilting front end and reversed suicide doors. Explore the meticulous body modifications, the eye-catching House of Kolor Spanish Gold paint, and the handcrafted interior adorned with leather and snakeskin. Immerse yourself in the accolades earned, including “Best Radical Pickup” at the ’05 Autorama, as “F-This” emerges as a triumph of automotive artistry and innovation.



Fluids are the lifeblood of the vehicle. We need to contain those fluids yet still be able to monitor the fluid levels. Our older readers can remember the days before aftermarket flexible dipsticks or silicone caulk were available. The only option in those days was to use an OEM dipstick and dipstick tube. If you needed to shorten the tube, a hacksaw was the tool of choice. If you cut 4 inches off the tube, you then cut 4 inches off the dipstick and ground a couple of notches in the side of the dipstick to note “full” and “add.” Gaskets could be sealed with Permatex, but they had to be used as there was no such option of placing a bead of silicone caulk on the mating surface and assembling the parts.


There’s a lot to like about vintage engines. Just the sheer fact that it isn’t a small-block Chevy is enough to inspire many hot rodders. Now, don’t get us wrong; the small-block Chevrolet is nothing less than awesome, but it is also the default engine of most hot rodders. Often, there is no thought involved as many rodders simply want the 350/350 treatment. That’s probably fine for most hot rodders, but there has been a real resurgence in putting vintage motors in vintage hot rods, and we love the concept. The Oldsmobile, Cadillac, Buick Nailhead and Hemi are all great candidates for powering a vintage hot rod. Parts are still available for most of these engines, some being tougher to find than others. A surprising amount of speed equipment survives for these engines, too, and companies like Offenhauser still produce a lot of vintage speed equipment.

Killer Chiller

There was a time when most hot rods had only stick shift transmissions. We can remember running a ’39 Ford transmission behind several different engine combinations, which quite often ended up with gear teeth on the bottom of the transmission case. If the transmission didn’t break the rear axle in the ’40 Ford, the rearend would. It wasn’t a solution, but it was a start.

55 Info, Tidbits & Tips

With tech and how-tos that might benefit you for both street and/or strip application. Sometimes those elements are major, other times they are far less significant, but nonetheless helpful. We also pay particular attention to things that are of interest, up to and including the reasons why an owner did not win at a car show. There are 55 photos here, each with a bit of info. Many may pay dividends for you sometime in the future, so sit back, learn, laugh and enjoy.

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