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PPG Synchro Box - Better than you thought?

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PPG Synchro Box - Better than you thought?

 
Old 08-20-2018, 09:45 AM
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Default PPG Synchro Box - Better than you thought?

This is going to be wordy, but worth it for any of you looking for some solid information on our cars.

For those of you who aren't familiar with me or my car, my name is Stuart and I have been driving/racing my turbo S2000 for the better part of three years now. I took the same path alot of you probably did; started with a basic pump gas setup, then ethanol, then a built motor setup. From day one I "knew" about the supposedly weak transmissions our cars have. At 450-500whp the car was dead reliable, I literally never had an issue with it. After going to ethanol and running it around 600whp on the stock motor, trans, and diff the car was still surprisingly reliable but over the course of 12 months I think I broke two second gears and two rear ends. I honestly was driving it extremely hard, so it actually surprised me how much abuse everything took.

At the end of 2015 my car had attracted some attention from the 1/2 mile results I had achieved and Tom of Pfitzner Performance Gearboxes had reached out to me about a gearset for my car. I will be honest, it wasn't the cheapest option, and I was still hesitant to put a gearset in what I had always heard was a super weak transmission case. I ended up pulling the trigger and also put in a Science of Speed carbon twin disk. For the better part of 2016 I fought drivetrain issues. Car wouldn't shift sometimes, grind alot, etc. Turned out my clutch had some issues. SOS was great and got to the bottom of it, but for the most part the calendar year of 2016 was wasted. In 2017 I found someone selling a R200 swap for cheap that I picked up. It's the same R200 kit that has been around for years, and that I had never heard any bad things about. For what it's worth I found out my kit was a super old version, but I do not know if what revisions, if any, have been done over the years. The kit was installed with the supplied DSS axles I had rebuilt and I also purchased the carbon DSS driveshaft that got released right as I was putting this kit in. I had previously installed Hasport differential mounts with medium firmness inserts. All parts of the diff kit itself (mounting hardware, brackets, etc.) were installed correctly and not modified in any way. Although I wasn't 100%, I thought I noticed a slight vibration at speed (100+mph). I really didn't think much of it as it was very slight and considering everything in the drivetrain was no longer stock I just wrote it off as "racecar" stuff. I drove the car down to TX2K17 just a few days after getting it all buttoned up and had a pretty severe axle failure on the highway after doing a fourth gear pull. My car is extremely low so I chalked it up to possibly bad axle angle or length causing some binding. After sending the axles out and going over everything with DSS we got the axles all lined out and I drove the car for a little while before putting it on the dyno at our shop to update the Motec for full Flex Fuel. It is important to note that in between the time the axles failed and it going on the dyno I didn't really beat on the car because we had changed a few things like the wastegate spring and added a second boost control solenoid.

While on the dyno the car broke a tailshaft housing on the first big power pull. The car wasn't making any more power than it had previously, right around 600whp. Odd failure out of nowhere, but again I had heard these cases were weak so didn't think much of it. I had a spare trans, so I literally replaced the trans with car still bolted on our hub dyno overnight. Got back to tuning the car the next day, boom tailshaft housing fails again on the next pull. Obviously something is up so I start thinking something is up with the driveshaft. I send it out to DSS and they suspect one of the CV's was bad already. Very odd, but they take care of it, send it back within a day or so and I am ready to try again. I bought another tailshaft housing and put it on one of the broken transmissions I had at that point. I get the car all buttoned up and do a pull on the highway a day or so after that. Guess what, tailshaft housing fails AGAIN on that pull. As you can imagine I am pretty pissed and confused at this point. The car has gone from surprisingly reliable to a complete piece of shit out of nowhere. At this point DSS has gone over everything we can think of between axles and driveshaft. They also send me a steel shaft to try out while they really look into the carbon unit to see if something is wrong. Additionally, I start looking else where. Maybe the stock rear trans mount is worn out and allowing movement? Maybe the 1:1 reduction gear from PPG is causing too much load inside that weak case?

I order the Innovative rear trans mount and put that in, along with yet another tailshaft housing. The new mount allowed me to feel ALOT more of what was going on with the car. On the highway just cruising there was a super obvious vibration I felt in the seat at normal speeds. Cool, so let's find what is causing that. Instead of risking breaking on the highway again I put the car back on the dyno and three cameras underneath the car pointed at various things. Nothing obvious shows under light/medium load so we do some pulls. Enjoy some carnage:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1LIA...ew?usp=sharing

It is important to note that the hesitation heard/seen was related to something with the dyno programming, not the car. It did help show some slop in the drivetrain I wanted to address though. What is important to watch for is the end of the driveshaft/trans output flange. You can literally see it oscillate and then fail. That makes housing number four! Now like I said I noticed alot of slop in the diff and figured maybe that started the vibration in the system which has been causing the failure. I order up the stiffest urethane inserts Hasport offers and put those in. I picked up a cheap AP1 trans to swap in and also sent my entire PPG trans to PPG to have them go through it and make sure something isn't up inside the trans. Around this same time frame Frank, owner of Driveshaft Shop, asks me to measure the run angles on the driveshaft. This is were stuff gets really interesting.

I want to make it clear before we get into this that I am not trying to drag anyone's name through the mud. I am merely pointing out what I found to be my issue and what I believe could very likely be an issue for numerous other people in our community. According to DSS neither of the u-joints on the driveshaft should have more than a 3* run angle (calculated by subtracting the flange angle from the overall angle of the driveshaft) and there should not be more than a .5* difference between the run angle of the two u-joints. If not within spec you can have some serious issues with binding and vibrations. Please remember, the rear end kit in my car has not been modified in any way, and the transmission is still installed same as stock. The run angle on the transmission side flange was at 3.5* and the differential side was at 4.75*! That leaves us WELL past the optimal run angles on both AND the difference between the two is extremely out of spec. As you can imagine I was both thrilled to have most likely found the source of months of frustration, but also a bit confused on why this was so messed up. I do some calculating and measuring on both the trans and the diff to determine how much each of them needs to move in order to get everything right. I determine the rear of the trans needs to come down about a half inch (easy enough, just make some aluminum spacers and use longer bolts), but the front of the diff needed to come up 1 1/8"! You read that right, over an inch. I achieved this by having that amount of material removed from the front diff mounts that come with the kit. Luckily the rear urethane mounts had enough deflection that I could do this and still have everything line up. After spacing the rear of the trans down a half inch and the front of the diff up I ended up with the following:

Driveshaft run angle - 3* (sloping down from engine to rear of car)
Trans flange - 3.75* (pointing down from engine to rear of car)
Diff flange - 4* (pointing up towards front of car)

So now we have the whole system in almost a straight line and all the angles well within spec. Talk about a night and day difference! The car felt smoother than I ever remember it feeling at 130+. I beat the absolute shit out of the car for a couple weeks on a stock AP1 trans and it didn't skip a beat. Talk about relief.

A few months ago I decided I wanted to go ahead and build the motor, so we do that, turn the car up and its makes 845whp and 623wtq. For those that haven't seen how I treat my transmission, I am not easy on it:





This PPG gearbox has taken an absolute beating at 600+wtq and hasn't given me a single issue. To be fair, I have not launched the car on slicks yet, so I can't speak from experience in saying it will take that over and over. However, I believe that the reputation this transmission case has received over the years may have been largely based around other parts affecting it. The issues with my diff swap were not readily obvious until some pretty in depth R&D was done and the problems were found. I would strongly advise people to reconsider this gearset moving forward and look at making sure the rest of your driveline isn't an issue. Tom and the rest of the guys at PPG are considering putting the gearsets back into production and I think alot of you would be thrilled with this option. The trans feels, drives, and sounds like a stock transmission. You don't have to deal with annoying swap related clutches, shfiters, etc. It's a great gearset in the stock case, it's by far the easiest option out there! Anyone experienced with rebuilding the OEM transmission should be capable of putting this gearset in a stock case. I absolutely love it and think most of you street/strip guys would too. Tom has asked me to gauge interest in people going in on a production run. Please let me know here if you are interested and I will get pricing!

Sorry about delaying the pricing announcement, I had forgotten I didn't have a firm ETA on the sets, and I am also waiting to hear back from site admins about getting T1 as a vendor so this is all A-OK. For the 1-6 Helical Synchro set 1-10 sets will be $8,000. If you are wanting to do drop gears you will be looking at $1,600. Pricing will come down to $7,600 on the 1-6 with a few more sets sold. A 10-12 week build time is expected for all sets.

Last edited by hatrickstu; 08-24-2018 at 04:53 AM.
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Old 08-20-2018, 10:11 AM
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Awesome writeup. Very informative. I would be interested to go this route if/when the time comes to rebuild my trans. Question, which gears, if not all, did you replace? Also drivability? For me, i drive my car on the street a lot. In stop and go traffic unfortunately too.
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Old 08-20-2018, 10:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Mijae007 View Post
Awesome writeup. Very informative. I would be interested to go this route if/when the time comes to rebuild my trans. Question, which gears, if not all, did you replace? Also drivability? For me, i drive my car on the street a lot. In stop and go traffic unfortunately too.
I drive my car several times a week, and all weekend. I am not bullshitting when I tell you that this setup is identical to the stock trans in terms of day to day driving. No extra noise or anything. I did the full 1-6 and additionally the drop gear set. You can do either of those individually, but I would do it all at once.
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Old 08-20-2018, 10:40 AM
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Yes I am highly interested.
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Old 08-20-2018, 10:49 AM
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Originally Posted by suryamp123 View Post
Yes I am highly interested.
I'll start a list of likely buyers and add to bottom of OP.
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Old 08-20-2018, 11:30 AM
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I’ll be interested in a solid tranny solution in the future.
I thought I read that joeyballs ran PPG box for a bit, but destroyed it.
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Old 08-20-2018, 11:49 AM
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Originally Posted by soulicious View Post
I’ll be interested in a solid tranny solution in the future.
I thought I read that joeyballs ran PPG box for a bit, but destroyed it.
Important to note if it was a synchro or dog box. Dog box is really easy to do something like a 1-2-1. Synchro box you would REALLY have to try.
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Old 08-20-2018, 11:54 AM
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I think I have some helpful insight for the rest of the community as well. My car was originally built by Stuarts shop, stuart himself inspected it before my purchase. It was making 750hp and had the PPG gearsets.

The car at that time ran flawlessly. everything about it was just like oem except way fast.

Fast forward and I was apprehensive about the transmission lastang as I do drag race, and was going for 900hp+, so i opted for the cd009 swap. That had immense issues itself, from slow shipping, shotty (at best) support and 0 instructions.. and then boom, motor seized due to wrong sizing of parts, and I was not the 1st to have this issue, but i did not find out until after it happened to me.

Now as I sit with nearly the exact same hp as stu, and having wasted literally tens of thousands of dollars to get there, I am jealous that his transmission is running great. its super smooth, tight, lightweight and OEM(ish)

To make a short story long, I wish i kept the PPG trans and avoided these issues altogether. If you want a total cost from my learned mistakes, for comparison to what you get for the PPG , I can break it down
swap kit w/ clutch $4500
Collins trans Mount $250
Custom driveshaft $500
Used CD009 $800 ( oh, 2nd gear pops out, nice!)
New CD009 $1700
Installation: $1000
New motor $5000
New head $1100
Installation $1000
Downtime from all these issues: 12 months/ $ priceless

Doesnt look that cheap anymore does it?

I am curious how it will last at that hp with some hard launches, but as one of the very few, if ANY people that have had both trans, I would go with ppg if i could do it again, and in fact, I may even do that

Thanks for the info Stu
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Old 08-20-2018, 12:19 PM
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Originally Posted by LostMarine View Post
I think I have some helpful insight for the rest of the community as well. My car was originally built by Stuarts shop, stuart himself inspected it before my purchase. It was making 750hp and had the PPG gearsets.

The car at that time ran flawlessly. everything about it was just like oem except way fast.

Fast forward and I was apprehensive about the transmission lastang as I do drag race, and was going for 900hp+, so i opted for the cd009 swap. That had immense issues itself, from slow shipping, shotty (at best) support and 0 instructions.. and then boom, motor seized due to wrong sizing of parts, and I was not the 1st to have this issue, but i did not find out until after it happened to me.

Now as I sit with nearly the exact same hp as stu, and having wasted literally tens of thousands of dollars to get there, I am jealous that his transmission is running great. its super smooth, tight, lightweight and OEM(ish)

To make a short story long, I wish i kept the PPG trans and avoided these issues altogether. If you want a total cost from my learned mistakes, for comparison to what you get for the PPG , I can break it down
swap kit w/ clutch $4500
Collins trans Mount $250
Custom driveshaft $500
Used CD009 $800 ( oh, 2nd gear pops out, nice!)
New CD009 $1700
Installation: $1000
New motor $5000
New head $1100
Installation $1000
Downtime from all these issues: 12 months/ $ priceless

Doesnt look that cheap anymore does it?

I am curious how it will last at that hp with some hard launches, but as one of the very few, if ANY people that have had both trans, I would go with ppg if i could do it again, and in fact, I may even do that

Thanks for the info Stu
Now there is a valuable post!
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Old 08-20-2018, 12:26 PM
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i haven't had any issues with 009 LOL been awesome! Other than finding a shifter that works well, which i FINALLY found!

009 shifts effortlessly on the new shifter!

PPG is for high ballers lol
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