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Broken bellhousing? No problem!

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by BadDog, Oct 5, 2004.

  1. BadDog

    BadDog SOL Staff Member Super Moderator Author

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    Ultra Bell article in progress.

    In the next few days, this link will show an article covering modification of a Th350 to accept an "Ultra-Bell" bell housing upgrade. These run around $200 and make the stock bell look like tin foil. Literally!

    I've also learned that there is really no difference in the "K-Case" except for the converter cover being stronger and having the strut mounts. With the struts, it's arguably less likely to crack on the top where they usually do (and like my donor had done) but without the struts you might as well use a car case for all the good a "K-Case" will do you... Now that I have the ultra-bell, I'll never be forced to look for the harder to find cases again. Not only does the ultra bell not require the struts, but it's so much stronger that you'll never have to worry about breaking it! Now if the rest of the case were as strong… <sigh>
     
  2. thebigdaddyof2

    thebigdaddyof2 1/2 ton status

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    Russ,
    Very cool to have "one of us" actually buy and install one of these ultra bells...and then to write an article with pics to boot!! Bravo!

    Until recently, I didn't even know these existed. I'm very happy to see these replacement bells as I have several T400s with cracked/broken bells.

    Hope you don't run into any starter clearance issues. It looks very tight.

    Who did you purchase from?
     
  3. sled_dog

    sled_dog 1 ton status

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    dang, how much does one of those cost?
     
  4. Ruthven13

    Ruthven13 1/2 ton status

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    [ QUOTE ]
    These run around $200 and make the stock bell look like tin foil. Literally!


    [/ QUOTE ] /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif
     
  5. sled_dog

    sled_dog 1 ton status

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    doh missed that.
     
  6. pauly383

    pauly383 Daddy383 Staff Member Moderator

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    That is so nice , you have dual 90 degree patterns . You can run any Chevy or BOP and Caddy motor you want now
     
  7. sled_dog

    sled_dog 1 ton status

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    part of the reason I am finding it so cool, I have 1 or 2 BOP 400s sitting around /forums/images/graemlins/pimp1.gif
     
  8. hi pinion

    hi pinion 3/4 ton status

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    Bravo dude, i love that /forums/images/graemlins/peace.gif thats an amazing idea /forums/images/graemlins/peace.gif /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif
     
  9. DesertDueler

    DesertDueler 1/2 ton status

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    So does the new bellhousing connect to the pump only? or am I missing something? Also how did you cut the case?

    Dan
     
  10. BadDog

    BadDog SOL Staff Member Super Moderator Author

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    [ QUOTE ]
    Hope you don't run into any starter clearance issues. It looks very tight.

    Who did you purchase from?


    [/ QUOTE ]
    Yeah, I noticed that but not sure yet since it's not in. I'll just install the bell alone first to make sure things fit. Probably this week end. The bell is a tight fit on the converter too, and one guy apparently had to clearance just a bit to fit. One good thing about it though, if need be, there is PLENTY of material to clearance! And there are several suppliers I found online. There is a whole list of suppliers on the manufacturers web site at http://www.racewithjw.com/distributors.html. I got mine from a company I knew back in my home town. I'll let you guys guess which one that is. /forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif

    [ QUOTE ]
    That is so nice , you have dual 90 degree patterns . You can run any Chevy or BOP and Caddy motor you want now

    [/ QUOTE ]
    Yep, another cool feature.

    [ QUOTE ]
    So does the new bellhousing connect to the pump only? or am I missing something? Also how did you cut the case?


    [/ QUOTE ]
    That is correct, it's held by the pump bolts and longer high-grade bolts provided with the bell. I was a bit skeptical at first, but based on the number of drag racers running these things to replace stock bells broken by HP and wheel hops with no further problems, I guess it works. Seems like the same stresses we subject them too (and worse!), and the drag cars break in the same place (the top bolts), so this seems a good solution, we'll see.

    As for cutting, that will all be in the article. The instructions say the pump must be removed, but that's B.S. It also suggests using a recip saw, but again, while cutting off two of them (the first was my broken case for practice/test/test-fit) I found that there was a better way. Basically it was a combination of 4.5" cut-off on most of it with recip where contours caused problems. Once I had the rough cut, I did the fine adjustment with a 4.5"x1/4" wheel and multiple test fits.
     
  11. jarheadk5

    jarheadk5 1/2 ton status

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    Looks stout!
    I'd be sure to seal up that gap at the top between the tranny and the bell.
     
  12. BadDog

    BadDog SOL Staff Member Super Moderator Author

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    Why? There is nothing exposed except the pump face, which is exposed anyway if you don't run a converter cover. If fact, if I had followed the instructions exactly, there would have been a gap nearly 1/4" wide all the way around. But the gist of it is that the bell housing MUST NOT touch the case anywhere, so I made the gap less than 1/8" mostly for appearances. Frankly, it looked strange on the first case I did, so the second one (the real one, first was practice/experiment) has less gap. And I probably won't even run a cover since the ultra-bell does not provide "wings" wide enough to properly mount the k-case cover, and it certainly does not need what little added rigidity that the cover and struts would provide.
     
  13. 83ZZ502_Jimmy

    83ZZ502_Jimmy 1/2 ton status

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    Looks good... /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif Now another thing to add to my project list..

    John
     
  14. jarheadk5

    jarheadk5 1/2 ton status

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    Hmmph... Very well then.

    My train of thought is that dirt/sand/water will get into that area and do wonderful things to the input seal. As for running w/o a converter cover, I wouldn't knowingly do it. But hey, that's just me.
    Obviously the folks that make the Ultra-Bell know far more about this than I do, so I'll just STFU. /forums/images/graemlins/whistling.gif
     
  15. BadDog

    BadDog SOL Staff Member Super Moderator Author

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    If I ran mud, I would probably feel as you do about the cover. But out here it's almost impossible to hit on anything, and anything of consequence wouldn't be deterred by the cover anyway. And even the factory covers really didn't seal anything, they just kept out the big chunks. The K-Case cover only fits at 4 of the 6 holes, so when it comes down to it, I probably will add it just as a safety/neatness/finished point, but there is really no way to seal it off with the stock bell and the Ultra-Bell is even more problematic unless you really want to take a lot of time with fitment (and if you think it was quick and easy to get what I did, you would be mistaken). If I were to do yet a third one, I would get that area closer, but it's mostly an aesthetic thing, not a concern for sealing it up.

    And just for discussion, since it's all but impossible to get that area to fit tightly due to the various radii and contours coming together, what would you suggest to seal it up? Epoxy or something like that come to mind, and might work well as long as it were not allowed to bride the case to the bell (in which case I expect the highly different coefficient of expansion would pop it out in a short time). Other ideas? What were you thinking of?

    And I hope I didn't come off as a smart butt in my reply. Please don't "STFU", I'm always interested in suggestions and pointers, even if they indicate that I did something terribly wrong. I would rather be painfully enlightened than pleasantly delusional…
     
  16. ntsqd

    ntsqd 1/2 ton status

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    I think Epoxy will be too rigid and if I understand the assembly sequence correctly it could make future rebuilding a real PITA!

    If you want to seal that gap I would use quality silicone. Buy it in the caulking gun tube and smooth it over with a wetted finger. It's not like this is a frequent service item, so buying the silicone shouldn't put you in the poorhouse. As a bonus, silicone is flexible enough that any minor relative motion won't bother it.

    Now if they just made the cover too. Then we could cut an O-ring groove in it and really seal off the t/c.
     
  17. mosesburb

    mosesburb For Rent Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    I second the RTV idea. If it were mine, I'd use some 598 and call 'er done.
     
  18. BadDog

    BadDog SOL Staff Member Super Moderator Author

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    Yeah, I thought of silicone or similar but there is probably a 1/2" gap at the widest point (where I didn't account accurately for the curve of the bell in relation to contours). I know I can glob it in to fill it, but I didn't think it worth the mess frankly. The epoxy idea was in reference to building up the trans case so that the gap was smaller, but not to actually bridge to the bell. Paint to match and it looks like part of the trans case rather than a glob-o-crap plugging a hole. But of course there would still need to be a 1/16 gap or so minimum…

    Sounds like the general consensus is to fill it in with something, I guess I'll give it more consideration.
     
  19. sled_dog

    sled_dog 1 ton status

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    my first thought is siding silicone. Cut the tip and use a caulk gun you could easily gap that without filling down in there. And its easily removed when and if you need to remove the bell.
     
  20. BadDog

    BadDog SOL Staff Member Super Moderator Author

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    Ok, I fixed some typos and grammatical errors along with adding a few new photos. That's pretty much it until I can get it installed and check for clearance issues... Tomorrow I'll be doing seals and gaskets, switching over to my +3 deep pan and offset pick-up, and so forth. Maybe I'll actually get it installed this week end as well, but I'm not holding my breath...
     

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