Justin Fivella
October 11, 2013

High-Fiber Diet

A solid transmission is nothing without a stout clutch so to feed the power to the pavement we opted for a Ram Powergrip clutch, pressure plate, and throwout bearing kit. The Powergrip clutch is an affordable single-disc unit that blends performance and price into one great street/strip package. These units increase clamping loads without significantly changing pedal pressure by utilizing a special pressure plate and dual-friction 900/300 series disc that's good for over 550 lb-ft of torque in standard applications and 650 lb-ft in HD applications. Truthfully, we might be pushing the standard Powergrip to its limits with our motor setup, but instead of stepping up to a multi-disc unit, we'll report how it fares against our high-torque motor.

Photo Gallery

View Photo Gallery

Since our G-Force has a 26-spline input shaft, we had Ram spec us the appropriate disc and also opted for its 14-pound billet-aluminum flywheel. This bad boy comes fully machined, surface-ground, and balanced from the factory, and features a 0.250-inch-thick riveted steel insert that helps the clutch dissipate heat without distorting. These SFI-approved units have the steel inserts riveted in place before the flywheel is surface ground for a precision construction. The result? A quick-revving motor without the clutch-chatter.

Safety First

With power comes responsibility; and now that we've upped the ante it was time to address the serious safety concerns all stick-equipped drag racing cars should face, the addition of a quality scattershield and driveshaft safety loop.

Photo Gallery

View Photo Gallery

Sure the odds might be in your favor, but it only takes a slight mishap for a flywheel to break free and come buzz-sawing through the floorboards and possibly your legs. We'll save the horror movie details, but protecting yourself and your car from a clutch/flywheel explosion with a quality scattershield is a wise investment—not to mention it's needed to remain legal at our e.t. level.

When it came time to select a proper shield, we turned to none other than Quicktime. These quality scattershields are not only SFI- approved, but also much lighter than the competition. Another key feature is the compact design, which leaves plenty of clearance for the starter and headers to snake into place.

Quicktime units are made from machined steel, not stamped, making them “truer” than other scattershields. The straighter the 'shield, the easier it is to dial-in to the center of the crank, thus preventing additional load on the motor or transmission. In order to make sure our unit would dial-in, we took it to one of the best machine shops on the West Coast, Rankin Performance Machine, where owner John Rankin found the Quicktime unit to be nearly true. Rankin ultimately CNC'd some powdercoat at either mating surface to square it up. But if you know scattershields, then you know removing some extra powdercoat to achieve a flat mating surface is not a big deal.

The last bit of safety equipment was a driveshaft safety loop from Lakewood Industries that will help contain the driveshaft in the event it breaks free on either end. At minimum a broken driveshaft can beat up the floorpan of your car, but in some cases, it will not only tear through the floor and potentially harm you, it can actually launch the car should the transmission side of the driveshaft fall and bite into the ground. To prevent such carnage, we opted for the affordable bolt-in Lakewood unit made from hardy zinc-plated steel; it's both NHRA- and IHRA-legal.

While it might seem a little excessive, safety pieces like a quality driveshaft safety loop and a scattershield are crucial to keeping safe and enjoying the sport of drag racing for years to come.

Photo Gallery

View Photo Gallery

Driving impressions

Before really enjoying our newfound drivetrain components, we not only needed to put the necessary break-in miles on the clutch (Ram recommends 500 miles), but we also needed to break in the new G-Force transmission. After a thorough running-in, both the clutch and transmission operated flawlessly. Clutch take-up is smooth and easy, and rev-matching with the lightweight flywheel is amazing.

As for the transmission, it shifts like glass whether on the street or banging gears at the track, andFirst gear is now tall enough we can dig into a solid 60-foot without a quick 1-2 shift like the stock box. Lets also not forget the deep overdrive that lets us run down the highway without taching out.

We'll leave you here for now, but follow along with the installation process below and stay tuned for the next installments as we put the finishing touches on the car and hit the track in search of a smog-legal 10-second e.t.