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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello TC,

Another TH400 question,

The rebuild kit I have bought was a Summit branded kit, and as such, it turns out to be a rebranded Alto products full kit which I'm not unhappy about. So it comes with the Alto Reds, and Kolene steels. Now I've been doing some research, and have read numerous different approaches to using the black oxide steels. Some builders have good luck with the Kolenes, but most say just stick with stock smooth steels. I have the kit and I'm going with what I've got, so different steels and frictions are not in the cards.

I can degrease and use them as is, lightly green Scotchbright them, or use some fine steel wool on them, then clean and use. I've even heard of beadblasting and tumbling them. The thought of cleaning them of the oxide is to prevent transfer to the frictions?

I realize it's been much discussed, but what is the most recent thoughts on Kolene preparation?
It's a street only stout 496 big car, and this is my first TH400 build using the standard upgrades. Converter feed restriction with Std pressure relief, dual feed - using the TransGo 400-Pro, Manual or Auto 1-2, rear case Torrington, 34 element sprag, clutch count TBD. Maybe still a couple of wavy steels. Good tolerances all round.

Cheers and thanks,
Mark
 

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66 El Camino 57 Chevy pickup 2004 Tahoe
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I would just run them. I think Kolene knows how to make steels, don't think they would add any coating that would be harmful to the clutches.
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks Tom,

You'd think on the part of Alto Products that would make the ultimate logical sense,

But it's still amazing what you can read out there.

Cheers, Mark
 

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Ive been told by a few experienced trans builders to stay away from the kolene steels and the alto clutches.
They say they have problems with them.
My questions to them were with the understanding I was doing a stock rebuild.
I had a hard time tracking down a kit with borgwarner clutches and steels.
Raybestos was also in there.
I wound up getting a great rebuild kit for a very good price from a guy I met on the internet,lol.
Its gotten cold,so my bench project(trans rebuild) is still there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
With what I know now, I might have very well steered clear of the Red Altos and the Kolens's. New to trans, any amateur might, at first glance be impressed with the Red Alto and Kolene brandspeak, as they certainly seem to suggest an upgrade from stock. But more homework always brings a better knowledge of what is true. I'm pretty confident they will work with my combo. I'm not out to thrash or race the thing, and will look to get a reasonably firm 1-2, 3-4 shift at larger throttle, with a softer part throttle. The concern is with the steels coating, at close examination it really looks like an flat thin oxide left from the kolene process itself. Some call it rough, but its really only rough as in Flat back paint would be rough. Would it actually transfer enough to the frictions allowing slippage and heat? That is the fear.
 

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I ran Altos and Kolenes in my 4l60e.

Had issues with them coning and heat fatigue. Went back to Borg Warner and ran those and they held up a lot better even with more power and no other changes to fluid pressure.


I get the rebuild kits from Oklahoma Transmission Supply, they put together a complete overhaul kit that had BW clutches in it for a good price. I did get some additional 3/4 clutches and steels called the Borg Warner MaxPack and mixed and matched the steel/clutch thicknesses to get my desired wet clearance for the clutch pack (I set them up to near the minimum recommended clearance).
 

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I've done 2 powerglides with alto red and kolene. I didn't do any special prep, just put them in and ran them. I soak the clutches and just sprayed the steels off with brake clean. One car ran 9's and the other 8's. One was a 750 hp nitrous car, other was 1000+ supercharged. No failures or problems.
 
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