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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
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    south carolina
    Posts
    693

    Default Shimming "The Wheel" flexplate to the converter

    Hi folks,

    getting ready to fire up my new engine combo. I am using "The Wheel" SFI flexplate and it does indeed have the teeth on the correct side. I remember a few years back some peeps got them and the teeth were facing the wrong direction.

    Anyway, everyone agrees that we have to use washers to push the converter back toward the pump. As the spacing comes on the wheel, it pulls the converter too far forward. People say they uste 3/8" washers and longer/hardened 3/8" bolts. I believe the converter should come forward no more than 1/3" from when it is bottomed against the pump.

    My tranny guy, who also races, said "DO NOT DO THIS UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES!" He says he has tried it on different engins and has always had issues--bolts coming loose or breaking, I guess.

    He said that if "it absolutely just has to be done" than it would be best to use solid spacers instead of individual washers, though he doesn't know where to get those.

    He said it would be best just to use a stock flexplate.

    Any input/thoughts/experience would be appreciated.

    Best,

    Ranger
    Aiken, SC

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Flat Rock, MI
    Posts
    1,529

    Default Re: Shimming "The Wheel" flexplate to the converter

    I have used the flywheel you speak of. My trans guy says no less than a nickel and no more than two nickels for shimming. I've used grade 8 washers or thick shims with great success. Make sure the converter pads aren't interferring with anything. If the joint is good, you should not have any loosening. I do use loctite and torque the bolt per a torque chart. I also always use fine pitch. HTH
    Rob Ross
    rross455@comcast.net

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Gresham, Oregon
    Posts
    1,220

    Default Re: Shimming "The Wheel" flexplate to the converter

    I would not use stacked washers for something that takes that much torque. You need a machine shop to make you solid spacers.

    I would still be a little concerned about using solid spacers too because won't you lose the center hub centering location? I don't know specifically what the assy looks like offhand, but if memory serves, isn't there a raised ridge on the crank that fits into the center of the flywheel?

    If so, I would think you need a solid 5/16" thick spacer plate that goes under the flywheel and onto the crank to ensure balance and centering. Any combination of individual parts may, and probably will cause balance problems and then there goes your rear main.

    Seems like a terrible design flaw on the flywheel if you have to shim it out to make it function as it should.
    Jon Baker (just like the guy in CHiPs)

    1967 skylark, 455, th400, in process
    2003 Regal LS. Not a v-8 or supercharged, but I still like that car. Heck of a stereo in there now too.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Palm Harbor, FL
    Posts
    597

    Default Re: Shimming "The Wheel" flexplate to the converter

    Steel shims would be preferable to washers because they are machined to a precise thickness and you want all three shims to be the same thickness. That being said, I'm using grade 8 washers as spacers but I measured them with a micrometer so all 3 are the same thickness. Since I'm only using one spacer each (.079 thick) I was able to use the original flexplate bolts. This is on a street car with a stock flexplate.
    64 Skylark Convertible
    462 w/ Stage 2 heads, TA 212 cam, B4B intake
    CK 200-4R w/2400 SS
    3.73 12 Bolt w/ TruTrac and Moser axles

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Oakland Gardens, N.Y.
    Posts
    21,853

    Default Re: Shimming "The Wheel" flexplate to the converter

    Quote Originally Posted by Houndogforever View Post
    I would not use stacked washers for something that takes that much torque. You need a machine shop to make you solid spacers.

    I would still be a little concerned about using solid spacers too because won't you lose the center hub centering location? I don't know specifically what the assy looks like offhand, but if memory serves, isn't there a raised ridge on the crank that fits into the center of the flywheel?

    If so, I would think you need a solid 5/16" thick spacer plate that goes under the flywheel and onto the crank to ensure balance and centering. Any combination of individual parts may, and probably will cause balance problems and then there goes your rear main.

    Seems like a terrible design flaw on the flywheel if you have to shim it out to make it function as it should.
    Jon,
    We are talking about the torque converter to flex plate, not the flex plate to the crank. If the torque converter is pulled too far forward, it will not engage the front pump drive adequately, and damage it. I have never had any issues with using grade 8 washers. Using locktite is a good idea.
    Larry
    1998 "Fully Optioned" SC3800 Riviera
    70 GS 455 Stage1, TSP 470, 602 HP@ 5900, 589 TQ @ 4900
    TA Hyd Roller Cam, 230*/238*, 112, .544"/.577" lift, 4-7 swap
    MSD Digital 6+, Ignitionman Distributor w/MSD trigger
    1967 BT Switchpitch ST-400, Gear Vendors OD
    with TSP 3200/1800 converter
    AED 1000 HO Carb, 800 CFM 7042240 Quadrajet
    8.5 10 bolt, 3.73's
    Best E.T. 11.54@ 115.00. Best MPH, 11.58@ 115.89
    Larrymta@verizon.net, GSCA #291
    BPG # 1063
    N.E. GS/GN Club Assistant Director

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Gresham, Oregon
    Posts
    1,220

    Default Re: Shimming "The Wheel" flexplate to the converter

    Quote Originally Posted by LARRY70GS View Post
    Jon,
    We are talking about the torque converter to flex plate, not the flex plate to the crank. If the torque converter is pulled too far forward, it will not engage the front pump drive adequately, and damage it. I have never had any issues with using grade 8 washers. Using locktite is a good idea.

    Doing my best Emily Lattella....... Nevermind
    Jon Baker (just like the guy in CHiPs)

    1967 skylark, 455, th400, in process
    2003 Regal LS. Not a v-8 or supercharged, but I still like that car. Heck of a stereo in there now too.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Central MN
    Posts
    292

    Default Re: Shimming "The Wheel" flexplate to the converter

    I use the nice hardened black oxide coated washers all the time. They come in several thickness ranges. You can get them at Fastenall. They are similar to the ones that come in ARP stud kits. Never had a problem, I use a little red loctite too.

    I like from 3/16" to 1/4" end play in the converter to allow for expansion.

    Ron @ the machine shop

    Visit;
    Cedar Machine Service, on Facebook,
    for some current projects.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Pine City, MN
    Posts
    8,195

    Default Re: Shimming "The Wheel" flexplate to the converter

    George Sweesy's car had 2 machined Grade 8 washers under each converter pad, to obtain the desired spacing. That particular converter used 7/16 bolts, and appropriate hardened fasteners were used.

    No issues at all with 765 ft lbs of torque, coming off the trans brake at 5500 rpm, in a 3200 lbs race weight car.

    Don't worry about it durability wise.. as MNGS455 said, about 3/16 out of the converter is the sweet spot, and make sure you use hardened and machined (not cut) washers.. and then mic their thickness to insure your using even stacks. As I recall, hardened machined washers are about .100 thick.

    They do vary a little bit, so take your mic or veiner caliper to the hardware or fastener store when you buy. The spacers Ron speaks of, if they are in the size range you need,will be generally more accurate in thickness.

    JW
    Owner/operator

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  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    south carolina
    Posts
    693

    Default Re: Shimming "The Wheel" flexplate to the converter

    Hi folks,

    Thanks for all the replies. Are "hardened and machined, not cut" washers the ones sold at Fastenall?

    "To my eye," when I bottom the converter all the way in it looks like I have about 1/2" space between converter pads and "The Wheel." Assuming I pull the converter forward by 1/4" I would still have another 1/4" to shim, and that sounds like too much.

    From what you guys have said it appears that a guy wouldn't wanna add more than .100" of shim, am I understanding this correctly.

    As well, I'm sure I have 3/8" bolts in my old K-B switch/pitch converter. Is it worth it to drill them out to 7/16??

    Thanks again to all!

    Best,

    Ranger
    Aiken, SC

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Central MN
    Posts
    292

    Default Re: Shimming "The Wheel" flexplate to the converter

    The Fastenall washers are cut parallel. Stack as many as you need, you won't have a problem. You will have problems if you leave too much clearance, usually the pump gears will break.

    I have seen converters built with these washers tack welded right to the mounting flanges.

    Ron @ the machine shop

    Visit;
    Cedar Machine Service, on Facebook,
    for some current projects.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    south carolina
    Posts
    693

    Default Re: Shimming "The Wheel" flexplate to the converter

    @ Ron,

    Thanks! But if I do end up using enough Fastenall washers to take up .250" or so, might it be prudent to enlarge the converter holes/threads to 7/16" or do you think I would still be o.k. w/ the stock 3/8"?

    Best,

    Ranger
    Aiken, SC

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    the Seasonally Frozen Wastelands
    Posts
    2,435

    Default Re: Shimming "The Wheel" flexplate to the converter

    What moron designs and builds a flexplate that needs to be specially shimmed? How tough can it be to get the distances correct on the part itself, rather than "custom-fitting" the thing?

    "I" would send the flexplate back with a note telling them to build it RIGHT instead of CHEAP.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    berkley, mass.
    Posts
    2,932

    Default Re: Shimming "The Wheel" flexplate to the converter

    Quote Originally Posted by Schurkey View Post
    What moron designs and builds a flexplate that needs to be specially shimmed? How tough can it be to get the distances correct on the part itself, rather than "custom-fitting" the thing?

    "I" would send the flexplate back with a note telling them to build it RIGHT instead of CHEAP.
    if i remember the stock flex plate has a slight dish to it which brings the mounting pads out where they should be. we are probably lucky that the aftermarket supplies us with a sfi unit and thats how they are going to do it i suppose. if they would sell a million of them they would probably have it identicle to a stock one. i have used stainless washers and miced them up for spacers. no issues yet.
    paul c.
    65 skylark conv. 455/th400
    79 z28 w/a dart block and headed 555 bbc. hopefully 9.50
    2 jetskis
    mountain bikes and road bikes
    no more hobbies please

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Central MN
    Posts
    292

    Default Re: Shimming "The Wheel" flexplate to the converter

    Quote Originally Posted by ranger View Post
    @ Ron,

    Thanks! But if I do end up using enough Fastenall washers to take up .250" or so, might it be prudent to enlarge the converter holes/threads to 7/16" or do you think I would still be o.k. w/ the stock 3/8"?

    Best,

    Ranger
    Aiken, SC

    Sorry, just saw this...

    I would enlarge them to 7/16". I use fine thread, grade 8 on my race stuff and sometimes have to shim them .250" because of the mid plate. The converter company makes them with an interchangeable crank pilot that is threaded on. They use all the same core, but with spacers and a longer pilot for different mid-plate thicknesses.

    ---------- Post added at 01:03 AM ---------- Previous post was at 01:01 AM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Schurkey View Post
    What moron designs and builds a flexplate that needs to be specially shimmed? How tough can it be to get the distances correct on the part itself, rather than "custom-fitting" the thing?

    "I" would send the flexplate back with a note telling them to build it RIGHT instead of CHEAP.
    A flat flex-plate is stronger than one that is stamped for offset like OEM.

    Race parts require fitting. You'd hate to see what it takes to get a set of aluminum rods to fit in a stroker engine

    Ron @ the machine shop

    Visit;
    Cedar Machine Service, on Facebook,
    for some current projects.

 

 

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