Technology developments in drag racing have a habit of starting at the highest levels of the sport, and then those new ideas trickle their way down. This effect can be applied to all parts of the racecar, including the torque converters that are used in the vast majority of cars in competition today. ATI Performance Products’ new line of bolt together converters were initially developed for high-horsepower Pro Mods, but now are available in multiple sizes for many types of racing.
Bolt together converters aren’t new technology, but their use in more classes, with different engine combinations, has experienced exponential growth over the years. Racers everywhere are starting to see just how versatile these converters can be and how they can improve any racing program. ATI is now capitalizing on this growing demand and need for the bolt together units to help their customers achieve a higher level of performance.
According to ATI’s David Caine, their bolt together units offer some serious value to any racer.
“Initially the bolt together converter has a higher cost, but racers are able to see the value later on down the line when it comes to maintenance and adjustability. With the bolt together converters, the end user can perform basic service as needed, whereas before with welded converters, if you hurt the motor or transmission you would have to send the converter back to make sure the sprag was okay, or clean out any debris that got inside. Now, the customer can take it apart, clean it, and put it back together instead of paying for shipping and having us service it on top of the wait.”
These bolt together units have another big advantage over the standard weld together converter: they give the racer the power to adjust the converter to meet their performance requirements. Pulling the converter out of the car and sending it in for adjustment costs extra money and time — both things that will add up over the life of a converter. The ATI bolt together units remove that problem from the equation, and add value for the racers who want to make adjustments on their own.
The ATI bolt together converters now come in 8-, 9-, 10-, and 10-1/2-inch sizes, so they can be used in virtually anything from a Saturday night bracket car all the way up to a 4,000 horsepower Pro Mod or Radial vs The World car. Our very own Evil 8.5 Mustang project car has been outfitted with one of the 10-inch units and will be getting put through its paces in the very near future. “We already had a 10.5-inch with lockup for the big power stuff, so we decided to release this converter in other sizes, as well. All of these converters are available with the lockup option, too. The lock up comes in handy for turbo cars that need a converter loose enough to get the car going, but then can become tight enough to hold on to the power. This feature really makes these converters an option for more racers,” Caine says.
Not every racer out there is running a heads-up car with a power adder, but they can enjoy the benefits of the ATI bolt together converter, too.
“The bolt together converter is great for racers who are changing their combination often and it provides an extra tuning tool. For sportsman racers who race at different tracks in various conditions during the year, the bolt together converter gives them the freedom to adjust for the weather and other variables. They can loosen or tighten the converter just by changing the stator on their own so they don’t need multiple converters, or have to deal with shipping converters out to get updated,” Caine explains.
ATI’s bolt together converters are packed with some great features that set them apart from other units and make them very attractive for different racers. “These converters have double O-ring seals where other bolt together converters only have one. There are half as many bolts in our converters compared to different bolt together units on the market due to our design. We also use a steel pump half to help keep the price lower and that opens this technology up to racers of all levels,” Caine says.
The converters have a billet aluminum rear cover and steel front pump to keep them rigid, which also helps keep the weight down to well under 30 pounds on some of the converters, depending on the size. Another trick feature on the ATI bolt together converters is the snout design that was implemented; the converters have a bolt on snout that eliminates the need to weld it back on and mill it down to fit correctly. ATI also added removable bronze and steel pilot spacers as an option for varying mid-plate applications.
You can expect to see future articles on the bolt together converter as we test and race our Evil 8.5 Mustang in the NMCA West series. In the meantime, if you’re looking for a new converter solution make sure you head over to ATI’s website to see all the bolt together options they have!