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blackmagic250R

S4s refreshening costs?? Looking at a rail with one

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Hey guys!

seems like my never ending quest for a car continues indefinitely. Looking at a car with an S4S behind a twin turbo redline Northstar.

Just wondering what a freshing costs on such a car. Trans was refreshened 20hrs ago by wright. Seller has reciepts from previous shop that “pulled and took to wright”but the cost was lumped in on an invoice with a large maintence overhaul. Seller doesnt have physical wright invoice.

 

I read some people love the trans, others hate them

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Rancho Performance 714-680-6737, ask for Sam.

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My buddy bought a car a couple years ago with a "fresh" S4 and he sent it in for service at the end of the first season. His bill was $5500

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7 hours ago, blackmagic250R said:

Hey guys!

seems like my never ending quest for a car continues indefinitely. Looking at a car with an S4S behind a twin turbo redline Northstar.

Just wondering what a freshing costs on such a car. Trans was refreshened 20hrs ago by wright. Seller has reciepts from previous shop that “pulled and took to wright”but the cost was lumped in on an invoice with a large maintence overhaul. Seller doesnt have physical wright invoice.

 

I read some people love the trans, others hate them

Here is what I found when I was shopping for a car.  I spoke with multiple trans builders and sellers.  If they took the car to "wright" to be fixed, then kindly have them call wright and get a copy of what was done.  Wright is a business and is required to keep a copy of it.  That piece of paper that says they went through it and are willing to stamp their approval is like gold when selling a car.  What they wont do is put their name on it when someone has it looked at and goes the "cheap" route.  IE gears have signs of wear, needs parts but they dont have the money to fix so they just get it going again.  Maybe they lost 2nd gear and it chipped all the other gears, but they still "work".  

There was a car for sale on here last year that had a Fortin in it.  Price was great.  Once a member asked about the transmission and was told one of the builders had gone through it but "couldn't find his paperwork" someone called the builder.  Quickly found out that the trans needed to be completely rebuilt.  And in a fortin that was a 8-10k price tag.

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I’ve had Sam at Rancho do 2 that were seemingly working fine and both were $2-2.5k range to freshen up. If I remember labor was $800 or 900 and the rest was parts.

It seems like  spending a few $ on maintenance may not save you a lot in repair costs in the long run but it’ll save you a weekend or more of fun.  I have a buddy with 10 years on his trans and never an issue or any maintenance other than an oil change. I bet when it  finally comes apart his bill will be more than $2500. 

Edited by pennywise

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I bought a car that had the S4 refreshed by RC trans and the price was $1700 per receipt, guess it all depends on what the trans needs and who does it and if its a refresh or rebuild.

Edited by Will G

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Thank you!! I appreciate the feedback.  So really, no additional costs than running a 2d car. 

 

 

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I think a bigger concern is with that motor. 

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correct me if I'm wrong... but in most cases an S4 usually requires a new ring & pinion?

as in the ring and pinion usually outlives the gears?

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If you haven't already I would read through this thread. It was eye opening for me. This site has a vast array of knowledge and experience that is absolutely FREE to us!

 

 

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Cheapest I have done was $1200 (No issues, no worn parts, just labor, seals, bearings).

Most expensive was $11,500 (All that was reused was bell housing and differential).

Expect the worst, hope for the best.

The coming thing that needs to now be done to the older (Pre 2015) sequentials to make them right is the shift mechanism. This was the main cause of complaints as to why they did not work properly. This shift machanism upgrade is approximately $3500 for the parts alone. Any worn parts, labor, seals, bearing, etc. get added on top of that. Expect no less than $4000 to do it right and bring it up to date with parts that work.

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4 minutes ago, SEAN@WEDDLE said:

Cheapest I have done was $1200 (No issues, no worn parts, just labor, seals, bearings).

Most expensive was $11,500 (All that was reused was bell housing and differential).

Expect the worst, hope for the best.

The coming thing that needs to now be done to the older (Pre 2015) sequentials to make them right is the shift mechanism. This was the main cause of complaints as to why they did not work properly. This shift machanism upgrade is approximately $3500 for the parts alone. Any worn parts, labor, seals, bearing, etc. get added on top of that. Expect no less than $4000 to do it right and bring it up to date with parts that work.

If you have a pre 2015 sequential that shifts fine... would you still be required to do this upgrade?

Does the shift mechanism upgrade just help with shifting, or does it make the trans stronger overall?

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8 minutes ago, EMPIRE231 said:

If you have a pre 2015 sequential that shifts fine... would you still be required to do this upgrade?

Does the shift mechanism upgrade just help with shifting, or does it make the trans stronger overall?

Good question. I'm interested in the answer too.

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That's a tough one to answer. There are quite a few out there that do shift just fine and there is nothing to complain about. Our new shift mechanism will certainly improve the overall quality of the shift actuation and prevent any future issues over the old design. I have had customers get their trans serviced, but not do the upgrade, then call back later saying that they are now having shifting issues that they never had before. A lot of that is due to the inconsistency of the older mechanism that works sometimes, but not others. That is our main point to these upgraded shift mechanisms. 

Sequential gearboxes need to be shifted in a very consistent manner. Inconsistency in the shift quality can cause excessive wear to the dogs, which over time can cause the trans to pop out of gear while under load, which then forces the dogs into the next gear under load and destroys them, then it's a cascade effect that destroys an entire gearset in less than a mile. 

Something to keep in mind is that most trans shops are still a bit in the dark on these shift mechanisms and how they work. Many builders do not actually take them apart and service them because of their complexity.  Some don't mess with them because of the time it takes to put them back together and tune them to make them work right. So they leave them as is which could mean that the mechanism is just about ready to start having issues due to worn springs or other parts.

I have recently serviced a PBS S5 for a Pikes Peak open wheel race car, it took me about 4 hours just to mess around with tuning it so that it would work properly. The PBS uses the same old style shift ratchet mechanism as the older Mendeola sequentials (PBS actually designed the original mechanism for Mendeola, which is why you sometimes see a Mendeola/PBS front cover). The customer complained about the trans not shifting when he pulled on the shift lever and all around inconsistent shifting. There is only so much we can do with the old mechanism due to their inherent design flaws. All that I can offer when working on these older units is that I will make sure that the trans shifts through all the gears when it leaves my bench, there is not much I can do after that.

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3 minutes ago, SEAN@WEDDLE said:

That's a tough one to answer. There are quite a few out there that do shift just fine and there is nothing to complain about. Our new shift mechanism will certainly improve the overall quality of the shift actuation and prevent any future issues over the old design. I have had customers get their trans serviced, but not do the upgrade, then call back later saying that they are now having shifting issues that they never had before. A lot of that is due to the inconsistency of the older mechanism that works sometimes, but not others. That is our main point to these upgraded shift mechanisms. 

Sequential gearboxes need to be shifted in a very consistent manner. Inconsistency in the shift quality can cause excessive wear to the dogs, which over time can cause the trans to pop out of gear while under load, which then forces the dogs into the next gear under load and destroys them, then it's a cascade effect that destroys an entire gearset in less than a mile. 

Something to keep in mind is that most trans shops are still a bit in the dark on these shift mechanisms and how they work. Many builders do not actually take them apart and service them because of their complexity.  Some don't mess with them because of the time it takes to put them back together and tune them to make them work right. So they leave them as is which could mean that the mechanism is just about ready to start having issues due to worn springs or other parts.

I have recently serviced a PBS S5 for a Pikes Peak open wheel race car, it took me about 4 hours just to mess around with tuning it so that it would work properly. The PBS uses the same old style shift ratchet mechanism as the older Mendeola sequentials (PBS actually designed the original mechanism for Mendeola, which is why you sometimes see a Mendeola/PBS front cover). The customer complained about the trans not shifting when he pulled on the shift lever and all around inconsistent shifting. There is only so much we can do with the old mechanism due to their inherent design flaws. All that I can offer when working on these older units is that I will make sure that the trans shifts through all the gears when it leaves my bench, there is not much I can do after that.

Great info Sean thanks! So I just got a PBS4 from my friend,  he bought brand new  in 2016. Will it still have the old shift mechanism ? 

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My typical rebuild on my 2d twin turbo Northstar (making near stock horse power) was new R&P 2nd gear set every flippin time 2500-3900 every 3 years.  Took in the PBS S4 after 4 years hooked up to my Northstar  retuned making 600+ hp (Thax CBM). Trans need some new dogs and that was it, under 2k. It had some shifting issues when new and I had a little learning to do. I also beat on it much harder then I ever did the 2D.

Wife car first time the trans came out since new in 09 Mendi S4 bolted to an LS7. We bought it used ran it a season and a half when I pulled the trans. It was in the car untouched for 8 years, it needed a R&P and total rebuild was just under 2k. 

 

 

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4 hours ago, jjoseph99 said:

Great info Sean thanks! So I just got a PBS4 from my friend,  he bought brand new  in 2016. Will it still have the old shift mechanism ? 

All of the PBS sequential transaxles use the original design ratchet mechanism. We cannot install our pieces into that mechanism ( I have looked at and it will not work). The only thing that PBS did different than Mendeola at the time was separate the shift forks off of the shift drum and place them on an independent shift rail, which did help with reducing drag while shifting. Mendeola designed a similar shift fork and rail right before we took over the program, we just reworked the shift ratchet mechanism to make sure it worked as best as it can.

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3 hours ago, SEAN@WEDDLE said:

All of the PBS sequential transaxles use the original design ratchet mechanism. We cannot install our pieces into that mechanism ( I have looked at and it will not work). The only thing that PBS did different than Mendeola at the time was separate the shift forks off of the shift drum and place them on an independent shift rail, which did help with reducing drag while shifting. Mendeola designed a similar shift fork and rail right before we took over the program, we just reworked the shift ratchet mechanism to make sure it worked as best as it can.

So Sean

How do we know what ratchet mechanism we have, The good, or the bad? What difference do we look for?  Like mine, is it pre 2015 or is the newer up dated one? Can you tell buy looking at this picture? 

thumbnail (68).jpg

thumbnail (79).jpg

Mine is all done and is shifting like butter here at my local dunes this week.  I am very pleaded with the performance of the S4 PBS .  It made a completely different car over and above the 2D that was in it.

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It would probably take me 3 pages to explain all of the intricacies of these ratchet mechanisms, so I won't go into heavy detail but hit the main points instead. The mechanism in the picture is the original PBS design that was used in the Mendeola and PBS sequential transaxles. Mendeola did make a few changes to that design through the years that did help a little, but did not solve all of the issues. 

If I were to post a picture of our new ratchet mechanism, the untrained eye would not be able to see the difference between the old and new style. The main thing we did was make lots of small adjustments and fine tuning to the parts to make them more precise. That was the main issue with the original design, this would cause the mechanism to not return to center after completing a shift (ghost shift, pull on the stick and nothing happens), or could cause an over shift and even a double shift (shift from 2nd, skip 3rd and straight into 4th), or it could even start to shift, then not fully turn the drum over and kick back into the gear you were in.

What we did was take a slow motion video of the ratchet mechanism in action and watched what was happening and we were able to see where the "slop" was that was causing these issues. Those are the parts that were "cleaned up" and made more precise, along with using a much stronger centering spring.

The thing about the older style mechanism really comes down to tuning the centering spring that you see in the picture. These springs are not all the same and cannot simply be installed and sent out the door. The arms that are outside of those roll pins need to be bent and tweaked until they allow the mechanism not only be centered, but fully allow the mechanism to return to center after each shift. Many of these were simply "assembled" and never tuned, so a certain percentage of them work just fine, the other percentage have issues. If you talk with 10 different people about how their older system works, some will say it's great, others will say they have had nothing but issues. It all really comes down to how the whole system is tuned.

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now I know why my PBS wont shift correctly under a serious load form 2nd to 3rd. dam I should have went Mendeola

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not to get OT, but does the S4D use similar mechanism (similar problems) or are they more reliable?

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3 minutes ago, 1newbie said:

not to get OT, but does the S4D use similar mechanism (similar problems) or are they more reliable?

The S4D/5D use the same exact shift mechanism as the S4/5 and fall under the same circumstances as mentioned already.  All newer "Weddle" generation Mendeola S4/5 and S4D/5D transaxles will have the upgraded shift mechanism. You can also upgrade your older sequentials with these parts for approximately $3500.

The "D" transaxles are the exact same as the S4/5 with the exception of a larger ring and pinion to handle more power.

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8 minutes ago, SEAN@WEDDLE said:

The S4D/5D use the same exact shift mechanism as the S4/5 and fall under the same circumstances as mentioned already.  All newer "Weddle" generation Mendeola S4/5 and S4D/5D transaxles will have the upgraded shift mechanism. You can also upgrade your older sequentials with these parts for approximately $3500.

The "D" transaxles are the exact same as the S4/5 with the exception of a larger ring and pinion to handle more power.

And just like that... All the pre2016 S4 and S4D cars went down in value $4-5k.

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