By E. Meloan

(This article was originally published in the May, 2002 issue of the Spark Coil.)

In this column I’d like to talk about installing transmission linings.

Linings are normally riveted to the steel backing bands.  Riveting the bands is not a complicated job. The rivets usually come with the linings. Be sure they are solid brass rivets and NOT brass plated steel ones. Some folks suggest soaking the linings in oil for a day before attaching. I’ve done this and it works but it sure makes a messy job!

The lining will be longer than the steel band. Don’t cut them shorter! Starting at one end, place the lining on the inside of the band so that about 3/16 of an inch of lining extends past the end of the band. I usually
put a piece of soft wood in my vise. Then, after positioning the lining, flip the band and lining over with the lining against the wood. Put a rivet in the hole closest to the end. Place the rivet so the tines (legs) will be
across the band and not running lengthwise with the band when spread. (I usually hold the rivet with a pair of long nose pliers) It helps to have three hands here! Tap the rivet down through the lining and into the wood until the rivet head is snug against the band.

Pull the rivet out of the wood and flip the band over. Place the band and rivet against a flat part of the vise and tap a screwdriver blade between the rivet tines to spread them slightly. Now place a thin bolt between the tines and tap with a hammer to spread them completely. They should roll down and dig into the
lining material. You want the rivet tines to be tightly and deeply buried in the lining.

Now, go to the other end of the band and do the same thing. Don’t forget to leave about 3/16 lining past the end. After both ends are firmly secured,
you will have too much lining for the length of the band. Press the lining down tight against the steel band and work it until all the hump is out and the lining rests tightly against the steel band. Now install a rivet in each of the remaining holes using the wood block in the vise.

The holes at the ends may be inside a hole on the band ears. When they are, just put a bolt the size of the rivet head in the vise and place the band and rivet head down against the bolt then spread the tines. If you didn’t soak the linings before installing them, drop them in a pan of clean oil after each band is completed.
This really sounds more complicated than it is and you will quickly get the hang of it. The three main points are to leave a slight overhang of lining at the ends of the bands, to make sure the linings are pressed smoothly and tightly against the band after riveting and to make sure the tines are across the band and not lengthwise on them.

Now, install and adjust loosely! You should be able to push the car easily with the bands installed! If you can’t the bands are probably too tight.  Drive the car a few miles to allow the bands to seat and then adjust again.
Still making sure the bands are not too tight. This is VERY important if you are installing Kevlar bands! Do NOT adjust too tight! Kevlar is great stuff but if you have the bands too tight Kevlar can generate enough
heat to crack the drums! Cotton bands that are too tight will simply burn themselves up before the heat can damage the drums but Kevlar won’t!

Scandanavian bands are ok BUT to get the best life from them, you really do need to drive them more carefully than Kevlar or wood. The secret, for the brake, is to make sure the band gets plenty of oil to keep it as cool as possible. When using the brake you want to develop the habit of applying the brake for a few seconds then releasing it for a few seconds. I alternate using the brake and reverse to slow down. Reverse gets almost no wear and using it along with the brake gives each band more time to cool and tends to equalize the wear between the two.

Band wear occurs during that period when the band is not TIGHTLY locked to the drum but is sliding on it. We can really make a difference in how long our low band lasts by remembering this fact. You want to get the low band firmly pressed against the drum as tightly as possible as quickly as possible so that the least amount of slippage occurs! Slipping the low band will wear it out VERY quickly! When using low to climb a hill, don’t let your leg relax. Keep low tightly pressed. Little or no wear is occurring while the band is locked against the drum.

It is also important to have one of the transmission oil strainers installed. The strainer is a small inexpensive metal box that simply sits under the access door. It filters an amazing amount of band lint and other trash out of the oil. But it also directs oil down on each band helping to cool and lubricate them!

See you down the road…