Transmissions Built to Take on the Boss
The explosive power and torque of the Boss 290 engine called for bulletproof transmissions that were specially designed to handle high performance applications.
FPV engineers chose the high-torque Tremec TR3650 5-speed manual (used successfully on the T-Series 5.6-litre Windsor V8) as the base for the new transmission.
The TR3650, with its robust but lightweight internals and race-bred Tremec technology, proved the ideal starting point for FPV applications.
Ford made a long-term commitment to using the TR3650 and in return Tremec has supplied a version of the TR3650 that has been specifically tooled for BA Falcon application.
Unique to Ford Australia, it has a specific input shaft, clutch housing, extension housing, shift rail and 31-spline output shaft. The end result is a clean and precise shift feel that adds to the driving experience.
Unlike some six-speed transmissions, the TR3650’s five speeds are all useable under local speed limits with a more than adequate top speed. The even spread of ratios also makes it the perfect match for the Boss 290’s strong torque delivery over all engine speeds.
Its low first gear provides powerful launch from rest and exceptional low speed flexibility for dense traffic conditions and parking manoeuvres. Reverse gear has synchro for fast, crunch-free engagement.
FPV’s new fifth gear ratio of 0.675:1 is shorter than the 0.625:1 fifth gear of the T-Series 5.6-litre for extra flexibility. In conjunction with the Boss 290’s enormous torque, it allows drivers to cruise more economically in fifth gear under a wider range of conditions.
For low friction and smoother changes, a synthetic auto transmission fluid is specified for the FPV TR3650 application.
In order to match the strength and refinement levels of the engine and transmission, the clutch and one-piece flywheel are mounted to the engine with a six-bolt design rather than earlier three-bolt arrangements. This ensures even mounting and reduces the potential for distortion.
To increase the clamping pressure on the clutch plate, a larger 291mm SAC-LUK pressure plate is combined with a smaller clutch plate. The 280mm Mustang Terminator clutch plate features a Valeo F808 clutch material, which is used in racing because of its resistance to fade at high temperatures.
The hydraulic clutch operation features a concentric slave cylinder that works directly on the pressure plate. This eliminates the traditional clutch levers and linkages. It is more robust, has fewer parts to fail and is easy to repair. Replacing the fluid and bleeding the system is a simple one person operation.
These refinements allowed FPV to reduce clutch throw from 160mm down to 135mm for faster, sportier and more decisive engagement and disengagement. The self-adjusting pressure plate keeps clutch effort constant over the life of the clutch.
Driveline - GT and GT-P
Major improvements to the BA Falcon’s driveline meant that it remained refined under the extra twisting forces of the Boss 290.
The FPV GT and GT-P feature a two-piece tail shaft with a 105 BCD Flex coupling immediately behind the transmission to smooth out gear changes, to absorb shock and to reduce driveline clunks under acceleration or deceleration.
The tailshaft’s centre bearing is followed by a 1310 universal joint just behind the centre bearing and a plunging CV joint at the differential. The steel tail shaft, which is 2.5 inches in diameter, is balanced in three planes after driveline vibration is measured at the differential. Correctional weights are added to the CV joint bolts.
The fatter half-shafts unique to V8 models feature beefier CV joints and larger splines to meet up with the heavy duty diff side gears and limited slip clutch pack.
The Pursuit driveline is a further refinement of the two-piece driveshaft that delivered the uncanny smoothness in the previous Pursuit 250 under high torque loads. It now features the same flex coupling as the sedan behind the transmission for reduced driveline shock and the same centre-bearing carrier.
The sedan’s 1310 centre universal joint is replaced by the plunging CV joint from the previous Pursuit. However, the previous Pursuit’s double cardan joint at the differential end is replaced by a fixed CV joint.
The front shaft is lengthened and rear shaft shortened in the FPV Pursuit compared to the previous Pursuit, which has added extra refinement to the driveline and guarded against vibration and whirl at high speeds.
All FPV vehicles are fitted with the Dana M86 limited slip differential, which features a wet design heavy-duty multi-plate clutch.
The all-new M86 drive unit backs up the powerful new drivelines with increased capacity to handle 290kW of power. Ring gear diameters are now 220mm (up from 197mm) to provide the durability and reliability demanded by FPV.
Automatic transmission (available in quarter two)
FPV worked closely with local automatic transmission manufacturer BTR to deliver a premium performance automatic transmission (optional on all models) that meets a wide range of tough local demands, including high ambient temperatures and heavy towing.
Other considerations in the development process included durability, low parts prices, affordable servicing and reasonable overhaul costs.
The sequential shift feature on automatic BA Falcon models was modified and refined to suit the character and performance of the Boss 290.
FPV sequential shifts offer an even sharper manual shift for total driver control when required. The transmission also had to behave predictably and instill confidence in the driver.
Although packaging considerations demanded a similar outer casing to the automatic transmission in other BA Falcon models, the FPV automatic transmission is a brand new transmission internally, developed specifically for this application.
As a result of close liaison between BTR and FPV, the new M97-019 auto is a transmission engineered to match the characteristics of the Boss engine.
This new FPV automatic transmission represents several firsts. It is the first automatic transmission to offer a console-mounted sequential shift with full manual override in a premium V8 performance model in Australia.
In manual override mode, it won’t change up unless the driver wants it to. It is mated to an engine with the highest torque rating of any automatic model in local automotive history.
After an intensive development period and extended durability testing, FPV’s new automatic transmission has a special high torque gear set and torque converter unique to the Boss engine.
Unusually for a premium performance application, the FPV torque-converter has a low stall speed. As a result, the transmission has a forceful launch feel from rest and is also particularly easy to control in stop-start traffic, high density parking and low speed manoeuvring.
The low stall speed torque converter also cuts fuel consumption under low speed conditions as it allows the driver to trickle along at very low speeds with only light throttle openings. A firm push on the drilled alloy-look throttle pedal will then quickly reveal the Boss 290’s potential as the low speed idling transforms into an enormous rush of power and exhilaration.
The new automatic transmission offers a number of adaptive shift strategies for drivers who don’t want to control the transmission manually. The Boss 290 has its own unique calibrations to deliver decisive changes while refining the brute force of the engine. In conjunction with traction control on GT and GT-P models, it provides an intelligent balance between performance, refinement and safety.
Overall, the new automatic transmission enhances the crisp and responsive feel of the Boss 290 and generates a sharp, fun-to-drive factor that was once only the preserve of a manual transmission.
However, FPV has exploited the Boss 290’s high torque at low engine speeds to deliver a range of premium performance vehicles that are at home in a wide range of road conditions and traffic densities.