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GearSpeed Magic - Wrenchin'

Spoon Sports transmission teardown and rebuild.

Joey Lee
Mar 13, 2012
Htup 1204 01+gearspeed magic wrenchin+cover Photo 1/53   |   GearSpeed Magic - Wrenchin'

One of the more intricate and oftentimes mind-numbing aspects of building a Honda is diving into the truly mechanical side of things. Just about anyone can manage to bolt on parts or add simple dress-up items, but the engine and drivetrain upgrades are often left to the pros. As backyard motor swaps have become almost an overnight affair, the one area that has caused the most concern and even fits of rage is the transmission. When it comes to transmissions, there’s a very small group that can be called upon for masterful work. The Tetris-like assembly that includes dozens of miniature pieces that work together in unison to orchestrate a proper gear change along with the fact that one tiny mistake can lead to catastrophic gear damage, leaves many to their local tranny guru for help.

Enter GearSpeed, a company focused specifically on the inner workings of the transmission and its many supporting parts. The group specializes in customized high-performance transmissions and parts, and essentially seen and done it all from street to strip. As well respected by the entire Honda/Acura community as they are, you’d be hard pressed to find another group of individuals with as much hands-on experience as the GearSpeed crew. While the company has been thriving since its inception in 2003, its history goes back quite a bit further. GearSpeed is actually a sister company to H&A Transmission, which started in 1992 as a wholesale remanufacturer of transmissions to supply to Honda and Acura dealerships as well as independent repair specialists throughout the entire nation. After almost two decades of tearing down and rebuilding every possible Honda/Acura transmission in existence, it’s safe to say this group knows exactly what they’re doing when a customer brings them a gearbox.

  • Htup 1204 02+gearspeed magic wrenchin+window
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  • Htup 1204 07+gearspeed magic wrenchin+spoon transmission

Recently, Jeff “Kiwi” Owen of Special Projects Motorsports acquired an FD2 Civic Type R, built by none other than famed Japanese tuner Spoon Sports. Kiwi’s Special Projects team quickly tore the Civic apart to prepare it for the 25 Hours at Thunderhill event, and the Spoon-built SPNM transmission was sent off to GearSpeed. There, the GearSpeed techs were assigned the job of installing a new Gear-X close-ratio gear set which is required for more fluid gear changes that are required for the driving marathon at Thunderhill Raceway. Spoon Sports’ original gear set would have necessitated constant up- and downshifts and, with OEM-type gear sets, may have led to possible failure due to stress from a harsh endurance race like the 25 Hours event. What Spoon Sports did was take the OEM fifth gear and moved it into the sixth gear location, then followed it up with new fourth and fifth gears to complement the changes. The new Gear-X provided closer ratios and offered a larger tooth profile to allow a more solid gear patch.

James Ornelas of GearSpeed ed us and asked if we’d be interested in watching him crack open a Spoon Sports FD2R transmission, and just like you, our curiosity was off the charts. We headed down to Rancho Cucamonga, California, to check it out in person, and snap a few pictures to show the process.

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  • Htup 1204 09+gearspeed magic wrenchin+james ornelas
  • Htup 1204 10+gearspeed magic wrenchin+shift lever
  • Htup 1204 11+gearspeed magic wrenchin+disassembled
  • Htup 1204 12+gearspeed magic wrenchin+safety
  • Htup 1204 13+gearspeed magic wrenchin+main case
Htup 1204 14+gearspeed magic wrenchin+remove main case Photo 14/53   |   14 James slowly lifted the main case after it was pried loose.
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Htup 1204 21+gearspeed magic wrenchin+sixth gear Photo 21/53   |   21 The five/six selector with sixth gear from the Spoon gear set, which is actually an OEM Honda fifth.
  • Htup 1204 22+gearspeed magic wrenchin+three four selector
  • Htup 1204 23+gearspeed magic wrenchin+synchro
  • Htup 1204 24+gearspeed magic wrenchin+remove countershaft
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Htup 1204 28+gearspeed magic wrenchin+spoon lsd Photo 28/53   |   28 The Spoon Sports 1.5-way limited-slip differential removed from the transmission housing. The gear set of the SPNM tranny will be replaced by a Gear-X set, but the LSD will return when the transmission is reassembled.
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  • Htup 1204 30+gearspeed magic wrenchin+disassembled transmission
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  • Htup 1204 33+gearspeed magic wrenchin+spare parts
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Htup 1204 35+gearspeed magic wrenchin+carbon fiber synchro Photo 35/53   |   35 GearSpeed carbon-fiber-lined synchros. These synchros have been developed with a proprietary composition that allows for quick, smooth, and effortless shifting. They were also designed to hold up to the harshest of conditions.
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  • Htup 1204 37+gearspeed magic wrenchin+before after
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Htup 1204 42+gearspeed magic wrenchin+oil mixture Photo 42/53   |   42 Kenny mixed a blend of Torco RTF and MTF to ensure a smooth and lubricated assembly. The Torco fluids also help to keep the gears and synchros from binding up during dry test-shifting.
  • Htup 1204 43+gearspeed magic wrenchin+re assembled gears
  • Htup 1204 44+gearspeed magic wrenchin+clutch housing
  • Htup 1204 45+gearspeed magic wrenchin+shaft bearings
Htup 1204 46+gearspeed magic wrenchin+differential installed Photo 46/53   |   46 The clutch housing with Spoon differential reinstalled with new bearings.
  • Htup 1204 47+gearspeed magic wrenchin+loctite
  • Htup 1204 48+gearspeed magic wrenchin+check alignment
  • Htup 1204 49+gearspeed magic wrenchin+fully assembled
Htup 1204 50+gearspeed magic wrenchin+new shift lever Photo 50/53   |   50 The shift lever assembly with new MTEC Industries race-spec shifter springs. Interlock and shift change pieces were also replaced because they have been prone to common failure in K-series transmissions. It’s also important to ensure the center bolt has been thread locked and torqued to OEM specifications.
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  • Htup 1204 52+gearspeed magic wrenchin+assemble housing
  • Htup 1204 53+gearspeed magic wrenchin+gearspeed sticker

Here are the original gear ratios for Civic Type R/Spoon Sports’ close-ratio setup:

1st gear - 3.266
2nd gear - 2.130
3rd gear - 1.517
4th gear - 1.212
5th gear - 1.027
6th gear - 0.921

Here are the gear ratios for the Gear-X gear set with the JDM Civic Type R final drive:

1st gear - 2.313
2nd gear - 1.650
3rd gear - 1.304
4th gear - 1.080
5th gear - 0.958
6th gear - 0.851

Sources

GearSpeed Parts & Performance
Ranco Cucamonga, CA 91730
909-476-7252
http://www.gearspeedpartsstore.com
MTEC Industries
http://www.mtecind.com
By Joey Lee
243 Articles

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