Even relatively hard-core engine freaks will often just shrug when asked, "What does it take to rebuild my automatic transmission?" The truth is, most of us are more than up for the challenge of bolting together a hot engine combo, but we're a little reluctant to delve into the workings of a "slush box." Why? Probably because when tearing into one, it isn't easy to see how they work. Open a manual tranny, tear it down, and the workings are very clear; this shaft turns here, this gear slides over there. The same goes for engines; these things go up and down 'cause this thing goes 'round and 'round. A juice tranny is much more mysterious. From the maze of passages, valves, and check balls in the valvebody, to the multi-disc clutch packs, drums, bands, and planetaries, a quick look inside reveals little.

Chrysler's TorqueFlite, the first of the modern three-speed automatics from the Big Three, was immediately respected as an outstanding engineering accomplishment. With the debut of the aluminum-case 727 coinciding with the era of red-hot factory racing in Stock and Super Stock drags, respect on the track came hand in hand. Under the ever-escalating power requirements found in racing, innovation in 'Flite performance was accelerated both at the factory and with the aftermarket. The design was continuously refined throughout Chrysler's long production run, and while the factory's priorities moved away from outright performance in the later era, aftermarket development continues to this day.

Indeed, due to that aftermarket support, there are many choices in building a TorqueFlite, mild to wild. Transbrakes, full manual valvebodies, bolt-in sprags, lightweight drums... the list goes on and on. Like engine building, building a performance tranny can be as simple as starting with the basic Chrysler package and fleshing it out with fresh performance components. But simple enough to do at home? With a box containing all the parts needed, and a really good set of instructions, it is surprisingly doable. B&M's Transkit contains the components required to build a heavy-duty standard, street, or street/strip TorqueFlite, as well as instructions detailing every step of the process.

We had a 727 in a '71 Charger R/T that was a perfect candidate for a basic performance rebuild. As the years and mileage stacked up, our TorqueFlite was showing signs of impending doom. With slow, slipping upshifts under load and burnt fluid, it clearly had one foot in the grave. A tranny service offered some hope for recovery, but it wasn't to be-this one was toast. We pulled the tranny and ordered up a B&M Transkit to fix it ourselves.

The kit contains the basic rebuild items such as seals, rings, and gaskets, as well as new high-performance clutch linings (and new steel spacers), bands, front clutch springs, a high-ratio kickdown servo lever, and all of the components needed for high-performance valvebody reprogramming. Basically, it's a B&M performance tranny in a do-it-yourself kit, and even if you've never worked on an auto box before, the clearly detailed instructions from B&M walk you through the process. That said, let's get this puppy up on the workbench.