Adding programmers, exhausts, cold-air intakes, suspension lift kits, bigger tires, and larger diameter wheels looks killer on today's heavy-duty diesel pickups. A 3/4- or 1-ton truck just looks right with all the added burliness and muscle-not to mention the authoritative exhaust note from all those angry ponies. With today's technology, it is quite easy to add 100 hp, or even 200 hp, with over-the-counter bolt-on modifications. The transmission is where the problem arises. Factory diesel transmissions are far stouter than ever, right off the assembly line; but that's still not enough. With a computer tuner set on "kill," and a stock transmission trying to harness it all, slippage and parts breakage were sure to follow.

We visited with our friend, Nic Germano, and glanced over his wounded '01 Ford F-250's transmission. Plenty of power, coupled with a stock automatic transmission and 39-1/2-inch tires, and Nic's 4R100 said adieu. Luckily, a gracious Northern California dealer put the transmission on the warranty list and handed Nic a fresh in-the-crate replacement. After conversing with Matt Bozarth at ATS Diesel Performance, we had a pile of parts to install with the new slush box that was sure to help. We then added to that a full synthetic lubrication allotment from Amsoil. Check out how it all went together.