Others Follow, Where We Lead: SunCoast Diesel Shop Tour

As probably one of the biggest, if not the biggest, high-performance diesel transmission shops in the country, SunCoast sets a standard that’s hard to compete with. As you may know, we recently made a trip down to Florida to check out some of the best drag racing that northwestern Florida had to offer. While we were there, we weren’t going to pass up an opportunity to see this state of the art facility of SunCoast Diesel Transmissions.

We caught up with Blake Carter, Director Of Sales, at SunCoast Diesel Transmissions to set up a tour of the facility. Luckily for us, they had week-long classes being held the week we were there. Guess who just slipped through the cracks and toured with the class. Carter was an absolutely terrific tour guide as his knowledge of the products from end to end were outstanding. It made for easy understanding when seeing new things.

They had a full house all week for the "Horsepower Laboratory" classes. These classes were held at the SunCoast Diesel and Hardway Performance Solutions locations all week for diesel shops around the country looking to gain more knowledge in the industry. Also, Paul Cato of Maverick Diesel poses with Unique Performance operator, Levi Krech.

For starters, this facility is new to them. From what we’ve been told, this is incredibly massive compared to where SunCoast started. Just turning onto Anchors St., you can see the massive grey building with the orange and black logos. If one thing is for sure, SunCoast is top notch quality from the way they present themselves and treat visitors.

SunCoast rebuilds and sells full, ready to go units in multiple applications including the Dodge 46RH, 47RH, 47RE, 48RE, and the 68RFE. On a special side note, every 68RFE transmission that is built here is installed in a donor truck and street drove to ensure proper shifting and functioning. With the issues that people have had with these 68’s, SunCoast want’s to ensure that every unit leaves perfect.

We were told that this transmission is for a project for Discovery Channel’s Street Outlaws cast, Farmtruck, and AZN.

What’s Behind These Walls?

Don’t worry you Ford and GM guys, they have you covered as well. Offered in many levels of performance capabilities is the Ford E40D, 4R100, 5R110, and the 6R140 transmissions. For the GM guys, the LB7, LLY, LBZ, LMM, and the LML are covered through SunCoast.

We’re underway cruising right on through the transmission empire and our first stop was the transmission building room. Every transmission that comes through these bay doors makes a stop at this room getting tore apart and rebuilt back up in preparation for a long life of driving in the future.

It was mentioned that we caught pictures of a dirty workbench, but honestly, that can only mean one thing. You guys are getting stuff done.

In this room, every transmission makes its way through here for testing. The blue machine in the back of the room is a transmission dyno where all makes and models of transmissions headed out the door are tested at full potential to ensure quality performance and also investigate for leaks.

They had a transmission laid on the cart waiting for testing on the stand mentioned above.

Next, we moved our way into the valve body rebuild room. SunCoast tests their valve bodies to ensure they are capable of handling the abuse that we know they will be put through. In their testing, the check the flow rates for each unit and vacuum test them for leaks.

Moving on, we made our way into the torque converter cutting and a transmission washroom. In here all of the units that are shipped in they are tore down and washed up and the converters are cut open for any adjustments.

Below was the converter rebuild room. In this room, after the torque converters are cut open, the converter pumps are waiting for the hubs to be welded in for reassembly. Also, in their spray booth is Tony, painting one of their units for the final coat. SunCoast makes sure that their converters are sent out looking perfect for the customer.

Seen above are the tops of the converters waiting for reassembly. Once these items are welded back together and ready for testing, they make their way over to the pressurized leak checker. Also, David, also known as “Heavy,” is tig welding a pump into a converter. Heavy’s room is a music and welding sanctuary. As the doors open, we were hit with a sound of booming music.

The next room is the torque converter final assembly room. This is home to Jerry and Derek Veech. “Jerry and I are the only two people inside the final assembly room,” said Veech. Once a torque converter enters this room, they check all the heights and clearances to make sure they are one hundred percent done and ready to ship.

In the machines room below are HAAS machines. SunCoast uses these lathes and CNC machines for a lot of the parts that you have seen going into transmissions. The machine on the left is used to cut turbines and for all of the milling jobs. On the right, the CNC machine is for all things custom. They customize flex plates, billet covers etc.

Nothing Plain Jane Comes From Here

These shiny pieces that are stacked up are 68RFE M3GA JR drums for all the late-model Dodge transmissions.

SunCoast not only manufactures parts for diesel trucks, but they also work with gas applications in a racing application. Below is a Billet Turbo 400 channel casting for the valve body transmission case and to the right are billet flex plates and stators ready for installation.

In the warehouse, this is where they keep all the ready to go units and you may even see an old earth-shaker that was driven by Dan Hair. If you love transmissions, this would be a heavenly building to be in.

The warehouse was a building of its own, and they are starting to fill it out quick. Will we see another expansion in the future?

Lastly, we moved into the owner of SunCoast Diesel, Ron Woolverton’s office, and build room. This is also the research and development room for the company where they come up with all of the industry-leading ideas. It was an absolute honor getting to tour the SunCoast Diesel Transmission facility. It has been on our bucket list to hit this place for a very long time. We would like to thank everyone here for the hospitality and information including Ron Woolverton, Blake Carter, and Derek Veech. For more information on SunCoast Transmissions and how to get your own today, check out their website.

Any ideas that we've seen from a SunCoast part has been thought of in this room.

It was an absolute honor getting to tour the SunCoast Diesel Transmission facility. It has been on our bucket list to hit this place for a very long time. We would like to thank everyone here for the hospitality and information including Ron Woolverton, Blake Carter, and Derek Veech. For more information on SunCoast Transmissions and how to get your own today, check out their website.

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About the author

Artie Maupin

Artie Maupin is from Southeast Missouri and has an extreme passion for anything diesel. He loves drag racing of all kinds, as well as sled pulling competitions.
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