In an attempt to lighten the drag truck as much as possible, a lot of the normal luxuries have been removed. Dash, air conditioning, headliner, seats, and oh, yeah, the steering column. As you have probably guessed, the column shifter is attached to the steering column leaving us without a way to shift the transmission into gear. So, now what? Well, since we’re doing nothing but drag racing in this truck, and we want full control of every inch of this truck, including the transmission.
On the engine, we use Firepunk Diesel custom tuning to make sure that the engine is making horsepower and torque in all of the right places to result in consistent passes. For the transmission, we need a way to control the transmission and all of its actions. Upshifting, downshifting, torque converter lockup, and even the RPM’s the transmission shifts. There are a few options out there for transmission controllers, but after doing our homework, and considering the impressive engine tuning results we’ve had, we went to Firepunk Diesel for an AnteaterPro Standalone Transmission Controller.
What is an Anteater Pro?
Although you may be thinking of sticky-tongued, ant-eating mammal, that isn’t the case. The Anteater Pro is a controller for the 47-series and 48-series (618) Dodge Ram transmissions. It replaces the factory Powertrain Control Module and gives you full control over your transmission and it’s shift patterns. The main controller is contained in a weatherproof enclosure and the wiring harness exceeds OEM specifications.
Also included in your AnteaterPro kit is an in-cab wired remote with a display screen that allows you, the end user, to enable and disable overdrive as well as choose between three separate shift tune tables. With multiple transmission tunes, you can have a shift pattern for different scenarios. If you’re a sled puller, drag racer, or just daily driving, you have all three settings just a button touch away.
Additionally, the AnteaterPro gives the end user the ability to switch to manual mode to use either a factory 68RFE transmission tap shifter or their own switches to control up and downshifts. For example, we’re using a TCI Outlaw X ratchet shifter where we could incorporate this manual mode. But, we’re opting out and letting the Anteater do all of the work.
- The main controller
2. The wiring harness
3. The Pro Remote
4. Installation Instructions
5. USB Driver
We talked with Brandon to get the story on where this all came about. “This all started with a desire to have full control over the 47 and 48RE transmissions with factory style valve bodies,” said Miller. “We saw a growing need for a controller that would just plug in and work regardless of the situation.” The Anteater was born.
After the Anteater idea was developed, it went through different tiers of testing including some beta testers. “We began daily driving the prototype model in mid-year of 2012. By winter of 2012, we had six beta testers out there and shortly after, full production began,” Miller explained. It was at this moment, the Miller and Co. knew they were on to something.
So, for instance, a race application, especially index drag racing where running the number consistently is number one priority, the Anteater is persistent in making those shifts and lockup marks the same every single pass. The transmission is commanded to shift at the same exact point at the same exact time, every time.
“There are situations where it doesn’t make sense to use an Anteater, though,” explained Miller. “Some applications already offer control over the transmission due to the configuration of the factory Engine Control and Powertrain Control Modules, or you don’t want multiple shifting strategies at the touch of a button.” The Anteater will virtually help everyone, but in some cases, some people may just not want that kind of control.
With the Anteater Project in full-force, there must be something coming down the pipe. As a matter of fact, Brandon told us the future for Firepunk Engineering is looking great. “We’re constantly looking at different transmissions that aren’t covered in the general market and we believe we can help a larger group of truck owners by doing so,” he said.
Firepunk Engineering believes there are longevity and horsepower gains to be made in the six-speed automatic transmission controls. They also have their ears open to niche electronic products. Miller tells us, some of their best features were requested by their customers and they love them for it. So, if you’re wondering about a possible feature that your truck isn’t capable of, maybe you can run it by the guys at Firepunk Engineering. Who knows what the future holds for diesel electronics.