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Old 09-19-2005, 04:32 PM   #1
roninsoldier83
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Default 4.44 vs RA gears, facts and opinions needed.

Alright, I ordered an RA gearset almost 3 months ago, but have been doing a lot of research in the meantime. I broke my stock 2nd gear over a year ago on my stock turbo, but when they were rebuilding my tranny, they found that my clutch wasn't engaging correctly due to a faulty install (factory clutch, installed under warranty), so I'm thinking that MAY have had something to do with it.

Regardless, I would like a little bit of added security with my new setup (VF34, TMIC, TBE, UP, pulley, ecutek, supporting mods ect), and I've been reading that the 03+ gears are the same size/strength as the RA set, so my MY04 wouldn't see any real strength benefits except for them being cryotreated, can anyone confirm this? Anyway, someone pointed out to me that you really don't hear of any FXT owners breaking their trannys, even though they're the same gears... I know that a certain amount of stress is taken off the transmission with the use of a shorter (numerically higher) final drive, so I was considering canceling my RA gears order, and just getting a 4.44 final drive instead.

Theoretically, which would lessen the chance of me breaking another gear, the cryo-treatment from the gearset or transfering more of the load onto the differential with the 4.44 final drive? If I was to stay with the RA gearset, is there anywhere I could send it to get shot-peened and how much would it cost? Or if I went with the 4.44, couldn't I just send in my entire tranny to get cryo-treated and have the same effects as the RA gears? What would the difference in labor be between installing RA gears or the 4.44? It seems like it would be cheaper to go with the 4.44... and I was considering using the extra money left over to have the tranny cryo-treated... any thoughts?
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Old 09-19-2005, 04:46 PM   #2
Paul
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you going to be doing any driving on the highway with 4.44 fd
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Old 09-19-2005, 05:02 PM   #3
decodeddiesel
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*subscribe* I am curious about this as well. I just read a post by cronic from a while back about converting from 1.1-1 to 1-1 and using a 3.90 FD R180. Seems his tranny held up really well after this mod. Have you seen some of the '06 trannys gruppe-s has in the for sale forum? Not a bad option for the money.

Kinda funny, I am a soldier at Ft. Campbell (though only for a few more days then off to get combat hashes 4 and 5), I have a '04 wrx too. What color is yours?

Last edited by decodeddiesel; 09-19-2005 at 05:08 PM.
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Old 09-19-2005, 05:39 PM   #4
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My MY04 is blue, I'm on my 2nd tour over here right now, hazard pay/tax free ect have been funding my little "Suby parts buying spree" hehehe.

I was planning on dealing with a loss in gas mileage with the RA gears anyway, and according to rallispec's gear ratio conversion chart: http://www.rallispec.com/Subaru%20Gear%20Chart.htm a stock ratio 5th gear w/4.44 FD would be within less than 100rpms difference at 70mph compared to a 3.9 FD RA 5th gear (59 rpms to be exact), not really a big deal to me.

Was also considering just buying a FXT tranny & rear diff from gruppe-s for $2000 and selling my stock tranny/diff. Considering it has a 4.44 FD, and seems to take abuse from a much torquier motor (2.5L), but I'm still doing a little bit of research.
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Old 09-19-2005, 06:14 PM   #5
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I'm thinking this may be the way to go. 4.44 FD, wider teeth, stronger gears, more webbing, dual cone syncros...yeah it's a good bang for the buck. I have been doing hella research on the subject as well, as I plan to do a V8 JDM STi swap when I get back. Oh, and this is gonna be my second tour in Iraq, but 3rd combat tour (did 7 months in Afghanistan back in '02). Isn't the Army grand...
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Old 09-19-2005, 06:23 PM   #6
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I've been looking into the gears themselves in the FXT as well, can anyone confirm if they're actually stronger than the WRX gears? If so, it would be the smarter route to go over RA gears, especially when you factor in the 4.44 FD, the fact labor would be greatly reduced and you could sell your old tranny to recoup some of your losses.

Off topic, my original ETS date was YESTERDAY!! Gotta love stop loss/involuntary extension, lol, but at least the Army is funding my Suby :-)
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Old 09-19-2005, 06:28 PM   #7
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Well glad you can find a positive in it....yeah my ETS was last week (12th to be exact ) haven't even gone wheels up yet and still stop lossed. Sad thing is my 8 yrs is up in May of next year....and guess what? STILL not letting me out. All I know is if I get zapped AFTER my total 8 yrs are up I'm gonna haunt the crap outa old GW.
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Old 09-19-2005, 06:36 PM   #8
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The 12th? That was my birthday... wow, sounds like you got worse than they got me, we should be home around late December/early January, and I'll be waiving my 90 day stabilization, clearing and taking my narrow behind back to Denver, so they really only got me for about an extra 5-7 months, depending on how long it takes to clear, and if I decide to take terminal leave or not, ect. When we get back, over 30% of our unit is getting out... I feel bad for the guys who don't, as they're scheduled to make a 3rd trip back out here in September 06.

Back on topic, if anyone has any info on the FXT tranny, it would really be appreciated, because right now it's looking like a damn good deal...
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Old 09-19-2005, 06:41 PM   #9
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whoa...sorry to hijack again but you're from Denver!?!?! HOLY S*** me too! Dude we should get together and work on our cars and drink beer when you and I get out.
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Old 09-19-2005, 06:53 PM   #10
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Hell yeah!! That's hella wierd man, I'll actually be in the Thornton area when I get out. I made a thread on AWDPirates not to long ago with pics my brother sent me of some of the parts I've ordered out here, if you want to check it out hehehe
http://www.awdpirates.net/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=5636
Do you post over there? If not, it's a really cool site for AWD owners (mostly Subys, a few Evo's) up in Colorado.
Sorry, to get off topic again...
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Old 09-19-2005, 07:05 PM   #11
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I haven't posted on awdpirates in a long time, but I check it out almost as much as nabisco. Sweet pics man! That must have been awesome to see your parts waiting for you back home. Well good luck with your last 3 months, I'll be in country within the next 2 weeks. Keep in touch.
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Old 09-19-2005, 07:46 PM   #12
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i used to have a wrx, but now a proud owner of a forester xt. i have only heard of 2 forester xt owner breaking their synchros. the reason was unclear to me. there's a couple of xt well over 300whp and it seems to be holding up pretty well. i am next in line for the mega power.
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Old 09-19-2005, 07:48 PM   #13
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the guys with foresters are starting to break there trannys now. the car is fairly new with not to many people putting alot of power to them. there are some tho and it seems at around 270-300hp there runnin into our same problems. some are starting the 6speed swap now.

note kartboy is also going to the 6speed to now
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Old 09-19-2005, 08:14 PM   #14
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That's disappointing to hear they're having some of the same problems... I had heard they were made out of similar material as the V5 & V6 STi 5 speeds, and had better synchros... if it were stronger, it would make a very cost effective upgrade compared to the 6 speed or more expensive gearsets (PPG, KAAZ ect). Any links to people who have destroyed a gear in a FXT, and what their mods were?
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Old 09-19-2005, 08:17 PM   #15
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www.subaruforester.com and look in the power section.
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Old 09-19-2005, 08:33 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by b4437
www.subaruforester.com and look in the power section.
yeah what he said ive been living there lately.. think its time for me to get one thats why. that box on wheels is growing on me.
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Old 09-19-2005, 09:03 PM   #17
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It doesn't seem like there's enough people making big power on FXT trannys to say how much stronger they are... if I was to keep the RA gearset I have on order, does anyone know where I could have it sent to be shot peened? I've heard the older RA gears were more durable because they were shot-peened..?
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Old 09-19-2005, 09:05 PM   #18
b4437
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like i said,you will see it next month on my car.
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Old 09-19-2005, 09:45 PM   #19
roninsoldier83
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As another option, how much stronger is a full JDM STi tranny (any version) than a standard USDM WRX tranny?
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Old 09-19-2005, 11:10 PM   #20
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Shot peening: http://www.metalimprovement.com/

As to which would be better, cryo treating or 4.444 final drive, the final drive would win. Cryo may/may not have benefits depending on who you talk to, but a lower final drive IS better on your gears.

And the FXT box is identical to the WRX box in every way except for the final drive. Dual cone synchros are only in the Outback and Legacy. I wrote SOA about this awhile back, but can't find the thread to link you.
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Old 09-19-2005, 11:39 PM   #21
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Thanks Unabomber!! I've also heard that while the width is the same on the RA gears, the RA gears have an increase in pitch and are thicker at the base of the tooth (teeth) themselves, if combined with the cryo-treating and shot peening I would have done, in your opinion, would you say it would be a worth while upgrade from stock?

I just emailed the Metal Improvement shop down in Houston, thanks again.
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Old 09-20-2005, 02:25 AM   #22
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Tooth size can or cannot have anything to do with strength. Consider the following methods of making "better" gears:

Wider gears
Shot peening
Cryo treating
Heat treating

Tooth profile doesn't play that large of a roll. Ever seen the inside of an F1 gearbox? The teeth on those gears look like they came out of an RC car, yet they hold well enough to propel those cars 0-60 in like 1 second.

Increases over what you have right now in:

New OEM gears + shot peening ~$1000
RA set (slight increase depending on who you believe in the whole cryo does/does not improve metal fatigue) ~$1300
RA set shot peened (~20% increase in toughness) ~$1500
PPG 1/2 synchro + stock 3/4/5 (1/2 are the "breaking gears" for the most part and using PPG's superior heat treated components would forever end your fears) ~$1600

All prices are approximate based on my sucky memory and constitute cheaper upgrades that I know of without resorting to a full $$$$ gearbox.

Some caution that shot peening is not kosher because it imparts a slight texture to the gears themselves. You might discuss this with the shot peen guys as some feel this will cause alignment issues or slight increases in wear or noise.
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Old 09-20-2005, 07:24 AM   #23
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I was thinking of going with the XT box/rear end swap because of the 4.44 gears. I am pretty good on my transmission, and think this could be a good reliable swap for me. Just have to start hitting the junkyards looking for used boxes and rear ends.
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