Scatter shield vs bellhousing

Manual Transmission & Clutch Discussions

  1. MAPS

    MAPS FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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    This may sound to the experts but please bare with us novices...

    Can someone in simple layman words explain the difference between a bellhousing and a scattershield.

    Thanks.
     
  2. dano

    dano Evil Handy Man

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    A bell housing connects a transmission to the engine block. Typically they are cast iron or aluminum. Not SFI approved. Usually a term used for the stock version.

    A scatter shield is an aftermarket, SFI approved bell housing for racing and typically stamped and/or fabricated steel. They will (hopefully) catch the shrapnel from any part of the clutch or flywheel coming apart. Some are used to adapt transmissions as well.

    Since most automatics are cast aluminum (some early are iron) they have an aftermarket shield that protects the driver too. I forget what they are called.
     
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    • 67Dart273

      67Dart273 FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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      If there is ANY chance, racing or otherwise, that you might scatter a clutch/ flywheel, you should consider a scattershield. The reason they became called that is that the first ones were a shield around a stock bell.

      oxy.php?image=http%3A%2F%2Fi101.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fm79%2Fkiwikevinp%2Fscans%2Fscan0032-1.jpg
       
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      • yellow rose

        yellow rose Overnight Sensation

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        The factory bell housing is made of aluminum and is open on the bottom so the clutch can be removed without pulling the bell housing.

        A scatter shield is one piece, and it’s steel. You can’t remove the clutch with it on. You have to take it off, which can be a PITA.

        It is also physically bigger than the OE bell housing. And, last but not least the scatter shield has what is called a block plate.

        That is a piece of steel that goes on BEFORE the flywheel and clutch. Since the scatter shield is a full round (well it’s close to round) design to enclose the entire flywheel/clutch assembly, there is a HUGE opening facing the front of the car.

        And that is one of the things the block plate does. It closes off the front of the scatter shield to contain any explosion that may occur.

        It also seals the block from the flywheel/clutch assembly. The scatter shield and block plate make a steel container around that stuff so if it explodes, it can contain it.

        If you’ve never seen a clutch explode, it’s a bad, BAD thing. There are times where the scatter shield can’t save the block or contain all the pieces.

        But it’s much better than a stock bell housing.
         
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        • rumblefish360

          rumblefish360 I have escaped the evil Empire State! FABO Gold Member

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          In simplest terms...

          A bell housing is a stock part designed for street driving vs the scatter shield which is approved to contain an exploding clutch, saving your legs and feet from being Severed and possibly saving your life.
           
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          • dano

            dano Evil Handy Man

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            But you might get to walk away with your feet still attached!
             
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            • 67Dart273

              67Dart273 FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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              I was nearly a victim in the early 60's at the old Deer Park WA dragstrip. It was a cold day, a friend of mine and I had driven over in my beater 57 Chev, and parked "movie style" along the spectator fence. We had gone back to the car. He had bought a program, which I never did. For some reason I'd gotten into the pass side and was looking over my friend's program. He yelled, and I looked, just in time to see "Ron's Drive In" gasser blow a clutch. A few seconds later, BLAMBO!!! A big piece of pressure plate had come down between the two cars, leaving a big gouge in about a 58-59 Cad parked beside us. I kept that piece for years, it finally got lost.

              A 292, by the way, was a popular overbore for a Chev 283



              RonsDriveIn140ChevyGasser-vi.jpg

              About the same time, a friend had a 55 Chev gasser built by a guy here in Coeur d Alene. It was a nice car, 409 4 speed, held some records at the old Deer Park strip I am told. They blew a clutch out of that thing. This was back in the day when people were still "getting by" at smaller strips with the old Ansen cast scattershields. Well that thing scattered. I don't recall if the bell itself broke, but it broke the bolts off the block I believe.

              RonsDriveIn240ChevyGasser-vi.jpg
               
              Last edited: Aug 28, 2020
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              • Fisho

                Fisho Well-Known Member

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                I'm currently gathering parts to 4 speed swap my Duster. The one big piece I haven't gotten yet is a scattershield or bellhousing. I doubt I'll make enough power to need one but after doing some reading I'm leaning that way.
                 
              • 33IMP

                33IMP Well-Known Member

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                I saw a flywheel explosion a few years back at my local strip. 55 chevy , hi winding small block. The driver was very lucky to have feet, cause pieces of the flywheel went thru the roof and windshield. ANYONE who races a stickshift car with a stock cast iron flywheel (not sfi steel) and an aluminum bellhousing is out of his f#@%ing mind!
                 
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                • dibbons

                  dibbons Well-Known Member

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                  Lakewood paints their's red.

                  scatter.JPG
                   
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                  • Daves69

                    Daves69 Well-Known Member

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                    When I brought my '70 Ruster beater, /6-three tree, bench seat, vinyl pad floor, I notice it has a hole in the passenger side hump. I figured the PO had something mounted there at one point and didn't fill it back in. One day driving over some rough train tracks something falls onto the passenger side floor. I pick this thing up and it's cast, curved, about three inches long, but clearly broken on both ends. Thinking WITF?
                    Finally dawns on me it's part of a pressure plate.
                     
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                    • circlepilot

                      circlepilot FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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                      A high school friend of mine, one morning before class, was showing his ass in his 64 Fairlane, 289 Hi-Po, 4 speed, pulling hole shots in front of the high school. His fly wheel broke in half and the clutch and pieces of the fly wheel, came up through the floor and a piece came up past the firewall, shearing the throttle linkage and went through the hood. Some how the engine went wide open and before he could figure out what had happened the engine took a dump. No one got hurt, but it sure did attract a lot of the "wrong" kind of attention. Yep! Scatter shields and blankets come in handy.
                       
                    • rumblefish360

                      rumblefish360 I have escaped the evil Empire State! FABO Gold Member

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                      If your engine is stock to a mild set of modifications & your not racing or hounding on it, you’ll be fine. The stock bell is fine for the street and the mild hot rod.
                      If your turning up the power and are going to be racing it, the stresses of racing and the constant high rpm shifting can be bad.
                      I’ve had my Lakewood decades. I was pounding the crap outta my car. NO lift shifts & 6800, just slammin gears.
                      I figured, “Cheap Insurance” in that case of GOD FORBID! Something goes wrong.

                      I have the regular aluminum bells on my other cars. One a dead daily driver w/a OD trans, one mildly hopped up streeter. If it makes over 430 hp, I’d be thrilled.
                      (But I don’t think so....) I just cruise it and get on it once in while.
                       
                    • Fisho

                      Fisho Well-Known Member

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                      The 360 that's in my car now is nothing serious. Stock 74 bottom end, fresh 308 heads, m1 dual plane, 600 eddy carb and headers. Runs great but not a powerhouse.

                      I am building another 360 and aiming for 450+hp and the car will be raced with slicks occasionally. Will definitely be going with a Lakewood or Quicktime bellhousing on that combo.
                       
                    • dano

                      dano Evil Handy Man

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                      Buy an SFI Flywheel too. McLeod makes a nice piece but there are others.
                       
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                      • rumblefish360

                        rumblefish360 I have escaped the evil Empire State! FABO Gold Member

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                        This is exactly what I’m talking about. A nice driver vs something that is track bound, even if it is light track use. IMO, it just makes good sense.
                         
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                        • Fisho

                          Fisho Well-Known Member

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                          Yeah I just want peace of mind. I just made a deal on a Quicktime bellhousing with a member here this morning.
                           
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                          • MAPS

                            MAPS FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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                            As always, ask and you shall... Be Informed.
                            Thanks to you all, for the input.
                            I have a basically stock 340 mild cam (550 lift solid cam) Comp cam. A set of 4.10 gears in the rear and I still haven't put the cal-tracs on yet.
                            I've bought from good folks from here.(mono leafs here, call tracs there, got it all together)
                            Now I don't race the car seriously I do boot it often and when ever some Mustang, or anything else wants to go at it at a light I freely submit.
                            That does not happen as much as I'd like but I do get to open it full throttle driving by myself more often lately, since I rebuilt it last simmer it runs much better the six pack (forgot to mention that also) runs well so I love hearing it scream at full throttle, I will go 6000 rpms easily and shift 2nd. used to do 3rd and 4th all the time but lately I was having a problem getting into 3rd sometimes so I hold back on that now.
                            Was told the shifter mechanism (rods) needs to be adjusted again so when I get a chance this week or next I'll bring it in.
                            That said (sorry with the long msg) I guess I should not be really be worried (fear is a better word) with the bellhousing I have on the car now, right?
                            I do not qualify as one of those wild engines etc..
                            Thanks again to all of you great minds that carry this great board.
                            MAPS
                             
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                            • rumblefish360

                              rumblefish360 I have escaped the evil Empire State! FABO Gold Member

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                              Tell me about your engine....
                               
                            • DrCharles

                              DrCharles Well-Known Member

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                              :p
                               
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                              • MAPS

                                MAPS FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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                                589A97C7-C2E3-4715-B817-BEB95EC459BB.jpeg @rumblefish360

                                What would you like to know sir ?
                                Thanks.
                                Maps


                                 
                              • rumblefish360

                                rumblefish360 I have escaped the evil Empire State! FABO Gold Member

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                                @MAPS The question was actually asked of @Fisho when he chimes in. Your engine? Just the inside details.
                                Live the serpentine belt set. I did the same a long time ago. No throwing belt on that stuff!
                                 
                              • Fisho

                                Fisho Well-Known Member

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                                Currently a freshened but stock bottom end 74 360. Has worked 308 heads, m1 dual plane, edelbrock 1406 carb, rv cam. MSD 6a with Chrysler electronic distributor. 1 5/8 headers to true dual 2 1/2 exhaust.

                                The new engine will be a .030 over 360, KB107, zero deck. Eagle SIR rods on a factory crank. Going to use the 308 heads for now but plan on Promaxx heads. Will be going solid flat tappet cam, have a set of Harland Sharp 1.5 rollers for it. Offenhauser tunnel ram with a pair of Holley 1850s up top. I'm hoping for 450hp+ out of the new combo and would be thrilled if I can hit 500hp.
                                 
                              • rumblefish360

                                rumblefish360 I have escaped the evil Empire State! FABO Gold Member

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                                @Fisho Very nice, good heads those ProMaxx’s. I also have there CNC set. They don’t really address the short turn, so, there is a lot more left in them for the future if you port them further.

                                I’d use a scatter shield housing on that. On the street I wouldn’t worry so much but once your hookin and bookin at the track the drive train shock and race atmosphere will be hard on parts. This is the area where that scatter shield, just in case! Comes in handy, God forbid.
                                 
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                                • 33IMP

                                  33IMP Well-Known Member

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                                  I must admit, it was easier to make fun of people that wont use a scattershield in the old days, when they were $150. Now that they are $800.......?
                                   
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