Will the real PTS stand up.....


JCC Racing Member Forum Tech Advisor
Staff member
May 24, 2001
Who is the real PTS?

I've been noticing lately, that a couple company's have been using PTS in their product line. One was as recent as last week, with Jim Stoltz and Level10. They tout their products as PTS this and PTS that. So I got in touch with Bruce Toelle (The real PTS) to say hey, I didnt know SO and SO teamed up with you out here. Heck, I thought he might have been franchising. Boy was I wrong! Bruce went on to tell me he's even getting calls that peoples cars are at his shop in (insert town here) to which Bruce has to answer, um, I dont have a shop in (that town you inserted), nor am I affiliated with them. Nice, not only are they using his shop, but people buy into it, thinking theyre getting a PTS trans. So what happens when the trans blows up? Bruce looks bad. Real nice huh?

I'm sure you all know my history with Level10 (The most recent PTS imposter), but in case you dont, let me try to do it without causing you all hit your heads on the keywoard when you fall asleep. Me and Pat Barrett go way back, around 1992 I'd guess, when my 4th transmissions 1-2 shift got real sloppy. I was tired of paying $1500 for a stock rebuild. I talked to some Buick people, and the consensus was Level10 was the best around. They are about 1hr from me, so I limped the car to them and got an estimate. $1300 for a "Pro-Street" rebuild, and $799 for their 9" with 2.1x torque multpilication converter. I got wood and called my wife to pick me up. I left the car there for about a week I guess. I go to pick the car up. WOW, this thing is great! I drive home etc, and I guess about 2 weeks later I develop a 2-3 flare. This is back when I did race it, so I assumed I hurt it. Pat touted this as the balls as far as tranny's go, gauranteed to hold up in the 9's, so I brought it up to him to fix under warranty. He refreshes the soft parts and I guess works the VB some, and I pick it up and its great. But he charges me for oil/seals and gaskets etc. I'm like WTF? I dont wanna get into it, so I pay him like $150 and go on my way. My butt is a little sore, but it'll heal. About 5 months later I develop a engine knock. The motor has ~90K on it, so I figure all the beating I'm giving the car is taking its toll. I yank the motor to check it all out to find a balooned converter. Ahaaa.... I pull the pan and the thrust bearing is gone, as well as my crank damaged. I call Pat up and say Dude, this converter balooned. WTF? He says bring it up. I put a reman motor in the car, and bring it up to Pat. I go to pick the car up and WOW, it shifts even HARDER than before. But it dont stall like it did before. I'm like dude, I dont know what you did, but it hits harder than before.. THANKS. He hands me a bill for $250. I'm like WTF? This is the converter core charge and well, I went thru and freshened up your trans. You're paying for seals and oil too. I'm like WTF! But, being in the biz, I guess I know how it is, and pay him. So far so good. I go about a year and become a member of the DOTC. (Driven over the crank club) I get under the car to unbolt the converter to pull the motor and I see a 12" converter under there w/5 stamped all around it. WOOOOOOO...I immediately pick up the phone, and am admittedly PISSED. I'm like WTF is a $125 12" converter doin in that $800 9" spot? He's like, thats a special 12" converter that stalls ar 3000 etc..etc..etc..(insert bull**** story here) I'm like, Oh, ok, I didnt know that. (I really didnt, I knew very little as far as transes went) But explained that it never did stall like the 9". He tells me its an awesome unit and that I wont have any problems. I later find out its nothing much more than a Dacco rebuilt 12" (worth about $125) and I immediately call Level 10. He cant talk, I call another time, he cant talk, and so on... I write it off as experience till approx a year ago I split the converter on a hard pass on the street, and put a PI 9.5" in there which I love to death now. When I swapped the converter, I figured I'd freshen up my trans so I call Level10 for an OH kit. Heya Pat, remember me? I need an OH kit for...."Jim who? well, no, but an OH kit will be $450." I'm like f-u pal and hang up. I immediatly get a Transtar HP OH kit which uses all Raybestos soft parts and proceed to rebuild my trans. I dont know Bruce at this point so I'm on my own.

A little more recently a friend of mine had a problem with ArtCarr (No, not the original, but who knew at the time) and had to pay for each step. After about $3K of credit card bills, he gave up and I did his trans. Only problems was when ArtCarr sent his valvebody to him, they damaged it. I thought I fixed it ok but apparently didnt. The OH I did wasnt right at WOT. Part throttle was awesome, but WOT flared at gear changes. I dont know what I did wrong so I got with Bruce and Joey B. The consensus was either the pump was bad (I OH'd it and almost knew it was OK) or the VB was humped. SO my pal got another trans elsewhere. And gave up on mine. I really wish I knew more and could have helped him, but my offer to help turned out to screw him up, and I apologize Joe if you're reading this, I was only trying to help. Who cares about an experience with another vendor right? Well, I'm trying to prove a point. A large company that can afford to make things right didnt, where a little guy cant, but does at his own loss to make his customers happy. Thats a good guy.

Fast forward to today. I've gotten to be a relativly close friend with Bruce thru our telephone conversations. We basically met when a local guy, Dan Goldstein (aka Darkfa8) bought a trans from Bruce at my suggestion and installed it to find it didnt shift right. Bruce found out I was close to Dan and got with me on trying to help the guy out. With my limited trans experience, I really didnt know much about diagnosing failures (I however, could OH them with the best of em, as long as I put back what I took out, and had step by step instructions doe modding the VB) so Dan made an appointment with me at my shop and I checked all the usual crap to no result. I then picked up the phone to call Bruce, who spent over an hour during his busy day on the phone with me instructing me to take this out, and do this etc.. To no result. Bruce sends different parts out on his dime to try to help rectify the problem. He does all he can with me not really being a trans guy till me and my boss have a falling out and I cannot work on cars after hours anymore. I apologize to both parties and explain I cannot take the trans repair any further. Bruce then works it out that Dans trans will go to the next guy on his list of trusted friends and the car goes to Eric in LI. About I guess a month later the trans is repaired. Something in the VB was screwed, despite it working fine in Bruces test car withouot anything changed. Eric and Bruce work diligently to find an answer to Dans trans dilemma. All the while, despite Dan not having a car, which is admittedly a bummer, but not costing him a dime. All these "experts" on the job, with Bruce taking the hit. I'm thinking to myself, holy shoot, now theres a good one. A guy who sells a product, and stands by with HIS wallet out to get it right. After all was said and done, I think Bruce might have lost $ with dans trans. But last time I talked to Dan, he STILL had wood about how the trans was. Another instance involves a PTS converter. The converter had an incorrect part inside and Bruce worked on HIS DIME to get the guy the right part. And sent out some other performance goodies as an apology for the inconvenience. I think that deal COST him $500. I know of at least a dozen similar experiences which proves Bruce's dedication to his work. How many places would work on something just to make sure the customer was happy, despite not making a dime. Not many!

Why am I rambling? Well, to show the difference between a guy who cares about the PEOPLE who made him successful and a guy who cares solely about his bottom line. Bruce not only runs a business, but runs a family, runs a tech help forum, takes dozens of tech calls over the course of his day from dip****s like me, helps guys who had their stuff worked on by other people, talks to other shops who are doing work on peoples cars. Who else GIVES out parts solely because someone needed something they couldnt find, or didnt get from someone ELSE? Bruce is giving away thrust washers. Big deal right? Well, you cant buy them alone. Bruce is not only giving them away, but paying for shipping in most cases. Sounds a lot like me! :p When I recently figured out that other places are using PTS as part or all of their company names, it began pissing me off that they are trying to cash in on Bruces fine reputation which is bull****. The place in Vegas calling themselves Performance Trans, Level10 using Performance Trans will NEVER be the real PTS. And I want to you all tell your friends who ask, tell them there is ONLY ONE PTS. And Bruce Toelle in Sacremento California is the REAL PTS. If Bruces name isnt in the company logo, or Bruces name isnt in the email, its not the real PTS. I only wish I could be more closely associated with Bruce. I'd kill to be a part of the PTS team. And it seems others feel this way as well, otherwise they wouldnt be trying to sell themselves off as PTS affiliates. Sorry to ramble, but after talking to Bruce, I'm pissed that someone would use someone elses name to appear associated with them instead of building up and using their OWN reputation. Pat, if you read this, SHAME ON YOU!

Bruce is putting together a trans "Tech-Session" on IRC. I urge you all to be present and watch how a REAL pro does things. Bruce, are you around? Care to defend your name? Will the real PTS stand up...
bruce has been nothing but a great help to me. instead of trying to sell me a trans. or telling me my trans needed to be fixed and trying to drum up business, he pointed me in another direction. he's out to make a dollar, not take it. he's alright with me, and i would send people in his direction in a minute.
Good Business ... Good Friend ... Excellent Product

I've lost a lot of money in this hobby. Mostly all of it was on poorly designed projects and insight and advice from people who were less than qualified or experienced. Overall I'd say I've blown about $15k or so in this hobby.... and that's nothing compaired to some of you guys :rolleyes:

The rest of the money I've spent, at least now on this Turbo Buick has probably added upto around $10-$12k so far ... gotta crunch numbers with all my receipts. The car still needs paint, interior work, engine/turbo/ic are stock ...

Despite that, I learned something not to long ago about quality. Quality is part of the design, durability and functionality of a particular part and the seller standing beyond their product at any cost.

I've always been leary of trans builders because there is so much that can get screwed up, many mechanics do things half-assed, many mechanics don't know what they are doing...and with a trans, one small defect or problem can create and effect other things and it grows into a labryinth of a mess...therefore requiring you to return time and time again to the shop...lay out more money ... and so on and so on and the problem is never really fixed.

Through using message boards like this I have found some of the best mechanics, engineers, physicists, electricians, and friends who have demonstrated exceptional quality in their work, their products and their character ... things I like to pride myself in when I do my own work ... why the hell would I want to hand over my possession to people who's quality is questionable?

It didn't take me long to admit to myself that I do not have the right tools, experience or work space to accomodate a proper trans rebuilt to my spec. I had to find someone who could help me.

Fact was and well, still is ... I'm jobless, and practically broke. I was at college in North Jersey and barely had enough money to keep my gas tank full and then my trans took a dump and my car was off the road.

I've known about Jim Testa for a very long time, longer than he's known of me ... word travels through the boards ;) I got word about him through my association with the Monte-list and G-Body.Org and some of the people on there who were crossed between Montes and Turbo Buicks (Neil from Lenexa, KS is one of them) .. through Jim I inadvertantly found out about Joe Burkhart, who I then started talking to right around the time my 84 Caddi 2004r trans died in my Turbo Regal ... how conveinent huh?

Well, Joe informed me that him and his friend Bruce (who I'd heard of for quite a while through the tb.com board) were running a special trans deal and that I should take advantage of it. I explained to Joe my financial woes and he told me we'd work something out.

Fortunately, I sold my 86 Monte SS ($3k) just in time to help pay for the trans ... I needed a complete BRF core, since my trans was rather useless, and then all the parts and rebuild work to go along with it. I also turned around and sold the Caddi trans and old D5 converter ($250).

Bruce and Joe got together out in CA at the PTS shop and found me a "creampuff", untouched stock 86 GN BRF core to build on ... the rest of my trans parts/build up is listed on my website (http://entremedia.iwarp.com/auto.html). I also decided to go with a new converter since the condition of mine was undetermined and I didn't feel to good about putting old parts on a brand new trans, so Bruce set me up with a 2650 stall 12" LU converter. My trans+converter amounts to roughly a $3k-$3500 trans/converter combo outright, I paid a bit less than that.

I get the trans and after a week or two it develops a problem of hanging in 1st gear. I went over EVERYTHING. Replaced the tv cable, double checked my shifter connection, checked fluid levels/condition and through it all I was in direct contact with both Joe, Bruce and subsequently Jim.

Jim's shop is about 30 minutes away from the college I attended and Bruce recommended I go to see him with the car to try some things. I had already visited Jim before and developed a positive rapport with him.

Jim spent a substancial amount of time handling my car and experimenting, with Bruce's explicit instructions. Governor changes, bushing changes, tv cable checks, boost valve checks and other odds and ends ... unfortunately, the problem persisted but not at any fault of Jim's ability or knowledge. Jim is a professional man and when he is uncertain or not sure, he checks reliable and trustworthy resources to get through a job. His modesty is genuine and his friendship as a fellow automotive enthusiast is second to none.

As for my trans ... after laying out every bit of work I performed on the car during and after I put the new trans in, Bruce decided I should contact his good friend, who he'd "trust with his forst born", Eric from Countryside Trans in Amnityville, Long Island. I contacted Eric, and Eric told me Bruce had told him about the trouble I'd been experienceing and that we'd schedule a time for me to drop my car off with him.

Fortunately, I also had the help of Steve Ragusa (close friend and fellow Monte SS owner from Bergenfeild, NJ http://www.bowtiepower.com) and Morgan Mikuletzky (close friend and Typhoon owner from Barnegat Light, NJ) in getting my ass back and forth from Eric's nice place on the docks. Overall, a 100+ mile trip from my house each way.

Within a week of dropping my car off Eric was on the phone with me and described exactly what he did. After pulling the VB, rebuilding it completely and finding nothing noticeably wrong, he put it back in...same problem...he pulled a spare BRF VB off the shelf, put in his shift kit tuned to my shift-feel requirements and the trans shifted PERFECTLY up and down through ALL gears.

I got the car back to NJ after being stuck in 4 hours of traffic between the Throggs Neck Bridge and the GWB (span of about 5 miles) and almost ran out of gas ... but despite that the transmission shifted like a wet-dream! Eric called me while I was in traffic to ask me how it was and I told him it was "perfect". Eric told me he would send my VB back to Bruce for a thorough check out. I thanked him profusely for his time, work and exceptional help and that I'd relay the success to Bruce and Jim.

I kept thinking to myself, as I drove the car home..."this is how a trans should be ALL the time." Wonderful.

Recently, I chatted with Bruce online and he told me that he did receive my VB from Eric and tried it in 4 trannies of his...it worked in 2 of the 4, producing trouble in the other two ... wierd huh?

So, after all that ... I ONLY paid for the trans+converter and fortunately had friends good enough to help me get my car and me to where I needed to get things done ...

I got what I originally paid for and Bruce followed through and made sure that was what I got. He told me he wanted it "perfect" and he couldn't accept anything less.

My expressed opinion on PTS, Bruce and his affiliates are based on first hand experience with both real people and real products. I will not relay or dispense ANY hearsay about anyone on here. I have heard good and bad about many people on this board and others, but when it comes down to it, quality counts, period.

You wanna say that you heard Mr. A sucks and Mr. B is better ... well, I say show me why?

What I have is a Performance Transmission Specialties TH2004r, built perfect to my spec by Bruce Toelle with assientence from Joe Burkhart and Eric (gotta get his last name one of these days) and additionally diagnosis from Jim Testa.

Everyone who has been in my car knows that this trans is excellent. I tell people flat out, if you want it done right once, buy from PTS, period.

I hear too many people pissing and moaning about trans troubles...blowing gears, balloning converters ... unless their's was some defect from the manufacturer, the majority of failures are due to inadequacy in the build of the transmission by the shop. You built a part to the desired specs of the customer. In our case mainly shift feel and ET range.

Money, Money, Money. Automatic trannies cost money to rebuild. I don't give a rats a$$ if your Uncle Jed says he can build a race trans for $500, because Jed is full of sh!t. I wasn't in the best position to afford this transmission, being a college student at the time and jobless .. but through the understanding of Bruce and Jim I got the help I needed to get the job done right.

Business isn't always kosher and I know some companies use other companies "names" to bolster sales and marketability. There is ONLY one original here.

Who makes a real billet input shaft, billet servo, sump kit, and pushed for the Altos 3" bands, billet anchor pins, etc..etc..?

Who makes the time to answer questions online, post articles to help demystify the pros and cons of our transmissions, makes the time to talk to you on the phone, make you laugh, make you feel comfortable and welcome?

Who stands behind his products and services until you the customer is satisfied?

Who doesn't blow up hype, or scam his products using other people's names or patents?

Who demonstrates exceptional quality in their work, their products and their character?

One man: Bruce Toelle of Performance Transmission Specialties in Sacramento, CA.

To Bruce, Joe, Jim, Eric, Steve, Morgan and everyone else who has busted their ass to help me I don't stand behind you, I stand next to you ...

"Bruce, are you around? Care to defend your name? Will the real PTS stand up..."

Jim Testa
1986 Regal T-Type

I am always around.
Hell, thats most of my problem :)
You know that.(heheheh)
It does feel good to know that what I have accomplished, have yet to accomplish and what I strive to deliver, doesn't go unnoticed. I have worked very hard to make the "PTS" name to be synonomus with Performance Transmission Services. Hence , all of our Part #'s are PTS 1-PTS 300. Let's see who has the next "Killer Street " trans? How about a billet shafted roller assembly?
Why not just take that too? If it is a billet roller assembly it is me and me alone.

10 Years ago nobody even knew who I was ,except maybe Art Carr, again, the MAN Art Carr, And he knew back then, I was gonna be a force to be reckoned with. He knew that I had a desire to expand this 2004r market and with my intense desire for perfection, knew it was a reachable goal for me. Ask him, as I was even asked by him, to represent him in a matter, that I believe he must have seen something in me to want me to help and represent his operation. (this was years ago)Earlier this year when he was trying to get word out he was back up and running who was his first call to? Me. And why? I am his competition right? Well I took alot of heat for that but Art was a friend and asked a favor of me. I put my heart and soul into everything I do, for anyone for whom I am doing it , and ask ANYONE who has witnessed it in action , I am told it is a "craft". Our products are "little pieces" of me all over the country. Each trans is a little piece of a pride pyramid and I can track each piece in every unit. EVERY ONE!!!!! (every piece we make is serial numbered somehow, someway.)
I am not easy to work for and I demand the same from my guys as I do myself. (talk about suck for them huh?) But they all have as much heart as I do for what they put out. I do ALL assembly and Machining. I do all the manufacturing, but that does not make Mark's , Alan's or Adams job in our shop any less important. Fact is , if they don't do there job correctly , I can't do mine. So hats off to the guys Adam, Alan, and Mark for without them I might have the best ideas and or talent but could never ever pull it off. There is alot more to PTS than the actual product we put out. I like to think we are feeling, caring , honest, and a fun loving operation. The sad thing is it is still a buisness and without income the buisness dies. Thats why it is so hard and grueling of a road. It is very hard to be a friend and feed your family, all the time. Even in here and chat, I like people to always feel comfortable and have fun.
I would also like to thank the people who help me out around the country. These are all very talented and super people in general. I know that if I have a problem , anyone of them will stand up and offer assistance. IT NEVER GOES UNNOTICED!
Just look at darkf8's deal.
Thank you very much Joe Burkhart
Jim Testa
Eric Schertz
Dan Goldstein....( for the little inconveince)

I feel I earned the PTS name and I thought I owned it.

I guess maybe I was wrong but I still feel as though I have been kicked in the balls....I have learned a lesson here and will not make this mistake again.. ..I promise..

Thank you all for listening
Bruce Toelle
I wasn't going to do this but...

I wasn't going to do this but...
The Len thing in Las Vegas upset me at the way he presented it however, with Performance and Transmissions , in the field we are in, is understandable. He has as much right (legally ) as I do. It is just one of those things and I think Len and I can deal/work with each other. :) The more I think about it, we are close enough (geographically) that with the actual few of us that are out here,( compared to back east) that we need allies and unification rather than fighting and seperation. I was unhappy with you ,Len ,(if you are reading), when I helped you out on a few occassions and you took the attitude on the nick thing negatively, I didn't like it but figured the PTS logo would decipher any confusion. Just like the Bob's towing thing, But as Whoosh said " Bruce is "PTS" and Len is "PT in LV " . I can live with that. As I am sure, Len can.:D

Key Word here is "PTS"=Bruce Toelle. "PTS" in Sacramento Ca.
PTS consists of 6 guys and a gal. Mark , Adam, Alan, Cindy and I. (Lonnie Diers & Joey Burkhart remotely)
It has been both our fictitious buisness name and promoted worldwide for over 10 years.

Every single part we make is stamped with this logo and serial number. EVERY ONE!!!!

That is how we are known and that is how we have been recognized , and that is what made us ,......." US. "
Now THAT is what is being threatened. This is a different matter all together. This is what it took me 10 years to promote and actually live as. And this is what the thread is directed at and to.
This situation , however (unlike the other) I am unwilling to accept. :mad:

I deeply apologize to anyone who is or was or has been confused. :(

The rest I will let our products speak for themselves and the lawyers to do what they get paid to do. :)

WE4 www.PTSnctb.com
word association :D my shop is Hi Tech Performance .....I get calls every now an then about "how can I get my car in your magazine :D
Originally posted by WHOOSH86
what would you do if you were in that position? Change all your paperwork, letter heads, stationary,cards, building signage, commercial spots on TV, your corperate name,phone book ads,fliers that are run in local newspapers? to expensive for my blood! just because of a 1000 to 1 long shot chance that you named your company the same as someone elses that you didn't even know existed when you bought the company. . Sometimes names are chosen without any prior knowledge.

Right ,Whoosh, but like all the other bullcrap in buisness , this is a requirement. If you choose someones "name" and it turns out they had it first ,and if you did not bother to research and or submit for history, yes , you would have to spend money to change all letterheads and ads reagardless of cost.AND as the originator I dont have to have it trademarked. The law states " if it causes confusion and deception in the public's eye , and in the buisness world around you (customers, vendors, public forums) the original and first to reputize are entitled. " Go ahead read. From the lawyers mouth. From the LAW. Whether it is too expensive for your blood or not , this is how the deal works. If it were your name , your rep, and your product, I bet you would see differently. .. :)