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To shift or not to shift (my own gears that is) :)

Discussion in '1973-1991 K5 Blazer | Truck | Suburban' started by fortcollinsram, Mar 7, 2002.

  1. fortcollinsram

    fortcollinsram 1/2 ton status

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    I have been soul searching a lot lately and debating the conversion to manual from my 700r4. I have a few questions reguarding the whole thing...

    First, how hard is it to do...Is this pretty much a bolt-on affair or is there a lot of hacking to do?...I have good mechanical sense but I have only had my truck since November...so I am still learning and therefore leary in some areas...

    Can somebody give me a list of ALL the parts I am going to need? I don't have a real good sense of what the manual conversion requires so I need a little guidance...

    IS IT WORTH IT...I really like rowing my own gears, and I don't particularly mind it in heavy traffic either...Do you all feel the gain in reliability is worth it?

    With the SM465 tranny, what gears should I be running in my axles (I have 35" tires)for a good offroad and highway medium...I was thinking 4.10's any other ideas?

    Any other tips/pointers/warnings/ego-boosters? Thanks for any and all input gang...you all never cease to amaze me with you seemingly infinite amounts of knowledge...

    Later,

    Chris
     
  2. dyeager535

    dyeager535 1 ton status Premium Member

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    I say hell yes its worth it! I drive in some of the worst traffic in the country (ranked 2nd or 3rd depending on who you ask) every evening, but I don't mind the stick one bit. It becomes second nature, and you don't even think about it. At least I don't. Of course, that might be because the hydraulic clutch kicks so much....tail. My dads less than perfect mechanical linkage kinda sucks, but he hasn't spent much time "tuning the spring pressure and what not. Somethings wrong with his.

    The SM465 has a lower "1st" (by shifter knob) than the 700, at 3.55:1 IIRC, so it works better with larger tires and the same rear gears IMO. I definitely have no problem on the street or even steep hills starting out in "1st" even with 3.42's and 33's. Acceleration is nice, although the "1-2" split is kind of steep, so is the 1-2 of the 700R4.

    I say if you can go hydraulic, do it, no questions asked. if you know what you are getting in to, and know that the stick isn't going to bother you, then there is no reason not to.
     
  3. fortcollinsram

    fortcollinsram 1/2 ton status

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    Thats the thing Dorian, I DON'T know exactly what I am gettting into but I want (need?) to know what I am getting into before I do this thing...assuming I have all the parts lined up and ready for the install, how long can I expect the process to take? Thanks again...

    Chris
     
  4. dyeager535

    dyeager535 1 ton status Premium Member

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    What year is your truck first off (to tell you how hard either clutch setup would be to install) and if you can, borrow someone's manual trans car for awhile. Although the shift isn't with the 465 isn't as smooth as a newer car, it's no harder to drive.
     
  5. dyeager535

    dyeager535 1 ton status Premium Member

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    BTW, it does appear you've driven a manual trans before. My advice to you would be, if you are somewhat uncertain as to how sure you are of doing this swap, wait. If your current drivetrain isn't broken, don't fix it. : )

    Run the 700 until it's inevitable death, but in the meantime, decide which clutch setup you want, and that way, you'll have time to find a "good' deal on the assembly, and if you have to hunt down parts, you aren't in a bind, without a vehicle.
     
  6. i can't tell you weather you will like it or not but i have done the swap- only from stick to auto. i swapped the pedal assembly and the steering column. it's not tough once you have all the parts. it's best to get a doner/junker truck so you have a complete assemble right there and can see how it all goes. i didn't do it that way and spent a while rounding up all the stuff i needed. once you have it all it could easily be done in a weekend or two. not sure how the hydrolic clutch works but if you do a manual linkage set up there is a bracket you have to get off the doner truck that you have to grind off the rivets to take off. the rest is all an unbolt and bolt up affair.

    i like autos. but i'm lazy and like to be able to talk on the cell phone and drink coffee on the way to work/forums/images/icons/smile.gif i also like not having to do the clutch, brake ,gas dance on steep hills.

    oh yeah, don't for get you will need a new t case and drivelines.
     
  7. fortcollinsram

    fortcollinsram 1/2 ton status

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    Yea, Dorian, it is of for my 1987 K5...I have drven plenty of Chevy's w/ the 465 before and I love it...One day, when finances permit however, I'd probably put in a NV4500 (or why not a 5600 /forums/images/icons/wink.gif) cuz i like OD a lot...but I am willing to forego that for reliability and age-old technology...

    Chris
     
  8. fortcollinsram

    fortcollinsram 1/2 ton status

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  9. Big_B_Murphy

    Big_B_Murphy 1/2 ton status

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    If you like driving a stick, do it.
    I am just finishing up on this conversion to a 465/205 for the second time.
    The first one was easier due to the fact that threr was just a whole lot less crap under th dash of the 76 K20 cab i did it to before, than the 85 K5 i am working on now.
    I can get you a list of everything you will need. I am assuming your list for an 87 would be about the same as my 85 swap
    The only holes i had to cut to make this happen were for the tranny shifter (it was already stamped in the floorboard) and the clutch rod (just bought the hole saw to do this this morning). I did drill new holes in the frame for the cross member.

    If you are going to do it right, it will probably cost you about what you could to rebuild your th700. I think it is well worth it.

    I wouldn't plan on doing it in one weekend, due to Murphy's law (whatever can go wrong will at the worst possibly moment). I have about 30 man hours into the current swap and I hope to drive the truck today or tomorrow.
    If you can find a donor truck, it would be easier. If not you will end up scrounging for parts. Both time I did not have a donor truck, and that is when murphy's law comes into play.

    I apologize for being long winded, but I could talk for hours on every little detail that has come up in doing this.
     
  10. dyeager535

    dyeager535 1 ton status Premium Member

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    '87, save yourself a hell of a lot of time and work, be on the lookout for an '85-up with hydraulic clutch, and do that. It's ten times smoother than mechanical linkage, self adjusting, and your '87 is set up for it. No large pushrod hole to drill, no frame bracket, etc.

    Like I said before, if you don't HAVE to do the swap now, buy the pieces for it bit by bit or wait for a deal and get the hydraulic setup complete with trans. Believe me, I was going mechanical at first, on my '86 body, and I had put the frame bracket on, then I got the hydrualic bellhousing, and am darn glad I did.
     

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