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whicch tranny?

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by 84gmcjimmy, Jun 5, 2005.

  1. 84gmcjimmy

    84gmcjimmy 1 ton status

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    I'm trying to figure out what tranny I want for the Jimmy. It's going to be a DD and as hardcore as I can get-trailrig. So fuel economy is big, but strength is also a big concern...right now it has an sm-465...

    So far I know my options are :
    SM465 (what I have in it)
    th-400 (have a spare one, needs a rebuild)
    th-350 (3 or 4 speed? I don't remember)
    th-700r4 (weak, but has OD)
    NV4500-($$$ and hard to find) EDIT:I think I am mistaken. Dremu says the nv4500 are cheap and easy to come by. its the nv5600 that are pricey and rare. woops. Oh well...haven't gone to the junkyard yet, so I am probably wrong.

    And I think thats all... I would eventually (2+ years) want a doubler (203/205)(already have the 203, and 205, just need adapter from Kyle when the time comes) (but need to work on offroad driving skills first-I need stratergy :grin: ) so strenth is an issue. I will have a 350 with a almost newly rebuilt q-jet. Eventually I want fuel injection, probably TBI like white-rhyno did. Until then, i will read more about that...I will be using this for anything offroad. Mud, camping, bogging, trail rides, rocks (not a lot around here I think, but I could always drive to find some) and other stuff probably.

    What would be the best to use? More gears is better for fuel economy I think, but I dont think finding a NV4500 for cheap will be easy. And the th-700r4 isn't very strong, unless you really build it up which will cost a lot of money and I don';t think they have a manual reverse VB made?
    Also probably long term it will have 1 ton axles (d70/14bff and d60) and around 35-39.5" superswamper tires or michelin tires- and this won't be for a while...need to get some skill and stratergy before I join the "big boys".

    I'm looking for STRENTH and FUEL ECONOMY also reliability...

    So far I amleaning towards an auto...just because it would be easier to rock back/forth from 1st to reverse(full manual reverse VB), compared to a manual. But I don't know yet.

    Ideas/comments/opinions/concerns?
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2005
  2. k20

    k20 3/4 ton status

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    strength, fuel economy, and reliability, all go to the manual. Well, unless you wanna put in a 700r4, in which case you get OD and economy there. Anyway, the main advantage of an auto, is ease of driving. Around here, having a stick, stuck in 5oclock traffic, inching up a foot at a time, would be hell on the left leg. If you dont have major traffic jams like that up there, put a 465 in it and be done. A th400 is supposed to be the strongest auto, well, with my 496 in front of it, im already on my 4th one :blush: :blush: :blush:
     
  3. dremu

    dremu Officious Thread Derailer Premium Member

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    Me, I like the slushboxes; I have two trucks with TH400's and two with 350's.

    (I thought, btw, the NV4500 was easy to come by, but the big momma NV5600 was the pricey one... but I could be wrong.)

    The TH350 is the light-duty three-speed auto, if you will. Many people wheel with them just fine.

    The TH400 is THE unbreakable three-speed. (There is the newer electronic version of this, the 4L80E, with overdrive, but they are spendy.) While people can and do smoke them, the TH400 is a stout piece of hardware out of the box.

    The TH700R4 is the four-speed, with overdrive, found in newer half ton trucks. It's much maligned as early ones had some weak points, but later units are fairly well-built. They have been around long enough (in Corvettes and such as well as trucks) that they are well understood and can be built to handle abuse. While a stock one is cheap, these built ones -- Bowtie Overdrive, B&W, Jet, etc) are not. (The new electronic flavour of the 700 is the 4L60E, btw.)

    I would plan your tranny real early, as it decides what transfer case options you have. The ORD Doubler page is the definitive resource on spline counts, input and output types, etc.

    I just smoked a TH350 in my wheeler rig (well, it finally gave up the ghost, as it's been slipping a while) and for cost and hassle reasons, I'm gonna stick with another 350. I don't care about fuel economy and have almost all the bits for the Doubler, so I don't want to switch to some other tranny and have to change the rangebox, etc.

    Other people can talk about the slushbox-vs-stick thing and manual valvebodies and whathaveyou; this is my .02, etc etc.

    -- A
     
  4. blazerpro79

    blazerpro79 1/2 ton status

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    350=3 sp...

    sm465 is the way to go for trail/DD
     
  5. 84gmcjimmy

    84gmcjimmy 1 ton status

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    Could always go hydro so the clutch isn't so hard to engage I guess.

    I'm not sure...anyone else have any response?
     
  6. 84gmcjimmy

    84gmcjimmy 1 ton status

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    Do you think I would notice a big difference in fuel economy comparing the sm465 vs the th-400? Big difference/small difference?

    Thanks
     
  7. k20

    k20 3/4 ton status

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    It would probably be numerically small, like 1 or 2 mpg's, but in a truck that most are happy to get 12mpg in (Im happy when I get 9 lol), thats a fairly good gain.
     
  8. jekbrown

    jekbrown I am CK5 Premium Member GMOTM Winner Author

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    in addition to being "weak"... the 700 also has the lower 1st gear than the 350 and 400. It also has OD. I don't think a 700 is any weaker than a 350. Early models were poop, but the probs have been identified/fixed. Works for me.

    j
     
  9. 84gmcjimmy

    84gmcjimmy 1 ton status

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    So the 700 should also be an option? Why do people always disregard them and settle with a th-350 if they are close in strength? What commonly breaks on a th700r4?
     
  10. Jagged

    Jagged 1 ton status

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    scratching my head right now about my puddle of tranny fluid under my 700r4 :( don't let that dissuade you though... mine got a bit abused before it puked :(
     
  11. u2slow

    u2slow 1/2 ton status

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    Stick with the SM465. Pick your gearing and tire size so 4th becomes your OD. The low first gear is always there just in case. Better to throw your money at the dual-cases than an NV4500, IMO.

    I drove trucks with an SM420 or SM465 to/from work for years. 45-minute commutes. There's only three driving gears so its not that much shifting - 3rd or 4th most of the time anyways. Even did it for a month when my left leg was gimped up.
     
  12. blazinzuk

    blazinzuk Buzzbox voodoo Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    I would stick with a manual for a DD too autos take horsepower to run and when a stick starts to slip you replace the clutch instead of rebuilding the trans like an auto. I would try to find a NV 4500
     
  13. 84gmcjimmy

    84gmcjimmy 1 ton status

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    Jason, what is the Raptor 700 you put in your profile? Obviously it's a th700r4, but is raptor the people that built it for you or something? Thanks
     
  14. 84gmcjimmy

    84gmcjimmy 1 ton status

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    Good point on replacing just the clutch if you have the manual. Compared to rebuilding the whole auto if something goes.
    Thanks.
     
  15. 84gmcjimmy

    84gmcjimmy 1 ton status

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    Anyone have any more suggestions?
     
  16. gambit420s

    gambit420s 1/2 ton status

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    the early 84-87 700r4s had fewer clutch plates and the main drum had problems with cracking

    later trannys were upgraded to more clutches but i think the drums were still cracking, maybe aftermarket perf trannys have better components
    my friend has 700r4 behind 425-450hp 396 hasnt puked yet... only a year though, and it was built specifically for him by a local shop
     
  17. 84gmcjimmy

    84gmcjimmy 1 ton status

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    So a 88+ version 700 tranny would be ideal if I were to use it? When did they stop making them?

    Anyone else have any comments?
    So far I am looking at a sm465, nv4500, or a th700r4.
     
  18. tRustyK5

    tRustyK5 Big meanie Staff Member Super Moderator GMOTM Winner Author

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    SM 465...free to $200

    built 700R-4...$1500-$2000 (cdn $$)

    The next to free SM465 will still outlast the built 700R-4, and you never have to worry about tranny temps. The super deep first gear makes crawling easy...

    The 700R-4 does have overdrive which should gain you some mileage...but it also takes power to run it so it robs some of the mileage back. You'd probably gain 2 to 3 mpg over an SM465.

    I'd run the 465/208 you have and keep searching for the NV4500.

    Rene
     
  19. dyeager535

    dyeager535 1 ton status Premium Member

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    While dual cases might be better, (no experience) I do disagree about 4th being an OD based on your gear ratios and tire sizes.

    I used to believe that gearing and tire size was just as useful as OD too, but now that I've tried to compression brake in low, 4low, 3.42's and 33's, compared to a truck with same setup, except 4.10's and around 32" tires, I believe that lower gearing with OD is the best of both worlds. Even in my setup, 3.42's are not effective at acting like an OD. 3.08's would probably get my RPM's where I want at cruise, but would result in runaway compression braking.

    465's (and the early NV4500 would be the same) low IS worthless on the street even with my 3.42's/33's, but if I had OD, I could run 3.73's, (maybe 4.10's, don't feel like calc'ing it) and 1st gear, not low, would be MUCH better on the street. It's not bad now, but for fun, the lower rear ratio would be better. I still cruise at higher RPM's on the FWY than I need to.
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2005
  20. jekbrown

    jekbrown I am CK5 Premium Member GMOTM Winner Author

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    The raptor is a built th700r4, similar to what you'd get from Art Carr, bowtie OD etc. On their web site it lists exactly what parts/upgrades they use...

    http://www.transmissioncenter.net/

    I have never had a problem with my Raptor, even though I'm not running as big of a cooler as I'd like (B&M is coming...) and I don't have gears as low as I'd like (5.13s are on the list too). Its a good tranny. With all of that said, some people have had customer service issues with PATC. I never had a problem with them, of course, I didn't have to return my transmission due to any problems either. Anyway, because of that if I was you I'd go with AC or bowtie and see if that can build you the trans you want.

    I just did a yahoo search... you might consider these guys too...

    http://racetransmissions.com/store/index.php/cPath/1_25_56?osCsid=7cb76901d5128272e3e1ddb3eb4c04c9

    their built 4x4 700r4 is $1150-ish...

    j
     

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