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Old 10-02-2005, 04:27 PM
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2004R trans swap into Gen1 Firebird... which builder?

I have decided to go to an OD trans for my '68 Firebird. I will be stroking a pontiac 400 to about 463. I am shooting for around 420 to 430 HP. I have heard alot of discussion regarding the lack of durability of the 2004r as well as contrary reports. I will take this to the track maybe once every two years or so just for fun so its not going to be beat on.

I have searched around and found a couple of suppliers. They are here:

http://ckperformance.com/gm_2004R_stg2.html
http://www.bowtieoverdrives.com/index.shtml

Does anyone have any recommendations regarding a specific brand? I am looking at the strongest built 2004r.

Thanks for all the help!
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Old 10-02-2005, 05:15 PM
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Try Bruce Toelle in Sacramento CA


http://www.ptsnctb.com/
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Old 10-04-2005, 10:18 AM
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200r4

I am also going to swap in a 200r4 in place of my th350. I was looking at bowtie overdrives and California performance transmissions. Art Carr is not affiliated with CPT. I actually spoke to him on the phone. (I nearly fell off my chair!) If durability is the issue I think he is the man to see. The only draw back was expense. CPT is like 3K where BTO is 2300. I wonder if this is a "get what you pay for" type of thing??
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Old 10-04-2005, 10:45 PM
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Quote:
I wonder if this is a "get what you pay for" type of thing??
I wish I knew.

I would like to hear from folks that have used one of these tranys.
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Old 10-10-2005, 12:36 AM
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I take it that, due to the lack of feedback, most folks here just have a local shop rebuild for them?
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Old 10-11-2005, 07:40 PM
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You would need a builder that is very familiar with building a performance oriented 2004R. If you are not absolutely sure of a local shop then having one built and shipped is the way to go. I foound out the hard way. I have 300,000 (highway) miles on my 200-4R out of my '87 Turbo Buck. My last rebulid from Mike Kurtz @Century Transmissions in Houston Texas lasted 200,000 miles. Bruce Toelle, Ck Performance also have good reputations but Mike is the only one I have direct experience with. CKPerformance has a good book on the 2004R.

I assume with your power level this is not an all out race car so you are more interested in steet manners.

Few suggestions:

1. I had an awesome experience with Mike Kurtz of Century transmission. Very honest, soft spoken. He won't push parts on you that aren't necessary for your application. I got 200,000 miles out of his buildup. He may have some different things to suggest in your trans due to the torque curve of the Pontiac 455 versus a turbo Buick V6. Pontiac 455's don't rev (unless significantly beefed up due to the piston speed). but they make great mid range power and boat loads of torque. The Buick V6 makes tons of torque but it doesn't come on as violently as the Pontiac. I could have a 5,000 lb trailer on my Grand Prix and it would still smoke the tires when shfiting at 50mph (Chicago tollbooth races...).

2. The forward drum can be a weak point. There are heat treated drums available that may be better but still fail. However, I did get 200,000 miles on my forward drum. My car is not that fast - high 12s/low 13s. In there i had approx 100 runs on it. My forward drum was a hardened piece but it still failed but not before taking 200,000 miles. It was obvious metal fatigue that did it in. Art Car of California Performance Transmissions has a hardened part. CK Performance, Bruce Toelle, and Century Transmission also sell the billett part and may also offer the less expensive hardened piece.

3. Precision Industries makes the best lockup torque converters. I would recommend a lockup unit as you could then get a bit more aggressive with the stall without sacfificing part throttle/cruise driveability.

4. Most buildups are now using Alto clutches, Kolene Steels, the Alto intermediate Band, and a 300M hardened pin for the band.

5. You absolutely need a hardend input shaft and stator. Mine went at 120,000 miles and with your Pontiac torque on slicks it will break or twist the splines.

6. In 1995 my 2004R rebuild was $1,500. I don't regret it one bit. By far the best shifting and most versatile transmission I've ever owned. My wife and mother could drive the car and not notice a thing - nice comfortable shifts. Once you are into the throttle it was a completely different animal.

2,000+ today does not seem out of line, considering that the BRF valve body in the GN's was $400 alone, plus core, etc... You probably have $1,000+ into hard parts and valve body before any soft parts. Add $500-700 for bench labor and machine work, converter, etc. Also, Art Car, Bruce Toelle, Mike Kurtz, CK Performance, etc.. put a lot of R&D into the 200-4R so you can' t expect them not to recoup those costs when doing a bench job.

7. Don't get too crazy with the intermediate Servo. A GN servo will work fine and shift plenty firm. Better to spend the $$ elsewhere.

8. Not sure about the 2.75 first gear. With the weight of your camaro and torque of the 455 you may want to consider stepping it down to a 2.48. Then your gear spacing between 1,2,3,4 is more optimal. (2.75:1.57:1.0:.75). That's why Gear Vendors settled on a .78 overdruve (22%).

I'm in the midst of redoing my 2004R so feel free to email me if you have questions. I always wanted to put one behind my 455 Grand Prix. I'm now using a local builder that I completely trust and we are doing it just the way Mike had it. In my application that means forward drum steels (.080) in the direct drum and 1 additional direct drum clutch. (An Alto "Banner" kit and one extra set of foward drum Kolene steel's).

sorry for the long winded post.

-Gerry Bragg
Brighton, MI
bragggf@sbclgobal.net
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Old 10-11-2005, 07:44 PM
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I meant to say 2:48:1.57:1.0:.75, not 2.75...
[QUOTE=bragggf]

8. Not sure about the 2.75 first gear. With the weight of your camaro and torque of the 455 you may want to consider stepping it down to a 2.48. Then your gear spacing between 1,2,3,4 is more optimal. (2.75:1.57:1.0:.75). That's why Gear Vendors settled on a .78 overdruve (22%).
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Old 10-11-2005, 08:55 PM
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Wow. Thanks for all the good info! I may be in contact with you in the near future when I get closer to doing this.
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Old 10-12-2005, 12:29 AM
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2 of my buddys have ART CAR 200's and they both seem to be holdign up great. One is in a 383 monte carlo, he had a prolem with the shifter linkage seal not sealing, but other than that, works fine. The other is in a 75 vette, converted from a 400 to 200, it has a 2200 stall and launches nicely and havnt had a problem with it.
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