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Blanceman 02-15-2010 08:54 PM

Big block chev/ 4-speed transmissions
I have a 1992 454 BB and want to go with a 4 speed. I'm looking at some of the older 4 speed Muncie or Saginaw trannys.

My question is- At this point I do not have a bell housing. I may buy one from Lakewood however without knowing the length of the pilot shaft on either the saginaw or muncie I don't see how I could buy a bell housing.

Are the pilot shaft all a standard length? If I purchase one off Ebay lets say, then could I order the bell housing to match?

I really do not want to buy a tranny and /or bell housing and not have them match.

I've seen several 60's and 70's rebuilt on Ebay. Any clue any body?



Centerline 02-15-2010 10:07 PM

I believe all GM 4 speeds of that era have the same shaft length. That said I would NOT put a Saginaw 4 speed behind a big block. They're fine for a small block (I'm using one behind my 331 hemi) but they won't last long with the torque of a big block. Go with the Muncie.

Blanceman 02-16-2010 12:30 AM

Saginaw vs. Muncie
I remember from my early days of hot rodding now that you mention it, the Muncie was the better tranny.

Sounds like when I get a Muncie the bell housing may not be to hard to match up.

Thanks for your reply.


bentwings 02-16-2010 09:55 AM

The only real concern is that you get a clutch disc that matches the spline on the trans. Not a real problem as everybody make them. Make sure you put in a new pilot bearing.

Stay away from the Saginaw as you will kill it very spectacularly with a good 454.

big gear head 02-16-2010 10:54 AM

A Super T 10 Borg Warner might be a better choice. You can buy them new from Richmond Gear. They are the same size and a direct replacement for the Muncie. I also agree that you don't want a Saganaw. Any of the old 3 or 4 speed bellhousings will work. Even the old cast iron bellhousings will work. You can get a new reproduction 621 aluminum bellhousing now from most of the repo parts stores.

Bryan59EC 02-16-2010 11:12 AM

Might be wise to mention that the trucks had a different main bore than the cars.

Do not use a truck bell for a Muncie-----it will all physically bolt together, but the trans will not center to the engine with a truck bell.

The truck bell had a larger bore than the cars.

big gear head 02-16-2010 04:10 PM

I forgot about that. You can get an after market front bearing retainer for the Muncie that fits the truck bellhousing.

turchiac 02-16-2010 05:02 PM

Not 100% sure but check to make sure that block has provision for mechanical linkage, some of the later 454 dont have it.

Centerline 02-16-2010 05:06 PM


Originally Posted by big gear head
I forgot about that. You can get an after market front bearing retainer for the Muncie that fits the truck bellhousing.

That's exactly what I had to do with the Saginaw I'm using in the Deuce. It was from a truck and the front bearing retainer was too large to fit in a "car" bellhousing. A quick call to a Saginaw supply house in Vegas netted me a smaller retainer, a couple gaskets and a new tail shaft seal and I was good to go.

The Saginaw 4 speed was used in everything from Vegas to half ton trucks. Including small block Camaros, Vettes, and Novas and just about any low to mid performance GM model cars and trucks from the mid 60's through the mid 80's. The Muncie was used in all high horsepower applications simply because it was strong enough to handle a big block. My 66 Vette had a Muncie behind its 425 hp 427.

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