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Gearhead forever 09-17-2012 06:31 AM

Saginaw 4 speed question
I want to put a 4 speed in my 87 chev shortbox behind a 5.7L. I've located a gear box that is a close ratio but I dont know what that referrs to. I'm planning on abusing this transmission terribly so I figure it will be ok behind a 300-350 hp

Any advice on buying and installing one of these would be great. I need to know what to look for in a belhousing, flywheel and clutch assy...

thanks in advance

timothale 09-17-2012 07:22 AM

close ratio
The transmissions have different internal parts, gears, that determine the speed for each gear at a fixed rpm. lighter cars, corvetts, use to have optional 2. 20 first gears and larger cars had (I thinK ) a 2.54 first gear, With a close ratio you would want a lower geared rear end, with a close ratio the RPM didn't change as much between shifts keeping the engine in the max power band. If you have a close ratio in a truck, with a higher geared rear end ( In the 2.xx's) you will have trouble hauling a heavy load with out burning the clutch . With 4.56 rear gears , a 2. 20 would have enough torque to pull. but you would be running higher RPM's at highway speeds.

RWENUTS 09-17-2012 07:51 AM

If it is a saginaw the shifter arms are all on the side cover. If you're real good at tranny swappin' then put it in. Cause if you abuse a sag you'll be swappin' in another one shortly. THey don't take any abuse at all. A low performance tranny.
Spend the money, do it right, put a muncie or BW T10 in it.

39 chev 09-17-2012 06:15 PM

I used a saginaw in my 69 C-10,Iwas running a fairly stock 350 in front of it. I got the transmission out of a Vega.It had the shifter bolted to the floor in the Vega,so I did the same in my truck. The trans will not take much abuse,but I pulled a camper with mine,and it was a big improvement over the "three on the tree" that the truck came with. In answer to your question,The saginaw would not be a good choice for you. By the way the trans ,shifter and console cost me $20.

Gearhead forever 09-18-2012 06:44 AM


I meant to say I'm NOT planning on abusing this transmission! OOps
Realistically, it will never likely even see 300 hp.

Thanks for your responses

RWENUTS 09-18-2012 08:08 AM

As long as you don't put the loud pedal on the floor and sidestep the clutch pedal you should be fine.
After all the factory put a 4 speed o/d based on the mopar a833 in them.

boothboy 09-18-2012 10:13 AM

Now a days with the gas prices being what they are and what they will probably be I'd be looking for a gear box with over drive. A nice 5 or 6 speed.

Gearhead forever 09-18-2012 04:22 PM


Originally Posted by boothboy (Post 1591699)
Now a days with the gas prices being what they are and what they will probably be I'd be looking for a gear box with over drive. A nice 5 or 6 speed.

I agree, but the trouble is that I dont have the coin. I need to finish this project on a shoestring. If you can recommend a 5 speed that isnt any weaker than the Sag, and wont kill my pocketbook...I'm all ears! Tell me its possible....

junior stocker 09-18-2012 11:36 PM

Think about using the MOPAR A-833 trans made for Chevy/GMC trucks. It's basically Chryslers HD 4-speed trans regeared so 4th is actually overdrive. Uses a Hurst shifter and all. You can beat on it like an Army Mule, but not on a Saginaw for very long; especially in a heavy truck. Butch/junior stocker.

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