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Old 06-07-2008, 01:39 PM
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Saginaw 4 speed Questions

I have a 4 speed sag that I bought from a friend at work for my 73 Firebird project. Few things I need a little help on.

1. It has 2 electrical hook plugs. one is by the reverse shift point with 2 prongs. reverse lights (thanks holder350). Other is 1 prong right under the first/second gear shift point. no clue what this one is.

2. It shifts into all gears great. Shifts out of every gear but first great. First gear seems a little tight coming out, not real bad just enough to make me think about it. Should I be worried about this ? Should I take side cover off and investigate further ?

3. I recieved an aluminium bell housing also. How do I tell what size clutch/pressure plate will fit ? 12" big hole truck.. did some research after I found the #. Gm 460486

4. The bosses for the shifter mount are not drilled. Can I safely drill and tap these?

Sure ill have a couple more but any help would be appreciated.

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Last edited by troyhoot; 06-07-2008 at 06:13 PM.
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Old 06-07-2008, 01:45 PM
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one will be the reverse lights...that should be the 2 prong one.

Have no clue what the other is
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Old 06-07-2008, 03:50 PM
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GM used various trans switches to controll vac advance to the distrib. For emissions use. Most limited vac advance in third and high gear. This may be a variant of that.

These trans were designed for 4-6 cylinder cars so the belhousing, if correct, would be for 10" or less.

A very weak trans with terrible gear spreads. Used to watch street tired, 4 cyl Vega/Monza cars, scatter them at the strip.
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Old 06-07-2008, 04:05 PM
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well my 1970 firebird I had came with one from the factory behind a v8. So they all werent used behind little motors. This is a 2 ring saginaw so it has 3.11 2.20 1.47 1.00. But yes I understand saginaws are weaker then muncies.

Bellhousing was on a 400 chevy in a truck we believe. Its actually fairly big. I have 14.5" clearence at the mounting face.

EDIT Found out it is a 12" big hole truck bellhousing.

Last edited by troyhoot; 06-07-2008 at 06:13 PM.
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Old 06-07-2008, 08:10 PM
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Saginaw 4 speeds

Plenty strong for a street car without getting nuts about doing burnouts and powershifts. Had one in my 1972 Nova SS 350 L-48 engine, Saginaw 4 speed, 3.42 rear gears. Bought car new and wish I still had it. Hurst used to make an adapter/mount to use when the tailhousing bosses were'nt drilled/tapped. Watch E-Bay for the mount.
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Old 06-07-2008, 08:19 PM
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I don't think they are that weak

I built a full fendered steel mopar roadster w/ mild 327, 3.23 8-3/4 POSI rear, BIG rear radials....and a saginaw

I grabbed the trans in the mock up part of the build as I needed it NOW. I found a NOS hurst shifter for $30 so it was all set there, and the trans itself was a 10k mile Monza unit for $100.

Most of the reason to try it was all the used muncies and borg t-10s I could find, were hammered to death. I figured a new saginaw beats a junk "good name"

No problem with powershifts either

I used to side step the clutch at frequent intervals and it always survived and shifted good. It had leafs with "traction links" and it hooked real good, so I pretty much gave it plenty of real world tests.
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Old 06-09-2008, 11:20 PM
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My '72 Nova SS came with a 2.54 Sag, but it now has a 3.11 from a '74 Vega. It should stay together if you don't abuse it too hard. Mine still has a stock 10.4" clutch & street tires, so I can't shock it too much, no matter what. I haven't done a serious dead-stop launch since it was fairly new, but I do shift it hard fairly regularly, never side-stepping the clutch, just letting it up as fast as my fat old body can.

The only switch on mine was the TCS (transmission-controlled-spark) switch on the 3-4 shifter shaft boss. That system got bypassed on day one.

You might not be able to use the Sag with that bellhousing. The hole might be too big for the front bearing retainer on the trans. The fit has to be right, or the input shaft won't be concentric with the crankshaft. Measure the retainer and the hole to be sure.

Last edited by jimfulco; 06-09-2008 at 11:28 PM.
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