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Old 09-18-2011, 10:43 AM
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Trans Conversion Options for my Truck?

I've got an 83 Chevy K20 that was originally a Diesel. I'm building the SB 350 for it right now. It's a Gen1 350 block, but I believe it's a post 79 since the dipstick is on the passenger side. HP will be over 325. My current transmission is a TH400, and I was told from a friend that it would be better to install a 4L60E trans behind this motor. My question is, will a 4L60E bolt up, or will I need some sort of a conversion kit? This truck is a 4x4 so I'm concerned with everything lining up and working flawlessly together? The trans I have got filled with coolant from the trans cooler going out, I drained it the best I could and flushed everything out, but according to the Chevy FSM it says I should rebuild it. If I do then should I just go with a different trans? I really need some assistance from an experienced transmission guy here! IF anyone has some suggestions please clue me in. Thanks for the help!

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Old 09-18-2011, 12:10 PM
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A '93-'98 4L60E FROM BEHIND A 350 will physically bolt to your block, without modification. But...The 4L60E is an electronically controlled transmission, so you would have to install a compter. You'll also need aa different trasnfer plate to adapt the transfer case to you transmission. The 700 is a better swap option, as it is still an overdrive, but it's not electronically controlled, and is equal in strength to the 4L60E, as they share many of the same parts.
I'm a little confused as to why you've been told the 4L60E is a better option, unless he believes you need an overdrive. The 400 is certainly a stronger transmission, though.
Flushing the 400 is kinda like closing the barn door, after the horse is already out. If it had coolant in it, chances are there's already damage. Antifreeze has a nasty habit of seperating the clutch lining from the steel cores, because it breaks down the glue that they're bonded with. The only reason I could see to go with an overdrive is if your running alot of gear in the differentials...

Frank
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Old 09-18-2011, 04:44 PM
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Well, personally I'd just assume to keep the one I have in it because of cost. I guess maybe I should just try to do the rebuild myself? Just off hand what should a rebuild at a shop run on the TH400? I seriously do not trust anybody around here to work on my stuff, so I'd have to ask around to find a reputable shop to do it. I heard and read it's not that bad to do on your own. However, the one book everybody seems to recommend doesn't exist, and if you can find it, is about $200. Yea, that aint gonna happen! Every single vehicle I've ever owned has always been a manual trans, so I have no idea what one would expect to pay to have a rebuild done professionally?
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Old 09-18-2011, 05:51 PM
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A good rebuild, by a reputable shop can be had for as little as $400, for a TH400...

Frank
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Old 10-16-2011, 09:36 AM
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A couple more questions?

So, I've learned that there are very few transmission shops located here that are reputable or trust worthy. So I'm going to have to go to either Vegas or Phoenix to get one for my truck. I'm interested in putting the 700R4 into my truck, but I'm definitely not experienced in the automatic trans world. Will the 700 bolt up to my transfer case and gen1 350 block? Will I need to do any drive line modifications? I plan on running headers, will this be an issue? My TH400 actually was filled with water, not coolant. But regardless,I seriously think the OD transmission would be a better choice for me since I do a lot of freeway traveling. Gas mileage would probably benefit from this! If someone could answer these questions for me, please do. I plan on making the trip sometime this week! My motors done and I'm getting in a hurry to hear it!! Here's a pic of what I had.
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Old 10-16-2011, 11:44 AM
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The adapter from transmission to transfer case will need swapped, as well as the trans output shaft-to T-case input shaft adapter, and don't forget the transmission crossmember will likely not be lined up with the original holes in the frame that you took the bolts out of when removing it, and those for the TH-350 and TH-700R4 will not likely either be there already OR not line up, simply drill a new set of holes in this case.

You will also have to look really hard at replacing BOTH driveshafts, if the transmission lengths are far enough off when swapping, you will either have to have them lengthened/shortened, or simply replaced with new.

The TH-700R4 (4L60) and the 4L60E can BOTH physically fit with the new adapter, BUT, they BOTH can be made to work right in the truck.
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Old 10-16-2011, 03:03 PM
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In your opinion do you think it would be beneficial to change it out for the 700, or should I just stick with the Th400? It seems like quite a bit of work, just for the benefit of having an overdrive gear?
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Old 10-16-2011, 04:44 PM
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What gears and tire size are you running? Most 4x4 owners have larger tires installed but neglect to re gear. An overdrive trans in that situation would not be desirable.
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Old 10-16-2011, 05:28 PM
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Couple of items here.

water or coolant inside the tranmission, ruins the frictions.


the t-400 uses a 32 spline out shaft as pictured in the thread

t-700 / 4l60 / T-350 use a 27 spline shaft, smaller diameter than the t-400

If you change from a t-400 trans to the others, there is more involved than drive shafts, mount holes , t-case adapter

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Old 10-16-2011, 06:12 PM
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That's weird because apparently it was an option, because it's in the service manual? But whatever, it's looking more like I should just stay with what it's setup for. I'm running 33's with 4:10 gears.
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Old 10-17-2011, 12:31 PM
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Well, I'm getting quotes for $1100, dollars for a damn rebuild around here,"and that's with me pulling it". I can purchase one from monster for the same. I wish I was in a bigger city where shops were so eager to gouge the crap out of people!
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Old 10-17-2011, 01:00 PM
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How far are you from Phoenix?
http://www.hughesperformance.com/
http://www.phoenixtrans.com/
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Old 10-17-2011, 02:18 PM
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About three hours. I think that's were i'm gonna have to go. I found a couple that are about half that down there.
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Old 10-19-2011, 07:14 PM
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If you went with the 4L60E, you could avoid the computer by installing a manual shift kit. Transgo has one that sells for about $225. You get a decent trans with overdrive. But, you have to shift...
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Old 10-20-2011, 07:43 AM
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All the above is true and you would have to change converters as well. The 700 was an option but I'm not sure for what years exactly. I had an 85 Chevy 1/2 ton 4x4 with it. My cousin has an 86 Chevy the same as mine was. Both of our trucks had 305s from the factory. My friend has an 87 with the same set-up but with a TBI 350. You might want to check around at your local salvage yards to see what is available.
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