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Old 08-01-2019, 07:51 AM
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GearVendor's install on a 1970 Chevelle SS

I began this project yesterday, so I thought I'd start a thread to show progress on this one. I've found a lot of info out there on this install, but it's all very old. So I thought I'd do something more recent. Sorry for the long winded thread, but I like to dump all of the information from my head in a pretty verbose manner after I do the work so that there is more there for reference for others later.

I ordered my unit via their website July 19th. It showed up at my front door yesterday July 31st. So not a terrible turn around time. One thing I will mention is the interaction with the company that I've had so far. I called them on July 23rd just to verify that the order was received correctly and that they did not need any more information from me. The gal on the phone was very polite and said that she would have her web order guy call me. No call that day, so I call again the next day. She said she remembered me, and would tell the same web order guy to call me again. No call. I decided to be patient and not poke the bear. July 25th I received an email from UPS with a tracking number, but still no official followup from the web order guy. I get it, they are probably busy. That just has not ticked the "excellent" box in the customer service column for me yet. Maybe if I have issues during the actual installation and I have to contact them I will have a different experience. This is by no means me throwing them under the bus, just sharing my experience.

Anyways........I have the unit now. I've unpacked it and inventoried what was sent in the box. It appears to all be there. I'll attach the pictures that I have here.

1 is the box it all came in. 2 is the boxes inside of the box. I do have to say, I like the way it was all packed. It showed up in great shape from UPS, but even if they were not so nice to it I think it would have made it through it.

3 is the contents of one of the smaller boxes. New tail housing with the short speedo cable and some mounting hardware.

4 is the controller. This is different and new to me. It's made by MSD and appears to be years ahead of the old controller that GV themselves were providing. But that's just me judging from physical appearance. At the very least I like the fact that it's all one harness and a smaller more compact box, instead of using RCA and RJ-11 connectors like the old style box.

5 is just the new yoke that is provided with the unit.

There *should* be one more picture there, and probably the one that everyone wants to see! However, I had to cut my unpacking and photo taking time short. The wife was on her way home, and I was doing this inside on the kitchen table. It comes in a plastic bag anyway, because the unit is coated in transmission oil. So not much to see there anyway except a big chunk of metal.

I took the rest of the night to read through all of the documentation. You can tell this was all written very much by a bunch of gear heads. They need someone to review their documentation horribly. It's readable, but some of the formatting is so bad it makes it tough to read. Especially on the addendum pages they include for Chevelle's. But I manged to get through it.

One of the big questions that I had going into this was what type of fluid to use when filling the unit up. Their website states to use Fluid type GM#1052271 petroleum based or GM#12346190 synthetic. In the manual, it says for cars you can use regular Dexron ATF. For heavier motor homes and trucks, you use a heavier weight gear oil. In the end I will probably call them to confirm, but I'm leaning towards the recommendation in the install manual and going with the ATF.

Next on the agenda is to start disassembly of what I have now. It's a 70 Chevelle SS with a 454, TH400 transmission and a narrowed for 9" rear. Installing this unit hopefully should not change pinion angle, but I'm going to measure that before I tear anything apart. Also going to dimple the driveshaft for reassembly time so I make sure I get in there the way it came out.
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Old 08-01-2019, 08:22 AM
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I've had a Gear Vendors OD installed in a S10, 350/350 Turbo with 4.11 gears for almost two years now. Very pleased with the unit overall. I will have to agree with you regarding the manual. It needs some updating. Took several readings to figure out the system and controls that I received. The new controller you have looks easier to install than their older unit. I used ATF in the OD unit. The only issue I have is that after an hour of freeway driving the unit will shift into OD at speeds lower than 42 mph. It appears to be a heat related issue. I haven't talked with the vendor regarding this.
Otherwise, I felt the installation was pretty straight forward.
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Old 08-05-2019, 08:25 AM
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Made some more progress this weekend with my helper!

I put pictures 6,7 and 8 up to show the condition of the drive train before hand. It's all pretty normal stuff.

Picture 9 is of the bolts holding the rear drive shaft in place. I specifically put this up here to remind myself that these were not very tight at all. I don't know if they are supposed to be or not. In fact this is the first time I've ever removed a driveshaft in my life. So that was fun!

Picture 10 is of the stock tail housing on the TH400 trans with the driveshaft removed. When I pulled the drive shaft out, I did not loose any fluids there. I had the drip pans ready on the lift in case. I suppose this means my trans is lower than it should be on fluid. One thing of note here, is where the shift cable and 02 sensor wires exit the inside of the car by the housing. This will be important later!

Continuing in next post for more pictures.
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Old 08-05-2019, 08:37 AM
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Picture 11 is the bracing put up to support the transmission once the cross member has been removed. I really should spend the money on a trans jack, but this works for now.

12 is my hired muscle for the day! He stayed out there helping me the whole time. He's pretty convinced that when he turns 16 this car should be his. Maybe one day far, far in the future. Surely not when he's 16!

13 is with the cross member removed. Doing this with the exhaust on the car was really kind of a PITA. I may well remove those pipes when it goes back in if I can't remember how to snake it back in there.

14 is with the cross member gone and stock tail housing off. Nothing all that special there, but wanted a picture for reference.

15 is with the GV tail housing installed. This is where things got a tad bit tight. It seems like it fits on there well, and the bolt holes all line up, but the top two in the 10 and 2 o'clock position do not thread in all the way and the two casings do not come together. So it must be running into a very small clearance issue somewhere in there. Also, along with that, I get to deal with that exit hole where the shift cable and wires are at. No way I can leave them the way they are and get the main GV unit onto the back of this thing.

That is where we called it a day. It was starting to get hot out, and my help's attention was quickly fading. We only work on it while it's fun, once the fun fades we stop for the day.

So about the wire exit location. I am going to use an air hammer to give a little love to that tunnel this week in order to get those parts to meet together properly. While I am doing that I will pay special attention to that area to see if I can perhaps make enough clearance there to let those things come out and around the unit when it's up and in place. If not I may have to get crafty with where to go with them. Disconnecting those wires and re routing them would be a HUGE time sink right now. I'd have to pull the dash to get to the smaller connectors on the back of the 02 sensors to fish them back through. The big end on the exhaust side is too large to fit through the hole. Another option would be to make another hole farther to the left or right side, and then essentially cut a path between the holes to move the wires without disconnecting them. Not my favorite idea, but not horrible either. I really don't mind a little butchering of the floor pan here. This is no show car.
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Old 08-05-2019, 05:12 PM
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Keep them coming. By the way, I think your helper is much too clean. He should be washing parts or something.


454 RATTLER
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Old 08-06-2019, 06:11 AM
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Yeah, one day when I have the room for a parts washer I have to get him on that. There are so many other tools I'd buy if I had the spare room for them to sit around. Maybe it's a good thing I *don't* have the room!

I went back out last night after work for just a bit. Busted out the air hammer and got a feel for it. This is the first time I've ever used an air hammer. It's not all that bad. I used the Ingersoll Rand 114GQC. Pro tip - if you ever need to knock loose any and all debris from under a car that might have accumulated over the past 20 years, just use one of these things for about 10 minutes. The amount of junk that fell out of there was amazing!

After about 40 minutes of working with it I had enough clearance to comfortably get the tail shaft housing bolted up. Also gave it enough room to keep the accessories ran out of their same hole. The shift cable might rub a tad bit once the actual OD unit is installed. If that is the case I'll out a piece of rubber hose around it in that area to keep it from rubbing through. But I think it's going to work!

After that I was covered in tons old undercoating that had flaked off, safety glasses were fogging up constantly from the heat in the garage, and had ripped through my last glove. Decided to call it a night and end on a good note.

Next up is bringing the car down, and making sure this did not have an effect on how the console sits in the car, or where the shifter is mounted. If not, on to bolting the cross member back up and moving on to the actual OD unit! I've read that I may have to do some clearance on the cross member for the sump pan on the OD unit. The extra info they sent for Chevelle's with the OD unit says that if you do a good job with clearance on the tunnel you shouldn't have to do that. Here's hoping for option #2.
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Old 08-06-2019, 06:28 AM
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Probably too late but a good Air Bath, blowing debris out of hair and such will make for a cleaner shower stall after washing off all the sweat and rust.
You will thoroughly enjoy your new unit once it is up and running. There is something about doing a job yourself that cant be duplicated at the end of the day. Enjoy!
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Old 08-06-2019, 06:37 AM
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Indeed it is too late, but I learned that the hard way yesterday! It's all a learning experience.

I agree with the satisfaction of a job done yourself. Sometimes I swear I like working on this thing more than I enjoy driving it. I sit at a desk all day, so I have plenty of opportunity to learn the basics of how to do things online. But actually getting out there and doing it is another story and for me, where the real fun is at.
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Old 08-06-2019, 08:08 AM
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As I am sitting here thinking more about it, I'm considering what my options are going to be for wiring. I know I'm going to run the green/red LED's to a location on the dash that is visible yet not annoying at night. I've heard the LED's are quite bright. I have an available toggle switch in my panel that I am going to use for the auto / manual change. So I think that will get rid of the black box that most mount under their dash for the auto/manual control and lights that go with it. I'll mount the smaller black controller box inside of the glove compartment.

For turning the OD on/off there is a dimmer switch included with the package that most mount on the floor next to their head light dimmer switch. What I'd really like to do is control OD on/off with the button that is on my shifter handle already, built into the B&M handle. This is a momentary switch, while I think the headlight dimmer style is continuous. I know a person can order a handle from GV to accomplish this which probably has the correct switch built in, but I kind of want to go down the rabbit hole of modifying my own to make it work.

I have too much time to think about this stuff.......the project will never be "done"
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Old 08-06-2019, 08:16 AM
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I went with the B&M shifter handle that Gear Vendors sells and pleased with it, simple and easy installation.
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Old 08-06-2019, 08:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 26 TSedandelivery View Post
I went with the B&M shifter handle that Gear Vendors sells and pleased with it, simple and easy installation.
I've sent them an email. But, do you happen to remember what they charged for it?
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Old 08-06-2019, 08:05 PM
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I cant find the invoice and its been over two years since I purchased the unit. They don't list the price but I would call them. Their customer service I found to be excellent and answered any and all questions I had.
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Old 08-08-2019, 07:17 AM
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Found out that GearVendor does indeed sell the handle + switch for $85. Since I already have the handle they sell the switch alone for $30. I'm a cheap *** so I just ordered one from Amazon for $8. Really all I need is a 16mm latching switch that is ~1" long. I think this one should work.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

We'll see! If not I'll go to the GV route.
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Old 08-09-2019, 12:45 PM
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Took a trip home over lunch to let the dog out. Found a package on my doorstep! Had just enough time to unpack it and give it a quick test fit. I ordered the 16mm mounting hole switch, that may have been just a tad small. Probably could have gone 18 for a more snug fit. But that's easy to fix.

I really like the way it looks in the handle. And the switch button is raised enough that it's easy to operate even flush with the handle. There is an option to illuminate a blue ring on the switch when it's on if a guy wants to. Since I'll have the red/green LED's that come with the GV electronics I'll skip that part.

I hope to make some good progress this weekend.
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Old 08-12-2019, 07:54 AM
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Man, I've been reading up on gear splitting with the GV unit and this sounds amazing to me! Makes me wish I would have gone TH350 with a Gear Vendors unit instead of dropping $2400 plus 8 more on a built 700r4 and a nice converter... Oh well. Looks like you will have much fun, and in no time at all will be gear jammin like a pro!
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