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Technical 401 nailhead manual trans combo

Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by JL Kustoms, Nov 10, 2018.

  1. JL Kustoms
    Joined: Nov 8, 2018
    Posts: 9

    JL Kustoms

    what do you nailhead guys run for manual transmitions be that something buick or something with an adapter . if you adapt it to something what do you use for a clutch and starter and all that

    thanks in advance
  2. RICK R 44
    Joined: Dec 13, 2009
    Posts: 436

    RICK R 44

    Running a T5 behind my 322. After the 322 was discontinued very few standard trans were used. Some of the hi performance Skylarks had a 4 speed behind the 401. Have been told that a T5 will bolt up to that bell.
  3. dodgedifferent2
    Joined: Mar 8, 2006
    Posts: 104


    About to pull the trigger on a 401 to mopar a833. (4 gear mopar)
    Called but they have yet to return my call.
    I may end up building my own adapter in my machine shop and save a bunch of cash if they dont get off their ass.

    Just have a few extra headaches if I do it myself;-)
  4. DDDenny
    Joined: Feb 6, 2015
    Posts: 10,968

    from oregon

    Not well versed on Buicks but didn't they first have a four speed option starting around 62 or 63, probably not a lot of them made I'd bet but seems the biggest stumbling block would be the belhousing but they did make a lot of Buicks with column shift three speeds.
    Pretty sure the Buick four speeds prior to 65/66 were B/W T-10's but Muncies have the same bolt pattern and even though I have no good thoughts on Saginaw four speeds they would bolt up too.

    Some Wiki info here:
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  5. sdluck
    Joined: Sep 19, 2006
    Posts: 1,942


    What about the rover 215,they bought the rights from buick,will those bell housing fit?
  6. lumpy 63
    Joined: Aug 2, 2010
    Posts: 486

    lumpy 63

    Think I used a speed gems? on the 401 in my buds Model A . Been awhile ..
  7. lumpy 63
    Joined: Aug 2, 2010
    Posts: 486

    lumpy 63

    Yep it was speed gems, put a T5 behind it. Had to fuss with starter spacing a bit , ended up machining an 1/8" spacer plate for correct starter mesh, but to be fair it was an aftermarket mini starter.
  8. I bolted a Camaro T5 to a stock Buick bellhousing also using a Hays flywheel but Buick flywheel will work. Chevy truck pressure plate, stock Buick pressure plate will work too. Clutch disc needs to be one that fits the my case it was a Camaro. This set up allowed me to connect the stock '39 pedal ass'y to the Buick bellhousing cross shaft. P1010004 (3).JPG
    51box, mgtstumpy, Gman0046 and 2 others like this.
  9. PackardV8
    Joined: Jun 7, 2007
    Posts: 851


    Who knew, but GM put Buick V8s and 4-speeds in school buses in the '50s. Saw one in a local wrecking yard recently, but he wants $500 for the engine/tranny.

    jack vines
    kidcampbell71 likes this.
  10. Desmodromic
    Joined: Sep 25, 2010
    Posts: 192


    The Buick 215 did not have the same block-to-bell bolt pattern as any other GM engine. Not sure if Rover ever changed this; if so, very doubtful they would have used the Buick block bolt pattern. Also, doubtful that they ever used the GM transmission bolt pattern. (For sure, the Triumph TR7 transmission is different.) I have a Buick 300, which is an iron block direct descendant of the alloy 215; has an original alloy bell housing with a stock GM tranny bolt pattern. The block's bolt pattern is entirely different than the 215, but I have no idea if it matches the Nailheads. At any rate, would be real difficult to find in your neighborhood junkyard!
  11. lumpy 63
    Joined: Aug 2, 2010
    Posts: 486

    lumpy 63

    I have seen that also Jack , not only School buses but Cab overs etc. It seemed to be an upgrade on the Chevys before the 348 was available in 58.
  12. bchctybob
    Joined: Sep 18, 2011
    Posts: 1,428


    JL, you didn't say what Nailhead you are working with, 53-56?, or later 60-65? You may find a factory stick bellhousing on eBay for an early model 53-56 but as they get later the stick bellhousings seem to get rarer. I used an old early Buick to early Ford adapter and a Speedway early Ford to Chevy adapter to put a 4 spd behind a 322. Wilcap has new Buick flywheels I think if you can't find a factory one. None of this stuff is cheap
  13. wood remover
    Joined: Dec 23, 2012
    Posts: 827

    wood remover

    I believe , 57-64 Bellhousings are the same .
    65 - 66 are the same .
    Only bellhousings made for nailheads will fit .
    No BOP
    no other chev
    Only nailhead !!!!!
  14. DexterDuck
    Joined: Oct 30, 2018
    Posts: 8


    this one is my choice a 65 or 66 st400 switch pitch i am runnig a 364
    there is one for sale on here now

    the info is below about this trans copied from centerville

    the easiest one to use on the 57-66 364-401-425. The 64-65-66 401-425 came with an excellent automatic trans, the ST400. They have a round shaped bell housing unlike other GM transmissions. This trans is super strong and the 65-66 version had a two speed (switch pitch)torque convertor. The stall is changed in the convertor with an electric solenoid so you can change the stall speed (RPM will raise gearing the trans down) with a flip of a switch! I like using the smaller 64-67 ST300 convertor in lighter cars for even a higher stall RPM. I have a picture of a wiring diagram posted to wire for best performance. You don't have to wire to your brake light switch (as in my diagram) but helps when using a larger camshaft for a better idle. THE SWITCH PITCH AND STANDARD CONVERTORS AND FRONT PUMPS ARE DIFFERENT so don't mix them up. The 64 is better than the Dynaflow but not as a good as the 65-66 ST400 (available in 67 also but has the BOP pattern and will not bolt to the Nailhead). The 64 trans case and valve body are one year only so no shift kits are available and the convertor is the standard GM type. This trans can be identified by the single wire connecter (switch pitch has two) at the rear and a weld on shift lever (the 65 and later bolt on). The 64 also is lacking in controlling down shifts, it shift 3 times but only has a low and drive. If you want to hold it in each gear you start off in L, wind it up and shift to D, that puts it in second gear, now pull it back into L and that holds it in second, wind it up again and shift to D and you are in third. Here is the part I don't like, say you are driving in the mountains, the turns are tighter and slower, you drop in down to L holding it in second gear, then you have to slow down to about 25 mph to make a tighter turn and bam! it goes into low, then you faster, put it into D to put it back in second and back to low to hold it there.WHEW! I drove a 64 Riviera everyday for 13 years so I know. (A customer gave me a solution for this problem, add a toggle switch inside the car that powers the kick down switch and it will hold the trans in gear!) OK, now you want to know if the 64-66 trans will bolt to earlier Nailheads right? you can bolt this trans on to all Nailheads from 57-63 with my special crank adapter bushing and the correct flex plate, the 59-63 can use the 401-425 flexplate but because ALL Buicks are externally balanced and different flexplate balanced to the 364 spec's must be used. The 57-63 starters (yes 4 different ones used) have a .600" longer snout for the Dynaflow so the starter from the 64-66 (or my mini gear reduction starter) must be used and will bolt onto the 61-66 blocks. The 57-60 364-401's will need one of special starters with a different mounting bolt pattern. NEW OPTION, we now have starter spacers so you can keep your original 57-63 starter!!
    duncan and Hnstray like this.
  15. ritterdavid
    Joined: Dec 30, 2011
    Posts: 512

    from Ne Ohio

    picture of a 63-64 Buick / Pontiac T10 longtail 4 speed transmission...

    Attached Files:

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