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Technical Cast iron to aluminum Powerglide swap questions

Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by IDTag, Nov 8, 2019.

  1. IDTag
    Joined: Aug 10, 2008
    Posts: 15

    IDTag
    Member
    from Boise, ID

    Just picked up a 1960 Belair 2 door this week. Have been looking for '59 or '60 Chevy for a while now.

    The original cast iron PG crapped out so the guy started swapping it out for a later aluminum glide. The trans is in the car but the job is incomplete. Looks like he though it'd be a simple swap but didn't work out that way. Trying to figure out everything that won't match up.

    So far searching I found the yoke won't match, believe it's the same as the TH350 on the newer PG. The starter isn't a problem, it's not the original block so there are starter mounting holes. Looking under the car the cooler lines come in at a different angle, side versus back so some rerouting there.

    He put the flexplate and torque converter from the later PG on the motor but it looks like the bolts are too long. They stick out the back of the crank and are actually touching the seal/block. Guessing those have to go as well unless the original flexplate can still be used.

    Anything else I'm still missing here? Right now I'm just trying to get it moving under its own power so I can get it in and out of the shop as needed. Haven't decided on a drivetrain yet, since it's not the original block I'm not too concerned about swapping in something else.
     
  2. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 43,431

    squirrel
    Member

    Sounds to me like the guy just doesn't know much about working on cars....and is learning the hard way.

    The original flexplate would have worked, if he used the large PG torque converter and the correct starter. The rear spline would have been the same, if he had found an earlier transmission. The length...maybe the driveshaft needs to be shortened also, because he used the later transmission. I think he probably used flywheel bolts for a standard transmission, or hardware store bolts, instead of flexplate bolts? Although I also seem to recall that early flexplates had a reinforcing ring at the center, so they were indeed thicker than the later flexplate. Just find some flexplate bolts for any Chevy from the 60s or 70s, they should work fine. And make sure you get the correct torque converter bolts, as well, they are special length. There were a few different styles used, make sure you get the right ones. If you have questions, post pictures of what you're working on, so we can see.
     
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  3. oldsman41
    Joined: Jun 25, 2010
    Posts: 1,134

    oldsman41
    Member

    Unless you are dead set on the pig I would go th350 minimum or 700r4 2004r for od. Your money your car.
     
  4. Hnstray
    Joined: Aug 23, 2009
    Posts: 10,678

    Hnstray
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Quincy, IL

    @IDTag ......Your car may not have the original block, but the fact you have starter mounting holes in the block is not a reliable indicator of that. When Chevy introduced the Turboglide in 1957 all the V8 blocks got the starter mounting holes on the block no matter the trans to be fitted in production.

    As for the 'standard issue' advice about using a TH350 or TH700R4/TH2004R, it all depends.....you already have the aluminum PG. They were and are simple, reliable and durable transmissions. Millions of cars operated very satisfactorily with them.

    If you want faster acceleration, the lower 1st gear in the TH350 can improve that. As for an overdrive automatic, a better choice for your application would be the TH2004R. Better ratio spread, a little smaller and a bit lighter in weight. Both TH700R4 and TH2004R had teething problems with the earliest versions, all long since corrected.

    Ray
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2019
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  5. IDTag
    Joined: Aug 10, 2008
    Posts: 15

    IDTag
    Member
    from Boise, ID

    You are correct on the reinforcing ring on the original flexplate, saw that looking at the old one. I'm going to have to pull the trans anyway so can check things out a little better.

    Will have to measure the two and see if they are the same length or not. If not then I do have a problem. Can't see cutting the driveshaft for a temporary fix. Long term I'd prefer a 700R4 but not the right time to jump into it.
     
  6. Why does any body ask questions on here, when all they seem to get is personal opinions of what they would do.
    Listen to what squirrel has to add and you can’t go wrong.
     
  7. IDTag
    Joined: Aug 10, 2008
    Posts: 15

    IDTag
    Member
    from Boise, ID

    I turn on my opinion filter whenever I ask a question on a forum... (useful information noted)... blah blah blah... (useful information)...
     
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  8. oldtom69
    Joined: Dec 6, 2009
    Posts: 412

    oldtom69
    Member
    from grandin nd

    A 63 or 64 aluminum power glide would be the same length and splines as your old cast iron trans-so yes,65 and up glide is longer and different splines-advantage is you may be able to go with a one piece driveshaft instead of the hanger bearing style you now have.
     
    Atwater Mike likes this.
  9. Rex_A_Lott
    Joined: Feb 5, 2007
    Posts: 964

    Rex_A_Lott
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I'm not sure about the 59 and 60, but the cast iron PowerGlide in '55 had reverse all the way down where low would be on the later aluminum glides. Not a deal breaker, just something that may be different. Good Luck.
     
  10. Oilguy
    Joined: Jun 28, 2011
    Posts: 344

    Oilguy
    Member

    I did a similar conversion on a 62, last year some cars with 283s had the iron glide. The 62-64 trans, as mentioned above, is the same length as the iron trans with the same output spline. I replaced the flex plate for one for the aluminum trans and that part was a bolt-in. The problem was the frame mounted pivot for the shift linkage. I did not want to use a floor shifter and could not find anyone who sells the pivot pin and plate. Got lucky and found one that had been bolted to the frame in a wrecking yard and bought that. All the others I found were welded to the frame and the yard owner would not cut the frame to remove them.
     
  11. Tickety Boo
    Joined: Feb 2, 2015
    Posts: 972

    Tickety Boo
    Member
    from Wisconsin

    Didn't some of the old iron glides have a spacer/adapter between the block and transmission ?
    Recently bought a passenger car 63 327 engine that still had it attached, don't know what you have but if you measure the two transmissions see if it needs to be included in the total length :oops:
     
  12. Oilguy
    Joined: Jun 28, 2011
    Posts: 344

    Oilguy
    Member

    Tickety: My 62 had the same setup, which leads me to believe it was originally a 283 car since they had the iron trans, the 327s had aluminum. Then starting in 63 they all used aluminum. Toss the adapter and the aluminum will bolt to the block. Just don't drop it on your foot.
     
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  13. saltflats
    Joined: Aug 14, 2007
    Posts: 9,508

    saltflats
    Member
    from Missouri

    I could hook you up with a tailshaft and a tail housing so your drive shaft will work.
     
    Tickety Boo likes this.
  14. 56sedandelivery
    Joined: Nov 21, 2006
    Posts: 5,745

    56sedandelivery
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    The 62 (BUT only with a 327 engine, as the 283's still got a cast iron glide), and 63-64 full sized cars, all got the 25 inch long aluminum Glides. Everything else got the 28 inch long Glide. All were course (17 spline) spline outputs until 1966 when they went fine spine (27 spline). The shift pattern changed in 58, so they're all the same from then; 55-57 were P-N-D-L-R; in 58 it changed to P-R-N-D-L. I'd use the flexplate/converter/trans of the 62-64 full sized cars, so as not to worry about shortening the front half of the 2 piece driveshaft. But, if I were to use a 28 inch long Glide, then I change everything over to a single driveshaft; that will probably require modifying the frame at the "X", and I'd use a TH350; two speeds are boring on the street, and a TH350 is so much more driveable.. I "think" most of the kick-own/throttle pressure linkage should work, if you have it, with just a little modification. But again, if I were to consider the longer 28 inch long Glide, then I'd just go with a TH350; everything else (TH200R4, TH700R4, TH400) have a trans mount that's further back, meaning a new trans cross-member, if that's even possible with the "X" frame cars. A couple of years ago, I sold a 25 inch, built Glide to a B.C. Canada fella for his 348, 58 Chevrolet. I had to reinstall the stock shift and kick-down/throttle pressure linkage, and come up with as much of the same linkage as possible. He had a shop do the install, and was happy with everything, so it's a good swap when done with all the correct parts. I would't try cross-breeding cast iron and aluminum Powerglide parts; there's just too many small details and parts differences to complicate things (like the crankshaft bolts, converter, etc); the KISS principle if you will. At least the aluminum Powerglide is easy to work on/rebuild, and they are pretty stout as long as they're kept cool; that means using only low when appropriate, and for only short periods of time. Don't keep one in low gear all the time, just to impress anyone; you will burn them up. If your slip yoke is of the 27 spline variety, and fits the current aluminum Powerglide, then you have a 28 inch long one; all 25 inch Glides were course, 17 spline transmissions. I'm sure I've forgotten something, but those are the high points. I am Butch/56sedandelivery.
     
  15. Hnstray
    Joined: Aug 23, 2009
    Posts: 10,678

    Hnstray
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Quincy, IL

    I respectfully disagree with your premise. While I am a Fan and will happily agree @squirrel is a highly respected and valued source of great information, both factual and opinion/recommendations, there are additional points of view worth considering. Everybody has their preferences for various reasons, not always objectively better than other options but subjectively appealing.

    That really is the point of forums....a place for an exchange of ideas that sink or swim on their merits.

    Ray
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2019 at 7:18 AM
  16. IDTag
    Joined: Aug 10, 2008
    Posts: 15

    IDTag
    Member
    from Boise, ID

    Got the car back up in the air today, trans in the car is 28" so too long for the stock ironglide driveshaft. Not sure what's involved in swapping out the tailshaft and housing. Do know on some later model transmissions it's full disassembly. Might be stuck towing it around for now and wait until I decide on the final powertrain.
     
  17. Hnstray
    Joined: Aug 23, 2009
    Posts: 10,678

    Hnstray
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Quincy, IL

    @IDTag Changing the output shaft will require disassembly......first piece in, last piece out. Also, depending on the year model of your current trans, there may be some other issues to deal with. Through about '66, I believe, PG's had rear pumps. If your PG is later than that, it might not be a simple swap of parts.

    Your best PG choice may be to find a '64 or earlier short tail PG......

    Ray
     
  18. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 16,170

    gimpyshotrods
    Member

    For all of this work, I would not bother with a Powerglide.

    A 2000R4 will fit in there, with minor mods. It will greatly enhance the driveability of the car. You will have both better bottom and top-end.

    As for ease of working on one, I can rebuild one in 3-1/2 hours. It is no harder to work with than the Powerglide.
     
  19. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 16,170

    gimpyshotrods
    Member

    Because it is called a discussion board, not a validate my decisions board.
     
    deathrowdave likes this.
  20. And discussions should stay on topic.
    This one is about how to finish the installation of an aluminum powerglide in a 60 Belair
     
    poco likes this.
  21. southcross2631
    Joined: Jan 20, 2013
    Posts: 2,925

    southcross2631
    Member

    Put a clutch pedal in it and a 4 speed. Make it a manly car.
     
  22. Don't toss the adapter; they were used with many aftermarket Chev to early Ford trans adapters. Pass it on to somebody who can use it.

    You mentioned you only want to get this drivetrain working to move it in and out of your shop; not a big deal to cut and weld the driveshaft. You can always get a "real" shaft made later.
     
  23. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 16,170

    gimpyshotrods
    Member

    Which is your opinion, not a board rule.

    An opinion, I might add, which is anithetical to the very idea of providing sound advice, on an open forum.

    This is not a closed container. Adding more advice, or more sound advice, will not prevent other lines of though from appearing here. Text is tiny, and there is no shortage of space.

    I am legitimately concerned that you are offended by the notion that others have differing opinions from yours.

    Nobody is asking you to stop talking, but you seem to be doing that to others.
     
    Hnstray likes this.
  24. SS Pete
    Joined: Jan 13, 2017
    Posts: 12

    SS Pete
    Member

    You can use the front half of a 58-64 4SPEED shaft or shorten yours with a pipe cutter or hack saw. loop the cooling line and try it.
     
  25. IDTag
    Joined: Aug 10, 2008
    Posts: 15

    IDTag
    Member
    from Boise, ID

    Ha! My daily drivers have been manual trans for many, many years, current is a 2005 Cadillac CTS-V. For the weekend cruiser driving one foot, one hand is kind of nice.
     
  26. IDTag
    Joined: Aug 10, 2008
    Posts: 15

    IDTag
    Member
    from Boise, ID

    Rolled it out of the shop for a bit, need to pull and engine and trans out of a donor truck and get my 65 wagon project underway. Hope selling the wagon will fund a chunk of the 60 project.

    When I get it back in the shop will probably bolt up the aluminum glide, cut the driveshaft down myself to get it mobile. Also can't start the motor till I resolve the flexplate bolt and converter issues so no idea what shape it's really in.

    Greatly appreciate the information and suggestions.
     
    RICH B likes this.
  27. bangngears
    Joined: Aug 30, 2007
    Posts: 856

    bangngears
    Member
    from ofallon mo

    I had a 60 chevy that i could swear had an aluminum glide in it.Correct me if im wrong. Long time ago. I put a 65 283 in it at one time. Maybe thats what im thinking.:rolleyes:
     
  28. Hnstray
    Joined: Aug 23, 2009
    Posts: 10,678

    Hnstray
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Quincy, IL

    Coulda been a Turboglide. They were used from '57 through '61 and looked a lot like the Powerglide at a glance. Integral bellhousing, all aluminum case, etc.

    Ray
     
  29. bangngears
    Joined: Aug 30, 2007
    Posts: 856

    bangngears
    Member
    from ofallon mo

    No, it was a powerglide for sure. Can some one tell me when the first aluminum powerglides came out
     
  30. bangngears
    Joined: Aug 30, 2007
    Posts: 856

    bangngears
    Member
    from ofallon mo

    Never mind. Looked in up on the web. 1962 was the first aluminum powerglide
     

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