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Projects How tough is it to change from 3 on the tree to Automatic Trans?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by slim tempo, Apr 1, 2020.

  1. slim tempo
    Joined: Sep 16, 2010
    Posts: 355

    slim tempo
    Member

    As I slowly put together this 1964 Chevy Biscayne, I am discouraged to find that I am missing parts that I needed. The engine now runs. That was my first big accomplishment. Now I find that some of the linkage for the 3 speed tranny is missing. When the PO took the car apart 15 years ago he must have lost some things. My question is this: How hard would it be to change the standard transmission over to a period correct Powerglide? Would I need a different transmission support? Do I need to find a different driveshaft or have one manufactured? Can I use flexible transmission fluid lines? Is this the best way to approach this dilemma? 008.JPG
     
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  2. Hollywood-East
    Joined: Mar 13, 2008
    Posts: 1,156

    Hollywood-East
    Member

    It would be hugely easier to find the linkage!!
    Honestly a couple hour's with a piece of 3/8 rod you could make them..
    You would need a new column... Reason being You wouldn't have a Park detent.
    A cheap 3-speed shifter on the floor wouldn't be Terrible either... say'n
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2020
  3. BoogittyShoe
    Joined: Feb 18, 2020
    Posts: 330

    BoogittyShoe

    Well, you have to jack up the rear of the car and put jack stands under it. Remove the two u-bolts that hold the driveshaft in. Remove the driveshaft. (Have a drainpan under the transmission.) Remove the four bolts that hold in the transmission and remove it. Disconnect the clutch linkage. Remove bellhousing, pressure plate, and clutch disk. Remove flywheel.
    I'd say that's more than halfway.
    Really, I was just going to ask if you have thought about putting in a floor shifter. That is one of the first things I did to my '56 in about '67. So I would consider it "period correct".
    PS: I just noticed your avatar. My dad had a 4-door like that.
     
  4. sliceddeuce
    Joined: Aug 15, 2017
    Posts: 2,982

    sliceddeuce
    Member

    Pics. We need pics. Plenty of them with descriptions.
     
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  5. To answer some of your questions. Transmission support? I'm not an expert, but I would think no change, same for the driveshaft. Coolant lines? Flexible would be the easiest way to go, but someone sells pre-bent lines I'm sure.

    You would need flexplate, transmission cooler, other items mentioned above, and the correct shifter linkage. Which brings you back to where you are now.
     
  6. Rusty O'Toole
    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 9,053

    Rusty O'Toole
    Member

    It would likely be easier to find the missing parts and keep it a 3 speed. If you really want an automatic the best way is to find the same car in a junkyard and cabbage the steering column, pedals, radiator, drive shaft, etc. Not so easy to find today as it was 30 years ago. If you do make the switch save the old pedal assembly, column, linkage etc. There are guys who would pay good money to change their car to a manual trans.

    I would consider a Turbo 350 or more modern overdrive automatic before I would waste time and money on a PG.
     
  7. BoogittyShoe
    Joined: Feb 18, 2020
    Posts: 330

    BoogittyShoe

    Wait till it gets a little lighter in my garage and I'll make a video.
     
  8. wvenfield
    Joined: Nov 23, 2006
    Posts: 5,043

    wvenfield
    Member

    It shouldn't be hard to find the missing parts. Now if you are saying that you want an automatic...........

    As noted above, I wouldn't change to a PG.
     
  9. sliceddeuce
    Joined: Aug 15, 2017
    Posts: 2,982

    sliceddeuce
    Member

    That would be just splendid ! Please include a soundtrack filled with bad music and bystanders calling one another "Dude".
     
  10. harpo1313
    Joined: Jan 4, 2008
    Posts: 1,834

    harpo1313
    Member
    from wareham,ma

    Agree with Hollywood , floor 3 spd shifter.
     
  11. sgtlethargic
    Joined: Oct 8, 2005
    Posts: 5,586

    sgtlethargic
    Member

    Start a new thread asking if anyone has the linkage, and for dimensions so you can make your own (if they're straightforward).
     
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  12. Moriarity
    Joined: Apr 11, 2001
    Posts: 17,487

    Moriarity
    SUPER MODERATOR
    Staff Member

  13. Some of the resto sites may have some of it. If you have the z-bar that is the biggest piece.
     
  14. Sometimes people ask question in long form. @slim tempo if you truly want to go automatic? Moriarity's reply will work for you as well.
     
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  15. BoogittyShoe
    Joined: Feb 18, 2020
    Posts: 330

    BoogittyShoe

    Workin' on it. So far I've got The Sound of Music, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and the theme from the Beverly Hillbillies.
     
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  16. chevy57dude
    Joined: Dec 10, 2007
    Posts: 5,398

    chevy57dude
    Member

    So, it's decided then. You're keeping it a 3 speed.
    The HAMB has spoken.
    Lol
     
  17. I just wanted to add my Advise.!
    When you Change to a Auto Tran the Rear End is Difference
    Gear Ratio. ( auto 323 rear)
    ( standard 373 rear)
    Just my 3.5 cents

    Live Learn & Die a Fool
     
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  18. goldmountain
    Joined: Jun 12, 2016
    Posts: 1,608

    goldmountain

    All that three speed linkage must be getting hard to find. You find a parts car without an engine, and it is sure to be gone because whoever pulled it probably misplaced the linkage and threw it away. Floor shift conversions are scarce too since most cars went to automatics a long time ago. Anymore, it would be nice to retain the three on the tree just for the novelty value. That said, you could probably fabricate the rods from the steering column to the transmission from ones from automatic cars. They would have similar bends and le gths

    Sent from my SM-T350 using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
     
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  19. sliceddeuce
    Joined: Aug 15, 2017
    Posts: 2,982

    sliceddeuce
    Member

    A few tracks from "Disgrace to the corpse of Sid" would be nice too.:eek:
     
  20. Andy
    Joined: Nov 17, 2002
    Posts: 4,546

    Andy
    Member

    I may have some of the stuff. What exactly do you need?
    The low/reverse ,I think, used a bellcrank in the middle so two rods plus the bellcrank would be needed?
    The 2nd/hi was just a single rod.
    Are the levers on the trans?
     
  21. BoogittyShoe
    Joined: Feb 18, 2020
    Posts: 330

    BoogittyShoe

    I haven't heard that but I thought the Monster Mash would be another good dance-along. (After the Beverly Hillbillies theme)
     
  22. statesblue
    Joined: Mar 5, 2008
    Posts: 244

    statesblue
    Member
    from Luzerne Pa

    I just recently changed my 63 three on the tree to automatic. I think I might be able to help you out on some of that linkage your looking for.
    You can PM me if your interested.
     
  23. I have a brand new three speed floor shifter. $150.00 + the ride to your door. Hurst 3 speed.JPG
     
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  24. slim tempo
    Joined: Sep 16, 2010
    Posts: 355

    slim tempo
    Member

    I haven't seen a bellcrank yet. I will keep looking. Here are photos of what I have. 008.JPG 010.JPG 012.JPG 013.JPG
     
    Lloyd's paint & glass likes this.
  25. Like the other fellas said, fix the three speed linkage. I wouldn't spend a penny to convert the car to a powerglide. The only thing that swap would do is make the car slower and more boring.
     
  26. If I had 3 on the tree I’d shit can it as fast as I could. Nice floor shifter ,
    Maybe a 4 speed
     
    das858 likes this.
  27. DDDenny
    Joined: Feb 6, 2015
    Posts: 13,194

    DDDenny
    Member
    from oregon

    I've had a handful of Chevy 3 speed/column cars, each of them stayed that way for a month (or less).
    I've always been a 4 speed guy so my decision was simple, did this 64 as a correct apearing four speed changeover, granted it was fairly easy having the clutch related parts in place.

    20160312_124549.jpg
     
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  28. Gman0046
    Joined: Jul 24, 2005
    Posts: 5,976

    Gman0046
    Member

    I'd use a 350th before a powerglide.
     
  29. slim tempo
    Joined: Sep 16, 2010
    Posts: 355

    slim tempo
    Member

    If I found a 4 speed from another 60's era Chevy, would the driveshaft need to be changed out or is the length of the transmissions the same?
     
  30. slim tempo
    Joined: Sep 16, 2010
    Posts: 355

    slim tempo
    Member

    Levers still on the trans.
     

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