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UPDATE Saginaw vs muncie for my truck need some advice.

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by HELLMET, Jan 6, 2010.

    Joined: Apr 21, 2001
    Posts: 1,606


    I have a 55 chevy big window truck and want to put a 3-4 speed in it. Any advice on what to use. I have a friend thats giving me a 3 speed out of a 58 truck with the clutch pedal assembly i want to make it a floor shift i have a 350 turbo in it now but want to make it more hot rod. It has a real 300hp 65 corvette motor 202 camel heads duntov cam, headers, hei. Its fast i think the manuel trans would be cool it also has a 55-57 car rear end in it. Dont know gear ratio yet i'll look into that. Thanks for any advice, pics or what ever can help. Thanks billy

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    Last edited: Jan 18, 2010
  2. AnimalAin
    Joined: Jul 20, 2002
    Posts: 3,417


    Neat truck.

    A wide-ratio Muncie or a Saginaw four speed from a Vega (3.11 first) would be good choices for a truck. If you can find one, a Tremec five speed might be the best overall, and really might not cost too much more than a four speed plus shifter.

    With a wide-ratio four speed, I would think a low-to-mid threes rear gear would be the ticket; with a five speed, I would go with a little shorter gear (maybe 3.70-4.30).
    Joined: Apr 21, 2001
    Posts: 1,606


    I don't want to modify my drive line i need a bolt in set up 350 out 3-4 speed in. And on the cheap too. Thats why i was asking about the 3 speed my buddy is giving me. Thanks .billy
  4. 270283
    Joined: Jun 11, 2006
    Posts: 379


    If your buddy is giving you the complete changeover, I would use it. Make sure the bellhousing is for a V8. Be advised that the 58 3-speed tranny won't take any abuse behind that 327. Nor will it be a synchronized low gear. That means a complete stop before shifting to 1st gear. A late sixties Saginaw 3-speed should be easy to find and along with being beefier, it will be fully synchronized. Find yourself a Hurst Mastershift and you're in business. If you find a deal on a 4-speed down the road, it'll bolt in place of the Saginaw.
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  5. zman
    Joined: Apr 2, 2001
    Posts: 16,557

    from Garner, NC

    Mid 70's Saginaw out of a F body should do nicely. Get the whole deal, bellhousing, flywheel, etc.
  6. Lee Martin
    Joined: Jun 17, 2005
    Posts: 740

    Lee Martin

    If you're going to drive it hard, go with the Muncie. Saginaws will work, but aren't built for high horsepower.

    Atomic Radio
  7. Ditto on the later truck 3-speed. They take far more abuse than the old boxes and you should be able to hookup a better floor shifter as well. The bellhousing should be the same for a 6 or 8, the front bearing retainer on the transmission and hole in the bellhousing may be different.

  8. 40Standard
    Joined: Jul 30, 2005
    Posts: 5,731

    from Indy

    go for a 4 speed
  9. Truckedup
    Joined: Jul 25, 2006
    Posts: 3,838


    Truck Saginaw,car Saginaw,all the same shit .There was a heavy duty 3 speed option in many GM vehicles,looks similar to a Saginaw but has one more bolt on the top of the side cover,4 I believe. This was used in GTO's and the like as a 3 speed.Generally,V-8 truck Saginaw 3 spds have a 2.85 first gear.A 4 speed and 3 speed Saginaw are identical size so going for the extra gear is no problem. 2.85 first gear 4 speeds are a bit rare,2.54 first or 3.11 first is more available.Larry who owns D&L transmission in NY worked on a lot of Saginaws.He claims a stock Saginaw can handle 500 HP on a dirt tract where there's no shock loads.On a street vehicle he claims 300 hp maximum if you're gonna use that 300 hp occasionally.But it's no guarantee .
    But a Saginaw is the least expensive bolt in and a worn Muncie you'll get for twice the price of a Saginaw will be no stronger.
  10. a muncie is a hell of alot easier to shift fast than a saginaw. but do you really need a 4spd to be a hot rod?
    Joined: Apr 21, 2001
    Posts: 1,606


    Talked to a friend today that has a 4 speed out of a vega will it work? Billy
  12. Truckedup
    Joined: Jul 25, 2006
    Posts: 3,838


    Saginaw from a Vega should have a 3.50 or 3.11 first gear depending on this or that,3.50first gear,might be too steep for your truck,or not..The 3.50 version is also the weakest due to gear design.
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2010
  13. Shifty Shifterton
    Joined: Oct 1, 2006
    Posts: 4,965

    Shifty Shifterton

    The vega first gear will be no steeper than the truck 3 speed first gear. IMO the problem with the truck box is it's essentially a 2 speed because the granny is useless unless it's a working truck. 2 speed manuals ain't hot roddy.

    Welcome to the 4 speed dilemna. Everybody wants one complete and cheap so there aren't many floating around. This board seems to like saginaws a lot, I suspect it's older membership doesn't do 2nd gear clutch dumps as often as they used to. Get on a more typical street/strip forum and you'll find nothing but scorn for saginaws due to all the upstream and downstream breakage that goes with splitting a $50 transmission in half.

    good luck!
  14. 53sled
    Joined: Jul 5, 2005
    Posts: 5,820

    from KCMO

    I have a bellhousing, clutch, shifter and saginaw 4 speed in good working condition for sale, but my flywheel is for the newer 350. other than that, complete bolt in for a th350.
    The shifter I have is more forward than the tail shaft mounted kind, which worked great in my 53. I can send you pics of it if you want to measure and make sure you don't have a long tail 350 or something.
  15. gas pumper
    Joined: Aug 13, 2007
    Posts: 2,947

    gas pumper

    Don't forget you need the bell with the motor mounts on it unless you already changed to a trans crossmember with a trans mount.

    I've been running a 3.50 low Sag 4 speed for years (almost 20) in my 54 210. Because I also have a 2.93 rear. I gotta admit to dumping the clutch at 3000, alot, going to a higher rpm just made too much wheel spin. I think I can shift it just as fast as a Muncie, doing it Grumpy style, putting my whole body into the shift:D

    Around 160 RWHP. with the 235.

    Back in the late 60's I used to eat up a lot of $15 3 speeds. 2nd sycro didn't hold up under racing a 283.
  16. twinkletwinkle247
    Joined: Oct 2, 2008
    Posts: 219

    from Boston, MA

    Got a Muncie (4 speed) in the Chevy... and it's true love!

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