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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.

  1. HELLMET
    Joined: Apr 21, 2001
    Posts: 1,606

    HELLMET
    Member

    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

    AnimalAin
    Member

    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).
     
  3. HELLMET
    Joined: Apr 21, 2001
    Posts: 1,606

    HELLMET
    Member

    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

    270283
    Member

    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

    zman
    Member
    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
    Member

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

    -Lee
    Atomic Radio
    www.atomicpinup.com
     
  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.

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

    40Standard
    Member
    from Indy

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

    Truckedup
    Member

    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?
     
  11. HELLMET
    Joined: Apr 21, 2001
    Posts: 1,606

    HELLMET
    Member

    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

    Truckedup
    Member

    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
    Member

    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

    53sled
    Member
    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
    Member

    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

    twinkletwinkle247
    Member
    from Boston, MA

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

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