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Technical Wide Ratio or Close Ratio Manual Trans?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Crazy Steve, Aug 4, 2020.

  1. Looking for thoughts and comments on which would be the best choice for a street car...

    I'm aware that wide ratios are generally a bit weaker compared to close ratios, but if you take that out of the equation, what should the other deciding factors be?

  2. Almostdone
    Joined: Dec 19, 2019
    Posts: 316


    Let’s assume it is generally believed that the close-ratio trans is preferable to the wide ratio for performance reasons. Being a mostly-GM person, I think M22 and M21 vs. the M20. In practice I doubt there is any important advantage in the close-ratio on the street, other than the awesome sound of the M22.

    Ok, let me have it.
  3. Jmountainjr
    Joined: Dec 29, 2006
    Posts: 1,222


    What's in front of it? A torque beast or a high revving engine with a narrow power band?
    G-son, theHIGHLANDER, XXL__ and 2 others like this.
  4. 62SY4
    Joined: Oct 30, 2009
    Posts: 86

    from Irwin, Pa

    Boden and theHIGHLANDER like this.

  5. RmK57
    Joined: Dec 31, 2008
    Posts: 1,594


    Wide ratio top loader with a 2.78 first gear. The 2.32 close ratio tends to be a bit of a dog in a first gear pull, even with a big block and 3.90+ gearing.
  6. Moriarity
    Joined: Apr 11, 2001
    Posts: 19,242

    Staff Member

    with a wide ratio you can get by with a taller rear end gear, kind of a poor mans overdrive....
  7. Fordors
    Joined: Sep 22, 2016
    Posts: 2,989


    Wide ratio for the better first gear torque multiplication it provides. With a 3.50 rear a wide ratio Muncie gives a 8.89 low and the close ratio only has a 7.7 mechanical advantage. The benefit of the close ratio transmission is the gear splits are less severe and the lesser RPM drops keep the power band up better, but for the street I'd go wide ratio.
  8. 1934coupe
    Joined: Feb 22, 2007
    Posts: 4,129


    In my non Hamb Chevelle SS 396 it had a wide ratio and my wife was able to easily drive it. I would beat the hell out of it with stock tires and never had a trans problems. But she could not drive a car with a close ratio and 3.36 gears.

  9. Thanks for confirming my suspicions-I always thought the close ratio was more for racing and keeping the revs up between gears and the wide ratio more suited to the street. They are both 1:1 out the back so no difference that way
    Automotive Stud likes this.
  10. OK, let's narrow the parameters a bit... 3900 lb car, 400" Ford, and I'll probably go with a TKO 5-speed for overdrive. A T5 won't cut it. It's not going to be raced, but I am looking for ease of driving as I may put my GF in it.
  11. 427 sleeper
    Joined: Mar 8, 2017
    Posts: 1,053

    427 sleeper

    Wide ratio's have lived many a long life in street car's.
    Pro's: lower first gear , usually. Better suited for higher rear gear's.
    Con's: Usually a big RPM drop between 3rd and 4th gear. (Assuming a 4 speed is used)
    Close Ratio Con's: Higher first gear ratio - easier to get moving with low rear gear's, (4:11-4:56) Not so good at 70 MPH!
    Pro's: More even RPM drop between ALL gear's.
    Telling someone you have a close ratio 4 speed just sounds cooler! ;)
    For a street car, I'd go with a wide ratio and street gear's. 3:70 or higher. JMO :cool:

    EDIT: Now that the parameters have been narrowed a bit, I might be inclined to run a close ratio with a 4:11 rear gear. The overdrive of the TKO will make it streetable.
    Hnstray, lumpy 63 and ekimneirbo like this.
  12. ekimneirbo
    Joined: Apr 29, 2017
    Posts: 1,460

    from Brooks Ky

    Basically the TKO difference is wide ratio is 500 ft lbs and close ratio is 600 ft lbs with the gear ratio accounting for the difference. I'd go for the 600 and select your rear end gear so it works with the overdrive ratio in that version of the TKO.
    427 sleeper likes this.
  13. Jmountainjr
    Joined: Dec 29, 2006
    Posts: 1,222


    I like the TKO with the optional road race 0.82 OD ratio. It makes all of the gear splits more even and gets rid of the big gap from 4th to 5th.
    Charlie K likes this.
  14. '51 Norm
    Joined: Dec 6, 2010
    Posts: 704

    '51 Norm
    from colorado

    I know that I'm going to get ripped up for this but here goes.
    I had a wide ratio Saginaw (three ring)behind a 421 tri power in a 65 GTO.
    Then I found a good deal on a close ratio Muncie and naturally I had to have it.
    I absolutely hated that transmission. The ratios were so close that it was hard to tell if I had shifted from second to third. I routinely shifted from second to fourth.
    I put the Saginaw back in and made someone happy by selling the Muncie to them.
    For a race situation perhaps the close ratio makes sense, on the street, not so much.
  15. jimmy six
    Joined: Mar 21, 2006
    Posts: 7,165

    jimmy six

    Just completed a car with a 3.25 rear gear and a 2.88 low in the trans. Ez to drive, hard to stall and the clutch will last a good long time. Engine has a 4” stroke.
    Back in the 60’s I had a Chevy ll with 2.20 low and 3.08 gears and a 3” stroke and hated it except at the drags when I put in 4.56’s. Went to a 2.52 low and enjoyed the car.
  16. T&A Flathead
    Joined: Apr 28, 2007
    Posts: 1,805

    T&A Flathead

    Thanks for the topic. I’ve been arguing with myself on the same question for a while. I want to build a street/strip 32 coupe with a 4spd and leaning towards a wide ratio.
  17. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 46,891


    What are some of the available ratios you're looking at? "wide" and "close" don't tell us a whole lot, unless you're talking about transmissions that we're familiar with, like M20 vs M21, etc.
  18. Tremec offers two Ford TKO set-ups, not including slight differences in the OD ratio. 3.27/1.98/134/1.00 wide and 2.87/1.89/1.28/1.00 close. Now this is considerably different from OEM 4-speeds, but to my thinking the only major difference between the TKOs is the spread from 1st to 2nd between the two and the 100 ft-lb rating difference.

    As I said, this is a 3800 lb car so there's no intention of racing. I'm looking more at 'daily driving' performance, like passing. With the lower 1st gear I could run a taller rear, but how will that impact mid-speed performance?

    Like most owners, I'm trying to eat my cake and have it too...
    Thor1 and '51 Norm like this.
  19. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 17,671


    Narrow for track, wide for street.

    You will like the wide better with your combo.
    scotty t likes this.
  20. 4 pedals
    Joined: Oct 8, 2009
    Posts: 722

    4 pedals
    from Nor Cal

    I have a TKO600 in my 64 Camino, with the .82 overdrive and 3.55 rear gears, 27" tire. I had a healthy big block when I put the combo together, and I looked at gear ratios closely. I intentionally set it so that it had essentially the same first gear I was going away from with a 4.56 rear and 2.20 first and yet would cruise at 2500 rpm in 5th, enough engine speed to make it efficient with a carb and a big cam. Eventually I blew that engine up, and threw in a couple of small blocks. The mildest of them was a 283, about 10:1 with a very small solid flat tappet (around .450 lift) a Qjet and headers. It didn't have anywhere near the power of the big block, but the ratio splits worked very well for my taste.

    I honestly believe that the first gear in the TKO500 is too low, at 3.27:1 and the overdrive is too much on the standard unit at.64. It might work ok with a modern fuel injected engine, but in my experience our old carb'd engines, typically with bigger cams really don't like running much below 23-2500 rpm for extended periods, and definitely don't like hills in that condition.

    Having had mine for quite some time now and with some miles on it, I will say it does not shift as well as a traditional 4 speed with good Hurst linkage. It's fine for a driver, and there are companies out there that promise better shifting for $$$ but I personally haven't tried them.

    Knowing what I do now, if I had it to do over again I would keep it a whole lot simpler and get a Super T10 with the 2.88 first and rear gears in the 3.25 range depending on brand. It would give up just a little in the first gear final drive, and a couple hundred rpm more on the highway, but overall it's a much smaller less expensive package than a TKO.

    Moriarity and 427 sleeper like this.
  21. Mike VV
    Joined: Sep 28, 2010
    Posts: 2,066

    Mike VV
    from SoCal

    Many years back, I had a close ratio 4spd. in my daily driver. for many years. 350 powered 56 Chevy 210 sedan.
    I borrowed my brothers wide ratio trans. I had it about three weeks, but the last few day was spent...fixing it..! Yea, I broke it.
    After about 10 or 11 days of actual use...
    I much prefered the close ratio trans.

    lippy likes this.
  22. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 17,671


    Some folks can break an anvil with a rubber mallet.
  23. DDDenny
    Joined: Feb 6, 2015
    Posts: 13,797

    from oregon

    So Steve, I guess my vote for the wide ratio Muncie (M-20), considering all the (mostly) accurate responses will be a bit redundant at this point, and considering that whole talk of that "F" word or Fffford..................well you get my point...............but anyway, I know people love pictures so here is mine.

    Our three speed 67 Nova came with 3.08's and a 4 speed changeover was planned so the
    M-20 was chosen to allow her an easier takeoff and not always be slipping the clutch.
    It was to be a daily driver for my wife (didn't happen but that's another story).
    Still married!:D

    Last edited: Aug 4, 2020
  24. lippy
    Joined: Sep 27, 2006
    Posts: 4,994

    from Ks

    Not wanting to be a disagreeing ninny but on the strip back in the day a wide ratio trans was the go to trans. You had the HP to not worry so much about rpm drop between gears and first was better. Most street trans were close ratio. Just my opinion. IF we are talking 4 speeds. Lippy
  25. Fordors
    Joined: Sep 22, 2016
    Posts: 2,989


    Don’t be a man of few words, share a few details of your combo.
    Final drive ratio, tire size, big cam that came on at 3500? What factors made you prefer the close ratio gears?
  26. lumpy 63
    Joined: Aug 2, 2010
    Posts: 1,310

    lumpy 63

    I always liked wide ratio Muncies on my street cars. Had to wind em out a little farther in 3rd before banging 4th but with a moderate rear gear they were the ticket. Made the mistake of buying a brand new 2.88 first gear super T10 and installing it in my 64 Chevy II with a stout 406 and 3.73 gears, car ran 12.02 at Carlsbad through the mufflers on 7 inch slicks. Seems I forgot to check the torque rating on the 2.88 box as it is very low....Split that thing wide open when the input and cluster failed:oops:
  27. DDDenny
    Joined: Feb 6, 2015
    Posts: 13,797

    from oregon

    The Richmond Super T-10 is reported to be considerably stronger (I hope) than the OEM versions, I chose the 7021510 for my roadster mainly for its torque handling rating, the higher first gear wasn't much concern due to the light car weight and the 3.55 gears.
    To my knowledge all the listed transmissions are both available in the GM and Ford versions.

    Super T-10.jpg
  28. Marty Strode
    Joined: Apr 28, 2011
    Posts: 5,157

    Marty Strode

    Doug, have you ever thought about switching that body on your roadster to a Chevy ?
    scotty t and bymanr like this.
  29. 41rodderz
    Joined: Sep 27, 2010
    Posts: 5,200

    from Oregon

  30. 41rodderz
    Joined: Sep 27, 2010
    Posts: 5,200

    from Oregon

    I don’t believe there is any Ford blue running in triple D’s veins.:)

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