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How difficult is reinstalling 4 speed transmission?

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Old 07-24-2014, 09:41 AM   #1
DistantHorizon
 
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Default How difficult is reinstalling 4 speed transmission?

I did a few forum searches and had no luck.

67 390 4-speed car, transmission no longer engages in 2nd or 4th gear... for several drives 4th didn't want to engage, shifter had to be shifted forcefully, then it didn't engage at all, a couple more drives and 2nd doesn't work either. Believe it is a toploader. Hurst shifter, I have followed instructions for adjusting it and no improvement.

I'm good at taking things apart (lol), but how difficult is it to align the transmission with the engine during reassembly? Never pulled an engine or transmission, I have only done suspension work on late model cars. Trying to determine whether I should sit this one out or let a shop do it.

I -may- have access to a lift; if I do, I assume I will need a way to support the rear of the engine to move the car off the lift while the transmission is being repaired. Ideas there?
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Old 07-24-2014, 04:14 PM   #2
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R&R of a toploader isn't bad at all. If you can unbolt and bolt things together, you're in good shape The shifter and linkage should be removed before trying to remove the tranny, and I would strongly consider replacing the clutch, throwout, and pilot bearings while you have everything apart.

I've never done it on a big block car, but a small block is fairly balanced on the mounts, and between those, the radiator hoses, and the exhaust, it's pretty well held in place while you roll the car.
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Old 07-24-2014, 05:10 PM   #3
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hello;

you can not do it alone.

if you replace the clutch you must align it properly with a $5.00 clutch alignment tool.

never ever let the trans just just hang off the eng once the bolts are removed. this can bend your center hub on the clutch disc.

put the trans in gear for installation.
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Old 07-24-2014, 05:47 PM   #4
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Sorry, forgot to mention that. Two people definitely makes life much easier. But the clutch alignment tool usually comes with a new clutch kit.
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Old 07-24-2014, 06:00 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Starfury View Post
Sorry, forgot to mention that. Two people definitely makes life much easier. But the clutch alignment tool usually comes with a new clutch kit.
lol, hey mcleod NEVER gave me an alignment tool with their $400.00 clutches, the cheap skates. Which ones are you getting that gives them free?

yes, none of us always remembers everything. now what were we talking about?



distanthorizon;

one EXPERIENCED person can do it but its occasionally a pain even with two experienced people. since you are inexperienced, i know two people is far easier. sometimes they go right in, but sometimes...

one tip is to line it up as perfectly square to the bell housing as possible. with the exact angle and elevation but this takes a good eye and a bit or guessing because you can't always get your head high enough to see the trans directly from the side. seeing it from the bottom is easy.

a tranny guy can likely r and r it in around 1 1/2 hours once its on the rack but they might charge you $200.00 just to do it.
.

Last edited by barnett468; 07-24-2014 at 06:08 PM.
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Old 07-24-2014, 06:07 PM   #6
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Sorry, most of the run-of-the-mill factory-replacement clutch kits come with them Precision, Sachs, pioneer, etc.
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Old 07-24-2014, 06:56 PM   #7
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Thanks for all the quick replies! I will kick it around, trying to balance amount of time I have, amount of money it'll cost, and how much I dislike mechanic'ing.
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Old 07-24-2014, 07:07 PM   #8
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ok, buy the way, you need a transmission jack.'
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Old 07-24-2014, 07:11 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by barnett468 View Post
ok, buy the way, you need a transmission jack.'
As in "this will be very difficult and I'll regret trying without one" if I don't have one?

My neighbor might have one.... otherwise it's $90 at Harbor Freight, which I'd certainly prefer to avoid.
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Old 07-24-2014, 07:22 PM   #10
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I guess the other way of saying that is, if I can't get a tranny jack, I should just leave this one to my mechanic?
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Old 07-24-2014, 08:07 PM   #11
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unless you can bench press 300 lbs with ease it will be IMPOSSIBLE to do by yourself. it will never, ever, ever happen.
.

Last edited by barnett468; 07-24-2014 at 08:12 PM.
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Old 07-24-2014, 08:10 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DistantHorizon View Post
I guess the other way of saying that is, if I can't get a tranny jack, I should just leave this one to my mechanic?
ummm...perhaps.
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Old 07-24-2014, 10:39 PM   #13
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Quote:
unless you can bench press 300 lbs with ease it will be IMPOSSIBLE to do by yourself. it will never, ever, ever happen.
I've done cast iron Saginaw 3sp in/out of a nova on my own, so not impossible, but certainly you have to be in good shape. Definitely easier with a trans jack, or at least a floor jack. If you have to do it alone there are some tricks.

Make a couple of alignment studs from 1/2" bolts or all thread, about 5 inches long. Thread them into the bottom two mounting holes in the bellhousing leaving one about 2" longer than the other. Then get the trans lifted up setting the input shaft in the opening to the bellhousing. Now you just need to hold up the tailshaft and grab a breather. Then drop the trans from the tail and get the shaft headed into the clutch. Once it's started lift the tail and rotate it a little to get the correct ear on the longer stud. Then rotate the other ear onto it's stud. Now the studs are holding the weight, not you. You're just holding up the tailshaft. You can then put a nut on each stud and use them like you would a pulley installer to pull the trans in. Do NOT try to thread a bolt in and pull the trans in that way, you'll just strip the threads. Go slow, feed it through the t/o bearing and get the fork and such aligned.

Doing it this way you do a lift of the full weight and rest, then another lift with only about 2/3 of the weight, and then a 3rd lift with maybe 1/3 of the weight. Makes it doable solo.

another hint- check the pilot bushing area on the trans shaft. Taper the leading edge more than stock. A good 1/4 will do. That helps it find center of the pilot bushing even if the clutch alignment is off a bit. The clutch disk will center up the first time you press in the pedal, but this helps the nose of the shaft go into the pilot bearing easier.

These little tricks will save you a lot of swearing and make it a one man job. I've done it at least 10 times on my own. Of course I was in my 20's back then... I still do my race trans the same way now, but they only weigh about 35lbs.
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The gas pedal fits best right up against the firewall, so I figure it should be there as much as possile
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Old 07-24-2014, 11:00 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DistantHorizon View Post
67 390 4-speed
4 spd top loader weight - . . . . .98 lbs.

3 spd saginaw weight - . around 80 lbs.

hospital bill for herniated disc - $12,000.00

cost to have mechanic do it . . . . $200.00

trans jack cost at harbor freight . . $95.00 plus tax

cost for big friend to do it for you - 1 case o' beer and you get to drink half anyway
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Old 07-24-2014, 11:58 PM   #15
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I'm a supporter of the friend and case of beer method It's worked for me a couple times...
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Old 07-25-2014, 12:36 AM   #16
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I'm a supporter of the friend and case of beer method It's worked for me a couple times...
lol, me too, however, it seems i have to keep making new friends after my old ones realize the bad deal they made.

hey, do ya wanna help me put my cast iron cobra jet intake manifold on next week. gold some frosty heine's in the cooler? perhaps the exhaust manifolds instead?
.

Last edited by barnett468; 07-25-2014 at 12:40 AM.
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Old 07-25-2014, 08:22 AM   #17
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lol, me too, however, it seems i have to keep making new friends after my old ones realize the bad deal they made.
hahahaha -my neighbors all hide when they see me outside. Evidently beer isn't enough any longer. I'll have to start paying with bourbon.

Certainly not easy as a one man show without a jack, but neccessity is the mother of invention.

I had close to zero budget to race on back then, so buying a jack or paying wasn't an option for me. I used to wait behind the tire barn and when the big money drivers bought 4 new tires, I'd grab their old ones as they got thrown on the discard pile, and roll them around to get put on my rims. And I knew the check I wrote for fuel and pit entry would bounce until I got paid at the end of the night. Seems like forever ago, but would have been about 1989...
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The gas pedal fits best right up against the firewall, so I figure it should be there as much as possile
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Old 07-25-2014, 08:59 AM   #18
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I've used a large floor jack, 2x4 blocks, just muscled a few in. I'd buy or rent a transmission jack now- it will save time and frustration. You will prob need 2 people.
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Old 07-25-2014, 10:14 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by racer_dave View Post
I've done cast iron Saginaw 3sp in/out of a nova on my own, so not impossible, but certainly you have to be in good shape. Definitely easier with a trans jack, or at least a floor jack. If you have to do it alone there are some tricks.

Make a couple of alignment studs from 1/2" bolts or all thread, about 5 inches long. Thread them into the bottom two mounting holes in the bellhousing leaving one about 2" longer than the other. Then get the trans lifted up setting the input shaft in the opening to the bellhousing. Now you just need to hold up the tailshaft and grab a breather. Then drop the trans from the tail and get the shaft headed into the clutch. Once it's started lift the tail and rotate it a little to get the correct ear on the longer stud. Then rotate the other ear onto it's stud. Now the studs are holding the weight, not you. You're just holding up the tailshaft. You can then put a nut on each stud and use them like you would a pulley installer to pull the trans in. Do NOT try to thread a bolt in and pull the trans in that way, you'll just strip the threads. Go slow, feed it through the t/o bearing and get the fork and such aligned.

Doing it this way you do a lift of the full weight and rest, then another lift with only about 2/3 of the weight, and then a 3rd lift with maybe 1/3 of the weight. Makes it doable solo.

another hint- check the pilot bushing area on the trans shaft. Taper the leading edge more than stock. A good 1/4 will do. That helps it find center of the pilot bushing even if the clutch alignment is off a bit. The clutch disk will center up the first time you press in the pedal, but this helps the nose of the shaft go into the pilot bearing easier.

These little tricks will save you a lot of swearing and make it a one man job. I've done it at least 10 times on my own. Of course I was in my 20's back then... I still do my race trans the same way now, but they only weigh about 35lbs.
Thanks for all the solid replies, especially this step-by-step. I did expect I'd need a friend to do this.
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Old 07-25-2014, 10:14 AM
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