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Gear Vendors vs. 700r4 ??


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Hey! I am a relatively new member to the site. I joined a few months ago but have been laying low as far as posting topics. I've been searching the website extensively and have found a lot of useful info along with some great examples of 1st generation monte's.

Anyway, enough of that. Now for my question! My monte has a small block(375-400 HP) backed by a TH350 tranny. There is a 10 bolt out back with 3:23 gears. She is ok on the highway now but I would like to step the ratio up to 3:73. I am debating between installing a (200r4/700r4) or a gear vendors overdrive. Based on what I have read, I think the gear vendors unit is the more "bulletproof" unit and seems much simpler to install. Any opinions would be greatly appreciated.

 

 

Monte Pix

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go with the gear vendors under/overdrive unit it takes up to 700 horse from what i have heard on hot rod tv and you dont have to worry about setting the fluid pressure switch "probably called it wrong but it is what shifts your car to the next lowest gear for power take off verses the detent cable on a 350 tranny. "less stuff to go wrong and no messing with wiring harnesses either...

 

alex

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I have heard the gear vendors unit can take up to 1200 HP (They also offer a race unit they claim can take up to 2000 HP but that's a little out of my range!).

I have also heard the 700r4's equivalent of a kick down cable can fry the tranny if installed incorrectly.

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George Lines installed a GV unit in his car; hopefully he will post a response. Since I think he really likes his, I will mention the counterpoint.

 

According to a source who has direct experience with GV (I do not), the GV units are great except that they don't have the same durability as OEM type units--not designed for constant shifting. Perhaps they are better suited for highway type driving, who knows (I'm speculating based on his comments).

 

Also, GV points out that they were OE on Callaway Corvettes (the 4+3 trans)... this would be great except that Callaway transmissions had a lot of reliability problems, at least initially.

 

On the other hand, so did the 700R4 and many people swear by them now.

 

My recommendation is a 700R4 because for the price of a GV unit you can go through two 700R4's and still have change, if I remember the prices correctly. A 700r4's weaknesses are well known and can be compensated for (beef up certain areas). Also the 700R4 is more well established. It has been used in how many hundreds of thousands of cars? The current Corvette uses the 4L60E, which is based on the 700R4 but compputer controlled.

 

If money is no object, buy the 4L65E with controller, and you can cruise forever.

 

700r4.com had great info last time I checked.

 

Will

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Yes, I have a GV unit behind a T-400. 6 speeds forward. They are very dependable nowdays. Rated at 1,200 hp. I haven't driven it much yet, but as I get more used to it, the more I like it. I felt I needed something to go with a 9" and 3:50 gears.

The 4l65E can also be set up for 6 speed forward. I have info for who sells them for about the same price as a GV.

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Could you post that information on the 4L65e? That is the transmission I want now, until Chevy comes out with that 6 spd auto they announced would be available on 2006 models.

 

The information I received was that the GV's are very effective but unfortunately I don't know anyone who has one in a muscle car/classic that drives the car regularly (i.e. 10k+ miles a year). It would be nice to talk with other owners as I don't like to only pass on secondhand information.

 

Originally both early GV units AND early 700R4's had significant problems but maybe both have been taken care of.

 

George, does the GV function exactly like a regular overdrive, COMPLETELY automatically? Will it automatically go 1 1-over 2 2-over 3 3-over? Or only to 3-over? Or none at all?

 

Thanks

Will

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I believe the GV unit will automatically go from 3rd to overdrive. If you want to go from 1 to 1+, 2 to 2+ and 3 to 3+, there is a foot activated button you mount to engage the overdrive manually.

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I believe the GV unit will automatically go from 3rd to overdrive. If you want to go from 1 to 1+, 2 to 2+ and 3 to 3+, there is a foot activated button you mount to engage the overdrive manually.

That is correct.

I have yet to use the automatic feature, but rowing through the gears is so easy and very trick. The book says the there is a lockout feature for reverse so there is no reverse over.

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Could you post that information on the 4L65e? That is the transmission I want now, until Chevy comes out with that 6 spd auto they announced would be available on 2006 models.

Will

This is the best one. they use very specific years for their better oiling properties. That also do some upgrades to the case for better strength/operation.

Jet Transmissions, 17482 Apex Circle, Dept PHR, Hunnington Beach, CA 92640 714-848-4200 www.jetchip.com

Premier Performance Dept.CC, 1200 S. Melrose Unit B, Placentia, CA 92670 714-630-3235

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Go with the 2004R! They run behind 9 second Buick Gran Nationals ALL DAY so they will run behind your car. No Cheaper than a 700R4 but much easier to install. They BOLT in where your turbo 350 now lives. Same size! No drive shaft modification.

 

The stuff about how difficult it is to adjust the TV cable is WAY OVERBLOWN. It's easy, takes about 10 minutes. You MUST follow the instructions and use the correct brackets to hold the TV cable at the carb or FI. NO BIG DEAL!

 

I have tried the 700R4, the Gear Vendors Overdrive and the 2004R in my cars. 200R4 wins hands down from my experience. The 2004R has a deeper 1st gear on lower overdrive versuse the 700R4. Best of both worlds. The Gear Vendors was OK however it is expensive, requires modification of floor pan (depends on the car), drive shaft modification, driver input with a switch. Yes its tough however do you see any race cars running it down the 1280? NO! Lot's of pull trucks and Motorhomes but no race cars so who cares that it holds 700 HP!

 

You have lot's of different opinions here on this subject. YOU need to decide how YOU will drive/use your car. It it's a street cruiser and occasional run down the 1280 for ****'s and giggles, one of the transmissions my be a better choice.

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Thanks for all of the responses. Lots of good info to think about. I think I've narrowed the possibilities down to the 200r and GV unit. I'm probably leaning towards the 200r as it's a direct bolt up (not that the GV unit sounds difficult, but atleast I won't have to send out the driveshaft to be shortened). I don't think the prices will vary too much as 200 trannies aren't overly abundant here in NY and I heard the torque converters for these applications aren't cheap. A friend of mine had one installed in his 79 Camaro on Long Island and it ran close to three grand!!

P.S. - You may see posts in the near future once the install begins if I run into any snags!

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Oop's forgot to mention, as "MJS-13" mentioned I think how the car is going to be driven is key in making the correct choice. My monte is a weekend cruiser and has never been down the track, but one of these days, who knows?

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  • 1 month later...

If you are running a healthy small block, a 3.73 gear should be no big thing. I say put the gear in and let it eat. If you don't drive it that much, why the overdrive? I run 3.73 & 4.10 in 2 of my cars, and drive them anywhere. The extra RPM doesn't hurt. Remember, these cars are usually not driven much, so shouldn't wear out for years and years. Put the money into going faster. Big block!

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Thanks for the reply. I actually installed the gear vendors unit last week. Let me say it was not as simple as the instructions say. I spent the better part of four hours on my back massaging the driveshaft tunnel with a heavy hammer to make clearance for the unit (still have to go back and add a little more as she bumps against the tunnel when I hit bumps on the road.)

I had to get her on the road for a show in Englishtown New Jersey that took place today. (See pic's below of two monte's I saw there).

I do plan on going to a set of 3.73 gears soon. I live in Brooklyn, New York and would like to attend shows in Pennsylvania and other parts of the east coast next summer, so highway cruising is important to me. I have to say, so far I am very impressed with the unit. It feels like a different car. The extra gear keeps her in the fat part of her powerband on the highway which makes for a hell of a passing gear!

I do think down the line, a big block crate motor may be in the works (maybe even a 502!). As I read the posts on this website, I am getting so many ideas.

 

P9260001

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BKLYNMONTE,

You mentioned that your tunnel required some messaging in order to get the GV 0/d to fit. Would you please elaborate on that for those of use who also want to install the GV o/d?

 

Just lay it out like it happened. What did you have to do to get the thing to fit right?

 

Andybill402

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Ok, I will try to be as to the point as possible. I am by no means a mechanic, just a guy who has always tried to do as much as possible on the car as I can(and gotten in over my head once or twice!).

The unit itself involves an adapter, the overdrive unit, an extended speedometer cable(as the gear is relocated to the overdrive unit which when mounted sits further to the rear of the car), the main box (or brain if you will), a dash mounted control box and a manual control button (replaces the high beam headlight foot activator on the floor).

Ok, first step is to drain the tranny fluid.(I also thought it was a good idea to change the filter but not specifically required). Next step is to remove the drive shaft(after measuring for the proper angles in relation to the rear). Then you have to remove the tail of the transmission housing(On my TH-350, four bolts, no sweat). After drying the tranny fluid off that will soak you when you remove the tail, you are ready to begin the fun.

Per the instructions, "for most cars the unit will slip right in, but "some" applications will require some widening of the underside tunnel, but even then only usually by the rear upper case bolts on the rear of the overdrive unit itself". This is not a direct quote, but the gist. Let me tell you, there is more involved.

There is an adapter that attaches where you removed the tranny tail. The problem is the opposite end of the adapter(side that attaches to the overdrive unit) has a larger diameter which makes contact with the tunnel pretty much all the way around the upper half. In order to test fit it so I can see where to widen the tunnel, I lowered the tranny by removing the tranny mount and cross member (quite an experience getting the cross member out with the exhaust in the way. I had my header collecters cut off and welded the header directly to the exhaust pipe to avoid exhaust leaks so I couldn't move them). I pretty much pounded away with a heavy hammer around where the adapter made contact. The tech support line at Gear Vendors recommended at least a half inch of clearance between the unit and the tunnel. Needless to say, this was a lot of banging. (Mind you the car was on jack stands and me on my back so it's not like I had a lot of room to swing a heavy hammer.) After putting the adapter on, tranny mount and cross member back in, it was time to mount the overdrive unit. This bolts right on to the adapter. The transmission shaft extends most of the way through the adapter, but there is a coupler provided that will connect the shaft from the tranny with the shaft that is part of the overdrive unit. The coupler slips right on so no big deal. The problem is the overdrive unit itself sits higher than the adapter so it did not go on due to lack of clearance with the tunnel! Off comes the tranny mount and cross member again, and you guessed it, more banging away with the heavy hammer. I beat that tunnel as much as I could (good way to relieve stress and have 34 years of dirt and grime fall on you). I put the tranny mount, cross member and adapter back on and thank God the overdrive unit went up.

Gear Vendors provides a new yoke for the drive shaft which I slipped into the overdrive unit so I could measure how much to cut the drive shaft. I won't say how much I cut as every car is slightly different and should be measured individually. Gear vendors also supplies a new speedometer gear which slips right in the unit and you attach the provided cable which also includes a connection to mate it with the original speedometer cable that was connected to the tranny.

I was now able to focus my attention inside the car to connect the "brain" which I mounted under the dash board. The kit comes with color coded wiring and a very easy to read schematic. As mentioned above the manual foot control goes where the highbeam button was located. There is a dash mounted switch that can be mounted with screws(provided) or velcro strips(provided). The switch is so you can choose to shift through the gears manually(with the foot control) or switch it to auto where the unit will engage/disengage the overdrive on its own like any modern day tranny. The only other connections from the "brain" are to a power source, ground, a connection to the speedometer cable and a connection to the overdrive unit itself. Other than routing a couple of wires through the firewall and under the car, it is pretty painless.

Once I got the driveshaft back and installed, I filled the tranny with fluid and the overdrive unit had to be filled as well.

Good news: The overdrive is awesome! I have 3:23 gears out back so this car really woke up on the highway now! I have only taken her out a couple of times in auto mode so I haven't tried the manual mode yet. The tech support line said the car would feel much faster and I completely agree.

Bad news: Headlights don't work. Probably due to removal of highbeam switch. Should be no big deal to fix. The BIG problem is the unit hits the underside of the car on the slightest of bumps. I am not going to drive her again until I remedy this. I don't think I can do much more with the hammer so I am thinking of cutting out a section from the top (from inside the car and welding on a piece for added clearance). I also feel some vibration which I hope has to do with the clearance issue. I don't think it is the driveshaft as I ended up having a new one made and balanced ($250 including new solid uv joints and he even attached the front yoke for me). Turns out my old one was slightly bent.

I will try to post pics later and update this post as I resolve the issues. Hope this gives a decent explanation as to what is involved.

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  • 1 month later...

Update: Fixed the headlight issue. As the plug that attached to the original (and now removed) highbeam floor mounted switch was not attached to anything. I inserted a wire into the plugs to complete the circuit and the lights work fine. I did wrap with a lot of electric tape for safety.

I also took care of the tunnel clearance issue. I want to modify the tranny crossmember but I temporarily mounted the cross member on the underside of the frame (will not drive much this way as the car will be in the garage most of the winter). This also took care of some vibration I was getting. I assume this was due to the driveline angles being out of whack. Now it is smooth as butter.

I have to say, probably one of the best additions I have done to the car yet. Still have to try the manual mode out though. I'll try to post some pics of the mounted unit for reference soon.

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BKLYNMONTE

You mentioned the drive line angles might be out of whack. Did this occur when you installed the GV o/d? I want to install one of these myself. The overall impression I get from you is that you're glad you did it, but it didn't come without some problems.

Andrew Offutt

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Andrew,

To be honest, installing the unit to the tranny and the wiring was all straightforward as per the provided instructions. The only area I felt the instructions did not prepare me for was detailng or providing suggestions for the extent of what I had to do in order to provide proper clearance for the unit from the driveline tunnel (I should have expected this though since I was dealing with a "one size fits all" kind of product). The vibration initially was because the unit was sitting too high, therefore as per the troubleshooting section of the instructions, I assume the high position meant the driveline angles were out of whack(actually knocked when hit bumps). Once given proper clearance, it was fine. So far I think it's a great product and feel it was a much easier install than putting in a 700r4 or 200r. As it is also rated to handle 1200HP, I think it should provide many trouble free miles.

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BKLYMONTE

You have provided some great information here. We all thank you.

 

As I understand it, once you provided proper clearance for the GV o/d unit, the vibration went away. Is that correct? Thus, am I correct in assuming that the drive angles were fine all along?

 

I'm hot for one these units. After providing proper clearance, how does the tunnel look? Did you have to really whack on it?

 

Andrew Offutt

 

P.S. Did you have any trouble shortening the driveshaft, and didn't you have to weld on a special U-joint connector?

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When I took the car out for the first test drive I immediately noticed a constant subtle vibration as I accelerated (assumed to be driveline angles) and when I hit bumps I felt a small thud (lack of clearance). Sitting the unit lower took care of both problems. I had done as much as I could with the tunnel via a heavy hammer before the test drive, so I lowered the tranny crossmember afterwards as described above (temporarily).

What I did to the tunnel with the hammer can't be seen thankfully as the unit covers it. As I was working on the floor, there was only so much room for me to build up momentum in my swing. But I did whack it for awhile. Maybe if I had the car on a lift I could have hit the tunnel hard enough to provide the additional necessary clearance. This would have eliminated the thud from hitting bumps but would not have helped the vibration from the angles. The help line at gear vendors said for a monte with a 350/350 set up, the unit did not have to be lowered but it sure seemed necessary to me.

As for the driveshaft, I had a new one made and they set it up for the U-joint necessary to connect with the gear vendors provided front yoke.

Hope this helps.

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  • 1 month later...

a 9 second GN would blow a stock 200 r4 apart on the 1st launch.. 200's are VERY weak transmissions.. and require a huge outlay of cash to make 'bullet proof'

 

700r4's aren't terribly strong either, but were designed to live behind a high torque smallblock pulling a trailer (hence the really low 1st gear and slightly higher o.d ratios)

 

but I agree with MJS.. no magic to the TV cable 700r4's use, and no, as long as it IS hooked up, and not WAAAAAAAY out of adjustment, teh worst that will happen is it will shift oddly.

 

700's aren't a difficult swap either. they bolt right up to a small (or big block)

use the stock crossmember (it must be moved back, and new holes in the frame drilled) and your driveshaft must be shortened, that's really all there is too it. wiring up the lock up torque converter is optional but highly recomended to avoid unnecessary heat build up.

 

Generally speaking, the electric o.d unit is pretty live-with-able.. my pal's 84 volvo has a 4 spd manual with an electric over drive.. you row 1-2-3-4 and then hit a button on the shifter knob for 5th.

 

just my .02 smile

 

and for the record, I think GV's are way over priced.. cheaper to get a 'built' 700r4 wink

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  • 7 months later...

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