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Author Topic:   auto trans to 4 speed swap
kid vishus
Gearhead

Posts: 1802
From: between the end of the road, and the middleof no-where
Registered: Oct 2000

posted 02-04-2001 05:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for kid vishus   Click Here to Email kid vishus     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
How much work is involved in changing from an auto trans to a 4 speed? I already have a toploader, a pedal assembly and the linkage. Does it involve removing the dash, or taking the steering column loose?
Would like to know before I decide whether or not to make the switch.

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n2oMike
Gearhead

Posts: 654
From: Spencer, WV
Registered: Jan 2001

posted 02-04-2001 06:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for n2oMike   Click Here to Email n2oMike     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
What kind/year car?

I did this swap on my 66 back around 15 years ago back in high school. The local junkyard sold me the "conversion kit" for $125. This included everything... pedals, clutch linkage and hardware, flywheel, bellhousing, clutch, trans, etc. All used, but all usable.

It's not really that big of a deal, and it makes the car feel way faster, and it's lots more fun to drive in my opinion. However, there are a few things to look out for.

Toploader transmissions came in several varieties. One big thing is the length of the pilot shaft. This is the tittie that sticks into the pilot bushing. Small blocks have a longer one. It's just over an inch long. Big blocks are only around 3/4" and will not reach into the pilot bearing of a small block. Do NOT use the shorter big block behing a small block. Extended pilot bushings are availabe, but they WILL come loose, which trashes the transmission... Trust someone who has been there and done that. Most agree that small block transmissions can be used in big blocks, though...

Tailshaft length is another issue. The big cars used a very long tailshaft. Mustangs and fairlanes and torinos used a shorter one. The mustang's shifter mount is on the very back of the tailshaft housing. The fairlane/torino mount is up a bit further. If you use a fairlane/torino tailshaft housing, the shifter won't come up through the existing hole, and you'll be banging your knuckes on the dash on quick 3rd gear shifts. Another "been there, done that" story. That conversion kit from the junkyard used parts from a fairlane.

Really, with all the right parts, it's not that bad at all. If a high school kid can pull it off with fairlane parts, you can do it.

For transmission info and parts, see...

Dan Williams Toploaders, which is an EXCELLENT source of parts and rebuild kits. Go for the bronze syncronizer rings.
http://www.toploadertransmissions.com/

Or..

David Kee Toploaders, who is affiliated with Dan Williams.
http://www.4speedtoploaders.com/

There's lots of great info at both sites. The both sell most of the same stuff. Dan Williams is the original and usually has the best prices.

Good Luck!

------------------
Mike Burch
66 mustang real street
302 4-speed 289 heads
10.63 @ 129.3
http://www.geocities.com/motorcitymustang/cmml/cmml_mburch.html
http://www.fortunecity.com/silverstone/healey/367

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kid vishus
Gearhead

Posts: 1802
From: between the end of the road, and the middleof no-where
Registered: Oct 2000

posted 02-04-2001 06:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for kid vishus   Click Here to Email kid vishus     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
OOPS, I left some stuff out. The toplaoder I have came out of a 70 mustang with a 4v cleveland. I know becouse I helped pull the motor and trans as a unit and bought the whole works. So I have the bellhousing and flywheel too, although the bellhousing will be replaced with a scattershield if I do the swap. The pedal assembly and linkage came out of a 69 mach that had a 351 W in it. I want to put it in my 70 mustang behind a 4v cleveland. The trans still has the factory Hurst shifter on it. Are they worth a darn, or should I replace it too?

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n2oMike
Gearhead

Posts: 654
From: Spencer, WV
Registered: Jan 2001

posted 02-04-2001 06:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for n2oMike   Click Here to Email n2oMike     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Sounds like you're set!

The shifter won't be as tight or close as a new Hurst, but it will get you started. You can always change it later. I like the Hurst Competition Plus, myself. That's what's in my car, and has been for 15 years now.

Good Luck!

------------------
Mike Burch
66 mustang real street
302 4-speed 289 heads
10.63 @ 129.3
http://www.geocities.com/motorcitymustang/cmml/cmml_mburch.html
http://www.fortunecity.com/silverstone/healey/367

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dhearn
Gearhead

Posts: 138
From: Owenton Ky,USA
Registered: Nov 2000

posted 02-04-2001 07:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for dhearn   Click Here to Email dhearn     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
#1 the hardest part of the conversion is the clutch assist spring as it will be a real knuckle buster BTW assemble it in a vise cause you cant do it under the dash (I tried) my fingers are still sore haha
#2 make sure you have the right pedal combination there are different pedals for manual brakes, power brakes,auto trans,ect...
#3 you also have to have the right sheet metal plate that goes in between the block and bellhousing
#4 I think that the starter is also different???
Dennis Hearn

[This message has been edited by dhearn (edited 02-04-2001).]

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n2oMike
Gearhead

Posts: 654
From: Spencer, WV
Registered: Jan 2001

posted 02-04-2001 10:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for n2oMike   Click Here to Email n2oMike     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
#1 the hardest part of the conversion is the clutch assist spring as it will be a real knuckle buster

Yea, the first time I installed one of those I was quite hostile after cussing on my back for around a solid hour... before figuring out that by removing the clutch pedal stop would allow for an easy 30 second installation. This stop catches the pedal on the way UP. By removing it, the pedal comes up really far, allowing the spring to be slid right on. It is then re-attached.

#4 I think that the starter is also different???

The manual and automatic starters are different. The automatic starter will NOT work with the manual trans... been there, tried that, didn't work. :)

Good Luck!

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dhearn
Gearhead

Posts: 138
From: Owenton Ky,USA
Registered: Nov 2000

posted 02-05-2001 07:55 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for dhearn   Click Here to Email dhearn     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
the clutch assist spring........
I had injured my back prior to fighting mine picture this one of those roll around stools for my butt to rest on while my head was buried up under the dash. I tried everything to put the spring in place in the car I found it impossible with much disgust I gave up for the evening and came back to the house for a little research the first couple books I read just addressed the pull type springs in the 68 and earlier cars nothing at all about 69's the third and final book I looked in which shoulda been the first was my set of ford shop manuals which said first thing is to remove steering column then remove clutch/break pedal housing and put it into a vise to install spring and then reinstall assembly the next day I did exactly that in about 1 hour BTW I also made and installed oil impregnated bronze bushings for the clutch pedal shaft instead of using the factory plastic type this may be a mistake guess I will find out

Good luck and dont break your fingers
Dennis

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Ryan Wilke
Gearhead

Posts: 571
From: Stanton, Michigan
Registered: Oct 2000

posted 02-05-2001 08:17 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ryan Wilke   Click Here to Email Ryan Wilke     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
KV: Sounds like you've got what you need to make the swap! You won't regret going to 'the stick'!
I've read the OEM shifter only used a Hurst HANDLE, and that the shifter mechanism was FoMoCo and is not as smooth as an entire Hurst setup would be. If you aren't using a console and don't mind widening the shifter hole in the trans tunnel (to the left) a little, I'd suggest stepping up to the Hurst Street Super Shifter...The shift rods are straighter (less potential for binding) and the shifter throw is shorter. I put one in my '69 and I love it!

n20Mike: You mentioned that a SBlock Toploader can be used behind a BBlock,,which is true - however, a few things need to be done.

#1. The longer pilot nose on the SB unit
should be cut down some; or it will bottom out in the BB pilot bearing and put excessive pressure on the crankshaft and thrust bearing.

#2. The 10-spline input shaft is 1 3/8" diameter on the BB unit vs. 1 1/16" diameter on the SB unit; so you must use the appropriate clutch disc.

#3. The output shaft spline counts are different. On the SB Toploader it will be 28-spline and the BB Toploaders will be 31-spline. So use the appropriate yoke.

#4. Lastly we need to remember-SB Toploaders include those put behind 390's. So when we talk about BBF's, we're talking about 427s, 428s, & 429s.

These issues shouldn't be a concern with KV's setup, but for anybody else who may be following this thread and don't know what their parts came out of, they may want to check these things out.

Later, Ryan

[This message has been edited by Ryan Wilke (edited 02-05-2001).]

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n2oMike
Gearhead

Posts: 654
From: Spencer, WV
Registered: Jan 2001

posted 02-05-2001 12:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for n2oMike   Click Here to Email n2oMike     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
n20Mike: You mentioned that a SBlock Toploader can be used behind a BBlock,,which is true - however, a few things need to be done.

#1. The longer pilot nose on the SB unit
should be cut down some; or it will bottom out in the BB pilot bearing and put excessive pressure on the crankshaft and thrust bearing.
-----------------------------------
Mike sez...
Dan Williams, of Dan Williams Toploaders states that it works fine "uncut". If it makes you feel better, cutting it down to size won't hurt anything, though.

-----------------------------------------
#2. The 10-spline input shaft is 1 3/8" diameter on the BB unit vs. 1 1/16" diameter on the SB unit; so you must use the appropriate clutch disc.
----------------------------------------
Mike sez...
Big block units were not all large input. Big block toploaders are identified only by the shorter pilot on the input shaft. Big block transmissions that came behind 390's had the smaller 1 1/16" input shaft with the short pilot... which is a big block only, small input/output transmission.

-----------------------------------------

#3. The output shaft spline counts are different. On the SB Toploader it will be 28-spline and the BB Toploaders will be 31-spline. So use the appropriate yoke.
------------------------------------------
Mike sez...
All big input toploaders have the 31 spline output, which is common to the C6. All small input toploaders have the 28 spline output (except for the very first mustang 25 spline units that were recalled) which is common to the C4. BTW, Mark Williams Enterprises is the only place that makes an aftermarket 28 spline slipyoke. I had to get one several years ago, and it's holding up great. It uses a #1350 1 ton truck U-joint.
----------------------------------------

#4. Lastly we need to remember-SB Toploaders include those put behind 390's. So when we talk about BBF's, we're talking about 427s, 428s, & 429s.
-------------------------------------
Mike sez...
Nope, as said above, they have the short pilot, and are therefore big block units. The small pilot will not work behind a small block. These have the small (1 1/16") input and 28 spline output.
--------------------------------------
Mike also sez...
The small input transmissions are quite strong. They are all I've ever used in the mustang, and it gets launched HARD with the nitrous on at 6000RPM to a best 60ft of 1.43 in a car that is 3300lbs with driver. The car has only had one transmission related sudden failure. This was the output shaft. It broke in half once, taking out the tailshaft housing. This must have been a fluke, because there have never been any failure before or since. No input shaft problems either.

The weakest links I've had to deal with are the slipyokes. The car twisted the splines in several before the Mark Williams unit was purchased. It cost $170 several years ago, and a new driveshaft had to be made for it, but zero problems.

When rebuilding these things, make sure to get the BRONZE syncro rings that are avaiable from Dan Williams and David Key. The brass units are very inferior. Stock ford rings were bronze as well.

I'm curious to try a close ratio unit. I picked one up with great gears last summer, but it is a 390 galaxie unit with the short pilot and long output shaft. I'm going to have the pilot lengthened by a machinist and install a short tailshaft and housing that are in the spare parts bin... It should be fun, and might take a little violence out of the nitrous launches.

Have Fun!

------------------
Mike Burch
66 mustang real street
302 4-speed 289 heads
10.63 @ 129.3
http://www.geocities.com/motorcitymustang/cmml/cmml_mburch.html
http://www.fortunecity.com/silverstone/healey/367

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Ryan Wilke
Gearhead

Posts: 571
From: Stanton, Michigan
Registered: Oct 2000

posted 02-05-2001 01:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ryan Wilke   Click Here to Email Ryan Wilke     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Mike,
I think we're talking the same talk. One point you mention that I may be confused with is with the 390 units. So, let me rephrase what I think you said and please correct me if I'm wrong.

I think you are saying, that the Toploaders that came behind the 390s were of the smaller 1 1/16" diameter input shaft BUT had the shorter nose, whereas all other 1 1/16" input units had a longer nose and went behind the 289s, 302s, & 351s. And, that all the large 1 3/8" diameter input had the shorter nose.
Does that sound correct? If so, I didn't realize that difference...

In addition, I hadn't heard of the slipyokes being prone to breakage - that a MW or equivalent aftermarket piece should be used. Good Advise!!

So Mike, when you mention you're using the "small input trans in your '66", you are refering to the 1 1/16" shaft, long nose SB unit, right? If so, that is proof that they are pretty tough! Would you use one behind a big block/stick running on a 11" slick?
Thanks!.....Ryan

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n2oMike
Gearhead

Posts: 654
From: Spencer, WV
Registered: Jan 2001

posted 02-05-2001 03:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for n2oMike   Click Here to Email n2oMike     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think you are saying, that the Toploaders that came behind the 390s were of the smaller 1 1/16" diameter input shaft BUT had the shorter nose, whereas all other 1 1/16" input units had a longer nose and went behind the 289s, 302s, & 351s.

---------------------------------
Mike sez YES! I believe the small input/short pilot shaft combo only came behind 390's, but there might be other applications I don't know about. All I really know for sure is that they won't work behind a 289's, 302's, 351W's or 351C's. The small blocks all require the longer pilot shaft.
---------------------------------

And that all the large 1 3/8" diameter input had the shorter nose. Does that sound correct?

--------------------------------
Mike sez YES! As far as I know... I can't think of a big input/long pilot combo off the top of my head.
--------------------------------

In addition, I hadn't heard of the slipyokes being prone to breakage - that a MW or equivalent aftermarket piece should be used. Good Advise!!

--------------------------------
Mike sez, "I didn't have any luck with the Spicer units, and the MW piece solved all problems.
--------------------------------

So Mike, when you mention you're using the "small input trans in your '66", you are refering to the 1 1/16" shaft, long nose SB unit, right?

-------------------------------
Mike sez YES!
-------------------------------

If so, that is proof that they are pretty tough! Would you use one behind a big block/stick running on a 11" slick?

-------------------------------
Mike sez, "It depends upon the big block, and more importantly, the amount of traction and the weight of the vehicle." I've been lucky so far.
-------------------------------

Good Luck!

------------------
Mike Burch
66 mustang real street
302 4-speed 289 heads
10.63 @ 129.3
http://www.geocities.com/motorcitymustang/cmml/cmml_mburch.html
http://www.fortunecity.com/silverstone/healey/367

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kid vishus
Gearhead

Posts: 1802
From: between the end of the road, and the middleof no-where
Registered: Oct 2000

posted 02-05-2001 09:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for kid vishus   Click Here to Email kid vishus     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for all the info guys. Sounds more and more like a do-able deal. And now I have a buddy that says he'll help me with the swap if I help him put a 4 speed in his Firebird.

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