Caprice Classic Auto transmission to Manual? please help.


Asked by Feb 18, 2014 at 11:05 PM about the Chevrolet Caprice

Question type: Car Customization

I have been recently interested in the Chevrolet Caprice Classics and i have found a
couple to my liking. One is a 79 with a 383 and a turbo 350 transmission while the
other is an 85 with a 305 and the 700R4 transmission. This is where my question
comes into play, is it possible to swap a manual transmission into either of these
Caprices? If so what would be the difficulty on finding and installing these parts? I am
aware of the fact that i will be needing to cut large holes.

4 Answers

John Carson

You should do some home work and find out what all is involved in swapping to a manual transmission. If you want to do shifting, you will spend a lot of time and money in the conversion. Some parts may not be available. You need to start with a bell housing, clutch assembly, transmission, drive shaft, shifting mechanism, and a host of other components. Consider a different automatic transmission to swap out. It can be done, but it is a lot of headache and work if your not versed in the conversion process.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

Since these cars did not originally come with a manual transmission option it would likely not be an easy conversion. You'd need to find the correct clutch assembly and manual transmission, possibly from a Camaro, to bolt up to the engine. If you're looking for performance I'd go with the one that has the 700R transmission and leave it in there. HTH. -Jim

Kelly Mayo

buy them both and put the 700r behind the 383 do you want to cruse or get there quicker...the 383 is a better idea,i think

John Carson

I found this on line. GM TH700R4 / 4L60 & Early 4L60-E Automatic Transmission The TH700R4 is an automatic shift, four-speed overdrive, longitudinally positioned transmission. It is now considered to be one of the finest overdrive automatic transmissions ever produced. History The Turbo 700 was introduced in 1982 as a response to fuel economy pressures, and to be phased in as the replacement for the TH350. The transmission was available for both car (RWD) and truck platforms. The transmission's principal new feature was its 30% overdrive. It also sported a lower-than-usual 3.06:1 first gear, popular for off-the-line acceleration as well as off-road torque. There were some initial bugs in the earlier versions. A feather in GM / Hydramatic's cap was the fact that they stuck with the 700R and followed through with improvements and upgrades. 1987 and newer transmissions are considered to be refined and very reliable, as indicated by their OEM installations against performance 350 V8s in sports cars and trucks. Earlier transmissions are affordably given all these upgrades to put them at the same high level of durable service and performance. Aftermarket building techniques and parts upgrades make this transmission very capable of Big Block power in race, street and off-road applications. In 1990, the 700R4 was redesignated as the 4L60 (4-speeds, Longitudinally positioned, 6000 lbs. GVW). This was a change in name only with no significant mechanical changes associated. In 1993, an important change did occur and that was the conversion of the hydraulic logic shifting system over to an electronic one. Mechanically, the transmission's power transmitting core remained the same, but the valve body and actuation system for the clutches, bands, etc. became controlled by electronic actuators and solenoids. A Vehicle Speed Sensor (VSS) was used as the primary feedback sensor, which fed the PCM or ECM (vehicle powertrain computer) the data to make shift decisions. The engineering of this system is not regarded as a complication, but an elegant simplification and further improvement to this transmission. This version is called the 4L60-E (or Early 4L60-E for our purposes). Bottom line is... the best transmission is this one, mated to a stroker 383 if you want to stay with a automatic. If you're starting with an auto, stay with it unless you have time and money to change it out. The 400 crank will give you more torque and the transmission will handle it. When I rebuilt my 69 Corvette engine, I put in the 400 crank but bored it out to 0.040 and added Edelbrock heads, intake, custom cam, and other trick parts to handle the increase on HP. I had a factory 4 speed (for sale if you want it) and put in a 5 speed w/od. Depending on what you mount on top of your engine, will be what makes it. Make sure it can breathe, use large headers, and exhaust pipes, and non restrictive mufflers. Kelly looks like a great job was done to the build and presentation. Do you research, homework, and don't scrimp. Less that top parts can ruin your project. I used an untested Edelbrock gear cam drive instead of a timing chain and it cost me $10,000 to replace and rebuild my engine when it had metal fatigue and let go, and it was not pretty. I switched to dual timing chains and it works very well. So do as Kelly said, get the best of both worlds, and believe me, you'll be happy you stuck with the automatic. You can get the transmission built so it is bullet proof with all kinds of tricks. Corvette now has their automatic in the Z-06 stronger and faster than the manual transmission. Go for it my friend.

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