Gotta have overdrive... - Chevelle Tech
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post #1 of 44 (permalink) Old Jan 12th, 01, 9:55 PM Thread Starter
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I'm swapping in a 500 horse BB into my velle in about a month and my plans were to do a stout rebuild on my current TH350 trans.....BUT...I've been bitten by the overdrive bug. The thought of running just over 2000rpm at 60mph (3.73 gears)is too good to ignore.

I've been reading up on the subject and I plan to go with a 2004r. Because this site is so awesome I was able to search the bulletin board and find answers to most of my questions, but I have a few left. Will my TH350 trans yoke work with the 2004r? Can I run a non-lockup converter and not have to use a special circut to control converter lockup? Does any clearancing have to be done to the trans tunnel to get it to fit?

Overdrive is toooo cool. With 3.73 rear gears and the 2004r's .67 overdrive, its like having 2.49 rear gears!! That oughta make the drive up to the Chevellabration '01 much easier

Thanks for any help,

Joe Scott
70 Chevelle Malibu 350/TH350
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post #2 of 44 (permalink) Old Jan 12th, 01, 10:53 PM
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its my understanding that the TH350 will not hold up to that much power. I have a Th350 behind my mild 454 right now and it has blown twice already. right now Ive to one I bought from a guy at work for 50 bucks it works (sorta) at least so I can baby it untill I get the money for the th400 or a muncie..... im not too sure but the TH200r is a very weak tranny too.. although it is conveinent that its the same dimension as the Th350 (no driveshaft and crossmember mods)

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post #3 of 44 (permalink) Old Jan 13th, 01, 12:36 AM
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I think some TH200s are better than others. Thats what they used in some of the turbo Buick Grand Nationals, I think. I know the Buick guys are putting some serious power through them.

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post #4 of 44 (permalink) Old Jan 13th, 01, 4:42 AM
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Joe- I've done the "200 thing" & my recommendation is to take a serious look at a 700R4 if you've made your mind up that you're going with overdrive (sounds like you have). Several companies (TCI for one)offer beafed-up units to handle horsepower/torque. Take my word for it, by the time you get the 200R4 nearly strong enough to do what you want (still a compromise)you can get a strong 700R4. Check in Super Chevy, Chevy High Performance, Street Rodder, etc. which advertise these units. They've also come up with ways around the computer-activated features on the transmissions that they offer, etc. You may know all of this already, but just my $.025 worth. Good Luck.
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post #5 of 44 (permalink) Old Jan 13th, 01, 6:07 AM
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Have you looked at a Gear Vendors overdrive unit? A Turbo 400 and the G.V. unit would solve your problem, if you have the $$$.

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post #6 of 44 (permalink) Old Jan 13th, 01, 6:17 AM
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You might try this link: ...has a good faq, and these guys are pretty highly regarded out here on the left coast. It might be worth a long distance phone call for you. They were very helpful to a friend who put one of these in a 57 Chevy.
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post #7 of 44 (permalink) Old Jan 13th, 01, 8:49 AM
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go to the team camaro site and look for posts by a guy named Bruce, his id there is WE4. He owns a shop that builds 200r4s, and he can answer all questions. From what I have read, the 200r4 can be built to handle more HP than the 700 because of good billet parts availablility. Also the 1-2 shift spread is better with the 200r4. You can use the th350 yoke. The overall length is the same as the th350. I know guys here have put the 200r4 in chevelles, and I dont remember anyone mentioning clearance problems. Go with that 200r4, forget the 700!

Dave (NY)
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post #8 of 44 (permalink) Old Jan 13th, 01, 8:51 AM
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Stock, the 2004R is weaker than some of the 700R4's; modified, the 2004R can be made MUCH stronger than the 700's due to some design problems.

Contact Bruce at Performance Transmissions (916) 739-0510. He developed the parts that Art Carr and others use. His trans can handle 800+ h.p. and he can tailor one to fit your needs. I have a friend with a 600 h.p. big-block (490 to the ground) that has blown up his 700R4 three times. This trans has all the best aftermarket parts available. Their limit is still 500 h.p. and you're right there.

The swap is simple from a TH350. Either use a TH400 crossmember or move yours back. The yoke and driveshaft remain the same as the TH350. If you stick with a lock-up convertor (I did) Bruce has everything done inside the trans so all you need to do is run a 12V switched wire to a terminal on the side of the trans.

Bruce is a very good guy to deal with and stands behind his products.

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post #9 of 44 (permalink) Old Jan 13th, 01, 9:02 AM
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i've done the 2004r "thing" too, and absolutely LOVED IT, i'd do it again if i didn't have a 4spd car now (too much fun) check my website for links to info on this tranny.

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post #10 of 44 (permalink) Old Jan 13th, 01, 9:11 AM
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I just spent my hard earned money on what I researched to be the best automatic Overdrive unit out there.(except for the 300 lb. and super expensive 4L80E) I'm putting it in today. It's from Phoenix Trans. They build a unit for YOUR car. up to 550 ft lbs. They even build a converter for your car's wieght, cam and gear. They even install the correct speedo gear according to rear gear and tire diameter. Really helpfull staff. They take the time to talk to you W/O BS. They come with a 2 yr 24,000 mile warranty. And, instead of having to send the unit back, if you have a problem, you take it to any local reputable trans shop and they pay them to fix it! A few people I know personally have bought from them and have had no problems. Even with hi HP BBC's. The lock up works in 4th only, internally switched. All you do is supply 12 volts to an already supplied wire. They give you the correct tail shaft and mount also. Nothing to figure out really, except the drive shaft shortening. They handle all the details, wich is good. I paid $1380 out the door and supplied them with a core unit.

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post #11 of 44 (permalink) Old Jan 13th, 01, 11:52 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the input guys.

drptop70ss & camcojb- I've also heard that the 2004r can be built to take much more punishment than the 700r4 because of the stronger internal components available for the 200. It seems that since a lot of the turbo buicks are running the 200, there has been a greater demand and thus more developement in hipo parts for that tranny. I'm definately going to give Bruce a call at Performance Transmissions, sounds like he's the man I need to talk to.

So, I guess the question is, if the 2004r can be built to be almost twice as strong as a 700, the 2004r has a .67 overdrive compared to the 700's .70 overdrive which means you'll run lower rpms on the highway with the 200, and with the 200 you dont have to shorten the driveshaft, why in the world would anyone even consider swapping in a 700?


Joe Scott
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post #12 of 44 (permalink) Old Jan 13th, 01, 2:11 PM
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Interesting topic guys and I'm glad you started this Joe, because this year I'm also going to shelve the TH350 for an overdrive unit. I'd like to drive farther than 30 miles from my home.

I was always under the assumption that the 700R4 could be built stronger than the 200 and had no idea that the aftermarket supplied so many heavier duty parts for it over the 700R4. News to me. I'm needing something to survive 650ftlbs of torque on motor and 200Hp (250ftlbs?) on the spray. Jody, I think I'll call Bruce...thanks for the tip. Being an easier bolt-in is REALLY appealing to me.

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post #13 of 44 (permalink) Old Jan 13th, 01, 2:38 PM
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Joe, I'm glad to see your going the OD route! Lord knows I wish I had done so and not used a TH400. I will have a new car soon (as well as the velle) so long trips will be for it.

Good note for the 200r4. Say in the worst case it does break. It is not expensive in the least bit to have a used TH350 sitting in the back yard to swap directly in for it... i.e. no Real down time.

-Good luck and see you at CB2001
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post #14 of 44 (permalink) Old Jan 13th, 01, 2:56 PM
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Joe, I also run a race built 200 and have had no problems behind a ZZ502. The guys who built it don't even recommend using a lock up converter. The fluid circuit when using the lock up only sends trans fluid to the cooler in the lock up mode. And you have to find a shop that uses a special valve to ovecome this problem when you use the trans without a lock up circuit. I run mine without the lockup mode with a 2500 stall converter and I pound the snot out of it with no problems. It also fit right in with very little mods and even used the same shaft as the glide (although I did have a Dennys shaft built shortly after)I run 3:50 gears and the engine runs about 2400 at 70 mph. Also the overdrive is a clutched unit so lots of horsepower won't hurt it like some geared overdrive units! Good Luck! Mark

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post #15 of 44 (permalink) Old Jan 13th, 01, 3:22 PM Thread Starter
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Woooohooo! Man there's tons of good info in this post

The more research I do and the more people I talk to the better this 2004r thing gets. It seems like everybody that has one loves it.

Mark 502 - So when running a non-lockup converter you must have the trans modified so that it sends fluid to the cooler all thet time?

Overdrive rocks!!

Joe Scott
70 Chevelle Malibu 350/TH350
White w/black interior
Dreaming of a Big Block!

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