I am restoring a 72 Chevelle and the transmission needs to be rebuild, it is a 350 with a 350. Is this something a novice could tackle? If so is they are helpful books, I saw a video in the Super Chevy magazine? Any advice would be appreciated.
If you don't have the special tools that make the job easier, I wouldn't do it. I see rebuilt trannys for pretty cheap in the paper. But if you rent the tools and have a detailed book with a diagram, and some time, go for it. I did my first one not too long ago and it wasn't that hard, but I had the proper tools and people with the knowledge.
I would say no, farm this sort of thing out to someone who knows what they are doing. You may be bucks ahead in the long run. Then again, what some would consider a novice others would call a skilled mechanic. It all depends on what you feel comfortable doing. Do you have the necessary shop and tools to rebuild a automatic tranny at home? These things don't like dirt and have to be assembled meticulously. Just my .02.
I rebuilt a T400 when I was 16. Decided to take it to a shop before I ran it and they did find a few things messed up. The thing shifted way too hard. It's probably not worth the hassle and you may end up at a shop anyway. BTW I've learned recently there are a few tricks to making the T350 fairly bulletproof. Your rebuilder should be aware of these.
I've done several frame off, ground up resto's and everything in between. There's only two things I won't do, and most people will back me up here. Convertible tops and automatic transmissions. Too hard without the right tools, and too costly to screw up.
[This message has been edited by hangten (edited 06-29-99).]
Then again, I have found that most Automatic Transmission shops do a slap job, because the Theory of the Automatic Transmission baffles most people and they don't care to try to understand, so they just take it to a so called "Expert!" These places make regular use of used parts and usually charge you like they installed all new OE parts. Just watch yourself when taking your tranny to a shop.
If you have lots of patience, I would recommend trying it yourself. I tackled a TH400 w/o any help, other than manuals and such, and found it a great learning experience. It certainly won't save you any money, but the experience is valuable. If you are in a hurry, or unsure about yourself, farm it out.
About specialized tools, you don't need the tools the manuals call for. The only "specialized" tools I required were some ready-rod and washers to pull the front pump, some feeler guages, and a dial indicator for end-play. Oh, and some 5" c-clamps for the clutch drums. And you will need to grow some new skin on your fingers and knuckles when you are all done.
Email me about it if you want.
[This message has been edited by Ryan Hoskins (edited 06-29-99).]
I will put in another vote for having the tranny rebuilt. I got a great built TH 350 for only $300 without a core and I enjoyed throwing my old burnt out tranny into the junk heap(it took 6 years to finally die)
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