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Old 09-07-2012, 06:36 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by ElCamino Man View Post
Its far from a bolt on upgrade. Youll need a big block bell housing to start with, and a different tranny crossmember, shorter driveshaft, AND a stand-alone controller. I did a similar upgrade to my El Camino, I know all about it lol. What you will gain is an overdrive meaning improved mpgs! Youll have some cash wrapped up in this upgrade for sure
I wish I could say money is no object but that certainly isn't the case

Needing a different crossmember is something I don't remember hearing about before. I'm assuming the shape is different for the 4L80E compared to the 400 and I'm guessing it is also farther back. Would getting a crossmember from a truck that had a 4L80E in it get me in the ball park? I'm not to worried about any fabrication that might need to be done. I'm fairly handy in that regard.

For some reason I thought the bell housing was integral to the transmission and the bolt pattern was the same for 350's and 454's.

Brad
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Old 09-07-2012, 06:39 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by overlander63 View Post
Honestly, it would probably be easier and cheaper to get a Gear Vendors overdrive unit and install that.
Terry,

I would think I could come in cheaper using the 4L80E and doing most of the work, rebuild, etc myself that buying a gear vender overdrive, and I really like the idea of a lock up torque converter.

Now if you have a gear vendor unit lying around that you don't need...

Brad
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Old 09-07-2012, 06:50 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by ElCamino Man View Post
Whats wrong with your current set-up? Are you just trying to gain mpgs?
Probably nothing wrong with it. However the motor is out and and there ever was a good time to change setups this would be it. Plus the one in the motorhome right now is a TH400, not the TH475 as used in the motorhomes.

As I mentioned earlier I really like the idea of a lock up torque converter and getting better mpg is definitely something to think about.

Plus I just like to tinker

Brad
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Old 09-07-2012, 07:22 PM   #18
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We blew our 475 Turbo Hydra years ago, found a funky, family transmission shop in Idaho. He checked it out and said he could have a rebuilt in a couple of days, and then he'd have to tear it down to re- program it for the diesel. I sort of shrugged, and then he said, "if you've got some time, I can build you a bad boy." I went with him, he used all the Allison parts he could get his hands on, short story: best transmission I've ever had, all the shift points are smooth and at the right RPM.!
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Old 09-07-2012, 10:19 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by ElCamino Man
Whats wrong with your current set-up? Are you just trying to gain mpgs?


Our 310 turns about 3,000 rpm at 60 mph and we get about 7 mpg on a good day. It just seems like going one tooth higher in the differential would slow the motor down and give us better mileage, but judging from Mike's experience it might mean a lot more first gear driving in the mountains.
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Old 09-08-2012, 09:43 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by Waipio Rim View Post
Originally Posted by ElCamino Man
Whats wrong with your current set-up? Are you just trying to gain mpgs?


Our 310 turns about 3,000 rpm at 60 mph and we get about 7 mpg on a good day. It just seems like going one tooth higher in the differential would slow the motor down and give us better mileage, but judging from Mike's experience it might mean a lot more first gear driving in the mountains.
Interesting. I've never paid a whole lot of attention to mph vs rpms but I seem to recall that I'm not much over 3000 rpm when I'm traveling around 65 or better. Of course this assumes that the instruments are correct. Sometime in the next month or so I'll take the rig out and use the gps for speed and hook a tach/dwell meter to the coil to see what is actually going on. Our mileage is above 7 mpg when towing and closer to 9 when we aren't.

When in the mountains on the steeper grades pulling the race car on a trailer we frequently drop down to around 50 mph but on the flats we can easily do 75 pulling the race car and trailer.

Our engine does have the Banks Power Pack.

Brad
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Old 09-08-2012, 09:46 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by ElCamino Man View Post
Its far from a bolt on upgrade. Youll need a big block bell housing to start with, and a different tranny crossmember, shorter driveshaft, AND a stand-alone controller.
I just measured the bell housing on the 4L80E and the dimensions match up with the 454 block. So at least that is one thing I won't have to worry about. Now to figure out where to get a cross member.

Brad
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Old 09-08-2012, 01:35 PM   #22
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Thats good news! Iv been working on Fords recently so Iv forgotten some of my Chevy stuff lol.

As for the other things I pointed out: the 4L80Es tranny mount is about an inch further back than the TH400. You could probably fab up your own corssmember like im doin to fix this issue. Same goes for the driveshaft. Inch further back, inch needs cut off. You could also cut the driveshaft yourself and weld it back up and hope like hell its still balanced lol. Iv seen it done! Your biggest expense is gonna be either reprogramming your current chip or buying a stand-alone system to make it shift. I did lots of research on the standalone and its about $400 for the cheap one. And, if I remember correctly, you have to have a switch of somesort to lock-up the torque converter and unlock it when slowing down yourself. Kinda a hassle but worth the reward!
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Old 09-08-2012, 04:02 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by ElCamino Man View Post
As for the other things I pointed out: the 4L80Es tranny mount is about an inch further back than the TH400. You could probably fab up your own corssmember like im doin to fix this issue.
I'm going to have to get under the motorhome and take a peak at the rear mount and then compare it to the 4L80E mount. I prefer the simple approach whenever possible

Quote:
Same goes for the driveshaft. Inch further back, inch needs cut off. You could also cut the driveshaft yourself and weld it back up and hope like hell its still balanced lol. Iv seen it done!
I think I'll leave the drive shaft to the professionals. It's amazing what an out of balance drive shaft can feel and sound like

Quote:
Your biggest expense is gonna be either reprogramming your current chip or buying a stand-alone system to make it shift. I did lots of research on the standalone and its about $400 for the cheap one. And, if I remember correctly, you have to have a switch of somesort to lock-up the torque converter and unlock it when slowing down yourself. Kinda a hassle but worth the reward!
That does sound like a cheap approach. I'd be willing to spend a couple hundred more to have an automatic lockup. The older I get the more forgetful I get so I'd likely leave it locked up all the time!

Brad
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Old 09-08-2012, 04:10 PM   #24
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Youd have to have the switch either way Im pretty sure. You CAN get all fancy with it and hook it into your brake pedal and run a vacuum line so when you hit the brakes/slow down it automatically kicks the torque converter off. You can get some info off the internet... its been awhile since Iv done mine lol.
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Old 09-10-2012, 07:25 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by ElCamino Man View Post
Youd have to have the switch either way Im pretty sure. You CAN get all fancy with it and hook it into your brake pedal and run a vacuum line so when you hit the brakes/slow down it automatically kicks the torque converter off. You can get some info off the internet... its been awhile since Iv done mine lol.
I researched some of this about five years ago but I've slept since then so I'm pretty much starting all over again

I think it's time to start googling again.

Thanks!

Brad
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Old 09-11-2012, 08:41 AM   #26
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Just a little more info: if you start ookin around and see someone swapping in a 200-4R, its essentially the same thing. Only difference is the 200-4R doesnt need the driveshaft shortened. I think they even use the same tranny controller but dont quote me. And also, in case ya didnt know, the 4L60E and 4L80E are identical (pretty sure) except the 80 is more heavy duty!
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Old 09-11-2012, 08:51 AM   #27
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If you know a thing or two about cars, here is an essentially free way to get your lock-up:

200-4R Simple Lock-Up Installation! - El Camino Central Forum : Chevrolet El Camino Forums

If you dont know a whole lot about cars, that thread will make you scream lol. Been there done that...
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Old 09-29-2012, 03:17 PM   #28
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I was interested in the 200-4R after I read an article on how they can be made really strong in Car Craft Magazine June 2009.
The idea of a mechanical based 4 speed trans was interesting.

However, I called and spoke to Art Carr, and his advice was its not strong enough even with the mods for such a heavy vehicle.
He advised to find a used, low mile 4L80E from a 2007/8 truck as the best conversion.
He told me he had done this conversion on a motorhome, and he had put over 50k miles on it, and had no problems. He said with the 4th gear, and lock-up converter, his mpg went from 6 to 9.
You would need a stand-alone electronic controller for the 4L80E's control.

Read here about the 200-4R.
How to Build a TH200-4R for 1,000 Horsepower - Car Craft Magazine
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