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Old 09-30-2012, 08:46 AM   #29
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^^^ I 2nd what Art said. If I remember correctly, the 200-4R is cheaper in stock form. Theyre not as desireable as the 4L60E. But when you talk about upgrading to handle big block power PLUS weight, the 4L60E/4L80E is the cheaper option in the long run. Im not even sure if youd HAVE to upgrade the 4L80E
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Old 10-07-2012, 05:39 PM   #30
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Hi bkahler, guys, camper friends all.
Do the swap!
Forget all about 200R4s, 700Rs, 6L70s, ad nauseum, etc. They were never designed to take the load of anything as heavy as an Airstream/Argosy! No rancor or dislike of those units, they just were never intended for this use.
Half way through my own conversion to a 4L80. Ordered a trans support crossmember for a mid '90s P30 from Colaws rv salvage, [but, they sent me the same crossmember that was in my '88 345 :-( ], hopefully I can get that straightened out this week. Otherwise, the shortened drive shaft should be done midweek, new trans mount on the way, then shift linkage fabrication time. Then hook up the Optishift (now US shift) . Most awkward and difficult part? hooking up the new style park brake so that it works like the old type, what a bear!
Conversion worth doing? Well, only since I burned up my TH475 going over Jellicoe mountain in Tennessee, and I was ready for an overdrive gear anyway. Plus I was going to take the old girl out of service this year to install my Banks exhaust system .
So might as well be hung for a sheep instead of a lamb.
By the way, with the [damaged] TH475, 9.5 mpg when religiously setting cruise on 55mph for a 670 mile trip, flattish terrain, [Asheville was the steepest bit], no toad.
Hoping for 12+- mpg going to Florida in December, fingers crossed!
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Old 10-07-2012, 06:45 PM   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LimeyRich View Post
Hi bkahler, guys, camper friends all.
Do the swap!
Forget all about 200R4s, 700Rs, 6L70s, ad nauseum, etc. They were never designed to take the load of anything as heavy as an Airstream/Argosy! No rancor or dislike of those units, they just were never intended for this use.
Half way through my own conversion to a 4L80. Ordered a trans support crossmember for a mid '90s P30 from Colaws rv salvage, [but, they sent me the same crossmember that was in my '88 345 :-( ], hopefully I can get that straightened out this week. Otherwise, the shortened drive shaft should be done midweek, new trans mount on the way, then shift linkage fabrication time. Then hook up the Optishift (now US shift) . Most awkward and difficult part? hooking up the new style park brake so that it works like the old type, what a bear!
Conversion worth doing? Well, only since I burned up my TH475 going over Jellicoe mountain in Tennessee, and I was ready for an overdrive gear anyway. Plus I was going to take the old girl out of service this year to install my Banks exhaust system .
So might as well be hung for a sheep instead of a lamb.
By the way, with the [damaged] TH475, 9.5 mpg when religiously setting cruise on 55mph for a 670 mile trip, flattish terrain, [Asheville was the steepest bit], no toad.
Hoping for 12+- mpg going to Florida in December, fingers crossed!
Pics and more info PLEASE!
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Old 10-08-2012, 03:25 PM   #32
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What do you need more info on? Heres what youll need:

Either a built 4L60E, 200-4R, 700-4R, or a stock 4L80E
Crossmember
Shorter driveshaft
Standalone tranny shift module

Install it all and youve got an overdrive! Just be ready to fork out some cash
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Old 10-08-2012, 04:26 PM   #33
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I get that it fits and works with the stand alone controller, and the driveshaft needs mods.

Some of the details that interest me are:

1/ How different is the X member?
2/ What mods were needed on the shift linkage?
3/ How did you get the transmission parking brake to fit?

I would like an idea of costs and how that compares with say adding a Gear Venders unit behind the TH475.
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Old 10-08-2012, 04:37 PM   #34
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The standalone tranny controller is gonna be at least $400.
X-Member (or similar) about $150-$180
Tranny will cost prolly $300 for a used one. New one will be through the roof. Not 100% sure on that though

Only thing I see different on aftermarket crossmembers is they have two "humps" to allow for dual exhaust
My 200-4R didnt need different linkage, so not sure why a 4L80E would
Not sure what a trans park brake is
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Old 10-08-2012, 06:18 PM   #35
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The standalone tranny controller is gonna be at least $400.
X-Member (or similar) about $150-$180
Tranny will cost prolly $300 for a used one. New one will be through the roof. Not 100% sure on that though

Only thing I see different on aftermarket crossmembers is they have two "humps" to allow for dual exhaust
My 200-4R didnt need different linkage, so not sure why a 4L80E would
Not sure what a trans park brake is
I'm curious about the x-member also since I will be needing to buy or make one for my Argosy, assuming of course there is any difference. I wonder why a cross member would be so expensive?

The odd thing I found on the 345 is I can't physically remove the crossmember from the vehicle. I can unbolt it and slide it around but you can't actually get it out of the frame. I plan on saving it which means I will need to cut the frame around it to get it out. No big deal since the rest of the frame is going to the scrap yard.

I'm also curious what will need to be done to the shift linkage to make a 4L80E work in a 74 Argosy.

The transmission parking brake is a big drum brake mounted on the back of the transmission. I have a 1951 Dodge pickup with the same arrangement on the back of the transmission. I'm not sure if it was cheaper to install a drum brake on the motorhomes or if it is actually a better arrangement.

Brad
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Old 10-08-2012, 08:43 PM   #36
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Iv never heard or seen that type of parking brake lol. Sounds like a cheap way to do it though!

As for your crossmember, if you can slide it back and forth, then it can come out. You may need a large hammer but they were ment to be removed. You just have to rotate it one way or the other. Its probably a tight fit but a couple whacks with a dead-blow ought to get er out. If the new crossmember is that tight, then shave some metal off the ends. Thatll save some headache later on down the road.
DO NOT CUT YOUR FRAME
It is THE structure for your motorhome. Cutting it will make it weak

As for the x-member. Its just a fancy crossmember. You have to move the tranny mount back an inch and this crossmember does that with some tabs (not sure if theyre included). Id custom fab your stocker or make your own like im doin if youve got the know-how
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Old 10-08-2012, 09:01 PM   #37
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As for your crossmember, if you can slide it back and forth, then it can come out. You may need a large hammer but they were ment to be removed. You just have to rotate it one way or the other. Its probably a tight fit but a couple whacks with a dead-blow ought to get er out. If the new crossmember is that tight, then shave some metal off the ends. Thatll save some headache later on down the road.
I layed under the motorhome for over an hour when I was removing the transmission and no matter what I tried that crossmember would not move in such away that I could get it out. I'll try again this weekend and take pictures if I can't get it out.

Quote:
DO NOT CUT YOUR FRAME
It is THE structure for your motorhome. Cutting it will make it weak
I was referring to cutting the frame on the 345 motorhome in which I am dismantling and scrapping the frame

Quote:
As for the x-member. Its just a fancy crossmember. You have to move the tranny mount back an inch and this crossmember does that with some tabs (not sure if theyre included). Id custom fab your stocker or make your own like im doin if youve got the know-how
I'll either get the 345 crossmember to work or modify it to work on my Argosy rather than buy anything.

Thanks!

Brad
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Old 10-08-2012, 09:44 PM   #38
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Iv never heard or seen that type of parking brake lol. Sounds like a cheap way to do it though!
That parking brake design is part of the frames truck heritage. I've driven P30 based trucks with Allison automatics that did not have a "P or Park" position at all, just a "N or Neutral."

There were a couple of reasons behind this. A park paul, such as used in a car might not be up to securing the load of a parked truck. Also, they were intended for truck drivers, not the typical car driver.

It's a truck (pickups don't count here) thing. And, as you noted, it is a good, cheap way to address the issue.
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Old 10-08-2012, 10:07 PM   #39
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Hey again.
Ok Crossmember first. The crossmember/trans support for a 4L80 is deeper by about 3 inches than the corresponding crossmember in a 345, the tailshaft housing on bigger trucks and motorhome 4l80s is completely different than a car tranny. The original xmember will come out of the motorhome BUT you probably have some small bolts in the way which prevent much movement. They are fiddly and time consuming to remove. Once there is nothing physically blocking, tap one side of the mount rearwards, the other forwards. Use at least a 2 pound machinists hammer. El Camino is right, Grind about 1/8' of metal off each end of the x member and it will go in much easier.
If you are able to use a car type 4L80 rear trans housing and slip yoke you will be miles ahead. It will fit closer to your original TH400 xmember, and no Ebrake!
Do you have all wheel disc brakes? If you have rear drums you are lucky, your regular emergency brake will work just fine. You can just throw away the brake shoes from the transmission mounted drum, and fit your shortened driveshaft.
If you have a Ebrake 4L80 to install, your old TH 400/475 drum Ebrake probably will not fit it, the bolt pattern is wrong ( at least on mine). GM/Workhorse changed from a normal emergency brake to a brake that is ON unless pressure unlocks it. Hence the large number of people stuck in strange places with a locked E brake! This ebrake system is a brilliant piece of engineering, cough,cough.
Fiddling with the linkage. (If your hair is not grey or white before you start this project, it will be when your done!) My TH475 rod linkage is tantalizingly close to the shift mechanism on the 4L80 but I just cannot fab' it up to fit . So it looks like cable linkage from Ididit or Lokar, with a longer cable than they offer.
Your TH475 dipstick and tube will fit the 4L80 nicely , the full mark even lined up in the right place for mine.
Sorry about pics, but wife borrowed my camera and now it will not focus.
I will get into speedometer and loss of cruise control etc' a little later when i am not so tired and pressed for time.
I work exceedingly slowly four weeks into this now.
Very busy week starting for me and the 345 will just have to wait until next Monday or Tuesday.
All the best! Stay safe.
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Old 10-08-2012, 10:34 PM   #40
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P30 Parking brake for 1984..



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Old 10-09-2012, 01:31 AM   #41
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Stand-alone transmission controller for the courageous or crazy.

MegaShift™ Transmission Controller is somewhat like a Heath kit that you can get completely built. One of its defaults is the 4L80E and I just glanced through their documentation but if you can build the kit correctly it doesn't seem very hard to implement. If my TH400 blows up I think I would be tempted to go this route but I believe you would have to build a spare, unless you can figure out a limp home mode. If nothing else their site has a lot of good information on transmission controllers and is well worth browsing.
The link to the site is MegaShift/GPIO Transmission Controller
Bill
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Old 10-09-2012, 12:02 PM   #42
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bkahler .Just a quick thought before I leave the house. Before you remove the drive shaft from the Argosy you must mark its exact position in the vertical plane. I used the 3/8" inch nut on a string method, run a string (with a nut attached) over a floor brace, suspend the nut so that it is just grazing the top of the driveshaft. Secure the string so that it cannot slip. Now you have the exact position of the driveshaft, and can install the newly shortened shaft just grazing the nut, and your geometry is unchanged. This is very important if you do not want to destroy multiple U-joints. Shim the transmission mount to get the geometry exact. Got to go .
All the best.
P.S. Thanks for the pic Keyair, yup 345 brake there, like the long tube headers. Hopefully I can get my camera working soon.
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