TKO500 in my '64 finally? - Impala Tech
Transmission & Driveline Transmissions & Differentials

 
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-30-2014, 10:22 AM Thread Starter
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TKO500 in my '64 finally?

I started to do this conversion from the M20 to the Tremec TKO500 5spd. in my '64 a few years ago, but put it off to otherwise "finish" car. Now I am (hopefully) ready to this. Both American Powertrain and Hurst offer the "kit" that allegedly makes this swap relatively painless (....according to them) with the parts to allow the shifter to fit through the existing console.
So far, I have been unable to find or read about anyone who has performed this conversion on a 64 Impala. I have two concerns. One is possibly having to cut the tunnel and install a "patch", especially since new Dynamat like insulation and new carpets were recently installed ...AND the likely hood of having to cut out the tabs than the console attaches to.
Secondly, since the Tremec is longer and will require a shorter front driveshaft, is the driveshaft angle once everything is in place. I don't want to introduce any vibration caused by an excessive angle change.
This car was origianally delivered new with a dealer installed Hurst shifter so that enlarged hole in the floor is to accomodate it is already there.
Has anyone actually done (or know of anyone) this swap and would like to share that experience?
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-30-2014, 10:57 AM
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I have not performed the installation, but sitting in the center of the web as a moderator on three boards a I read a lot of posts that outline the procedure. The odds of the transmission tunnel being built ahead of time by GM to accommodate a TKO or a T-56 that occupies a lot of room in newer cars that have huge trans tunnels because they use a central spine to hang wheels off of; rather than sticking them on the corners of a rectangular perimeter frame (or in your case a more restrictive X-frame) are slim to none, and "Slim" took his ball and went home.

So yes anticipate cutting and splicing in new sheet metal to raise and extend the trans tunnel. The shifter will go through the factory hole only if you moved the shifter location from the stock position on a Corvette or Viper. I have watched American Powertrain on TV disassemble the entire transmission and machine new parts to offset the shifter to the drivers side and move it forward (requiring machining the case and fabricating new billet shifter rails and the mechanism to align those shifter rails). In the same show they also machined the bottom tail housing in a CNC mill to more closely approximate what the Muncie looks like in a search for more room.

Funny thing is that eighty percent of American Powertrain's customers pay to have the shifter moved but refuse to pay for upgrades to the internal gears and shafts that support them while the transmission is blown apart to nearly double the strength of the tranny (which is the reason I assume that most people buy one of these more expensive and physically larger transmissions in the first place, to buy a greater torque rating to match more modern motor outputs).

From what I have seen of photographs on cars that have been down this road you add a little under two inches to the height of the tranny tunnel and about ten or less inches to the overall length.

As to your out put drive shaft angle you can accommodate the changes (which would be slight) by going to a constant velocity joint aft of the reinforced carrier bearing instead of a universal joint, and adding a slip joint to the back half of the drive shaft. I have seen aluminum (I don't recommend aluminum shafts in a street car) or a chrome-moly drive shaft made this way from Denny's.

I am sure there have been those besides Corvette owners who have done this (keep in mind that the C2 Corvette still shares a lot of parts in common with the '64 Impala), so it isn't that much of a stretch to envision the changes being similar.

I know that it is a little late now to bring this up, but if you were looking for just OD capability while retaining the Muncie (which we all assumes fit well) you needed look no further than an electronically shifted Gear Vendor auxiliary transmission spliced into the rear of your X-Frame between the rear end and the carrier bearing. The Gear Vendor unit was built for medium duty trucks and large diesel powered motor homes and can easily handle over a thousand horsepower so it is up to the task of handling the motor's torque just as equally as is the TKO.

Big Dave
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-30-2014, 01:15 PM Thread Starter
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Hmm. Not sure that I need all that heartache when all I really want out of this is an overdrive. I am past launching this vehicle and all those other things that we did back when and shucking out main drive gears, cluster gears, rear ends, etc. I'm too old for that kind of 'expensive' behavior ......mostly.
I was not aware of an overdrive unit. "Gear Vendors"? I need to check into this. Anyone have any experience with this in a X frame B-body that you know of?
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-01-2014, 02:35 PM Thread Starter
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Big Dave,
I spent a good deal of the day yesterday doing reseach and pretty much came up with not much.
I spoke with Hust and got the impression they feel as though they are doing me a favor by simply answering the phone. (Pretty much a "It is what it is. 'Ya got any more (stupid) questions." attitude).
The folks at American Powertrain were considerable more helpful (a.k.a. 'hungry?), claim to have machined their TKO for more installation clearance (hmm), were much more interested, offer the same 'kit' for a few hundred bucks less than Hurst, claimed to have sold their version to the TKO500 to either a few or several X frame Impalas or Belaire owners and told me that they (he, actually) would contact as many as he could and "get back" with me later in the day so that I could get some real first hand info from folks that have made this swap. Well, some 30 hours late and still no word, which may mean that my question HAS been answered.
Does appear that not very many old Impala owners have put a 5-speed in their car which seems odd since IF one actually drives their car on todays roads, an overdive is a logical and obvious thing have.
I checked out Gear Vendors web site and submitted a query. This actually seems like a far simpler (and slightly less costly) was to go, however 24 hours later and still no returned call or email. Their's is a genuine good 'ol fashion planetary OD unit (modern, stronger components, of course) that (as you know) bolts in place of the tail shaft extension of M20,21,22 gearboxes and is ONLY (Ta Da) installed by 'authorized' Gear Vendor installers at specific locations.
So that is where I am with this ...issue(?). I had assumed that there just had to be more than a few X fram B-bodied Chevy owners who have done this.
Not qite ready to "fergitaboutit", ......but almost.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-01-2014, 04:12 PM
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I have one more option that may interest you (possibly). Chevy used a four speed that is more closely associated with big engines in a small car Chrysler (think Sox and Martin's four year dominance of the Pro Stock class with a Dodge dart powered by a 426 Hemi). The A833 New Process transmission was used from 1981-'87 by Chevy in C and G-20 and 30 pick-ups and vans, but not as a four speed. Instead they flipped third gear around and made it 1:1 and converted the final drive into a 30% reduction over drive.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/1980-A-833-A...-/161286153028

You can read about the trans being modified to fit a Chevy here:

http://www.customclassictrucks.com/t...n/viewall.html

You can still find them in junk yards and even though this is a very nice example of a rebuilt tranny it still requires a Special Chevy to Chrysler bell housing (Chevy used a cast aluminum bell-housing to accomplish this, but I strongly recommend a steel SFI rated puke can for safety reasons: even if your racing days are behind you). This bell housing is set up for an eleven inch clutch but you can still use a ten and a half inside the bell housing if that is what you have, It just has to be for a Chrysler 23 spline input shaft instead of the older (pre-1969) ten spline input shaft. and it uses a Chrysler 30 spline out put shaft yoke with a 1350 U-joint bearing because it was out of a "heavy duty" light truck (van). This is why it has such a steep first gear (handy for those burn outs).

I recommend the junk yard route as a source of everything you will need to bolt this combination into your car. (bell housing, fly wheel, starter motor, clutch and pressure plate, throw out bearing, and the throw out bearing fork, tranny along with the shifter, and the transmission out put yoke with U-joint, or the whole drive shaft if you can get it for free). At a U-pull yard on any given Saturday you can get all of these things for scrap value assuming you can find the correct van in the yard. This would be your cheapest route if you can find one.

If you were thinking about buying the rebuilt unit off e-Bay and everything else that is missing new, consider instead an Autogear rebuilt Muncie four speed with a super case and cast iron mid plate that uses a custom set of gears to get you a four speed overdrive similar to the A-833 tranny. This way everything bolts up as it would with any other Muncie.

http://autogear.net/ag_archive/muncieproducts.htm

Look for the M21Y option at the bottom of the page. Last time I inquired this brand new, bullet proof Muncie, was running around $1,960 but that was over two years ago so prices have probably risen by now; but not as high as a new T-56 or a TKO 500 I would wager.

Big Dave
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-01-2014, 06:15 PM Thread Starter
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Big Dave,
Interesting. The Autogear COULD be an option, but .......
I had a long conversation with "Nick" at Gear Vendors and that option (so far) seems like it could be the way to go here. It's a .78 OD which tranlates to a reduction in RPM at about 70 MPH from 3000 to 2340 (current engine speed at about 45 or 47 MPH) which is ideal for this L79 spec 327.
So what are the issues? None ....according to Nick. Hmm. This adds 13 1/4in. to the back of the M20 without any tunnel interference....or none that couldn't be corrected with BFH. So far, so good.
Again, I was concerned about driveshaft anglularity since an additional 13.25 in would mean a 13.25in shorter fron drivesshaft and that would greatly increase the angle on the front shaft to well beyond the 2 1/3 deg that is the spec. (2dg 40Min to be exact.) which would in turn add considerable deflection at the center support bearing. (not good even if it is supported in rubber) The old adage "Move the string at one end and it tends to move it at the other end.", as usual, applies here.
Nick's answer to that was "No problem". According to him, since the tranny is now over 13" longer and since the yoke would now be right at the entrance of the X frame tunnel, I should (note the word "should") be able to use a one piece driveshaft. According to him, it has been done this way with TH400s in X-frame cars ... Hmm again. "Without cuttting up the frame to allow for one pieec shaft?"
"Sure." Well, maybe and the thought of possible or probable frame cutting, frame weakening, and fabrication is a bit scary.
If it is possible to install this OD and use a one piece shaft, then that seems ideal. I just don't know if there is enough room at the rear of the tunnel to accomodate a one piece shaft and don't know of any way of finding out without actually puting one through the tunnel. And again, being able to contact anyone who has actually used a one-piece drive shaft is proving to be not likely. IF that is doable, from looking at the Chevy assembly manual, it would mostly eliminate any draifeshaft angle at the differential yoke.
Again, this adding a fifth gear overdive just seems like the sort of thing that several if not a bunch of folks have at leat attempted. Where are they?
Thanks for your thoughts.
Bob
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-01-2014, 06:23 PM Thread Starter
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Oh, and as an addendum, I have been informed that "yes', the TKO, even WITH American Powertrains 'stremlining' WILL still be almost 2 1/2 taller and wider at the top and WILL require sigificant "modification" (a.k.a cutting and welding a patch)to the tunnel which will add some complexity(?) to remounting the console; so that is a no-starter.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-01-2014, 10:06 PM
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Once again a constant velocity joint takes your pinion angle issue and halves it. By going through two joints instead of one there is no radial acceleration. Sounds like some math doesn't scare you so I suggest you read this article on Wikipedia about universal joints (aka to engineers as Cardan joints).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universal_joint

As you can see constant velocity joints allow front wheel drive cars to work, were a universal would snap in two (just ask early CJ owners who try and put bigger tires and wheels on than Uncle Sam intended).

I see no issue with a one piece drive shaft as a whole bunch of people have done that with a TH400 behind a big block. Once again they ask for trouble using a universal joint and having no slip joint in the drive shaft (the 2-1/4 inch length of out put splines is insufficient to accommodate a big bump). Generally by their second one piece drive shaft they listen to me and include a slip joint (your rear end is mounted in rubber and supported by a paper cup filled with Jello) The rear end is free to wander all over the place; which is why I laugh at those who say I have a huge by large tire and wheel that fills the wheel well, and I NEVER have a problem.

You could mock up a one piece drive shaft using a length of pipe to simulate the total overall length of Muncie and Gear Vendor for one end and a two by four (which closely approximates the OD of a four inch drive shaft, which is smaller like the piece of 2x4 wood) stuffed through the torque box in the frame to see if it reaches the rear end without hitting any thing. (I would turn down one end of your pipe to the OD of an out put yoke on your Muncie, and open up the ID of the pipe to slip over the splines in the output shaft of your Muncie tranny). But cold sawing the pipe to length with some one holding the pipe along the centerline of the tranny and motor's crankshaft will also work.

Gee! I wonder if Gear Vendor ever reads this board? Another one of my brilliant engineering marvels has been released into the public domain. (though I fore see only Gear Vendor going to the bother of making such a go/no go gauge that could be sold and credit issued minus S&H charges upon safe return of the tool. S&H charges would probably equal to about half the price of the tool, if they aren't too greedy).

Big Dave
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-03-2014, 06:54 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks Big Dave.
It seems we are of like minds. If this is doable, it is must be done with with CV joints. I am going to have mock a drive shaft like you described and see how this will or would all fit together. Most things are doable.
I am now aware why apparently there are not a bunch of folks who have installed either a Tremec OR an OD in their 'ol X-frame car. I like your idea of the go/no guage....and I am quite sure that "Gear Vendor" doesn't read this board.
Anyhow seems like some homework and fabrication is in order before I drop almost three grang on this overdrive unit.
I will post my progress.
Bob
I will let you know how this progresses
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-03-2019, 03:52 PM
 
 
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Can this thread info be updated. Seems like it fell off a cliff.

Would really like to pursue a GV installation.

Thanks...........

Hank Terry
1964 Impala SS Conv, 327/300, 4 spd, #'s car.
- Unisteer rack & pinion
- FI Tech fuel injection
- Dakota Digital cruise control
- 3:36 w/Auburn posi
NE Ohio
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