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Old 01-24-2014, 02:14 PM   #1
whateverpratt
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NV4500 into my '63 rustbucket

So I was tired of my '63 screaming down the highway at 55-60 mph, and I wanted to do something about it. This is what I did, but first, some background.

I bought this truck for $650 13 years ago. The po paid to have it towed to my place because he said the clutch was bad. It turns out it was not adjusted correctly, and after adjusting the rod from the z bar to the clutch fork, it was fine.
The truck came with a 230 and a 3 speed. Unfortunately the po had done away with the column shift and put a floor shifter in it. I returned the shifter to the correct location after a season, and I was happy with it. However, the transmission kept jumping out of third gear no matter how I adjusted the shift linkage. I tried two other three speeds and ran into the same problem, so I decided it was time for a change.
I had a spare sm420 laying around, and I decided it was time that my little rusted out 1/2 ton got a granny gear four speed. Installation was no problem, and I had a two piece driveshaft out of a long bed that I was able to get shortened for $80 that worked quite nicely. Life was good. I now had a granny gear and reverse that were absolutely awesome. If you let the clutch out slowly, the truck would just start crawling away, and third didn't pop out of gear at all. I was sad to lose the column shift, but this was the right decision.
The sm420 served me well for many years. Unfortunately, my little 6 doesn't like driving over 60 mph on the highway, so I decided that an overdrive was in order.

Now the time has come for me to change out the sm420 for the nv4500. I chose the nv4500 over the t5 because of the granny gear (not as good as the sm420, but still a granny) and the strength (not that I will ever test it with my little 230). I am blessed to work at a post-secondary educational institution, so I had a solid 3 weeks during Christmas to undertake my project.

I started out by visiting every junkyard in the 2 counties near where I lived. I found some horrible news. Now I had visited these junkyards about 12 or 13 years ago when I was younger and searching for old cars and trucks. I had found some pretty cool yards that had some neat vehicles. What I found was that shortly after I had searched out these yards, the price of scrap went through the roof, so what did everyone do? They crushed everything. It was difficult for me to find a sbc qjet intake for my younger brother. It was sad to go to the yards that had had so much good junk and see them bare.
That aside, my second day of searching brought me to a yard that had an NV4500. It shifted good, and the owner asked me if I was the guy who just called about it. He wanted $450 for it. He said someone else was coming to pick it up, and if I wanted it, I could have it if I gave him cash before the other guy. I was pretty stoked about finding the trans due to the sad state of the local salvage yards, so I told him I would come back later that afternoon and pick it up. I came back and bought it from him. The deal sucked in hind sight. He charged me a $35 core charge (really?). I wasn't going to bring him my old sm420. Then he charged me tax on top of that (that really surprised me knowing how most junkyards are), so it ended up costing a little over $500 with no shifter or bellhousing. He got me with the story about the other guy coming to pick it up. When I asked him about an intake for my little brother he pulled just about the same stunt. He liked to make you think that you couldn't come back for it later and that it would be gone. This tactic worked good for him and bad for me as I later found two other NV4500's (both with shifters, one with the bellhousing) for $425 each. Live and learn. Here's the transmission after I picked it up.
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Old 01-24-2014, 02:28 PM   #2
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Re: NV4500 into my '63 rustbucket

The transmission ended up being a '96 GM trans. This meant that it had the Dodge bellhousing to transmission pattern and the 5.61 granny and reverse. After weighing my options for installation,
http://67-72chevytrucks.com/vboard/s...01#post6424301
I decided to go with an adapter plate. The first step was to come up with a Dodge gas input shaft and bearing retainer ($100 shaft, $50 retainer courtesy of the best transmission shop in town). This input shaft is 1" longer than the GM and has the same spline count and shaft width (10 spline 1.125"); however, the pilot shaft is .75" instead of the .59" that the GM shaft has. Using this shaft will allow me to mount a 1" thich adapter between the bellhousing and transmission.
The first pic shows the Dodge gas shaft on the left and the GM shaft that came out of the tranny on the right. I swapped the front bearing to the new shaft and installed it and the new bearing retainer on my trans to end up with the bottom pic (yeah, I didn't clean up the transmission).
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Old 01-24-2014, 02:38 PM   #3
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Re: NV4500 into my '63 rustbucket

Next, I needed my adapter plate. I went down to the local steel yard (we only have one) and picked up a 12"X9.5"X1.25" steel plate for $25. I have no idea if that was a good price or not. Everyone around town says he rips people off, but I don't have anywhere to compare prices, so idk.
I took this plate to a local machine shop and had them machine it down to 1" thick with a .25" boss that would fit the stock bellhousing and a .5" deep hole for the nv4500 retainer. We then counterbored the top two holes for the bolts to the bellhousing and tapped the remaining six holes (all 1/2"X13). I say "we" because he was cool enough to let me watch him make it, and it was one of the coolest things I've seen to date. He did the whole thing on the lathe except for the 8 bolt holes. The result is the plate that you see below. I also had him bore out a pilot bushing that would fit the larger Dodge pilot shaft. Plus he said he would do it for free, but I gave him $50 for his time. It took him about 2 hours (an hour on the lathe and an hour on the drill press), but he could have done it quicker without me there asking questions and pestering him.
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Old 01-24-2014, 02:45 PM   #4
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Re: NV4500 into my '63 rustbucket

The only thing else that I needed was a throwout bearing. The stock Chevy bearing was to small to fit on the Dodge retainer, but the local clutch shop found one that fit. It was a f*rd. I never imagined I would have a f*rd part on my truck, but it fit the retainer. Now the problem is that the f*rd throwout bearing is too large for my clutch fork, so I pulled out the grinder and fixed that real quick. I didn't have to take off very much.
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Old 01-24-2014, 02:50 PM   #5
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Re: NV4500 into my '63 rustbucket

Now I was ready to install this big ole sucker. I pulled out the trusty old sm420 with the help of my brother (would have taken me three times as long without him on the installation), took out the clutch, removed the old pilot bushing, installed the new pilot bushing, put the clutch back in, set the clutch for and f*rd throwout bearing in, and bolted on the adapter plate with new grade 8 bolts. And yes, I hacked up my floor. This truck originally had the low hump. I cut it up a little to get the 4 speed in, and I cut where ever I needed without prejudice to get this to fit. Most of the hump is now gone after fitting the tranny in. I still need to make a floor for it.
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Old 01-24-2014, 02:55 PM   #6
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Re: NV4500 into my '63 rustbucket

The next part was the most difficult, and I don't think I could have done it without the help of my brother. The two of us got the nv4500 to slide in, and we bolted it up to the plate. You'll notice that I didn't make a rear crossmember for the trans, and at this point, I'm not planning to. I know they put the sm465 behind a mounted cast iron bellhousing like the sm420 had, and the nv4500 just weighs an extra 20 pounds or so. We'll see if it falls out, but I think it will be fine.
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Old 01-24-2014, 03:08 PM   #7
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Re: NV4500 into my '63 rustbucket

With the transmission in the truck, all I had to do was get a shifter, get some fluid, and get my driveshaft worked on. My driveshaft ended up being frozen together. Do yourself a favor right now, and go outside, grab a grease gun, get under your truck, and grease the slines on your drive shaft if you don't have a slip yoke. I had to get a new one built that cost me $180 (the driveshaft guy was able to use some of the parts from the old one). I was too scared to try any transmission fluids other than what was recommended, so I dropped $125 at the local Dodge stealership to pick up 5 quarts. I put in 4 and a half. I picked up a shifter for the trans from a yard (that would have sold me the transmission and the shifter for $425) for $45. I bolted the rest together, put in the seat and floormat and took off down the road.

The transmission was great. I do miss the slop and movement of the old sm420. The NV4500 has a tight shifter without much movement or slack. The overdrive is amazing. I can comfortably cruise at 60-70 which is just what I wanted. These last two pics are of the transmission in first and reverse. That isn't the stock bench seat. The po told me it came out of an '80's chevy, but the clearence is fine. It touches the seat in 2nd, 4th, and reverse, but just barely. I'll still probably heat up that shifter and bend it so it's not right on the seat, but it works just fine for right now.
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Old 01-24-2014, 03:15 PM   #8
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Re: NV4500 into my '63 rustbucket

In closing, I'm very satisfied with the final result. I don't think the cost was outrageous, and the results are spectacular.
My cost was as follows:
nv4500 $513
input shaft $100
retainer $50
throwout bearing and pilot bushing $25
adapter plate $75
miscelaneous bolts $12
shifter $45
fluid $125
driveshaft $180

total $1125

That's nearing twice what I originally paid for the truck, but it was well worth it.
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Old 01-25-2014, 02:04 AM   #9
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Re: NV4500 into my '63 rustbucket

Nice step by step writeup

Thanks for posting this fairly simple conversion.
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Old 08-19-2014, 11:25 PM   #10
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Re: NV4500 into my '63 rustbucket

Looks good im putting a nv4500 behind my bigblock soon.
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Old 08-20-2014, 10:25 AM   #11
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Re: NV4500 into my '63 rustbucket

How well does it work with the little 6?
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Old 08-20-2014, 07:27 PM   #12
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Re: NV4500 into my '63 rustbucket

It works fine. My truck has the original 230 with a leaky 1bbl, 30 inch tires, and a 3.73 posi. I haven't tuned it (points plugs or anything) in about 10 years, and I drive it probably 5 to 10 times a month (not usually more than 30 miles in a trip, though I did take it on a 400 mile round trip and it did fine). My engine doesn't like to rev over 2000 rpms, so that's my only limiting factor right now as to speed. If I would tune it, I imagine I could get it going pretty fast.

As it sits right now, It will do 60 very comfortably (the engine's sweet spot seems to be in the 1800-2000 rpm range) and 70 if you push it a little, but I firmly believe this is due to my lack of engine maintenance. Peak horsepower numbers on these 6's were at 4000 rpm, and I don't think mine would rev to 4000 unless it was in neutral. In short, if I would put a little effort into tuning it, I think it would do 80 without any strain.
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Old 08-20-2014, 10:59 PM   #13
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Re: NV4500 into my '63 rustbucket

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ozzy2013 View Post
Looks good im putting a nv4500 behind my bigblock oon.
Do your homework and get the later trans w/ the more streetable 5.61 1st.
Surely with a BB you don't want the unsynced 6.x 1st?
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Old 08-21-2014, 01:16 AM   #14
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Re: NV4500 into my '63 rustbucket

Yea thats what i have just wish it had a mechanical speedo drive mine is from A 96 p30 van and is vss.
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Old 08-21-2014, 10:42 AM   #15
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Re: NV4500 into my '63 rustbucket

Quote:
Originally Posted by franken View Post
Do your homework and get the later trans w/ the more streetable 5.61 1st.
Surely with a BB you don't want the unsynced 6.x 1st?
Nobody starts out in first unless they are pulling a semi trailer with their truck. These transmissions are really just a 3 speed with a granny gear and an overdrive.

But yeah, get a 5.61; they are much more plentiful and cheaper since all the offroad guys want the 6.34 first gear.
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Old 12-25-2014, 01:53 PM   #16
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Re: NV4500 into my '63 rustbucket

Great project, good ideas, machine work.

Another way to do this is to:

1. Make sure the bellhousing has a 5.125" hole in it or machine it if not so.

2. Put the trans up against the bellhousing, registering in the 5.125" hole-this is easier done if the trans case is empty, with the bellhousing on the bottom.

3. Mark the 4 holes that mount the trans using the pattern of the bellhousing.

4. Drill and tap the 4 bellhousing holes in the front of the trans, fill the 2 bottom holes with epoxy to avoid getting a bath if removed while the trans is full of oil.

No adapter, new input shaft, etc, required. The drilling and tapping can be done on a drill press, boring out the 5.125" hole in the bellhousing is best be done on a mill or lathe.
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Old 12-25-2014, 10:40 PM   #17
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Re: NV4500 into my '63 rustbucket

All of the work is done to my blowproof bell housing and the trans is all rebuilt .With all the parts but a cheap clutch fork .All for 1200.00!
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Old 08-02-2018, 03:19 PM   #18
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Re: NV4500 into my '63 rustbucket

We're you able to get your speedometer reading correctly? I'm going to be swapping in an NV4500 into my '63 C30, along with a 4.10 14-bolt. I've seen the threads about Speedos and auto tranny swaps, but haven't been able to find anything about a NV4500 swap.....any help is appreciated!
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Old 08-02-2018, 08:38 PM   #19
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Re: NV4500 into my '63 rustbucket

It's generally preferred that a new thread be started rather than posing in a necrothread. See the speedo section in the link...
http://www.advanceadapters.com/tech-...pecifications/
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Old 08-02-2018, 10:50 PM   #20
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Re: NV4500 into my '63 rustbucket

Quote:
Originally Posted by lonestar308 View Post
We're you able to get your speedometer reading correctly? I'm going to be swapping in an NV4500 into my '63 C30, along with a 4.10 14-bolt. I've seen the threads about Speedos and auto tranny swaps, but haven't been able to find anything about a NV4500 swap.....any help is appreciated!
I never messed with the speedo. The end goal for the truck has an np205 in the picture which means I just hook the cable up to that.
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Old 08-02-2018, 11:17 PM   #21
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Re: NV4500 into my '63 rustbucket

Lonestar...you will either need a digital speedometer or a converter box like the Dakota digital to convert the elec pulse to a cable drive..
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