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Old 12-02-2019, 08:42 PM   #1
LuckyScott
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Do people like the old truck manual transmissions?

I've got a 1970 Chevy truck with a manual trans. Granny low, 2nd, third and fourth but you always just use 2, 3 and 4, never the granny low.
Works great, but I just can't deal with it anymore in SoCal traffic. I'm going to put a 700r4 in instead.
Do some people like these old trannys ?
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Old 12-02-2019, 08:58 PM   #2
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Re: Do people like the old truck manual transmissions?

I have one in my old '72 Stepside and I still like it. With 373 gears, I don't have to worry about speeding tickets. LOL!

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Old 12-02-2019, 08:59 PM   #3
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Re: Do people like the old truck manual transmissions?

I swapped one out of a square body, replaced with 700r4. Regretted it. Manuals are cool.
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Old 12-02-2019, 09:41 PM   #4
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Re: Do people like the old truck manual transmissions?

I love them. No different on the highway than an automatic. Same final drive ratio, 1:1. They started calling 1st low, second 1st, and so on when people started getting too modern to figure things out on their own
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Old 12-02-2019, 09:56 PM   #5
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Re: Do people like the old truck manual transmissions?

I have never been crazy about the SM 465 used in these trucks. That said it is a wonderful overbuilt transmission that is practically bulletproof. Keep it full of clean oil and it’s 1,000,000 mile unit.

What I don’t like about it :
The hideous spread and rpm drop from 2nd to 3rd.
The heavy gear train makes it a slow shifting unit.
No overdrive.
Noisy.

Unless SOCAL traffic is just that much more aggressive than the rest of the country here’s a tip that might work for you. You’ll notice that semi trucks will pace traffic hanging behind five or 10 car lengths just creeping along. Stop and go in a semi truck is a real ***** with that heavy clutch, so what I (and others) do when driving a semi is put it in the lowest gear and just let it idle creeping along. Try doing the same in your truck and use your granny gear. You’ll wind up clutching in traffic maybe 10% what you did before.

Steve weim55 Colorado

Last edited by weim55; 12-02-2019 at 10:03 PM.
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Old 12-02-2019, 10:07 PM   #6
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Re: Do people like the old truck manual transmissions?

I'm a big fan of manual trans for work trucks and hot rods but not as much for lengthy commutes in heavy traffic..

my [dad's] 65 C20 and my red 71 longhorn are both 4 speeds with no plans of changing..

I will admit they can be challenging in slow traffic where gear selection is limited..

easy to drive on your own pace but not so much matching other driver's pace in stop n go traffic..

I did convert my 74 C20 4 speed to TH400 over 20 years ago when commuting to LA..

really depends on the use of the truck, which for me are all destined to join me in retirement..

then I don't plan on dealing with any traffic for any reason
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Old 12-02-2019, 10:25 PM   #7
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Re: Do people like the old truck manual transmissions?

I don't mind the SM420-SM465's as they are a good transmission but I think that I would like to try an A833 New Process in one out of a late 70's through mid 80's Chevy truck. I don't currently have a 4-speed truck to be able to convert but I think that they would be fun.
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Old 12-02-2019, 10:33 PM   #8
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Re: Do people like the old truck manual transmissions?

When doing "truck stuff" with a truck, a big ol' beefy granny low 4 speed for towing or hauling can't be beat. I love them.

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Old 12-02-2019, 10:35 PM   #9
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Re: Do people like the old truck manual transmissions?

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Originally Posted by LuckyScott View Post
I've got a 1970 Chevy truck with a manual trans. Granny low, 2nd, third and fourth but you always just use 2, 3 and 4, never the granny low.
Works great, but I just can't deal with it anymore in SoCal traffic. I'm going to put a 700r4 in instead.
Do some people like these old trannys ?
The problem you are up against is all the dumb**** drivers that don't pay attention to how traffic flows. So, you end up pedaling your truck on the freeway like it was a bicycle. I'd never drive a stick vehicle in LA traffic, which I drove in for over 30 years. Weim has the right idea, but usually what happens in LA traffic, if you leave a space, some turd in a ricer with a 4" fart can is going to swerve into the space. Never mind that he's not going to get that far ahead (if at all), it just makes for a frustrating driving experience.
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Old 12-02-2019, 10:38 PM   #10
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Re: Do people like the old truck manual transmissions?

Useful these days as an added anti-theft measure
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Old 12-02-2019, 10:41 PM   #11
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Re: Do people like the old truck manual transmissions?

Probably one of the most bullet proof tranny's ever made, very popular with the 4WD crowd to transplant into the old jeeps.
I hear the NV 4500 is also now a very popular transplant.
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Old 12-02-2019, 10:42 PM   #12
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Re: Do people like the old truck manual transmissions?

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The problem you are up against is all the dumb**** drivers that don't pay attention to how traffic flows. So, you end up pedaling your truck on the freeway like it was a bicycle. I'd never drive a stick vehicle in LA traffic, which I drove in for over 30 years. Weim has the right idea, but usually what happens in LA traffic, if you leave a space, some turd in a ricer with a 4" fart can is going to swerve into the space. Never mind that he's not going to get that far ahead (if at all), it just makes for a frustrating driving experience.
^^^^^^^^^^^^This^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
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Old 12-02-2019, 10:44 PM   #13
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Re: Do people like the old truck manual transmissions?

I replaced the PG in my '67 with a manual, once upon a time.

I wouldn't trade the SM 465 in my '96 for any auto transmission ever made. Sure, it *is* a little more work in traffic, but it *does* a WHOLE LOT MORE work when I need it to.
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Old 12-02-2019, 11:07 PM   #14
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Re: Do people like the old truck manual transmissions?

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I replaced the PG in my '67 with a manual, once upon a time.

I wouldn't trade the SM 465 in my '96 for any auto transmission ever made. Sure, it *is* a little more work in traffic, but it *does* a WHOLE LOT MORE work when I need it to.
Yabut, I bet that the peops in Missouri are about 90% less of a bunch of lunatics like we have in LA traffic.
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Old 12-03-2019, 12:13 AM   #15
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Re: Do people like the old truck manual transmissions?

X2 on the anti theft device. Actually, Pete, that truck that got stolen the other day was a stick shift.

The 71 I drive every day has a 700R4,
but, I don't have to drive in California traffic.
I drove all the way to California to purchase a K10 because it had a four speed.
But, I don't have to drive in California traffic.
I drive a heavy rig like Steve does, and seldom use a clutch even when I do shift.
But, I don't have to drive in California traffic.
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Old 12-03-2019, 12:21 AM   #16
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Re: Do people like the old truck manual transmissions?

just on the news in my office a moment ago..

yah, yer left calf would be the size of a watermelon



as mentioned above, this traffic is difficult to negotiate with sm465, sm420, etc..

great truck trans for truck duties but waaay out of place out here..

lugging lower gears through normal places that experience brief congestion works..

but out here, you get sniped so often might as well leave it in neutral


and funny thing about antitheft, Mrs. Bee and I took the longhorn out on a date recently..

both door locks are out for repairs so I was a little concerned parking on main st in seal beach..

she just looked at me and laughed and said it's a cool truck they'd love to have but likely couldn't drive
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Old 12-03-2019, 01:17 AM   #17
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Re: Do people like the old truck manual transmissions?

I love the slower pace that comes with the truck 4spd. Driving like an impulsive ant isn't a law. I'm proud to be one who makes people slow down a bit. It's good for them. If they bump you while shifting slow they bust up their car and you drive away unharmed. That'll learn 'em. They'd be at fault. But I don't drive in LA

I just saw a video where a gal on a scooter hopped over right in front up against a pusher garbage truck sitting in traffic. She only had room to sit sideways in front of his bumper. No way he could see her. Traffic started moving and the truck plowed over her. Out from under the rear appeared a squashed scooter and she crawled up and sat to the side pondering what just happened. Looked to be unharmed. The truck just moved right along oblivious to the whole ordeal. It was one of those "Now you're thinking" moments
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Old 12-03-2019, 01:57 AM   #18
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Re: Do people like the old truck manual transmissions?

I love my 465, I’ve had a few of them over the years. They are almost impossible to kill if you keep up with oil changes and don’t grind reverse. I love mine enough that I went thru it last year and made sure it’s up to par for the next 50 years. The hydraulic clutch is quite nice a as well, no more watermelon leg.
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Old 12-03-2019, 07:44 AM   #19
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Re: Do people like the old truck manual transmissions?

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Useful these days as an added anti-theft measure
You got that right lol
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Old 12-03-2019, 10:08 AM   #20
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Re: Do people like the old truck manual transmissions?

Keeping the 3 spd on column. Even the big rig i drive is an automatic ! I hear "what's that lever on the steering column used for ? " all the time. Different era, different eqipment. So yes i like mine.
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Old 12-03-2019, 11:05 AM   #21
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Re: Do people like the old truck manual transmissions?

Something that might help you a bit is learning to shift without the clutch. I almost never engage the clutch on an up-shift, except coming out of first gear. On the freeway, when you're slowing, you can just pop the stick in neutral and brake until the next up-shift is needed. Saves a lot of legwork.


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Old 12-03-2019, 11:19 AM   #22
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Re: Do people like the old truck manual transmissions?

I drive mine in Dallas traffic and I love it when I can find an 18 wheeler to slot in behind. They don't speed up and slow down nearly as much. I may not win any speed contest getting there, but I won't end up in the back of someone that slowed down quickly.
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Old 12-03-2019, 11:31 AM   #23
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Re: Do people like the old truck manual transmissions?

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Something that might help you a bit is learning to shift without the clutch. I almost never engage the clutch on an up-shift, except coming out of first gear. On the freeway, when you're slowing, you can just pop the stick in neutral and brake until the next up-shift is needed. Saves a lot of legwork.


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Old 12-03-2019, 11:38 AM   #24
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Re: Do people like the old truck manual transmissions?

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first rule of driving a truck, never be out of gear!
In LA traffic with no load, it's way easier. Thanks for the tip though. Second rule, learn to shift without the clutch!


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Old 12-03-2019, 12:19 PM   #25
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Re: Do people like the old truck manual transmissions?

Never said if you have a C10 or C20, which depending on the platform can make a big difference. Over the summer I ditched the SM465, clutch pedal, etc (anyone needs) in my C20 for a TH350. Don't really do much C20'n type of stuff, so automatic work greats for occasional burnouts and picking up groceries, but also not a daily driver either. I say, if its a C10, then go auto and putter along in that L.A. traffic. If you doing any towing, ripping out stumps and want that manly left leg, keep the stick. All boils down to cost. So how much you got to spend?
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