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Old 02-22-2021, 10:35 AM   #1
ratpackv8sonly
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Who builds the best 700R4 today?

Looking at buying a built 700R4 for my 69 C/10. Was talking to both monster and bow tie overdrive. But was wondering if anyone here had any thought as to why or why not use someone. Not looking at doing the 4l60E or 4l80E so don't need input on them. Thanks in advance for any info.
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Old 02-22-2021, 11:16 AM   #2
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Re: Who builds the best 700R4 today?

I have no experience with Monster, but have read many bad things from others who have used them. I would check into that before having a go with them. You might want to check in with clinebarger. He's on the board. I don't know if he actually sells or not, but he's a mountain of information!! FWIW, I have a 700r4 and bought a convertor from FTI. They seem to have a pretty reputation.
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Old 02-22-2021, 11:35 AM   #3
ratpackv8sonly
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Re: Who builds the best 700R4 today?

Thanks for the info. I'm just not finding many reviews on this subject anymore so thats why I'm asking.
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Old 02-22-2021, 11:47 AM   #4
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Re: Who builds the best 700R4 today?

Bought mine originally from Bow Tie Overdrive. Had nothing but good experiences with them. But have changed hands since. Lasted 15+ yrs. Recently had it rebuilt locally. If you do it locally then you have direct knowledge of the business. A reputable shop should be able to rebuild one to suit your needs and then you have local support should there be issues.
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Old 02-22-2021, 12:10 PM   #5
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We have bought a few from Phoenix Transmission, and have been very happy with them. They excellent customer service as well.
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Old 02-22-2021, 12:30 PM   #6
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Re: Who builds the best 700R4 today?

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Originally Posted by C101972 View Post
We have bought a few from Phoenix Transmission, and have been very happy with them. They excellent customer service as well.
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Building a small, high rpm engine with the perfect bore, stroke and rod ratio is very impressive.
It's like a highly skilled Morrocan sword fighter with a Damascus Steel Scimitar.....

Cubic inches is like Indiana Jones with a cheap pistol.
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Old 02-22-2021, 12:36 PM   #7
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Re: Who builds the best 700R4 today?

If you're able to go local, it should be cheaper. I'd ask the local racers who they use. If the guy had a good reputation, I wouldn't be put off by someone doing the rebuilds in their garage.

You can have them install the one wire lock-up and modified TV cable that a lot of the aftermarket vendors use. you can request the usual performance and durability upgrades, too.
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Old 02-22-2021, 12:38 PM   #8
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Re: Who builds the best 700R4 today?

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Originally Posted by C101972 View Post
We have bought a few from Phoenix Transmission, and have been very happy with them. They excellent customer service as well.
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That's who I plan to buy from when I convert the 69. I've heard they have great service. Had a tour of the shop a few years ago, and was very impressed.
Everything was well organized and all the workstations were pristine. Also, what's really nice is they are only 50 miles from my house.
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Old 02-22-2021, 12:43 PM   #9
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Re: Who builds the best 700R4 today?

Thanks for all the info guys. I would love to use a local shop but all the ones around me don't mess with the 700R4 in a custom application like mine. So this is why I have been looking at the bigger name builders. From what everyone tells me it's the 383 stroker I have thats the issue with the 700R4. I feel locally I just get a bunch of he said she said runaround info about not wanting to do it.
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Old 02-22-2021, 12:58 PM   #10
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Re: Who builds the best 700R4 today?

I wasn't sold on ordering a transmission over the internet, so I got a later '92 700R4 w/30-spline input shaft from a salvage yard and had it rebuilt locally by a builder with a good reputation. I went with a 'Stage 1' option that is better than stock. He also added a hydraulic kit for the converter lockup, so no solenoid wiring or brake switch needed. I could have spent a lot more had I wanted it built for racing or heavy duty towing - it's all in what your budget will support. My suggestion is to ask some local clubs or forum members if there's a reputable builder or transmission shop in your area.

If I were to buy one via the internet I would consider buying through Summit, Pace Performance or a similar parts supplier as they may have better customer service should there be a problem, which is a reason why I bought CPP parts through Summit. They might also give you some honest information about some of their vendors if you were to give them a call. A quick look shows ACI, B&M, FTI, Hughes, Performance, & TCI as options. Monster transmissions are not available though Summit, Pace or Jegs.
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Old 02-22-2021, 01:40 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by ratpackv8sonly View Post
Thanks for all the info guys. I would love to use a local shop but all the ones around me don't mess with the 700R4 in a custom application like mine. So this is why I have been looking at the bigger name builders. From what everyone tells me it's the 383 stroker I have thats the issue with the 700R4. I feel locally I just get a bunch of he said she said runaround info about not wanting to do it.
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Old 02-22-2021, 01:42 PM   #12
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You contact Phoenix Transmission, tell them what you are putting it in, motor information, rear end gear ratio and they will build to your needs. Very good people to deal with.
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Old 02-22-2021, 01:47 PM   #13
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Re: Who builds the best 700R4 today?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ratpackv8sonly View Post
From what everyone tells me it's the 383 stroker I have that's the issue with the 700R4. I feel locally I just get a bunch of he said she said runaround info about not wanting to do it.
With an engine making more torque than a mild 350, you definitely want an aftermarket trans with HD parts that increase how much torque the trans can handle.

Maybe you can buy one from Phoenix Trans and find someone local or in El Paso to install it. But the shop definitely must be familiar with setting up the TV cable! Go ask the Dirt Track guys at Rick's Performance for a recommendation. There used to be a very knowledgably guy at Desert Moon Rod & Kustom north of town, but it doesn't look like he's in business anymore.
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Old 02-22-2021, 01:59 PM   #14
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Re: Who builds the best 700R4 today?

Precision Transmissions
300 Ross St, Amarillo, TX 79102
(806) 372-2210

It will be worth the drive.
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Old 02-22-2021, 02:47 PM   #15
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Re: Who builds the best 700R4 today?

Phoenix Transmission has done all of mine since 1991. I won't use anyone else.
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Old 02-22-2021, 03:14 PM   #16
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Re: Who builds the best 700R4 today?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeB View Post
That's who I plan to buy from when I convert the 69. I've heard they have great service. Had a tour of the shop a few years ago, and was very impressed.
Everything was well organized and all the workstations were pristine.
Also, what's really nice is they are only 50 miles from my house.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ratpackv8sonly View Post
Thanks for all the info guys. I would love to use a local shop but all the ones around me don't mess with the 700R4 in a custom application like mine. So this is why I have been looking at the bigger name builders. From what everyone tells me it's the 383 stroker I have thats the issue with the 700R4. I feel locally I just get a bunch of he said she said runaround info about not wanting to do it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeB View Post
With an engine making more torque than a mild 350, you definitely want an aftermarket trans with HD parts that increase how much torque the trans can handle.
Maybe you can buy one from Phoenix Trans and find someone local or in El Paso to install it. But the shop definitely must be familiar with setting up the TV cable! Go ask the Dirt Track guys at Rick's Performance for a recommendation. There used to be a very knowledgably guy at Desert Moon Rod & Kustom north of town, but it doesn't look like he's in business anymore.
When I needed trans service for our '02 CE-T/A, I first checked the local dealership where the car was purchased, a generic trans shop around the corner from where we work, & another 'performance' shop that was about 15mins away from the house/work area.

All 3 places had a price tag that varied from $28-3300 (installed/change-out). The higher end of the pricing was for just a basic rebuild, a stock converter, & install/swap. I checked w/Phoenix Trans (2hrs away) & they said it would range between $24-2800 solely depending on what the extent of the internal damage was. Included in that cost was an upgraded Vette servo, better/additional clutch packs, shift kit, & converter (w/stall speed options). I said I eventually wanted to install an STS rear mounted turbo set-up & wanted something overbuilt. They were familiar w/STS & already had a package for a proper set-up to survive their kit/s.

My buddies @n2junk & @n2billet had used Phoenix on a few hot-rod builds w/good results. MY significant other & family didn't understand why I would use a shop 2hrs away when there were multiple options within 0-20mins from our area. I decided that even @ worst case scenario the cost would be around the same as the others but I'd be ahead since it would be upgraded. I had the car towed all the way out there & was immediately impressed by how clean everything was (parking lot, waiting area, & lift stalls). That was nothing compared to the rebuild tables/stations. It was hard to believe how clean the area was.

Anyhoo.... 36hrs later the car was ready. They spec'd the converter based on my current app (CAI only A4/LS6 optioned edition) to help over the factory unit & then once the STS kit went in I was only a converter change away from their kit. Total price was $2480. So, even w/the $200 tow bill, I came out less than the cheapest quote for a basic stock rebuilt trans.

The trans itself? Night & day difference in how the car performed. SIGNIFICANTLY woke it up. The original trans survived just a tick over 36k easy miles. The Phoenix unit was in place for @ least the next FUN 70k. When she & I split up, the car had just over 100k & as far as I know it's still going strong.
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Building a small, high rpm engine with the perfect bore, stroke and rod ratio is very impressive.
It's like a highly skilled Morrocan sword fighter with a Damascus Steel Scimitar.....

Cubic inches is like Indiana Jones with a cheap pistol.
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Old 02-22-2021, 03:28 PM   #17
ratpackv8sonly
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Re: Who builds the best 700R4 today?

Lots of good info from everyone on here. Thanks as its really helped me make a more educated decision on what to do next. I have found out through a few phone calls that we do infact have a transmission guy here in town now that is doing the 700R4. Talked to him on the phone and plan on stopping by after work. Just hope it's not a waist of time and money. What worries me is after I told him what I have, he feels it's just a stock rebuild for me with a few extra parts needing to be beefed up.
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Old 02-22-2021, 04:24 PM   #18
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Re: Who builds the best 700R4 today?

Gearstar is local to me and has been used in all the Motor trend shows when they build stuff.

No personal experience with them but might be something to research. They dyno test all the transmissions prior to shipment and they have a 3yr 36 month warranty.

https://gearstar.com/transmissions/gm/
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Old 02-22-2021, 04:45 PM   #19
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Re: Who builds the best 700R4 today?

Second on Gearstar
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Old 02-22-2021, 05:25 PM   #20
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Re: Who builds the best 700R4 today?

I don't want to pick on a "brand" but similar TV shows used to use Monster units that have many numerous complaints from 'regular joes' like us on these forums.

Celebrity status can come to those that fit within the productions budget even when better products are available. I also know of more than one 'builder' who uses their status to request free parts, get moved to the front of the line, require deep discounts etc or they'll move on to the next place that will meet their req's. Suspensions, engines, transmissions..... I'll take the gearheads like me first hand opinion over a magazine article or tv show episode product placement advertising any day. I trust those in the trenches w/me more.
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Building a small, high rpm engine with the perfect bore, stroke and rod ratio is very impressive.
It's like a highly skilled Morrocan sword fighter with a Damascus Steel Scimitar.....

Cubic inches is like Indiana Jones with a cheap pistol.

Last edited by SCOTI; 02-22-2021 at 05:30 PM.
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Old 02-22-2021, 05:27 PM   #21
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Re: Who builds the best 700R4 today?

A friend of mine has a FTI in his 48 REO Speedwagon behind a 383. He drag races it and it seems bullet proof from what I see.
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Old 02-22-2021, 08:08 PM   #22
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Re: Who builds the best 700R4 today?

Just got done talking to the local best transmission guy in town....got the typical runaround that I expected with having the wrong transmission, guess I have a first generation. Now he was willing to upgrade all the parts in it but its like I said again the people around here have no clue how to build it for a custom application. He had no idea how to make the lockup work if it wasn't being installed in the original car. So back to sending it off to get built. After spending the day reading everyone's reviews....looks as its going to PhoenixTransmission.
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Old 02-22-2021, 10:08 PM   #23
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Re: Who builds the best 700R4 today?

When you call Phoenix, talk to Scott Jackson. He's the manager and the dude I always deal with.
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Old 02-22-2021, 10:20 PM   #24
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Re: Who builds the best 700R4 today?

I wouldn't worry about the "complaints" you read online about Monster or some of these other transmission builders. They have sold thousands of these things, and those few problems find their way online. When there is something to ***** about, online is the first place people turn to over the past 10 years. These "I have a buddy" stories are amusing though. Of course nobody knows if the buddy failed to set the TV cable correctly, which is the most common reason these mail order 700R4s fail.
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Old 02-22-2021, 10:43 PM   #25
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Re: Who builds the best 700R4 today?

If I can build a 200c metric trans that holds up to a VERY stout built Olds 350 in an '85 Cutlass....in my old storage shed.......SURELY there's somebody around that can build you a good 700r4. Oh YA.....I also built a 700r4 for a buddy. It's in his '72 Chevelle with a 406 smallblock, 4 link, disc brake 9", and runs high 11's on slicks! It's not rocket science, just buy good parts and make sure you have a mechanic that pays close attention to everything. Be prepared for about $1500 in parts to do it right!
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