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Chevy 350 Swap... What Manual Transmission?

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I've been bent on converting my 1979 280ZX N/A L28 to turbo but a mechanic friend of mine has thrown me for a loop by offering me a Chevy 350 core he pulled out of a customers vehicle the other day.

It only needs a rering kit but instead of paying for the kit and labor the customer bought a large block crate engine for himself. My friend will give me the engine for $100 which is what he had to pay as a core for the crate engine. 

 

Now I'm information gathering to weigh my options. I would visit the junkyard to pull the transmission and a local driveshaft company will cut me a shaft for a couple hundred. 

 

What 5 or 6 speed manual transmission would I need to pick at a junkyard? Looking to not bang out my firewall or tunnel if it could be helped. The same mechanic friend told me "any 5 speed 350 truck transmission," but I seriously doubt that.

 

The L28 N/A to Turbo information was much easier to pull together, because there are many comprehensive write ups on the subject. Other than the transmission and driveshaft will I need to swap out my R180 diff? 

 

The car is currently in good working, stock condition. It's also my daily driver. IF this swap turns out to be more cost effective than the L28 turbo conversion I'll need to gather all material and we'll have it done within 2 weeks or less of start.

 

I know about the JTR conversion book, but it covers the S30 chassis. I have a 280ZX and I understand there are a number of differences between the two platforms.

 

Thank you for your time and help!

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I think it will all depend on what you can find in your price range. By all means, try to find a T5. Its be best bang for buck manual transmission to use. Came in a multitude of Chevy vehicles. Make sure you get the V8 one as the V6 I believe has a different tilt and a different bellhousing bolt pattern. Someone correct me if I'm wrong here. 

 

I know that around me, Chevy pattern T5's pull big money in comparison to their Ford counterparts. In my opinion (and budget), the prices they are going for are too high considering what they are. Half the time they aren't even the world class units.

 

I'd say don't be afraid to look into other options. Automatics can be had all day for cheap. I have one in mine right now. Make sure you get a 700r4 if you go this route; overdrive is a huge plus.

T56 would be nice but those pull even more than the T5's. Corvette C4 ZF 6 speed is an option. But the only way you'd get one of those cheap is someone who doesnt know what they have. They aren't easy to come by and you'd probably have to massage the tunnel. I'll be swapping in a late model overdrive 4 speed manual (thread is in this subforum. NP440). If you can find one they're really cheap in comparison. But it all depends on  your area. Georgia T5's might be cheaper secondhand. And you might get lucky at a junkyard. But if you can find one for your price, T5.

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 Half the time they aren't even the world class units.

"World class" just means "world-wide market".  "Class" just means a market classification, not like "high class".

 

Kind of off-topic but it is one of those things that shows if you want to sell a lot of something, give it a name that sounds good.

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"World class" just means "world-wide market".  "Class" just means a market classification, not like "high class".

 

Kind of off-topic but it is one of those things that shows if you want to sell a lot of something, give it a name that sounds good.

This is very true. Good names and nice colors sell product in a free market.

But there are internal differences between the two that make one better than the other; very few components will swap between the two. The world class uses roller bearings as opposed to bushings in the non-world class units. Also, the synchros on the second designs are a composite material whereas on the first design they are brass. 

Edited by R3VO 3VOM

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As others have said, the V8-version of the venerable T5 remains an attractive choice for moderately-powered engines.  This advice really hasn't changed in 15 years, and is covered with some thoroughness in the much-recommended JTR swap book/manual/bible.

 

Unfortunately, there aren't any spectacularly appealing manual transmission options for higher-powered engines.  They are notchy (Richmond gear), or heavy and expensive (T56).  OEM manual transmissions for powerful cars haven't evolved much in recent years, save for boutique applications, so junkyard choices aren't exactly broad.  We've covered so much ground in nearly every other aspect of the swap, but manual transmission options remain doggedly sparse.

 

Another option is aftermarket strengthening of the T5, where the gearset is modified and all sorts of other changes are done - for a price.  This may however be beyond the scope of what the originator of this thread intends.

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My 2002 S-10 ZQ8 extended cab came with a 4.3L V6 and a NV3500 5-spd transmission.  NV stands for New Venture.  GM also made a NV1500 and a NV4500.  An additional source for NV3500 and NV4500s is full-sized 4.8LS-engine, manual trans full size pickups.  I kept this transmission when I had my S10 swapped to a 6.0L LQ4 LS1-style V8.  Apparently the NV3500 uses an old-school GM V8 bellhousing bolt pattern.  I have been running this 12 year-old tranny against the V8 for a year without any trouble.  I don't drive it as rough as I do my Z, but I need a new set of rear tires in less than a year due to all the tire-frying I do.  And I'm using this car with a tow vehicle, pulling a 4,000 load behind me.  In fact, I drove it without oil in it for 2 hours, and once I added oil, it has continued to perform flawlessly.  I figured out that the shop had failed to put oil in the tranny because it got progressively noisier and started kicking out of 3rd gear into neutral.  But since I added oil, all symptoms resolved and it seems to be good again.  The only deficiency I have found with this tranny is that short shifters are SUPER HARD to find for them.  I watched for a Hurst shifter for YEARS on ebay and finally grabbed one.  Now I can shift with just my finger tips instead of my arm.  However, there is a LOT to like about this tranny.  It shifts well, although you cant shift it as fast under power as you can shift my T56 or it will grind.  But you can still shift it plenty fast.  Just not a tranny to use in my opinion if you are going to drag race it every weekend because I very often grind 3rd when shifting at 5,000 rpm+.  When driving around town it is great. What I really like about this tranny is that you can drive it carefully without a clutch.  Not full-power shifting, but careful, rev-matching, feel-the-gear-open clutchless shifting.  Double clutch and feel for the gear to open and you can down-shift too.  I don't know if shifting it this way puts additional wear on anything, but it is really fun.  I don't routinely drive it that way, but if I want to have a moment of spiritual communion with my machine, I'll drive to get coffee on Saturday morning and only use the clutch to pull away from an intersection and keep my left foot on the floor for the whole trip.  This ability has REALLY come in handy twice when I have had a hydraulics failure in the clutch mechanism, once on the way to work and once on a long trip.  After my last hydraulic failure (old, used hydraulic line failed), I drove the car to work without a clutch for a week before I found time on a weekend to fix it.   Its just a really forgiving transmission and I think they can be had pretty cheap since they are not well known.  I'm going to be watching for one with low miles that I can horde away for the day when this one gives up the ghost.  My T56 requires use of the clutch-if my hydraulics fail, I'm stranded-you can't even get it out of gear and into neutral without the clutch.  I was initially planning to swap the truck to a T56 Magnum at some point, but I'm loving this little NV3500 so much that I've pretty well taken the T56 off the wish list.

Edited by RebekahsZ

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Posted (edited)

Ok guys so I really need help I am V8 swapping a 1997 2.2l 5 speed S10 single cab short bed I am putting a 350 small block Chevy in it with a 5 speed nv3500 transmission (the transmission out of a 4.3l) I obviously need the V8 swap kit with headers and motor mounts but can anyone link me to the ones I need to buy for sure to work with this 350sbc and nv3500 trans or does it even matter? 

Edited by 97s10350sbc

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