Rainy Day So I Visit and We Talk About Transmissions

Friday March 29, 2024 Guerneville CA.

Rainy day

That’s what kind of day it was going to be so it was  mostly an in the house type of day.


But I did have a plan as I didn’t want to do any house cleaning. There’s a guy who lives just down the road that has an old truck with a 350 transmission in it and he does a lot of  mechanicing or used to, so I could ask him a bunch of questions on putting  a transmission in my old van.

I got my umbrella and headed for his place and found him home. We shot the bull for a good while and then talked about automatic transmissions.

Automatic transmissions

He had a four wheel drive truck with a 350 transmission outside, and the rain had let up so we went out so I could have a look at it. I was surprised the truck was not in running order as it used to be his main driving rig.

One of the  main things I wanted to know is what was the length of the transmission as the one I need to install in my old van can’t be much longer than the three speed manual  Muncie I have in the van now as my rear driveline is already about as short as I can make it. I  got under the truck and got a measurement of the 350 tranny. He also had a 400 tranny in the garage so I measured that too. Now I have to measure the tranny in my van to see if the measurements are close enough to use one of these transmissions. The 350 and the 400 measurements were the same.

Headed for home

It was still raining when I headed back to my place for a nap.

I’m slowly learning what I need to know to do the van conversion from a manual transmission to an automatic one. It looks like it might be doable without too much trouble.

Nice day.

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One Response to Rainy Day So I Visit and We Talk About Transmissions

  1. KennyD says:

    Since your van is fairly old, you shouldn’t have any problems with emissions with the state. Won’t be as simple a just a bolt in, but should be doable if you can find one of the same length. I think the 400 was a little stronger tranny, so if would fit, and you can find one in good shape, I would consider going that way. Trying that on a newer model vehicle can be a nightmare what with all the computer controls and other garbage.

    Just to show what computer controls can do. We have a 2014 Impala with all the bells and whistles, and it runs just great. A few days ago, the power steering, which is electrically assisted, suddenly went back to Armstrong steering, and a couple of lights went on in the dash. Turns out, is has something called “stabilitrak” which I think controls wheel spin if you get in over your head, and a glob of mud had knocked out one of the sensors for that system. Apparently, Chevrolet thinks this is important, so what the computer does is basically turns off the power steering so you have to fix whatever is wrong with the “stabilitrak” system. They don’t tell you this, but that is what the mechanic told us when we took it in and they inspected it and corrected the problem. I guess the car is smarter than us.

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