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Discussion Starter #1
Ok folks, I'll start by saying that I have a virtually stock Pontiac Lemans 350 Sport. 1973 rebuilt 350 in a 71 body. I don't know if the rebuild was significant but lets just say I didn't feel anything special from engine swap.

Ok so the other day my automatic transmission went....
Symptoms:
1. Could not accelerate up a hill or barely on flat surfaces.
2. Engine would race
3. I still had reverse
4. Transmission has been leaking a long time and had been refilling accordingly
5. I knew I had a leak at speedo cable nut area.

I was told I was gonna be due for a rebuild/replacement eventually and it looks like now is the time.

From what I know when I purchased the car:

1. The owner told me the car had a manual shift
2. Owner and mechanic confirmed that I had a shift kit installed.
3. Noticed that kickdown cable was disconnected.. i presuem because of the manual shifting but I reconnected it so I could have the kickdown feature back in "D"

So essentially I kind of don't want to rebuild what's in there now because lord only knows what broke in there and I would presume it will need a complete rebuild but not in the mood to drop the transmission just yet.

I was thinking what aftermarket transmissions and torque converter combo out there would essentially give me what I had b4 at a moderate price?
 

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When you say "manual shift" do you mean a full manual valve body? Do you literally have to start it in 1st gear and then manually shift every gear? If this is what you do have it's completely different than a "shift kit" which is just some springs and stuff to make the tranny shift faster and increase the hydraulic line pressure. A manual valve body is a whole aftermarket valve body, manual shift only. It will not downshift with a kickdown cable.

I would get a quality rebuild from a reputable shop and verify what valve body you have. If you don't have a race car I would'nt do the MVB again, it would be a stocker with a shift kit and have all your junk hooked up properly. Proper torque converter selection will also make a big difference in performance and drivability.

Or..........do a 200R4 conversion and gain an overdrive and lower first gear for more pickup off the line and better cruising RPM on the highway.

Or put a stick in it :D.
 

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I'm no authority on transmissions but ...... if you want to do a lot of highway cruising the 200r would be the ticket cause of OD..... but for shear raw power and bullet proof tranny I'd stay with the TH...... it all depends on what you want out of it.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
Now when you say proper torque converter... what should I be looking for with a rebuilt but apparently close to stock power 1973 350 v8 engine?

Oh and yeah out in CT, I don't trust any of these shops. All of them really come off like scam artists.

One shop without seeing the car said it'll likely be something like $1100-1200 to remove rebuild and reinstall with a trans-go shift kit...
Does that sound about right? I noticed their hourly rate was like $105
 

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One shop without seeing the car said it'll likely be something like $1100-1200 to remove rebuild and reinstall with a trans-go shift kit...
Does that sound about right? I noticed their hourly rate was like $105
Not hardly, considering that you can buy a complete TCI Street Fighter transmission for about $1300.

Bear
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Not hardly, considering that you can buy a complete TCI Street Fighter transmission for about $1300.

Bear
3 different shops all are quoting around that number which sucks because I know I'm being taken to the cleaners. One shop has been recommended by a few guys locally and they offer 12 month/12,000k warranty which is nothing when you think about it but a lot of folks swear by them and when I spoke to the mechanic, he seemed to know his stuff about Pontiacs...

Anyway I look at it, if I buy what is comparable to what I have currently... lets say TCI streetfighter. I'll spend $1100-1300 on the tranny, an additional $150-300 on the torque converter and then have to pay for install = $2000

If I rebuild what I currently have = $1200.

Keep in mind I have headers on this car and I don't want to run into any clearance issues if I were to switch tranny. I have no clue what headers are on here to begin with... I was tempted to replace it and exhaust system. Now I'll just take that extra $$$ I would have spent on brand new tranny and converter and just do tranny rebuild, buy a set of flowmasters and call it a day.
 

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I just pulled my TH400 out last night. I have an awesome transmission guy that aint trying to get rich off people and guarantees his transmissions for 1 year, even if you drag race with it. Rebuild with shift kit, new torque converter, change drum out and install a 32 tooth sprag is costing me $550.
 

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:agree with those guys should not cost that much $ to do those trans i would go for the 2004r but the cores are geting hard to find but good luck on the problem
 

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3 different shops all are quoting around that number which sucks because I know I'm being taken to the cleaners. One shop has been recommended by a few guys locally and they offer 12 month/12,000k warranty which is nothing when you think about it but a lot of folks swear by them and when I spoke to the mechanic, he seemed to know his stuff about Pontiacs...

Anyway I look at it, if I buy what is comparable to what I have currently... lets say TCI streetfighter. I'll spend $1100-1300 on the tranny, an additional $150-300 on the torque converter and then have to pay for install = $2000

If I rebuild what I currently have = $1200.

Keep in mind I have headers on this car and I don't want to run into any clearance issues if I were to switch tranny. I have no clue what headers are on here to begin with... I was tempted to replace it and exhaust system. Now I'll just take that extra $$$ I would have spent on brand new tranny and converter and just do tranny rebuild, buy a set of flowmasters and call it a day.
IMO you are not being ripped off or taken to the cleaners. That is, $1200 is perfectly reasonable for essentially a "turn key" transmission service ... labor to remove, labor to rebuild, parts, labor to install and guarantee. Could the problem be solved for less? Off course if you remove the transmission, supply all the parts (the cost of which they likely mark up some percentage) have them rebuild and you reinstall ... that would be substantially less. But that is the price you pay to drive the car in today, and pick it up without hassle (hopefully) tomorrow.

About 5 years ago I had my TH350 rebuilt (had a cracked planetary). The shop invoiced $250 to remove and install, and $500 labor for the rebuild. It was about another $450 for parts (many). This was in WA state. It may be a lot for what I got, but that is what it was ... if I could have done it all myself it would have been a lot less ... could have saved more if I smelted the metal and cast the parts. But I didn't feel I had the skills (certainly not the experience) nor the facilities ... no getting around the old minimum wage ...
 

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^-- He's on the money. I paid 579$ to rebuild mine with tq converter. Took it out, took it to their shop, rebuilt it, took it back and put it back in.

It's a chore if you dont have the right tools and oh, headers makes it even harder. PITA. :lol:
 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
Thanks guys I really appreciate the advice. I feel better now rebuilding it rather than trying to buy something else. I figured it wasn't worth the trouble trying to upgrade to a 4 speed like that.

Regardless, now I'm getting it rebuilt and took the extra $$$ I had on tap for this project and put that into another need which was to replace my exhaust system. It was due and now I can get some Flowmaster 40's on there. I'm leaving the headers alone for now. I have no clue what they are but my mechanic and I inspected it and they seem ok. I don't want to deal with trying to fit on new headers. Everything seems like horror story unless I spend $600+ for Doug's Headers.

Also...

Does anyone have any experience with the OPGI transmissions they have for sale? Pricing looks intriguing...
 
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