3800 F-body Transmission Problems and (Hopefully) Solutions


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v6buicks

v6buicks

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New problem. I compared the SBC dowel pins to the 3800 units. That's a big nope. The 3800 dowel pins are 0.73" and the SBCs are only 0.62". Damn. This might make shopping hard.
 

Turbocharged400sbc

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probably be easier to drill the bell for the 3800 sleeves.

you might find a sleeve for the block that is ~.050 wall thickness
 

Turbocharged400sbc

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this is why i keep all the extra sleeves and spacers from shock bushings and kits over the years in my 12 buckets of misc hardware.

i probably have 2 of exactly what you need.....somewhere in 12 buckets of misc crap
 

Turbocharged400sbc

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if ya were smart ya would checked beforehand and then drilled the stockers and then ground em down flush to the block after....

but alas, 3800
 

Rdrnnr

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this is why i keep all the extra sleeves and spacers from shock bushings and kits over the years in my 12 buckets of misc hardware.

i probably have 2 of exactly what you need.....somewhere in 12 buckets of misc crap
God why am I like this. Boxes and buckets of useless shit out in the container that always has a purpose and I somehow seem to know where it all is and still forget about it until after
 
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I'm in trouble. One way or another, this is going to be a bitch because nobody seems to make offset dowels in this size. I don't think I can make sleeves myself either.

Drilling the stockers is still probably the best idea actually. I will just need the exact sized drill bit and a very steady hand. I also have two more pins in my other block witch can be cut down and used for the transmission side. Maybe I can just JB weld em into that side and hope that my offset is still only 0.07". I'll definitely need to recheck.
 

Turbocharged400sbc

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home depot has 3/4" od steel tube. i know its holding the wagn's radius rod mounts together.

a little dremel work on the ID if ya need to (weld seam) and tack it to an old bolt chucked in yer drill, run against grinder, or roll it against grinder by hand.

these arent anything more than getting you into alaignment at crank centerline before you crank down the bellhousing bolts, clo9se enough will get you there..

you could also do 4-6 spot welds around the pins and hand grind em using dial calipers (do one side at a time so you can veridfy your grinding down to + .055 before you tack the opposide 2-3 points and grind em till your at 7.3.
bam your done tonight
 

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Get the specs you need, bring to a machine shop. Boom done.
 
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A little more research unscrewed me. No lathe needed. The ID of the stock dowels are the perfect size to press in a Ford dowel pin (0.500"). I'll check the ID again on the dowel pins which are installed on my spare block in case they shrink too much, but so far it's looking good. I think I can shove these back in as-is, cut and grind them down flush with the block, and pound some Ford dowels in the void.
1616428114705.png
 
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I was a little bit trigger happy with the grinder, but I got most of the job done! All so far is going according to plan.
1616875612315.png

The Ford/Mopar dowel pins went in with some light hammering. :bigthumb: I'm also much happier with the Summit design over Moroso's since these have a hex keyway instead of just a slot for a flat head. There's no way a flat head would spin these.
1616875663119.png

Instead of going crazy with the grinder on my nice bell, I'm going to try cutting these down with a saw. Then I should be able to clean them up on the bench grinder.
1616875879662.png

4-26-21 EDIT: Little did I know that I was about to make a BIG mistake. These dowels are directional! They appear to be perfectly cylindrical, but they are not. You cannot pound these in backward.
 
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PXL_20210327_210824369.jpg

Boom!
PXL_20210327_211857976.jpg
So this should work great once I figure out what the hell is leaking, replace the oil pan, and put the flywheel back on for new bolts and and bell alignment.

Not to get off topic, but my oil was drained over a week ago, and it's still making a mess on the floor. I for sure have a sizable coolant leak going on. I just don't know where.
 

Turbocharged400sbc

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I have never replace those crank seals I always reuse the factory seal. I only replace the crank seal when it's f****** the crank seal.
But it's never the crank seal. At most they get moist.
 
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YingYangY87thang's picture of the 4L60e bell brackets gave me a couple ideas regarding my bolt hole problems. Both have pros and cons. Excuse my crude drawings.

The first idea is to incorporate the existing flywheel cover bolt holes to attach a custom "HD" cover. I have no doubt that it would be easy to make. I just wonder if those four tiny bolt holes will be able to handle some extra bolt torque and share the engine's torque with the bigger bolts. There isn't much meat there which not only means that the holes can't be drilled larger, but they might be prone to cracking too. On the other hand, this would actually be two larger brackets distributing the tourque among the four smaller bolts, and that's a load which is also shared with four other big bolts.

Maybe a little sketchy. I'll take a look at the threads and judge it a little closer later.
2.png

Idea number two is to send the bell to somebody who can weld ears onto the bell for proper bolt holes. It will look a whole lot better and mount the block brackets directly to the bell instead of through a second bracket and four smaller bolts. It seems like the logical thing to do, but I honestly have no idea who could do this for me. I certainly don't have the equipment or skill to be welding cast aluminum. We'll see. I'll have to ask around.
1.jpeg
 

Rdrnnr

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Mannnnn I'm so close to gettin a tig setup and teaching myself just cuz of this kinda stuff and being able to weld aluminum period.

If I'm bein real tho if my 60e can't be built to handle what I'm gonna do with it I'm gettin the adapter plate and cable throttle body and puttin a th400 behind it. I love the idea of the manual and it'd be fun and for what your doing its perfect but I don't wanna miss shifts and drop boost on the track either
 
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At first I thought this was a good excuse to justify a TIG, but I'd still be pretty dead in the water without an oven. Cast aluminum should really be pre-heated before welding.

I guess it really depends on what you want. Of course I want to hurt some feelings every now and then, but I'm not necessarily out to be Indianapolis's street racing legend either. I drive this car to work, cruise to shows with my friends, take corners fairly quickly, and rarely make it to the track. To me, feeling fast is a bit more important than actually being fast. Rowing my own gears helps with that a lot. I guess we'll find out if my efforts are fruitful in a few months. (I hope)

I talked to one of the fab guys at work. He likes my idea of using the four baby bolts to hold a thick steel bracket better than welding cast aluminum. If the bell cracks under the load, then it needs to be welded anyway. I guess that's a good point.
 

Turbocharged400sbc

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I don't think you should really worry about it we have an iron block and that thing is as about as close to a cylinder design bellhousing As It Gets. With how many betta beatup s10's I've driven overloaded and with wheel hop I don't think I ever remember anyone breaking a bellhousing before snapping a U joint or something.

Run and if you manage to break it you get bragging rights and you can get a Lakewood bellhousing and machine it for the 60° V6 bellhousing bolt pattern
 
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I also think that figuring all this BS out is the hard/nerve racking part. At this point, my illusion of this conversion being perfect for the average enthusiast is out the window. You're going to need to fabricate stuff and know how to use measurement tools, but the same could be said about the T56 swap as well. I still have no regrets.

Fun fact, I spec'd out a yoke ad conversion u-joint. F-bodies have a 3R u-joint which is tiny and weird. A lot of places make upgraded driveshafts and TKX yokes for 1350s so I'm going to go that route. Although the ujoints and driveshafts are known weak points in the F-body, I do at least have the later style steel single piece. I really don't want to bother with upgrading that stuff until I have a rear end ready to shove in. I have plans for making my own driveshaft loop to cover my ass. lol

I don't think you should really worry about it we have an iron block and that thing is as about as close to a cylinder design bellhousing As It Gets. With how many betta beatup s10's I've driven overloaded and with wheel hop I don't think I ever remember anyone breaking a bellhousing before snapping a U joint or something.

Run and if you manage to break it you get bragging rights and you can get a Lakewood bellhousing and machine it for the 60° V6 bellhousing bolt pattern
Good point I guess. I just worry what things will be like if/when I turn up the boost, upgrade the driveshaft, get a strong LSD, dial in that suspension and dump the clutch! I don't know what a 2.8 bell can handle with missing bolts, but we may find out! Have you seen that done with a Lakewood? Which bell would you need to start with?
 

Rdrnnr

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At first I thought this was a good excuse to justify a TIG, but I'd still be pretty dead in the water without an oven. Cast aluminum should really be pre-heated before welding.

I guess it really depends on what you want. Of course I want to hurt some feelings every now and then, but I'm not necessarily out to be Indianapolis's street racing legend either. I drive this car to work, cruise to shows with my friends, take corners fairly quickly, and rarely make it to the track. To me, feeling fast is a bit more important than actually being fast. Rowing my own gears helps with that a lot. I guess we'll find out if my efforts are fruitful in a few months. (I hope)

I talked to one of the fab guys at work. He likes my idea of using the four baby bolts to hold a thick steel bracket better than welding cast aluminum. If the bell cracks under the load, then it needs to be welded anyway. I guess that's a good point.
Man I love this.

I'm just kinda lookin at a different direction than the hells of farm tires for eternity. The smoother faster and all around more badass I make this thing, the more I can sell it. The less I wake up with my phone blowin up with someone else's problem. So I'm currently gonna drop another few hundred bucks on the credit card for a cheap setup and I'll dick with it til I figure it out lol. I already seem to think I'm gonna weld rockers in so why not do it that way. Aluminum fab or just welding in itself is money right there too
 

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Man I love this.

I'm just kinda lookin at a different direction than the hells of farm tires for eternity. The smoother faster and all around more badass I make this thing, the more I can sell it. The less I wake up with my phone blowin up with someone else's problem. So I'm currently gonna drop another few hundred bucks on the credit card for a cheap setup and I'll dick with it til I figure it out lol. I already seem to think I'm gonna weld rockers in so why not do it that way. Aluminum fab or just welding in itself is money right there too
Want to buy a tig welder?
 

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