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Old 07-14-2007, 10:26 PM   #1
bp71k5
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71K5 - BP71K5's Just for fun build

My buddy machining my custom radio parts was taking too long and I got bored without anything to tinker with on my truck so I decided a new tranny was in order. The trip to Moab was too painful in a 3-speed on the freeway.

I've always driven manual trannys and I like the idea of more controlled crawling over obstacles. In addition, I still have 3.07 gears in the axles and I plan on running those till they break. Plus manuals just seem like more fun and that is what a convertible k5 is all about!

I at first started ordering parts for a sm465 but learned that without overdrive, it wouldn't be much different than the th350 I had in it. So I sold the 465 stuff and started researching the nv4500 a few people had referred to.

The nv4500 is pretty expensive compared to the sm465, but not enough to discourage me. Somehow I think I only added all the costs up in my mind and not on paper. This allowed me to "forget" lots of stuff so it didn't seem as expensive as it is now turning out to be. I'm not sure I would have done it if I really did ALL the math beforehand. Oh well, this truck is just a reason to have fun getting filthy wrenching on something than for any real practical reasons.

And since I had a case of the "might as well's" I decided a doubler might as well be added since I'd have to mod the driveshafts anyway! This would give me a better crawl ratio to help make up for the fact I'm still running 3.07 d44 axle ( and I need it to have good freeway manners.)

It's a pretty stock 71 with a 4" lift.
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Old 07-14-2007, 10:33 PM   #2
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I started out by trying to find a used nv4500 on ebay or locally. It seems the west coast is full of auto drivers cause NO-ONE, I mean noone had even heard of a nv4500 and if they did, laughed when I said I wanted one used.

So I found a specialty tranny shop that had a guy who said he knew what I wanted and would build me one. He worked in the gear shop of this place so I figured I could trust him. He said he'd build it and then tell me what it would cost me. I called him every week for a month and he always said, "I'm still working on putting it together, try back next week". The last time I called his answering machine said, and I quote "I'm not home and don't want to be home. I'm hog hunting for the next month!". So I gave up on that guy.

Next, I found a used one with 200k miles on it in Maine on ebay. Turns out a guy in Norway beat me out of it at the last minute for $800. Shipping would have put this tranny at $1000 anyway so I just picked up a rebuilt one instead for not much more.

It's the early version with the extra low granny first gear.
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Old 07-14-2007, 10:38 PM
Posted in reply to bp71k5's post starting "I started out by trying to find a used..."
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I also bought a bellhousing from K5MonsterChev with an entire clutch system, and tranny adaptor. The only problem was that after I removed the tranny and test fit it with my small lift, the driveshaft was too close to the clutch fork area. I didn't want to go through all this work and time to have to pull it all out to fix a busted driveshaft later on. Damn!

So I put up the bellhousing on ebay and the guy who beat me out of the tranny (from Norway) bought it for more than I paid for it. Cool! I'd like to see what he's building over there. The clutch parts are good, but with all the money I've got into this now, I'm figuring I'll use new stuff to make sure everything is solid. I'll put the clutch pressure plate/disc up for sale in the parts section later.
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Last edited by bp71k5; 07-14-2007 at 11:21 PM.
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Old 07-14-2007, 10:43 PM
Posted in reply to bp71k5's post starting "I also bought a bellhousing from..."
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Then I ordered a ORD doubler and while I was waiting for it, I bought a np203 rangebox from 1-tonmudder with the sm465 adaptor that I eventually sold to someone else. I tore it down, cleaned up the case, and painted it with some hi-heat engine enamel.

The picture is of the 203, 205 and tranny adaptor in the back of my 2001 VW storage container. They are waiting to go to 4x4high to machine the 203 to accept the nv4500 adaptor and to have the 205 input bearing bore enlarged for the 32spline input.
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Old 07-14-2007, 10:52 PM
Posted in reply to bp71k5's post starting "Then I ordered a ORD doubler and while..."
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I figured it was time to pull the tranny out since I needed to rebuild the 205 to accept the 32spline input before I could do much else.

Now, I've never pulled anything as big as a GM tranny or engine before and all I have is a floor jack. I used to rebuild old VW motors a lot so thought I had some practice manuvering big objects on a little jack plate. Turns out I needed more practice cause I practically dropped the 205 onto the ground after I tried lowering it down. Luckily nothing was under it except a wood board I placed there to "catch" it if it did fall. No damage at all.

The tranny was much easier since it is long. I just put a big 2x6 under it and lowered it down while spilling a bunch of tranny fluid from the convertor.

I braced the motor with a piece of metal and some wood under the oil pan. I hope it holds!
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File Type: jpg parts 001.jpg (1,021.1 KB, 47 views)
File Type: jpg clutch 031.jpg (786.9 KB, 75 views)
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Old 07-14-2007, 10:55 PM
Posted in reply to bp71k5's post starting "I figured it was time to pull the..."
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I also got a clutch pedal assembly from Vintage Chevy Trucks up in Fremont. He can be kinda expensive depending on what you're looking for. But he has almost everything you could want. I ended up having to take the steering column out to replace the pedals. Big pain in the butt, but not complicated.
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Old 07-14-2007, 11:01 PM
Posted in reply to bp71k5's post starting "I also got a clutch pedal assembly from..."
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Then I disassembled the 205 so I could get all the machining done at the same time. I took pictures and bagged all the parts to keep everything organized. I didn't want to mix up any of the 203 and 205 parts which are all over the place.

I also got the ORD doubler and 205 32spline conversion kit a week after ordering it. Pretty cool! Stephan even called me before cutting the doubler to verify I ordered exactly what I needed and to give me some tips. I like buying stuff from a place that actually runs the stuff they sell on the kind of truck I have.

ORD also provided a template to use for drilling the 203 to accept the nv4500 adaptor. This was unexpected, but is really useful especially if I did not have an extra adaptor. The template will make it easier to ensure the hole pattern is right on.
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File Type: jpg clutch 022.jpg (1.05 MB, 44 views)
File Type: jpg clutch 024.jpg (1.09 MB, 44 views)
File Type: jpg clutch 028.jpg (1.04 MB, 45 views)
File Type: jpg clutch 029.jpg (885.6 KB, 41 views)
File Type: jpg clutch 030.jpg (1,006.2 KB, 42 views)
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Old 07-14-2007, 11:16 PM
Posted in reply to bp71k5's post starting "Then I disassembled the 205 so I could..."
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Since I sold the old bellhousing, I ordered an Advance Adaptors bellhousing which I am told will be here in a week. Once that arrives, I can install a clutch and test fit the nv4500. It looks like it's only an inch or so longer than the th350 so it may fit pretty well. Stephen said I may be able to get away without any cutting of the body since a first gen has a little more clearance in that area. But he warned me that I might have to either use a body lift or some minor fitting. I'm trying to keep things "looking" as stock as possible in the interior so I don't want to do any major mods to the inside.

Also, just because I like to do things the hard way, I'm also trying to figure out a way to avoid using multiple shift sticks for the doubler. I'd like to fab up something to get the function of a triple stick with only the single stock 205 transfer case lever. I have some ideas, but nothing prototyped yet.

The idea is to allow the lever to be moved right and left (in addition to forward and back) just like a manual tranny. Left (+forward/back) would control the 203 hi-neutral-low. Center position (+ forward/back) would control the rear output of the 205. Right position (+forward/back) would control the front output. Anyone have any opinions on this concept? There may be something obviously wrong with the idea and everyone here seems to be pretty smart about this kinda stuff so let me hear about it if you think it's a bad idea (or good!). I know it might be difficult to know what "state" all the gears are in with this setup, but I figure if I can make everything else work, that shouldn't be too hard to deal with.

Since I'm about done with the "money spending" portion of the build, that's it for now while I wait for the bellhousing or my radio parts to get here. I'd also like to get all this done before BB07 so I can break everything on a trail!
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Old 07-15-2007, 01:09 AM
Posted in reply to bp71k5's post starting "I figured it was time to pull the..."
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Now would also be a good time to replace that leaking freeze plug on the driverside rear of your block. Do the passenger side plug while you're at it also.
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Old 07-15-2007, 09:53 AM
Posted in reply to 4X4HIGH's post starting "Now would also be a good time to..."
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Good call! I've been so busy with all this other stuff, I hadn't thought to try and figure out where the oil leak was coming from.
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