My 200-4R swap adventure (1970 Buick GS 455 TH400==>TH200-4R)

Discussion in 'The "Juice Box"' started by Cutlass, Nov 4, 2018.

  1. LARRY70GS

    LARRY70GS a.k.a. "THE WIZARD"

    Those welds of yours have likely changed the balance a bit. Might have been a good idea to check the balance of the original and match it to the modified.
  2. Cutlass

    Cutlass Platinum Level Contributor

    Good thought, thank you for that. I have not considered that yet. Don't have the equipment to check balance. What I will do, is to grind off material of the welds. That and the fact that I had to grind off some material at the outside diameter of the balancing weight (to get some clearance to the original welds of the ringgear) hopefully get me close to as it was before.
  3. Ken Warner

    Ken Warner Stand-up Philosopher

    It's been almost a month since the last update on this, how are things going?
  4. Cutlass

    Cutlass Platinum Level Contributor

    Had to wait for a shippment from Summit with the fasteners for the flexplate. Hope that I will get some stuff done next weekend (although the honey-do-list in spring is a long one).
  5. Cutlass

    Cutlass Platinum Level Contributor

    Got the transmission in yesterday. Started to do the conversion for the shift lever. For that I got the kit from Shiftworks (SC207-2). The shift cable appears to be very long and I have to route it almost in a s-shape from the location it exits the passenger compartment to the transmission bracket. Did other guys here experience the same? One possibility might be, that the center console is mounted to far to the front. Question to all the guys who converted from column shift to console shift, is there a certain measurement / dimension for the longitudinal position of the console / the bracket for the shiftlever?
  6. knucklebusted

    knucklebusted Well-Known Member

    How long is your cable?

    On my 1970 Stage 1 with a Turbo 200-4R, the cable was nearly stock length in the stock location. Shiftworks provided a new transmission shifter lever, pan bracket and shifter shift plate. It all went together pretty good. The only thing I had to do was modify a GN neutral/reverse light switch to fit on the backing plate my GS used. Works pretty good so far.
  7. Cutlass

    Cutlass Platinum Level Contributor

    It is the standard 30". Today I compared it with the stock cable and it has almost the same length. I will give it a second try tomorrow and see how good the cable will move once it is routed to the transmission bracket.
    Is there a provision for a neutral/reverse switch on the floor shifter bracket? In my car the steering column shifter linkage is still used and I guess also the switch on the column. I am timkering with the idea not to use that any longer, so any information about your solution would be beneficial for me.
    Another question: I will be using the B&M Lockup Control unit. I need to hook it up to to the brake light switch. Do I need a special brake switch, or does the stock switch has two additional contacts which I can use?
  8. knucklebusted

    knucklebusted Well-Known Member

    My car had had some surgeries before I ever got it but when I got it there was a very long pair of heavy gauge purple wires under the carpet along with some others that went to a neutral start switch on the console shifter. To keep it working, I JB-Welded a GN neutral start switch to the backing of the stock one. Now I have reverse lights and it starts in park or neutral.

    Mine has a lock up and you will need to use a later model stop light. Again, I think a GN one will work. It has two sets of terminals. One works like normal for brakes, normally open and closes upon pressing the brake. The is normally closed and opens when you hit the brakes. That's the one for the lock up disconnect. Pretty simple upgrade.
  9. Cutlass

    Cutlass Platinum Level Contributor

    Finally some progress:
    TV-cable setup is done. It took several loops, though. I got the tv-arm conversion kit from Ken, but for whatever reason I did not get enough travel at the plunger. I thought I would need a longer lever at the carb and the rule of three suggested I need about 3mm more length of the lever.
    I didn't wanted to modify the lever from Ken, as I already had it welded onto the throttle shaft. So I decided to use the existing hole for the pivot pin for a thru-bolt from the backside. This bolt goes into the lever that came with the transmission conversion kit. I did cut that one and drille a hole with 3mm offset to the pivot.
    IMG_2176.JPG IMG_2177.JPG
    After assembling everything and doing the measurement to my surprise the travel @ the plunger was now way to much. Not what I expected for sure! To make a long story short: I am back to the setup from Ken and the travel of the plunger is dead on. The reason is, that obviously there is some kind of backlash starting from the TV lifter to the cable to the carb. Once I did put a slight preload on the TV lifter to overcome the backlash, I was right on the 0.840" Idle position of the plunger like extreme automatics asks for. That took me three evenings and a lot of crawling under the car and back to the carb. :)

    The shiftworks cable works fine, my concern it being to long fortunately did not come true. As I ordered the transmission with an aluminum pan I had to modify the bracket for the shift cable. I decided to bolt the brackt directly to the pan.
    IMG_2198.JPG IMG_2200.JPG

    After assembling the pan I tried to plug in the connector of the B&M lock up kit. It did not fit right. I had to turn it 180°, but then it would not lock. So again disassembling the pan, to see if the pins from the B&M connector would contact the pins from the internal wiring. Goes w/o saying, the did not. So I ended up modifying the B&M connector by cutting two additional slots, so that it was keyed such, that it would fit in the intended position and also lock.
    IMG_2212.JPG IMG_2214.JPG
    Next I wanted to hook up the linkage for the column (switch and gear indicator). It turned out, that the horizontal shaft which mates with the shift bracket at the transmission was to short. The shiftwork bracket is obviously shorter than the one which came with the TH400. I used some steel pipe, slided it over the lever, welded it and enlarged the diameter of the plastic bushing from the bracket which mounts to the frame. Again, no plug and play :)

    Got the lines from the oilcooler hocked up, was able to bend them so that they would fit. So transmission is all set to go.

    Now I need to finish the engine stuff and swap the axle.

    Got the driveshaft ready, with new U-joints front and back and the slip yoke for the TH200-4R

    As I had some more time today, I decided to also do the swap the steering box with a quick ratio box from Hector. That swap went very well, although I have one question:
    I got a new steering coupler from Rockauto. It fits and works, but while inspecting the coupler which was installed I saw that there is a cable inside the coupler, connecting the top with the bottom. It might be to ground both ends (above and below the rubber disk). The Rockauto coupler does not have the cable. Should that be a concern?

    Sorry for this much text, but a lot was going on since my last report.
    Last edited: May 28, 2019

    BRUCE ROE Well-Known Member

    The cable may be to guarantee the horn button has a ground. Bruce Roe
  11. Cutlass

    Cutlass Platinum Level Contributor

    Forgot to share a little device I used while installation of the transmission. With this I can tilt the engine so that the transmission slides right in. Also the engine is kept in balance while the transmission is not installed.
    IMG_1959.JPG IMG_1960.JPG

    BRUCE ROE Well-Known Member

    Very cool, a few special tools can really help with a job. Bruce Roe
  13. Cutlass

    Cutlass Platinum Level Contributor

    After coming home from two weeks of vacation I made some more progress. The engine is completed, so I did fire it up today. What a lift to my spirit to hear the V8 again. Unfortunately I have a situation with the driveshaft, re the slip yoke. With the transmission I got a 1350 yoke, so I assembled it to the driveshaft using a conversion U-joint. Yesterday I did try to install the driveshaft (still with the original Buick only axle. I expected the driveshaft to be to short, but it is too long, so that I was not able to get it installed. I shortended the yoke, just to find out that now the output shaft backs to the end of the barrel and the driveshaft still does not install. I did some research and it looks like that the 1350-yokes are longer from the end of the barrel to the ears for the U-joints, compared to the 3R-yokes I found online. So, another overseas order :mad: upcoming. Unfortunately I have to talk the guys from Dennys Driveshaft into shipping overseas, first. Wish me good luck on that.
  14. weinh

    weinh Well-Known Member

    Hi Ralf,
    in case they decline to ship overseas you could still go the freight forwarding route. I have made good experience with Others may serve as well.
  15. 12lives

    12lives Engage! - Jean-Luc Picard

    Ralf - since it's too long, a driveshaft shop should be able to shorten it correctly - Bill
  16. Cutlass

    Cutlass Platinum Level Contributor

    Well Dennys Driveshaft did not bother at all answering me. So I did some further research on my own and decided to go with a 3r-yoke from TCI, which I ordered at Summit. This yoke has a different geometrie of the ears for the u-joint, so it does not add as much length to the driveshaft as the 1350 yoke does.
    Still the shaft of the yoke was to long, so I had to shorten it about 8mm.
    I still do not have the 1" axial play of the shaft while the vehicle is on its wheels, but with the vehicle lifted and the suspension in complete rebound I get about 0,2 inch of axial play. I will take a chance on that one.

    While switching all the brake stuff from the 8.2 to the 8.5 rear I noticed that the rear wheel cylinders were leaking. I was alarmed and checked the front, guess what, the left cylinder was leaking also. So I decided to order 4 new wheel cylinders and the three rubber brake lines. Summit carries Centric as brand and I am not so sure if I like what I got. Maybe I did get the wrong front cylinders, or something was screwed up during manufacturing. The angle of the opening for the brake line is such, that the nut to tighten the brake line in the wheel cylinder collides a bit with the spindle. So I ended up tightening that nut before I thightened the two bolts fixing the wheel cylinder to the back plate. The same (wrong angle) is true for the front bleeder screws. No way to use a socket or a ring wrench. At least the gravity bleeding went well, so that I got a good pedal right after the first bleeding attempt.

    Also did some wiring for the lock-up controller and for my three gages (oil pressure, water temp and voltage). Also ran a good sized positive for the power windows I will be installing in the near future.
    IMG_2400.JPG IMG_2401.JPG

    Next on the list is to complete the wiring and to replace the leaking pinion seal.
  17. Cutlass

    Cutlass Platinum Level Contributor

    Can not believe it, but really made it yesterday to take the car for the first test ride. Before taking it for a ride I checked the oil pressure of the transmission and lucky me, all was in spec per the installation instruction from Xtreme Automatics. Need to do some carb and ignition fine tuning and other minor stuff, but fortunately the "big stuff" is squared away. Honestly when I decided to do the swap, I did not envision that it would take me that long. I guess the duration has to do with the limited time I can spend on the car, my desire to make it right the first time, the time to get parts from US to Germany, but also to a huge degree because of working on a almost 50 year old car is not always a straight road.
    Now I give the axle and the transmission quite some miles for breaking in. After that I will report on the "feel" of driving the 4-speed along with the 3.23 rear ratio.
    Thanks to all who contributed to this thread and of course to all who reported about their swap-experiences in their own threads.
    bostoncat68 likes this.
  18. 12lives

    12lives Engage! - Jean-Luc Picard

    Great news - enjoy!
  19. Cutlass

    Cutlass Platinum Level Contributor

    Overall I am pleased with the transmission so far. Needed to fix some minor stuff. I have the bigger capacity oil pan from Hughes Performance and that was leaking from day one at the drain plug. Needed to countersink the bore and to use a thicker o-ring to fix that. Also needed to change the governor, as WOT shifts did not occure at around 5000 rpm, but at speeds greater 5500 (never dared to find out the exact speed, always lifted the foot to force upshift). Lonie did send me a new governor with bigger weights (C7 instead C2)
    Now the WOT shifts occure at 5000 to 5200rpm
    Also decided to install a transmission cooler. Did not want to go thru the hassle to buy overseas, so I bought the cooler online here in Germany. Decided to use hoses, routed thru the frame instead of tubing. Went to a shop which services and repairs construction vehicles in order to get the fittings and the hoses.
    What is sturdy enough for a 30 ton excavator is just right for my Buick :).
    Needed to mock up the hoses and the fittings before pressfitting them in the shop. Those hoses are reinforced with metal netting and you can not twist them a bit.
    Built a small subframe for the oilcooler to sit in front of the water cooler.
    IMG_2725.JPG IMG_2744.JPG IMG_2745.JPG
    So far so good, can't wait for spring to come, to get some more miles on the transmission
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2019
    ravensbud likes this.
  20. Mark Demko

    Mark Demko Well-Known Member

    Nice install !!

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