Saginaw 4 speed

Discussion in 'U-shift em' started by Dwayne B, Mar 31, 2019.

  1. Dwayne B

    Dwayne B Well-Known Member

    20190331_133033.jpg I bought A 4 speed Saginaw today that has no rings on input shaft, 2.84 first gear, would of been behind A v8.
    I got A couple 3 ring low first gear vega saginaw but was wanting one from A v8.
    I'm thinking pretty seriously about about installing it in my 72 skylark with A 350,was wanting A super t10 but can't afford one right now.
    Darron72Skylark likes this.
  2. philbquick

    philbquick Founders Club Member

    I don't see anything wrong with doing that. The no line/ 1 line transmissions could be(and probably is) a 2.54 first gear which are the strongest. I've seen them go for over $500 at swap meets. I know yours is an older one that they put behind V8s because it doesn't have lobes for the torque arm connection at the bottom of the tail shaft housing. Summit has Saginaws in their catalog with the disclaimer "not recommended for more then 250 HP" but I've seen people put 350 HP through them with no problem. I'm building a Saginaw 8 speed for my 65 Special conv buy add the over drive unit from a 3 speed to a 4 speed. I see nothing wrong with these transmissions.
    Dwayne B likes this.
  3. Dwayne B

    Dwayne B Well-Known Member

    I fugerd with the stock 350 with just A cam that transmission should be ok.I took the side cover off and the gears look very nice.
    The transmission was 3 hours away so I did A lot of driving today to get it.
  4. TrunkMonkey

    TrunkMonkey Well-Known Member

    I had a saginaw 4 speed behind a 400HP Olds 330 that in my 1964 Buick Special with a 3:08 posi. (from a '66 F-85 ) (tranny came out of a Vega, first was pretty short)

    It ran like a raped ape and the transmission never gave me any trouble.

    You should be fine with it.
    Dwayne B likes this.
  5. Dwayne B

    Dwayne B Well-Known Member

    My dad had A 70 nova back in the mid 80,s that had A little 283 and A vega 4 speed ,I was A kid but remember riding in it.
    Dad said that was A running little car,be side ways in 3 gears .

    A good friend of mine owns it today he bought it from the guy dad sold it to in the mid 90,s.He said that is one sasy little car.
    I have tried to buy it but he will not sale, said if he does he would to me sents my dad use to own it.
  6. David Hemker

    David Hemker Well-Known Member

    In the mid-1980's I pulled a Saginaw 4 speed out of a 68 Skylark. Ran it for a few years in my 1970 350 Skylark with no issues. The low 1st gear is very nice on the street from a dead stop.

    FYI torque kills 4 speeds not hp.

    I stripped the teeth off of 2nd gear in 3 Muncies and know someone who did the same to a Saginaw 4 speed behind 455's by power shifting at 3000 rpm which is where the Buick engines tend to make mass doses of torque. Never had an issue shifting a WOT in 300 + trips down the dragstrip.
    Dwayne B and TrunkMonkey like this.
  7. BrianTrick

    BrianTrick Brian Trick

    I was going to post a question about identifying a Saginaw,and saw this post. Can anyone tell me what this might be?

    Attached Files:

    Philip66 likes this.
  8. philbquick

    philbquick Founders Club Member

    Brian, If the input spline has NO or 1 ring machined in it, it's probably a 2.54 1st gear, 2 lines 3.11, 3 lines is 3.50. I've heard that there are also 2.85s out there, they probably have 1 line. The only picture you show of the input shaft looks like NO lines. If you take a closer picture I can be sure. Are these both the same trans? You may also be able to confirm this with the numbers stamped in the lower side pads, I think it's on the passenger side.
  9. BrianTrick

    BrianTrick Brian Trick

    The transmission is still in the car,so I can’t see the input shaft. Obviously not original to the car either. It’s behind a decent 455. Nothing crazy.
  10. philbquick

    philbquick Founders Club Member

    Saginaws aren't known for handling a lot of HP, the 2.54 can do about 300, the 3.11 and 3,50 are about 200 to 250 tops.
  11. BrianTrick

    BrianTrick Brian Trick

    Yea,I don’t really have a use for the trans,but just trying to figure out if I can even find a buyer for it.
  12. Dwayne B

    Dwayne B Well-Known Member

    You can look at the tail housing, A vega transmission will have A different mounting area on the tail housing, v8 will only have the mid mount.
    First picture is A vega 3 ring 3.50 first gear, 2nd is A v8 transmission no ring 2.84 first . 20190330_111907.jpg 20190331_133105.jpg 20190330_111907.jpg 20190331_133105.jpg
  13. Dwayne B

    Dwayne B Well-Known Member

    About A year later its finally installed.
    I have been working on installing the 4 speed in my skylark off and on for A few months and finally got to drive it yesterday.
  14. 87GN_70GS

    87GN_70GS Well-Known Member

    I and a 3.11 Vega Saginaw behind a 327 with about 350 hp in a 57 Chivvy and it held up just fine for 20+ years. Never had slicks on it but went to the track a few times. Broke a few rear ends however
    Dwayne B likes this.
  15. Dwayne B

    Dwayne B Well-Known Member

    I think there tougher than A lot of people give them credit for.
  16. Golden Oldie 65

    Golden Oldie 65 Well-Known Member

    They are. A friend of mine had one behind a 396 in a `69 Nova for years and he beat the crap out of that car every time he drove it.
    Dwayne B likes this.
  17. knucklebusted

    knucklebusted Well-Known Member

    Were Saginaws only 350 style output and 10 spline inputs? Same as early Muncies?
  18. Brent

    Brent Well-Known Member

    Yes they were.
    I have ran several of them, they shift great, very smooth. I have built a few with the overdrive units as well. I prefer the 3 speed with the overdrive and run it like a 6 speed. Awesome for small blocks, but I broke several in high school behind a 455, lol.
  19. Brad Conley

    Brad Conley Super Moderator Staff Member

    Thats nothing...broke my first one behind a stock 1975 110hp Skyhawk, back in the day. I was pretty rough on that little car...

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