Chevy Corvette Gets A 700 R4 Automatic Tranny - Transmission Transition

Transmission Transition Part Two

Dominic Conti Feb 1, 2002 0 Comment(s)
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Editor's note: Part two of Vette's 25th Anniversary time line was originally scheduled to run in this issue, and Part two of Transmission Transitions in March. Due to the incredible mass of material (15 years' worth of issues) to sift through and condense into a few pages, we've swapped the second installments of both articles. Vette's time line from 1986 through 2001 will be in the March issue. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.

In part one of this story (in last month's issue) Editor Bob gave you an in-depth lesson on torque and torque multiplication, gear ratios, and plenty of technical theory explaining why we'd want a wide-ratio, overdrive transmission in an old Vette. This month, along with Bow Tie Overdrives, we will get our hands dirty, and install the 700-R4 automatic into a late first-gen. Vette, without (except for the clutch pedal assembly in the subject car, which came originally with a four-speed) cutting, drilling, or welding of any of our original components.

Bow Tie Overdrives offers a complete "bolt-in" kit so most of us with basic mechanical knowledge, a reasonable assortment of tools, and the informative installation guide can modernize our vintage Vette ourselves. This type of job is possible to perform in a garage while the car is on jackstands; you must have some typical hand tools and a weekend to spare. While the installation may look a bit intimidating to a novice, rest assured that Bow Tie Overdrives has engineered this kit to be as simple and complete as possible.

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Lets start with prepping the transmission for installation. The arrow shows where the new cruise control brake switch (if so equipped) is located into the original position. Be careful, and read the instructions carefully regarding wiring and color codes.

About the only requirements to complete the installation without modifying the console is using an original or repro Powerglide shifter, which needs to be purchased separately if you don't already have one. B.T.O. expects to have modified, ready-to-install Powerglide-style 700-R4 shifters available by the time you read this. There is quite a bit of information, and something new to learn for all of us in the thorough and informative instructions that are supplied with the kit. (I even learned how to properly adjust the kick down cable on an automatic transmission.)

Follow along with Team VETTE and Bow Tie Overdrives as we show you just how easy it is to gain a couple gears, with the peace of mind in knowing you can always re-install that original transmission if you ever decide to go the concours route. So lets get started and give that classic small-block a break!

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