Saginaw measurement from front of transmission to shifter

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Saginaw measurement from front of transmission to shifter

Postby SDAKOTAN » Thu Apr 26, 2018 9:48 pm

This is my first post so please forgive me how my signature, lack of avatar, or other is displayed because I haven't figure all that out that yet. So, I have Googled and read forums for the past month trying to find out what is the distance from the front of a Saginaw 3 or 4 speed manual tranny (no bell housing attached) to the center of the shifter. Being a somewhat computer nerd, I took it as a personal challenge to be able to extract this information from the Interweb, but the Interweb seems to not want to give this information up to me. Therefore; I must humbly ask for help. If anybody has a Saginaw 3 or 4 speed tranny with the shifter attached laying around, could you please measure the distance from the front of the tranny (no bell housing attached) to the center of the shifter? From all the other tranny measurements I have found, the Saginaw has to be somewhere between 12 and 22 inches (or centimeters if you prefer). I would really appreciate this so much!
73 Vega - soon to be re-born after 30 years in the barn
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Re: Saginaw measurement from front of transmission to shifte

Postby spencerforhire » Fri Apr 27, 2018 6:45 am

I think the reason you cannot find the info you are searching for is because the shifter in a Vega with a Saginaw transmission is bolted to the tunnel, not the trans itself. There is quite a bit of movement possible, no doubt designed in so as the engine can move quite a bit in order to dampen the inherent shake of a large 4-cyl engine.
The "fleet"-
77 Vega Estate wagon- project(someday)will have TPI305/T-5, S-10 spindles/axles
72 Vega HB Drag Car -383/'Glide/9"(9.35@146.19)(5.94@117.28 1/8th)
76 Vega GT- 400/4spd/9" retired from active duty(rusty)
03 Silverado 2WD ex.cab (work truck/parts hauler)
04 Silverado 2WD ex.cab (retired)
06 Haulin' 20ft enclosed car transporter
93 Suburban- 350/4L60(retired)
00 Saturn SW2- wife's car
01 Saturn SC2- younger son's project
00 Saturn SL2- daughter's car
98 Saturn SW2- spare
and 3 more Saturn "parts cars"
Note- the very act of listing all of these has made me realize I have some kind of problem.....

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Re: Saginaw measurement from front of transmission to shifte

Postby cosvega76 » Fri Apr 27, 2018 8:14 am

Welcome to the forum, there's a wealth of information here.

I have this written down at home somewhere, but, if I remember correctly, from the bellhousing to the center of the Hurst replacement shifter is about 19 or 20 inches.


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Re: Saginaw measurement from front of transmission to shifte

Postby cjbiagi » Fri Apr 27, 2018 9:39 am

I think it also may vary depending upon the engine. I know the shift rods are different lengths between 4 cyl and V8's ( not sure where the V6's come in) so I would assume the the trans is in a slightly different position relative to the floor mounted shifter. The stock shifter is mounted to the floor, so that is a constant. The difference comes in where the trans ends up depending upon the engine. May I ask exactly why you need to know and what you are trying to figure out?
Clyde.........75 Monza 2+2
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Re: Saginaw measurement from front of transmission to shifte

Postby SDAKOTAN » Fri Apr 27, 2018 1:26 pm

Thank you so much for the replies! Sorry, this will get long winded, but maybe it will help you understand the scope of the project and my mindset. My level of mechanics in the past have included engine and/or transmission removal/install but I have never "built" a vehicle that needed custom modifications. However; I am blessed that my father-in-law has his own shop and he is an excellent mechanic and welder/fabricator so he will be working on this project along with my teenage son and I. We are getting parts together to start working on a 1973 Vega Hatchback; however the car is still sitting at the back of our storage so I don't have access to it at this time. It has not been previously modified in anyway - a true time capsule. It has the 4 cylinder with a 3 speed Saginaw in it. 46,000 one owner miles. We had it started by squirting gas in the carb (with gas tank removed). The interior is in great shape. I have already purchased a complete running Silverado 4x4 with the 5.3 and a 200R4 to swap in but we have decided this would cost too much to get it fitted under the hood and we realized we do not want a 300 HP engine in this car (more after a cam upgrade). There is too much extra that would need to be done to run the 5.3 so no V8 in this one. We want a fun, spirited car to drive that won't send you in circles or twist up the car the first time we floor it. I have also purchased a nice running 2000 S10 2wd 4.3 automatic with a 3.42 posi rear. We will be transferring the 4.3 (with EFI, modified wiring, and PCM), s10 rear, and s10 spindles, into the Vega. I am trying to avoid beating on the tunnel to fit the 4L60E (plus need a mechanical speedo - hence purchasing the 200R4). However; my son decided he really wants to keep it a manual. This will be his car anyway when it is done; so manual it is. Besides, it has been many years since I have driven a manual - it will be a blast! So now I need the last big piece to this project - a manual tranny - and since we plan to drive it long distances; overdrive is a must. As you can see, I have spend a bit on donor vehicles already so I would like to buy the right manual tranny/s the first time. I have been studying everything about building a Vega for the past year. I know we will be fabricating motor mounts, tranny mount, 4 link brackets on the S10 rear, modifying the front spindles for S10 ball joints, EFI gas system, plus more. The only item I haven't been able to nail down is the best manual transmission. To recap, we will have a 200-220 HP 4.3, unknown manual w/OD, and 3.42 posi rear. I prefer to avoid cutting on the tunnel so we can leave the interior looking original. It appears some flavor of T5 is the best choice. But what tail shaft/shifter can be used to put the shifter as close as possible in the original hole? Or are there other 5 speeds out there besides the T5 that would work?
73 Vega - soon to be re-born after 30 years in the barn
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Re: Saginaw measurement from front of transmission to shifte

Postby Smiley » Sat Apr 28, 2018 12:07 pm

With a V8 Monza bellhousing you could reuse the original 3 speed, shifter and clutch linkage untill you decide on a 5 sppeed. You can now get a Muncie 4 speed M22-Z built with an overdrive ratio.
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Re: Saginaw measurement from front of transmission to shifte

Postby cosvega76 » Sat Apr 28, 2018 1:21 pm

I found my note. From the bellhousing face to the centerline of the Hurst shifter bolt on its bracket is 17 3/8".


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Re: Saginaw measurement from front of transmission to shifte

Postby SDAKOTAN » Sat Apr 28, 2018 7:05 pm

Thank you very much for the input Smiley and Cosveg76 and everyone else! Good to know a Monza bell will connect the 4.3 to the 3 speed. We need to get the Vega running this summer so my son can take it to his high school for the next couple years to finish mechanical details and paint. I think we will leave the 3 speed and get everything else installed and worked out. Heck, might like the 3 speed! Should be easy to replace with a Saginaw 4 speed too. If I use a Monza bell housing, do I use the existing bell housing pressure plate and stuff or do I get the Monza v8 clutch kit? Will other sbc bell housings work with the Saginaw?
73 Vega - soon to be re-born after 30 years in the barn
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Re: Saginaw measurement from front of transmission to shifte

Postby SDAKOTAN » Sat Apr 28, 2018 8:25 pm

Here's a picture of my 15 year old cleaning up the 1973 Vega the day after we unloaded it. This is my first time attempting to attach a photo. I have to resize it to hopefully I got it. And it is viewable 8)
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73 Vega - soon to be re-born after 30 years in the barn
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Re: Saginaw measurement from front of transmission to shifte

Postby Smiley » Sun Apr 29, 2018 12:50 pm

Other Chevy bellhousings do not use the Vega/Monza cable clutch linkage.
The Monza bellhousing takes the smaller 153 tooth flywheel with a 10.5" clutch and pressure plate.
Newer motors will have the one piece rear main seal, they use a smaller flywheel bolt pattern than the 2 piece.
You also have to be sure if it has internal or external balance.
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Re: Saginaw measurement from front of transmission to shifte

Postby Bullet » Sun Apr 29, 2018 7:59 pm

There's another alternative tho not particularly easy to find. In the early to mid 80's Chevy used a New Process 4 speed in the half ton trucks and vans. They are built from the Chrysler A833 transmission. They were listed as a 3 speed with OD. and the shifter knob reflects that, 1,2,3,O. They have a unique bellhousing but all I have seen have or have provision for a hydraulic slave cylinder. The good part is they have the exact same ratio in each gear as a 700R4/4L60e. The factory shifter is made by Hurst and is quite good but a stock Vega shifter can be adapted with some modified linkage. Just be sure to get the bellhousing with it if you find one. They are the same overall length as the Muncie and Saginaw and use standard clutch and same driveshaft yoke. They are good transmissions and can handle 300 h.p. reliably. Also be sure to use Dexron transmission fluid instead of gear oil.
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Re: Saginaw measurement from front of transmission to shifte

Postby SDAKOTAN » Sun Apr 29, 2018 8:34 pm

I have been reading up in this for close to a year and I think I have been making this project harder than I need to. Just keep it simple and use what is tried and true, a Monza bell housing with cable clutch. Never heard of the Chrysler A833 in the 80"s GM pickups but I have never been interested in those but sounds very interesting and I will check into this. If I end up using a T5 in a 73 Vega with an S10 rear end, do I have to use a torque arm?
73 Vega - soon to be re-born after 30 years in the barn
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Re: Saginaw measurement from front of transmission to shifte

Postby spencerforhire » Sun Apr 29, 2018 9:09 pm

S-10 rear doesn't have torque arm brackets, but you don't need them in your car. You can but aftermarket control arm brackets(someone on here must know where), and weld them to the S-10 housing.
The "fleet"-
77 Vega Estate wagon- project(someday)will have TPI305/T-5, S-10 spindles/axles
72 Vega HB Drag Car -383/'Glide/9"(9.35@146.19)(5.94@117.28 1/8th)
76 Vega GT- 400/4spd/9" retired from active duty(rusty)
03 Silverado 2WD ex.cab (work truck/parts hauler)
04 Silverado 2WD ex.cab (retired)
06 Haulin' 20ft enclosed car transporter
93 Suburban- 350/4L60(retired)
00 Saturn SW2- wife's car
01 Saturn SC2- younger son's project
00 Saturn SL2- daughter's car
98 Saturn SW2- spare
and 3 more Saturn "parts cars"
Note- the very act of listing all of these has made me realize I have some kind of problem.....

Visit http://www.spencerforhire.ca
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Re: Saginaw measurement from front of transmission to shifte

Postby Smiley » Mon Apr 30, 2018 12:00 am

Monzamouse here on the forum makes new axle housing brackets.
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