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Old 09-23-2011, 08:48 PM   #1
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4BT Diesel / TH400 with Gear Venders 6 spd OverDrive?

I'm planning a new project van (Club Wagon Chateau) with a Cummins 4BT from a Frito Lay Step Van. They usually come with a bullet proof GM Turbo 400 automatic 3 spd transmission (TH400). But since it doesn't have an overdrive I want to add a Gear Venders Over/Under Drive http://www.gearvendors.com/cg2wd3s.html to give it 6 spds with overdrive. Cruising at 1,800 rpm it should get around 30 mpg! Any input or ideas would be appreciated?
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Old 09-24-2011, 07:41 PM   #2
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Re: 4BT Diesel / TH400 with Gear Venders 6 spd Overdrive?

It is a great idea, especially for a 2WD. On a 4WD the GV goes after the transfer case, so it only works in 2WD or 4WD Hi Range. They are not cheap though and another option to consider is a 4L80E transmission which is as bullet proof as the TH400 but also has a lower first gear and a overdrive and is usable with a 2WD or 4WD. You would need an stand alone computer controller and there are several. The best in my opinion is the Compushift and it can be programmed from a module on the dash to do just about anything from full manual shift all the way to a six speed paddle shift. That is the way I would go. I have this setup in my 650 HP 502 in my Blazer.
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Old 09-24-2011, 07:47 PM   #3
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Re: 4BT Diesel / TH400 with Gear Venders 6 spd OverDrive?

It is funny you should mention this as just a few hours ago I meet a guy with a 1970 Ford F250 CrewCab (rare truck) that had a 4BT in it with a 5spd manual behind it. Nice compact setup with a very open engine compartment. Runs very cool and gets 24 Mpg. He says it tows OK but not great.
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Old 09-24-2011, 09:55 PM   #4
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Re: 4BT Diesel / TH400 with Gear Venders 6 spd OverDrive?

One last thought; it is going to be really noisy in a Van!
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Old 09-25-2011, 06:27 PM   #5
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Re: 4BT Diesel / TH400 with Gear Venders 6 spd OverDrive?

Yes, it will definately need more insulation around the engine.
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Old 12-22-2011, 10:56 AM   #6
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Re: 4BT Diesel / TH400 with Gear Venders 6 spd OverDrive?

Have you made any progress on your 4BT swap? I am wanting to do the same setup in mine.

I actually have a GV unit currently in my 96 Quigley, which has a C6. It works great. Got it used on ebay for about 1/3 the price. It needed a little attention, but it works great now. The timing on the gear splits can be a little tricky, but having that 1/2 gear between the original 3 makes a big difference. I saw about a 20% improvement in fuel economy (granted it was from 10 to 12, but hey, 20% is 20%!).

I have yet to see a 4BT in a NBS E series, and am very curious how it would fit (mostly height-wise), especially on a 4WD, if it's even possible. Everyone seems to focus on the 6BT, which seems even less likely to fit, but I guess anything is possible given enough time and $$

If you have made any progress, please share!
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Old 12-22-2011, 03:43 PM   #7
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Re: 4BT Diesel / TH400 with Gear Venders 6 spd OverDrive?

The 6BT does fit in the NBS vans! The 4BT isn't any taller is it?
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Old 12-23-2011, 08:38 AM   #8
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Re: 4BT Diesel / TH400 with Gear Venders 6 spd OverDrive?

I don't think so. My understanding is it's basically a 6BT minus 2 cylinders.

My curiosity has always revolved around how the 4BT would handle a +6000lb E-350. The Frito/UPS rigs have got to be that or more, right? I don't need to tow anything significant, nor do I need a rocket, just a simple, dependable unique rig.
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