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Old 12-16-2010, 12:56 PM
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Default NV4500 vs. H55F

I have done some reading on the internets but wanted to ask you folks. I know this has been gone over a ton but I value your opinions...

I currently have a Vortec 5.3 with a Mark's adapter and the stock FJ60 T-Case. When I received the tranny (brand new) the 3rd gear syncro was jammed on the cone so hard that I had to open up the top cover and pry it off with a flat blade screwdriver. I think that that has led to my 3rd gear shifting problems (always wants to grind the gears going into 3rd). Overall it really never shifted as nice as my H42 did. Also, there is a weird vibration that follows engine RPM coming from the clutch area. The vibration comes and goes and I think it has something to do with the Mark's Adapter or the clutch. Maybe the weights on the clutch are stuck off center (centerforce) and it vibrates, maybe it's that funky input shaft extension the Mark's came with... I don't know.

So that's the history. I probably have 80k on the clutch and adapter, and maybe 30k on the tranny. Toyota replaced the first tranny under warranty when I thought the vibration was coming from it.

So, at some point or another I was going to pull it all out and delete the Mark's Adapter and build a new rear cross member. Only problem being that the tranny would shift forwards about 4.8 inches (that's what the mark's adds) and put the shifter into the heater. So that got me thinking and searching. Lots of folks use the NV4500.

Advantages of the NV4500 are:
1.) NV4500 has a 6.34 1st gear vs. the 4.84 of the H55F. Nicer crawl ratio and I can just use 2nd around town. 70 on the NV4500 vs 53 on the h55f with my setup. Maybe I won't still want a lower crawl ratio like I do now.

2.) Shifter is farther back on the top cover, clearance issues might be easier

3.) 5th gear has a 0.73 ratio instead of 0.85 on the H55F. That would drop my r's from about 3000 at 75MPH to 2500. The sweet spot for this motor is def. 2500rpm.

4.) Somebody would love the Mark's/H55F (w/ new syncros) combo and it'd probably pay for the new stuff I'd need.

Disadvantages:
1.) More Chevy parts

2.) People say the NV4500s shift worse than the H42's

3.) I'll have to find a junkyard tranny and rebuild it

4.) Gearing is more spread out... although 4th is where I need it in terms of R's for climbing grades.

So what do you guys think? I am going to drive an FJ62 with the NV4500 and see how I like it sometime in the next month of so. A guy at work here has one that he is willing to let me check out.
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Old 12-16-2010, 02:28 PM
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I have driven a few NV4500s. One was in a relatively new Chevy pickup. I found it to be not unlike a SM465 in that you had to accurately hit the slot with the shifter on the first try or getting it into gear was a PITA. I also drove a 60 that had a Vortec and the NV4500, nice motor, lame tranny. I felt like I was flexing some part of the shift linkage to get it to shift. It just didn't have that solid feeling of completing a shift that you get from an H42. I haven't driven an NV4500 offroad but my on road experience leads me to believe that it would be downright frustrating to drive on a trail where making a quick shift is very important. I'd rebuild the H55 and try it.

The vibration I suspect might be due to the Mark's adapter.
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Old 12-16-2010, 02:38 PM
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Great feedback, Thanks! yes, there are lots of times on the trail when I am shifting very quickly to keep momentum.. especially on snow runs
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Old 12-16-2010, 02:53 PM
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Marco, my only experience with the NV4500 was an upgrade in an early Bronco from an NP435. At the time it required a bazillion $$ Atlas adapter. Besides the New Venture adding OD, it shifted way easier than the New Process. In the EB application the NP shifter comes out under the dash so it requires some hard bends in the handle that make finding gears a challenge. Maybe I need some experience with a Toyota tractor tranny? My Hilux 4 speed is a dream to shift.
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Old 12-16-2010, 03:04 PM
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Have you completely ruled out automatics such as the 4l60? I'm sure you would rather have a standard because of blah, blah, blah, but I just thought I'd ask. It would definitely solve your shifter clearance issues.
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Old 12-16-2010, 03:18 PM
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Originally Posted by DaveInDenver View Post
I realize we do get spoiled anytime I drive something else. <snip>
Well compared to my Saab, my Hilux practically shifts itself. </hijack>
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Old 12-16-2010, 05:26 PM
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My bet is the splines on the input shaft extension are starting to get worn and it wobbles from the slop. If the clutch was out of balance the vibration would be constant although more pronounced at higher rpm.

I've driven NV4500's before and thought they shifted just fine, keeping in mind they aren't supposed to compare to a short throw narrow ratio box. The negative experiences above could be related to worn out tranny's or maybe goofy geometry on the shifter because of the bends required to clear the heaters, etc.

My philosophy is the fewer the adapters the better off you are. If you can get rid of some adapters because the tranny mates up wit the motor and live with the way it shifts, I would go that route. I would also seriously consider the TH400 automatic suggested above. Meanie has that same tranny with an Atlas T/C. It's the shizh because there are no adapters, it's bullet proof strong, gives you the excellent crawl ratios because of the torque convertor and the 4-1 ratio in the Atlas. We've done all of the hardest and steepest trails in Moab and Penrose with it and I've come to be a believer in the automatics performance offroad. Ours has a performance valve body in it and with the 4-1 TC it stays locked up when crawling down the steep stuff so you get as much engine hold back as with a stick. And, I don't care how good of a driver you are, you can't out shift a properly setup automatic when you're lead footing it in the snow.
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Old 12-16-2010, 06:12 PM
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The weird thing is it has always vibrated. I need to take it apart, but either way I have decided that the mark's adapter needs to go. That adapter just has a ton of stuff going on in it that has possibilities for funkyness.

I want to stick with a manual tranny.... I know it is not ideal for wheeling, but I like it. Maybe I can sell the Marks kit, rebuild the h55f, get a regular bellhousing, and use some of the money to offset the purchase of a toy box..
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Old 12-16-2010, 06:18 PM
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For what it's worth....I dislike 4500's very much. The gear spread between second and third is horrible and reverse is way to tall for trail use......there ya go...my
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Old 12-17-2010, 10:43 AM
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In the '66-'77 Bronco world, some folks are using the NV3500, which is a lighter duty 5 speed used in (I think) Dodge Dakota pickups. I wonder if this tranny wouldn' t have some appeal in a 'cruiser? I don't think it has a granny 1st. Like all NV products, there are improvements/enhancements/bugs to deal with on this tranny - and a few web pages that discuss these.
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