Transmission advice?

Discussion in 'Transmission & Driveline Topics' started by Big Dave, Mar 1, 2018.

  1. Big Dave

    Big Dave Veteran Member

    My Camaro is a '76 Type LT with the original 350 4 barrel and original 4 speed Saginaw transmission. The shifter is original, and to get into reverse you must lift, pull to the left and forward. The rear axle is the stock 3.08 with Positraction. The only modifications to the car are a slightly-more-aggressive-than-stock cam, air shocks, and 15" Cragar chrome wheels.
    I have never really liked the operation of the shifter; it was slightly worn where I bought the car years ago, and now it is worn worse. So I'm considering some options for what I could have done to my car:

    1) Have the original shifter restored/rebuilt, and keep the Saginaw transmission.
    2) Have a Hurst shifter installed, like the Comp. Plus, and keep the Saginaw transmission. I asked some years ago, many really like this shifter.
    3) Find a Super T-10 and have it installed, along with the Hurst shifter. I have the impression that since the ST-10s were used in the 77-81 Z28s, the conversion would probably not involve a lot of modification or fabrication. If I went this route, I would probably want the version of the ST-10 with the 3.42 low, because of my 3.08 rear--this was exactly the combination used for the 1980 Z28. (The 77-79s used an ST-10 with 2.64 low and a 3.73 axle. I'd rather keep my 3.08 and its lower highway RPMs.)

    I know the Saginaw is not a strong transmission, but I don't beat on it. Then again, I do plan to at some point add headers and dual exhaust, and a better intake and carb... Does the ST-10 have any other advantages over the Saginaw besides being stronger? Maybe dumb questions, but is the shift pattern the same or different, or is that a function of the shifter used? Would installing a Hurst Comp Plus on the Saginaw change the shift pattern and/or eliminate the "lift for reverse", and would reverse still be forward? And what was the deal anyway with the forward vs rearward position for reverse on the original Saginaws... the Camaro White Book in a note for the 1977 model year states that the "reverse position for the 4-speed...was relocated from the far left forward position to the rearward position", but I've seen several original-appearing 77-80 Z28s with the forward position indicated on the shift knobs, can't remember ever seeing one with the rearward position on the knob.
    Anyway thanks for reading all this. Any comments or suggestions?
  2. Gary S

    Gary S Administrator Lifetime Gold Member

    Apr 14, 1999
    Bismarck, North Dakota
    The Hurst shifters use a spring lockout for reverse to avoid the "lift for reverse" type lockout. If you really want the shifter to move the other way for reverse, try flipping the reverse ear on the tranny from up to down or from down to up depending on which way it sits now. That might work or not depending on how it moves the linkage. It could cause the linkage to clash with other linkage rods or something else under there.
    Reverse on my Muncie is left and forward and I wouldn't change it.
  3. NoneToPass

    NoneToPass Veteran Member

    Jan 4, 2000
    Columbus, Ohio, USA
    If you switch to a ST-10 the things you should verify first are:
    1) reverse lockout linkage will still work
    2) Speedometer cable will still reach (ST-10s are on the passenger side)
    3) Are the Sag. bell housing, clutch and flywheel appropriate for a T-10?
    4) I believe the yoke will go from a T350 to a T400
    5) Will the driveshaft length change?

    I don't know these answers but did do a T350 to T-10 conversion. These were all issues.
  4. 8pack

    8pack Veteran Member Lifetime Gold Member

    Aug 29, 2007
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Depending on if you have more cash to spend the TKO 600 solves all those problems....
  5. Big Dave

    Big Dave Veteran Member

    Has anyone done a Saginaw to ST-10 conversion?
  6. ZEN357

    ZEN357 Veteran Member

    Feb 12, 2018
    Go with a Richmond Gear Five Speed Transmission and a Hurst Shifter. If you are running 3.08's the first four gear will shift like you have a 4-speed with 4.56 gears and then fifth will be 3.08 with the 1:1 fifth gear.
    Zstar likes this.
  7. Zspoiler

    Zspoiler Veteran Member

    May 6, 2012
    Federal Way, Washington
    Changing to a Super T-10 is easy.The clutch disc ,Shifter and yoke are different But everything else is the same. I change my 1979 Z-28 RS Camaro from a Turbo 350 to an M-21 to a Super T-10,I have also changed my 1973 Nova SS hatch back from a Saginaw to a M-21 .So I am familiar with all three transmissions.

    Attached Files:

  8. Big Dave

    Big Dave Veteran Member

    Literally everything else is the same between the Saginaw 4 speed and an ST10, including cross member and drive shaft? All that would be needed would be the ST10, shifter, clutch, and yoke? Maybe the conversion would not be as bad as I assumed it would be. I guess a good transmission shop that is familiar with GM vehicles should be able to handle a job like this?

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