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1974 el camamino transmission question

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Post by Sam_snead01 on Wed Mar 30, 2011 6:44 pm

I recently bought a th350 transmission off of craigslist from a guy who had it in a 1976 el camino. After pulling the only one out of my 1974 I realized the tail was shorter in the one I pulled out of my car. The new one is a long tail. Now I bought this car from a guy who was clueless as to what he was doing....he put a 305 in it thinking it was a 350....anyway which one of these trannys should go into a 1974 el camino a long tail or short tail?? I tried looking and could come up with anthing concrete so i figured I'd ask here. Thanks.

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Post by pila on Wed Mar 30, 2011 7:10 pm

I believe it's the short tail. The 350 came in three lengths. The station wagons used the long tail shaft model. That long one wont do you any good for your Elco, unless you shorten the drive shaft, which I wouldn't do. Just have to look for another transmission.........
Measure your tail shaft housing, the casting that bolts to the main case, so you know for sure which one you need to look for.

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Post by Sam_snead01 on Wed Mar 30, 2011 8:12 pm

I believe the one i have is the medium length would you think this would work??

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Post by pila on Thu Mar 31, 2011 12:08 am

Maybe the medium length was used in El Caminos, (?) since the wheel base on the El Camino is 116", and the Chevelle/Malibu is 112 " You need the length that came out. Anything different would require a different drive shaft. I've had 4 El Caminos from '73 thru '77, but right now I don't remember the tail shaft length

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Post by TWBouska AKA Wooderson on Thu Mar 31, 2011 2:06 am

Sam_snead01 wrote:I recently bought a th350 transmission off of craigslist from a guy who had it in a 1976 el camino. After pulling the only one out of my 1974 I realized the tail was shorter in the one I pulled out of my car. The new one is a long tail. Now I bought this car from a guy who was clueless as to what he was doing....he put a 305 in it thinking it was a 350....anyway which one of these trannys should go into a 1974 el camino a long tail or short tail?? I tried looking and could come up with anthing concrete so i figured I'd ask here. Thanks.

you can have a machine shop shorten your driveshaft, had to do it to get the 700r4 to fit in my 74
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Post by pila on Thu Mar 31, 2011 9:19 am

Yeah, you can have the drive shaft modified for length, but you need to be sure that the trans you just got is a good one. Otherwise, you may have spent bucks on the drive shaft and still need another 350 etc.

Pull the oil pan on the one you just got, and see how the oil looks & smells. If there's a lot of dark sludge in the pan, that's the debris from the clutch linings laying in there, not good.......and if the oil has a slight burnt smell, that's not good either.

Myself, I would be looking for the correct trans length from a salvage yard that will back it up if it's not a serviceable unit. They will likely take the one you have as an exchange core.

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Post by The Dude on Thu Mar 31, 2011 9:23 am

You could swap tail shafts, but I want to say you would have to tear most of the tranny apart just to do it. Then again, if you plan to rebuild it then this would be an option for you anyways.
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Post by TWBouska AKA Wooderson on Fri Apr 01, 2011 12:49 am

honestly bro i would save and spend the money on getting a 700r4 anyways, good investment, better fuel economy, lower first gear, etc.
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Post by bigredlaguna on Fri Apr 01, 2011 1:11 am

pila wrote:I believe it's the short tail. The 350 came in three lengths. The station wagons used the long tail shaft model. That long one wont do you any good for your Elco, unless you shorten the drive shaft, which I wouldn't do. Just have to look for another transmission.........
Measure your tail shaft housing, the casting that bolts to the main case, so you know for sure which one you need to look for.

Find a station wagon, take the driveshaft. Elcos and station wagons have the same wheelbase.
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Post by texan01 on Fri Apr 01, 2011 9:22 am

bigredlaguna wrote:
pila wrote:I believe it's the short tail. The 350 came in three lengths. The station wagons used the long tail shaft model. That long one wont do you any good for your Elco, unless you shorten the drive shaft, which I wouldn't do. Just have to look for another transmission.........
Measure your tail shaft housing, the casting that bolts to the main case, so you know for sure which one you need to look for.

Find a station wagon, take the driveshaft. Elcos and station wagons have the same wheelbase.

so do the 4 doors, there's only two wheelbases for these cars, 112" for the two doors and 116" for everything else, including the A-special bodies.

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Post by JB2wheeler on Fri Apr 01, 2011 10:10 am

texan01 wrote:
bigredlaguna wrote:
pila wrote:I believe it's the short tail. The 350 came in three lengths. The station wagons used the long tail shaft model. That long one wont do you any good for your Elco, unless you shorten the drive shaft, which I wouldn't do. Just have to look for another transmission.........
Measure your tail shaft housing, the casting that bolts to the main case, so you know for sure which one you need to look for.

Find a station wagon, take the driveshaft. Elcos and station wagons have the same wheelbase.

so do the 4 doors, there's only two wheelbases for these cars, 112" for the two doors and 116" for everything else, including the A-special bodies.
You konw, its funny that in 1978 models and up that is just the oppisite. The Elkys had 117 inch wheelbase and everything else was...senior moment...112, I think. JB
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Post by texan01 on Fri Apr 01, 2011 6:18 pm

JB, you are right on the Elky's the did have 117, the rest of the A/G bodies had 108". I've built way too many 78-87 A/G bodies to not know that.

Sad thing is, my buddies 84 Monte SS, is only about 5" shorter than my 77 sedan.

I think they came with the 6" tailshaft, I know 76 and 77 are the same, and I think mine has the 6" tail on it.

the long tail 350 has a 9" tailshaft?

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Post by pila on Fri Apr 01, 2011 11:45 pm

Changing the tail shaft and housing does require removing everything in the case. The only thing behind the tail shaft itself is a thrust washer. Like said though, a good time to replace clutches, seals, and bushings since it would be all apart pretty much.
The 700R4 would be OK providing the rear end ratio is high enough.

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