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Fair labor time to replace torque converter??

Lucy64

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South Riding, VA, USA
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1964 Red Convertible and 2005 DSOM Z51 Coupe
I put my 64 in the shop today to have the torque converter replaced with a new B&M Holeshot 2400 that I bought from Summit. I am curious what the CAC members with experience in this are area think would be a fair time for the labor charge? I have a TH350 trans in my 64 and the stock torque converter just did not cut it with the new smallblock with hot cam I dropped in last year. The shop doing the work has been very fair to me in the past but the only estimate I got from them was 'a day or two'. I like the work they have done in the past and think they will give me a fair deal. I have negotiated a very good hourly labor charge, $60 an hour compared to there usual $84 and hour. My own guess is about 4 to 6 hours to do the job. Thoughts???????
 
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www.67HEAVEN.com
My first thought is that, fortunately, automatic cars have the removable cross member. I assume yours does. That makes things much easier.

Rusty bolts, cooling lines, rusty exhaust hardware (assuming undercar), etc. will slow them down. If they're charging by the hour, it could add up quickly. However, they seem to have treated you well in the past. I'd figure on 4 to 6, just like you guessed, unless they run into rusty hardware like I said.

A day or two before you go there, I spray penetrating oil on all the hardware they'll be removing.

:w
 
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7,246
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Washington, Michigan
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'67 Marina Blue Convertible
67HEAVEN said:
My first thought is that, fortunately, automatic cars have the removable cross member. I assume yours does. That makes things much easier.

Bob, that's only on C3's - all C2's are welded. However, they don't have to remove the trans to change the converter, just pull it back about 6"-8" and tilt it down; don't know if that much clearance is available to the tunnel with a TH350 or not - have ZOT knowledge about automatics.
:beer
 

Lucy64

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Messages
369
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South Riding, VA, USA
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1964 Red Convertible and 2005 DSOM Z51 Coupe
I didn't hear anything from the shop today. I dropped it off this morning and they promised to have it back to me tomorrow. I do know that the Powerglide and TH350 are the same length transmissions. The original drive shaft fit fine. The TH350 went in fine and even still uses the original linkage/shifter. They were hoping to be able to slide it back and do the work and not remove it if they didn't have to. The TH400 is about 8 inches longer and larger and much harder to put into a mid-year. I will hear tomorrow how it went.
 

BADBIRDCAGE

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Jun 7, 2006
Messages
124
Location
Virginia Beach, Virginia
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1963 Polo Green Coupe
I don't see the shop getting the room necessary to change the converter with the trans in the tunnel. If you have not altered your chassis for a removable crossmember they are going to need to drop the trans, and I don't know if they can do that without disconnecting the engine mounts, exhaust system and sliding the motor up and forward in order to get the trans into an attitude that they can replace that converter in.

I have a TH350 in my 63 and I promise you that you are not getting that box back very far. Unlike a stick the bell housing is part of the transmission housing. I installed a removable crossmember in case I might have need to work on the box and did not want to pull the motor.

Rich
 
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Trois Rivieres, Quebec, Canada
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BADBIRDCAGE said:
I don't know if they can do that without disconnecting the engine mounts, exhaust system and sliding the motor up and forward in order to get the trans into an attitude that they can replace that converter in.

I have a TH350 in my 63 and I promise you that you are not getting that box back very far. Unlike a stick the bell housing is part of the transmission housing. I installed a removable cross member in case I might have need to work on the box and did not want to pull the motor.

Rich

Rich,

I completely agree with your response, and would have to go with your assessment. I have serious doubts if the shop can get the tranny, back far enough to uncouple it and replace the torque converter without the removable X-member. Were I a betting man, I would definitely go with the " loosen, and move engine slightly forward " solution in order to do the labor. It's a case of " been there, done that " type of response, and I promise you if that is the option that is choosen, there's no way they can do that in 4 to 6 hours.

I would be more comfortable in the " day, to a day and a half scenario ", in order to get everything done correctly.


Stepinwolf
 

Lucy64

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Joined
Jul 20, 2002
Messages
369
Location
South Riding, VA, USA
Corvette
1964 Red Convertible and 2005 DSOM Z51 Coupe
BADBIRDCAGE said:
I installed a removable crossmember in case I might have need to work on the box and did not want to pull the motor.

Rich

Rich,

Did you have the removable crossmember fabricated or does someone sell something like this? They tried to shift the motor forward and still can't get enough room to change out the converter. They are going to have to pull it to get the room they need and I should have it modified for the removable crossmember to make easier in the future.

This place tried everything today and decided they would have to pull it, so they put everything back together so I can take the car for shows this Saturday and on the 4th of July. I will take it back next week and have the work done then. And the amazing thing is the owner says I don't owe him anything for what he has done because he couldn't get the job done. They have 4-6 hours in this that he is going to eat.

Kerry
 

chevyaddict

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Jun 12, 2002
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894
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Tucson, AZ USA
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1990 Convertible
Lucy64 said:
This place tried everything today and decided they would have to pull it, so they put everything back together so I can take the car for shows this Saturday and on the 4th of July. I will take it back next week and have the work done then. And the amazing thing is the owner says I don't owe him anything for what he has done because he couldn't get the job done. They have 4-6 hours in this that he is going to eat.

Wow! Great shop! I'm completely untrusting of shops these days as the only couple times I've been forced to take a car somewhere (A/C or welding) something has gone awry.... plus being a women most shops want to "take advantage" of what they believe to be an unknowledgable person. So this is outstanding!!! Kudos!!!!
 

John Mcgraw

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Feb 18, 2003
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816
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Austin Tx
Corvette
1960 Roman red, 1959 resto-rod, 1965 resto-rod
Lucy64 said:
Rich,

Did you have the removable crossmember fabricated or does someone sell something like this? They tried to shift the motor forward and still can't get enough room to change out the converter. They are going to have to pull it to get the room they need and I should have it modified for the removable crossmember to make easier in the future.

This place tried everything today and decided they would have to pull it, so they put everything back together so I can take the car for shows this Saturday and on the 4th of July. I will take it back next week and have the work done then. And the amazing thing is the owner says I don't owe him anything for what he has done because he couldn't get the job done. They have 4-6 hours in this that he is going to eat.

Kerry

Kerry,

It is not too bad a job to fabricate a removable crosssmember, but many do not do so because it affects the originality of the frame. Here is a pic of my custom chassis with a removable crossmember in it.
http://img.villagephotos.com/p/2003-8/339303/TKTKW-frame01.jpg

It is kind of a tough job with the body on, since the X-member is almost up against the seat wells. Mine just has some tabs welded to both sides of the removable portion of it, and has nuts welded to the rear tabs so you can just thread the bolts into them. Obviously, I am not too concerned about originality on this car!


Regards, John McGraw
 

Lucy64

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Joined
Jul 20, 2002
Messages
369
Location
South Riding, VA, USA
Corvette
1964 Red Convertible and 2005 DSOM Z51 Coupe
Thanks for the info and picture. It sure would make it easier. I was told by the shop that they would have to pull the motor to replace the torque converter. I don't fully understand what they explained but they said something about the original 327 had a flange that made the job doable if they shifted the motor forward but my new modern smallblock does not have the flange and the yoke slides in. does this make any sense to anyone? I have only seen where the yoke slides in and not sure what he is talking about with the flange. He said he talked to a number of mechanics for info today before they figured out the difference. It was amazing that they spent all that time on it and charged me nothing. My 64 is home safe in my garage and ready for the weekend. I will take her back to them when I have a few days to leave her.

Kerry
 

BADBIRDCAGE

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Jun 7, 2006
Messages
124
Location
Virginia Beach, Virginia
Corvette
1963 Polo Green Coupe
Lucy64 said:
Rich,

Did you have the removable crossmember fabricated or does someone sell something like this? They tried to shift the motor forward and still can't get enough room to change out the converter. They are going to have to pull it to get the room they need and I should have it modified for the removable crossmember to make easier in the future.

This place tried everything today and decided they would have to pull it, so they put everything back together so I can take the car for shows this Saturday and on the 4th of July. I will take it back next week and have the work done then. And the amazing thing is the owner says I don't owe him anything for what he has done because he couldn't get the job done. They have 4-6 hours in this that he is going to eat.

Kerry

Kerry:

When I first replied I didn't want to seem too bold with a "that's not gonna work" scenario. I thought I remembered from the old days that a midyear with an auto meant engine removal for any service other than a pan removal, but I wasn't positive. Memory bank is getting weaker with age.

In my case I originally purchased a crossmember from a C-3 and thought, how cool am I? I will just remove the original welded in crossmember and adapt the removable one in. After all, the frames are the same dimension across so "what could go wrong?" What goes wrong is that the C-2 crossmember drops down below the body and the C-3 does not. Sooo, when you have your body off the frame and are doing this really neat fabricating to adapt in the other crossmember you are WASTING your time because the body won't go back down onto the frame properly because the crossmember is holding it up off the mounts.

I ended up fabricating a crossmember from scratch. It is a first design for me and will probably be replaced with a better one later, but at least now I can finish assembly of my car. AND the replacement with a better one later will be easy compared to making this one.

I am sorry but I don't have photos of the new crossmember. I have a friend who left the original crossmember in his C-2 and had the center section cut out, very similarly to John McGraw's, and then fabricated ends on it to bolt it back into place on the original piece. A much easier job than grinding off all the factory welds on the crossmember that is in there now, and you can't get to all of them with the body on anyway.

Work with someone at a good metal fabricating shop and they can most likely remedy your situation without too much struggle or expense.

Good luck with your project and at the shows.

Rich
 

Lucy64

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369
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South Riding, VA, USA
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1964 Red Convertible and 2005 DSOM Z51 Coupe
Thanks for the info. I really have to get that torque converter in so I guess I will just have it done the old fashioned way and have the engine pulled. The labor charge will be more then I figured, but it has to be done. The cam is way too much to go with what is in there now. I still couldn't do this job even with a removable crossmember without pulling the engine. So I gotta do what I gotta do.
 

BADBIRDCAGE

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The horse is dead so I won't beat it but the purpose of the removable crossmember is to permit removal of the transmission without engine removal.

In a case like yours and mine it means that you disconnect the torque converter from the flex plate and slide it back. Then disconnect everything from the transmission and disconnect the transmission from the engine and drop the trans back off the dowel pins and down out of the chassis where you can do whatever you need to the trans.

Have fun at your shows and you can readdress this crossmember matter with your car later.

Rich
 
Joined
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Washington, Michigan
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'67 Marina Blue Convertible
Lucy64 said:
Thanks for the info and picture. It sure would make it easier. I was told by the shop that they would have to pull the motor to replace the torque converter. I don't fully understand what they explained but they said something about the original 327 had a flange that made the job doable if they shifted the motor forward but my new modern smallblock does not have the flange and the yoke slides in. does this make any sense to anyone? I have only seen where the yoke slides in and not sure what he is talking about with the flange. He said he talked to a number of mechanics for info today before they figured out the difference. Kerry

They may be talking about the attaching flange between the front yoke and the driveshaft U-joint. The original Corvette-only front yoke had U-bolts attaching it to the U-joint, so it could be disassembled to remove the driveshaft (it only comes out from the front, and you can't slide the trans rearward unless you remove the driveshaft). When you changed the front yoke on the driveshaft for the TH350, if a conventional yoke was used without U-bolts, that joint can't be separated, and the only way to remove the driveshaft is to pull the engine so the trans can be moved forward to disengage the yoke from the trans output shaft. Corvettes are the only GM car that had a separable front yoke, as there's no other way to remove the driveshaft without pulling the engine.

:beer
 

BADBIRDCAGE

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1963 Polo Green Coupe
JohnZ said:
They may be talking about the attaching flange between the front yoke and the driveshaft U-joint. The original Corvette-only front yoke had U-bolts attaching it to the U-joint, so it could be disassembled to remove the driveshaft (it only comes out from the front, and you can't slide the trans rearward unless you remove the driveshaft). When you changed the front yoke on the driveshaft for the TH350, if a conventional yoke was used without U-bolts, that joint can't be separated, and the only way to remove the driveshaft is to pull the engine so the trans can be moved forward to disengage the yoke from the trans output shaft. Corvettes are the only GM car that had a separable front yoke, as there's no other way to remove the driveshaft without pulling the engine.

:beer

Gotcha:

Like he said. I used the front yoke that separates so you can drop the trans.

Thanks once more time John Z.

Rich
 

Lucy64

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369
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South Riding, VA, USA
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1964 Red Convertible and 2005 DSOM Z51 Coupe
JohnZ...thanks for the info, now it makes sense. They had the book and talked to a Vette mechanic at Koons Chevy and were told it could be done. It took them a while to determine that it was not a original stock setup.
 

Lucy64

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Joined
Jul 20, 2002
Messages
369
Location
South Riding, VA, USA
Corvette
1964 Red Convertible and 2005 DSOM Z51 Coupe
Lucy64 said:
Rich,

Did you have the removable crossmember fabricated or does someone sell something like this? They tried to shift the motor forward and still can't get enough room to change out the converter. They are going to have to pull it to get the room they need and I should have it modified for the removable crossmember to make easier in the future.

This place tried everything today and decided they would have to pull it, so they put everything back together so I can take the car for shows this Saturday and on the 4th of July. I will take it back next week and have the work done then. And the amazing thing is the owner says I don't owe him anything for what he has done because he couldn't get the job done. They have 4-6 hours in this that he is going to eat.

Kerry

I took my 64 in yesterday morning to get the B&M Holeshot 2400 torque converter installed. This is the same shop that did the prior work and charged me nothing. Late yesterday afternoon they called and said the job was done and asking what engine oil I use so they could fill and fire her up and check her out. They said they would have my hood back on the next morning and do final tuning and call me at 10 or 11 AM to pick her up. This morning they called at 10:30 AM and said she was ready to pickup. I was at the shop in less then 30 minutes I was so looking forward to driving her. The shop charged me 11 hours labor at $65 and hour for a total of $715. They didn't even charge me for the fluids such as the BG synthetic trans fluid or new Castrol GT in the motor. She is running AWESOME. Now even with the crazy wild Edelbrock 7102 cam that is in her I can idle in nuetral at under 1000 RPM and in gear at a very nice 750-800 RPM. She still bumps and rocks real nice and with th Hookers into chambered pipes sounds great. For about $900 total invested I got performance out of the hole and the greatly improved street manners. Money well spent. It is sooooo much better to drive now that my wife asked to driver halfway thru the test drive I took her on. Before with the crazy idle the car had my wife would not consider getting behind the wheel, now I may have a real problem on my hands.
 

IH2LOSE

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We Will All Meet Again
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1966,and a 1962 thats almost complete
Sounds like you found a good shop,how great is it to have them actually top off the oils and then to take the time to ask you what your prefrance was.

Unfortunately I have never found a shop in our area that provides this type of service.
 

Lucy64

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Joined
Jul 20, 2002
Messages
369
Location
South Riding, VA, USA
Corvette
1964 Red Convertible and 2005 DSOM Z51 Coupe
I put about 100 miles on the 64 today and the recent change to the 2400 rpm stall B&M torque converter has made this car a joy to drive. The idle and performance is really amazing. So my experience should be a lesson to all considering running a very hot cam and automatic trans on the street. You have to at least have a 2400 stall converter.
 

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