Read how Custom Rodder magazine does a story on how Powermaster has enabled rodders to slip a GM 700-R4 behind an FE. Mating trannys.
700R4 Transmission / 390 Ford Engine Combo - Bow Tie, Meet Blue Oval
The Unlikely Union of a 390 FE and 700-R4!
From the February, 2009 issue of Custom Rodder
Author: The CRM Staff
Illustrators: Eric Geisert
Of course, the main component...
Of course, the main component of the Hughes Performance 700-R4 kit is just that--the 700-R4 four-speed automatic transmission. Built ready to run, all you do is add fluid, set the TV adjustment, and go! Obviously, you've got to get it mated to your engine, and that's exactly what we're about to demonstrate.
Along with the tranny...
Hughes also includes a special...
Hughes also includes a special flexplate and stall converter for the adaptation.
It's no secret that adapting late-model three- and four-speed automatic transmissions to early engines is about as popular as converting mechanical fuel injection to electronic. Unfortunately, most of the swaps entail GM-to-GM parts (not all, of course, but the majority). While some early Ford owners can benefit from swapping their Ford-A-Matic, FMX, or whatever it is that does the gear-shifting, for a C4 or even C6 auto, they're still dealing with an "older" transmission--and oftentimes, it's a pain even mating those trannys!
As evidenced by Alan Johnson's '62 Ford Galaxie convertible (May '03 CRM), there are non-FoMoCo options. Thanks to Hughes Performance and Powermaster, you can slip a GM 700-R4 behind that FE! That's right, you can still have your "Ford in a Ford," it'll just be backed up by a Chevy! Of course the argument stands, the C4/C6 is a good, strong transmission, but so are a lot of other outdated trannys. The 700 is a tried and true four-speed automatic that, when properly set up (that is key to its performance), will give you all any old Ford could, and then some...try 30-percent overdrive for starters!
Now, if you're not a dyed-in-the-wool Blue Oval buff and have gotten this far, you might want to keep following along to see just how Johnson's Hot Rod Shop put that Chevy behind the Ford! For the driver who really likes to drive at freeway speeds without revving the engine to death, and who wants a transmission with readily over-the-counter parts available (plus a bevy of aftermarket goodies, as well), this is the ticket.
Prior to Alan Johnson bolting...
Prior to Alan Johnson bolting the Hughes 700 in his Galaxie, the one component that left folks scratching their heads was the starter.
Powermaster provided Johnson's...
Powermaster provided Johnson's with a Ford 351W starter that Alan simply machined the upper (fourth) mounting ear off of (you can now buy direct from Powermaster without having to make any modifications).
But, in order to make the...
But, in order to make the bendix of the Ford starter work in the bellhousing of the Chevy trans, some clearance had to be provided, as shown.
Though the bellhousing and...
Though the bellhousing and engine block holes are drilled (with bellhousing dowel pins included), the adapter plate comes uncut, which isn't a big deal if you have an ink marker and access to a band saw!
Johnson's had no problem trimming...
Johnson's had no problem trimming the plate down to size, as you can see. If you don't have adequate cutting equipment, simply mark your plate and take it to someone who does!
You'll want to make sure that...
You'll want to make sure that the adapter plate doesn't interfere with anything like exhaust, firewall, etc., so bolt it on the back of the engine with the engine in the vehicle to verify.
Once fitment was determined,...
Once fitment was determined, the modified starter was bolted in place...
...followed by the flexplate...
...followed by the flexplate with the stock hardware (always use proper bolts on flexplates) and retainer ring.
Next, it was time for Johnson's...
Next, it was time for Johnson's Tony Inman to stuff the 700 into the Ford, which he did using a good-quality tranny jack. The dowel pins make it a hell of a lot easier to guide the trans up onto the back of the engine block.
Now, while the mating of the...
Now, while the mating of the trans to the 390 was handled, securing the 700's tailshaft within the chassis was another issue. Johnson's simply fab'd up a tubular rear crossmember, and while a bit on the elaborate side, you could do the same with square tubing if need be.
The new crossmember was built...
The new crossmember was built with slotted rear tranny mount holes.
It also has drilled side flanges...
It also has drilled side flanges for easy installation and removal.
To avoid any future noise...
To avoid any future noise or vibration issues (which could lead to bad situations!), make sure the converter bolts are aptly snugged down tight with the flexplate.
If you go and try to bolt...
If you go and try to bolt a stock 700-R4 flexplate cover to the trans, you'll notice it doesn't quite fit right...you'll need to modify as shown (upper piece) to accommodate the Ford features.
With the tranny all tucked...
With the tranny all tucked in nice and tight, Tony slipped the shortened driveshaft into place. Keep in mind, you'll have to obtain a Chevy trans yoke, which pretty much any professional driveline shop can provide. Just make absolutely sure you have the right measurements!
Johnson's used a Lokar adjustable...
Johnson's used a Lokar adjustable shift linkage kit to connect the 700 to the Ford's stock column shifter. Another option would have been to use a Lokar floor shifter if the column was not going to be used.
All buttoned (and prettied)...
All buttoned (and prettied) up, this is what you'll get when you "crossbreed" a Ford FE engine with a GM overdrive trans!
Lastly, and actually most...
Lastly, and actually most importantly, you need to make sure the TV kickdown cable is adjusted exactly right, or else your tranny's life will be limited! To get the TV set correctly, you need to have it pressure adjusted. If you're not able to do that yourself, ballpark it by making sure the cable is tight at full open throttle position, then take the car to your local tranny shop to have final adjustments made. Johnson's used the stock Ford throttle linkage on the Road Demon 650 carb; the TV cable and bracket are from Lokar.
2244 W. McDowell
JOHNSON'S HOT ROD SHOP
2401 Dutch Valley Drive