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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I have gotten bored of VWs and am seriously entertaining the dream of owning a 3rd or 4th generation El Camino. I have always liked them, but have never actually owned an American car, so this is virgin territory for me. My dream car will have a bench seat, so that rules out the manual 4-speed, but from the research I have done here and at the Chevelle site it looks like you can't get good mileage without an overdrive gearbox. So, my question is; can you put an 80's era 4-speed auto in a 3rd or 4th gen bench-seat El Camino?
 

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Hi there,

I own two 5th gen El Caminos with the factory 4-speed option and one has a bench seat. Both cars have the factory Saginaw trans which was certainly better for gas mileage that the earlier model Muncie or similar but not nearly as strong. Dimensionally, they are within an inch of the Muncie in length and the linkage is on the same side. On the 2010 Power Tour, I averaged 16 MPG with my 79 4-speed. I am sure one would fit in a 3rd or 4th gen although modern overdrive transmissions are stronger and offer overdrive (5 speed) or double overdrive (6-speed) options. An overdrive trans would be your best bet if you are wanting the best of both worlds.

I do agree with you - bang stick and a bench seat - way to go for the cool factor.
 

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a lot of early chevys had bench seats with 4 speeds and you can get decent milage with a non overdrive 4 speed .you just stay conservative with the rear gearing and get a trans with deep 1st and second gearing
 

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i believe they're thinking of putting an automatic tranny in. i know the th350 is only a 3 speed auto, but if i'm not mistaken, the 700r4 has overdrive. i know the one with overdrive is a bit longer, due to swapping trannies in my 85 caprice. went from overdrive to a th350. had to get a different drive shaft.
 

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the 700 and 200r4s will go into the gen 3 and 4 elcos they are no longer than the originals use back then you just need to move the crossmenber .the 200r4 is the same as the pg,short tail 350 and most 4 sp manuals.the 700r4 is the same overall as the 400.
 

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Manual 4 speed has a 4th gear ratio of 1.0, 700r4 has a OD ratio of 0.70 and 2004r has a OD ratio of 0.67. I know this is splitting hairs but the 2004r would give the best gas mileage then 700r4 and then 4speed. Just something to think about. Imo get a 2004r.
 

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no splitting hairs just listing the specifics.the two trans have different things to offer.like the 700s 306 first compared to the 200s 270s ,both good trans built right.but for fun to drive i would go the 4 or 5 speed stick
 
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