I’m one of those people that is always thinking about something, like what I will do if I don’t win the GenIII Hemi™ being given away by POWERNATION. Obviously I get what’s cheap from a junkyard unless I win the lottery. At this point GenIII and GenIV LS engines are the cheap alternative for making reliable power from the junkyard.
I have to also go for the possibility I won’t need to install an automatic transmission. The main reason I can’t go with a manual is lack of space in the footbox for a clutch pedal, but if I get a transmission that can be shifted without using a clutch except for starting I can use a hand clutch for starting out, and use the “clutchless” shifting to change gears. I mostly will race in first gear so once I leave the starting line I’m good and never have to use the clutch until I cross the finish. Driving on the highway is different because I will have to get to top gear somehow, and if I have a regular transmission I will have to use both hands to shift and let go of the steering wheel. This is ungood for obvious reasons, but if I can just lift throttle for a bit and slam the shifter into the next gear until I get to cruise speed I’m good. I just need to get a transmission that I can shift without using the clutch. Also manual transmissions are lighter than automatics in almost every case, the T-10 with an aluminum case coming in at just 70 pounds wet compared to the 4l60e at 176. That doesn’t include the flywheel and clutch for the manual, but it also doesn’t include the flex plate and roughly 50 pound torque converter for the automatic. And I can use a lightweight “button” clutch on a flex place instead of the torque convertor to save a few pound over the flywheel/clutch, saving a few pounds of rotating weight. That adds a lot of cost though.
That T-10 can be purchased with an overdrive gear in the 3rd position retaining the 1:1 4th. This results in a strange shift pattern that has the top gear above third, but that can be adapted to with seat time. The jump from 1st to 2nd will have to be figured out, but if I gear 1st to top out at 40 MPH, for street and highway I can skip shift from 1st to OD 3rd or 4th. I was just now looking and if I flop the 3-4 shift lever it will swap the 3rd and 4th gears in the shift pattern. This requires a bit of cutting and welding on the shift arm, but well within my skills as a metal fabricator.
Looking at the costs of bellhousings and other support equipment to install a T-10 to an LS compared to the price for a 4l60, that’s a ton of $ to save 50 or so pounds, but I’ll have to keep it in mind as an option. Basically the flywheel, clutch and bellhousing to bolt a T-10 to an LS are more than a performance remanufactured 4l60e, and that’s not including the cost of the T-10.
But if I get the money to do it that is the way I would go. I would get that 4.2″ bore LS block and a 3.26″ stroke crankshaft from a 4.8 liter truck engine, and a set of LS7 heads and the stuff to make it run, and have a 361 cubic inch engine that keeps breathing past 7000 RPM, fit it with the T10 and the OD 3rd cog and the swapped 3-4 shifting arm, and then have a 1700 pound car on the starting line with an easy 500 HP, that cruises at a low RPM to get good gas mileage and range. Obviously that is going to require I win the Powerball or Lotto, and I may have burned most of my luck out just surviving the wreck, but I have to think winning is a possibility, or why continue with the build?