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56 tranny problem, swiitch to 350?


Chaz Paul

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I got a 56 buick century 4D, the motor starts but I was told that transmission is bad. I got. Qoute on the trtransmission rebuild, around $1, 000. Im on the fence with it and wondering if I should put a sbc 350 and transmission with a new drive line and reae for more power, and parts availability. Opinions?

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Unless you have a good running sbc you can't do a replacement for 5K. A complete crate motor is over 5K by the time it starts in the car. Buy a used sbc engine and rebuild? Parts may be cheaper but the machine shop work will be the same as a 322 or more, since most of the steel crankshafts in the 322 often do not need to be turned. Add in driveshaft, complete rear and that 'buttload of fabrication' and you are in the hole. After all that what do you have? A common old sbc that looks common, sounds common...(yawn). I have driven and ridden in cars that had the conversion and the ride was harsh and handling was flakey. If your 322 starts and runs quietly with good oil pressure it will probably go another 100,000 miles. We will be glad to help you keep the car all Buick, but you should look elsewhere for the how-to on a change over.

Willie

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You were told the trans was bad, but what is bad about it? Does it move forward in Drive and Low, and backwards in Reverse? Were you told it does not shift gears in drive? Were you told it leaks?

If you have the where-with-all to do a engine /trans/rear axle conversion, then you have the same ingredients to fix what you have.

And by the way, If you were told the car was slow with the Dynaflow and the 322, well, you were told wrong.

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That's not a good assumption to make. Who is "they"?

A Dynaflow may not move when put in Park, but take off in low, or after what seems like a long delay. And it will move when shifted into Low or Reverse. That problem is caused by a loss of suction in the pump. The clearance of the pump can become worn and allow the prime to flow back to the pan or, if you are lucky, a seal can allow air to break the vacuum holding the prime.

I was lucky. A can of Trans X restored the seal performance and the car shifts instantly. I did that over two years ago.

Be careful dealing with "they's".

Bernie

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just an opinion, but I just can't wrap my mind around doing the SBC. And yes, it's major surgery. I bet you can figure out that Dynaflow, but the 1K is by far your cheapest way out. The 56 nailhead is a cool engine, if it runs good then adapt it to a more modern tranny- but be advised you will need an entire new rear end for an open driveshaft. 5K would be possible if you do it yourself but otherwise it will turn into a complete frame off.

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