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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Questions first: will an NV3500 work in my 2007 RAM 1500? Speed sensor okay, or will it cause major issues? Any other pitfalls I should be aware of? With either swap? And, for an 8HP70, does it matter what year it is from?

I am somewhat thinking out loud, but also looking for input. I have always wanted a manual. But, when I bought this truck in 2007, sticks were nearly impossible to find. 13 years later, the 545RFE's ratios are wearing on me. Not to mention the odd shifting patterns of the Dodge software. Yes, it's a solid unit, but I cannot help but feel it was aimed for the 5.7, and shifting leaves much to be desired. So, I am mulling over (again) a swap to manual. From what I've researched, two manuals were used with the 4.7Ls:
up to 2001 in RAMs, and 2004 in Dakotas, the NV3500, after that the Getrag G238. So I figure either will physically bolt in.
Specs:
545RFE 1st: 3.0 2nd: 1.67 3rd: 1.0 4th: 0.75 5th: 0.67 range: 4.74 wt: 200 lbs $1800-$3600
NV3500 1st: 4.01 2nd: 2.32 3rd: 1.4 4th: 1.0 5th: 0.73 range: 5.49 wt: 100 lbs $1200+$350 core
G238 1st: 4.23 2nd: 2.53 3rd: 1.67 4th: 1.23 5th: 1.0 6th: 0.79 range: 5.35 wt: 100 lbs $2,500+$1,000 core
**NV4500 1st: 6.34 2nd: 3.44 3rd: 1.71 4th: 1.0 5th: 0.73 range: 8.68 wt: 200 lbs $1,400 + $600 core
NV5600 1st: 5.63 2nd: 3.38 3rd: 2.04 4th: 1.39 5th: 1.0 6th: 0.73 range: 7.71 wt: 263 lbs $3,200+$1,500 core
Tremec 1st: 2.97 2nd: 2.10 3rd: 1.46 4th: 1.0 5th: 0.75 6th: 0.50 range: 5.94 wt: 135 lbs $3,200, bell housing $500 gears $300 plus install.
8HP70 1st: 4.71 2nd: 3.14 3rd: 2.10 4th: 1.67 5th: 1.29 6th: 1.0 7th: 0.84 8th: 0.67 range: 7.02 wt: 200 lbs (for comparison)
**edited to add NV4500.

I looked in RAM F o r u m z 2002-2004 5 speed manual transmission vs 2005+ 6 speed... But it really didn't tell me much about an actual swap.
I figure an issue may be the transmission speed sensor, but I do not know enough about those to be sure.
I've looked at clutches and flywheels, and figure if I use an 11-inch clutch vs a 12-inch, I can probably avoid changing the ignition? trigger sensor. But, that's just my speculation. At a minimum, I figure I'll have to adjust its position.

An NV5600 could also work, but a new one is $3,200, plus a $1,500 core deposit. And, I'd rather NOT increase my truck's curb weight. By another 63 lbs... But it would last...
It'd be the same or a little cheaper to buy a Tremec 6-speed with bell housing. But the Tremec's ratios would really require a rear gear change, to probably a 4.56. *If Tremec had an option that started with a 5.00 first, and lost the 0.50, so 6th was 0.75, that would be much better...
Bell housings for the 3.9, 4.7, 5.7, 6.1 are the same, from what I have researched.

5- or 6-speed doesn't really matter as much to me; either has better gears than the 545. And, I've already kept this truck for 13 years, so no, I'm not really concerned with resale value.

Any of these tranny options may require a driveshaft, or a stub shaft type extension, as both the NV3500 and G238 cases are a bit shorter, as I understand it, than the 545RFE case.
Yes, I could probably get a good used 8HP70 for $800-$1,200, and the Sound German harness for $1,000, but as I understand it that is not plug and play into a 2005 3rd gen, so I am guessing it's the same for an '07. And it's still an automatic. I emailed to see about the harness fitment. An 8HP70 would at least look like a manual, as I am told it requires a floor shifter. I also learned it is serviceable, but has some exacting steps to follow to complete it.

Why don't I buy a new truck? 'Cuz 1) I don't want the payment 2) I can't get what I want.

Thanks for your thoughts and info.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
TREMEC 6-speeds. Got some responses back. TREMEC says they don't control the gear sets in units such as the TR6060, and that I should contact either
BOWLER PERFORMANCE TRANSMISISONS 618-943-4856 (I did send an email to them about a 5.00 1st gear) or
SILVER SPORT TRANSMISSIONS 865-609-8187 . Did not see anything on their site about gear changes. (I have to type TREMEC in all CAPS, or my spell check auto-corrects it to tremors.) :rolleyes:
I did a little more digging today, and found home | RSGear , which seems to offer some beefed up for off-road trannies, like an NV4500 even with 4x4, and a high strength (1200 ft lbs! for Camaros) TREMEC 6-speed. I did ask them about a gear set along the lines of the TREMEC losing the 0.50 6th, and using a 5.00 1st gear. He asked what I am wanting to put the tranny into. So, more to come.
8HP70 harness. Got some words back on this also. As to the harness fitting my '07, he said it will work. He did not say plug and play. It is supposed to just need TPS and RPM to run the transmission from the engine. *That seems pretty simple. I wonder if an '05 is different? He also said the package is fused to 10 amps so that is the main feed. Everything is sealed so it can be in the engine bay--Just not on top of the exhaust manifold. <>I had asked if there were any special considerations, or any particular weather proofing steps needed.

[edit] Two other things I remembered. For my truck the 66RFE is a no-go. Dodge changed the computer setup in or about 2011, which nixes any backwards type moves. As for a TorqueFlite8 swap, it can only be done, I've read, with an 8HP70 (or an 8HP90, I suspect) because it has an internal trans controller. As stated above, the 8HP70 also requires a floor shift, so get your saws-all ready.
 

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The G238 is the only reason I’ve still got my 08, shifts like a damn go cart. I’m a straight drive guy through and through, but I absolutely hated the g56. I’ve never rowed through an nv5600, but doubt it would be any better. I’m not sure which engine you’ve got, but keep in mind your ecm will probably have to be programmed to not recognize the automatic. AFAIK, all the 3rd gen gas engines have the same bell housing pattern. Pretty sure a T56 has been done, but I’d keep it Getrag myself. They hit a home run w/ that one.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Always dirty, thanks for your inputs. I have a 4.7L, so as I see it the 545RFE isn't really set up for it. Thank you for the inputs on the G238. I haven't used any of the manuals for Dodge pickups; my experience is with VW 4 cylinders and Chevy farm trucks.
Did you ever drive something with the NV3500? Just curious.
Did the G56 not shift well?
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Got some more info from RS Gear today. They look like they build brute force based TR6060s. Like to handle 850-1,000 ft lbs. They offer the standard Tremec gear sets (narrow, middle and wide), but also have this set:
1st: 3.36 2nd: 2.10 3rd: 1.43 4th: 1.0 5th: 0.84 6th: 0.63 for just over $6k, but it will also handle at least 850 ft lbs. And, they offer plumbing the tranny internally for connecting and oil cooler. Way more than my truck needs, but I am sharing it here in case someone is interested.
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Can't pull the trigger for a while, as the pickup is my daily driver...and I am sure this will take more than a weekend to accomplish. I will have to refer back to this thread, I think (T56 install): thinking of manual swap. need the info
And this for bell housings, for those who pursue a T56 or TR 6060 or TR6070! Hemi to NV3550
 

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I’ve driven w/ an nv3500 behind a 4.7 before, but it was in a car (google fairlady mopar). Shifting action was great honestly, but that trans seems a little weak to me for a half ton though. That’s not based off data or stats, just gut feeling. I had the g56 in my 07, It shifted like the Eaton 6 speeds we used to spec in our Freightliners. Shifting took a little getting used to, you’ll love it if you like driving box trucks all day, otherwise meh. I didn’t keep that one for very long.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
So, did some emailing to companies today. Midwesttrans said they do not have any rebuilt G238s, and that parts are way scarce. But, they will sell me an NV3500. Sounds like I will also need a new driveshaft, but won't know what length until the tranny is bolted into the truck.
There are also a couple used G238s out there, so that is still an option. But I've seen Youtube videos of folks putting the NV3500 behind 4.8s, 5.3s, not to mention 5.2 MOPARs (318s), so it looks like it will work.
I asked some you-pull-it salvage yards about donor trucks, but the only way to know if the trucks they have are manual is to physically go to the lot and inspect each truck...
I looked again at the NV5600, but I don't think installing a 300 lb transmission is something I want to tackle in my driveway.
I will have to find a parts diagram again, 'cuz I thought I saw for the 2007 RAMs that they use a two-piece driveshaft. If that's the case, then it may be that Dodge used the same aluminum shaft for both transmissions, and added a stub shaft for the manuals. I also learned there were zero 4.7L Flex-fuels made with a manual, so regardless of what tranny it gets this truck will indeed be a unicorn...
Clutch pedal parts look like that's the simple part. There is a knock out plate bolted in the firewall; the clutch pedal just uses another pivot pin like the brake pedal does. Mount plates under the dash are the same.
 

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G238 is an Ebay tranny, but even then its hit or miss. You can find a 3500 in a U pull no problem, been around a lot longer and came in a bunch of different models. That’s probably your ticket to rowing gears. To me, depends on financials, free time, and how attached you are to your pickup. Me?? I’d sell that sumbitch and just buy one already equipped with the Getrag. They’re really not that rare.
 

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And yeah, I remember looking into that flex fuel deal. I didn’t know if mine was or wasn’t when I bought it. I’m sure ECM is different, but I think your already crossing that bridge to deal with the transmission. I can’t see any internals being any different, maybe injectors?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
Best I know, there are a few different components for Flex-Fuel. The fuel cap is one; I've had to replace mine before. And I suspect the fuel lines, and anything that touches fuel. E-85 is harsh on regular fuel components; it will eat them up.
[edit] So I looked as you suggested at used pickups with manuals. Not sure I want to do that because I've owned this one since it was new, and I've kept records of all the work that's been done on it. The closest one of seven is about 300 miles away. I'd opt for a diesel but those are about double the price of a 1500. And, I use it like a car; just drive to work with the occasional truck duty, so I can't really justify a diesel. :(
Besides, I do like a mechanical challenge. Sigh; just have to get some home repair stuff paid for first...
 

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I have 2 nv3500s for sale, also have 4.7 fly wheel, have clutch and pressure plate and master and slave, all you’d need is go on moparpartsgiant.com but clutch pedal and the pin with the horse shoe clips on outside, and everything just bolts in, don’t have neutral safety switch so you’d twist wires together and boom manual, not very hard. 750 if you want everything.
 

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Also have the 2 piece driveshaft for an extra 150, with brand new carrier bearing. I have to spend a good 750 on the driveshaft behind my build so won’t need any of this anymore, getting built nv4500 for behind my turbo hemi. Just trying get some money back.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
So, based on this thread, it sounds like it's important to get a good pilot bearing. I do not want to do some recreational maintenance early to change that. That said, the NV3500 had 385k miles on it, so pretty good use. 03 5 speed Transmission Issues And, I found it curious that truck had a 12" clutch. But, I guess I could use either 11" or 12" as long as everything matches. Figure that will be a package deal thing, so I don't mix and match.
Neutral safety switch. It's been long enough since I purchased a stick shift that I've not owned one with that switch. I think I'd solder the wires.
And, the storm last night blew over parts of our back yard fence, so got a new project today. The wind even sheared off the wood fence posts! :(
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
So, I heard back from another transmission company ... and they did not recommend using an NV5600. Guess it doesn't shift so well. And it seems they do not bolt up to the gas engine. :( They told me if that's what I want to use, I should get a G56. There is a variant that bolts up to the gas engine. Again, posting in case someone else decides to go this route.
With a 4.7 and no plans for forced induction (just my personal preference), I figure an NV3500 will work. If I really get concerned, there are ways to cryo-treat the parts for 30% more strength.
And, side note. Got one part of the fence replaced and paid for :( .
 

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My cammed 5.9 held fine with the nv3500 and it came off a 4.7, I’d just use 12 inch clutch, and use a good clutch set. You should purchase mopar throw out bearing, and pilot bearing, and you’ll be set.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Sigh. Haven't been able to get much done. This week's ice storm put the kabosh on things for a bit. At least we have power again. Did get some aero kit work done. Maybe I'll rebuild my garage here again and add the new pix...
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I accidentally caught my fingertip in the table saw two weeks ago. Did that ever hurt. No stitches, but still healing. No, I absolutely do NOT recommend you try that at home.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Okay, more fun. Drove back from IL last week. Had one of the belly panels get pulled down by a wind gust and drug the pavement. On the tollway. So, pulled that off after getting home. Then discovered the aft end of the tranny pan gasket was leaking, and the diverter valve in the heater hose lines was seeping a little coolant. Two quick fixes. But the bigger one is smashing some nutserts into the panel brackets...and drilling the panels to match. AND, fixing the fractured pipe for my exhaust branch resonator. Sigh, while morning temps hover around freezing...
<edit> fingertip is almost healed up!
 
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