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Need transmission ideas

1467 Views 6 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  DAVHAT
:help: My 1989 Dakota with 3.9, wore out the 2nd auto trans. after 210,000+ miles.
Not wanting to dish out $1,700 for a rebuilt, any ideas on if a 3 speed auto will fit? What are other low buck options?
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Your trans should be the A500 which is an overdrive version of the small torqueflite A904.
If your truck is not a 4wd then the 904 should work but the ultimate 3 speed would be a small block A727 as found in automatic 2wd small block trucks and vans (not as common in cars). You will almost certainly have to adjust the drive shaft length with these changes.

Tranny man since 1982.
Thank you for replying. I should be able to find an A727 without too much trouble. Dakota is a 2WD.
Can I get your advice on shifter linkage hookups, etc.?
The OEM linkage in your truck should bolt right up to the new unit. Use the two small levers from your original trans above the edge of the case unless yours are identical to the new ones. The only flies in the ointment here are that your computer may throw acode since you won't use the computer plug. The speed sensor should bolt right into where the 727 speedo output is. Put yours in the 727 observing just how it was oriented in the 518/500 trans. If your trans is the larger 518 it will look almost identical to the 727 and have the same driveshaft yoke spline and diameter. You still may need to change the driveshaft length.
Just my opinion here... If you have the time and skill to do a transmission swap, why not just rebuild your exhisting transmission? I had never been inside an auto trans until I rebuilt mine in my truck (also added upgraded and performance parts), and I made out pretty good with it. Inside the automatic transmission is really fairly simple, especially when you have a service manual to help you along. Also, in the end, you have a much better idea of what is going on in the transmission, which can help you diagnose future issues and be aware of them prior to major trouble. And along with that, when you put the transmission back in, everything will bolt up like it is supposed to. No change in driveshaft length, no worrying about shift linkages, torque converter, etc. Plus, you will retain your overdrive and good fuel economy.

Rebuild kits are cheap (just shop around a little on ebay and the net), the first rebuild can be time consuming, but worth it. Most likely you would put more money into a trans swap... cost of trans + lots of small parts + driveshaft modifications (these alone can cost as much or more than a rebuild kit). I am not trying to knock down the trans swap idea, but I know from my own experience over and over what a frustration things like this can be. Good luck!
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dont forget, if you go with a 727, the trans mount needs modified. but schumacher makes the adapter mount, i think its around 55.00.
swap or rebuild??

I'll check out a service manual and rebuild kit pricing.
Haven't gotten my fingernails dirty in a long time. With winter almost here, I gotta work on something or I'll go crazy.
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