We have a new episode of Road to Improvement ready to watch, just click on the video player above or jump over to our YouTube channel. With the trip officially under way, Mike Musto and Elana Scherr head down to Silver Sport Transmissions in Rockford, Tennessee, for the first upgrade to Big Green, our 1981 Chevrolet Suburban.
With a first gear that’s crawling ratio, the stock Muncie SM465 four-speed essentially has three practical gears. Not exactly ideal for our goal of making Big Green suitable for daily driving. Plus, the old shifter is, to put it kindly, a little tired. So, out goes the Muncie, and in goes a new Tremec TR-4050. It still has a crawler gear (a 6.16:1 ratio, to be precise) but adds a 0.76:1 overdrive fifth that will make highway cruising all the more pleasant for both the engine and the Suburban’s occupant
Episode 2 of “Road to Improvement” takes Mike, Elana, and crew 600 miles south of Lansing, Michigan to Rockford, Tennessee for a much-needed transmission upgrade on our 1981 Chevrolet Suburban. Equipped with a Muncie SM465 4-speed manual transmission from the factory, the Suburban proved to be capable off-road and around town. For modern highway duty, however, the worn synchros, lack of overdrive, and long throws became tiresome.
Enter the experts at Silver Sport Transmissions and the new Tremec TR-4050 5-speed manual. With a die-cast aluminum alloy housing, beautifully crisp shifting, and a ratio spread from 6.16 in low gear for the trails to 0.76 for the highway, our hope was that the TR-4050 would not only enhance our overall performance and fun factor, but drivability as well.
On this, Part 1 of our transmission swap, the crew at Silver Sport Transmissions take us beneath Big Green and walk us through what it’s going to take to replace our old SM465 4-speed with a brand new Tremec TR-4050 5-speed manual.