I wish I could find the web site - It had great pictures and everything. Anyway, here is a summary of the notes I took.
On the pan rail, right rear side is a number. The first digit is the model year. The first year is 1982 and oddly enough, GM stamped a 9 for the first digit. Every year after, the first digit matches the year such as 83/3, 84/4, etc. Also around 1989 the case changed - the pressure taps on the right hand side were eliminated. Some 1989 cases have them and some don't. The year designation causes a conflict in numbering. 1989 and 1982 models both begin with a 9. If the case has taps, then it's an 82. If it does not have the taps its an 89.
In 1987, a major upgrade was performed. The upgrade included a 10 vane pump, 30 spline input shaft, auxillary valve body, and a 28 element sprag. One way to tell if your transmission has the upgraded pump, is that the last three digits on the pump are 732.
Hope that helps. If anyone has a correction, let me know. My notes look more cryptic than they did when I first wrote them.
dnult is correct in all he is saying. There are a couple of other things that might interest you. In 87 when the change was made you can look on the case where the cooler lines come out (pass side) and notice a "C" or part of a circle cast into the case. That is another way to know it is a 87 up.
Another thing that I like to do to this tranny is to lock up the converter hydraulically. There are only two years 87, and 88 that can be used to do this. The valve body has a bore for the lockup valves but it has alum slugs in there. 89 up they didn't even bore that passage in the valve body. You almost need to pull the pan to be sure about the L.U. valve.
When you use a Trans Go shift kit they supply the parts to do luckup between 3rd and 4th gears. You will need to get the actual lockup valves that replace the alum slugs. I get them from my trans parts supply.
Yes they make all kinds of electric lockup stuff but unless you pay a good price they all do lockup right on top of 4th gear. It's like stacking 2 gears on top of each other. If you do it hyd it will lockup at town speeds after 3rd and help mlleage even in town.
There is also an input drum out there now that will handle 650 FT.LB. torque, and a sun shell to match.
I don't have a link to where to get these parts as I get them from my tranny parts supply.
Just for the record, you can do hyd L.U. on all the early 700 trannies, it's just that the 87 up core is better to build up for big H.P. So what I was saying is that only 2 years of those have the option to do hyd L.U. in the valve body.
Good info Larry. I just pulled the 700R4 out of my 68. I'll certainly want to figure out just what I have and possibly do the hydraulic lockup. I'm getting ready to have the subframe blasted and epoxy painted for $150. Poor man's powder coat. Missed you around here. Haven't seen you in months - there's been more than a few transmission questions that I would have liked to see your input on. Take care.
Thanks for the encouragement. I have been real busy lately. I was offered a job managing a tranny shop and seriously debated closing my shop and going for it. When it came right down to it I just couldn't go through with it, so a long time friend and I are the only ones left out of 7 people, and we are going to get in a smaller building and build only streetrods, Jag conversions, performance stuff, and trannies. So when we get moved and resetteled maybe I'll have more time again. If you ever need help email me through my web site.
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