Author Topic: 400 and Towing  (Read 743 times)

Offline Oldroy61

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400 and Towing
« on: January 05, 2017, 11:38:26 AM »
Hi all
 This is my first post, but have been reading for awhile. Lots of Good info here and Thanks for it!
Thinking about building a 400 as a Daily Driver / Hot Rod / Tow vehicle (7000#).
Heard that they're known for overheating because of the Siamese cylinders, is that a real big factor
that I should stay away?  Thinking 700R4 and a 3.42 rear, open to some kind of Idea on cam.
The drivetrain is 78 C-10 with a 59 short bed fleet.

Thanks for any input! :)
'59 Chevy SWB Fleetside
   sittin on a
'78 C10 SWB
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Offline LTZ C20

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Re: 400 and Towing
« Reply #1 on: January 05, 2017, 01:37:00 PM »
You would be much better off with a 400 and a TH400 trans or if your interested in the over drive, a 4L80.
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Offline Oldroy61

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Re: 400 and Towing
« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2017, 11:11:10 AM »
Hi Ltz 20
 Thanks for response, So I take from your response that you  like the 4L80 . Can I ask the
Reason behind that . The only reason for using 700 R 4 is that I have them. ;)
Also isn't the 4L80 all electronic?  I think my 700R4 non electronic , non computer Anyway.
And TH400 doesn't have lock up. Thanks :)
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Offline Irish_Alley

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Re: 400 and Towing
« Reply #3 on: January 06, 2017, 03:23:08 PM »
i have a 4l80e behind my cummins in my 91. love it, i get about 16mpg and have towed some heavy loads and wouldnt hesitate towing much as long as its loaded right. i have a 94 shortbed with a 700r4 and the only thing i haul with it is trash. and i limit how much trash that is i dont like to see it squat much just because of that trans. the 4l80e needs a tcu or something else for it to shift right. it wont shift without the signal to shift regardless of what gear you put it in.
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Offline Rattler12

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Re: 400 and Towing
« Reply #4 on: January 06, 2017, 09:21:19 PM »
I put a SB 400 in a 73 2wd Blazer I rebuilt back in the early 90's. It was mated to a 465 4 spd and a 10 bolt 8.5 inch posi with 3.42's. I think I had something close to a 220/ 230 duration cam and 480 lift. I never towed anything but ran it pretty hard at times and it never overheated. It didn't get great mileage but ran like a scalded dog.....wish I would have kept it.....but then I wish I would have kept just about every car/truck I've ever owned....except for the 75 Monte Carlo... a boat and a dog all rolled into one.
83 C-10 shorty 454, 5spd, 3:73 posi

Offline LTZ C20

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Re: 400 and Towing
« Reply #5 on: January 06, 2017, 11:48:52 PM »
The 4L80 is a good transmission. I had a heavily modified 700R4 in my 73 C20. It was great behind my heavily modified 350.

well I also have a 4L80E behind the 6.0 in my 02 2500 HD. also a good engine and trans combination.

if I was going to do an upgrade again to an older truck, I would even mess with the 350 or 700. I would go straight for the 6.0 and 4L80E. Having both combinations, the newer is much better.
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Offline Oldroy61

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Re: 400 and Towing
« Reply #6 on: January 08, 2017, 04:23:18 PM »
Thanks Rattler and LTZ

I'll look it to the 4L80 but I will probably be a 700. ;)

Still would like to hear others comment on the 400SBC ;D

Also I just figured out where I posted ,so I might move it later
or if a monitor would move it to a better spot I'm good with that. :-[

Thanks again
« Last Edit: January 08, 2017, 06:24:13 PM by Oldroy61 »
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Offline Rattler12

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Re: 400 and Towing
« Reply #7 on: January 08, 2017, 09:16:14 PM »
If your going to go 400 SB be sure you use 400 SB heads. You can use any small block head but the 400 heads had water holes drilled in them between the cylinders. If you go with other than 400 heads you can use a 400 head gasket as a guide and drill said holes in the other heads....but they need to be there or you will overheat
83 C-10 shorty 454, 5spd, 3:73 posi

Offline Oldroy61

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Re: 400 and Towing
« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2017, 05:58:54 PM »
Thanks Rattler12 I will keep that in mind if I go that direction  :-\

Thinkin now about Strokin a 350, seems to be all the rage. ;)

Any words of wisdom there like any 350 blocks better than other for strokin,
I have a 73  4bolt  but I dont know if thats best or if it matters.
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Offline LTZ C20

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Re: 400 and Towing
« Reply #9 on: January 11, 2017, 11:53:09 PM »
nothing wrong with a 700, just make sure you get one from 1988 and NEWER. They are built better and more reliable. I got one from an 89 truck and then had it completely rebuilt, then I found the builder made a few unnecessary changes that resulted in the loss of 3rd and 4th gear so I had it rebuilt again and now it's SOLID. I had it in my C20 and it towed great. I also added an external cooler and deep sump pan.
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Offline LTZ C20

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Re: 400 and Towing
« Reply #10 on: January 11, 2017, 11:56:35 PM »
Also I wouldn't stroke a 350. with the modern technology in heads and cams, you can easily produce more power without the work of stroking a block. Drilling the steam holes in non 400 heads is an easy and common practice. I would just go with a 400.
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Offline Oldroy61

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Re: 400 and Towing
« Reply #11 on: January 13, 2017, 08:03:41 PM »
Thanks guys that really helps. 8)
'59 Chevy SWB Fleetside
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'78 C10 SWB
    work in progress