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Old 08-13-2005, 03:18 PM   #1
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Join Date: May 2005
Location: High Point NC
Posts: 4
Year: 1968
Coachwork: Wayne
Engine: Chevy 350 (1980)
Transmission and tire questions

I recently completed my maiden voyage and shakedown cruise on my '69 Chevy skoolie with an '80 350 V8. Aside from a couple of small problems (ie flat tire and bad coil) which popped up, it was quite fun!

Of course now that things are shaken down, i have a couple of questions...

First: I've got a 5 speed manual, and the syncros are going. I can double-clutch no problem, but sooner or later, i'll need to either rebuild or replace. If I replace, is it possible to get a tranny (used of course) with a better gear ratio? If this is possible what would be a good ratio to increase highway speeds? Don't know what mine is, but i'm not getting real good highway speeds, about 55mph. Could go faster, but the RPMs are pretty high already.

And second: My tires. I've read the chock-full-of-info Wheel FAQ, but i just gotta get this clear. I've got 9R20s (tube tires) on split rims. Tires need to be replaced. Can I upgrade to tubeless tires on the same rims? If so would i be looking for a 10.5R22.5?

Many thanks,

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Old 08-14-2005, 04:07 AM   #2
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Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Posts: 382
Year: 1981
Coachwork: Crown
Chassis: Crown
Engine: 671 DD
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Welcome Steve,

The only way that you're going to change the top end on your bus is by either getting an overdrive transmission or changing the gear in your rear axle. Most likely your axle has the ratio stamped on it and you would have to go from a higher number to a lower number (example: 4.65 to 3.90). The thing you've got to watch out for is that you'll lose pulling power and you'll feel it when you're climbing hills, but if your bus has enough power, that you can live with, you should be able to do it.

As for the tires; you're going to have to change rims if you're going for 22.5 tubeless tires.
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Old 08-16-2005, 07:55 PM   #3
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Location: New England
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Engine: DT466/MT643
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A 10R22.5 is the same height (+/- an inch) as a 9.00-20. However, that reqwuires 6 new wheels...pricey. I'd get 9.00R20 tube radials--probably either new tires or good take-offs in front, and take-offs or Bandag retreads in back.
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Old 08-20-2005, 11:41 AM   #4
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Join Date: May 2005
Location: High Point NC
Posts: 4
Year: 1968
Coachwork: Wayne
Engine: Chevy 350 (1980)
Thank you for the tips gentlemen! I guess i'll go look for some new tires and just get used to double-clutching for a while. With my 350 engine already feeling a bit weak, I guess I shouldn't go changing the gear ratio right now. Maybe when I get a new engine! (Hah!)

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