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200-4R or 700-R4 Conversion

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  • Transmission / Overdrive: 200-4R or 700-R4 Conversion

    Howdy and happy Thanksgiving!
    Looking for real-life experiences hanging one of these in a '63 GT Hawk.


  • #2
    There is much information already on the SDC Forum on this topic:




    • #3
      MUCH already written about this swap difference. The "search" function will provide...

      Think...why did GM spend a LOT of money developing a transmission, in the T-200-4R to replace the T-700-R4?

      1 - Lighter in weight.
      2 - Slightly smaller in overall dimensions.
      3 - MOST of all, MUCH better gear ratios.
      4 - Less internal drag (less parasitic loss) for better mileage and overall performance.

      And yes...this is first hand knowledge and use of both...transmissions.
      I currently have three Studebakers. All three have a GM, T-200-4R, in some form or another, performance wise. From a very expensive rebuild, mostly for racing, in my 1960 Lark, to a milder version for more street and drag strip, for my Conestoga to a slightly milder version for my daily driver Conestoga.

      The T-200-4R's gear ratios are better for daily driving, gas mileage AND performance than the T-700-R4's ratios.
      While the T-700-R4's first gear is much deeper, and will get the car moving a little quicker than the T-200-4R's first gear ratio...that benefit is lost during the shift from 1'st gear to 2'nd gear !! That difference is way too long for ANYTHING ! Driver comfort, mileage or especially....performance.

      Note - This same basic information is also written in MANY...locations throughout the internet.



      • #4
        While I agree with Mike that with all things even the 2004R would be my choice mainly due to size. I have a 700 in my 54K and a 200 in my 74 Avanti. As the 200's get harder and harder to find the 700's have newer iterations 4L60 and 4L60E that the 200 does not.

        There's no reason that a 700 or it's decedents matched with an appropriate rear end ratio won't perform well in your application.

        Here's an overview of both to from Gearstar Trans to give you something to chew on.

        2004R -

        700R4 -



        • #5
          Agree with Mike, if cost no object, a pro-built 200-4R is the best choice.
          Agree with Bob, if a better buy in a 700R4 or 4L60 comes along, it works just fine. I have one in my '63 Avanti.

          Work up a complete budget, as there's much more to it than the bare tranny. Figure the adapter kit, carb linkage, driveshaft, crossmember, speedo gearing (or a new GPS speedo) and possibly a new ring and pinion. To optimize the system, it's got to be coupled with the correct rear gear.

          jack vines


          • #6
            I have put a 700r4 in my dads '53 "C" and a 4L60 in my '62 GT. It was relitively easy to do on both cars. I made my own adaptor kit because the aftermarket ones I could find have no provision for the rear engine mount that goes away with the stock bellhousing. Or for it's crossmember which is also removed because it won't fit with the GM trans. I added the "wing"crossmember to the '53 and the 700r4 trans tail mount fits perfectly on it. The '62 already has the "wing" and the 4L60 mount fit perfect (exactly the same as the '53) on it as well. Only had to drill a hole for the mounting bolt. I changed the '53 to a one piece drive shaft. The '62 shaft already was a single piece. I had them made at drive line shops for around $200, including new U-joints and balancing.

            Both transmissions work very well in both cars, the '53 has a 3.0/1 Ford rear axle and the '62 has a 3.54/1 Dana 44. The 4L60 in the '62 is stock, but the 700r4 in the '53 is a "stage 2" performance built unit. It is perfect for a drag strip but not very freindly for "normal" street driving. I did make some modifications to it's servo and accumulator to get it to be more friendly , and it is, but it still can be quite harsh at times if you don't pay attention.

            As Jack mentioned, there are many bits you might not think about that you will need that can add several hundred dollars to the cost of the swap. Torque converter and it's wiring, trans fluid and cooler and lines, TV cable and carb attachment, mounts, shifter...etc,etc, and even mounting bolts; remember THESE ARE METRIC transmissions (the two factory bolts for the tail mount are $15 each from GM).
            Last edited by bensherb; 11-24-2022, 09:24 PM.


            • #7
              About 7-8 years ago I put a used 700R in our 63GT, behind the original 289 motor, with 3.54 rear gears. It came out of a 1500 series GM van with 74,000 miles on it IIRC. I simply re-sealed and re-gasketed the transmission, and used an adapter kit from a Stude vendor, to mate it to the 289. I cut 1" off the forward lip of the 'batwing' under the car, for clearance to remove the oil pan, if ever needed. The rear mount sits on the batwing itself. I also used a 1-piece driveshaft, custom made. Custom driveshafts are expensive, about $500 IIRC, but I am sure it would cost much more nowadays. Total for the job was around $2500. It still runs great, about 35,000 miles later.

              Perhaps a 200R is better, I have no idea, and no intention of racing anyway. I am perfectly content with the 700R.


              • #8
                I heartily concur with Mike. I absolutely abhor the ratios in the 700 R4 which is the more common unit.
                In my wife's '83 Cadillac Sedan Deville d' Elegance, I repowered it with a heavily modified Oldsmobile 455 W30 (well in excess of 375 HP)and had a pal rework the T200 4R utilizing Corvette servos, clutches and sprags. He also installed a Grand National torque converter and mostly Transgo performance internals. It transformed the huge monster into a super performance machine not belying it's size(The Bilsteins and 1 1/2" sway bars front & rear surely help). In other words, the ultimate sleeper or Q-Ship which surprises all the usual Camaro and Mustang owners.


                • #9
                  Each combination of engine, transmission and rear axle ratio is its own multi-variable regression analysis.

                  The 700R4 fourth gear is .7, so a 3.00 rear gear becomes 2.10 in overdrive. An R1 on a hot day up a hill will not like pulling hard at low RPM. A downshift will often be necessary to avoid pinging.

                  Most R1 automatics came with a 3.31 and the R2 a 3.73. For whatever reason, the Avanti specifications did not list the 3.54 as an optional ratio. On flat ground, a 700R4 with a 3.31 is tolerable, while in the hill country, one might choose the 3.73.

                  jack vines


                  • #10
                    I thing I did not read in the above replies is that with the 700R you will have to modify the passenger floor, at least we did on my 64 Cruiser. Now by modify I mean bang on the underside of the floor to make more room for the bigger 700R otherwise it won’t fit.



                    • StudeRich
                      StudeRich commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Mark, I think that is due to the huge difference in Engine Setback between a C & K and a Sedan W or Y.
                      That is because the C & K sit at the Rear of the Front Crossmember, while the others all sit right at the Front of it.

                  • #11
                    I did not need to modify the floor to fit the 700r4 or 4L60 in either the '53 "C" or '62 "K".

                    I did , as Joe did, remove the flange on the "wing" and weld the top and bottom together, in place of the flange, on the '62 though. This is only needed to be able to remove the trans pan bolts without first removing the "wing".


                    • #12
                      I've got a 700-R4 in my 53 Coupe and there was adequate clearance. It was bolted to a SBC and maybe it sat slightly lower in the frame than the Studebaker would have? I did have concerns for driveshaft clearance and did raise it a bit. I used the batwing (the 53 sat on a 58 Hawk frame) with a piece of angle iron welded to the front part and drilled for a stock GM transmission mount.


                      • #13
                        Great information. Thanks fellas!