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What are the "essentials" to keep a 200-4R from shattering like glass behind a fairly stout small block (with the occasional shenanigans of burnouts and a few holeshots) on a shoestring budget?

I recently purchased a "gently used", albeit functional, 200-4R out of an '87 Monte Carlo SS, complete with the factory CBBF/2,000 stall lock-up converter, TV cable, and dipstick tube. It's got ~86k miles on it, it's weeping fluid out of nearly every orifice, and it's currently sitting on my shop floor. Originally, I was going to do a quick-and-dirty re-seal, service the trans with a TransGo Reprogrammer kit, and a new filter... but then I started reading about the dire need of a billet forward drum, better bands, etc. to survive any amount of time behind 300+wtq. I've got zero experience rebuilding an automatic transmission, but based on everything I've seen and read, I'd qualify myself as "mechanically inclined" enough to do the job with written instructions. But, if the cost is a wash, paying the right person to do it isn't out of the question, either.








I intend to stab it into my 3rd gen Nova with a 400 small block sporting 291 heads, XE262 cam, Performer RPM manifold. (Read: it's a torque powerhouse compared to a stock wheezing 305). Eventually, I intend to replace the 400 with a 355 I have on the engine stand that's north of 400hp/tq. The car has 4.88 gears and 28" tall tires.... thus the need for O/D. The car will likely see less than 1,000 miles a year, and will really only be meant to drive around town, to-and-from work, and maybe do a few ice cream cruises.

Part of me says "send it", do a quick R&R on it, and drive the car gentle for a while and just enjoy the O/D. But... it's also right next to the stand where I can do it right the first time and just prep the thing for a hard life. I'd like to keep this whole project >$750 if I can help it, but as the old saying goes... "buy once, cry once".

Thoughts? Suggestions? Any idea on who I can/should talk to before going down this road? I would hugely appreciate any input from those who have tackled this dilemma before.
 

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Mike - 74 Nova Baltimore, MD
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When I purchased my 2004R, I just got the Full Billet version from CK Performance.
The transmission has performed great with no issues (purchased and installed in 2102).
If you are interested in rebuilding your own 2004R, CK Performance sells a manual that was written by the owner/operator of CK Performance. The manual is supposed to give detailed rebuilding/upgrade details (with photos) for the 2004R.
Below is a link to the manual if you decide to go this route.

I am also providing a link to the Turbo Buick website/forum. Lots of info on the 2004R under the "Transmission Talk" section with some very knowledgeable members. Good luck with the 2004R!
 
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Good news is you got about the best core you can get, with a Monte SS. It shouldn't require a whole lot of extra stuff, but opinions will differ. Remember the same transmission with the same valve body, etc. was used with the Buick turbo cars, which aren't far from the power/torque you have, even stock.
 

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They are lightweight and can take a good amount of power so I had planned to use a 200R4 on one of the project cars but then plans changed. A tip my trans builder told me at the time for the 200R4 and 700R4 was to down shift yourself if cruising and about to "get on the gas hard" and not let the trans do the thinking- especially on the 4-3 and 3-2 down shifts. Supposedly helps keep them from burning up and breaking parts, and of course TV cable adjustment is critical and needs to be done properly.
 

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I installed a constant pressure valve body from TCI trans. Eliminates the critical tv cable adjustment. Mine has Kevlar friction plates also.
 

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I installed a constant pressure valve body from TCI trans. Eliminates the critical tv cable adjustment. Mine has Kevlar friction plates also.
How long have you run the constant pressure VB? I've seen comments that it's hard on parts (pump, etc). Was considering that for my 700-R4 because I had to make my TV linkage (not running yet) - BTO recommended against doing vb mod. You still need a tv for desired shift points don't you? -Bob
 

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I have 5500 miles on mine with the constant pressure valve body with no problems. I also did the upgraded sun shell and extra clutch disc. I have a fairly healthy 385 inch small block. With the constant pressure valve body all the TV cable is doing is determining shift points/firmness.
 
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