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I personally like the roller and that's what I and many of my 4 speed friends use in their drag cars. I'm no longer running a 4 speed, but that's what I used when I did.
 

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took out a roller in 2 blocks, thought it was something to do with the install.
Put the second roller in, went 250 street miles, blew needles everywhere.
3rd time lucky, went with bronze. Been in for 15,000 street miles.
 

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68SSGrandpa said:
took out a roller in 2 blocks, thought it was something to do with the install.
Put the second roller in, went 250 street miles, blew needles everywhere.
3rd time lucky, went with bronze. Been in for 8,000 street miles.
Did you check the bellhousing alignment when installing your Tremec?
 

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Bronze / roller seems to be a mental thing, is a roller better, maybe, but why, just cause its a roller. When a roller pilot goes, and spits its needles, it can immediatly throw the input shaft into a wobble, and take out the front trans retainer housing/bearing. If a bronze is wearing, it will give you signs of wear for weeks. You then have time to change it.

Yes, we dialed a brand new Lakewood can, used Lakewood dowels, and had 100% brand new clutch, flywheel etc.
The roller bearings fit into the Eagle Crank just fine. The Tremec input shaft looked like it fit fine, but!!!!! kept blowing out the needles.
Finally after 2 rollers, we stuck in a bronze.

I found out we did have a unique situation, and some others installing any standard with a 509/400 block have had other funny, or unique problems. As an example if you have a blow shield at the back of your engine, that in effect moves the bellhouning out, away from the motor, but, you guessed it buy exactly the thickness of the metal plate. The input shaft, is then not engaging as deep in the crank flange. In cases like that, the input shaft litterally does not go completely through the needle bearing housing. It sits on one surface, and the end of the input is fee to touch the needles. If all the way through, the input shaft rests on the needles, but also, the front, and the back of the needle bearing housing. Got, it, hard to visualize. But basically the input shaft does not go in far enough.
In my case, I had a blow shield, and a double wammie.
The 400 509 block, not the 811, nor the 817, just the 509, has a very unique anomoly. The back of the block on a 509/400 has a thicker, or should I say longer bellhousing mounting surface. The surface when measured is .125" farther out from the crank flange, than any other block.
I had an Eagle Crank, and we complained that the Eagle crank rear flange sat .125" farther in, than it should.
I got Eagle so mad, they measured a 350, aftermarket, 400 block they had there, and all measured the same as a factory crank, flange to bell mating surface.
But, they did have a circle track block in, and happened to be a 509, and measured it. Guess what, the crank, wether a GM, or Eagles, sat .125" farther into the block.
This is unique to the 400 /509 casting only, and even installing a super T10, if you install a needle, it will not last.
My situation is unique, but, I have due to this, seen a few other uniqe situations where a needle does not want to say in.
Why take the chance, there seems to be no real benefit bronze vrs Needle, and I have had the bronze in now for about 15,000 street miles, and shift consistantly at my rev chip 6,600.
A needle pilot is like needle lifters, when they go, you are in for grief.
 

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I think of two differences. The needles have less surface contact to support the shaft and a bearing needs to be lubed. The bushing has alot more surface area to support the shaft and never needs lubed. The only time either is doing anything is when the clutch is in and the motor is running in gear so why do you need a bearing in the first place? I run automatics anyways........LOL. RM
 

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Grandpa-
Thanks for such a detailed explanation. I understand and can vizualize what you were describing about the end of the input shaft not extending all the way through the bearing due to your block plate plus the differences in your particular block. Even though I am using a 350 block with a stock GM 621 bellhousing (and therefore no block plate) you've given me a reason to question whether it's worth taking a chance on the needle bearing. I took the day off work today to stay home and check the alignment of my bellhousing, so this thread and your post are very timely for me. I just finished checking it and found less than .002" total runout (.0015" in one direction plus -.0005" in the opposite direction). Measuring at the 12, 3, 6, and 9 o'clock positions I found almost exactly 0.000" runout. I was amazed how nearly perfect it was. I checked it again and took measurements every 45 degrees. At the 45 and 225 deg. positions was the only measurable runout, totaling .002". I nearly gave in and bought a McLeod scattershield just to avoid having to take these measurements and deal with correcting any misalignment, but it really wasn't that bad and my GM bellhousing is almost spot-on so I guess I lucked out. Sorry for getting off on a tangent here, but when I read that you lost two roller pilot bearings I immediately wondered if it was due to misalignment. I remembered that you've had your Tremec for quite awhile, so I thought it may not have been known at the time how critical of an issue the alignment is said to be with the Tremecs. Glad to hear yours is still running smooth despite your unique situation.

Cheers,
Jay
 

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JTW,
Fantastic, you are anal like me when it comes to dialing those bells in.
I had the bearing issue with my ST10, before we even installed the Tremec. Tremec recommended the roller bearing, so I figured they knew something I didn't.
Input shaft was the same length Tremec, or ST10, so I ended up with the same issue, had to use a bronze no matter what tranny.
And yes, I cannot stress enough, when Tremec says dial in the bell, they mean it, get anal.

Real McCoy
I agree with that lube issue, how do you lube it after its in, its got no seals, the lube must go away real fast.
I have one of those " Automatic " type cars too, I get groceries in it LOL LOL :D
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks for the replies, I probably would not have even considered or known of the solid style if it was not for an old Jepp JY that I had to put in 2 roller pilots in in one year before the shop put in the solid style. That lasted till I got rid of it (major lemon).

Hey 68SSGrandpa, excuse my ignorance but what do you mean by "dial in the bell", do you mean lineing up the clutch etc.? Never heard that expresion before. I'm learning all this as I go and only have books, the net and this site (the biggest help) to go by.

Thanks again
 

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I have used rollers in all of the cars I have had with manual transmissions and never a problem..........go figure.
 

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68SSGrandpa said:
took out a roller in 2 blocks, thought it was something to do with the install.
Put the second roller in, went 250 street miles, blew needles everywhere.
3rd time lucky, went with bronze. Been in for 15,000 street miles.
same here, replaced two of the rollers (had to cut one on them off, the other one was in pieces) and went back to the solid. no issues since. best of luck.
 

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GuySmiley said:
Thanks for the replies, I probably would not have even considered or known of the solid style if it was not for an old Jepp JY that I had to put in 2 roller pilots in in one year before the shop put in the solid style. That lasted till I got rid of it (major lemon).

Hey 68SSGrandpa, excuse my ignorance but what do you mean by "dial in the bell", do you mean lineing up the clutch etc.? Never heard that expresion before. I'm learning all this as I go and only have books, the net and this site (the biggest help) to go by.

Thanks again
Dialing in the bellhousig:
If the bellhousing mating surface at the back of the engine is 100% true, meaning, the flat surface is square with the center of the crank flange. And there is no core shift of the block, and the bellhousing is 100% true, the trans input shaft pokes though all of that and lines up into the pilot within .005" you are good to go..
Then when you bolt the belhousing to the back of the block, and the trans to it, the input shaft will line up within .005" true to the cank flange, and fit nice into the pilot bearing, wehteher bronze, or needle.
Well, if all the stars, and moon line up, you are OK. If not, the input shaft will be off register, and not slide into that pilot to 100%", but you will never know, cause even off, it will go in, jiggle jiggle, we have all done it.
So, to fix, or line that input shaft perfect to the hole in the crank, you have to use a dial indicator to line it up.
Lakewood makes offset dial pins that you put into the blaock, in place of the factory line up pins. They are offcentrick, in that once the pins are in, you can secrew them, so they move the bell left right up down. With a dial insdicator in plce in the bell hole and the crank, you dial the pins, or screw them back and forth, till you get the dial indicator reading true.
So, the block can be off a tad, or the bell, or worse, both.
In the case of a Tremec, they recommend .005".
If you are not square poking into that needle bearing sap, out the needles come. If you are bonding on a pilot, you can run for a long time, but always have clutch engagement issues, the clutch hangs up in neutral, and lots of real buggie, hard to diag problems. One the pilot if Bronze wears real bad due to this, the engagement issues seem to get better, but then you have worn the pilot to the point where the input shaft does not have support. I have seen pilots oval, or almost worn right out. When this happens, with no shaft support, you can ( will ) wear the front trans retainer bearing. Now you got serious tranny repair.
This is my laymans terms. If someone has a picture of a dial indicator pokin through a bell into a pilot, now is the time to post it.
 

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68SSGrandpa said:
If someone has a picture of a dial indicator pokin through a bell into a pilot, now is the time to post it.
Here you go, taken yesterday. The first 4 pics show the dial readings at the 12, 3, 6, and 9 o'clock positions, the last pic gives a little better view of how the dial indicator is set up. As you can see, the dial indicator would not fit completely inside the register bore of the bellhousing, but I got it as close as I could so that the pin of the dial indicator was barely at an angle. This angle could potentially throw off the readings a small amount, but my bellhousing had such little runout that it didn't really matter. Notice that it's reading 0 in first 3 pics and just under -.001" in the 4th pic. One thing I might I add is to clean up the register bore with emery cloth or fine sandpaper before taking any measurements to get a true reading.





Hope this helps!
 

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JTW,
I hate to say, I got excited to see those pic's.
Great pic's JTW, moderator should put some of these posts in the tranny section for archive, as the pic's are better than a Playboy, when your stick don't shift properly.

If you have every had to shut off a std car to get it into 1st gear, or reverse, or, just had real sticky clutch operation, dialing in the bell, is usually a cure.

The Lakewood adjustable dowels pins are available in various initial settings. Depends how far the bell is out to begin with, then you pick the closest dowl #, and move the dowel eccentric, till the dial indicator is as close to zero as you can get.
Thanks JTW. Great camera work.
 

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68SSGrandpa said:
Thanks JTW. Great camera work.
Thanks for the kind words Grandpa. I spent today putting the water pump, fuel lines, pulleys, etc. on the motor then tackled installing the flywheel, clutch, bellhousing, and the Tremec. Just finished up actually. Getting that input shaft completely engaged into the clutch disc and pilot bushing was a real pain, especially since I couldn't just push in the clutch pedal to get everything aligned like they recommend. But there's always a way:

One piece of square tubing over the clutch fork for leverage, one wife who's willing to help, and a lot of back pain tomorrow... and it's in!!! :)
(German Shepherd mutt is optional)



Sort of an unorthodox method, but it got the job done. Plus, it's only going to cost me dinner at her favorite restaurant.
 

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Hi,

I have used a sealed roller bearing that fits in the large recess in the crank with DN 5 speeds, and a lakewood with block plate. I think Jerico may offer a similar part.

I am very surprised about the depth variation on the 509 block. I will have to check a few of these. It would look like that would really affect the starter ring gear alignment, especially on an automatic. Or is the starter pattern in the normal position?

I really like stick shifts myself.

Jeff
 

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stock z/28 said:
Hi,

I have used a sealed roller bearing that fits in the large recess in the crank with DN 5 speeds, and a lakewood with block plate. I think Jerico may offer a similar part.

I am very surprised about the depth variation on the 509 block. I will have to check a few of these. It would look like that would really affect the starter ring gear alignment, especially on an automatic. Or is the starter pattern in the normal position?

I really like stick shifts myself.

Jeff
Jeff,
The starter location was fine, so somehow GM has set it in farther. Can't remember the exact distance differential, but it was more than .125, a lot, My Tremec was installed June 2004, old farts can't remember that far back.
The meat of the flange that sticks out from the 509 block where the bellhousing bolts onto, is thicker, or longer in lenght away from the back of the block. Eagle was shocked when we did the measurements. What they did is lay a flat bar accross the bellhousing face of the block, and measured the distance to the crank flange. Low and behold, all aftermarket, all stock GM blocks measured exactly the same. The 509 block, the crank flange was in farther. They were stunned, but I had told them that before they measured. I have the name of the Eagle teckie that did the measurements.

JTW,
I really like your second set of pictures, shows the trans, motor, and your helpers. I have 4 broke vertabrae, and my wife of 35 years now washes and waxes my Nova. She does the interior as well. Nice to have a partner who appreciates your hobby, and is willing to help.

Nicest picture I have seen posted for a long, long time, a beautiful helper. A big hello to your helper, a buddie, a friend, a lover all in one, you got to be proud of her, she is more than what some guys say is a keeper. I hope when you guys are my age, she will wax your car, if you are ill, and you will still be takin her out to her favorite eaterie, showin her off, I do:)

I see you have a Patrick James carb like mine, and a competitors heads = AFR. You car, like mine should fly, you will love the Tremec.
 
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