After a bit of a hiatus we resumed our search for a transmission for our shop truck project. We learned several things in the process, not the least of which is this: transmissions can be expensive.
Thankfully our luck held and we managed to find one in the local area that would suit our purposes — but not without first looking damn near everywhere for one that fit both our budget and level of desired risk.
The simple fact of the matter is buying a new tranny would cost about as much as the entire build put together, so we decided to look for the used/rebuilt solutions. These, however, come with the knowledge that you could be right back in this position sooner rather than later. We broke it down into several categories.
Junkyard one and hope for the best. This option was definitely the cheapest, with the low end falling somewhere around $100 and buyer-beware rules in full effect. Also, you have to pull it yourself.
Reconditioned unit with a 12-month warranty. There are plenty of these around and you can get a nice, well-built transmission of almost any model or vintage for less than half what you’d pay for a new one.
Craigslist crap shoot. Here you are most likely to buy from an individual or a small shop/yard that warranty the part for a window of 30/90 days but you won’t have to pull it yourself.
We ran with the Craigslist option and found a nice unit that looks like it will do just fine. It came with a 30-day warranty and a great deal of nastiness all over the housing and case, but went for about $175 (which included the torque converter).
Before we mounted it up to the freshly-rebuilt motor, we decided to clean that bad boy up with about 3 cans of Gunk and the careful use of a pressure washer. It went pretty well, all things considered, and after an hour and a half drive to get the damn thing plus a little time in the driveway, we were rewarded with a new (to us) transmission.