Well i have been reading about the NV4500, and it seems like a great transmission but also seems like a more expensive route to take. It looks like I can use the NP435 bellhousing with an Adapter plate.. plus a few other bits and pieces to get it to mate to a d20.. or suck it up and go with the 205..
Besides the expensive and the problem of finding one cheap.. I have found out the following about the NV4500
The bellhousing pattern is the same for the 400 and 460 but the 460 bellhousing is a 1/2 inch or so longer. If you put a NV4500 on a 400 bellousing with an Advance Adapter kit you will need to trim the input shaft and bearing retainer a little for a proper fit.
Requires special very expensive transmission fluid, I guess only available from a GM dealer.
5th gear nut likes to back off..
Lots of adapters and thats going to cost allot of money...
good news is, its short
I will keep researching. I have not really found a definitive article talking about an actual install onto a Ford 400 but only looked tonight.
I can pickup a big block ZF-5 for $89 right now.. haven't seen a Dodge NV4500 under $1700.. but haven't been looking too hard.
It's a long shot, BUT......................
Back in the late 70s, early 80s, Ford used a version of the Mopar 883 4 speed, with 4th gear changed to an OD gear. If you can find one for a 4x4 application, there ya go.
I will do some research and see what I can dig up.. i found a Clark 5 Speed for sale.. but wrong bolt pattern and don't think it has the .73 final drive.
put in a hydraulic clutch
I was going to on the NP435.. but will probably wait until I install the new transmission. No matter what I go with I will install a Hydraulic clutch with slave. The big bolt pattern ZF has an external setup.. I think the NV does too.
no matter what transmission you use the clutch is going to behave the same
3 finger requires extra effort to disengage regardless of transmission
diaphragm requires less effort to disengage regardless of transmission
since this is a conversion you may have your linkage in a bind causing even more effort to work the clutch
I think your right as the clutch rod that goes through the floor and attaches to the clutch lever on the frame is kind of hacked on (PO) .. not happy with the angles. Honestly I could live with the heavy pedal if i wasn't unhappy with the gear ratios, hard shifts and lack of OD.
I understand the NP435 is not a race car trans.. i know its tough, and like i said I can see the appeal for most trail rigs but its just not for me :)
plus this gives me another excuse to work on the Bronco!
Thanks for the ideas guys.. i will keep on researching, its part of the fun.