Regear vs Manual Transmission Swap - 3FE

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Hi All,

I've been thinking about this for a while but good to get an idea from folks here.
My rear main has been leaking since I bought this truck so transmission should come out at some point - getting worse since I put in some seafoam to clear up the junk in the crankshaft (probably shouldn't have done that but that's beside the point).

I've also found this thing underpowered when running with 285-75-16s so been looking for a way to get more power out of the 3FE.

I don't believe I have the technical know-how to regear or swap for a manual transmission and it seems daunting (read a few threads on mud). Do any shops do manual transmission swaps? If so, how much would this be or has anyone done this at a shop?
I'd prefer a manual transmission swap since it'd make the truck more unique than just saying that it's been regeared.
 
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I didnt feel like my truck needed to be regeared after upgraded to 285s. I would look into advancing the timing to get more juice and it is reversible and easy to do. If you plan on 315s or larger tires, i would definitely look into regearing to 488 or 529. I did 488 and have been happy with it on 37s. I just recently upgraded my tranny VB to a Nomad HD VB and i can tell you that is by far my most fav. mod of the truck so far. The VB transforms how the 3FE drives and the 3rd gear lockup is fantastic with firm and crisps shifts throughout. I am heading to the Rubicon in a week or so and will test it out and report back.
Edit. If your in LA area, you are more than welcome to come checkout my rig and do a test drive and compare for yourself.
 

Road Apple

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Not sure those two projects are mutually exclusive. If you install the manual transmission, you’ll likely still need to re-gear.

If you’re planning to use your truck in the rocks and difficult trails in SoCal and beyond, you’ll want larger tires and lower gearing to gain control, clearance, and make it easier to drive over obstacles.

Having a manual transmission is on my wish list too, but the money, effort, and time are significant. I prefer to use those funds for mods that will improve the offroad performance of the truck. A stock Toyota manual transmission arguably isn’t going to improve performance or increase the value of the truck enough to justify the initial expense.

Another option is to re-rear the transfer case. The topic has been discussed quite a bit. Here’s one thread of many.

 

Josey1972

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**ON BOARD WITH ROAD APPLE**

Valley Hybrids can do a swap for you but its going to be expensive. Yes, the A440 tranny is an archaic beast that robs you of power but it is tough as hell. I have also owned a 3fe truck that was mostly stock excepting an H42 manual conversion. It was a blast to drive. If you swap do a NEW H55. Would I go to the trouble and expense to get more out of my current 3fe truck? I thought about it but no. For off-roading I dont think I would like the manual unless I got all crazy on Tcase work. Fun as hell on the road and yes you get all of the 3fe’s vast amount of horses. In your case, I would suggest looking at regearing the Tcase. Its fairly inexpensive compared to regarding your diffs. At the same time put the low range gears in there for off-road ability. It lets the 80 actually crawl. Not a Marlin-like crawl but a vast improvement over stock. Valley Hybrids got me mine. Cruiser Outfitters has them as well. My diffs are geared to 5.29 already but the overdrive Tcase gears gave me better highway running.

As far being under-powered I think it depends on what your definition of under-powered is. Many diesel tuners never have enough power for instance… The 3fe 80 came into being when the speed limits were still 55. It was less soccer mom and more off-road minded. The advent of the FZJ was a turning point for the LC in that it was more focused on American style driving ie more road than trail.

Check into the Tcase gears. I think it will give you what you are looking for at a fair price. I think the whole shebang labor and materials is around $1800 which, in my experience is great bang for the buck.
 

mudgudgeon

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One big advantage of an auto is being able to use the torque converter to crawl over obstacles.

I personally wouldn't choose to own an auto cruiser. I enjoy driving a manual on road, and off road.
I think there's more advantages than disadvantages to a manual.

A manual is probably less tolerant to too high a gearing offroad.
Crawling up steep obstacles can be very hard on a clutch if your gearing is too high.
 
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Maybe but we are talking about the US. It wasnt fast for the times either and to many younger folks who weren’t around in that time when the trucks were new are always going to wonder why they are so slow.
True. I was a toddler when this truck was introduced and yea when I get in my DD 15 year old Hyundai sonata it feels like a rocket ship compared to the 3fe but I'm partial to the manual transmission. Always wanted one and hate automatics.
 
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Not sure those two projects are mutually exclusive. If you install the manual transmission, you’ll likely still need to re-gear.

If you’re planning to use your truck in the rocks and difficult trails in SoCal and beyond, you’ll want larger tires and lower gearing to gain control, clearance, and make it easier to drive over obstacles.

Having a manual transmission is on my wish list too, but the money, effort, and time are significant. I prefer to use those funds for mods that will improve the offroad performance of the truck. A stock Toyota manual transmission arguably isn’t going to improve performance or increase the value of the truck enough to justify the initial expense.

Another option is to re-rear the transfer case. The topic has been discussed quite a bit. Here’s one thread of many.

Interesting about regearing the transfer case. I'll have to look into it. I don't do any too rough trails so I assume 33s would be the biggest I go..... but who knows maybe I'll up it to 35s at some point and would need to regear after doing a manual transmission swap. Right now I'm looking at the novelty factor but also gain the roughly 15% power loss or whatever it is due to the ancient automatic transmission.
 
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One big advantage of an auto is being able to use the torque converter to crawl over obstacles.

I personally wouldn't choose to own an auto cruiser. I enjoy driving a manual on road, and off road.
I think there's more advantages than disadvantages to a manual.

A manual is probably less tolerant to too high a gearing offroad.
Crawling up steep obstacles can be very hard on a clutch if your gearing is too high.
Do you own a manual 80 ? Another thought is I just sell my current cruiser and import a rhd manual one at some point down the line. Seems way easier haha
 

mudgudgeon

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Do you own a manual 80 ? Another thought is I just sell my current cruiser and import a rhd manual one at some point down the line. Seems way easier haha

Yes, I'm in Australia. I have a 93 fzj80 with H151F 5 speed.

I would not choose an auto cruiser for a load of reasons. I enjoy driving a manual on and offroad.

In regards to selling and going for a RHD import, you're kind of back to square one in terms of base lining, mods, accessories etc
 
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Yes, I'm in Australia. I have a 93 fzj80 with H151F 5 speed.

I would not choose an auto cruiser for a load of reasons. I enjoy driving a manual on and offroad.

In regards to selling and going for a RHD import, you're kind of back to square one in terms of base lining, mods, accessories etc
Nice, you guys get all the good stuff. Yes you are right about the baselining. It's an internal battle...
 
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Nice, you guys get all the good stuff. Yes you are right about the baselining. It's an internal battle...
Everyone here wants something they can't get, its human nature.. Just like RHD cars, i am sure driving backward at a drive thru is fun and not to mention you are constantly sitting over your exhaust manifold, great for winter wheeling i presume. if you think the A440F is slowing your 3FE down, just get a 1FZ-FE...i have had my 91 for over 4 yrs now and wouldn't give too shi*s about a 4.5L or a CE or 40th. I love my truck and it is perfect for me for what i use it for. I personally would not want to drive a manual rig for rock crawl, i leave the manual for track days and DD.
 

Josey1972

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Everyone here wants something they can't get, its human nature.. Just like RHD cars, i am sure driving backward at a drive thru is fun and not to mention you are constantly sitting over your exhaust manifold, great for winter wheeling i presume. if you think the A440F is slowing your 3FE down, just get a 1FZ-FE...i have had my 91 for over 4 yrs now and wouldn't give too shi*s about a 4.5L or a CE or 40th. I love my truck and it is perfect for me for what i use it for. I personally would not want to drive a manual rig for rock crawl, i leave the manual for track days and DD.
You are actually sitting over your exhaust now. #3felife. I agree with you on the adequate part but having owned both a manual and auto 3fe I would say that the A440, like most autos, robs your engine of power. The manual rig for offroading is nice IF you have the right low range gearing. My mini with a manual (Marlin dual case) kicks ass and puts you closer to “nature” as it were.
 

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