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Old 07-27-2020, 11:08 AM   #1
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1989 Chevy 454 7.5ltr transmission

Does this engine have an overdrive? It just says L,2,D. At 55nph or sounds like the rpms are at 6000.
Any answers???
It is in a 1989 fleetwood Southwind...
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Old 07-27-2020, 11:23 AM   #2
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Hi ! Welcome to IRV2! We're sure glad you joined us!

Sorry I can't help with that question!

Good luck, happy trails, and God bless!
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Old 07-27-2020, 07:33 PM   #3
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NO

I have a 1991 Winnebago. Same p30 chasis. NO overdrive. In 1988 what was that? and Remember the speed limit was 55 MPH. So our rigs were geared with that speed in mind.

Personally I wont go over 60 mph. I just decided I am going to be a menace on the highway. You could possibly change the turbo 400 transmission with the 700r-4 for over drive.

I suggest getting some noise quieting headphones and deal with it. Driving these older rigs certainly will wear you out. No way could I stand driving it more than 3 hours.
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Old 07-27-2020, 08:32 PM   #4
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That model yr should a 480le overdrive, there also is a th475 which is the old hydraulic. More than likey what you are hearing is the thermal fan clutch engaging and they can scream/roar just like what you describe when they fully engage.

If you have a TBI engine it is almost certain you have a 480le overdrive tranny.

Or if you have a carb it is absolutely a th475...unless someone did some major tinkering...
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Old 07-28-2020, 03:03 AM   #5
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If you need to add an overdrive there is a company called Gear Vendors down near San Diego... they make a unit that is ideal for motor homes or tow vehicles.
You can reach them at 800-999-9555 or 619-562-0060.
Web: www.gearvendors.com email: info@gearvendors.com

My personal experience with them is dated... about 20-25 years ago a good friend of mine had one installed in his 454 Chevy Suburban that he used to tow a large travel trailer. His primary use of the Suburban was running the a sales business all over the southern half of California, plus driving a twice-a-year loop from Los Angeles to San Francisco to Portland to Spokane to Helena to Cheyenne to Denver to Santa Fe to Phoenix and back to Los Angeles.

Along with the overdrive we added a MSD ignition, a set of saddle tanks and a set of headers. We had the distributor recurved and the carburetor rejetted. Those modifications collectively took the Suburban from 9-10 mpg to almost 15 mpg. My friend felt the overdrive was well worth the expense - and he swapped it into his new Tahoe when he gave the Suburban to his daughter.

The Gear Vendors web site has a set of informative links on the left side of the main page... including Trucks/Towing, Motorhome, Application Guide and "Common Questions".

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Old 07-28-2020, 08:07 AM   #6
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I had a 1988 P30. Here are the technical details:
  • 454 cubic inches.
  • Rochester Quadrajet Carburetor
  • GMTH475 NON electronic 3 speed transmission

The engine is turning about 3000 RPM at 60 MPH. As mentioned the chassis was designed for 55 MPH speed limits and it probably won't go much over 70 flat out.

Also as mentioned the engine has a large thermostatically controlled engine fan. When the fan is engaged it will be LOUD! The fan should engage when the engine is started then after a few miles of flat highway driving it should turn off and things get much quieter. The fan then should cycle off and on to help maintain engine temperature. As it cycles on you will hear it!

If it is always noisy it may indicate a bad fan clutch that never disengages. New fan clutches are about $50. With the engine cold and NOT running turn the fan by hand. It should turn a little stiffly but with a smooth action. If it is hard to turn, has any vibration or won't turn it needs to be replaced.

I had a Gear Vendors on my P30. It lowered the 60 MPH RPM from about 3000 RPM to about 2400 RPM. It was still noisy when the fan was engaged. However the Gear Vendors has other attributes that make it a worthwhile addition if you intend to keep the MH for a long time and drive it LOTS of miles especially in the mountains. It is a gear splitter that gives you 6 forward gears instead of 3.

Another alternative is to install the later 4L80E GM transmission. It is an updated version of the TH475 (TH400). It has an overdrive and a locking torque converter both will decrease cruising RPM. Note, the fan will still be noisy! It however will NOT add to performance like a Gear Vendors because it won't give you extra gears.
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Old 07-28-2020, 08:42 AM   #7
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It definitely should be a TH475 since the 4l80E didn't go into production until 1991. That is unless someone has swapped it out for a TH400 at some point. (Which I've run into.)

The best solution is a GearVendors Overdrive. Unfortunately such coaches don't stay in overdrive anywhere but dead level or going downhill. Mine drops out of overdrive at the slightest hint of a grade or any extra throttle at all at cruising speed.
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Old 08-02-2020, 04:51 PM   #8
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It's the fan clutch. Most times when they fail they lock on and it sounds like your running at 60mph in first gear. With that transmission it will shift out of 1st gear by 10 mph, and out of 2nd by about 35mph. The rest is all 3rd gear.
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Old 09-25-2020, 08:23 PM   #9
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When the fan clutch is engaged, it also uses more gas. it takes a thermostatically controlled fan clutch for that unit.
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Old 09-29-2020, 12:15 PM   #10
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Another vote for the fan clutch. When it's cold and you start it you should hear the fan run for a minute then quiet down until the engine warms up. At 60 enough air is going through the radiator that the fan shouldn't need to run. Kind of a pain to change but better than a transmission. Use a piece of cardboard against the radiator to save the radiator and your knuckles.
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Old 11-28-2020, 11:51 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Argosy View Post
Another vote for the fan clutch. When it's cold and you start it you should hear the fan run for a minute then quiet down until the engine warms up. At 60 enough air is going through the radiator that the fan shouldn't need to run. Kind of a pain to change but better than a transmission. Use a piece of cardboard against the radiator to save the radiator and your knuckles.
Correct. A good test of the clutch fan is when the engine is stone cold turn it by hand it should NOT free wheel more than 1 turn or so. It is designed (the coil on front of fan clutch hub) to start to engage a between 150F - 195F radiator discharge air.
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Old 11-29-2020, 03:31 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yeloduster View Post
I had a 1988 P30.

The engine is turning about 3000 RPM at 60 MPH. As mentioned the chassis was designed for 55 MPH speed limits and it probably won't go much over 70 flat out.
i can get mine up to 75 easily on flat land and 5000ft+ elevations. never pushed it much more, but I've gone 80+ no problems and backed off when i noticed. i see no reason i could get it going faster.
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Old 07-11-2021, 07:07 PM   #13
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Any Updates on this one? I bought some Industrial Headphones it is a lot quieter Now.
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Old 07-12-2021, 05:49 AM   #14
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Also another addition to this. I removed my front electric fans as an experiment to see if my clutch fan would stop kicking in and out at 180 degrees. After years of playing around with this problem it worked. The clutch fan has not kicked on. It's been 2 years now and continues to run steady at 180 degrees.
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