1979 Malibu wagon 4 speed questions

Mighty

Not-quite-so-new-guy
Oct 22, 2022
43
18
Hello all, already made a post in the new member section. Been a lurker on here for a while and over the last couple years I’ve been tinkering with a car my dad gave me and I’m hoping to have it going come spring. It started as a project with my dad brother and I back in the late 90’s when I was 12 or 13 (36 now). At that age I obviously didn’t have the slightest clue about anything, I just enjoyed going cruising/racing in it. It’s a 1979 Malibu wagon with a factory 4 speed. Bench seat car, radio delete from the factory, crank windows, power steering (deleted by us) and it had heat and air which is gone also. We did the normal run of the mill 350 and he put an after market clutch in it. Not much later a 9 inch ford rearend with 4.56 gears. The gear changed caused us to open the motor back up, put a bigger solid lifter cam in, a different intake (victor jr.) and Holley 650 carb and they car sat after that. The tags that are on it expired in 2003…. Over the years my dad lost interest and moved on to other cars. The car ran fine when he got it all stock and paid a friend $100 cash for it. He said since I’m the only one that still likes it that he’s transferring the title into my name. Sorry about the long post but here’s where my questions come in. Couple of years back I got it out of his garage and cleaned it up. Putted around close to home and decided I just want it to be more of a cruiser so I replaced the 4.56 gear with a 3.89 and bought new wheels and tires for it. The rear tires are 26x9 Mickey Thompson et streets. From reading I’m worried about the stock Saginaw transmission holding up with sticky-ish tires if I do take it out to the track just to see what it’ll run one of these days. A family friend gave me a Muncie 4 speed (m20 I believe) and a t10 incase the Saginaw ever failed. would either of these transmissions be a direct bolt in or would any crossmembers have to be modified and a new hole cut in the floor of the car? Again, sorry about the long post and thank you all for your time!
 
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pagrunt

Geezer
Sep 14, 2014
8,228
113
Elderton, Pa
The Muncie & T10 won't mount the shifter in the same place as the Saginaw due to the reverse arm's location. It is possible to get the shifter on them to be in the right position as some digging here you will find a thread on that. From personal experiances a Saginaw can take some more abuse than most think but over the 300 ft/lbs most likely let you meet the internals. But with you gear set you're looking at a OD transmission might make street driving a little easier with out making the engine scream the whole time.
 
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Longroof79

Rocket Powered Basset Hound
Oct 14, 2008
11,808
113
Gainesville, Fl
Welcome aboard! Please post some pics when you get a chance. Good to see more wagons join our ranks.
 
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ELCAM

G-Body Guru
Jun 19, 2021
804
93
Mount should give little problem.

Reverse arm for the shifter is in the side cover on the saginaw and in the tail shaft housing on the muncie and t 10 so the shifter is further back on the tail shaft housing. The linkage rods will be the wrong lengths too short for the 1-2 and 3-4 and too long for the reverse.

The output shaft is 27 spline on the saginaw, early M20 will be the same, the last few years of the muncie they all had the 32 spline output shaft like the M22. The super t 10 is also 32 spline and the early t 10 are something different (like 15 spline) .

Speedometer cable is on the drivers side on the saginaw and muncie and on the passenger side of the t10.

The 63 m20 has a smaller bearing retainer on the front and uses a unique bellhousing.

You need to know what years the donor transmissions are.
 
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Mighty

Not-quite-so-new-guy
Thread starter
Oct 22, 2022
43
18
That’s what my next question was going to be. If I’m able to load some pictures of the doner transmissions and any numbers that are visible if someone on here might be able to tell me exactly what I have and if either one would be easier to put in place of the Saginaw if it ever goes boom. I’m not going to drag race it much, I’m just curious to see what it’ll run.
 

ELCAM

G-Body Guru
Jun 19, 2021
804
93
Post pictures help will be forthcoming.

I think this is the thread pagrunt mentioned. A super t 10 with a Falcon t 10 tailshaft housing so the shifter will be in the same place as the saginaw.

 
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Mighty

Not-quite-so-new-guy
Thread starter
Oct 22, 2022
43
18
C4E221CD-FF12-4A8D-A429-A2DBCD3B066B.png
Here’s a picture of the car from a few years back after I put the 3rd member back in with 3.89’s and the new wheels and tires on it.
 

Mighty

Not-quite-so-new-guy
Thread starter
Oct 22, 2022
43
18
786546F7-D2D3-4796-90AF-35A3DE25F518.png

From my reading the manual trans cars are somewhat rare. Does anyone know any except numbers for how many stick shift wagons were made in 79? I’ve seen people say Most of them were Canadian cars or built for the Iraqis? Unless that was the 3 speed manuals. I found the original white ball for the shifter but mine has the line lock button on it.
 

clean8485

Comic Book Super Hero
Dec 18, 2005
2,748
113
Ontario, Canada
Manual transmission wagons are very rare. I don't know exact numbers, but most manual cars were 2 doors. The Iraqi cars were built in Canada. Although I heard stories to the contrary, as far as I know, they were all V6/3 speed 4 door cars.
 
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