GEAR VENDORS FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Fuel Economy - how much will my vehicle gain?
All GEAR VENDORS products come with a money back guarantee so you know you can realize the
mileage gains we claim *see warranty for details.
Cars virtually any car that does not have a factory overdrive gear is going
to gain 22-28% typically by adding the GEAR VENDORS OVERDRIVE. Exceptions would be a car with say an unusually
tall diff gear like say 2.73 where the engine really is quite low in rpm at cruise already. But for all us
performance guys who run 3.42 to 4.10s you are looking at something near 25% gain in mpg at highway speeds. If
your car has forced induction (supercharger) plan on even bigger gains not uncommon for blown car to get 100%
better fuel economy with the GEAR VENDORS simply because the overdrive is also slowing down the blower, plus
reducing heat internally in the blowers charge area.
Trucks For diesel trucks (when not towing) you want to get the engine around
1600-1800 at cruising speeds gas truck at around 2200-2500. This means virtually any older truck that
does not have overdrive is typically going to gain 22-30% on mpg by adding the GEAR VENDORS OVERDRIVE. Having
said that, today our most common sale to trucks is the late model diesel that already has overdrive but still
too high of rpm. When not towing these late model diesels can run double overdrive (the factory overdrive gear
plus the GEAR VENDORS). The categories certain to gain 20% plus include. Ford GM and Dodge diesels with manual
transmissions and 3.73 or stouter diff ratios and automatics with 4.10s or higher numerically (this is because
the automatic trans has a taller overdrive ratio from the factory). We do have a lot of automatic customers
with 3.73 gears that love their GEAR VENDORS and claim 15% or better increases but call us so we can discuss
with you the terrain which you commonly drive should be a lot of flat land cruising to be most beneficial.
Motorhomes because of the aerodynamic loads of the big box shape, motorhomes
fall into two categories. Those with factory overdrive and those without. Without factory overdrive you absolutely
need a GEAR VENDORS. 22-28% gains typical on all three speed automatics, plus all the other benefits of gear-splitting
ratios etc. for climbing hills and towing. For Motorhomes with factory overdrive the big gains are in the ability to
climb hills with better splits in the ratios. Running double overdrive is not practical for saving fuel except in
those instances where you have a tail wind because it is really the aerodynamics the dictate the horsepower you
need. This is why a motorhome gets big mpg gains by just slowing down to 60 instead of 70mph.
I have a 3 speed auto and was thinking of a 700R4 swap to get overdrive, but I am
wondering how a GEAR VENDORS would be better?
This question is really about how much horsepower you plan to use. A 700R4 is fine
for a 32 Ford (light weight) that is a street only car (no abuse) and a small block motor with no
power adders (nitrous or supercharger). Any small block car or truck where the owner just likes to
cruise will find a 700 can be reliable but, the more you change to bigger horsepower, muscle
cars that are all steel instead of fiberglass, and some full throttle acceleration the more you
need a GEAR VENDORS bolted to a quality 3speed automatic instead. Though you could make a
good argument that a lower hp motor needs the close ratios that a GEAR VENDORS provides to
make the car feel like a hot rod the car will be more fun and faster with a Gear Vendors
- but it is not needed.
So the Muscle car guy is the GEAR VENDORS customer. The big block era of
1967-72 our most popular years for this same reason heavy car, big horsepower, and the need
to be able to perform. We of course do a ton of 55-66 cars as well (both restorations and performance
builds). The 3 speed automatics built in the big block era by the big three are the best transmissions
for performance street/strip use. You certainly do not want to take out a 727 or 904 Mopar trans, or
a c4 or c6 Ford ,or a TH350 or 400 GM, and put in the lighter duty 700R4 or even a 4l80E. Hot Rodding
is making improvements not compromising performance. It may be some fun to change an intake manifold
or do other work in the engine bay (where friends can see the new stuff) but when it comes to
transmissions you want to do this work exactly once. You want the best. The best performance, the
most reliability, a trans package that can handle anything you throw at it and the strongest overdrive
on the planet is a GEAR VENDORS. That is why a GEAR VENDORS comes with a 2yr unlimited
horsepower warranty (we know you will hurt the main trans before you ever hurt our overdrive) even at
the dragstrip. We own records in cars with 2000hp.
I own a 4 speed manual transmission but was thinking of either
bolting on a GEAR VENDORS or swapping in a late model 5 or 6 speed. What would be better?
The answer to this question is much like the same question automatic guys have
when they have a 3speed auto and are thinking of maybe a late model overdrive automatic swap so
read that question also after you have read the following.
Muncie M20, M21, M22, Borg Warner T-10, Ford Top Loader, and Mopar A833's are the
best manual transmission ever made for performance street/strip use and abuse. This is why they are
still used in Nascar. As soon as you put a 5th gear in the trans you compromise a lot of strength.
So the late model 5 or 6 speed will not handle as much horsepower. The 4 speed muscle car era
transmission are also much easy to shift fast (you really cannot powershift a late model five speed)
where you feel like you would break the Hurst shifter off in your hand before hurting a quality 4
The moment you bolt a GEAR VENDORS to your 4 speed you have not only added
the strongest overdrive gear but one that can also fix any wide ratio issues with M20 or T10
transmissions for a true six speed. Also all the 4 speed tranny's will get a full throttle clutchless
shift you can use at any moment on the street or strip. This means you can drop the clutch in 1st
gear and then hit the GEAR VENDORS shift button on your shifter at full throttle and get a
new ratio clutchless that will make a big difference in 100ft times and performance. For this reason
we supply our 6speed badges with all 4speed kits.
It just makes no sense under any condition to remove a quality 4 speed and replace
it with a late model swap. If you have a 3speed manual than yes it would be cheaper maybe to do a
5speed swap than to buy both a 4speed and a GEAR VENDORS. But if you love performance and plan
to get on it at all the GEAR VENDORS is the way to go. 2 year unlimited horsepower
warranty that is guaranteed even at the dragstrip. Those 5 speed ads may show a car at the dragstrip
but the truth is they will either deny your warranty if you drag race or give you such a short warranty
it would not matter. By the way the GEAR VENDORS is also much easier to install than a swap.
A quality 4 speed manual and GEAR VENDORS planetary overdrive is the strongest
manual trans package you can do without going to exotic race only manual transmissions.
For more details on this subject click here.
Why is a GEAR VENDORS overdrive stronger than a factory overdrive
automatic or manual?
GEAR VENDORS is the strongest overdrive you can buy because that is what our
company has always intended to build. The automobile manufacturer has a wide group of customers to
please. Probably 99% of these customers will never go to a dragstrip, do not like firm shifts from
the transmission, and could care less about a 10th off their hundred foot time. GEAR VENDORS
shift firm like a shift kit in an automatic and use a common vertex cone clutch that is low in parasitic
loss and cannot slip. GEAR VENDORS uses super high quality materials like 300m steel, drop
forged annulus, and 18 element roller clutch that are incredibly strong, expensive, and just overbuilt
for the typical new car buyer. GEAR VENDORS are also assembled by hand to exacting stacked
tolerances that would be impractical to build by the thousands per day we build only about 3
thousand per year.
So, it is not that we are smarter than the automotive manufacturers, in fact there
are no secrets in the transmission industry, everything any of us do is patented and those patents
are well laid out for all to see. GEAR VENDORS is just more targeted to the performance/race
customer who is willing to pay for a higher level of performance, components and assembly.
GEAR VENDORS has also been making planetary overdrives longer than anyone in the automotive
industry. We were suppliers to GM for the Twin Turbo Callaway Corvettes. A lighter duty version
of our product was used in Ford Diesel Transit vans in the european market for 10 years. Chrysler
and GEAR VENDORS have worked on a couple transmission projects that led to engineering still
in use today. So when we show how much stronger one of our components are - it is not criticism in
any way, it is just that our markets are different.
Can I run a high stall converter in overdrive with a 3.42
Yes, this is one of the most often confused questions (even when you ask people you
would think would be knowledgeable). Here is the detail. Our example could be this 3.42 Chevy guy. In
overdrive he is going to be a 2.67 final drive ratio. He is a Cutlass body with 27 inch tire and so at 75mph in
overdrive the motor will be turning 2484 rpm and he has a 3500 stall speed on the back of a pretty nicely built
350ci motor making close to 400hp. 95% of the people you would ask (even tranny guys) would say no-way and yet
we know this is an awesome package (drives wonderful, no high temps in the trans etc) why does it work? When his
converter was made it was set up to stall at 3500 with 400hp. However if you put 600hp to it it would stall at
something like 4500. Conversely if you only put 125hp to it (as when you are just crusing at 75mph not accelerating)
then the stall is way down at 2,000 rpm. So his stall with a 3500 converter is not 3500 at cruise because he is
not making 400hp. Car drives wonderful. If he romps on it while cruising then the trans is going to downshift to a
lower gear and get him into the powerband. (note: read gear vendors passing gear in this section) So, this is why
you never lie to you converter builder (because if you overstate your hp you will not get the stall you wanted).
The package of 3500 and 3.42 with 400hp is a sweet setup with a GEAR VENDORS . Without
a GEAR VENDORS the trans will not have a great passing gear because 2nd is too low. But with a
GEAR VENDORS it will it will jump right into 2nd-over which will rip nicely and put the converter right in
the power. You can use this setup as a guidline and say move up or down in ratio related to stall from this good
setup with a GEAR VENDORS. Below you will see we have listed an actual formula for Aerodynamic load.
Aerodynamic drag force may be defined as follows:
Fd = (1/2) Cd r A V^2 (1)
Fd = aerodynamic drag force
Cd = coefficient of drag
r = density of air
A = frontal area of vehicle, into the direction of motion
V = velocity of vehicle, into the direction of motion
Can I switch a GEAR VENDORS that was behind my automatic to a manual
trans or vice/versa?
Yes, one of the cool things about a GEAR VENDORS is that it is an auxiliary
transmission. It is the same overdrive for virtually all the different applications with just different
extension housings and shaft input couplings. In most cases it is in the 700 dollar neighborhood to
switch these components to the new application you need. If you are selling the vehicle though, don't
take it out. Most vehicles (especially the collectible years) will gain in value by having the overdrive
as everyone knows they are expensive and really add to the performance and economy. Plus many buyers
recognize they get these benefits while still leaving the period correct transmission in place with
just the overdrive added. So in the long run, if you own a cool car or truck the overdrive really
doesn't cost you anything and you get to keep the added fuel economy, saved wear and tear on the
drivetrain, and performance gains as a bonus.
WHY IS GEAR VENDORS CALLED AN UNDER/OVERDRIVE™?
Isn't it just an overdrive?
Which is better an underdrive or an overdrive?
No competing underdrive or overdrive on the market will give you the performance
of a GEAR VENDORS UNDER/OVERDRIVE™. In fact you could install both an underdrive and an
overdrive of any other brand and still not have the performance of a GEAR VENDORS. The only
thing an underdrive could do, that the GEAR VENDORS products will not, is get you a gear
below 1st but for the few times this would be of any value virtually all customers would greatly
prefer the performance, features, and other benefits of a GEAR VENDORS.
Let's cover the difference between a GEAR VENDORS and competing products
for automatic transmission equipped vehicles (manual customers should read this but understand that
outside of racing we do recommend you use your clutch when shifting). All other brands of auxiliary
transmissions are simply dual ranges. They are meant to be put in low range when you are towing
and high range when you are not. But the problem is that your vehicle has too few gears. Simply
making your gears all lower or taller still leaves you with the same gap between each gear. So
you could actually go slower with a dual range than you do now. You could shift these products
while moving (one of them you need to go to neutral before you can shift and the other has no
synchros but will perform a non-synchronized shift if you let off the gas), but these products
are simply not designed to shift behind automatic transmissions.
The GEAR VENDORS, on the other hand, is built like an automatic. It has
the expensive and reliable reaction planetary system, which is why it's compact and cylindrical
in shape like your automatic. The GEAR VENDORS is designed to shift under any and all
throttle conditions continuously, so when you need power you can go up or down just half a gear
at a time (GearSplitting). Sure the GEAR VENDORS has always been the most expensive, but
it also offers far greater performance and quality.
After the GEAR VENDORS is installed in your vehicle you will have twice
as many underdrive ratios as you do now (1st, 1st-over, 2nd & 2nd-over) plus an overdrive gear
(3rd-over) suitable for towing. If you also have factory overdrive you will now have 3-overdrive
gear choices. Six or eight forward ratios that you can shift to sequentially, one after the other,
for power unmatched by any other auxiliary transmission. There are many more differences ie:
Automatic shifting, pressurized lubrication, fluid filters, 4500# roller clutch, etc., that you
can read about elsewhere in this web site.
So, our trademark UNDER/OVERDRIVE refers to the fact that a GEAR
VENDORS is a unique overdrive. One that can do everything both an underdrive or overdrive can
do, better than any underdrive or overdrive available, except get you a gear below 1st.
MANUAL TRANSMISSION customers also gain several unique benefits related to
horsepower handling, ease of shifting and other specific engineering differences between the
GEAR VENDORS and other auxiliary transmissions. All other brands of auxiliaries are
themselves small manual transmissions, so in order to gearsplit with any competing product you
will either have a 2nd shift lever to move (difficult) or a non-synchronized box controlled by a
button (not intended to shift often). Only the GEAR VENDORS is truly a convenient
GearSplitter and designed to withstand the abuse of shifting continuously.
The idea that just having lower gears when towing or taller gears when running
empty is not going to solve most customers problems. The problem is that there is too much rpm
drop between some gears to maintain performance on grades and while towing. Another significant
advantage with the GEAR VENDORS is that you can do all your towing with your main
transmission in 1 to 1 (direct drive no gears) not in overdrive, using the GEAR VENDORS to
take the stress of overdrive.
This greatly lowers transmission temperature and extends its life. We have
many commercial customers that have found the main transmission reliable if they only use the
factory overdrive gear when empty.
WHAT ABOUT OTHER PERFORMANCE MODIFICATIONS?
Exhaust Systems, and Performance Chips, etc.?
These components are actually our #1 competitor. We at GEAR VENDORS are
quite honestly gearheads. We are definitely biased towards performance through GearSplitting. We
believe the best way for any vehicle which works hard (trucks and RV's) to increase performance
is by leaving the engine factory stock and increasing the torque multiplier (gears) and the time
you'll spend in the rpm where the engine was designed to make great power.
Every vehicle does need a quality exhaust system. In fact, most new vehicles
come with 7 to 10 years warranted systems tied to emissions compliance. All these new vehicles
have exhaust systems of much higher quality than what were available 10-years ago. Having said
that, there are some aftermarket exhaust companies making some outlandish claims. If you are
looking to replace a rotted out exhaust system and pick up 10-20hp you might find it here. Maybe
even 30hp if you go for an aggressively loud system. But some manufactures are claiming 60+. One
or more claim 80hp. The only way to get this hp change (assuming the stock system is in good
condition) is by either putting in more fuel or revving the engine harder. This is why many of
these supposed exhaust systems include alterations to the fuel pump or the addition of
intercoolers (diesels) or fuel mapping (gas) and/or shift program changes to the transmission.
But at what cost? These are not the primitive 2-barrel carburetors or outdated point ignition
systems we had in our old cars. Today's engines have the best of everything. Modifying the engine
to make the output higher can definitely reduce engine life.
If you own a truck and never tow you are the most reasonable candidate for this
kind of power modification because you are never really working the truck against a load that the
truck rating assumes. You will make more power off the line but during most of your use you are
just cruising and not making additional power.
However, for those who do tow, you vehicle is working significantly harder for
long periods of time. The more aerodynamic load you have and the harder you push against either a
weight load or speed (aerodynamics) the less you can afford engine type modifications.
Ford, Dodge and GM have to assume you are at the full gross vehicle rating all
the time and set the engine accordingly. If you set up your power for running empty and then
occasionally weight the truck, many components will be at higher stress than intended. This is
why the GEAR VENDORS is such a great way to make power, because it takes the conservative
settings the manufacturer intended for the engine and multiplies torque and your ability to stay
in the designed power without over-revving or lugging the engine. Increased performance that is
actually better for the vehicles. This is the same reason you would find that the big 18 wheelers
like Peterbuilts and Kenworths have large conservative output engines with 5 & 6 speed manuals
and 2 or 3 speed auxiliary transmissions for 10 to 15 or more forward ratios.
There is simply no better way to make conservative gains in horsepower and
torque than a GEAR VENDORS UNDER/OVERDRIVE™.
GEAR VENDORS, QUALITY vs PRICE
Largely what makes GEAR VENDORS successful is the founding philosophy
of the company. To offer the most advanced, highest quality, auxiliary transmission, with the
best customer service available. Price was not then or now a part of the mission statement. There
may be some market for cheap products that are not of quality but not in the markets we serve.
GEAR VENDORS are popular with RV's, Trucks, High Performance and Racing applications. These
are vehicles which are not retired even when they are very old unless damaged. It just doesn't
make sense to put anything less than the best product in vehicles this valuable.
In order to be the Best we had to have the best product. The product design
is ultimately the most important aspect and it is known worldwide as one of the best designed
transmissions ever. GEAR VENDORS did not invent overdrive or the original patents on
our product. DeNormanville (maybe the most famous transmission designer ever) created the
original product which, GKN (a 6 billion dollar/year public automotive conglomerate) acquired
to produce this product for Ford and Volvo. GEAR VENDORS is a licensed manufacturer for
GKN and in 1979 started applying racing expertise to the original design. The highest honors
in the industry were won by GEAR VENDORS in 1981 with SEMA's Best Engineered award and
again in 1989 (this unprecedented 2nd award for the Ptype configuration is the only time
SEMA has given the engineering award twice on the same product by a manufacturer). No competing
product has even one such award.
One of the big factors in our success is that our customers know exactly
what benefit they get from our product. You interact with a GEAR VENDORS, turning it
on an off. When it is "off" it is just like the vehicle was stock, so our customers get a
"before & after test" every time they drive. This makes our customers our strongest salesman
for the product and is why we have dealt with many customers on five or more different vehicles
over the course of the last 20 years. Today, many new Truck and Motorhome dealerships put
GEAR VENDORS in prior to the customer even taking delivery of their new vehicle because
the customer or dealer felt they needed one or the customer had one on the trade-in and
wouldn't be without it.
Prior to the factory overdrives becoming available many vehicles in the
1980's and early '90's came factory with the GEAR VENDORS as either optional or
standard equipment. These manufacturers included Allegro, Fleetwood, Monaco, Executive &
Rexhall motorhomes, GM's Callaway Corvette, Volvo passenger cars and Ford Diesel Transit
vans. Between GEAR VENDORS and GKN's production more than 2 million new vehicles
have come factory equipped with our product and the lighter duty earlier version. No
manufacturer has ever equipped a vehicle with any other auxiliary transmission that you
The Founder and CEO of GEAR VENDORS is Ken Johnson and his primary
directive year after year is customer satisfaction. Many policies at GEAR VENDORS relate
to this commitment. Our products have always been the DeNormanville designed reaction planetary
and roller clutch. These components are of such quality that the same unit we sell for an RV or
Truck goes to Drag Racers with 1200+ horsepower. This component design also means many
reliability features for the consumer i.e: you cannot get stuck in neutral as you can with
other products. GEAR VENDORS also has the best warranties in the industry up to twice
as long as competing products. Automatic transmission equipped vehicles not used commercially
get a 2-years unlimited mileage warranty. Many of our commercial customers put on more than
200,000 miles per year so we limit truck manual transmission and all commercial use to
1-year, 25,000#GCVW, unlimited mileage. (See Warranty for details).
All customers get a 30 day money back guarantee (see Warranty for details)
so you can drive it and know you got the quality you paid for. GEAR VENDORS customer
service personnel are knowledgeable in every aspect of use and installation and available to
you free of charge whether you purchased our system 2 weeks ago or 2 decades ago. Also, as an
extension of our customer service, should you own the product long enough to need a replacement,
any customer who owns one of our units can replace it for 1/4 the cost of new. This kind of
commitment to the existing customer is unheard of in most businesses today, but not at
In summary, GEAR VENDORS has the best quality, product, and service,
not necessarily because we are smarter or nicer than the competition (though we may be) but
because at GEAR VENDORS that is what we always intended.
GEAR VENDORS, INC. 1717 North Magnolia Avenue, El Cajon, CA 92020
Toll Free 800-999-9555 Telephone (619) 562-0060 Fax (619) 562-1186