12 Valve Engine and Drivetrain Talk about the 12V engine and drivetrain here. This is for 1994-1998.5 engine and drivetrain discussion only.

Synthetic Grail.

Old 10-08-2018, 08:49 PM
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Synthetic Grail.

Hi gang. New here, have been reading a lot of forums and have read all kinds of opinions.
Iím an old diesel mechanic, been working on commercial trucks for 25 years. I purely HATE late model common rail aftertreatment restricted bs.

After searching a year, I bought a really clean Ď96 regular cab longbed 2wd 5spd a couple of years ago. It has an AFC Live and max travel kit and a boost elbow. Love the truck, but it didnít take long to decide I really wanted a 12valve 4x4 5speed quad cab SRW long bed. I looked at everything posted from the east coast to Oklahoma for about a year. Theyíre all either rusted out, beat up, or both. Had about 20k cash earmarked for the right truck and just didnít find it.

So...I finally decided to build what I want and how I want it. Bought a Ď96 club cab 2500 4x4 longbed manual SLT Laramie with 185k for 5800. Then bought a 2000 gasser quad cab in the dark green I wanted anyway and swapped the cab and front clip. The truck had been a farm truck, so I found a nice Ď01 model bed to replace the hammered original.

Under the hood, Iíve installed a Power Driven Diesel package that should be plenty for my old man sleeper needs. If youíve seen the Diesel Tech Magazine video, thatís basically the setup. Injectors, delivery valves, governor springs, AFC live,pump mods, boost elbow, timing at 17deg, etc. first romp around the block convinced me of the need for a better clutch.

So... at this point Iím pulling the transmisson. I have the South Bend 13Ē clutch and flywheel ready to go in, and a 4Ē Diamond Eye stainless exhaust to install as well. Thatís where weíre at

My intended use of the truck is as a daily driver with authority, carhauler and camper tow rig occasionally, and if all goes to plan a retirement travel rig. Thatís 10 years off, but that goes by in a blink! Iím here to learn and ask questions of folks that have ďbeen there done thatĒ
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Old 10-08-2018, 08:54 PM
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As purchased


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Old 10-08-2018, 08:58 PM
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Those loaded out of order, but you get the idea.

New bed painted

The daily
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Old 10-08-2018, 10:34 PM
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I'm on a similar path, glad to see I'm not alone! Looks good. Only thing I would suggest is a dual disk clutch if you ever decide to add power to what you have. My 13" single has held up good but will be replaced with a dual soon.

I've got a real 98 quad cab long bed, was an auto, switched to 5 spd few years back. Body has seen better days for sure, so I got a pretty good roller that was a 2001 gasser.

Current truck used to work everyday, now it's only a few times a month but still delivers. I honestly enjoy it more than the common rail, except for the back seat space. And brakes.
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Old 10-09-2018, 04:21 AM
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What kind of brake issues do you have? Iíve only driven this one the 50 miles home and a few times around the neighborhood. Has a leaking wheel cylinder on the right rear, so obviously no brakes so far. Are there common upgrades while Iím at it?
my 2wd stops well enough, and looks about the same in the brake department.
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Old 10-09-2018, 10:43 AM
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Any of you NV4500 4wd guys used the spacer-type 5th gear nut retainer? I saw several, ended up ordering the one with the best reviews.
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Old 10-09-2018, 10:00 PM
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Very nice. Your "as purchased" pic looks fairly identical to my 96. I've been interested in getting one of those fifth gear retainers to have on hand for when the time comes. I'll have a closer look at the one you're interested in. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 10-11-2018, 10:30 AM
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Originally Posted by torquefan View Post
Very nice. Your "as purchased" pic looks fairly identical to my 96. I've been interested in getting one of those fifth gear retainers to have on hand for when the time comes. I'll have a closer look at the one you're interested in. Thanks for sharing.

I should be installing it this weekend, will post my opinions of fit. Makes sense to me that if itís indexed to the mainshaft spline and the 5th gear nut, then fills the space between the nut and the transfer case input shaft thereís just no way for the nut/gear to back off.

Also ordered the genuine Syntorq oil. Spendy but I feel that the $2000 transmission is worth $100 in oil.

Right now the holdup is fabricating a jack adapter to R&R the transmission safely. I nearly hurt myself clutching the 2wd one a few months back.
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Old 10-11-2018, 05:44 PM
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I never really had brake issues, but they are undersized compared to newer trucks. Most noticable when hauling a heavy load. GM 1 ton wheel cylinders for the rear help.

For a jack adapter, best thing I've found to use is a small atv jack, if you are working at ground level. I used a harbor freight job that was about $100, it sits on a wide base and worked perfect. Rated for 1500lbs.
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Old 10-12-2018, 09:42 AM
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Hmmm. I have a Horrible Fright motorcyle jack. I just donít know if it will go high enough. Truck has a leveling kit on front and on 285s.

Speaking of level/lift kits: I want to put it back stock. Looks like the front setup consists of spring spacers, longer lower control arms, and shocks. Who sells a complete kit, poly bushings and all?
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Old 10-12-2018, 09:44 AM
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Originally Posted by bamtech1 View Post
Hmmm. I have a Horrible Fright motorcyle jack. I just donít know if it will go high enough. Truck has a leveling kit on front and on 285s.

Speaking of level/lift kits: I want to put it back stock. Looks like the front setup consists of spring spacers, longer lower control arms, and shocks. Who sells a complete kit, poly bushings and all?

to clarify- a stock height kit and replace all wear items.
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Old 10-13-2018, 07:41 PM
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Well, the moto jack worked well with some wood dunnage and a ratchet strap, but...

things came to a halt anyway. Iím not satisfied with the fit of the nut retainer. It does engage the splines and the nut, but Iíd like that gap to close up. Did some more research and found the original genuine article for a few dollars extra (i think this is a cheap knockoff.)




Also, some goober installed the clutch fork backwards, and itís FUBAR



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Old 10-23-2018, 04:41 AM
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Looks awesome so far! I keep wanting to install cab lights myself, but can't justify drilling holes in my roof for something that seems unnecessary for myself...I still think about it though!! As an "old-mechanic" I'm sure you have lots of drive-train experience, but I had a few NV4500 nightmares that people here helped me with quite a bit. I ended up going with a fully splined unit with the large input shaft, but ended up having to drop the trans multiple times, because I made the assumption that the tranny shop that built mine would have set the end play properly. After the 3rd time dropping we checked and voila, 0 endplay, which was causing a no shift symptom. Not sure if this is a problem on a stock unit or if its because it's built. Keep up the good work!
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Old 10-23-2018, 06:53 AM
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Thanks. I did get the real deal 5th gear spacer from Pure Diesel Power, Itís visibly more substantial where it counts and fits as it should. I guess time will tell, but itís worth $150 in peace of mind to me when we're talking about a $2000 transmission. I decided after a bunch of reading to run Redline MT85 in the NV4500. Was having trouble finding the old Syntorq stuff, and the Redline was recommended by a local builder that I trust as well as online.
The ďSyntorqĒ that I ordered on Amazon was the GM part number, $27/qt. What I received was a different part number that supposedly supersedes the old stuff as a replacement. I couldnít find documentation anywhere that it was correct for the NV4500. I did find it all over the web for $17/qt though!


Clutch fork finally came Friday, so I put it all together and started on driveline repairs. Replaced all the u-joints and the midshaft bearing on the rear, but came up short again up front. The centering ball in the double Cardan is shot, so I bought it along with the u-joints. Tore the shaft down to find the yokes worn, too. Iíll drop that off at the local driveshaft shop if I ever can get off work while heís open!


Last edited by bamtech1; 10-23-2018 at 06:58 AM. Reason: Clarify oil info
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Old 10-23-2018, 07:03 AM
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Also fiddled with the vacuum controls for the CAD D60 up front. Had my AC vacuum pump rigged up, just determined to make it work as intended. ********. Posi-Lok kit is on the way!

What I really covet is the free-spin kit and locking hubs, That will have to wait for later,though.
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