Re: Auto vs Manual
Well, I see both siede of this but I'd have to say auto personally and overall.
The sm465 will last forever and a day true, but the clutch won't, no big deal though. It's tough and has the LOW first gear. The main thing I would be concerned about is compression breaking with the manual. Only because I read the GM truck owners bible and he preached it left and right, and does have a good point. The bad thing is the extra attention and effort going into the thing. Pedal, stick, gear, pedal, pedal, gas, gas, break, hit, whack, kaboom, crap! Its another thing to distract you. You may be able to handle it but good god I cant pay attention as is.
The auto is my choice and I'll go through with it as I have explained the manual. I just got a th400. I love it. I got mine rebuilt from an off roader tranny guy for 600 with an np205. Performance builds hover arond 900. It can also be made with a low 3.00 (not exact) first gear. Tough as hell. I have a shift kit in mine and it works very well, keeps it in first a bit longer. The tranny guy I was talking too said he never see's them break except from impact, never wear or straight breakage. I didnt notice a bit of power eaten up from the th400, maybe its cause my 700r4 was acting up, but maybe not. I also had a 3 mpg jump in gas mialage with my 32's. In fact I love it to death. No paying attention there! The downsides are obvios, heat for one. I had a 26,000 gvw cooler put on for free (tranny man kicks ass!) and it keeps her cool. Maybe invest in a pan too. It has no overdrive, but niether did the sm465. It'd be nicer in mud and sand becaus eits just hammer down and go.
I've noticed a treand in off roading. More fender trimming to fit big tires with less lift, big axles, and automatics. It's a hard choice but that's my opinion. I say go for it.
Final Words - It all comes down to a matter of personal preferance, conveinance, and application.
GO AUTO! (hee hee)
1978 K20, 355, TH 400, NP 205, D44, 14FF, 7" Lift, 36" TSL Radials