NV3500 vs NV450

NV3500 vs NV4500

New Venture Gear, known as NV, was a light truck transmission company established in 1990. It was the first joint venture between the US’ three biggest automakers.

This division isn’t in existence anymore, but it produced numerous transmissions for truck applications during its time. Moreover, they also made FWD transmissions.

But in today’s time, it’s challenging to identify the truck transmissions due to the lack of relevant markings and ID tags. Therefore, you need to consider construction and measurement to know if your transmission is from New Venture Gear. 

The two popular transmissions by New Venture Gear are NV3500 and NV4500. But what are their differences, and how can you recognize them? Here’s a detailed comparative analysis of NV3500 vs. NV4500.

What Is NV3500? 

The New Venture Gear 3500, popularly called NV3500, is a medium-duty overdrive manual transmission for compact and light trucks. General Motors and Dodge used NV3500 in both full-size light trucks and compact trucks.

The full synchronized NV3500 manual transmission was available to Dodge and GM buyers in 1994 as a replacement for the NV4500.

You can identify the NV3500 by the two-piece aluminum case integrated with the top-mounted tower shifter and bell housing. Its split case design weighs less and produces less noise as compared to cast iron.

The internal components also weigh less, resulting in easy shifts. In 1998, New Venture Gear launched NV3500 under the name HM290. Most trucks by General Motors featured NV3500 installation.

In the 1994 Dakota and Dodge Ram, the NV3500 was paired with 5.2 liter V8 and 3.9-liter V6 engines. It complemented both four-wheel and two-wheel drive vehicles.

You can still find NV3500 in 1994 or later models of full-size Dodge Dakota V8 trucks. In conclusion, the NV3500 is a five-speed manual transmission. 

Features of NV3500

  • Weight: 110 pounds
  • Rated for 310 ft-lb of torque (in 1994)
  • Shift the tower-mounted shift lever
  • Two-piece aluminum housing
  • Fully synchronized reverse and forward gears
  • The distance between the centerline of the main shaft and countershaft is 85 mm
  • Single shift rail

What Is NV4500? 

NV4500, also called the New Venture Gear 4500, is a five-speed manual transmission. General Motors and Chrysler products used NV 4500 in their trucks between 1991 and 2008. 

Features of NV4500 

  • 460 engine torque
  • 195 pounds transmission weight
  • 5.04 reverse gear ratio
  • The case material is cast iron
  • 6.50 GM bellhousing length
  • Five forward speeds 

Engineering and Transmission Features

Let us discuss the engineering and transmission features of NV3500 and NV4500 in detail. 


NV3500 featured constant-mesh helical type gears that significantly reduced the gear noise. In addition, the reverse synchronizer and the offset between the two shift gears prevented the shift from reversing in the case of forwarding movements.

This mechanism also used a nine-degree cone angle which would clash in case an attempt to shift to reverse was made at about five mph.

Moreover, the NV3500 used three assemblies of synchronizers on the output shaft. These were 1-2, 3-4, and 5-reverse. 

The constant mesh transmission had selectable snap rings. These adjusted the gear.

All the gears were constantly in mesh with each other. However, none of the gears transmitted torque until the synchronizer engaged. 

Moreover, hydraulic actuation and a mechanical clutch system made the clutch assembly. The transmission also featured a clutch starter interlock system.

Due to this, the engine would not start while the clutch was engaged. The aluminum casting for clutch housing reduced the weight.

Moreover, The vented clutch significantly decreased heat. It also elevated the clutch life. 


General Motors Muncie Transmission Division and Chrysler New Process Corporation formed a joint venture to produce manual transmissions. It gave birth to New Venture Gear. The NV4500 is one of the most significant products of this venture. 

The NV4500 is a heavy-duty constant mesh, helical geared transmission featuring a 5th gear drive. All forward gears are synchronized. However, only the initial Dodge version featured a synchronized reverse. 

The NV4500 is attached to the fighter top cover. Its tag displays the transmission model and build date. These details are vital for ordering replacement parts. 

NV4500 transmission is amongst the most popular and versatile transmissions of all time. It can convert between 2nd and 4th wheel drive. The venture offered rebuilt parts, engine adapters, and complete transmissions.

The transmission’s case was made from cast iron and aluminum, making it lightweight. The shifter also offers better accessibility. This transmission uses about one gallon of synthetic oil. The Nv4500 transmission also features synchronizer rings that are made from a fibrous material.

The wrong fluid makes the unit sticky. You’ll have to rebuild the transmission if you accidentally use the wrong fluid. The synthetic oil ideal for nv4500 is available at a local GM authorized dealer. 

A Quick Comparison of NV3500 and NV4500

The NV3500 featured a two-piece aluminum case with a tower shifter and integrated bell housing. It is a five-speed light-duty manual transmission. It also features a two-piece case for repairs of the internal components.

Unfortunately, the manual transmission does not have an access point. Therefore, the two-piece case has to be split for repair. 

The transmission case’s front section also has an integrated bell housing. Overall, it is lightweight, weighing about 110 lbs.

The Dodge Dakota midsize pickup trucks from 1994 to 2004 models used the NV3500-HD, a better version of this transmission. 

In comparison, the NV4500 is a five-speed manual conversion transmission. It is featured in light trucks and SUVs from General Motors, Ford, Jeep, and Toyota.

During the production years of NV4500, many amendments were made. But the two main variations are NV4500-HD and NV4500LD. These are for heavy-duty engines such as V6, V8, and V10. 

Final Words

New Venture Gear is a light truck and automobile transmission company that produces NV4500 and NV3500 light truck transmissions.

Since these transmissions are no longer in production, it is challenging to identify them and incorporate them into newer versions of 4WD.

Moreover, conflicting information without backup evidence can confuse many people, but with this article, you’d be able to make a clear distinction between the NV3500 and NV4500. 

Warwick Braith

Warwick Braith is a thrill seeker at heart. He loves getting outdoors and testing his limits in the wild. As a blogger for YapQ, Warwick provides readers with insights and tips on how to get the most out of their outdoor experiences. Whether it's hiking, camping, or simply exploring nature, Warwick knows how to make the most of it.

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