New Transmission  1                 Jan  2012

My car has been running pretty good since 2006 when it went on it's maiden voyage Christmas day back then and I've had a lot of fun with it so far. I've done a few upgrades here and there but nothing really big to speak of. That is until now!

What I'm referring to is the transmission that I chose when I put the car together, which has run fine for the past five years. On the other hand, I miss having three pedals ever since I sold my Camaro over 12 years ago and have been tossing around changing it for a couple of years now. I'm an old school hot rodder which means having a clutch to mash and a stick to row gears is how I grew up. Well it looks like that time has come because I ordered a few things last week but not before putting a lot of thought into what I had to do first.

The list of things to change over an automatic to a manual trans is pretty long once I really sat down and thought about it. I mean I don't have one thing that will swap over which means I'll have to start from scratch with all this. And I'm not going to remove the body (which would make life so much easier) but that would mean tearing down most of the car like cage, interior, engine...etc. Now if I took out the motor that would mean taking apart the whole front-end which I don't want to do so I'll bite the bullet and work from underneath and smile as I do it.

The choice of manual transmissions out there are vast and choosing one over another was a hard decision for me but once I started reading about them I made up my mind and went with a Tremec TKO 5 speed. Now Tremec also makes a six speed (called the magnum) that I almost went with but after thinking about it, they're really designed more for a road course setup with the close ratio gears and the double overdrive they have. The magnum can take more torque than it's cousin the five speed but if I don't ever put slicks on it, I should be fine. The TKO five speed is rated at 600 pound feet of torque and only weighs in a 100 pounds which should be fine for my setup. That is unless I decide to make more horsepower someday because the six speed is rated at 700 lb. ft. of torque.

After looking at Summit Racing's website and figuring out the cost of everything needed, I found out that the Tremec transmissions are also distributed through Hurst Driveline Conversions. Now Hurst had all kinds of different kits available which makes it pretty much a one-stop shopping experience. Well....almost. I'll need a few more things that Hurst won't be able to supply which is where Summit will come in. I ordered the transmission on Jan. 13th and they told me they were backordered for two weeks. While I wait I'll have to keep busy so let's get started.

The first order of business was to get my old trans out which is easier said than done because that 4L80E it's huge! Before I can lower the trans out I'll need to support the engine somehow which would normally be a floor jack with a piece of wood under the oil pan. But I'll need that jack to deal with the old trans when the time comes so I had to come up with an alternate method for supporting the motor.

Here is what I came up with for supporting the engine. I started with a cardboard template to make sure I had the right size and shape.



Here are all the pieces welded in place and the sizes are 1/4" plate X 2" wide. The top piece is for the drivers side and the V notch in the middle is clearance for the steering column. The two holes will be bolted to the side of the cylinder head. The bottom one needed a little offset so I heated and bent it then welded the second piece to it. The angle iron on the ends will be placed on the chassis which should support the engine. And the size of angle iron is 1" X 1" X 1.5" long.



You didn't think I'd put that raw steel right on the painted chassis now did you? This is what I'm doing to prevent any paint from being removed because you'd notice it if you looked in that area. This is a two-part epoxy that I got from my work which will hold some Teflon to the angle iron pieces.



Here are the two pieces all glued up and drying while being clamped. The cure time is 24 hours at room temp so I left them here over night.



This should give you a better idea of what I was after and I hope it will protect the paint from getting scarred up to badly. The Teflon is soft and slippery and should provide good protection.



This is the passenger side installed and ready to go but I don't have the trans out yet as you can see.



Here is the drivers side and notice the V shaped notch that goes around the steering column. In the next day or so I'll be testing all this out and I hope it works.


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