Tremec T56 swap - 1988 Monte Carlo SS


Links and pictures are at the bottom of this page.

August 2002 - Research time. Right now, I'm just in the phase of listing out and pricing everything I'll need to replace the 4-speed automatic in my 1988 SS with a T56 6-speed manual. I gained the confidence to do this swap because in the winter of 2001 I swapped my 1968 Charger from a 3-speed auto to a 4-speed manual. With that experience, I'm much better prepared to do this conversion. This will probably be a winter 2002/spring 2003 project. Once I know how much each part will cost and where to get it, I'll start ordering (assuming I can afford it). Once I've got it all (which will take some time) I'll begin the conversion. This trans will be sitting in my 1988 Monte SS, behind my pre-86 355 small block. This is not a 1/4 mile car, more like a corner carver for the street.

So why am I going with a T56 and not something else? Isn't that really expensive? Well, yes and no. Your basic choices are:

Here are some T56 facts:

Here's a list of some popular T56 applications, where they come from, their ratios and how much torque they claim to be able to handle. Please contact me with any corrections. The information below came from lots of google searches and the Monte Carlo mailing list. In particular, Bob Morris (BOBGLF at aol . com) has provided me with an amazing amount of information, and his trans swap most closely resembles my own. On top of that he just happens to be very helpful and full of information :)

Trans/source1st2nd3rd4th5th6thMax torque
85-88 Monte TH-2004R automatic (for comparison)2.741.571.000.67--------???
1993 LT1 F-body T56 w/2.73's3.362.071.351.000.800.62350 lb-ft
1994-97 LT1 F-body T562.661.781.301.000.740.50450 lb-ft
LS1 T56 (MN6)2.661.781.301.000.740.50450 lb-ft
Viper T562.661.781.301.000.740.50550 lb-ft
1993 LT1 F-body T56 w/3.23's (G92)2.972.071.431.000.800.62400 lb-ft
Tremec T56 1386-000-0112.972.071.431.000.800.62450 lb-ft
Corvette Z06 T56 (M12)2.972.071.431.000.840.56450 lb-ft

Note: I've simply tried to list the units you're more likely to encounter. The sheer number of trans ratios and different chassis applications would make the complete list way bigger than I care to contemplate. There's a pretty complete list on TTC's site (about 25 of them).

Here's how the #1386-000-011 T56 ratios compare to my current 4-speed automatic with my 3.73:1 gears (gear ratio * 3.73).


LT1 F-body T56:

Some people aksed me why not just save the money I'm spending on a brand new T56 and get a used LT1 F-body T56? Well, I'll state that this option works fine, and many people have done it. But here are *my* reasons.

This leaves me choosing between the vendors who sell "aftermarket" T56s, which are brand new Tremec T56s re-drilled (adaptor plate) to fit various bellhousings. Some popular sources are: Sallee Chevrolet, Forte's, Liberty (313-278-4040), D&D, etc... In his research Bob found that Liberty had the best price on re-drilling and shipping, by a significant margin. As far as I can tell, they don't charge for the drilling and the shipping is completely reasonable. It also helps that they aren't on the other side of the country from me. But PLEASE do your own research! Call around, ask questions.

A more recent and interesting development is that D&D not only offers an aftermarket T56, but now also offers a Viper T56 for GM applications. It'll cost you a bit more, but it's much stronger. More about this below.

Things that make the aftermarket T56 appealing to me:

It's funny, I did the Charger conversion for $1000. That included everything; the trans, bellhousing, flywheel, clutch, shifter, z-bar, crossmember, new carpet, pedals and every last nut and bolt to make it all work! Just picking up the trans alone for the Monte will run me almost double that. :( The other big difference is that at least a manual trans was an *option* in the Charger, so the parts exist and there is a set way to build it. Not true for the Monte, was never a factory option, too bad. Luckily, GM did have manual trans A-body cars for a while, so with the right combination of parts, you can make it work. F-body parts work too, some of them. More info below. You also have to be willing to "tweak" some things in the process. I'll be sure to document everything that gives me trouble. Right now, the only trouble is finding all the parts!

Speaking of those parts... I'm not completely sold on a hydraulic clutch setup. I actually like manual linkages, the direct feel and the simple system. I have to decide this before I can do much else. This is actually where I'm stuck, so I'm doing more reseach about the mechanical linkage that Bob is running. I'm a bit worried though about manual linkages and header clearance. May not be an issue though as I now know of three different people running a mechanical linkage on their SS's and at least two of them run the same headers I do [Edelbrock TES]. I will need to relocate my oil pressure sender though. But we'll get there when we get there.

So what do I need and how much will it all cost? The prices below are rough, and nothing is set in stone until I install it, so this will be evolving. I'll correct the prices and add more part numbers once I actually buy the stuff. Also, I'm not including shipping in these costs. It would be too depressing and it's going to be different if you live anywhere other than Maryland.

Only the items with a "Total" have been purchased. Everything else is up in the air and could easily change from day to day.

Status, part numbers and prices:

(to see where all this information came from, keep reading.)

WhatSource/Part #PriceTotalStatus
Tremec/Liberty T56 #1386-000-011Liberty (313-278-4040)$1875.00$1875.00arrived Feb 03 2003
flywheel boltsSummit SUM-G1670$7.99$1882.99arrived Feb 06
pressure plate boltsSummit ARP-130-2201$6.95$1889.94arrived Feb 06
white 6-speed shifter knob 16x1.5mmSummit HUU-1630016$29.95$1919.89arrived Feb 08
trans mountSummit ENS-3-1108R$20.95$1940.84arrived Feb 08
78-81 A-body bellhousingGM 462606 (from Tracy's)$150.00$2090.84arrived Feb 13
Spherical bearing clutch linkageSpeed Direct CMP7130$59.95$2150.79arrived Feb 21
78-81 A-body pedalsJason M.$35.00$2185.79arrived Feb 22
pre-86 flywheel (lightweight 16lb. 153t)GM 14085720$144.84$2330.63arrived Mar 04 2003
clutch forkGM 14007356$26.05$2356.68arrived Mar 04
driven gear sleeveGM 345215$10.00$2366.68arrived Mar 04
reverse lockout harnessGM 12101857$9.88$2376.56arrived Mar 04
reverse lamp harnessGM 12085485$9.56$2386.12arrived Mar 04
inspection cover/dust shieldGM 354497$9.33$2395.45arrived Mar 04
clutch fork bootGM 14007355$5.87$2401.32arrived Mar 04
(2) 21-tooth driven gearGM 3987921$5.00$2406.32arrived Mar 04
gas pedalGM 1256427$4.29$2410.61arrived Mar 04
(2) clutch/brake padsGM 1256202$4.28$2414.89arrived Mar 04
felt z-bar washersGM 3743360$3.30$2418.19arrived Mar 04
parking brake padGM 12338071$2.72$2420.91arrived Mar 04
random partsBob--arrived Mar 06
clutch kitSummit RAM-88761$119.39$2605.30arrived Mar 11
SPST momentary switchRadio Shack$3.00$2608.30bought Mar 12
crossmemberBob$45.00$2653.30arrived Mar 18
z-bar (linkage)JMD - GM 463509$35.00$2455.91arrived Mar 20
frame bracket (linkage)JMD - GM 463564$7.00$2462.91arrived Mar 20
frame-side stud (linkage)JMD - GM 3729000?$7.00$2469.91arrived Mar 20
engine-side stud (linkage)JMD - GM 3866568$8.00$2477.91arrived Mar 20
pilot bearingJMD - GM 14061685$8.00$2485.91arrived Mar 20
z-bar bushing kitmusclecarsonly 0121740$3.95$2657.25arrived Mar 26
z-bar felt washer (spare)musclecarsonly 3743360R$1.95$2659.20arrived Mar 26
push rod boot (firewall)musclecarsonly 463508R$12.95$2672.15arrived Mar 26
bellhousing bolt setmusclecarsonly 4214010$9.95$2682.10arrived Mar 26
crank dowel pinBob--arrived Apr 15 2003
speedo housing sealBob--arrived Apr 19
lower shifter boot (F-body)GM 10267518$27.50$2709.60bought Apr 25
Castrol Dexron III ATF5 quarts$12.50$2722.10bought May 02 2003
driveshaft: shorten, balance, u-jointsA-1 Driveshaft$121.00$2843.10done May 03
upper shifter bootfrom OPG$39.00$2882.10done July 3 2004
new carpetfrom OPG$125.00$3007.10done July 3

The logbook of events and information:

December 10 2002 - Well, I haven't started this project yet, I'm still working on other things and trying to make sure I can afford it all at once. But I *will* be doing this swap! And the pressure is on because my 8 year old automatic trans is starting to feel pretty soft behind the 355.

January 8 2003 - Ok, I'm getting closer here. The funds are (for the most part) all set and the ordering will start soon. I suppose the very first thing will be the trans itself. Maybe by having that in the garage to look at, it'll really make me want to move quickly!

January 9 2003 - Assuming I don't discover a problem I hadn't thought of, I have decided to go with a mechanical clutch linkage setup instead of hydraulic. One decision down, just a few more to go, but they can wait a little longer. I still need to decide (in this order):

Also, I've done some rough math trying to guess what this will cost by the time I have everything I need, and it's right around $3,000. Ouch. I will hopefully be able to sell some of my automatic stuff (like the TH-2004R trans, TCI SFI flexplate, B&M Pro-Stick shifter, etc) to help reduce the final cost. I've added new carpet to the parts list as well, because there's no better time to do it than when you have the interior of the car gutted!

January 20 2003 - I talked to Liberty today about their T56 that I hope to purchase. I confirmed the price of the trans ($1875) and the price of shipping to Maryland ($100 shipping and materials). I also confirmed that everything I had heard about the trans was accurate, which it was. The Tremec trans that Liberty sells is the #1386-000-011 which has the 2.97/2.07/1.43/1.00/0.80/0.62 ratios. They re-drill the adaptor plate, adding 4 holes such that you can run the trans straight-up or canted, giving you bellhousing options. The trans will arrive in 2 boxes, one containing the adaptor plate and the other the trans. As soon as I clear off my credit card, I'll make the order and never (I hope) look back!

January 21 2003 - I called D&D and talked to Steve today to ask them some questions about the aftermarket T56's they offer for GM applications. The primary questions were about the differences between their Viper T56 and "standard" T56. The first difference to note is that the standard T56 is rated to 450lb-ft and the Viper T56 is rated to 550 lb-ft. This difference primarily comes from using different input and output shafts. They also use a steel 3/4 shift fork. The actual guts of the trans are identical. The Viper T56 is 1-inch longer. The ratios of the Viper T56 are also different (see chart above). Shipping from D&D is reasonable, they're in Michigan.

Also, today I spent a lot of time reading old emails and doing google searches to hammer out as many details as I could.... here are the results:

January 29 2003 - Well, I did it. I ordered the trans today. It was not easy to do, that's a lot of money for one "thing". It's coming via UPS and should ship out to me in the next day or 2. So, possibly I'll have this trans in my garage next week. But honestly, it doesn't really matter when it gets here because I'm not ready for it yet anyway :) Now I am officially serious about finding the rest of the parts. Unfortunately, I just filled my credit card up :( Details, details...

January 30 2003 - Well, now that the trans and the pedals are on their way to me, it's time to find the rest of the stuff I need. And there's quite a bit! Some of it will come straight out of catalogs, brand new. Some will come from GM and some will come from hours of digging around in wrecking yards and making phone calls trying to describe what I need. Also, I've decided on a flywheel weight. I want to go lighter than 30 pounds. This will help keep the 355 revving quickly. Yes, I'll lose some inertial mass between gears, but I can deal with that. So I'm looking for a factory lightweight flywheel for a 2-piece rear main seal application. That should be GM 366860; 14085720 (lightweight). I have also decided that I have a goal in mind for the completion of this swap. My goal is to have the car ready for the 2003 Ocean City (Maryland) cruise in May. I hope I can make it. I've got 3 months from now, and no parts yet. And yet another note. Since the A-body bellhousing is so hard to find, there may be another option... the 82-3 F-body bellhousing, before they went hydraulic. I'll have to look into this.

January 31 2003 - I talked to Liberty today, and my T56 shipped out yesterday! This is very cool. With luck, it could be here as early as Tuesday or Wednesday of next week. This weekend I plan on hitting some junk yards to find some of those parts I need. I hope my luck holds out.

February 1 2003 - The part number for the 1983 F-body bellhousing that *will* substitute for the harder to find 78-81 A-body bellhousing is GM 14060627. I checked gmpartsdirect and it's not listed. But at least it gives me more than one option and might increase my odds of finding one in a wrecking yard. decodes this bellhousing as being aluminum, 10.5" clutch, for the T5, from 1982-83 Camaro and Firebird. JMD has confirmed this, but notes that it's 1983 only. As far as I can tell, 1983 was the last year for the mechanical linkage and the first year for the T5. Also, I learned that there are two configurations for the 462606 bellhousing. Of course. To find the right one, you must look inside on the pivot ball mounting pad, where you should see the numbers 606. I'm also told by Malibu North that there is an 11" variant for the A-body, #464697. Hmm.

February 2 2003 - Well, no luck in the wrecking yards yesterday finding a bellhousing. But I expected that. And there are more yards to search. Luckily, I enjoy doing this, but I'm a little worried about finding a bellhousing. Going with a hydraulic linkage would solve many of my problems, but would create others... In the mean time, I having fun looking at aftermarket 6-speed shift knobs. This one is really sweet. Obviously I won't buy anything until I decide on a shifter, which will be one of the last things I do. Here's a more timeless and simple Hurst knob which can be had in black or white.

February 3 2003 - The trans showed up today! It's beautiful. The other good news is that I think I've located the bellhousing I need. The bad news is that it's more than I wanted to spend on a used factory bellhousing. I'm debating now buying this bell or passing and hope that I find one somewhere else.

February 4 2003 - Nothing new to report really. I can't confidently move on purchasing anything else right now until I nail down that bellhousing. The clutch fork, clutch disc, pressure plate, fork boot and linkage parts all depend on which bell I end up using. I'll feel better when I have one in my hands. In the mean time, I'm going to research hydraulic clutch setups. I may decide to go down that road, and I may not. But I want to be well informed regardless. Trust that there are plenty of pros and cons to each.

February 5 2003 - Ordered a few more small things from Summit recently... flywheel bolts, pressure plate bolts, shifter knob (for the factory shifter, which I've decided to keep) and trans mount. Little stuff adds up fast! Then there's Lakewood stuff. Wow. I priced out what it would take to run a Lakewood setup... $370 for the bell, fork, locating kit and adjustable pivot ball. Ouch. But I really do like my feet. That works out to be about $190 more than an *overpriced* 606 bellhousing and about $265 more than a reasonably priced 606 bellhousing. The Lakewood bell will also add a LOT of weight to my setup. I was also concerned with the Lakewood bell depth. If it's not the same as the F/A-body factory bell, then my trans mount won't end up in the right place. A quick look at Lakewood's PDF document shows the depth of the 15015 to be 6.313 inches. This is what I was hoping to hear. I'm still stuck trying to pick a clutch. I didn't expect this to be difficult. At first it seems like there are too many options, but once you weed through them, you realize that there aren't enough options. And I have little desire to take the trial and error approach. Not only is it a waste of money, but the concept of dealing with a blowproof bellhousing each time is not appealing at all. I want that thing to stay in there for YEARS! :) I'm currently leaning towards Centerforce. The part # for a 1985 Camaro 5.7L is DF161056. The part # for the 1985 Corvette 5.7L clutch that Bob is running is DF161911. The Camaro unit is 10.4 inches and the Vette unit is 10.75 inches.

February 6 2003 - Ok, at this point I'm starting to lose sleep at night. I toss and turn trying to decide between hydraulic linkage and mechanical linkage. Then when I pick one, I toss and turn trying to figure out where to find the right bellhousing. Then I start all over because I think of some reason to change it all. Sometimes this is for performance reasons, sometimes for cost reasons, sometimes for safety reasons and sometimes for pain in the ass reasons. If I don't pick soon, I'm going to make a bellhousing out of cardboard and a clutch linkage of string. :) At least I've decided on a clutch... RAM.

February 7 2003 - Downloaded and printed the PDF service manual for the T56 from TTC's site last night. It's about 46 pages total. I 3-hole punched it and have it in a nice binder for the garage. It's really very useful and I've learned a good number of things about the T56 already.

February 10 2003 - Well, I ordered the bell today. And I backed out of my Lakewood decision. There were too many unknowns with the Lakewood, so I went with the proven factory 606 bellhousing. This thing was *not* easy to find, so I paid more than I should have, but not enough to really mess me up. I also broke the $2000 mark today for the running total. Now, I just hope when the bellhousing shows up that it's the right one. I don't really like to buy used parts without seeing them first. But since it's coming from a business and not an individual, it should be fine. Once I get the bell and know everything is OK, then I'll go ahead and order the next batch of parts which depend on it.

February 11 2003 - The dates for the 2003 Ocean City show are May 15-18. That's my deadline. It's sounds like a long enough time, but it's amazing how fast it goes by.

February 13 2003 - My 462606 bellhousing arrived today. I feel better already. It looks like the right thing, with 606 also stamped on the inside mounting pad. I'll tell you, when I picked up the box to bring it inside, I almost thought it was a joke. It seemed WAY too small and WAY too light to be a bellhousing. I thought it was just full of packing material and nothing else. You must realize, the last bellhousing I got to play with was a cast iron big block Mopar bellhousing. That thing was massive and *very* heavy. This small block aluminum bellhousing is so small and light, I had to reset my concept of reality. I'm still not quite there. I also ordered an OPG catalog today, that should give me more options on the little parts. Although, the ETA is 3-4 weeks so it might not help :) Once I got home from work I wire-brushed, degreased, scrubbed and painted the bellhousing... much better now.

February 14 2003 - Even though I decided against a Lakewood bellhousing, I still want to add as much safety in to the system as I can. I'm going to research trans blankets a bit today. Exotic Muscle sells one for $180 for an F-body T56. I really don't know how well they work, or how practical they are. I also want a driveshaft loop. It's cheap, proven insurance. They should come with loops from the factory. I'll have to mount my loop even further back, since the A/F T56 is so long.

February 19 2003 - Nothing new, spent the last few days digging out of almost 3 feet of snow. Yay. My pedals from Canada should be here today, but I think the snow has slowed the post office down a little bit. I took the time while trapped at home to paint the adaptor plate and mount it to the bellhousing to check alignment, etc.

February 21 2003 - The Speed Direct spherical bearing clutch linkage rods showed up today. I really like these things. Good quality and built solid. Thanks to Bob for recommending them to me.

February 22 2003 - The pedals arrived today. I'm very happy with the condition, excellent set of pedals, and complete too. Thanks Jason :)

February 24 2003 - I finally convinced myself that I had thought of all the little parts I'll need and went ahead and placed the GM parts order. I wanted to get as many things as I could at once instead of making multiple orders because shipping gets much cheaper the more you order. Funny how that works, isn't it? :)

February 25 2003 - Ordered the clutch from Summit. Getting really close to having all the pieces of the puzzle now. Soon, I'll get to try to put them all together :) Also, I finally remembered to buy some film for the old 35mm, so I'll have some new pictures soon. And Bob, being very cool as ususal, found the pedal and z-bar washers I need without having to buy the bulk pack of 20. Again, I will say, the people from the Monte and G-body mailing lists are excellent people indeed. I'd still be stuck on step one if it wasn't for them.

February 27 2003 - Got the clutch today from Summit. I must thank the UPS and FedEx drivers who somehow manage to make it down my driveway in the snow. I weighed the stuff after I unpacked it, see below.

February 28 2003 - Sent mail to RAM's tech address to ask them about their clutches and if they recommend anything other than what I already bought for my application. I can always return the clutch I bought, and I'd rather find out now than after it's in the car. For the curious, here's the basic concern/problem I have. Obviously there's no application listing for a 1988 Monte Carlo SS with a T56 :) So you have to be creative. I need a 10.5" clutch for a 1 1/8 x 26 spline input shaft. That's easy enough to find, it's pretty much the same as an F-body with a T5. But there are still differences. I'm using a G-body bell, not an F-body bell. I'm using a mechanical linkage, not a hydraulic linkage. Who's to say that the geometry of the throwout will be the same. And on top of that I'm not running a 305, but rather a 355 with plans to possibly up the power even more in the future.

I'm impressed. RAM replied to me VERY quickly with information. They said instead of using the 88730 set, I should use the 88761 set for higher clamping pressure. Immediately I started looking at their application guide to see what the difference was. Here's what I learned:

OEM setPowerGrip set300 series disc900 series disc6000 series discplateplate sizesplines
8873098730309M90961294005610.51 1/8 x 26
8876198761309M909612940110.51 1/8 x 26

So you can see that these two applications use the same clutch discs, but a different pressure plate. As far as I know at this point, the difference is that the 88761 has a bit more clamping pressure, since it was intended for higher horsepower applications. As far as I can tell, both 88761 and the 88730 will work, but with my engine, the 88761 would be a better choice. I might be returning my 88730 to Summit for an 88761. Not sure yet. Also, the 88761 is $30 cheaper than the 88730 perhaps because it fits more applications than the 730. See below...

March 1 2003 - My GM parts shipped out Feb 28 and should be here March 4th. Excellent. And I just got email from the RAM tech again. Did I mention I was impressed? He answered me on a Saturday :) Anyway, he confirms that either the 730 or the 761 will work, with the 761 being the better choice. He confirms that they both use the same throwout bearing. And he also notes that aside from the 761 having a stronger clamping pressure plate, the finger heights ARE different between the two. This is why the 761 can't be used in the 82-92 hydraulic application, but either can be used with a mechanical linkage, because the mechanical linkage can be easily adjusted to set the release point. I returned the 88730 today and asked for an 88761 in exchange. If I'm lucky I should have the new clutch by the weekend. It's 2 days ship time to/from Summit, which is great. They'll have my returned clutch on the 5th and possibly send the new one in time to arrive the 7th or 8th.

March 4 2003 - The GM parts from showed up today. Everything seems correct and complete. Now I'm really making progress. Added the flywheel weight to the chart below. Also, Bob found another site selling Malibu clutch linkage and pedal parts called Pretty good prices. And these guys know G-bodies quite well. Located in Pennsylvania. They even have the hard to find firewall boot. They also have a section for manual trans parts for 83-88 Monte SS's (which are basically Malibu parts). I like this place, wish I had found it earlier!

March 6 2003 - Both JMD and Bob are shipped me some of the harder to find little parts and bits that will make my life easier when install time comes. I can't thank them enough. Once I get them all, I will be doing a final inventory to see what I'm missing and will probably make a final order from MuscleCarsOnly to complete the pedal and linkage setup, it should be a very small order, something like $15 at the most. My goal was to have all the parts by the first of March, and I'm not too far off. When I got home from work, the package Bob sent had arrived (wow, that was fast). It contained a nice frame bracket, some brand new GM washers for the pedal pivot and some wiring. Very cool.

March 7 2003 - Took some pictures of some of the various parts I've collected. Should have them online by Monday. Also, my replacement 88761 clutch shipped out today, hope to see it Monday or Tuesday. And in other news, my rebuilt shifter for my Charger finally came back from Year One today, so now I can get that car moving under its own power again, which will help the Monte swap by allowing more garage space. No word on my carb which is out being rebuilt at the carb shop... it's done being rebuilt, but not yet tested (dyno). Unfortunately, it takes about 10 days to ship that back from California, so even IF they finish it over the weekend I won't see it until towards the end of March, maybe the 21st. That's really holding me up at this point. :( I was hoping to be working on the T56 swap the first weekend in March, and here it is already the second weekend.

March 11 2003 - The 88761 clutch showed up today. That's the last of the "big" parts. It's getting close. If it stays warm enough in the garage I hope to start working on the pedals this week after work. And the rebuilt QJet is on its way back to me finally... shipped out yesterday. It'll probably take about 10 days to get here though :( Amazingly, I just checked the budget and I'm still on target for coming in just under $3,000. That was a pretty good guess :) I'm starting my research now on local shops to do the driveshaft. See below, new pics are online!

March 12 2003 - Went to Radio Shack and picked up an SPST momentary switch to use for the reverse lockout solenoid. I haven't decided yet where to mount it to make getting into reverse simple. I'll worry about that later. I used a momentary instead of a toggle so it would be impossible to leave it "on". While I was at "the Shack" I found the 12V LEDs I was looking for for another project (the Charger's dash). Score. I really miss the days when people who had some clue about electronics worked at Radio Shack. The people that staff the place these days know almost nothing... at least all the ones around me. If I ever actually needed help for some reason, I'd be out of luck. But they sure can try to sell you a cell phone! Ug.

Anyway... I made it into the garage tonight to do the first actual work to the car for this swap! Pedals. Let me explain a bit about the pedals so this makes sense. The only difference between my automatic pedal assembly in the car and the manual pedal assembly I bought is the addition of the clutch pedal, the clutch pedal stop and the pad mount on the brake pedal. Aside from having a larger pad, the brake pedal is actually identical (if you wanted, you could just cut the pad mount to size and keep your automatic brake pedal). Also, the pivot bolt that holds them all together is of course longer to allow for the clutch pedal. So all you really have to do is add the clutch pedal and stop and swap out the brake pedal. The mount in the car can stay. I first unhooked the battery so the brake lights wouldn't be on the entire time. Then I removed the original brake pedal from the car, leaving the pedal mount (which bolts to the firewall) in place. This wasn't so bad, just a little tight to get to while laying on your back. I never so much as touched the 4 firewall bolts. It was a little tricky to slide the pedal past the brake booster pushrod, but not bad. Next I removed the brake and clutch pedal from the manual pedal assembly and installed the new pads on them (easier outside the car). I also removed the clutch pedal stop from the manual pedals and installed it in the Monte. At this point I took a break because I was getting dizzy from being upside-down too long. :) I headed back into the garage expecting a fight. I pushed the new brake pedal into place and hooked the booster pushrod onto the pin then slid the pivot bolt through to hold it in place. I did the same thing with the clutch pedal, tightened the pivot bolt and it's done. The pedals are in the car. What?! I really didn't expect it to be that simple. But it was. Next project: linkage (which won't be so easy!).

March 13 2003 - Nothing major today. Painted the clutch fork black. That's about it. Was hoping the linkage parts from JMD would show up, but I guess shipping from New Mexico takes longer than I thought. If I'm really lucky that stuff will get here tomorrow or Saturday so my weekend can be somewhat productive. If I can get the linkage done, it'll really feel like progress. Also, Bob mailed me to say that his new crossmemeber is almost done which means I can buy his old one pretty soon. Sweet.

March 14 2003 - Called around to all my local performance transmission and machine shops today asking about driveshaft modifications. Turns out there is really only once choice in this area and they all told my to call "A-1 in Landover". So I called them and they quoted me $50 to shorten the driveshaft. They said they could have it back to me in one hour. That's good to know. Let's just hope they do good work. I also need to figure out ahead of time exactly what measurements they want from me.

March 15 2003 - No linkage parts today. So I had to come up with something else to do so I feel like I'm making progress. I decided to just go ahead and start taking the car apart. Got her up on 4 tall jackstands and started at it. Removed the shifter. Removed the shifter cable. Removed the driveshaft strap. Removed the trans mount bolt. Removed the shift linkage and started on the linkage the actuates the column. I considered removing the drveshaft but decided that I wanted to do some more measuring while it's still in the car. JMD emailed me today too... turns out he hadn't shipped the parts yet, so I should probably stop looking for them! :) I think they went out today. I'll see if I can get a tracking number. Also... time moves fast. I now have exactly 2 months to Ocean City. That leaves 8 Saturdays from now to then and at least one of them is already spoken for.

March 17 2003 - My QJet came back from the carb shop today all nice and rebuilt. And also today, Bob shipped me his old crossmember, which should be here pretty soon since it's not going very far (3 hours by car!). And the linkage parts from JMD went out today as well. If everything works out with the shipping, I should have everything I need by this weekend, which will be huge boost in progress. My goal for this weekend is to get the automatic out and start putting the T56 in, or at least make a test fit and get the linkage installed.

March 18 2003 - The crossmember from Bob arrived today. That was REALLY fast. It shipped yesterday! It's a really nice looking piece. This will save me quite a bit of time. Bob is the man! I should explain why Bob sold me his old T56 crossmember which is already modified and will bolt right in. Bob found a crossmember from a Grand Prix that is thicker and stronger but otherwise the same as the Monte crossmember. He decided to make a new T56 crossmember out of the Grand Prix unit and sell me his original. Also, I checked the tracking number for the parts from JMD and they should be here on the 21st, which is Friday, which is very good news.

March 20 2003 - The parts from JMD arrived today, a full day early. This is very cool. I can get the parts cleaned and painted before the weekend and make my final order to get the boot from musclecarsonly.

March 23 2003 - Well, I had so many other "good weather projects" this weekend that I didn't get as much done to the car as I wanted, but that's ok. I'm still in disassembly mode. Here's a quick description of where I'm at... car is up on 4 jack stands, driveshaft strap is out, driveshaft is out, all the bellhousing bolts are out, shifter is out, shifter cable is out, column linkage is out, distributor cap is off, kickdown cable is off, trans cooling lines are disconnected, TCC wiring is off, speedo cable is disconnected, flexplate and torque converter are separated, crossmember and mount are unbolted, catalytic converter mount to crossmember is unbolted, about half of the ATF is drained, trans is ready to drop out. The only hassle was the bellhousing bolts... they are a major pain to get to from any angle. I'm working on lots of little things... got the frame bracket ready to install, moving the oil sender, installed the engine side ball stud, etc... it's getting there. Should paint the z-bar soon. Obviously the next step is to yank the trans out, it's basically ready to fall out now... once that's gone I can start installing new stuff. The first task will be to do a test fit of the trans, without the bellhousing, to mark the spot for the shifter hole. The next big work day probably won't be until April 5th as I have commitments this coming weekend. I'm behind schedule, but I think it will start moving along faster once I get into assembly mode.

March 24 2003 - Ordered the last of the "small parts" from MuscleCarsOnly today. Should be here Wednesday or Thursday. Worked in the garage again tonight after work, but on the Charger instead of the Monte. All I got done for the swap was painting the z-bar... but the Charger has all new plugs and wires and the garage is clean again :)

March 26 2003 - The parts from MuscleCarsOnly came today. Everything looks good. We now have a source for the firewall clutch rod boot. I also got new bellhousing bolts, and a spare set of z-bar washers, both plastic and felt. As far as I know at this point, that should be my last order for this project, and I'm under $2,700.

April 7 2003 - Nothing major to report. Things didn't work out to make any significant progress. I got a few little things done to to get ready. Removed the shifter and covered the hole with duct tape, did some soldering and got my reverse lockout switch ready and installed the clutch fork and boot into the bellhousing along with the throwout bearing. Like I said, nothing significant.

April 9 2003 - Decent progress tonight after work. I wasn't planning on removing the automatic trans without another pair of hands, but I did anyway. It wasn't so bad, a bit lighter than the Charger automatic was, but I still made a BIG mess with trans fluid all over the garage floor :) So that's done. I also knocked out the plug in the firewall for the clutch pedal rod and started working on the reverse lamp wiring. I got 5 of the 6 flexplate bolts out and the 6th one decided to try to round out on me, so I stopped until I can get to the store and buy a 6 sided 14mm. Blah. If it wasn't metric I'd have it. While I was dirty I yanked out the automatic trans cooling lines and removed them from the radiator. I also did a test fit of the clutch pedal pushrod thru the now open firewall hole. Some tips for trans removal... try to get all the ATF out ahead of time :) Have two hydraulic jacks... one for the trans and one to adjust the level of the back of the engine. Have a plan, get the jack in a position such the you can actually go somewhere one you've got the trans lowered. And go slow. It also helps if the car is high enough to get the jack AND the trans out together. This wasn't an option for me so once I lowered the trans down on the jack, I had to slide the trans OFF the jack, onto the floor, and then out from under the car. This is where most of the ATF on the floor came from, as I had to tilt the trans a few different ways.

April 10 2003 - Made a run to Sears to get a couple of specific tools I'll need soon. One is what I mentioned yesterday, a 14mm impact socket. The other is a 5/16 hex head socket to properly torque the special bolts that mount the adaptor plate to the bellhousing. At least now I have that stuff so I won't have to interrupt any work I'll be doing later to make a parts run. While I was there I looked at the transmission jacks, and I thought... "Yeah, that would have been useful."

April 12 2003 - Well, again, I must say I didn't get done what I had hoped, but that's ok. I helped Steve out a bit today on his project car and we never quite made it back here to play with the Monte. But I did get a few little things done tonight, which were more time consuming than difficult, and every bit helps. I finally got that stubborn almost rounded flexplate bolt, and finished removing the flexplate, so that's done. I mounted up the new bellhousing along with the adaptor plate on the back of the engine for a test fit. No problems. Now I also benefit from being able to see exactly where the clutch fork ends up in relation to everything else. I also removed a VERY stuck-in-place oil pressure sender and got that out of the way. This allowed me to do a test intall of the block ball stud for the linkage. With that in place, I was able to mock up the entire linkage assembly all the way from the clutch pedal pushrod, to the z-bar and down to the clutch fork. All looks good so far. At this point some of you might be saying, why is this taking so long? All I can say is that I WISH this was my only project or obligation. I work on it whenever I get a chance. Honestly, it could probably be finished in 2 days, if I actually had 2 full days and a skilled helper and every tool on my wish-list.

April 13 2003 - So what's left? Here's my list, mostly they need to be done in the order listed:

April 15 2003 - Got the crank/flywheel dowel pin from Bob today. Cool. So... in the absense of a true trans jack, I've been working on making some sort of cradle for the trans with my normal hydraulic jack. The T56 is a bit frustrating... the bottom has no flat surfaces, the thing is sharp and pointed and sort of comes to a "V" ... unlike an automatic with a nice flat pan or something. I could mimic this "V" with a cradle made of wood to place on the jack and hold the trans, but I think it would make it way too tall to fit under the car... hmm... I'll let you know what I end up doing.

April 16 2003 - Made a bit of progress today... I ordered the F-body lower boot from my local dealership, cleaned up the garage a bit and after work Steve came over. We didn't have much time, but we got the pilot bearing installed in the crank as well as the dowel pin for the flywheel. We did a test fit of the T56 on the jack without the bellhousing at all, just to see where the shifter mount was going to hit the tunnel. Once we did that we marked it, lowered the trans back down and cut the hole out using a hole saw bit for the corners and a Sawzall to make quick work of the rest of it. We also sanity checked our hole location against the pictures of Bob's shifter hole. I wasn't overly concerned about the hole being perfect, since you'll never see it, and if for some reason we made it too big, it's no big deal to weld some new metal back in. It just needs to be big enough to allow the trans/shifter to fit with room to move around, but not so big that the new boot won't fit. I also installed the flywheel with all new bolts while I was at it since it doesn't really get in the way of test fitting. Next time, we'll be able to take the T56 all the way up and work on "stretching" the tunnel wherever the T56 looks like it will hit. Now I can see from inside the car exactly where my shifter will be, and I'm pretty happy with the location. Getting there!

April 17 2003 - I really need to take some more recent pics of this project to post here... maybe I'll snap some tonight.

April 19 2003 - Last night I took some more pictures... when I finish the roll I'll scan them in. Got the speedo housing seals in the mail from Bob today. Also went to Home Depot and bought the plumbing stuff I'll need to relocate the oil pressure sender. I've decided to try to keep it in the side of the block where it came from instead of moving it to the top. I got two 45 degree bends and two short sections of straight adaptors... it should go something like this:

block -> 1/4 to 1/8 adaptor -> straight short -> 45 degree -> straight short -> 45 degree -> sender

April 20 2003 - Blah. Only 3 Saturdays left and one of them needs to be for testing BEFORE I take the car on a trip the next weekend. So really 2 good build weekends left. I think it can be done, but it's gonna be close.

April 25 2003 - Been a really busy week at work, so I only just rememebered that I ordered the shifter boot last week, and I should probably go pick it up! Goal date for completeion May 10... number of days left: 15. I picked the boot up on the way home from work once I found out that the parts department is closed on Saturdays, which is absolutely stupid. Anyway, the boot is bigger than expected, which is good, because I can make the hole a bit bigger than anticipated, which really helps with clearance. It also helps me nail down the exact shape of the hole. Progress. It also works out that I have exactly one picture left on the roll, and the boot will finish it nicely... so I'll have some new pics up real soon.

April 30 2003 - Tonight was a good night for progress. I must thank Steve for finding the time to come over after work on a week night to help wrestle the T56 up into the tunnel. So here's what we did with about 2 hours... we bolted the bellhousing and adaptor plate (without the throwout bearing collar) to the engine. We put the T56 on a floor jack and raised it up as far as it would go, then we lowered the back of the engine as far as it would go, which is not as far as I would like because the damned TES headers hit the frame preventing full-tilt. Anyway, we just manged to get the angle we needed and slid the trans in, managed to find the pilot bearing hole with the input shaft, and bolted the T56 to the adaptor plate. That marks the first time the the T56 has actually been bolted into the car! Next we raised the rear of the trans and far as it would go and marked where it was hitting the tunnel. A few cuts later and the hole is now big enough for the T56 to come up as high as it needs to. And don't worry, we'll be welding new metal back in place, I'm not going to leave a big gaping hole! We slid the new crossmemeber into place, slid the new trans mount into place and bolted it all up. So even though it's all got to come back apart for final install, it feels really good to see it in there! We learned something interesting tonight too which might be of help. Keep in might that this T56 is so big (mostly tall) that every little bit of extra clearance in the tunnel is important. Even 1/8 of an inch can make the difference (remember that this thing will be moving around in the tunnel with engine load). So when it came time to install the trans mount, we noticed that the new Energy Suspension mount is at least 1/2 inch taller (maybe more) than the factory GM trans mount. I've mailed Bob to figure out if this is normal or if mine is strange. Regardless, just using the shorter factory rubber mount saves a lot of height over the aftermarket poly mount, and it saves a lot of work clearancing the tunnel, so I'm going to use it if I can't think of a reason not to. The next session for the Monte will be this coming Friday night... we hope to do the final install of the flywheel, clutch, inspection cover, bellhousing, adaptor plate, T56, crossmember, shifter, etc! That will be a big goal accomplished. If I'm REALLY lucky, I could have the thing on the road this weekend! Everything would have to work out perfectly for this to happen, including getting the driveshaft cut. No matter what, I'm back on schedule for being done by May 10th for sure.

May 1 2003 - Ahh... May.. another new month. Spent more time in the garage after work tonight. Started working on preparing the car for hitting the road again since it's been sitting in the garage for something like 5 months! I think that's the longest this car has ever gone without being driven. Anyway, I installed the freshly rebuilt Q-Jet and all the associated plumbing. I pulled the battery out to put it on the charger and noticed that the battery tray was starting to show it's age (about 15.5 years!). I pulled the battery tray out, wire-wheeled the whole thing to remove the rust and corrosion and then scrubbed it in soapy water. Once it was dry it got all new semi-gloss black paint. It looks great. Also, earlier I called the driveshaft shop to make sure that I could come in Saturday and they are only open from 8am-12noon so I've really got to move fast on Saturday. I'm starting to get pretty excited about driving this thing!

May 2 2003 - Well, not a completely successful day for a parts run, but not a complete waste. I went to my local dealership today and asked for a trans mount and an oil pressure sender. Neither one was in stock, but they can have it Monday. So I went to Autozone (not my favorite place) and had them pull out a trans mount (Anchor Bay - very cheap) and an oil pressure sender. They had both in stock. I bought the oil pressure sender and measured the trans mount. It measured to be 1 7/8 inches tall. They also had an Energy Suspension mount in the store and it appeared to be the exact same height as the Anchor Bay mount. So it would seem that my factory mount is the exception to the rule and that all the other mounts are about 1 7/8. I also picked up 5 quarts of Dexron III ATF while I was there.

After work tonight we really made some progress. I'm going to spare most of the detail since I'm actually writing this the day after and I'm tired. But basically, we pulled the T56 back out along with the bellhousing. We then finished stretching the tunnel for clearance. Next we torqued down the flywheel, installed the clutch and torqued down the pressure plate. Then we assembled the bellhousing, adaptor plate, throwout bearing and clutch fork as one unit and installed it to the back of the engine. Put the T56 back on the floor jack and up into the tunnel. After a lot of wiggling and coaxing the T56 finally slid in plast the clutch disc and into the pilot bearing. We now have a mostly complete driveline! The crossmember and trans mount went in next and we finished bolting the T56 to the adaptor plate. We decided that we couldn't wait to see how the clutch pedal effort felt, so we threw the linkage together really fast and got to push the clutch pedal for the first time, it feels good, not nearly as heavy as I expected. We took our measurement for the driveshaft and it was 49 3/4 inches from the center of the rear u-joint to the tip of the output shaft. I worked a bit on some wiring and cleaned up the garage and it eneded up being about 4am so I went to bed. Fun stuff.

May 3 2003 - After about 2 hours of sleep I got up at 7am and headed to the driveshaft shop with my measurement in hand. Exactly 1 hour later I had a shortened, straightened and re-balanced driveshaft with new u-joints. Not bad! For those of you in the area, I highly recommend A-1 Driveshaft in Landover, Maryland (near D.C.). Their number is 301-386-3100. Get good directions, the place is pretty hard to find.

I've decided to skip the multiple 45 degree bends it would take to put the oil pressure sender on the side of the block by the linkage... I'm going to put it up top by the distributor and plug the hole in the side of the block. This means I'll be loosing my idiot light (for now) for the low oil pressure warning, but I can deal. Or I'll do a T up there and try to fit both in, if possible.

After some much needed yard work it was back to the garage to make any progress I could. I changed the oil, finally. I re-checked all the bolts we did last night since we were so tired. I re-installed the battery and powered the car back up. I got the reverse lights wiring done and tested - all working. I finished the Q-Jet installation. I started making the hold-down bracket for the speedo housing. I tried out my clutch fork return spring setup - seems to work ok. I finally was able to get my hand up high enough to disconnect the wire from the gear indicator on the column. I started working on the last bit of tunnel to cut for the reverse lockout solenoid. I re-installed the shifter with some black RTV. I ran the wires for the reverse lockout switch, but haven't decided where to mount it. There's still some stuff left and I'm out of energy for the day... here's my list:

I'm not quite sure when I'll get all this stuff done. Once the car runs again and I can test drive it, I'll worry about new carpet and a pretty upper shifter boot. Function before form! Tomorrow is Sunday and I'd like to make more progress, but I'm not sure if that's going to happen. I think I'm going to have to jack the trans back up and remove the trans mount again to get to that damned top adaptor plate bolt... no big deal. I should have done it before I raised the trans, I think I was just to exicted about getting the crossmember done at the time. The hole in the tunnel is getting bigger and bigger and bigger. Thank God I can always weld some metal back in! The oil sender relocation is a pain in the butt. Some people might not have a problem, I just hate plumbing :) The speedo housing bracket would be done if I had a machine shop. I'm trying to do the entire piece on a bench grinder!

May 5 2003 - Hit the hardware store after work and got a plug for the side of the block. Got home and pulled the linkage out and installed the plug with some teflon tape. Installed the felt pads on either end of the z-bar to keep crud out. Pulled the trans mount out, lowered the trans down and with every socket extension I own, I was able to finally tighten that top trans-to-adaptor-plate bolt. Re-installed the trans mount. With that done, I installed the new driveshaft to complete the drive-line! Also, with the exception of an upper boot and carpet, I came in at under $2,900 for everything. I guessed $3,000 so I'm happy with that.

May 8 2003 - Went to Steve's house after work to make use of his machine tools and also to check out the progress on his project (a custom DeLorean). The only goal for the evening was to make the hold-down bracket for the speedometer housing, and this is now done and installed. It turned out to be just over 1/4 inch longer than the bracket from the automatic, which I used as a template. The bigger picture is still to have the car on the road Saturday the 10th. Once again, here's what's left:

At some point Bob and I want to compare notes to see how much higher in the tunnel my T56 sits compared to his. I'm definitely sitting higher in the tunnel than he is, which sucks for clearance but without major modifications, or a different trans mount, it's about the best I can do. My guess is that mine sits 1/4 inch higher for 2 reasons: 1) His new crossmemeber is 1/8 inch lower than mine on the mount and 2) Even though we both use the same Energy Suspenion trans mount, mine came with an extra piece, which the instructions called a torque preload plate (not a spacer!) which adds at least another 1/8 inch, Bob is not using this piece.

May 9 2003 - Came home from work and cleaned up the garage. I started working on the tunnel area around the reverse lockout solenoid, which is not currently installed. I'm sure the proper way to do this is to have the solenoid installed BEFORE the trans goes in, but I've never been one to follow rules. I cut out just enough of the tunnel to install the solenoid and will work on cleaning it up and making it pretty later. If you asked me what the one part of this swap that didn't go easily or according to plan was, I will absolutely tell you the tunnel. After seeing what Bob and others have done, I can't understand why my tunnel needed so much cutting, it's a mess, and I don't like it. Yes, it will be cleaned and and welded pretty later, but it sure doesn't look like Bob's tunnel. It can all be traced back to the fact that my trans is sitting higher in the tunnel, and I would really love to know by how much, it's really messing me up and even after cutting more of the tunnel out that I had wanted, it's STILL tight and might rub with a loaded engine. It's pissing me off, mostly because I don't understand why it's doing what it's doing, and not because I can't fix it. It's also going to mess me up when it comes time to install the lower boot, I don't see at this stage how it can possibly fit like it's supposed to. That boot is pretty much the exact right shape for this application, unless you're me and the hole in your tunnel doesn't look anything like the shape of the boot :(

I talked with Bob for over 2 hours on the phone and we hammered out a lot of last minute details. After this conversation I've also decided that my current situation with the trans mount being too tall is not acceptable and I'm going to put the stock mount back in. That E.S. mount with the extra preload bit of metal is just way too tall and getting rid of it will shave about 1/4 inch off my total height, which is a lot in the tunnel.

May 10 2003 - Got up at 8am and started working on the car. Got most of the little stuff out of the way and Steve came over to help. We tackled the oil pressure relocation since it was the biggest obstacle. We ended up going from the top of the block with a T and a 90 degree bend, this allowed both the oil pressure sender and the oil/choke switch to both live together up there. We checked everything, added ATF, lubed the z-bar, re-installed the linkage and some other minor things.

We started the car around 12:30 in the afternoon and had no problems with the new carb once the idle was set lower. Gently I put the stick into reverse and eased backwards... it works! Went for a 2 mile test drive to the gas station and no problems with the trans aside from me getting used to a new clutch pedal with totally different throw and pressure than the Charger, and my long legs being bent at funny angles. I hit all 6 forward gears, no problems. Brought the car home, put her back up in the air and checked for any problems... none that I could see.

About an hour later I decided to go for a longer test-drive since everything seemed to be working. I got about 4 miles down the road and suddenly the exhaust racket got a LOT louder. I pulled a u-turn and headed for home, not happy.

Back up in the air the car goes and after poking around a VERY hot exhaust system with a flashlight I find the problem. It seems that the gap in the passenger side header to Y-pipe flange has opened up and the gasket has blown out. This exhaust system has been on the car since 1994, and I don't think I'm going to have any luck getting those flange bolts to move. It's too loud to drive, and the whole mess just sucks after all this work and anticipation.

Now, I started thinking about why in the heck the exhaust would suddenly fail right where it did. I have three theories: 1) raising and lowering the rear of the engine stressed the joint? 2) the engine and trans are at a differnt angle than they were with the automatic and there is new stress that wasn't there before? 3) I am no longer using the support from the crossmember to the cat flange... this means that my very heavy exhaust is no longer supported in the middle.... maybe it was just too much for a 10 year old header to take... damn. Not sure what I'm doing next... I'll try to fix it myself, but if I can't get it, I'll have to swallow my pride and take it to an exhaust shop.

May 14 2003 - Sorry for the lack of update, but I've been driving too much! It's going to be tough for me to remember everything I did in the last 4 days, but I'll sum up. After the failed 2nd test drive Saturday, with the whole broken exhaust fiasco, I parked the car until Monday. Sunday night I changed out the driver's side header-to-head gasket (it always blows out between the 2 center ports). Monday morning I got up early and took the car to my local Midas where I know a couple of the mechanics. They changed both of the 9 year old exhaust flange donuts and replaced them with nice metal gaskets, no more leaks. We also decided that the exhaust needed more support now that the catalytic converter bracket from the crossmember is gone. Luckily, now that the driveshaft strap is gone, the bolts holes right there (just behind the crossmember) make a great place to bolt a new hangar in and weld it to the exhaust right after the cat. This works out really nicely!

With the exhaust fixed and tightened up, I can finally start to drive the Monte with some more confidence and I can HEAR things I never heard before, which is important when you're trying to make sure everything you just did is working like it should. I did a lot of driving around Monday after work, maybe about 60 miles. Everything feels great. And the new carb seems to be working just fine. Much better at start-up too! Idle is still a bit high though.

I wanted to mention one problem we ran into Saturday that someone else might encounter as well. Remember that I decided to de-install the Energy Suspension trans mount since it was WAY too tall (almost 2 inches) and re-install the factory rubber mount which is the correct height (1 5/8 inch). Also remember that my crossmember has been modified by flipping the mount tab over. This makes it impossible for the factory mount to fit into the new crossmember "pocket". We used a Sawzall (again) to cut the flanges off the factory rubber mount and it works great. We removed some of the metal, and no rubber. Sorry, no pictures :( But you'll see it if you run into the same problem.

I'm still getting used to the setup and have over 100 miles on it now. Clutch feels really good and is very "grippy". But as always there are still some things left to do, here's what I can think of... I'd like to get it done by Friday night the 16th since Saturday the 17th is Ocean City. I also need to get a new CD player in the car before then! Can't drive around with no music!

May 18 2003 - Went to the Ocean City Cruise yesterday. Roughly a 3 hour drive each way from my house. The car did GREAT. No problems. And I actually managed to get just about 18 miles per gallon for the trip, which is very nice. I'm happy.

August 10 2003 - Long time no update. Actually there's nothing to report, I haven't had time to turn any wrenches for a while and most of my money went into this swap :) So I've just been driving it, a lot. I've got a few thousand miles on the swap and everything is working perfectly. I have done a couple little things from the above list... the booster stud is trimmed down and the inspection cover is installed. But honestly, I haven't done anything else, at least not from that list. I did finally get the OPG catalog I ordered in February. Only took 5 months! There are a few things in it which might help me knock out some of the detail work, like the upper shifter boot.

July 03 2004 - It's been almost a year since I last wrote anything here... finally "finished" the swap today. Steve and I fabricated and welded in the new metal for the hump, laid down new sound deadening material and installed new black carpet along with a new imitation leather upper shifter boot. It really looks good now and I'm proud to show off the interior for the first time in years. Did a new headliner while we were at it, also in black.


T56 with shifter (no oil) 120 pounds
adaptor plate with collar and bolts 20 pounds
GM 462606 bellhousing 8 pounds
RAM clutch disc 4 pounds
RAM pressure plate 16 pounds
flywheel 17 pounds
TOTAL: 185 pounds

Torque specs:

flywheel to crank65 ft/lbs
pressure plate to flywheel35 ft/lbs
adaptor plate to bellhousing26-55 ft/lbs
trans to adaptor plate26-35 ft/lbs
bellhousing to engine25-35 ft/lbs

Flywheel sizes

DiameterTeethClutch size
12.75 inch15310.4 inch
14 inch16811.0 inch



Thanks (for information, parts, support, advice) go to:

Mike Donovan

Back to the main page.