There’s nothing better in life than a shiny new crate engine or transmission, but economic realities often necessitate rebuilding what we already have. After all, a brand-new Tremec T56 Magnum can set you back $2,800, and that’s a lot of cash that could go elsewhere. Our ’01 Z28 project, Black Betty, has been experiencing shifting issues for some time and it was starting to get worse. At the dragstrip, the Camaro refused to go into gear under acceleration, and on the road course it was starting to act up as well. Up to this point we have replaced the rear with a 12-bolt from Moser and stuffed a Chevrolet Performance LS3 Crate engine under the hood. But the transmission was the same, tired T56 that came with the car when it rolled off the GM assembly line well over a decade (and 120,000 miles) ago.
Now, we did consider going with the new Magnum, but due to the torque arm design of the fourth-gen we knew that fitment would be a huge pain. Plus, we would need a new driveshaft and have to do other mods. So with that, we decided to keep things easier, and more affordable, by having the factory T56 rebuilt and slightly upgraded.
The guys at Tremec recommended Anaheim Gear in, Anaheim, California, as a great source to handle the job for us. They’ve been rebuilding and doing performance mods to manual transmissions for over 15 years, and as luck would have it, they are just down the street from the Camaro Performers office. After talking with Anaheim Gear’s Eric Skillman, we settled on doing a complete refurb. He also recommended that we do a few upgrades since we tend to drive Betty pretty hard. The nice part is that either way their labor rate is a flat $350, and the whole deal was estimated to come in at just over a grand. That’s way cheaper than buying a new transmission, and once done, our drivetrain will be good to go for quite some time.