Hydraulic Vs. Mechanical
If you're debating which route to go, then pay attention: If it's simply a desire for easier pedal effort, the hydraulic throwout bearing will not be the end-all cure. We had the opportunity to feel both, and when matched to the proper pressure plate with the correct pedal geometry, you can expect both to operate similarly. The only difference we noticed is that the hydraulic had a "peak" feel, then depressed fairly quickly, while the mechanical seemed to allow you to feel a wider range of motion.
Something else to consider is the price. CMG offers a trick hydraulic setup with the lines, bearing, master cylinder, and firewall mounting bracket as a $745 upgrade. If you want it solely for the sake of having it, then at least you're being honest with yourself. Where that system comes in handy is if you have limited space and can take advantage of its rather compact package. Another consideration is the headers. Do you have a custom set? Do you have money invested in the coating? Also, automatic-only tubes can potentially cause clearance issues with the mechanical linkage.
What can you expect in the CMG conversion? Everything you see here, and as we mentioned earlier, you also get your choice of upgrades, such as the beefier driveshaft anytime your powerplant gets in the 500hp range, and choices of clutch and pressure plate assembly, scattershield, flywheels, and pedal assemblies. Should you want the hydraulic throwout bearing over the conventional one, expect to add an extra $745.
If you're simply swapping over your four-speed to a five, you can opt for the Deluxe kit, which comes with your choice of the TKO-500 or the stronger TKO-600, driveshaft, custom crossmember, shift knob, speedo cable, reverse light connector, tranny mount, pilot bearing, hardware kit, and the one-year extended warranty, for $2,695 ($2,755 for the TKO-600). Ultimately, it's a one-stop shop; it's only a matter of choosing the package that fits your needs.
This was our first major modification to the '73 and one we'll never regret. CMG recommended we take it easy for the first 500 miles, so our first leisurely cruise took us through a series of winding turns in our local canyons, giving us the perfect opportunity to row the gears and just get a better feel of the new setup. While we were told that the first few shifts would feel a little tight and a bit on the notchy side, it certainly wasn't the case-at least not in our minds. It was quite the opposite. Each shift felt smooth and went into every gear on command with little effort, and even better, match-revving the rpm on downshifts proved to be solid. Final verdict: The five-speed swap has given the '73 a whole new attitude and feel, and it's every bit more fun to drive.