We love our Tremec T56 transmission, but let's face it, Fifth and Sixth gears might be great for knocking down good mpg, but they suck in terms of performance. Many times we've been rowing gears at a road course and blown a shift by hitting Fifth gear from Fourth instead of the lower Third gear we were shooting for. Or we end up going from Third to Sixth. In those moments we find ourselves wishing our Camaro had a good old four-speed tranny. Of course, on the drive home from the track we sure enjoy the low revs of the overdrive gears. But what if you could have your proverbial cake and a fork to eat it with, too?
Enter the Skip 5-6. This handy widget allows you to lock out Fifth and Sixth gears whenever you like, such as for track duty, and then revert back to six-speed status for the cruise home. Best of all, it’s simple to install and operate. The design is shifter specific so it will only work on B&M Ripper and Pro 5.0 shifters for the T56 transmissions found in Fourth-gen Camaros. Our ’01 Z28 project car, Black Betty, already had an aftermarket shifter, so to try this out we had to swap it as well. Even with that, the whole install took less than an hour, and we’re happy to report that it works just as advertised. Now if they could just figure out how to keep us from flubbing the Two-Three shift!
01 To add the Skip 5-6 we had to replace our shifter. The first step in that process was to remove the center console. The upper section was easily pulled free after removing the two 8mm bolts in the storage area.
02 This exposed the large factory rubber boot. Now, with some effort you can get to the boot’s side screws, but pulling the console the rest of the way out wasn’t hard so we opted to go that route.
03 We then removed the remaining 8mm screws and pulled the GM boot out of the way.
04 With the boot gone, we could easily remove our existing shifter. We also made sure to clean the flange of any old RTV sealer.
05 The Skip 5-6 works with either the Pro 5.0 or the B&M Ripper T56 shifters. We’ve heard nothing but good stuff about the B&M piece so we picked one up (PN 45052, $186). This short-throw billet shifter features a fully isolated stick with a spherical pivot bearing for smooth operation and a 30 percent reduction in throw.
06 By incorporating eccentric slugs to the mounting holes, the B&M shifter has three possible mounting positions. The slugs you see here with the small dot placed the shifter in the stock location while another set can move it slightly forward or rearward depending on how they are flipped. Before placing the shifter on the trans, we laid down a tidy bead of RTV. The B&M unit also included adjustable stops to prevent over travel.
07 The Skip 5-6 (PN SK100BM, $65) is brilliantly simple in its design. When the disc is pressed down, the bar moves and doesn’t allow the shifter handle to move far enough right to grab Fifth, Sixth, or even Reverse. Pulling the disc up causes the shifter to return to normal function. The kit for the Pro 5.0 (PN KS101P5, $80) is slightly more complicated to install, but neither require a degree in rocket science.
08 To ensure the Skip 5-6 didn’t get hung up when disengaged, we pushed the handle all the way to the right and then used a credit card to ensure it had the proper 0.030-inch clearance. Once set, we tightened down the two set screws.
09 We then slid on the B&M shifter boot, stretching it over the Skip 5-6 bracket and then securing it with the supplied locking ring.
10 Some GM boots have an extra little nub of rubber at the top that can interfere with the operation of the Skip 5-6. Ours had this so we grabbed a knife and carefully removed it from the boot.
11 After reinstalling the console and GM shift boot, we could then slide on the ring and lock it in place with the 5⁄32 Allen set screw.
12 The last step was to screw on the shift knob, but keep in mind that the B&M unit requires a ball with a 16x1.50 thread size. Also, if you have a shift ball with a line lock, you’ll need to notch the inner hole on the Skip 5-6 ring about 3⁄16 of an inch as shown. You can do it yourself, or for a small charge the guys at Skip 5-6 will do it for you.