T56 Transmission Installation - Over And Over Again

When one overdrive won't do, how about two?

Mike Harrington Jun 27, 2007 0 Comment(s)
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There you are, heading down the highway at a speed that would make Barney Fife reach for that bullet in his shirt pocket, but it's too late, you're over the horizon and into the next county. The needle on the speedo is reading near the buck and a quarter mark, while the tach reads a docile 2100 rpm. Normally the stump pulling gears in the rear end would be howling like a north wind at this speed, but not this time. A six-on-the-floor Tremec T56 transmission keeps all this madness in check.

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Before installing your transmission, attach your shift handle to the shift stub and make sure that the shifter can be moved into all gears properly. It's possible that the shift forks could have been knocked out of alignment during shipping. This is very rare, but important to check. It's easily correctable before the transmission is installed. Place the shifter stub in neutral and remove the shifter from the transmission by removing the four bolts securing the shifter to the tailshaft. Remove the shifter and set it aside. Apply masking tape over the shifter cavity to prevent dirt from entering the transmission during installation.

The Camaro on the cover of this issue was the recipient of this dual overdrive Tremec transmission. You may remember the second-gen F-body from last month's issue, when it had a Procharger installed on its LS2. This month we'll take you through the steps that it will take to put a T56 behind an LS1 into a second-gen Camaro. Even though the T56 was designed to fit behind LS motors, it really can fit almost any Chevrolet. This is where Classic Chevy 5-Speed comes in. Classic Chevy 5-Speed specializes in Tremec 5- and 6-speed overdrive manual transmission conversion kits for, well, classic Chevy muscle cars. Classic Chevy 5-Speed kits include Camaros, Chevelles, Corvettes, Novas, Impalas and '55-57 Chevys.

These Tremec transmission kits are not sold separately. Classic Chevy 5-Speed, which is an authorized Tremec dealer, takes the transmission from Tremec and then adapts it to fit each specific vehicle, including all hardware, tech support, etc. The Classic Chevy 5-Speed Elite T56 kit includes all of the components shown from the hydraulic clutch assembly back to, and including, the driveshaft. Classic Chevy 5-Speed uses a brand new Tremec T56 transmission, McLeod clutch components, custom-made Inland Empire Driveline driveshafts, and other GM parts. The custom-made tubular crossmember and hydraulic clutch master cylinder-mounting bracket are made specifically for each application.

The Elite T56 kit is a good option for automatic to six-speed conversions or for anyone looking to upgrade their existing clutch components.

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Remove the transmission-to-bellhousing bolts and remove the bellhousing from the transmission. Make sure the case has two dowel pins in it.

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The easiest method to determine how much you will need to cut/enlarge your stock shifter hole in the floor is to install the bellhousing to the block without the flywheel and clutch installed and then temporarily install the transmission to the to the bellhousing, making sure the transmission is supported by a transmission jack. When the transmission is temporarily installed as described above, use a scribe and mark the desired shifter hole location from underneath the car. Remove the carpet, seats, and sill plates as required to gain access to the tunnel. From underneath the car, drill small pilot holes on each corner of the shifter outline that you drew in. With the pilot holes as an outline and using the appropriate cutting device, cut out the necessary sheetmetal in the floorboard to accommodate the shifter.

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Install the flywheel with the new hardware. Apply Loctite to the bolt threads and torque the bolts to 65 ft-lb. Install the clutch disc and pressure plate to the flywheel using the supplied clutch alignment tool and torque to specification.

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Note: It is advisable to check that the clutch disc fits the transmission input shaft and slides on the splines easily before installation. Next install the bellhousing to the engine block and fit the bellhousing over the dowel pins and torque to specification. We should also note a detailed set of instructions are included with every transmission from Classic Chevy 5-Speed.

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With the bellhousing and clutch fully installed, the Hydraulic throwout bearing is next.

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All the hardware and bolts are supplied in the kit.

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