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LS1 Camaro T56 Transmission Rebuild - Rock That Box

Having Trouble Jamming It In? Then Get Your T56 Upgraded By Rockland Standard Gear For Some Bangin' Good Times.

By Vinnie The Hitman, Photography by George Trosley

A highly recommended option is a Super Finish micro polish for all the internals that help reduce operating temperatures and silken shift action for an extra $250 (prices vary up to $450, depending on the application of your T56.) This process may add seven days to the turnaround time on your gearbox, but we think it's worth it.

Kreppein also emphatically recommends a good synthetic fluid to keep temps down, improve synchronizer action, and prevent foaming. Because Rockland has done so much testing in road race environments, it has come up with its own line of synthetic transmission fluid branded as "Tranzilla." It is designed to work with Rockland's own line of transmissions, but will work perfectly fine with your existing gearbox.

So, we went with his fluid recommendation and heeded his word on clutches by matching our freshly Race Ready T56 with a proven Zoom single-disc Kevlar clutch and matching billet steel flywheel for reliable performance. Trademark features to the Zoom Kevlar setup include incredible clamping force, reasonable pricing and minimal pedal effort-all three attributes are ones that we can certainly live with. Besides, we were digging the purple paint.

If you choose to buy one of Rockland Standard Gear's in-stock boxes, then it will save you tons of time, but of course, will add to the total out-the-door price. For those who chase horsepower like it's covered in blond hair and tight jeans, Rockland Standard Gear also offers its Tranzilla series of transmissions that includes a custom gearset made of a unique proprietary alloy that can handle an incredible 1,200 lb-ft of torque (read sidebar). Although it was offered to us, we thought it would have been more realistic to live with the standard $1,695 Race Ready rebuild.

Once completed, we reinstalled this gearbox into our 10-second '01 Camaro test vehicle. The Zoom clutch held up to the hellacious punishment without a peep and on the street, its silken action made driving a pleasure. In the end, any rough-shifting T56 deserves a thorough rebuild done right. Just make sure that the next time you plan a project that will include a T56 gearbox, have it gone over properly and let an expert go through it, not some fly-by-night operation. You'll save yourself considerable amounts of time and energy in the end.

As you know, the T56 has been the favorite six-speed of choice by the Big Three for all of its performance applications. From Viper GTS Coupes to Z06 Corvettes and even SVT Mustang Cobras, this gearbox has come in many different forms over the years for specific applications. As such, different variants have come out of the T56's Tremec factory in Mexico, allowing the aftermarket to mix and match its own combination of OEM parts to make transmissions handle immense amounts of torque. But Rockland Standard Gear goes a step further and offers its own unique 9310 alloy gearset for the T56 and calls the finished product the "Tranzilla T56."

The Tranzilla T56 is designed to handle 1,200 lb-ft of torque (yikes!) and is available with an incredible variety of ratios as steep as a 2.29 or as short as 2.98 for First. Ratios for all the remaining gears can be suited for your needs as road racers and drag racers alike would want to take advantage of the four available combos. The gears themselves have a less helical profile (of just 22 degrees) to handle more torque. It does increase gear noise ever so slightly, but the increase in power capacity is certainly worth it. Units retail from $5,200 to $8,200, depending on the applications, and come with a one-year unlimited mile warranty. This is the T56 to get if you're serious about power.

In total, the sum of all these parts allows you to pound ludicrous amounts of power to the ground. Just pray that the rest of your driveline can handle it.

By Vinnie The Hitman
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