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Old 07-11-2010, 07:50 PM
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'81 T/A tranny swap options

Hey guys, I got a few questions on a tranny swap idea. Right now I have a 403 I am building and a TH350 laying around. My original Idea was to put a shift kit in it and run it as it is until I swap the engine and then I would go to a manual. After reading up on transmissions and seeing peoples posts on here I now have the urge for a manual. I always wanted a manual since it seems fitting for a muscle car but I am pretty broke and not knowing much about trannys doesn't really help.

The other day I was speaking with my friend about how much work we have ahead of us on the build, when I realized I would most likely need a new torque converter as well as a shift kit AND ratchet shifter. After thinking this I realized how much it was going to cost in comparison to just sticking a manual in her.

One of the biggest issues I have with using a manual tranny are all the damn linkages. I had a look around on Kijiji last night and didn't find any manual tranny parts. On F body warehouse the pedals cost $100 and all the linkages cost $140. In my opinion thats a bit expensive.

My thoughts on trannys where a 4 speed Muncie until I read about the T-56 6 speed. I was thinking I would rather put the T-56 in rather then the Muncie because its a hydraulic throw out bearing and I wouldn't have to worry about the linkages. Instead I was thinking I would pick up the pedals and just rig a little something up with the hydraulic clutch cylinder. Not only do I think it would be easier to install, but its also a OD tranny and that would be great to have with my 3:73 gears. I know the T-56 wont just bolt up but I have seen a couple adapters to make it fit BOP.

Now here are the issues. I don't know if it will fit, I don't know how much these conversion kits cost, dont know where to find these trannys. I looked all over Kijiji and cant find any T-56 trannys for under $1500. Tomorrow I will be giving a auto wreckers a call to see if they have any trannys. I am not holding my breath though, none of the auto wreckers I ever call have anything I am looking for. All they have are newer 2000 era cars. On the site they say they charge $100 for the tanny so that is what keeps me interested.

Another thought cross's my mind now. I found a M21 course spline for $500 and theres a guy who's selling a 350 and 4 speed out of a 3/4 truck so I am interested to see what tranny that is and I have a feeling I will be able to pick it up for much less. Anyways, the idea I had was changing over to a hydraulic throw out bearing on the Muncie and run that since I will be able to pick the tranny up for cheaper then probably the T56 and I wont have to worry about adapters and such.

Anyways guys, what do you think? What should I do? The engine will be 450TQ when I am done and I plan to use it as my DD as well as running on the highway to the track which is a hour away and then run 12's when we get there. Thanks and sorry for the novel everyone LOOL
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Old 07-12-2010, 09:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by handymann3
Hey guys, I got a few questions on a tranny swap idea. Right now I have a 403 I am building and a TH350 laying around. My original Idea was to put a shift kit in it and run it as it is until I swap the engine and then I would go to a manual. After reading up on transmissions and seeing peoples posts on here I now have the urge for a manual. I always wanted a manual since it seems fitting for a muscle car but I am pretty broke and not knowing much about trannys doesn't really help.

The other day I was speaking with my friend about how much work we have ahead of us on the build, when I realized I would most likely need a new torque converter as well as a shift kit AND ratchet shifter. After thinking this I realized how much it was going to cost in comparison to just sticking a manual in her.

One of the biggest issues I have with using a manual tranny are all the damn linkages. I had a look around on Kijiji last night and didn't find any manual tranny parts. On F body warehouse the pedals cost $100 and all the linkages cost $140. In my opinion thats a bit expensive.

My thoughts on trannys where a 4 speed Muncie until I read about the T-56 6 speed. I was thinking I would rather put the T-56 in rather then the Muncie because its a hydraulic throw out bearing and I wouldn't have to worry about the linkages. Instead I was thinking I would pick up the pedals and just rig a little something up with the hydraulic clutch cylinder. Not only do I think it would be easier to install, but its also a OD tranny and that would be great to have with my 3:73 gears. I know the T-56 wont just bolt up but I have seen a couple adapters to make it fit BOP.

Now here are the issues. I don't know if it will fit, I don't know how much these conversion kits cost, dont know where to find these trannys. I looked all over Kijiji and cant find any T-56 trannys for under $1500. Tomorrow I will be giving a auto wreckers a call to see if they have any trannys. I am not holding my breath though, none of the auto wreckers I ever call have anything I am looking for. All they have are newer 2000 era cars. On the site they say they charge $100 for the tanny so that is what keeps me interested.

Another thought cross's my mind now. I found a M21 course spline for $500 and theres a guy who's selling a 350 and 4 speed out of a 3/4 truck so I am interested to see what tranny that is and I have a feeling I will be able to pick it up for much less. Anyways, the idea I had was changing over to a hydraulic throw out bearing on the Muncie and run that since I will be able to pick the tranny up for cheaper then probably the T56 and I wont have to worry about adapters and such.

Anyways guys, what do you think? What should I do? The engine will be 450TQ when I am done and I plan to use it as my DD as well as running on the highway to the track which is a hour away and then run 12's when we get there. Thanks and sorry for the novel everyone LOOL
If you are talking about a 403 Olds, first be aware that not all Olds cranks were drilled for a pilot bearing. You can have the crank machined or use a conversion bearing available from Olds specialty vendors. Also be aware that the T56 won't bolt to the BOP bellhousing bolt pattern. There is now an aftermarket T56 bellhousing from Weir Hot Rod Products that fits BOP. No idea what it costs, but I bet it's not cheap.

http://www.weirhotrodproducts.com/id5.html
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Old 07-12-2010, 09:06 AM
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It really depends on your rear axle ratio. any Muncie is going to be 1:1 in 4th gear. This means that whatever RPM your engine is spinning, is exactly how fast your driveshaft is spinning. 65mph at 4500rpms.

Putting a T56 is your car definitely takes some fab skills, especially in a uni-body. Not to mention the fact that a mechanical linkage, when adjusted properly is much more reliable than a hyd. clutch.

You'll have trouble using all 6 gears EFFECTIVELY, plus they weigh a lot.

My suggestion? TKO 500 or 600 OR a rebuilt muncie in either the stock M20 gearset OR the aftermarket M22wide ratio gearset; and some 3.73s or 3.55s for a bit of economy.

Good luck
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Old 07-12-2010, 09:30 AM
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Is Canada your actual location? I ask, because I have darned near everything needed (M-20 Muncie, bellhousing, shifter, pedals, Z-bar, etc) to do this swap.

I am missing an Olds flywheel (have Chevy and Pontiac ) and a Hurst shift lever. But shipping would be brutal.

I guess my point is- the parts are still around. Keep looking and I'll bet you can round them up, maybe even from the same place so the S&H doesn't kill you, or even near enough to drive to.

Good luck.
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Old 07-12-2010, 11:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joe_padavano
If you are talking about a 403 Olds, first be aware that not all Olds cranks were drilled for a pilot bearing. You can have the crank machined or use a conversion bearing available from Olds specialty vendors. Also be aware that the T56 won't bolt to the BOP bellhousing bolt pattern. There is now an aftermarket T56 bellhousing from Weir Hot Rod Products that fits BOP. No idea what it costs, but I bet it's not cheap.

http://www.weirhotrodproducts.com/id5.html

Hey Joe, I actually saw your post on classic olds and thats sorta what got me started on all this LOL. I signed up on the site yesterday after getting tired of ROP. I also read somewhere (pretty sure it was something you posted up) about the whole olds crankshaft and throw out bearing. I read that most if not all cranks where cut for throw out bearings somewhere in the mid 70's. I also had a feeling the BOP bellhousing would be expensive. Do you know where I could find these bearings though?
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Old 07-12-2010, 11:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AutoGear
It really depends on your rear axle ratio. any Muncie is going to be 1:1 in 4th gear. This means that whatever RPM your engine is spinning, is exactly how fast your driveshaft is spinning. 65mph at 4500rpms.

Putting a T56 is your car definitely takes some fab skills, especially in a uni-body. Not to mention the fact that a mechanical linkage, when adjusted properly is much more reliable than a hyd. clutch.

You'll have trouble using all 6 gears EFFECTIVELY, plus they weigh a lot.

My suggestion? TKO 500 or 600 OR a rebuilt muncie in either the stock M20 gearset OR the aftermarket M22wide ratio gearset; and some 3.73s or 3.55s for a bit of economy.

Good luck


Well my rear gear ratio is 3:73 right now and thats what gets me worried with running on the Highway so long. Why do you say I will have trouble using all 6 gears effectively though? Also, by custom fab work I am assuming you mean the tranny tunnel and moving the cross member? Right now I have my eye's set on what I believe to be a muncie wide ratio out of a mid 70's 1 ton tow truck.

Last edited by handymann3; 07-12-2010 at 12:01 PM.
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Old 07-12-2010, 12:00 PM
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Originally Posted by cobalt327
Is Canada your actual location? I ask, because I have darned near everything needed (M-20 Muncie, bellhousing, shifter, pedals, Z-bar, etc) to do this swap.

I am missing an Olds flywheel (have Chevy and Pontiac ) and a Hurst shift lever. But shipping would be brutal.

I guess my point is- the parts are still around. Keep looking and I'll bet you can round them up, maybe even from the same place so the S&H doesn't kill you, or even near enough to drive to.

Good luck.

Hey cobalt, thanks allot for the offer, seems like you've been here almost every step of the build LOL! I know a guy who might be able to score me the pedals and linkage pretty cheap. Hes actually the guy I bought the car off of. He has a MASSIVE collection of F body parts but mostly camaro

Besides all that, I think I found a tranny for cheap. Theres a guy around my neck of the woods that has a 350 and 4 speed manual for pretty cheap. I shot him a email and hes not sure what tranny it is. I am almost positive its a Muncie since it came out of a mid 70's 1 ton tow truck. Being such a big truck, I am also betting its a wide ratio so I might be in luck
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Old 07-12-2010, 12:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by handymann3
Hey cobalt, thanks allot for the offer, seems like you've been here almost every step of the build LOL! I know a guy who might be able to score me the pedals and linkage pretty cheap. Hes actually the guy I bought the car off of. He has a MASSIVE collection of F body parts but mostly camaro

Besides all that, I think I found a tranny for cheap. Theres a guy around my neck of the woods that has a 350 and 4 speed manual for pretty cheap. I shot him a email and hes not sure what tranny it is. I am almost positive its a Muncie since it came out of a mid 70's 1 ton tow truck. Being such a big truck, I am also betting its a wide ratio so I might be in luck
That 1-ton truck will have a tranny unlike the M-20/21/22 Muncie- they are BIG, HD and usually have a very low first gear (aka "granny gear"). Not suitable for a car, unfortunately.

Cool that you've found pedals, though. Hopefully there won't be an issue w/the crank and getting a pilot bushing installed into it.

An option that a lot of guys use, is a hydraulic throw out bearing. This basically replaces the Z-bar and fork assembly.

The bellhousing can be a Pontiac unit- a lot of them were used during the 60's and 70's. There are aftermarket scattershields, also.
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Old 07-12-2010, 12:40 PM
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Originally Posted by cobalt327
That 1-ton truck will have a tranny unlike the M-20/21/22 Muncie- they are BIG, HD and usually have a very low first gear (aka "granny gear"). Not suitable for a car, unfortunately.

Cool that you've found pedals, though. Hopefully there won't be an issue w/the crank and getting a pilot bushing installed into it.

An option that a lot of guys use, is a hydraulic throw out bearing. This basically replaces the Z-bar and fork assembly.

The bellhousing can be a Pontiac unit- a lot of them were used during the 60's and 70's. There are aftermarket scattershields, also.

Geez, thats a pretty big let down about the tranny, I was pretty sure I coulda picked it up for dirt cheap. I will just keep looking then I found a BOP bellhousing for $100 but I will see how good my haggling skills are. Thanks for the link, depending on cost I might just go the route. Are there any specific cars or trucks I should be looking for that might have a muncie?

Last edited by handymann3; 07-12-2010 at 12:52 PM.
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Old 07-12-2010, 12:58 PM
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Originally Posted by handymann3
Geez, thats a pretty big let down about the tranny, I was pretty sure I coulda picked it up for dirt cheap. I will just keep looking then I found a BOP bellhousing for $100 but I will see how good my hageling skills are. Thanks for the link, depending on cost I might just go the rute. Are there any specific cars or trucks I should be looking for that might have a muncie?
GM used the Muncie during the 60's and early 70's ('63 up until '74, IIRC). After that, the ST-10 (aka "Super T-10) was used, which is also an option for you to use.

I doubt you will ever see one in a junkyard, though. Probably going to come from Kijiji, craigs, eBay, etc., unless you find one local to you through your contacts.
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Old 07-12-2010, 01:09 PM
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Originally Posted by cobalt327
GM used the Muncie during the 60's and early 70's ('63 up until '74, IIRC). After that, the ST-10 (aka "Super T-10) was used, which is also an option for you to use. As is the T-5, which I have no personal experience with- but I believe it'll fit your tunnel w/o hacking it up. The shifter location may differ from stock, though.

I doubt you will ever see one in a junkyard, though. Probably going to come from Kijiji, craigs, eBay, etc., unless you find one local to you through your contacts.

When I searched up the T-5 I see them comming from behind these little 2.3l turbo fords. Are these things really gunna hold up? Also, will they bolt to my bellhousing?
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Old 07-12-2010, 01:14 PM
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Originally Posted by handymann3
When I searched up the T-5 I see them comming from behind these little 2.3l turbo fords. Are these things really gunna hold up? Also, will they bolt to my bellhousing?
That was a "missed shift" on my part, and why it was deleted as soon as I reread the original post. Actually, I'd just been looking at the T-56, and was going to mention it, but the floor/tunnel situation had already been mentioned.

Even the WC T-5 will let go w/o much provocation- the whole lot of them are probably best avoided altogether.

Another option for a tough 4-speed is the Ford Toploader, but they're not easy to find for a good price.
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Old 07-12-2010, 01:51 PM
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Originally Posted by cobalt327
That was a "missed shift" on my part, and why it was deleted as soon as I reread the original post. Actually, I'd just been looking at the T-56, and was going to mention it, but the floor/tunnel situation had already been mentioned.

Even the WC T-5 will let go w/o much provocation- the whole lot of them are probably best avoided altogether.

Another option for a tough 4-speed is the Ford Toploader, but they're not easy to find for a good price.
Well it look's like I will be sticking with the Muncie or the ST-10 if I can find one for a decent price. How much fab work would be involved with sticking the T-56 in there if by some chance I found one for cheap.
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