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Old 10-15-2011, 07:21 PM
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What do you think about this manual transmission swap?

I am converting my Pontiac Tempest from an automatic to a manual...for the second time. It started life with a 2 speed auto behind a Pontiac 400 out of a 76' firebird. I converted it to a saginaw three speed (because they were cheap and plentiful at the time). Then I dropped in a 4 speed sagy. In my quest for overdrive, I reconverted and put in a 2004R. Burned that up, had it rebuilt and destroyed it again!

So here I am, with a 15 year old boy who needs to learn to drive a manual. He is also interested in being an engineer when he grows up (do we ever grow up?). I figure an engineer needs to have some practical experience. Of course I'm hoping for some father-son time too. So here we go. But, before we get started, what are your experiences with the engineer giving you plans that just didn't make sense?

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Old 10-15-2011, 09:18 PM
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First up is the pedal bracket mods. I have the pedals from the previous conversion. But, I think the bracket metal is too thin and subject to galling after continued use. I found some pipe and after removing the seam with a round file, the clutch pedal rod fits perfectly inside. ($9.99 Harbor Freight calipers have paid for themselves many times over!)

You can see from the pics that we already started the work, before I thought it might be a good idea to share our project. Anyway, the bracket already had some beefing up from the previous conversion. We cut the tube into two pieces and slid the clutch pedal through both pieces to ensure the alignment would be correct and then tacked them in. I thought about welding the tubing in straight and then cutting out the uneeded lengths, but my Harbor Freight grinder with cutting disk won't fit inside the bracket.

Sidebar...has anyone been using these Harbor Freight Grinders? I am not a pro, but considering my shadetree adventures, I have abused these things and they just keep on running. They are so cheap I can afford to have several on hand, fitted with the appropriate cutting wheel, wire brush, grinding disk, etc. Sure saves a bunch of time absent the changing of wheel types. Same with my aforementioned Harbor Freight calipers. They have worked very well. I get it...good tools make the job go easy. But for a hobbyist, I have been nothing but impressed. Is anyone else using these grinders?
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Old 10-15-2011, 09:38 PM
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We finished welding the tubing, probably to the point of overkill, but I reckon my brake pedal should have some security. I am purposely not showing you the weld on the other side. It looks like Napoleon Dynamite welded it! And no, it wasn't my son. That is my monstrosity. My son is taking shop this year and had to demonstrate some welding. His shop teacher said he did better than most. Makes me proud.

You can see how much more metal the clutch pedal shaft has to ride on now. The other side is extended to capture the entire length of the shaft. With a dab of grease, the wear should be minimal.

Notice the clutch pedals I purchased did not fit the existing bracket. The auto bracket is obviously different from the manual bracket.
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Old 10-15-2011, 09:56 PM
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Look closely at the brake pedal tube. I fitted it with a brass bushing to take up the slack between the clutch pedal rod and the tube on the brake pedal. The pedal set was shipped with a plastic bushing. I just didn't think the plastic was going to last. But, let me tell you, fitting that brass bushing was a PITR (pain in the rump). I really need a lathe!
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Old 10-16-2011, 12:41 PM
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Next we trimmed the brake pedal tube down to a size that would fit in between the new support tubes.
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Old 10-16-2011, 02:40 PM
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I can't tell by the picture but it looks like you have 64-66 brake and clutch pedals. They won't work in a 67 and later car. They changed the pedal hanger in 67 for energy absorbing steering columns.
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Old 10-16-2011, 02:57 PM
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...well, they work now! Anyway, thanks for that information. I didn't have anything to compare them to when I ordered them. I ordered for 1968 and that is what they sent me. I just figured that nothing is easy and I just accepted that when you make changes, you have to be willing to pay the man.

With that, do you see any problems I could run into?
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Old 10-16-2011, 03:04 PM
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I will show you the difference. You could make the 64-66 pedal hanger work in a 67 or later car if you switched the steering columns. You can also use a 67 and later setup in the earlier cars if you use a 67 and later hanger and steering column.
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Old 10-16-2011, 03:10 PM
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67 and later.
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Old 10-16-2011, 03:13 PM
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64-66 hanger and pedals.
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Old 10-16-2011, 03:16 PM
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67 and later pedals
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Old 10-16-2011, 03:57 PM
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Thanks for posting those. Very valuable!

Unfortunately, my after market pedals don't look like any of those. It seems my design puts the support tubes in the hangar, where the factory houses the extra support in the pedals. I do see that the factory set about .5 to .75 inch more space between the pedals than I did.

BTW, What is the Cheviac?
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Old 10-16-2011, 04:02 PM
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68 with auto trans. The 67 and later brake and clutch pedals bolt right in.
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Old 10-16-2011, 06:46 PM
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Thanks again, that is a wealth of knowledge.
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Old 10-17-2011, 07:40 PM
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Next up is the clutch master cylinder mounting plate. I guess that tells you we're going with a hydraulic set up. That is what I did before when I had a full Pontiac set up. I wanted to leave as much space as possible for headers...I still haven't bought any headers though! However, this mounting plate will be different because I am running sans brake booster this time around. So the old plate is no good.

I could feel the Pontiac guys hair bristle when I said "...had a full Pontiac set Up". Yes, the purists can get their flame on... Don't worry, I sell my Pontiac parts to Pontiac guys. I have no true allegiance (other than Chevy stuff is cheap, plentiful and very accommodating). My problem is that I like 'em all: Ford, GM, Mopar. I really like the oddball stuff. Whether it is at a show or reading online, I love to see guys building a straight six or stuffing a diesel in their ride. Kudos to all you guys that dare to be different or just build what you have!

To save time and headache we are going to fab this up outside the cabin. My son drilled up this plate to mount the hangar and attach the brake and clutch master so we can get all the geometry right before it gets bolted in.
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