My cheap T56 install - Team Camaro Tech
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old Apr 9th, 11, 11:25 AM Thread Starter
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My cheap T56 install

Alright, money is tight and I hate automatics.
My 67 Firebird had a 2-speed auto from the factory.
My father and I swapped in a 700r4 about 8 years ago out of mom's ruined 80 something suburban.
Still had a 2.56 rear end in it, loads of fun. Not.
A friend was selling his 69 that never made it to the project stage, but had a factory 3.55 posi.
Swapped that in.
It helped the 700r4, but still no fun.
I started looking into manual transmissions.
Finally decided on the T56 because a used one would fit the budget, a TKO was basically only available new. (this was a few years ago)

Alright, T56 it is.

I had decided on the T56 but, needed to do the swap as cheap as possible.
Parts list:
Used LS1 T56 from 2000 Camaro $900 (included LS1 bell and stock shifter)
Stock pontiac bellhousing for Muncie $50
Used Mcleod adapter for stock bell to T56 $100
Clutch and brake pedal kit $116.25
Clutch linkage, z-bar etc $150
(turns out no one sells a kit that actually works for a pontiac, had to piece it together and had already bought a kit)
Clutch kit Zoom $109.95
Quality pilot and release bearing (back in 67 Pontiacs came with a good pilot bearing) $40
Custom bushing to hold release bushing at correct position for T56 (like the extended pilot bearing a chevy would use) $45
Used aluminum flywheel $100
Offset bellhousing dowels $36
Electronic speedo $200
Matching tach $50
Driveshaft shortened and balanced $120
Steel to fab crossmember $50
Carpet $200 not yet purchased, but as the pictures show, its needed
Headers to clear z-bar $265
Random hardware $80

Total $2612.20
All told my expenses were a little higher than expected, and someone with a small block chevy will save a lot.

But I was able to sell a number of items to offset the cost.
Trans and tv made ez kit $800
Old headers $145
700r4 crossmember $95
LS bell $50

So the swap cost me a total of $1522.20
Not to bad and the driving experience is everything I wanted.

So, with all the research I had done a head of time and 2 years spent slowly gathering parts, it was less than $100 a month on the car. And the swap was fairly easy.
And for anyone who hasn't read it yet, the sticky at the top was so helpful.
T56 Information - First Generation Camaro Swap

Last edited by 400bird; Apr 9th, 11 at 12:06 PM.
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old Apr 9th, 11, 11:47 AM Thread Starter
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Re: My cheap T56 install

I don't have many pictures but, here is the trans hanging on the engine ready to drop in as an assembly.
I would recommend doing this, its a tight squeeze to get the trans mated to the bell adapter.
One thing I wish I had done first is cut off the ears at the mounting edge of the trans. Hard to see in this pic, but there are 3. Two on one side, one on the other, just cut them flat, it will make clearance on the floor better.
I did remove the entire shifter for installation.
And the rubber piece in front of the shifter came off too.

Here is one though the stock shifter opening, you can see how high in the tunnel the trans fits, it fills the entire thing up.
I only had contact with the floor on the front edge of the trans, at the adapter.
I put a 2x4 on top of the trans and pushed the floor up a bit, and the trans tucked right up after a few tries and cutting off the ears.

Here is a commonly asked question, where will the shifter be?
Mine is 6" back from the rear edge of the stock hole in my 67
This is also a lesson in measure twice and cut once.
We used a 4" hole saw (which would have been perfect) but drilled it at 7" DOH!!!

And one more, the stock stick that was supplied with the trans is a bit tall, but not as tall as it looks in pics.

Now for my few random issues I had, not a walk though of the install:

The old headers were just a few years old, and listed by summit as working with a z-bar, went to the manufacturer's site and found the error. So, I should not have needed headers, but summit screwed me.

The T56 only has a speed sensor no hook up for a cable, so you either need a conversion box to drive the cable or a new speedo, I choose the speedo and Autometer sport comp, I already had a Covan's classic cluster with Z-series gauges installed.

I used the stock mechanical clutch linkage, have had no problems with it and set up real easy. I went with mechanical linkage as hydraulic is fairly expensive and from what I have read offers little improvement but the hydraulic throwout bearing can cause problems.
Plus with mechanical linkage I could use a stock bell and Mcleod adapter, VS an expensive scattershield.

The crossmember fabrication was 2 half days of a weekend, but came out great in my opinion. It might be a bit over kill.
We used 1/4" angle to bolt to the factory mount location.
1/2" plate with a 90 bent at the end to get over the exhaust to the center drop for the mount.
1/2" for the vertical pieces of the center drop section
1/8" - 1"x2" box tubing to make the cross piece for the mount
It comes apart in 3 pieces to make installation around the exhaust easy.
Not as heavy as it would seem, but the trans weighs more than 100 lbs.

Gauge cluster before calibrating the speedo.
On the freeway in 6th, actual speed was about 75
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old Apr 9th, 11, 11:59 AM Thread Starter
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Re: My cheap T56 install

Also, borrowed my neighbor's set of race scales.
All iron engine (alum intake) 3/4 tank of gas.
Rear battery
No driver
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old Apr 10th, 11, 10:17 AM
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Re: My cheap T56 install

Thanks for the write up and pics. Someday I'll be looking for a tranny to replace my Muncie, maybe, and the t56 seems like a logical way to go. So cheaper to bolt up to my SBC? It looks as though I'll save a bit seeing how I already have the manual set up.
Thanks again.


68 Camaro SS... getting there!!
"If happiness is in your destiny, you need not be in a hurry."
If I can only convince myself of this!

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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old Apr 10th, 11, 12:47 PM Thread Starter
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Re: My cheap T56 install

Yeah, if you already have a manual trans and a small block you are much better off.
You have all the linkages and bell housing.
Just need a trans, adapter, crossmember, driveshaft and clutch disc...

I had so many extra expenses that should not have been needed.
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old Apr 10th, 11, 04:54 PM
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Re: My cheap T56 install

That is a really good job of making it work and thanks for sharing with photos. I really like that crossmember you fabricated. I want to build one for my stock Muncie transmission to ease removing the tranny. It annoys me to have to unbolt the headers and the subframe just to get the stock crossmember out of the way.

Skunk Works
302DZ, M22W Muncie, GV overdrive,12-Bolt Rear 3.73
Some photos:
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old Apr 11th, 11, 12:36 AM
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Wink Re: My cheap T56 install

Your set up looks great.Where did you find the used adaptor plate? I am looking for one to install a t 56 behind a 502 in my 69 camaro. Any info or ideas would be great!
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old Apr 11th, 11, 08:17 PM Thread Starter
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Re: My cheap T56 install

Thanks for the compliment on the crossmember. We had a long debate about how to make it...

I found the used adapter plate here. I was checking eBay, Craigslist,, everywhere I could think, took a year. Like I said this was a long time gathering parts.
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old Dec 14th, 14, 09:32 AM
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Re: My cheap T56 install

This posts is*very*informative.*Thank you!
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old Oct 20th, 15, 05:13 AM
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Re: My cheap T56 install

What was the number of the bellhousing ,I'm trying to install one for my pontiac 400 I bought a bell housing but it's the wrong one, doesn't fit the t5 or Muncie, I have no idea what it does fit. I just need the correct number for the bell housing for the Pontiac, desperate. .thanks

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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old Oct 20th, 15, 05:49 AM
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Re: My cheap T56 install

Casting number 9778882.
Reproduction one:

'69 Camaro
Dart 400-AFR 195-224/224 HR-Powerjection III TB with F.A.S.T. Sportsman XFI
TKO 600-Moser 3.42-Detroit Truetrac

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'02 Z/28 vert-stock-sold and totaled
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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old Nov 5th, 15, 06:02 PM
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Re: My cheap T56 install

Thanks for posting this. Great job saving some dough and being patient waiting for deals!

68 Camaro - 540 HP AFR 412 CI, TH350 full manual, 3500 stall, 3.36 yukon gears/axles, 8.2" eaton posi, 17 inch Intro's. Jet black. Hotchkis sways, 3 in drop leafs/springs/bilsteins, G MOD, C5/4th gen brakes. 11.89 @ 119//2.01 60 ft
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