My cheap T56 install - Team Camaro Tech
Team Camaro Tech join team camaro
Camaro Parts at     
GROUND UP &         
Official Sponsor of Team Camaro

Auto Insurance

Registered users (free) do not see these large ads

Transmission & Driveline Transmissions and Differentials

Thread Tools Display Modes
Old Apr 9th, 11, 11:25 AM
400bird 400bird is offline
Senior Tech

Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: California
Posts: 2,353
Default 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.

Last edited by 400bird; Apr 9th, 11 at 12:06 PM.
Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Old Apr 9th, 11, 11:47 AM
400bird 400bird is offline
Senior Tech

Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: California
Posts: 2,353
Default 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
Reply With Quote
Old Apr 9th, 11, 11:59 AM
400bird 400bird is offline
Senior Tech

Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: California
Posts: 2,353
Default 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
Reply With Quote
Old Apr 10th, 11, 10:17 AM
ROBS6T8's Avatar
ROBS6T8 ROBS6T8 is offline
Gold Lifetime Member

Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Templeton, Ca USA
Posts: 2,232
Default 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!

My slooow build thread
Reply With Quote
Old Apr 10th, 11, 12:47 PM
400bird 400bird is offline
Senior Tech

Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: California
Posts: 2,353
Default 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.
Reply With Quote
Old Apr 10th, 11, 04:54 PM
Andrew69's Avatar
Andrew69 Andrew69 is offline
Gold Lifetime Member

Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Greenwood, SC
Posts: 4,452
Default 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:
Member # 159
Reply With Quote
Old Apr 11th, 11, 12:36 AM
rcallies rcallies is offline

Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 4
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!
Reply With Quote
Old Apr 11th, 11, 08:17 PM
400bird 400bird is offline
Senior Tech

Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: California
Posts: 2,353
Default 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.
Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 04:48 PM. - 2009