T56 Information - First Generation Camaro Swap - Team Camaro Tech
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Transmission & Driveline Transmissions and Differentials

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  #1  
Old Jan 12th, 07, 09:45 AM
Mkelcy Mkelcy is offline
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Default T56 Information - First Generation Camaro Swap

There are so many questions from folks about how to do this swap, I thought I'd post up a little "primer" I did. The post will be in two parts. All recommendations are solely my own. Any corrections or comments are welcome

The Principal Choices of Swappable T56’s

There are three T56’s that are generally used in first generation Camaros. T56’s that were in an LS1 equipped GM car (Camaro or Firebird – not a Corvette) these are referred to as “LS1 T56’s”; T56’s that were in LT1 equipped GM cars (Camaros and Firebirds) these are referred to as “LT1 T56’s”; and so-called Aftermarket T56’s that were intended by Tremec and GM as service replacements for T5’s that broke behind (I think) TPI SBC’s, these are referred to as “Aftermarket T56’s.” The Aftermarket T56’s came with an adapter plate very much like the McLeod 8207 kit referred to below, except that the adapter plate was drilled to correct for the 17 degree tilt built in to the T5 bellhousings. If you get a new Aftermarket T56, you’ll have to have the plate redrilled, or get yourself a T5 bellhousing.

The LS1 T56's generally and many LT1 T56’s have a 0.5:1 overdrive sixth gear and a 2.66:1 first gear with an overall gear spread of 2.66-1st, 1.78-2nd, 1.30-3rd, 1.00-4th, 0.74-5th and 0.50-6th,. Some of the very early LT1 T56's, the Aftermarket T56 and a few other more exotic T56's have a 0.62:1 sixth gear and a 2.97:1 first gear with an overall gear spread of 2.97-1st, 2.07-2nd, 1.43- 3rd, 1.00-4th, 0.80-5th and 0.62-6th. The splits between the gears for the LS1 T56 are: 0.67 1-2, 0.73 2-3, 0.77 3-4, 0.74 4-6, 0.68 5-6. The splits between the gears for a 2.97 first gear T56 are: 0.70 1-2, 0.69 2-3, 0.70 3-4, 0.80 4-6, 0.78 5-6.

Because of the steep overdrive 6th gear in an LS1 T56, a car with a radical cam will need a rear gear at the higher end of the range. By way of example, given a 26.6” tall rear tire and an LS1 T56, a car with 4.11 gears will be turning about 1560 RPM at 60mph, and will go about 77 mph at 2,000 RPM. A similar car with 3.55 gears will be turning about 1350 RPM at 60mph, and will go about 89mph at 2,000 RPM. Yet another similar car with 3.08 gears will be turning about 1170 RPM at 60mph, and will go about 103 mph at 2,000 RPM (if the engine makes enough torque).

The equivalent numbers for a similar car equipped with a T56 with a 0.62:1 6th gear are: 4.11 gears will be turning about 1930 RPM at 60mph, and will go about 62 mph at 2,000 RPM; 3.55 gears will be turning about 1670 RPM at 60mph, and will go about 72mph at 2,000 RPM; and 3.08 gears will be turning about 1450 RPM at 60mph, and will go about 82 mph at 2,000 RPM.


Finally, the 2.97:1 first gear T56’s are generally rated by Tremec for 400Ft-Lbs of torque. The 2.66:1 first gear T56’s are generally rated by Tremec for 450Ft-Lbs of torque or more. Both are, based on abuse stories, pretty conservative ratings.

You can tell the difference between an LS1 T56 and an LT1 T56 three ways:

(1) The LT1 T56 has the slave cylinder mounted on the bellhousing and the cylinder pushes the outside end of the clutch fork toward the front of the car. The LS1 T56 has a hydraulic throwout bearing that bolts to the front of the transmission and is concentric with the input shaft.

(2) The LT1 T56 has a clutch fork pivot ball on the front of the transmission. The LS1 T56 has no provision for a clutch fork pivot ball.

(3) The LT1 T56 input shaft is about 5" long from the face of the transmission (where it's bolted to the bellhousing) to the end of the input shaft. The LS1 T56 input shaft (measured the same way) is about 6.5" long.

The best way to determine the gear set in an LT1 T56 is to put it in first gear and count number of input shaft revolutions required for one full revolution of the output shaft.


(The Aftermarket T56 has an input shaft that is 7” from the face of the transmission to the end of the input shaft and doesn’t come with a bellhousing; the Viper T56 has an input shaft that is also about 7” from the face of the transmission to the end of the input shaft and has no provision for a clutch fork pivot ball.)
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Last edited by DjD; Jul 29th, 10 at 04:55 PM.
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  #2  
Old Jan 12th, 07, 09:49 AM
Mkelcy Mkelcy is offline
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Default Re: T56 Information - First Generation Camaro Swap

Second part:

Swapping an LS1 T56

If you’re starting from scratch and already have a 3 or 4 speed manual transmission in the car, the easiest and cleanest way to swap a T56 into a first generation Camaro behind a traditional BBC/SBC is as follows: You will need an LS1 T56, the McLeod adapter kit (1/2” thick adapter plate that goes between the transmission and the bellhousing, extended pilot bushing, and “collar” on which the throwout bearing rides – McLeod Part No. 8-207 available, for example, at http://store.summitracing.com/partdetail.asp?part=MCL%2D8%2D207&N=700+400374+429 4812239+4294856873+115&autoview=sku), a transmission cross member (I like the ATS adjustable crossmember available at http://www.t56kit.com/main.html), a shortened balanced driveshaft (which you can have made up locally), and an electronic speedometer or an electronic to mechanical converter such as Cable X (available at http://www.gaugeguys.com/cablex.htm, among others).

Using these parts you reuse your current bellhousing, clutch setup (swapping in a 26 spline disk if required), throwout fork, throwout bearing and mechanical clutch linkage. I also prefer an all heim joint linkage such as the one available from http://www.speeddirect.com/index.aspx?nodeID=34.

If you are converting from an automatic, you will also need a bellhousing or scattershield for a SBC/BBC, a flywheel, clutch and 26 spline clutch disk for a traditional SBC/BBC, clutch pedal, clutch linkage (upper rod, Z bar, and lower linkage (or just buy the Z bar and purchase the heim joint kit referred to above), throwout fork, throwout fork pivot ball and throwout bearing. All of these factory style linkage parts should be available from your preferred restoration part vendor.

I prefer a mechanical clutch linkage, particularly for an LS1 T56, because troubleshooting and correcting clutch engagement/disengagement problems with the factory hydraulic linkage generally requires that you uninstall the roughly 130 pound LS1 T56 to get to the concentric throwout bearing, make whatever correction you think is needed, reinstall the transmission, test again and then go through the uninstall/correction/reinstall sequence until the problem is solved. Call me lazy, but that doesn’t sound like fun.

If you want to use the factory hydraulic linkage with either the LS1 or LT1 T56, I suggest you simply use the ATS kit available at http://www.t56kit.com/main.html. The ATS kits use the factory hydraulic linkages and the factory bellhousings.

Weir Hot Rod Products also makes conversion kits for LS1 or LT1 T56’s (http://www.weirhotrodproducts.com/index.html) which use Weir’s cast aluminum bellhousing and hydraulic linkages (which use a concentric hydraulic throwout bearing for both transmissions), but which, in my opinion, aren’t as polished as the ATS kits. (Compare the Weir cross member to the ATS piece.)

Finally McLeod (whose adapter kit is mentioned above) also makes a “modular” bellhousing which is a hydroformed steel bellhousing that uses spacer rings of various thicknesses and transmission mounting plates to adapt a variety of transmissions to a variety of engines. (If you’re doing anything other than a T56 behind a GM engine, talk to McLeod.) In addition, McLeod makes front “intermediate” plates for T56’s that incorporate a clutch fork pivot for adapting an LS1/Viper T56 to a mechanical clutch setup without the use of the adapter plate kit. A modular bellhousing and McLeod front “intermediate” plate locates the transmission roughly 0.75” closer to the engine, increases the effective amount of space in the transmission tunnel (because the transmission is farther forward) and makes the installation cleaner, simpler but more expensive.

Swapping an LT1 T56

If you already have an LT1 T56, your swap is a bit more involved (and likely costly). As described above, the LT1 T56 has a fairly short input shaft which, because of limited space between the transmission and the engine block, requires the use of a special “pull” style clutch and a special flywheel designed to accept the “pull” style clutch. (Here’s a picture of the clutch just by way of example http://www.clutchcityonline.com/images/04-134.JPG) You can’t use any "standard" Chevy flywheel and, unless you have a one piece rear main seal crankshaft, you also can't use the factory LT1 flywheel. In addition, the LT1 T6 uses a hydraulic linkage with a slave cylinder external to the bellhousing, which is also “one-off” for the LT1. So if you’re going to install an LT1 T56, make sure you get the bellhousing, the clutch (if it’s in good shape) and the hydraulic linkage.

Once you have the basic parts you have four choices: (1) You can use the ATS kit, (2) you can use the Weir kit, (3) you can contact McLeod’s tech line to see if either the adapter kit mentioned above with a more extended pilot bushing or one of their modular bellhousings will work, or (4) if you have a 2.66:1 first gear LT1 T56, you can swap out the input shaft for an LS1 T56 input shaft and go to the section above. (You can also swap the Viper T56 input shaft for an LS1 T56 input shaft to simplify installation of a Viper T56 behind a SBC/BBC LSx engine.) If you swap input shafts, be aware that the input shaft must be correctly shimmed on a T56, so it would be best to have an experienced transmission technician do the job.


Interior Details

With any of the mounting methods used you’ll need to cut a new hole in the transmission tunnel for the shifter handle and you’ll need a shift boot sealing the floor of the car to the outside air. The LS1 T56 and LT1 T56’s move the shifter back the most, the Viper T56 less and the Aftermarket T56 the least. However, all of them require a new hole for the shift lever at least 4” or so back from the factory location. (The shifter location itself, however, is fine with any of them.) If you have a console, it will have to be moved back, or you’ll have to try something like the McLeod “Slik Stix” shifter, and you’ll need to come up with a shifter to console boot of some kind.

Finally, you’ll need to either replace your factory speedometer with an electronic speedometer (more involved than it sounds because you lose things like turn signal indicators, etc. when the speedometer is removed – probably best done if you’re planning on going to replacement instruments), or an electronic to mechanical adapter like the Cable X.

Other T56s

The Viper T56 has the same gear ratios as the LS1 T56, but is supposed to have a higher torque rating. The Viper has an 8.25” input shaft, which would make swapping it into a first generation Camaro a bit tighter, as the farther back in the transmission tunnel you go, the narrower it gets. As mentioned above, you can swap input shafts with one from an LS1 T56, and solve the input shaft issue. Viper T56’s have a different speedometer connection than an LS1 T56 and a different shifter configuration, although a shifter meant for a 2003-2004 Ford Cobra T56 will work on the Viper T56.

The gear ratios for the T56s used in the GTO and Cadillac CT-V are - 2.97-1st, 2.07-2nd, 1.43- 3rd, 1.00-4th, 0.84-5th and 0.57-6th. The gear ratios for the T56’s used in the 2005 SSR were 3.01-1 st,2.07-2nd, 1.43- 3rd, 1.00-4th, 0.84-5th and 0.57-6th. I would expect (but have not personally confirmed) they both have the same input shaft length as the LS1 T56.
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Last edited by click; Jul 1st, 09 at 07:08 AM.
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  #3  
Old Jan 12th, 07, 10:33 AM
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lortsie lortsie is offline
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Default Re: T56 Information - First Generation Camaro Swap

Excellent write up Mike! Thanks a lot for taking the time to post this, it will definitely help some folks here, and I'm sure it will help me in the near future - I am pretty sure I'll be putting a T56 back in mine and it's cool to see my options on gearing.
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Old Jan 12th, 07, 09:02 PM
Hurst - Jeff Hurst - Jeff is offline
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Default Re: T56 Information - First Generation Camaro Swap

Great job Mike - very useable and accurate information.
You are an asset to Team Camaro.
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Old Jan 13th, 07, 05:02 AM
clwilcox33 clwilcox33 is offline
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Default Re: T56 Information - First Generation Camaro Swap

Very nice Mike!
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Old Jan 13th, 07, 07:10 AM
Mkelcy Mkelcy is offline
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Default Re: T56 Information - First Generation Camaro Swap

Thanks for the kind comments. This, like my dislike of concentric hydraulic throwout bearings, was born of laziness. Now, instead of typing lengthy answers, I can simply post the URL of this thread.
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Old Jan 13th, 07, 07:54 AM
clwilcox33 clwilcox33 is offline
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Default Re: T56 Information - First Generation Camaro Swap

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mkelcy View Post
Thanks for the kind comments. This, like my dislike of concentric hydraulic throwout bearings, was born of laziness. Now, instead of typing lengthy answers, I can simply post the URL of this thread.
Exactly the reason I did the "how to post pictures" page I linked to in my sig.
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Old Jan 16th, 07, 08:11 PM
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BonzoHansen BonzoHansen is offline
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Default Re: T56 Information - First Generation Camaro Swap

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mkelcy View Post
Thanks for the kind comments. This, like my dislike of concentric hydraulic throwout bearings, was born of laziness. Now, instead of typing lengthy answers, I can simply post the URL of this thread.
Get lazier & put the link in your signature.
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Old Jan 19th, 07, 04:53 PM
PDQUICK PDQUICK is offline
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Cool Re: T56 Information - First Generation Camaro Swap

Mike,

Another great post!! Thanks one more time for all of the help!! My swap is nearly complete after one days hard work!! All thats left is to have my driveshaft shortened (4 3/4" if my math is correct!!) and balanced and to R&R the whole thing one more time so that I can weld up the old shifter hole in the floor. (I've also gotta get a new front carpet b/c the new shifter hole is 5" behind the massive cut out I made for my 4spds Super Shifter!)

I have a little more information to add:

1) For anybody doing this swap it is important to note that the input shaft length on the LS1, T-56, as measured from the front of the adapter plate to the end of the shaft, is only about 6" as compared to 6.625" for the Muncie. While the input shaft will make it thru the clutch disc, it is not long enough to slip into the stock pilot bushing in the end of the crankshaft.

2) McLeod offers many different length, extended pilot bushings to correct this problem. It's still not clear to me if the adapter was supposed to come with this part, but mine did not. After a long discussion with the McLeod's tech line, they are going to send me P/N 8-1094-4 which is 0.600" longer than stock. This might be a bit too long but, I have access to a lathe and can turn the bushing down a bit if needed. In the words of Lee at McLeod; "It's better to have excess and not need it than to need it and not have it!"

3) Once I have the correct bushing length, I'll get the corresponding part number and post it on this thread. If anyone knows this number already, please let me know!!

This swap really isn't all that hard assuming you have a great set of tools and quite a bit of practice at modifying cars. Also remember that this mod will add about 50 lbs to the middle of your car! The T-56 is one heavy SOB at 129 lbs and the adapter plate must add another 10 lbs. The Muncie is well under 100 lbs with the shifter!! Be careful lifting this beast into the car!!

Paul D.
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  #10  
Old Jan 23rd, 07, 08:12 PM
speedshopmike speedshopmike is offline

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Default Re: T56 Information - First Generation Camaro Swap

my first post here; hi, everybody.
a muncie with a shifter is 74 pounds.
the cobra t56 shifter also fits the aftermarket version of the t56.

has anyone used the cable x speedo drive?
what'd you think/leaks/how many miles so far?

thanks
mike
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  #11  
Old Jan 23rd, 07, 08:15 PM
speedshopmike speedshopmike is offline

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Default Re: T56 Information - First Generation Camaro Swap

first post here for me, hi everyone.
muncie with shfiter weighs 74 pounds.
cobra and aftermarket t56 use same shifter.
has anyone used an aboot x speedo drive?
feedback?

thanks
mike
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  #12  
Old Jan 23rd, 07, 08:16 PM
speedshopmike speedshopmike is offline

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whoops, sorry, looked like my 1st one got killed but i guess not.
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  #13  
Old Jan 24th, 07, 01:27 AM
400bird 400bird is offline
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Default Re: T56 Information - First Generation Camaro Swap

hey guys how about some one adds to this post what years LT-1 and LS-1 T56's came in camaros and birds?
thanks
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  #14  
Old Jan 24th, 07, 04:20 AM
bearcat44 bearcat44 is offline
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Default Re: T56 Information - First Generation Camaro Swap

93-97 f-bodies are lt-1.
98-02 f-bodies are ls-1.
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  #15  
Old Jan 24th, 07, 09:32 PM
Jim H Jim H is offline
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Default Re: T56 Information - First Generation Camaro Swap

How is the transmission to floor clearance? And also how is the shifter location to the original location (gen I)
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