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Manual Transmissions

Authored by Wes Vann, revised January 8, 2001

Opening comments;

January 8, 2001; I've gotten some additional information on the Tremec transmissions and in the future there will be a page added that covers Mike Pell's installation (written by Mike). I've also fixed the fact that I was spelling Tremec wrong!

On this page, I'm going to try to gather information on manual transmissions that are currently available. I'm not going to go into transmissions that are specific to racing, such as the Lenco. I'm not going to go into "rebuilding" type data.

The idea here is that you should be able to make a logical decision on what you want to buy. If I feel that a price is real (and repeatable), I'll quote it. That's part of the buying decision!

Although I don't like listing suppliers, I kind of have to in order to validate a price. This may change.

This is going to be a long "text" page and in it's final format, there will be "jumps" to the desired sections.

Please give feed back! If you have done a swap, I'd like to hear about it! Just don't send me big, huge scan files.

Personal thoughts;

1) Years ago, I had a pretty nice 69 Camaro with 350 engine, and put a Muncie 4 speed in it. I really miss being able to shift! I'm more of a "pro-touring" type guy than drag racer. Nothing wrong with the drag racing guys, I just want you to know where my mind is at.

2) We are talking about cars with V8 engines here and not some high rpm, narrow power band 4 cylinder. As such, I really don't see any reason for a 6 speed transmission.

3) Any transmission with an overdrive will give you better fuel economy and lower the rpm while on the freeway. That lower rpm means that the engine will last longer! I don't see the need for two overdrives.

4) Even a swap to a "factory option" transmission requires a lot of forethought and hunting down of parts. As with almost everything in this hobby, it will cost more than you expect. There are no exceptions!

Things you need know!

1) When GM went to the latter model engines, the changed the end of the crankshaft so that a one piece oil seal could be used. As a result, there is a different flywheel used. They also went to a different type of clutch that is call a "pull-off" style. You can't just swap this stuff around freely! 93 was the first year of the "pull-off" clutch.

2) Count on having to have the driveshaft modified or a new one built. This may not be the case, as in installing a Muncie in a car that had a short TH350, but don't count on it working.

3) If you need the pedals and clutch "Z" bar stuff, you can get them from our sponsor, Ground Up Restoration and others.

Directory; (and future jump point)

  • 1. Formulas
  • 2. Muncie four speeds
  • 3. Richmond T10 4 speed
  • 4. Richmond / Doug Nash 5 speed
  • 5. T5 5 speed
  • 6. Tremec 5 speed
  • 7. Richmond 6 speed
  • 8. Aftermarket T56 6 speed
  • 9. GM production T56 6 speed
  • 10. Links to suppliers and manufacturers

  • 1. Formulas;

    The "formulas" section moved to it's own page. That way, it can be found by guys (and girls) that are interested in automatic transmissions also.

    To get to the "Gearing Formulas" page, click here.

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    2. Muncie 4 speeds;

    General data;

    This is the factory high performance transmission. If you are after "original" equipment for an older GM car, this is the thing to use.

    Getting parts may be difficult and if you find what "sounds" like a killer deal, be careful.

    There is the wide ratio M20, close ratio M21, and the "rock crusher" M22 is also a close ratio.

    Shift linkage;

    External. Get a Hurst Comp + shifter. Summit sells them, but they are not shown in their catalog.

    Gear ratios;

    first; 2.52, second; 1.88, third; 1.46, fourth; 1.00

    first; 2.20, second; 1.64, third; 1.28, fourth; 1.00

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    3. Richmond T10 4 speed;

    General data;

    This is new direct replacement for a Munci (or other original transmission). You can get them through Summit for around $1300.

    Shift linkage;

    External. Get a Hurst Comp + shifter. Although they are not shown in the Summit catalog, they do sell them.

    Gear ratios; (four different set-ups available)

    first; 2.43, second; 1.61, third; 1.23, fourth; 1.00

    first; 2.64, second; 1.75, third; 1.34, fourth; 1.00

    first; 2.64, second; 1.60, third; 1.23, fourth; 1.00

    first; 2.88, second; 1.91, third; 1.33, fourth; 1.00

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    4. Richmond / Doug Nash 5 speed;

    General Data;

    This transmission bolts to a stock bellhousing. Due to it not having an overdrive, they recommend that you run a rear-end ratio in the range of from 2.73 to 3.36.

    Summit sells them for around $1800.00.

    Shift linkage;

    External. There is a Hurst Comp + shifter specific for this transmission. It can be ordered from Summit. ($272)

    Gear ratios; (there are options on first gear ratio, 3.27 is standard)

    first; 3.27 or 4.06 or 4.41, second; 2.13, third; 1.57, fourth; 1.23, fifth; 1.00

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    5. T5 5 speed; (with single overdrive)

    General Data;

    This is the weak puppy that nobody seems to want. Personally, unless you are just looking for something that will give good fuel economy (and you have low engine torque), go elsewhere.

    Shift linkage;


    Gear ratios;

    first; 2.95, second; 1.94, third; 1.34, fourth; 1.00, fifth; 0.74

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    6. Tremec 5 speed; (with single overdrive)

    General Data; The Tremec 5 speed transmissions are manufactured by TTC for Ford, for usage in their High Performance cars. (the standard 5 speed Ford transmission is the weak T5) There are three different Tremec's, the 3550 with a 400 ft-lb torque rating, the TKO with a 489 ft-lb torque rating and also the TKO II or TKO+ (I don't know the torque rating of the TKO II). The first two listed have the same gear ratios, with a single overdrive ratio of 0.68. The TKO II was intended for road racing and the third and fifth gears are stronger, plus the overdrive can be a ratio of 0.68. When ordering a normal TKO from Fortes, they can change the gears to the TKO II version.

    They have to be modified for installation on a "standard" GM bellhousing, using the standard clutch. The companies that do this are Forte's and Dark Horse. They will only do it on a transmission that they are selling you (in other words, they will not retrofit a transmission that you already have).

    The transmissions come set up for an cable type speedometer however you will need an adapter to hook it up to the G.M. speedometer cable.

    Forte's is the only "authorized" dealer (this was confirmed by talking to the people at TTC)! This came about due to the fact that Mike Fortes paid for the tooling for the correct G.M. input shaft and input bearing retainer. In other words, TTC manufactures the input shafts for Fortes and they will sell them to nobody else. Places like Dark Horse modify the Ford type input shaft and (in my mind) there could be a loss of strength!

    Shifter Linkage;

    The Tremec has an "internal" shifter and the shifter can be mounted in three different positions along the top of the trans. You have to let the people, whom you buy the transmission from, know what position you want. The most rearward position is "stock". According to the people at TTC, moving the shifter to the center position is easy to be done by disassembly and re-assembly. Relocating it to the front position requires different internal parts.

    Gear Ratios;

    first; 3.26, second; 1.98, third; 1.34, fourth; 1.00, fifth; 0.68 (fifth can be 0.82 in the TKO II)

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    7. Richmond 6 speed; (with single overdrive)

    General data;

    Bolts up to standard bellhousing and is set-up for cable speedo. Summit sells them for around $2800. They come with the shifter linkage.

    Summit sells them for around $2800.00

    Shift linkage;

    External and comes with the transmission.

    Gear ratios;

    first; 3.27, second; 2.13, third; 1.57, fourth; 1.23, fifth; 1.00, sixth; 0.76

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    8. Aftermarket T56 6 speed; (with two overdrive ratios)

    This is not the same transmission that you would get out of a late model Camaro!!

    General Data;

    There have been two articles written over the years about this transmission (that I know about). The first was in the January 1994 Car Craft. The second was in the April 1997 Hot Rod.

    In the Car Craft issue, it states that you have to use a T5 bellhousing and then the adapter plate that comes with the transmission. The bellhousing is no longer available from GM however you should be able to locate one at the junk yards.

    In the Hot Rod issue (keep in mind that it was written almost 3 years after the Car Craft issue) the requirement of a T5 bellhousing isn't pressed.

    I contacted Sallee Chevrolet (who sells the transmission and adapter plate) and used a 69 Camaro as a "sample" conversion and they said that the original bellhousing could be used.

    So, I think that BorgWarner changed or modified the adapter plate some time between the two articles so that an older style bellhousing could be used.

    You still use a standard "push" type clutch but you have to be sure to get a 26 spline clutch disk.

    The transmission as sold by Sallee is set up for a standard cable speedo.

    These transmissions are LARGE! I have no idea what changes to a floor pan may be required.

    Shifter Linkage;

    The shifter linkage in "internal" and I don't believe that the location can be changed. The shifter comes out of the tail shaft housing and from what I understand, they can't be changed from one style T56 to another. (as an example, the Viper T56 has the shifter in a different "distance from the bellhousing")

    Gear Ratios; (note that these ratios are different than the OEM T56)

    first; 2.97, second; 2.07, third; 1.43, fourth; 1.00, fifth; 0.80, sixth; 0.62

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    9. Factory GM T56 6 speed; (with two overdrive ratios)

    General Data;

    It's this transmission, out of a Camaro, that has been covered by Chevy High Performance in the February 1999 and September 1998 issues. Get a copy of the February issue! It's a "must read". And, learn to read between the lines!

    To use this set-up, you have to have a "pull-off" clutch, and that means that if you have an early V8, you need a custom flywheel (big bucks!). You have to use the GM hydraulic clutch hook-up with special mounting bracket.

    The transmission has an electrical speedo connection and it can be converted to cable by JTR.

    You need a smaller size starter.

    This is a costly conversion in spite of your maybe locating a used transmission for around a grand. As an example, in the February Chevy High Performance, they showed a cost break-down on the installation in a camaro. The cost for the used transmission was $1200 and the final total cost came to better than $3000. (I really commend Chevy High Performance for adding this information about a "real world" installation!)

    Shifter Linkage;

    Internal, see T56 notes above.

    Gear Ratios;

    first; 2.66, second; 1.78, third; 1.30, fourth; 1.00, fifth; 0.74, sixth; 0.50

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    10. Links to suppliers and fabricators;

    Ground Up Restoration; various restoration parts, "z" bars, clutch pedals, etc.

    TremecTransmissions, Mike Pell (the Team Chevelle guy who wrote the Tremec installation in the Technical Reference section) is now an authorized distributor for Tremecs as modified by Fortes. The site is new (2/8/02), but check it out and be sure to say that you are a Team Chevelle or Team Camaro member.

    Dark Horse; they sell Tremac's and other stuff

    Fortes; Tremac (converted to GM) and other transmissions

    Jags That Run; (JTR) transmission modifications and engine swap stuff

    Sallee Chevrolet; Chevy high performance dealer and they sell T56's, in Oregon

    Summit Racing Equipment; the name says it! If you don't have one of their catalogs, get one.

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