TKO swap thread

HarrisonTX

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Jul 11, 2003
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I'm about to change out my ol' 4 speed for a TKO500.

I've only seen a few other malibu's on here with this swap, and only one other build thread, which is MEAT DRAPES, and his is 41 pages long. Way too much BS for anyone to follow.

Plan -
Remove old 4 speed. Install TKO500, cut new hole in the floor, install new cross member, and shorten the drive shaft.

PLANNED parts needed
TKO500
700R4 ICEMAN light Weight crossmember
Shorten the drive shaft (this will be the 4th time it's been shortened!!)
??

Since my car is already a 4 speed, I expect the swap to be rather straight forward. It seems as if there is a bunch of mystery surrounding the crossmember required for this swap. I'm certain that the mounting is the same distance back as a 700R4 so I'm just going to try that crossmember.

MANY people said I would be unable to run a bench seat with a 4 speed. There is no interference with my bench. The TKO's shifter is farther FORWARD than the 4 speed, so I look forward to retaining my bench seat.

The purpose of this thread is to act as a guide, and clear up some of the mystery. I hope there really isn't any voodoo required.
 

HarrisonTX

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Jul 11, 2003
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Well, that was easy.

I pulled the 4 speed, and came inside to take a break, and make this post.

At 8:57, a mere 31 minutes later, my crossmember problem is solved... for free.

Originally I had planned to mod the 4 speed crossmember. After a phone call with ICEMAN himself, I figured I'd need a new crossmember after we discussed a few clearence issues.

I wanted to stab the TKO at least, and start working on the new shifter hole. Once I had it in there I thought I might as well just toss up the 4 speed crossmember (the ICEMAN light weight that I was running) and see how close it was. The transmission mount has 3 holes with give a little bit of flexibility, and the slot in the crossmember is an 1.5'' long. I figured it was worth a shot.

BOLTED RIGHT UP

On a stock malibu, the crossmember mounts to the frame with 4 bolts, 2 per side. On an ICEMAN light weight, only one bolt per side is used, allowing several mounting options. With the 4 speed, I was using the front hole on the drivers side, and the back hole on the passenger side.
The TKO simply requires both back holes, and everything lines up perfectly.

I absolutely couldn't be more happy. Looks like all I need to do is shorten that drive shaft (for the 4th time), cut a new hole, patch the old hole in the metal, and sew in a new little carpet patch...

This is (was) my 4 speed set up. Bench seat, 4 speed. Lovin' it.


Pile of transmission. In April I cracked the case (full power 2nd-3rd shift) on the super t-10 in the foreground, and installed that REALLY DIRTY one to just put around with.

My nice cheap TKO500, and a t-56 in the background for my.
Now that I think about it that's about $4,000 worth of transmissions in that picture.


ITS JUST THAT EASY
 

MISFITmalibu63

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Feb 21, 2004
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The Sticks... Tewksbury MA
glad you had a simple solution!! as for the driveshaft, if you measure it out, is there a stock length one from a different vehicle you can grab out of the junk yard???
 

HarrisonTX

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Jul 11, 2003
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Doober said:
I'd love to do a TKO or T56, they're just so not in the budget :x
Well, I looked for literally years almost every week before I found a used (slightly, i think about 200 miles) TKO, I believe I paid $1300. Still a bit steep, but cheaper than $2200 new.

Small update today. I got my driveshaft back yesterday so I was ready to drive it today. Turns out the yoke I have seems to by a bit too thick. The seal is just too tight apparently. It's weird. The yoke is the correct spline, but it's from a truck and pretty beefy. I may just buy a new yoke specific for TKO's.

I pulled the carpet back and sewed up the old 4 speed hole. I also made the hole in the tunnel for the TKO shifter. It looks massive, but thats just how big they have to be.

Things remaining.
Yoke issue- probably just buy a new one
Weld up the old 4 speed hole.
Cut hole in carpet
some sort of shift boot to cover the large hole
 

Supe

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May 21, 2003
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Looking good. I'd have already gone to a TKO600 if it weren't for the fact that I know as soon as I get one, I'll be convinced to put an LS motor in the Mazda and then want a T56.
 

HarrisonTX

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Jul 11, 2003
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Supe said:
Looking good. I'd have already gone to a TKO600 if it weren't for the fact that I know as soon as I get one, I'll be convinced to put an LS motor in the Mazda and then want a T56.
I hear ya. You could just run the TKO with an LS if you got one too. The only reason I'm putting this in the malibu is because I got a t56 for the datsun. No LS motor, it's just going behind a mild roller 350.
 

HarrisonTX

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Jul 11, 2003
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Got the driveshaft in. The yoke I had was the correct spline count, but it's OD was far too large. Just got my new spicer yoke in today, hung it on the driveshaft and stuck 'er in. I'm about to patch up the old 4 speed hole, and I just dont know what to do for a shifter boot. I'd rather not run that big "super boot" available at Autozone.
 

HarrisonTX

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Jul 11, 2003
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Doober said:
You may be able to come up with something using a stock console, stick coming up through the stock shifter plate.
Considered that, and looked at g-body parts catalog for a while. Biggest problem is I have a bench seat. I do have 2 monte buckets in storage, but I like my bench. Problem two is the shifter arm (which I know is cheap and easy to replace) is only about 6-7" long. With the height of the console, I dont even know if the ball would clear the console.
 

blue70chevelle

Daily Driver
Jan 11, 2007
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long island
Were you running a Z bar setup with the 4 speed? If so what headers were/are you running? I'm looking for a 1 3/4" primary that will clear a z bar and nobody has any answers for me..
 

t5montecarlo

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Oct 21, 2007
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HarrisonTX said:
I'm about to patch up the old 4 speed hole, and I just dont know what to do for a shifter boot. I'd rather not run that big "super boot" available at Autozone.
Agreed, don't use a superboot unless you have to. If you don't have much penetration, I always liked the round boot and plate used in the 60s Cobras and Mustangs. The look is clean and simple, and would look correct with a bench seat. You may first have to fabricate a small flat area to mount it to; it won't look right on a curved surface.
 

Supe

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May 21, 2003
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Any bellhousing issues? I know the input shaft length is supposed to be a little longer than on a T5, not sure about a T10. Wondering if there are any issues as it pertains to pilot bearings, etc.
 

HarrisonTX

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Supe said:
Any bellhousing issues? I know the input shaft length is supposed to be a little longer than on a T5, not sure about a T10. Wondering if there are any issues as it pertains to pilot bearings, etc.
Not that I was aware of. Just slide right in. I didnt measure input shafts, I just went off the fact that the TKO is supposed to be a direct replacement for a 4 speed.
t5montecarlo said:
Agreed, don't use a superboot unless you have to. If you don't have much penetration, I always liked the round boot and plate used in the 60s Cobras and Mustangs. The look is clean and simple, and would look correct with a bench seat. You may first have to fabricate a small flat area to mount it to; it won't look right on a curved surface.
I like that round boot too, but I actually built a small template for a tiny console yesterday. I live next door to a sheet metal shop so Monday I'll see if they can get me those pieces and I'll weld it up soon. It's square so I'll probably just stick with a square boot. Lokar has some new black bezels which are cool.

blue70chevelle said:
Were you running a Z bar setup with the 4 speed? If so what headers were/are you running? I'm looking for a 1 3/4" primary that will clear a z bar and nobody has any answers for me..
I still run the Z bar with the 5 speed. I remember header selection from 10 years ago when I bought mine. PAIN. I ended up going with a cheap cheap pair of HEDMANS for a g-body. SUMMIT has a tool where you pick your car, make, model, engine.. you used to be able to select Manual/Auto, but I checked and that is no longer an option.
Some headers may fit a 4 speed g body, and not be specified because the manufacturer didnt have a 4 speed g-body to test fit. It's all in the angle of that back tube. Good luck bud. If you've got the $, have a set built $$$



Here's the final shifter position.
This shifter is actually on backwards from how a t-5 would be, the TKO has provisions for both positions. I could have flipped it to the normal position, and rotated the shifter handle to bend forward but that was real close to the seat.
For the people that said you cant run a bench seat with a 4 speed. I did it just fine.
For the people that said you cant run a bench seat with a 5 speed, I'm about to do it. With actually more room.




You can see the various patch pieces.



Welding up that 4 speed hole
 

Supe

MalibuRacing Junkie
May 21, 2003
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Looking good! Is that bellhousing the Lakewood for an F body?
 

HarrisonTX

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Jul 11, 2003
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Supe said:
Looking good! Is that bellhousing the Lakewood for an F body?
In the car? stock g-body 4 speed transmission.
In the pic? That's just a regular lakewood, not the f body one. I'll use it in my 260Z. Mild roller 355 with that LS1 t56. There's a $200 adapter (new faceplate) for the t-56 that allows it to bolt to a Gen1 SBC bell and use Gen1 clutch and flywheel. I will make a bracket and weld it to the bellhousing and run a hyd slave.
 

HarrisonTX

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Jul 11, 2003
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Burleson TX
Here's a little cardboard job. I figure I'll measure for the top once I get the metal version sides tacked together.
I like this black trim ring from lokar. Apparently it doesnt come with a boot. I may buy the recommended lokar boot and just trim it to be short as ****.
The piece in the rear is pretty close to the angle of the front of the bench seat. I need to pull the shifter and put a hole in the carpet. I just slapped the shifter on to drive it. I was just too excited. Sure is different from a 4 speed. 12" shifts VS 4 inches. Shifting into fifth is a bit notchy but every other gear is just fine. Shifter is a Steeda Tri-Ax

http://www.jegs.com/i/Lokar/625/X70-BAF1/10002/-1

[/QUOTE]
 

t5montecarlo

MalibuRacing Junkie
Oct 21, 2007
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That Lokar boot looks like the one that came stock in a Monza.

Are you able to make the box shorter, then put a sheet metal plate on top with a small hole and use a smaller boot and trim ring? (just my opinion, and more like they way GM did it with the T50 Cutlass)

I had a shifter about that short in my wagon and hated it quickly; it was too far to reach. I had to put a longer one. How is the reach on your short shifter?
 
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