Tremec TKO-600 (2)

rjleiker

Amateur Racer
Sep 24, 2008
261
0
0
Derby, KS
Ok, so I've been planning my self to death trying to get ready to do one of the most major modifications to my Cutlass yet. The TH-350 to TKO-600 swap. I've been organizing parts lists and contacts for almost everything to be able to do it with almost all bolt in pieces and hardly any fabrication during the install itself. I will be starting to buy parts in late February to March and start the install a little after I get everything in one location.

I know Meat Drapes' thread is legendary... so if you want some awesome inspiration to do this swap yourself, go read it. That's why I am doing this swap. And that's also why I am doing this thread. I know he struggled like crazy to get parts to work and piece together and things just seemed to sometimes be working against him. But I figure, if he can do it, I can do it.
So here we go... post 1...

To start, here's a basic parts list of what I am planning to include in the build. Let me know if you have any other ideas on what would be a good idea for any other parts as well. This is the product of about 2 months of being locked to my computer screen at work just reading and finding parts.

Bellhousing, Fork, Pedals, Linkage - Used - Private seller, I can't reveal this until after I get my set, so someone else doesn't buy it out from under me. These are used factory pieces but reconditioned and G-bosy specific.
Clutch set - New - 10.5 stock set from Autozone for SBC. I am doing this because
Autozone has a good unconditional lifetime warranty and my motor is all stock on the inside for now, so I figure it can handle the power for a while.
Flywheel - New - Stock piece from Autozone. Again, Lifetime Warranty.
Pilot Bearing - New - Extra Long Roller - why not for $20 - http://www.pitstopusa.com/SearchResult.aspx?CategoryID=2719
Transmission - New TKO-600 from Keisler. $500 more gets you the Chevy II custom shifter installed just like they shipped with the G-body custom transmissions when they offered them. Not sure what I'm going to do about the shifter yet, need to take some measurements and see what I've got to work with.
Driveshaft - Shortened stock piece - from local shop.
Crossmember - Iceman Racing - made for TKO for g-body for $150, he's got the measurements now.
Clutch Linkage - Speed Direct pieces - $65 - I hear they make a huge difference.
Transmission mount - Energy Suspension - you can get these anywhere

I might replace the carpet as well with a JC whitney black piece while I'm at it... we'll see...
And my 7.5 rear won't last long with a manual, so I'm going to put a housing cover/brace in soon after to just make it last a while longer.
Most of these items you all know about already, but I figured I would put them all in one place.
I know it sounds crazy but I hope to be able to do this swap in 1 weekend... yep, 3 days... that's why I'm doing my homework first. I want it to go together right the first time.

So ya... there it is... post #1... any ideas or input or questions would be great...
 

racecar77

Pro Stocker
Aug 11, 2007
2,438
0
0
Crete,IL
I don't know if it applies to these transmissions or not, but on a Muncie or Borg-Warner I was always told to use a stock bronze pilot bushing instead of the fancy roller bearing. I have followed this advice in every stick shift car I've owned and never had a problem. Here is the reasoning......when a bronze, oil impregnated bushing wears, it's just gets loose, but when a steel roller bearing wipes itself out, it can damage or destroy the input shaft on the trans. ( The bronze is softer than the input shaft. ) Just my opinion, I'm sure many have used a roller bearing without issue also. Lee
 

rjleiker

Amateur Racer
Sep 24, 2008
261
0
0
Derby, KS
Hey thanks for the pilot bushing info... that is true, when you wipe out a roller, they take everything else out with them...
I don't figure there is any power loss or durability issues with the non roller, since they've been used for decades and still using them...

Hey, tell your friends about this thread... I would love to get as much real world experience in on this project as possible, hence the posting and researching on this sight.
 

Meat Drapes

Dragway Regular
Mar 26, 2005
1,185
4
36
Jacksonville, NC
Since I have pulled the transmission in and out a few times I had the pleasure of trying the bronze and roller pilot bearing just to see what worked out best.
I originally had the roller and it disintegrated into dust so I went with the bronze. I was unhappy with how tight the bronze bearing fit so I pulled it and put another roller back in.
I am thinking the first roller was damaged as I inserted the input shaft which caused the premature wear. Since the second roller has been installed I have pulled the transmission several times and it looks the same as when I installed it.
Ill help any way I can with your install.
 

rjleiker

Amateur Racer
Sep 24, 2008
261
0
0
Derby, KS
so pretty much just be nice to your roller when putting the shaft in. I figure there must be some good resons that maufacturers continue to make them and supply them with such a bold price tag for a small bearing.

MD: I noticed you have put the transmission in a couple different ways pertaining to with or without the bellhousing attached. What do you think would be the easiest way to put the transmission in for the first time?
 

Meat Drapes

Dragway Regular
Mar 26, 2005
1,185
4
36
Jacksonville, NC
rjleiker said:
so pretty much just be nice to your roller when putting the shaft in. I figure there must be some good resons that maufacturers continue to make them and supply them with such a bold price tag for a small bearing.

MD: I noticed you have put the transmission in a couple different ways pertaining to with or without the bellhousing attached. What do you think would be the easiest way to put the transmission in for the first time?
With the hydraulic setup I was forced to install with the bellhousing attached. And I actually found it went in easier. But you need 2 people. I have done it alone with a floor jack and using my leg to pump the arm to get the jack to rise but that is no fun and you only get one chance to get it right. If you mess it up there is no going back down unless you have the other person to run the jack. Doing it alone I have dropped the transmission on myself. Very unpleasant.
 

rjleiker

Amateur Racer
Sep 24, 2008
261
0
0
Derby, KS
Here's a question, and I know I should know this by now, but I've never had to deal with it before...

When pulling just the transmission without the engine, how do you keep the engine from tipping backward and screwing up the distributor? Can I use something to control the tip of the engine while I'm stabbing the input shaft? And when putting the transmission in, is there a process or does it just fit up in the tunnel and poke straight in?

What I'd like to do is somehow get it straight and attached and then just lift it up to figure the exact spot for the shifter hole and cut it then. Of course, I could always install it without the clutch and such which would go faster and mark the hole and then pull it back out.
 

t5montecarlo

MalibuRacing Junkie
Oct 21, 2007
4,397
5
38
Lederach, PA
garage-scene.com
I use a small bottle jack and pieces of wood between the floor and the rear of the oil pan. I raise/lower the jack where I need it to remove/replace the transmission.

I also have pumped the floor jack with my leg and it works out very well. It is a bit scary when it has to be let down a little with the transmission still on the jack, but it can be done with care.

Make sure you have a clean smooth surface to work on or you will have trouble with the floor jack.

If you are using stock electric guages, you will run into interference between the bellcrank and the oil pressure sender. The OEM 3-/4-speed cars used an angled adapter between the sender and block. Using 2 45-degree adapters, you can relocate the sender where it is out of the way; or you could move the sender elsewhere on the block.
 

rjleiker

Amateur Racer
Sep 24, 2008
261
0
0
Derby, KS
t5montecarlo said:
I use a small bottle jack and pieces of wood between the floor and the rear of the oil pan. I raise/lower the jack where I need it to remove/replace the transmission.
I have always been scared of disturbing the oil pan gasket when trying this. How does this pan out? Any leaks?
 

Doober

Moderator
Jun 2, 2003
14,704
1
38
Catalina, AZ
www.cardomain.com
rjleiker said:
When pulling just the transmission without the engine, how do you keep the engine from tipping backward and screwing up the distributor?
I pull the distributor most of the time... I believe I've done it just by removing the cap/rotor though, the mounts should hold fairly decent. If you try to take it out without pulling the distributor, lower it a little bit at a time and just pay attention to where the motor stops.

Far as the transmission/jack issue goes, I wrap a ratcheting tie-down around the transmission case & the jack (used a floor jack). Like Meat Drapes said though, it's much easier doing it with 2 people. My dad & I went from a shifting/driving 4-speed to the 3-speed in under an hour.
 

Meat Drapes

Dragway Regular
Mar 26, 2005
1,185
4
36
Jacksonville, NC
I would stack 2x4s under the oil pan to get the engine in position and it would rest on them. I never seemed to have problems. I like the bottle jack idea and may buy one just for that.
You should be able to get a fairly accurate idea of where the shifter hole is going to be with the TREMEC dimensions and my pics.
If your buying from Keisler then they will still have G-Body stuff . I think the shifter offset is a Keisler mod and I am sure they would have the new shifter humps, its just a peice of sheetmetal. I think I still have the template for the cut in the tunnel too. I know I still have the original directions for the install.
Perhaps I could scan them and send them to you as a pic if you want.
 

t5montecarlo

MalibuRacing Junkie
Oct 21, 2007
4,397
5
38
Lederach, PA
garage-scene.com
rjleiker said:
I have always been scared of disturbing the oil pan gasket when trying this. How does this pan out? Any leaks?
There have been no adverse affects and have done it many times. The motor mounts do a good job at holding up the engine. All the jack really does is support the back of the engine. I position the bottle jack as close to the bellhousing as I can so the rear of the pan is supported, not the center of the pan, to prevent denting it.
 

rjleiker

Amateur Racer
Sep 24, 2008
261
0
0
Derby, KS
Meat Drapes said:
I think I still have the template for the cut in the tunnel too. I know I still have the original directions for the install.
Perhaps I could scan them and send them to you as a pic if you want.
Ya, that would help out a lot... anything you can get me would help.

I am checking with Keisler about the shifter humps, but haven't had very good luck with them and g-body parts.

I am trying to see how well this hump will fit... http://www.keislerauto.com/index.ph...-tunnel-hump-for-1970-81-camaro-firebird.html... as it looks very similar to the g-body one.
 

t5montecarlo

MalibuRacing Junkie
Oct 21, 2007
4,397
5
38
Lederach, PA
garage-scene.com
eBay 230321847693 is the same item, but costs less.

170296992800 is even a better deal.

Have a look around and you may find what you want.

If it is not a genuine 1978-1981 A body hump, you will likely need to cut/weld/reshape it to fit how you want it to.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Thanks for the heads up on this thread rjleiker....I have too many forums to participate in and sometimes can't get back to one or another for awhile.

As for the Pilot bearing...when using a TKO, you MUST use a needle roller bearing. Reason being is the input shaft bearing is a cone bearing and the tolerances inside the TKO are extremely tight. If you grab the input shaft of your muncie you will see alot of "play" in it. Grab the input of a TKO and you will instantly see the difference. There is .000"-.004" of end play on a TKO. With a bronze bushing, when it starts to wear, the inside diameter will become "bigger" and not support the TKO input like it should.
I know the "old school" guys swear by bronze bushings and quite franly, there is nothing wrong with them, but when using a TKO transmission, they are not an option. Also, be sure to go thru the procedure of dialing in the bell housing so as to align the imaginary center of the register hole opening in the back of the bell to the center line of the crank. This will ensure the input goes into the crank as straight as possible. Mis-alignment tolerance is .005".

As for shifter position of the G-body cars, when we did the G-body kit, if the car was a factory 4 speed car, we used an early X-body shift position like meatdrapes car. If the car was an automatic, I believe we just left the shifter in the stock Tremec location and if I'm not mistaken, the only cut needed was to make a hole for the shifter to come up thru the floor. I really can't remember exactly, sorry.

We did run into an issue with the cross members when we found a difference or break in the 10 year span. I can't remember where the break occurred(I'm sure you guys do) but one body style used a cross member that came straight across from the passenger side and then dog legged forward on the drivers side and the other version came straight across from one side to the other. We still have some of the straight across ones in stock. If you want to use one of those but have the original one that dog legged, you have to install frame extenders to utilize it.

Hopefully this answers some of the questions, if not, let me know.


Richard
Tech Support
Keisler Engineering
 

rjleiker

Amateur Racer
Sep 24, 2008
261
0
0
Derby, KS
Thanks for the heads up on the bearing. Does Keisler have a specific one they recommend or sell themselves? What do they run, so I can put it on the list?

What do you guys get for the crossmember?

The shifter for the Chevy II looks identical to the one MeatDrapes has on his G-body transmission. Is this the same setup, which would make it interchangeable?

How well does the stock shifter position fit with bench seats? MD's bench car was a factory 4-speed and so his location is ideal for clearing the front of the seat as it was engineered this way. I am not tall, so my seat spends all it's time almost all the way forward, and I don't want the shifter to be hitting and rubbing on the front of the seat every time I shift.

How well do you think the 70-81 F-body tunnel hump would fit on the g-body tunnel, as they are readily available?

Thank you for all your help. It really makes a difference to have a manufacturer rep on board.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
The bearing is a standard GM needle bearing available at any local parts store. I do have them and sell them although I don't know how much they are. They are included in the kit when you buy the transmission. The cross member is included as well. I think to buy one outright is about $295. Sounds like the company making one for you for $149 is a better option on that front.

The Chevy II is the XO shift position I was referring to. Of the G-body kits we installed in house and the ones we sold, I think they were all bench seat. I can't remember a bucket seat car off the top of my head. So, based on that, I do not remember there being any issues with shifter locations.

The F-body tunnel hump fitting a G-body, I have no idea. I would imagine it not fitting very well but honestly, I never tried to see if they were compatible or not. I have them in stock if you want to try one. If it doesn't work, send it back and I'll credit you back the price.



Richard
Tech Support
 
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