Rotary Resurrection - Tech Section
 
AUTOMATIC TO 5 SPEED CONVERSION

Parts List:

1)
Pedal set with clutch and brake
2)
clutch slave cylinder, master cylinder, and lines
3)
shifter parts, with boots and shifter bushings
4)
driveshaft from 5 speed nonturbo
5)
starter from 5speed nonturbo
6)
 
automatic transmission crossmember(from your old auto tranny)
7)
 
crossmember adaptor, see below for instructions on how to make this. I no longer offer them to the public except in conversions I am performing personally.
8)
 
speedo calibration gear from your old auto tranny(held on the tailshaft by one 10mm bolt)
9)
 
nonturbo flywheel to fit your year of engine(86-88 or 89-91), OR an aftermarket flywheel which can actually bolt right on to your engine’s existing automatic rear counterweight.
10)  
clutch parts (disc, pressureplate, throwout bearing, pilot bearing)
11)
 
nonturbo 86-91 5 speed transmission.
12)  
Also consider that most automatic cars use a 3.9 rearend ratio while most 5sp cars use a 4.1 ratio. Convertibles should all have the 4.1. You can check the ratio by jacking the car up, taking it out of gear, mark the driveshaft in relation to the differential case, turning it slowly while obvserving the output shaft/axle (whichever one turns consistently). Count the turns and note whether it takes <4 turbs or >4 turns to complete 1 revolution, this tells you which ratio rearend gear you currently have. Keeping the stock 3.9 will result in slightly lower acceleration but slightly better mileage. Swapping to a 4.1 rearend gives normal acceleration but slightly poorer mileage and top speed. IF you do decide to swap the rearend to the 5sp one (4.1), be sure to keep the 4.1 (gray) speedo calibration gear in the tranny.
 
 
General procedures:
 
1)
Remove starter, driveshaft, auto trans, auto shifter, flexplate, etc. IF using a stock flywheel, remove the automatic counterweight from the engine; if using an aftermarket flywheel, leave it in place. You’ll have to remove all of the exhaust for this.
 
2)
Install your flywheel. Now would be a good time to replace the rear main seal and possibly even the oring behind the rear stationary gear. IF removing the stat gear, do NOT rotate the engine while it is out. It should pry out and tap back in pretty easily.
 
3)
Cautiously tap in your pilot bearing into the end of the eccentric shaft using a socket that fits the outer RACE of the bearing yet will not get stuck in the end of the shaft (check first). The pilot bearing should seat completely inside the shaft, about ¼” past the end of the inner seat area. IF you have a seal, install it as well, though they are not necessary. Be sure to lube the bearing lightly with some grease, but not enough to come out and contaminate the clutch.
 
4)
install the clutch using an alignment tool. The tool should slide freely in and out of the clutch and pilot bearing with minimal effort. A poorly aligned clutch will make it hard or impossible to install the trans.
 
5)
Install your transmission. It may be necessary to wiggle the tailshaft while pushing forward to get it to fall into place. Bolt up the starter as well…note that the lower bolt for all the 2nd gen starters is a coarse thread, while all the bellhousing bolts are finer thread. DO not mix them up.
 
6)
Jack the trans up as described below. Fabricate the crossmember adaptor and secure it.
 
7)
if retaining the automatic rearend, be sure to install the speedo gear from the old auto into the new 5sp trans.
 
8)
If swapping to the 4.1 rear, go ahead and change the rearend now…you must lower the entire rear subframe to change the differential. Now is a good time to check or replace the front rubber differential mount which is prone to breakage on manual trans cars.
 
9)
bolt up the driveshaft.
 
10)
replace exhaust.
 
11)

wire reverse lights. Find the 2 red wires on the switch on your 5sp transmission. 

If working with an 89-91 car, find the 6 wire plug near the starter, and the 3 wire plug near that. ON the 3 wire plug there are 2 pins together and one offset; run a wire from this pin to either of the red wires on the trans.  On the 6 wire plug, locate the bottom row, center pin; run a wire from this pin to the other wire on the trans.

If working on an 86-8 car, there should be a 4 wire plug by the starter. Connect the 2 right side pins to the 2 red wires on the trans.

 
12)
If working on an 89-91 car, access the auto trans ecu behind the passenger kick panel. Unplug it. 86-8 cars do not have this unit.
 
13)
Remove the trim under the drivers dash and steering column covers. Unplug and remove the steering column. Be sure the front wheels AND the steering wheel are centered before doing so, and do not move either until they are rejoined. There is a single 12mm bolt under the brake booster, in the engine bay, that must be removed from the column joint to remove the column.
 
14)
unbolt everything holding the pedal assembly in, and remove it. Reinstall the manual pedals. You may need to swap over brake pedal switches from  your original, if the new ones differ.
 
15)
remove the firewall blockoff plate and slide in the clutch master. Bolt it up inside the pedal area.
 
16)
replace steering column, being sure to keep wheel centered. Do not plug up the thick black/red wire at the ignition switch. Be sure to tighten the column securely at the joint.
 
17)
if you wish the clutch interlock switch to operate (car wont start without pedal being pressed) then locate the plug for this switch; it is the black box at the top corner of the pedal assembly with a white plastic pin that contacts the clutch pedal arm. This is a simple normally open switch that closes when the pedal is pushed. Run a wire from the IGNITION SWITCH side of the black/red wire, to this switch, then out of this switch, through the firewall, and down to the starter. Connect it to the small terminal on the starter. If you don’t wish the clutch switch to operate, run your wire straight from the ignition to the starter.
 
18)
replace trim under dash and on steering column.
 
19)
bolt the slave cylinder onto the trans, being sure the rod and boot are properly in the pocket on the fork. You’ll need a joint and extension to do this as the bolts are at an odd angle.
 
20)
attatch the soft line to the slave, the hard line to the master, and the hard and soft lines together.
 
21)
fill the MC with brake fluid. Loosen the bleed valve on the slave; removal of the oil filter helps here. Use a mityvac to pull the fluid through the hoses, then bleed normally. Tighten valve and check for proper feel of clutch; it may be necessary to pump the pedal a few times before it stiffens up and works normally.
 
22)
install the shifter boots and shifter assembly.
 
23)
fill the manual trans with gear oil. It should now be ready to drive.
 
 
 

Making and Installing the AT> 5speed crossmember adaptor:

In the auto-to-5speed conversion writeup it talks about a custom crossmember adaptor. In the past I made a few of these for customers, but it got to be too much trouble given that I didn't have a good source of materials. Now I no longer offer these for sale, I only make them when necessary for a conversion I am performing in shop. However, I will offer the design free of charge here, for anyone to make themselves. Note that it would be possible to fabricate a stronger, better designed part, but for my purposes I don’t feel it necessary. Feel free to adapt this design as you see fit if you are an armchair engineer.
 
I make my adaptors from channel iron or square tubing. Popular widths are 2”, 3" and 4". Here I am using 4” channel. Either should be available at hardware stores, machine shops, or fabrication shops. Similar materials can be used so long as they are similar in strength.
 
 
How to make it:
1)
 
Begin by cutting off an 8" long section. I use a torch to cut mine, you can do so by whatever means you have available. The cut does not need to be clean. IF you get the length off by a little, it is not a big deal, anything between 7 and 9 inches is useable.
 
Find and mark the centerline of the iron along it's length (split it in half long ways). Now, on this centerline, come off of one end 1.5 inches and mark an X. This will be the center of one of your holes. From this X, come out another 5-1/8" (this is very important) and mark another X, this is the center of your second hole. Drill each hole out to 1/2" diameter.
 
2)
Remove the stock 5speed crossmember from the transmission, leaving only a large stud sticking down from the trans. case. Mount the 5sp trans in the car by bolting it to the engine and using a jack to raise it into position. The trans should not contact the body anywhere, the shifter should sit about 3/4" to 1" inside the chassis of the car. The shifter will sit a little off center. Assuming you bought the large rubber boot for the shifter/floorpan, this will help you line up the trans/shifter close to it’s stock position.
 
3)
Remove the old auto crossmember from the transmission in the same manner as you did the 5 speed one.
 
Bolt the old auto crossmember to the car's chassis just like it would have went. You can tighten the bolts down fully. Now get your crossmember adaptor and hold it up against the trans and mount. You can see what you will be doing with it now. But you will need to space the tranny off of the adaptor some. You can do this by either
 
1)
cutting a custom spacer out of your own materials or making them from a stack of large washers
   
OR
2)
cutting out the stock spacer from the old 5speed crossmember center bushing. This usually isnt hard to do at all. Keep the large washer with the spacer, and put them back onto the 5sp trans stud.
 
Now put the crossmember adaptor on the stud and the nut and washer (the stock ones that you took off earlier) back on. Snug them down for now. Move to the auto crossmember. You'll need to use your own bolt and nut along with one or more large washers on each side to make this connection. BE sure neither end can slip through the holes. Snug this connection down. Now, sit back a little ways and be sure the whole thing is pretty much straight. Make your final checks and then tighten everything down WELL. The tighter everything is here, the less slack you will have in shifting when you drive. Finally, I recommend welding a few tacks here and there to solidify the whole thing and prevent side to side movement under hard acceleration/shifting/cornering. IF you ever need to remove the trans in the future, you will simply unbolt the auto crossmember just like you would have otherwise, and the whole trans will drop just like it would have stock. Should there ever be a need to swap transmissions, the stud assembly unbolts from the case as well. THere will never be a need to break the welds loose.
 
Rotary Resurrection - Tech Section
 
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