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 5 and 6 speed Manual Transmission Discussion
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Phil
The Great White Buffalo

USA
7215 Posts

Posted - 06 Jan 2014 :  10:15:04 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I've been in the market for a 5 or possibly 6 speed for my 70 GTO which currently is motivated by a 200-4R. It seems these days there are more choices than ever, at least on the surface. However, I am currently at a standstill on this project for the reasons I will now list:

1) Tremec TKO 600 - A good fit on paper with my current 3.31 limited slip 12 bolt rear, however there appear to be fitment issues requiring cutting the tunnel. Cutting amount depends on which vendor I speak to. Some tell me no cutting while others say major cutting to complete removal of tunnel and reconstruct. Most seem to be somewhere in the middle. In addition, there are problems listed all over the net with this trans regarding shifting issues 2-3, not liking rpms over @6000, and not liking full power in OD (5th). Also, shifter placement with a stock console has mixed reports.

2) Richmond 5 speed (4+1) - this design has been around since the 70's and has a proven track record. I like the 1.00 5th gear and 3.27 1st with the rest of the gear ratios being nicely spaced. This setup is intended to utilize a 2 series-3.08 rear gear and works nicely that way. I like this approach and it keeps down the drivewhaft and pinion gear speed. Also, by running a taller gear out back there is more strength in the pinion. However, it is "rated" at 450 ft. lbs. of torque although this seems to be quite conservative given its track record. It fits (supposedly) in an A-body without cutting the tunnel (I know for a fact it fits nicely in a 2nd gen F-Body). The shifter rod design is old and clunkier than the newer internal rod transmissions HOWEVER I don't mind as it keeps with the original theme of these cars that originally had Muncies. Actually I could install a 4 speed shift knob and no one would be the wiser unless they drove it or peeked underneath.
Problem, Richmond just sold to Motive Gear and transmission production ceased. No definate information on when it will return to production or if it will be the same, better or worse quality. I checked all over for existing stock to no avail. I planned to update the rear axle with a 2 series limited slip and 2.56 gear I had located but now cannot pull the trigger unless I know the trans can be obtained.

Autogear "Syracuse" 5 speed (OD) - promised for sometime now. Autogear has a good reputation but in this case they seem to have completely dropped the ball. No transmission STILL.

McLeod 5 speed - great presentation at SEMA and supposed to fit without interference in older musclecars. Choices of shifters, gear ratios etc. Great concept, but its been over 4 years now and nothing to market. Same issue as Autogear.

Keisler SS700 - I'd be interested but first I'd want to see alot of these sold and in operation plus Keisler has alot of work to do regarding customer service and repairing their reputation. Looks like this would be a long wait for me if I went in that direction. tick tock tick tock.

Tremec T-56 - my dream transmission but the most nightmarish to install. Not worth it to me in the end just to have a double OD I don't even need in the first place. As Cobrabill likes to point out, these older "cammed" engines can't be lugged too low as they can't even get into the timing curve.

Richmond 6 speed (ROD), appears to be based upon the venerable 4+1 5 speed with an OD gear added. I like the gear options which can be ordered and it includes a shifter. However, many reports of broken parts and issues with even mild SBC engines. Looks like the box was weakened in order to accomodate the OD gear. It is larger at the ass end too, making it questionable as far as fitment and crossmember setup. Also very pricey.

Richmond Super Street 5 speed w/OD - again looks like it utilzes the tried and true case but with different internals. Rated to 600 ft. lbs and utilizing an OD 5th gear, it is set up to accomodate higher numerical gear ratios in the rear axle. This would be a good candidate for my 3.31 equipped GTO but the damned thing is priced way out of line. Includes a shifter though. Oh yeah, its out of production currently!

T5 - yes in desperation I even looked at this option. Fitment would be a non issue and the WC (world class) or "Z" series is the highest rated at 330 ft. lbs. and wouldn't even accomodate a stock Pontiac 400 on paper. But its proven, shifts nice with a good aftermaket shifter and is available from places like G-force and Astro built up to handle 600 ft. lbs or so for less than the cost of most others listed above. In the end, I don't believe it would live long as the case is still a weak link and Pontiacs are notorious for breaking just about anything with their low end torque. I don't want something that is at its design limit and no room to grow.

I may have forgotten a box here but have looked at every option I could find. (I don't want a 4 speed with an OD 4th gear either)

Bowties are for Pee-wee Herman. "Chevy": even the name sounds cheap, but not as cheap as your Pontiac will be with an LS transplant.

Edited by - Phil on 06 Jan 2014 12:07:58 PM

Miles
Sitting Bull

Canada
140 Posts

Posted - 06 Jan 2014 :  11:00:59 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I don't know about the rest of them but I have a TKO 600. I have had no issues with shifting at any rpm. I have no problems giving it full power but I only have 500.
I did have some clacking sounds at idle that had me worried enough to pull the tranny and take it somewhat apart. There was a bit more gear lash than spec but I could find no way to adjust it. I contacted Tremec direct and they told me there is no adjustment???? I got an unsolicited call from Bruce at Modern Driveline, who explained to me how the loping of the engine due to an aggressive camshaft and light GM synchromesh fluid will make the tranny sound bad at idle. Once it's reved up enough to smooth out it sounds good.
Now concerning Keisler's rep of bad customer service, I didn't get much when I called them about the clacking noise. I had less than a thousand miles on it at the time. They wanted me to ship the tranny back and pay them their hourly shop rate to look at it rather than guide me through the procedure so I could do it myself at home. Shipping would have cost me $600. I've contacted them a few times with various concerns and sometimes I didn't even get a reply. They were always when I was buying. They have a good product but there customer service sucks.
The tranny does have eight different shifter locations so I can't see fitment a problem. Mine fit well and I just had to change the U-joint.
BUT if I had to do it again I would have changed my rear gear and kept the Muncie and the $.
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cortcomp
Coyote

USA
5335 Posts

Posted - 06 Jan 2014 :  4:11:30 PM  Show Profile  Visit cortcomp's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I think you're right on track with the richmond, and even though side shifters aren't AS smooth as a top loader, the fact that it drops right in is perfect, and like you said you can disguise it as a 4 speed with the ball and shifter coming into the right place in the console. If i was going to go from my NP440 to a 5 speed, that'd be the one i roll with. Like you said, gotta have the right rear gear ratio. Probably my 3.42 would be close for my setup. To make the NP440 better for my setup, i need to be 3.73 - 3.90 and for sure it can't handle the torque of a richmond.

But also like you said, hard to find one. I will start digging around.
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cortcomp
Coyote

USA
5335 Posts

Posted - 06 Jan 2014 :  4:11:57 PM  Show Profile  Visit cortcomp's Homepage  Reply with Quote
The richmond used to be called a doug nash correct?
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cortcomp
Coyote

USA
5335 Posts

Posted - 06 Jan 2014 :  6:06:19 PM  Show Profile  Visit cortcomp's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Also, whereabouts in the country are you? never know what you can find lying around used:

http://spokane.craigslist.org/pts/4202332257.html

But i have no idea where you are, maybe something can be found!
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Phil
The Great White Buffalo

USA
7215 Posts

Posted - 06 Jan 2014 :  10:23:23 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Yes it was formerly the Doug Nash 4+1. Not to be confused (but often is by armchair car "experts) with the Tinkertoy POS Doug Nash 4+3 used in mid 80's Vettes.

I'm in southeast PA where the old famous Langhorne Speedway used to be. There are a couple on Craigslist but are way overpriced, used and abused.

Bowties are for Pee-wee Herman. "Chevy": even the name sounds cheap, but not as cheap as your Pontiac will be with an LS transplant.
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cortcomp
Coyote

USA
5335 Posts

Posted - 06 Jan 2014 :  10:43:07 PM  Show Profile  Visit cortcomp's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Summit claims they should be in early february, but like you said, wonder how reliable that is?!
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lityjohn701
Tribal Scout

USA
10 Posts

Posted - 24 Apr 2014 :  12:56:40 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
My dad and I put a t56 in his 71 ta for about 400$ including the tranny. Shifts fine. Does everything like it should
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Phil
The Great White Buffalo

USA
7215 Posts

Posted - 09 May 2014 :  5:00:41 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Just to follow up, I did find a nice hardly used Richmond 4+1 but there is an issue with it. I am sending back to the shop where I bought it so they can go over and correct it. They have been quite good to deal with thus far and I may have the internals micro-polished while its there and apart anyway.

I also picked up a set of 2.56 and 2.73 gears from PY members and a nice Eaton 2 series posi unit, all for the 12 bolt. I'll decide which gears I am going with once I have the Goat on the road and can evaluate the trans, clutch etc. make adjustments and all. Currently the 3.31 posi is fine and once I switch will probably sell the current gears/posi.

I also found the various correct speedo gears so I can swap accordingly with whatever gears I go with. Once its all in I will have an aluminum driveshaft made with heavy duty U joints and possibly upgrade the yoke on the rear when the gears go in. But that last one may be overkill.

Bowties are for Pee-wee Herman. "Chevy": even the name sounds cheap, but not as cheap as your Pontiac will be with an LS transplant.
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Blued and Painted
Chief PONTIAC

USA
3405 Posts

Posted - 09 May 2014 :  10:07:54 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Is the richmond a top loader?
What are you going to do with those tall gears?


Bull Nose Formula/ 461/ Q-Jet/
TH400/ 3.08 8.5 / R44TS.
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Phil
The Great White Buffalo

USA
7215 Posts

Posted - 10 May 2014 :  08:33:13 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Not a topliader, has a hurst shifter setup like an ST-10 or Muncie with adjustable rods. The tall gears compliment the Richmond as it's a real 5 speed and not a 5th gear OD. So 2 series gears actually perform like high 3-low 4 series gears. Then 5th gear is a 1:1 ratio taking full advantage of the actual rear end ratio. The 5 speeds are nicely spaced as well and these are tough units. Underated in torque capacity as well.

I prefer this over OD setups which are basically band aids. Also, this aporoach keeps the pinion gear, driveshaft and tail shaft speeds way down compared to overdriving steeper rear end gears.

Bowties are for Pee-wee Herman. "Chevy": even the name sounds cheap, but not as cheap as your Pontiac will be with an LS transplant.

Edited by - Phil on 10 May 2014 08:35:27 AM
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Blued and Painted
Chief PONTIAC

USA
3405 Posts

Posted - 10 May 2014 :  09:59:37 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Sooooo its got a big number 1st gear?

My 68 had the close ratio mincie. IMO was hard to drive just poking around town. But was good to have when pulling up beside a chevelle at the stop light.


Bull Nose Formula/ 461/ Q-Jet/
TH400/ 3.08 8.5 / R44TS.
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Phil
The Great White Buffalo

USA
7215 Posts

Posted - 10 May 2014 :  1:37:17 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Yes, 3.27 but the other gears are nicely spaced from there so no big "gaps".

Bowties are for Pee-wee Herman. "Chevy": even the name sounds cheap, but not as cheap as your Pontiac will be with an LS transplant.
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Blued and Painted
Chief PONTIAC

USA
3405 Posts

Posted - 10 May 2014 :  4:39:10 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I think its a good idea. Hope to see progress reports.

Be careful though,, The last time I mentioned drive shaft speed as a factor to consider on an R4 w/3.73, I got nailed to a piece of lumber.


Bull Nose Formula/ 461/ Q-Jet/
TH400/ 3.08 8.5 / R44TS.

Edited by - Blued and Painted on 10 May 2014 4:40:29 PM
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Phil
The Great White Buffalo

USA
7215 Posts

Posted - 10 May 2014 :  7:16:26 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Yeah the armchair Internet mechanics sure are opinionated. ;-)

Bowties are for Pee-wee Herman. "Chevy": even the name sounds cheap, but not as cheap as your Pontiac will be with an LS transplant.
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bnorris_74
Crazy Horse

USA
1442 Posts

Posted - 06 Jul 2014 :  07:18:19 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
TTT
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Phil
The Great White Buffalo

USA
7215 Posts

Posted - 11 Jul 2014 :  10:12:38 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Update: Had to send the unit back to the shop in Ohio because the 3/4 and 5/R levers wouldn't budge. I could however move the 1/2 properly. The shop is standing behind it and is pulling it apart to address whatever issue(s) there may be, but given the cost of shipping I decided to have them send out the internals for micropolishing as it makes economical sense at this point. Hopefully, once I get it back and finally installed in the GTO, it will shift like "butter at room temperature".

I've been looking around for clutches and so far the Centerforce seems like a good street/left leg friendly setup but McLeod appears to have a clutch that is claimed to have performance grabbing attributes but with an import clutch pedal feel. It looks to be about twice the cost but I'll check it out anyway.

Other issue is what to do about the linkage. I have been looking at hydraulic setups and I like the simplicity of the hyd. throwout bearings but I get the sense that they are not as reliable as modern OEM cars with those setups (Just like roller lifters!). So, the hydraulic master/slave setup has some appeal since I can scrap the linkage and leave the fork and conventional throwout bearing. This makes dealing with a hydraulic issue at the slave end much easier since I won't have to pull the transmission each time.

Any thoughts/experiences?

Bowties are for Pee-wee Herman. "Chevy": even the name sounds cheap, but not as cheap as your Pontiac will be with an LS transplant.

Edited by - Phil on 11 Jul 2014 10:13:21 AM
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tjs44
Cochise

USA
412 Posts

Posted - 11 Jul 2014 :  11:21:41 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I have had my Mcleod hyd bearing in my 63 tempest for something like 13 years now with no issues!Tom
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Phil
The Great White Buffalo

USA
7215 Posts

Posted - 13 Jul 2014 :  9:40:43 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Tom, thanks for chiming in! That's very encouraging.

Bowties are for Pee-wee Herman. "Chevy": even the name sounds cheap, but not as cheap as your Pontiac will be with an LS transplant.
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