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Lotus 5 speed transmission  Rating:  Rating
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 Posted: 04-23-2012 06:25 pm
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AJHAWK
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Hello,

I'm a new JH owner(14858) and have been reading about converting to a 5 speed tranny. Someone mentioned that a Lotus 5 speed tranny would work and was hoping someone could tell me which one? Do any of the Lotus 5 speeds have an input shaft that is the same length as the 4 speed in my JH? The engine in my car is a 907 stock.

Thanks to anyone that can help!

Alan

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 Posted: 04-23-2012 06:43 pm
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jcdean
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Actually the "Lotus" 5 speed is a "BMW" 5 speed and a "Toyota" 5 speed is the "preferred" 5 speed.

I hope this cleared things up for you.

 

EDIT:  OK, that was a bit cruel so here it is.

 

The five speed that was installed int he later JH's was a BMW sourced item.  The final drive ratio was close to the same as the 4 speed.  There was no real advantage when you got to the top end, just more work in the middle.

 

Lotus also used the Toyota five speed transmission in Lotus branded cars. This was the same one used in the early Supra's.  This does have a decided mechanical advantage for cruising as it knocks the final drive down by  a several hundred RPM when on the highway.  If you go to the club store you will be able to see adapter kits and transmissions for sale there and that should give you a good all around glance at what is involved in the swap.

Last edited on 04-23-2012 06:50 pm by jcdean

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 Posted: 04-23-2012 06:48 pm
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Mitch Ware
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The Lotus Excel made during the '80's came with a toyota W58 transmission. You can use that bell housing and a locally sourced toyota W-series transmission to convert your car over. Mike Taylor of lotusbits.com has just finished making a kit to convert the lotus bell housing over for use in the cable transmission instead of the hydraulic setup that was used in the Excel.

I am currently building a JH race car and got the bell housing and clutch bits from Mike. I haven't driven it yet, but it looks like a quality setup.

Mitch Ware
#19760
#11002

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 Posted: 04-23-2012 07:11 pm
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JodyKerr
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You can get an excel bellhousing and cable kit from Lotus bits in the UK. This will accept a Toyota W58 5 speed transmission (this is an excellent and common transmission).

Then you need to figure out the correct clutch kit to use.

Jody

I'm actually getting this right now and will be writing up a how to when I'm done.

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 Posted: 04-23-2012 07:18 pm
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AJHAWK
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Thanks for the responses guys! I didn't mean to come off ignorant because I have been reading all the previous posts about the W58,but I haven't seen whether the W58 in the lotus could be installed without lengthening the shaft.I haven't been able to find specs on it!

Mitch-I checked out lotusbits and they have an Excel 5 speed listed as an available part. I've tried to email them several times and no response! Should I put Mike Taylor on the email heading or is it better to reach them on the phone? Just curious why no body goes for the W58 that came from the lotus?

Thanks again, Alan

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 Posted: 04-25-2012 04:15 pm
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AJHAWK
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Have I asked a question that has been covered in ancient archives? Sorry if I'm bringing up a tired subject,but I really don't have access to the tools that are required to modify the transmission! I want to do the work on the JH myself but I'm not sure this is possible,if I have to lengthen the shaft on the tranny. I went to the warehouse and boutique,cannot get in the garage. Where are the adapter kits and transmissions on the JHPS site?

Thanks in advance for any help, Alan 14858

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 Posted: 04-25-2012 07:47 pm
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Dakota123
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Not a tired subject at all!

It looks like maybe Greg has removed the kit from the club store.

Conversion Components in new Zealand sells a kit:

http://www.conversioncomp.co.nz/products.php?which=34&return=14

It's good for the parts list and to get an idea of how it all fits together, if nothing else. Getting hold of Colin is hit or miss, mostly miss. He can go for weeks or even months without responding. At least, that was my experience.

The input shaft extension is nothing more than an interference-fit sleeve (don;t havit in front of my but maybe 1" or 2" in length) that extends the length that rides in the pilot bearing. Can be fabbed by a machine shop in no time. The other item needed is sleeve to cover a length of the input shaft splines, so the throwout bearing has something to ride on. Again, not much to it.

Hope this helps,

Mike

edit, replace "sleeve" for "splines"

Last edited on 04-27-2012 02:39 am by Dakota123

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 Posted: 04-26-2012 03:35 pm
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AJHAWK
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Mike, thanks for the help! It's nice to know that the club kits aren't available cause I was starting to wonder if it was just me having a problem figuring out the site!lol I have heard that conversion components are difficult to get a response from. That's why I was hoping that the kits were still available in the club store! I'll check out the link you gave me.

Thanks again,

Alan 14858

 

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 Posted: 03-29-2017 01:10 am
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DonBurns
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Does anybody know how to distinguish the various W series transmissions from the outside, as when buying from a yard? In searching the Toyota forums they all say to get it from the vehicle plate (not helpful). I was looking at one for sale locally on ebay - the ebay header description says W58, but the full description says "TOYOTA W SERIES 5 SPEED MANUAL TRANSMISSION (W55 W56 W58)". If I go look it would be good to know what I am supposed to look for.

BTW, I know this is an old string but I contacted the New Zealand guys and they responded quickly and have complete kits available. They also have a W57 available.

Thanks

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 Posted: 03-29-2017 04:31 am
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Frank Schwartz
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Would love to do that conversion, but that "kit" is quite pricey...

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 Posted: 03-29-2017 05:46 pm
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DonBurns
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Yes it is and I'm probably going to wait until 100% of the bugs are sorted and paint and body are done. The cost without the trans is about $2400 US including the 530mm shift conversion kit. That was something I had wondered about - where to find the shift extension if I found a transmission with a different shift length. I'm tempted to buy the kit and just hold onto it. Someone would eventually want it if I didn't use it I think. It would be nice to travel at highway speed at less that 150 decibels, or is it more?

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 Posted: 03-30-2017 03:31 am
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Esprit2
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Don,

Sorry, I don't have a straight answer for you about where the Toyota transmission's ID number might be. But here's some general info about the Toyota W-series gearboxes.

The W55 is the first of the W-series. It’s rated for 160 Hp max.
Applications:
1982-1983 Toyota Carina
1981-1985 Toyota Celica
1983 Toyota Corona
1986 Toyota Soarer
1986 Toyota Crown
1983 Toyota Chaser
1984-1995 Toyota Pickup 2WD with 22RE(EFI) engine
2002-2005 Lexus IS300 (US Market only)

The W56 is a truck transmission, and its ratios are not appropriate for a JH.

The W57 is what Conversion Components calls the “Close Ratio” gearbox. It’s like the W58, but with a lower O/D ratio.

If you're looking for that tall over-drive gear for relaxed freeway cruising, then skip over this W-57 and go for the W58.

If you're replacing the stock JH5 Getrag 5-spd with it's 1:1 5th and 3.45:1 rear axle ratio, then the W57 becomes more of an option since it's modest O/D ratio combined with the relatively tall rear axle ratio gives a pretty relaxed rpm at cruise. The W57 is rated for 175 Hp Max, and a hotrod 9XX can exceed that power level.

Applications:
1983-1986 Toyota Supra MK 2 in certain non-US markets.
1986 Toyota Crown
1986 Toyota Cressida
1982-1985 Toyota Celica (21R)

The W58 is the transmission Lotus used in the 4-seat 1982-92 Excel & Excel SE, and it’s the one many Jensen-Healey owners seek. It differs from the W57 in its taller fifth-gear ratio that gives the most relaxed cruise of any gearbox discussed above.

The W58 came in two varieties: the original found in the 1982-1989 non-turbo Supras, Celicas and Cressidas of the early 1980s; and the later version found in Mk3/ Mk 4 Supras, and Lexus SC 300s.

Toyota lists a change from an alloy sandwich plate to a steel sandwich plate around 1989. The steel sandwich plate has some minor internal differences, and it is believed to be ‘slightly’ stronger (it uses some wider bearings, some wider gears, slightly different gear selection mechanism, etc.). In theory the all-alloy version of the W58 should be exactly the same strength as any other all-alloy W-Series transmission. The steel plate version is considered much harder to find and worth approximately three to five times as much as an all-alloy version. The ratios and bolt patterns remain the same regardless of the sandwich plate used.

Toyota engineers have shown favor to the W58 over the rest of the 'W' series by including it in so many models and even building a stronger version for higher powered applications.
Applications:
1982-1986 Toyota MK 2 Celica Supra
1986-1992 Toyota MK 3 non-turbo Supra
1993-1998 Toyota MK 4 non-turbo Supra
1986 Toyota Cressida
1986 Toyota Soarer
1982-1992 Lotus Excel
1992-1997 Lexus SC300
1998-2005 Lexus IS300 5 speed

The W59 is another truck transmission, and it's ratios are not appropriate for a JH.

The JH 4-speed cars use a 3.73:1 rear axle ratio, while the 5-spd cars use a 3.45:1 rear axle ratio. If you're upgrading a 4-spd / 3.73:1 car, then the W58 with it's taller 0.783:1 5th gear will give a better overdrive result... see the ratio chart below.

If you're replacing the stock JH5 Getrag 5-spd, then the combined 3.45:1 final drive and the W58's tall 0.783:1 5th gear may be more than a stock 2.0 907 can pull comfortably. It might be fine as a flat-land cruiser, but perhaps less than marginal for hill country. In that case, the W57 with it's 0.861:1 5th gear will still give a taller overall overdrive than the stock Getrag 5-spd, but still more reasonable for the 907. A hotrod 2.2 or 2.5 should be able to pull either one. "Disappointment is a function of expectations".

Internal Ratios, and Overall Top Gear Ratios:
…………… 1st ………… 2nd ……… 3rd ………… 4th ………… 5th … Rated Capacity
W55 … 3.566:1 … 2.056:1 … 1.384:1 … 1.000:1 … 0.850:1 … 160 Hp
……………………………………… times 3.73:1 final drive = 3.196:1 … Okay. More relaxed than stock JH 5-spd.
……………………………………… times 3.45:1 final drive = 2.933:1 … Relaxed O/D Cruise

W57 … 3.285:1 … 1.894:1 … 1.275:1 … 1.000:1 … 0.861:1 … 175 Hp
……………………………………… times 3.73:1 final drive = 3.212:1 … Okay. More relaxed than stock JH 5-spd.
……………………………………… times 3.45:1 final drive = 2.970:1 … Relaxed O/D Cruise

W58 … 3.285:1 … 1.894:1 … 1.275:1 … 1.000:1 … 0.783:1 … 204 Hp
……………………………………… times 3.73:1 final drive = 2.921:1 … Relaxed O/D Cruise
……………………………………… times 3.45:1 final drive = 2.701:1 … Ufdah ! Too tall? Use with 2.2 or 2.5 stroker.

The stock JH 4-spd & 5-spd both have 1:1 top gears. The 5-spd is a better 'cruiser' only because it's mated with a taller 3.45:1 axle ratio.
… Stock JH 4-spd 1:1 4th times 3.73:1 final drive = 3.73:1 … Revvy / buzzy cruise.
… Stock JH 5-spd 1:1 5th times 3.45:1 final drive = 3.45:1 … Better cruise than 4-spd, but not really 'relaxed'.

Regards,
Tim Engel

Last edited on 07-03-2017 12:12 am by Esprit2

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 Posted: 03-30-2017 01:37 pm
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DonBurns
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Thanks Tim- I had seen the specs on the ratios and would definitely want the lower OD ratio of the W58. Just wondering how to tell one from the other in a parts yard. I used to have a BMW 2002 Tii and swapped the original 4-speed with an OD 5-speed from a 320i, and it transformed the car. Better trans in general, but the OD made it much more drivable on the highway. I figure it would to the same for the JH. Also had a TR6 with a rare electric OD. Guess I am drawn to OD's.

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 Posted: 03-31-2017 08:22 pm
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Rick Willard
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Hey Don...I literally JUST completed the conversion over to the Toyota W58. I used a tranny from a Lotus Excel. I also used the kit from Lotus Bits, including a lightened flywheel, which I STRONGLY recommend (about $350) and the modified bell housing, also from Lotus Bits, (about $400), which allows you to use your standard clutch cable. I also got the "upgraded" clutch from Lotus Bits (just an extra $125 or so for that) for the future 2.2 that I'll install in my car in the next year or two. I had to get the shifter linkage/housing from Conversion Components (about $350), because I couldn't find it anywhere else. I made the mistake of getting the cross-member from Conversion Components and it didn't fit at all, so I had the original cross-member modified/machined. There's much more to the story, but the long and short of it is that it's a pricey endeavor, but...I believe well worth it. The highway driving is just SUPERB!!

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 Posted: 04-11-2017 01:33 am
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jomac
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Rich,
Could you post a bill of material ,source and cost for the trans conversion.
And any problems you had to overcome. I currently have the 5 speed getrag and its getting tired and rebuilding is expensive 3-4K.
Thanks.

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 Posted: 04-12-2017 02:46 pm
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Rick Willard
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There's quite a bit to consider with this project. Look on the board for tons of information beyond what I'll summarize here.

Parts
* Transmission - I got one for $200, which was a steal. You could spend up to $1,000 for a used one that has some sort of warranty. Mike Taylor from Lotus Bits confirmed for me that the Toyota W58 is "designed to go 400K miles under 300+ HP. The JH motor can't break that transmission." So just find a good used one and don't go over the top. Mine actually came from an early 80's Lotus Excel with 60K miles.
* Kit from Lotus Bits in the UK includes bell housing, clutch parts, throwout bearing, and speedo cable. Again, I chose the upgraded bell housing, so I could keep my stock clutch cable. I also chose the lightened flywheel and the upgraded clutch for my future 2.2. Cost for the kit ranges from $950 - $1,450, depending on what upgrades you choose. Mike Taylor heavily recommended the lightened flywheel and he was right, as the throttle response to the engine is very noticeably improved.
* Extended shifter housing and linkage came from Conversion Components in NZ ($350). I couldn't find it elsewhere. You need the "530mm" extension.

Labor
* I chose to have mine installed by a restoration shop. THIS is where you can save lots of bucks and many JH owners who have done the conversion will attest to that. Personally, I had done lots of clutch and tranny work on my previous JH's over the years, and I think I could have eventually gotten through it just fine. But with my kids at their age, I just didn't want the project dragging on for weeks/months and costing me lots of weekend time away from the family. The major things we had to handle were the cross-member (a specially machined mounting plate was welded to the original JH cross-member), the shifter (created from the Lotus Excel shifter and the original JH shifter), and the driveshaft (very standard work for a driveshaft specialist). I spent about $3K on labor. I had hoped that this would be around $2K, but...we had some snags and adjustments that had to be worked out. I wanted the work to be top notch - which it is. Again, there is PLENTY of money to be saved here, but there's no doubt that you'll do some machine work to get the cross member and shifter correct.
* I still have the speedometer to calibrate, because I couldn't find speedometer gears to work with this particular conversion. In my research, I struggled to find the proper gearing that was guaranteed to mesh properly, and just decided to have it calibrated instead. Thus, I will have to get a specialist to handle this. I expect roughly $200 for this, give or take $50.

Another thought to consider from my own experience. The 2nd of my 4 JH's had the Getrag 5-speed, which is a good tranny for the car, but...the Toyota is so much better on the highway. It's about 500 RPM's lower than the Getrag at 75 mph and 900 RPM's lower than the 4-speed at 75 mph. My previous/3rd JH had a 2.2 mated to a standard 4-speed. The engine was awesome (again, lots of $$$), but the tranny really let it down on the freeway. That particular car was done in by an engine fire (long story). Knowing what I know now, I would have done the 5-speed FIRST before going for the 2.2 (unless you do both upgrades at the same time). I'll do the 2.2 in the near future, but my current car has 45mm Dellorto's, the lightened flywheel, and the W58, and it drives beautifully, as is. Search the comments of the message board here, and you'll see plenty of testimonials. In the end, I figured that I will own this car for the rest of my life (hopefully), and I only wanted to do this once and do it right. My two cents; the project was costly, but for someone committed to their car for the long-term...worth every penny.

Good luck!

Rick

Last edited on 04-12-2017 06:59 pm by Rick Willard

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 Posted: 04-13-2017 12:10 am
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answerman
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Rick Willard wrote:
Another thought to consider from my own experience. The 2nd of my 4 JH's had the Getrag 5-speed, which is a good tranny for the car, but...the Toyota is so much better on the highway. It's about 500 RPM's lower than the Getrag at 75 mph and 900 RPM's lower than the 4-speed at 75 mph.
Maybe I'm misunderstanding something here, but that doesn't make sense. The Chrysler 4-speed and the Getrag 5-speed both had the same final ratio of 1:1. Though the differential ratios were different (3.73:1 for the 4-speed and 3.45:1 for the 5-speed) so that would explain the difference now that I think about it. But if you're just comparing apples to apples, there's no difference between 4th gear in the 4-speed and 5th gear in the 5-speed.

Rick, which rear end do you have in the car with the W58?

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 Posted: 04-13-2017 12:32 am
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Rick Willard
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Sorry. To be clear and I hope I'm describing this right. If you look at the post above by Tim Engel, he notes that the 5th gear ratio of the W58 is at 0.783. I have the stock 4-speed rear end in my car (the 3.73). When I was referring to the rpm's at highway speeds, I was referring to the engine speed in TOP gear for each of the set-ups. With the W58 with the 3.73 rear end I have right now, and going approximately 75 mph, the 5th gear on the W58 leaves me with rpm's that are APPROXIMATELY 450-500 rpm's lower than the stock set-up for the JH5/Jensen GT (with 3.45 rear end in top gear on the Getrag). It is approximately 900 rpm's lower than the stock 4-speed (3.73 rear end in top/4th gear) at 75 mph. Again, I hope that I'm describing that correctly for your question. There are other posts elsewhere on the message board that go into much more detail about tranny and rear end set-up. And those posts are written by JH owners who are much smarter than me!

Last edited on 04-13-2017 04:32 am by Rick Willard

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 Posted: 04-13-2017 05:19 am
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answerman
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OK, that makes all kinds of sense then. I remember noticing once (though I've rebuilt my tach to RVC specs and I'm not sure just how accurate it is) that with my stock 4 speed and 3.73 rear end that in 4th gear, there's a definite easy math between RPM and MPH: half the speed x 100 = RPM (in other words, 70MPH = 3500 RPM, 60 MPH = 3000 RPM, etc.) Obviously there are a lot of factors such as gauge accuracy and tire sizes that could affect it, but this is my experience with my particular car.

I'd be curious as to which rear end would be the preferred one for the W58: if you combined it with the 3.45 you'd have a serious freeway cruiser.

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 Posted: 04-13-2017 05:30 pm
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Rick Willard
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I gotta tell you, and I hope I don't sound like an arrogant son of a gun...I really like the set-up I have right now and highly doubt that I would change the rear end. The biggest factors that make my 2.0 set-up a little better than stock include the 45mm Dells (with K&N filters) and the lightened flywheel (which really helps with driveability - revs come up much quicker). The ratios on the W58 are very similar to the stock 4-speed ratios in the first four gears, which I think are just right. So, just as you're coming up to speed on the freeway and revs are building in 4th...you now have a new gear to go to right when you need it. My set-up is obviously NOT a 2.2 with the awesome low-end torque. But, everything else is there. It makes me wish that Jensen Motors built the car with this type of 5-speed to begin with. If anyone reading this post is unsure about the time/effort/cost of this conversion...let me assure you that it's definitely worth it! Happy motoring JH buddies!

Last edited on 04-13-2017 07:53 pm by Rick Willard

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