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Discussion Starter · #1 ·

Just bought my 74 a few weeks ago and have been working on the motor. Getting close with that.

I am wondering how big of a job is it to swap the auto transmission for a manual?
1. What do I need to buy?
2. Any changes to the frame?
3. I know I need a new pedal set-up.
4. Driveshaft change?
5. Just need a good street set-up, not racing, about 325hp.
6. Where is good place to get a transmission?

I need to put together a budget for this.


Premium Member
17,540 Posts
Makes a big difference in cost between a five or six speed and the old Muncie/Saginaw transmission.

To convert you first verify there is a pilot bushing in the end of your crank shaft. If there isn't one install a roller bearing in favor of the factory original sil-bronze bushing. Then you hang your third pedal. So far you can still drive around with your automatic as you haven't committed yourself just yet.

You will need a steel SFI flywheel. A steel SFI puke can (Safety bell housing) with a clutch pivot ball installed, a clutch throw out bearing fork, throw out bearing and a clutch and pressure plate (I now favor McLeod but I have had good luck with Schaefer and Zoom products in the past). Unless you want to walk in circles buy a diaphragm style pressure plate as your left leg will be stronger than the right if you buy a Borg and Beck or Long style pressure plate. You will now be ready to hang your Muncie or Saginaw four speed (a "new" or remanufactured with new parts Muncie with a new case bearings mid plate and small parts kit will cost you $1,700 A Saginaw is in consideration due to your horsepower level and the fact that you said it will never be raced. This is self enforced because first time you exceed either restriction the Saginaw will break.

You will now need a Hurst Competition Plus shifter and the associated linkage kit and mounting plate. You use the same kit as the 1967-'69 Camaro so it is easy to find. I prefer the earlier aluminum mounting plate over the later style stamped steel mounting plate. There is one on e-Bay currently if you want to see what I am talking about:

Next order of business is to cut a hole in the floor that is no bigger than your shifter. At this point it would be nice to have a shifter handle to fit your car (bucket seat or bench seat as the used a different handle). You will probably will want a rubber shifter boot to cover the hole in the floor and keep small vermin out. They come in three sizes now since the largest size is no longer made (designed to cover the huge hole a Hurst Ram Rod shifter required). You can use the ubiquitous white shifter ball on top of your shifter stick or a T-handle. I prefer a T-handle with a line lock button built into the knob to actuate my Line-Lock (which is illegal to own in the state of Florida; you may want to check your local laws as well. In Florida they make lots of things illegal but then they never enforce the laws so everyone ignores them).

Your drive shaft should be the same one you pulled out from behind your automatic unless that transmission was a TH400. The TH400 was longer than the rest of GM's transmissions installed in the late sixties and early seventies so if you have a TH400 you now need a longer drive shaft with a smaller 27 spline front yoke (the TH400 used a larger 32 spline output yoke).

Now that everything is installed all that is left is to install and adjust the clutch and linkage. Your front sub frame should have a tab welded onto it across from the hole in the block that mounts the clutch cross-shaft ball. (you will need a Z-bar or clutch cross-shaft and the two balls to mount it plus felts for the ends) you will also need the linkage rods to connect the clutch pedal to the Z-bar and from the Z-bar back to the pivot arm on the clutch fork. You keep this all together with a clutch spring that goes from the clutch throw out bearing fork to your motor mount (provided your headers are not in the way). If that clutch linkage tab (A semi circular piece of metal with a slot in the top) isn't there you will have to weld one in place.

Once again everything you need is available in the restoration market as you have a what is basically a first generation Camaro (Rick's Camaro has all of this in stock).

Big Dave
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