Manual trans swaps: Cheapest vs Easiest vs Best Performing vs Best Driving Experience

Manual Transmission & Clutch Discussions

  1. MRGTX

    MRGTX Well-Known Member

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    Cheapest vs Easiest vs Best Performing vs Best Driving Experience - which swap fits these categories in your opinion?

    There are quite a few options out there for people who are foolish enough to remove a perfectly good 904 or 727 but it's hard to find comparisons of how the different options stack up. They're all pretty expensive (at least they are from where I'm sitting) and they'll all require quite a bit of labor so getting it right the first time is pretty important.

    The typical choices range from 3spd which could have been had if someone didn't check a box on the order sheet to a modern Tremec T56/T6060 that wasn't invented when the last of our cars was rolling off of the assembly line.

    A833 is a common choice but this trans was available in several different versions over the decades including heavy duty units that could survive behind a 426 Hemi to later models with an aluminum case- are there resources out there on the pros and cons of the different versions?

    Which necessary parts are hard to come by? AMD still offers the floor/shifter mount...are there reproductions of everything else we need?

    Anyway- your opinions are welcome.
     
  2. doogievlg

    doogievlg Well-Known Member

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    This is something I have considered doing a few times. I’ll keep an eye on this.
     
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    • Dana67Dart

      Dana67Dart Like a fine wine, only getting better with age! FABO Gold Member

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      If it was me I would look for a donor car that still has the parts. Some might need to be replaced but at least you would know where everything goes, and have the correct bolts etc.

      In the last few days someone posted a hord that they were helping sell. Very reasonable prices
       
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      • 66fs

        66fs FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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        For ease of Engineering, the A833 is my choice. Just find all the parts or major parts and Passon Performance or Brewer's Performance have everything to finish the job. If your car had a 904, even the drive shaft will work depending on the output spline count of your transmission. I've run the standard and .73 O/D version behind a High Performance 273 and 170 on the street and loved them. Getting ready to swap an A833 for a 904 into the 67 Barracuda. Get a Hurst MOPAR A body shifter and linkage and enjoy! You just have to add a 4 speed hump, cut the floor for it, have an exhaust shop weld it in, bolt everything up, adjust the clutch and shifter linkage and go. Never tried anything else and am not ready to cut up or re-engineer any of my cars.
         
        Last edited: Mar 24, 2020
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        • 512Stroker

          512Stroker We are all here because we are not all there.

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          I think you will find that there is no "cheapest" option.
          I have looked into a manual conversion several times, never could justify the cost$.
           
        • RustyRatRod

          RustyRatRod Bla de blizhibliz de blatde blizi bla bla FABO Gold Member

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          I don't think anyone would be foolish to remove a good auto. Rowing gears is FUN. Cheapest and easiest in an A body would be the A230HD three speed followed by the A833 in either the standard or OD variation. From there, the costs just explode.
           
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          • JoePole1

            JoePole1 A dude in a B body FABO Gold Member

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            Interested myself. From what I have heard is stay away from the A833 OD due to the 1-2 ratio falling off so much. Not sure if all are the same ie truck vs pass car. They can be had pretty cheap. Had a full set-up (bell, trans, clutch, PP, shifter, etc) locally for $950 but passed on it because of that. Anyone using one with small block?

            edit..Sorry if this is hijack ignore but OP may be interested in this direction.
             
          • RustyRatRod

            RustyRatRod Bla de blizhibliz de blatde blizi bla bla FABO Gold Member

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            That's mostly spoken by people who've either not tried one and are parroting what they read or from those who've tried one in something under powered and under geared. It is a jump from one to two, but wind it up some and you're fine. You don't even have to do that if you have an engine with balls.
             
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            • dano

              dano Evil Handy Man

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              There are far to many factors to just say one. Street only? Drag race or road race? Power applied and when? Vehicle weight? Traction? From others I have talked too the T-56 seems to be the best all around choice for its ability to take power, gear ratio's and ease to shift but may not be right for some applications or budgets, then there is the install.
               
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              • skep419

                skep419 A little imagination goes a long way

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                I've got a abody a833 that I plan on putting in my other 1969 dart GT. I bought all the parts separate. 3.09 1st gear set from a 64 abody ball and trunion trans. 1968 trans case/tailshaft/mainshaft/steel forks/hurst competition shifter/Centerforce dual friction clutch (want to try a regular rag disc) 440source steel flywheel with bolt on weight for externally balanced 360. factory bell because messing with the Lakewood sucks.

                10-1 starter gear/cruise in 4th 1-1 with 3.23's
                May not be the best or the cheapest but its what my plan is.
                 
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                • vntned

                  vntned Well-Known Member

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                  It can be stupid expensive going to a manual trans.

                  My dart was a 3spd on the column, then I swapped to a 4spd overdrive, and it's now a close ratio 4spd. I had 3.55 gears with all of these trans'.

                  The 3spd isn't great for economy or performance.

                  The 4spd overdrive sucks for performance but can cruise on the hwy with ease.

                  The 4spd close ratio is great for performance and is a lot of fun, but hwy cruising isn't good.

                  I'd love a modern manual trans with close ratios and an overdrive, but that's way too expensive to justify.
                   
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                  • AJ/FormS

                    AJ/FormS 68 B'cuda fb, Form S clone ... 367/A833/3.55s

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                    IMO,on the street, it's hard to beat an automatic with a high stall and a lock up, and geared to put second gear where you want it.

                    If you study this out, it actually performs like a 4.5 speed, with a "deep-low" being inside the TC; and the lock-up is a half-gear.
                    Let's say;
                    your TC has a deep low ratio of 1.8 and a minimum of 1.1, just saying,
                    this is a split of 1.1/1.8=.61 ; That's a heck of a deal.
                    Let's say you had an A999 with a loc-up and ratios of 2.74-1.54-1.00. And let's say 3.55s were your rear gear of choice, and had 27" tires. Then your ratios to the rear axle would be
                    9.73-5.47-3.55 ; Now let's add the TC into the mix. I will add 1.8 for Zero mph, and 1.1 for the rest, then add the loc-up so first gear looks like;
                    17.51 at zero mph, diminishing to 10.70,
                    and the others; 6.01- 3.91,
                    and the loc-up of; 3.55,
                    so stringing them together we get
                    17.51-10.70-6.01-3.91-3.55 with splits of
                    .
                    .61-.56-.65-.91
                    On the street; 2nd will get you 68mph @5000@8% slip,
                    At the track; direct will get you 105@ 5000@ 8% slip
                    and loc-up is 65=2870
                    Those are some nice numbers. Compare them to the Standard A833. The ratios are
                    2.66-1.92-1.40-1.00, and splits of
                    .72-.73-.72
                    again with 3.55s to the rear axle;
                    .......(nothing going on here)....... 9.44-6.82-4.97-3.55
                    compared to the A999.... 17.51-10.70-6.01-3.91-3.55
                    What does it all mean?
                    If you can make the automatic hook at those number, it will blow the 4 gear away, until he hits 3rd gear. Then he will start to reel you in. Will he catch you? IDK; but it's third gear, and going back to my first statement;
                    "IMO,on the street, it's hard to beat an automatic".
                    With street in mind then,
                    lets put top of second gear at 60 mph.
                    for the A999, I get 4.10s=5080@8% slip. the new ratios are;
                    20.22-12.36-6.95-4.51-4.10
                    And for the A833, I get 3.55s=5085, and the new ratios are ;
                    ........... 9.55-6.82-4.97-3.55
                    .. compared to
                    20.22-12.36-6.95-4.51-4.10
                    Suddenly the A999 has three ratios to top of second@60, versus just two for the A833.
                    Yeah, I know, cruising 65=3313@zero slip with 4.10s will suck; the A999 needs an overdrive.
                    Do you need 20.22 for to take off with? Maybe if you had a slanty,lol. What this really means is that you cannot floor it in first gear @ zero mph, without tirespin.lol.
                    I just wanted to give you some food for thought.

                    I know whatchurthinking,lol. What if you just first gear all the way to 60 topping at ~5080 as before.
                    Can't be done with a 2.74 low gear.
                    With a 2.74x2.76 rear gears 60=6100@8% slip.
                    With a 2.45x2.76, however 60=5440@8%slip
                    So with a 998Loc-up and 2.76s your new numbers are
                    12.17 >7.44,1st-4.40,2nd---3.04--2.76 A998
                    ..........8.59-6.20-4.52 3rd-3.23 Standard A833
                    .....9.98-----6.20-4.52 3rd-3.23 Commando A833
                    12.13-8.86-6.38-4.56 4th ............Standard A833

                    Now we're talking!
                    BTW,
                    I have run that Commando/3.23 and I really really liked it.
                    I switched to 3.55s when I installed the GVod. Now I hit 60 in first over at 6380; zoom-zoom, and 93 in second over @6140 heehee.
                     
                    Last edited: Mar 23, 2020
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                    • 512Stroker

                      512Stroker We are all here because we are not all there.

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                      Are you sure you are not my old Math Teacher from the 70's Mr.Hand?
                       
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                      • dodgedifferent2

                        dodgedifferent2 Well-Known Member

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                        I put an passon performance hemi overdrive into my 340 stroker 67 dart.

                        Car started as an auto, but when I restored the car I wanted to row gears. Standard a833 went in till I thought I blew up the trans. Turns out I grenaded a sure grip.

                        I now think I should of made the leap to the t56 and big block. I am currently planning that for the 96 Dakota
                         
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                        • j par

                          j par Well-hung Member

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                          When I got my car 6 years ago the interior was out and had a police 318 in it with a 727 transmission and 7 1/4 rear end...
                          I never even found out if the 727 even worked... I just about gave it away for $50.. I got lucky and found a guy selling a 4-speed a833. It came with bellhousing z-bar and shifter for $800.. course I had to find a floor hump petals a dust cover and a few other little things... also I did put 8 1/4 with 3:55 gears..
                          Everything on my car has changed since except for the four speed...
                          If your planning on building a muscle car then plan on putting a 4-speed in it and plan on enjoying it to no end... My-2....
                           
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                          • MRGTX

                            MRGTX Well-Known Member

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                            Awesome information, guys.

                            Sounds like you've been down this road before. :) Which A833 is going in the '67?

                            I'm starting to like this A833 route. First, I spent a good chunk of cash upgrading to an aluminum shaft two years back. I'd love to be able to keep that and not have to have it modified. I also like the idea that the car might drive more like it would have if it was hot-rodded in the 1970s. Don't get me wrong, I love the Tremec 6 speeds that I've driven but it's a distinctly more modern experience than what would fit with the rest of my build.

                            So I am running the stock 904 (with some internal upgrades)...which versions of the A833 would have the same spline count?

                            Down the road, I plan to swap in a stroker small block...so I may end up with 450-500hp. Are there versions of the A833 that wouldn't be up to the task? I gather that that the mid 1960s versions may be weaker.

                            How much weight does the aluminum case version save?
                             
                          • 66fs

                            66fs FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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                            I have a 2009 Challenger R/T with the 6 speed, and I like it, but I love the feel of solidness and simplicity of the 66 Barracuda 4 speed and 64 Hurst shifter. I'm not sure yet what will go in the 67 Barracuda. I have an all aluminum case Passon O/D, and the 67 has an 8 3/4 rear so I can easily change gearing so I'm thinking of starting with 3.55 gears with a sure Grip. That will give me a 3.55 x .8 = 2.84 highway gear. We always ran 2.76 gears on long trips so I'm thinking that will be pretty good. I've had 4.10 gears in a 64 Barracuda with a 273 and could spin the tires through 1st and second. A little too much gear for me on the street.

                            If you want to use your drive shaft, as is, the 66 and 67 A body 4 speed will work. The O/D has a 26 spline output version that will also match up. Both are strong enough until you run a hot big block or stroker. Ma MOPAR switched to an 18 spline input shaft around 500 ft lb of torque. Of course 30 spline main shafts are stronger that 26 spline mainshafts, but they are the same up to the speedometer splines. You could change to a 30 spline front yoke on the drive shaft and run the 68-74 A body A833 and 30 spline output A/F body O/D trans.

                            I use the 26 spline O/D in the 66 Formula S with 3.91 Sure grip. I also have the original 66 26 spline 4 speed and 3.23 gears. The 67 Barracuda will start with the 30 spline output mainshaft and the 18 spline input with 7290 U-Joints because I'm hoping to put a 1957 341 Desoto Hemi in it. If the Hemi doesn't work the 67 will get a solid lifter 340.

                            In general A833 4 speeds are very strong and the gears are high quality. Early seems stronger than late. 450-500 hp should not be a problem. Weight is a factor, intended usage, drag slicks. I feel Aluminum cases are not as strong as cast iron so I usually convert my O/D transmissions to a standard cast iron main case. This also allows me to swap back and forth to my standard A body bellhousing.

                            Cast iron 68 main case: 34.8 lb
                            Passon Performance Aluminum main case: 15.4 lb

                            Cast iron 68 A tail housing: 18.4 lb
                            Direct Connection Aluminum tail housing: 8.4 lb
                             
                            Last edited: Mar 26, 2020
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                            • barbee6043

                              barbee6043 barbee 6043 FABO Gold Member

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                              It all depends on where and how you drive, what you expect, and yes everything costs money. LIke already said OEM is cheapest and it works for me. I much prefer banging gears. I have had all versions of OEM and have enjoyed them all in everything from slants to 440's and all in between. Even pulled the car trailer with a 1 /2 ton, slant 4 spd. OD for a while once!!
                               
                            • 67autocross

                              67autocross A new iron curtain drawn across the 49th parallel

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                              I'm debating the Passon overdrive vs the T56 for a current project as well...a local has a T56 magnum for sale so it may just come down to the fact I can drive over to his house and pick it up...but a part of me thinks the OD 4 speed would be good enough for what I want...
                               
                            • dodgedifferent2

                              dodgedifferent2 Well-Known Member

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                              I priced out both options at one time and if I remember correctly they were very similar in price range.

                              I went the passon route because I didnt want to redo the floor I installed 2 years prior.

                              I run 4.30 gears now with the OD
                              Somedays I wonder if I went the other route and put 4.88 gears.
                               
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                              • DrCharles

                                DrCharles Well-Known Member

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                                So does getting used to prosthetic feet! Get the Lakewood...
                                 
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                                • skep419

                                  skep419 A little imagination goes a long way

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                                  steel flywheel is the insurance
                                   
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                                  • 67autocross

                                    67autocross A new iron curtain drawn across the 49th parallel

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                                    If you ever update to a T56 and are selling the Passon let me know
                                     
                                  • skep419

                                    skep419 A little imagination goes a long way

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                                  • 72Duster440

                                    72Duster440 FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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                                    I’m in the same boat as the OP, I have thought of doing the switch many times, but the cost has held me back. It would be going behind a big block, which makes it a little more expensive, since I can’t find a big block 833 out of an A body anywhere!
                                     
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