Installing American Touring Specialties T56 kit

With Pro-Touring sweeping the nation, enthusiasts are finding it easier than ever to swap late model components into their vintage rides. T56 six speed swaps are no exception- There are about as many ways to tackle this conversion as there are boxes available today.

You know you’ve fantasized about tearing across the open road, rowing through gear after seemingly endless gear. But then the reality of the ‘complicated’ swap shows its ugly face- There are hydraulics to adapt at weird angles, the pushrod doesn’t meet the pedal in the right spot, and the crossmember has to be cut apart and re-welded to fit the long beast. Well lay all those problems to rest. American Touring Specialties just made bolting in a production T56 possible. ATS designed this kit around the 93-97 LT1 style T56’s found in thousands of production F Bodies today. Sticking to the factory designed parts, and modifying them to bolt to a 1st Gen F-Body is the key to completing the swap.

No more fabricating complicated brackets, rigging up factory hydraulics, and piecing together crossmembers. The firewall mounted bracket adapts the ATS modified F-Body hydraulics right to the 1st gen firewall and clutch pedal. No welding and no fab work needed. Follow along as we point out the specific features of upgrading this big block equipped 68 Camaro with a hydraulic clutch, and six forward gears via a T56 from a 95 Trans Am.

A complete installation guide and video are provided with the kit. As with any old car, factory tolerances and 36 years of age can make for some minor differences in the fit and finish of the kit. Make sure after completion to check the clutch pedal travel and look for binding or sweeping in the push rod. It should be straight and steady, with a max pushrod travel of 15/16”. If it goes beyond that, you will need to make a pedal stop either on the floor or attached to the pedal. Make sure the brake pedal is firm and tested before going out on the open road. The last things to complete before taking off on your maiden voyage is to hook up the VSS pig tail to your electronic speedometer (this car is getting the full Autometer gauge upgrade) and wire the back up lamps to the pig tail. After you go through the install guide again, take your new T56 for a spin.

ATS’s kit includes all the custom parts you would otherwise have to fabricate - The 3pc tubular crossmember, the firewall mounted hydraulic clutch bracket, and the custom length hydraulic master and actuator assembly. Also included in the kit is the special socket cap screw to attach the hydraulic clutch master pushrod to the clutch pedal, full written instructions, and a CD-ROM installation video.

 

In preparation to mark the hole for the shifter, strip the case of the mounts, bellhousing and shifter stub. Install bellhousing to block with no flywheel or clutch assembly, and install T56 onto bellhousing. Mark floor and remove T56 and bellhousing for cutting. Be sure to remove interior items before cutting.

Press in pilot bearing, and install flywheel, torque to specification. Clean flywheel surface with brake cleaner, and install new clutch (noting engine side) with alignment tool. Hold clutch in place, and install pressure plate and bolts. Torque to spec and remove alignment tool.

 

Install the bell housing to the back of the block, and tighten all 6 bolts. Using safety strap and tranny jack raise the T56 into position for installation. After aligning the T56 with the bellhousing, install and tighten all 8 case to bellhousing bolts. Jack T56 into final position, and install turbo 400 mount.

 

Install both crossmember frame rail brackets loosely. Align tube with frame rail brackets, and install ½ bolts. Align crossmember pad with turbo 400 mount, and install mount bolts. Allow T56 to rest on crossmember then tighten tube, and frame rail bolts.

 

Install aftermarket shifter using manufactures provided instructions. Don’t forget to apply a thin bead of RTV around the base of the shifter, and set the shift stops.

 

Using the correct size line wrench, remove the hard lines to the brake master cylinder. 

 

 

Remove the 2 nuts that retain the brake master to the booster (or firewall in manual cars) and set master aside. Remove the brake pedal pushrod clip and clevis, and then removes the vacuum booster.

 

Install ATS firewall bracket onto booster studs. Install 2 nuts diagonal from each other and tighten to hold bracket in place, and prevent flexing.

 

Remove old pedal assembly from the under dash area. Assemble new clutch/brake pedals. A small amount of WD-40 helps slip the pads onto the pedals, and some disc brake grease on the bushings helps install the assembly easily under the dash. Hang the assembled pedals under the dash, and retain with new clip.

 

Install the pre-bled custom length hydraulics to the firewall bracket. Take care to make sure clutch master pushrod goes in between the clutch and brake pedals. Line up push rod front to back on clutch pedal. Mark location with an automatic center punch, and remove pedal assembly for drilling.

 

Drill small pilot hole in pedal. Then drill out to 15/64”. Tap hole to a RH thread ¼”x 28 NF. Re-install pedal assembly under dash securing with retaining clip. Bolt hydraulic push rod to clutch pedal with ATS supplied ¼”x 28 NF socket cap screw.

 

Snap clutch fork onto throw-out bearing. Slide actuator spacer onto the 2 studs on bellhousing. Install the hydraulic actuator onto bellhousing securing hose clip on top stud. Shipping strap will break automatically when pedal is depressed for the first time.

 

Remove the 2 nuts holding the bracket to the firewall. Re-install the vacuum booster and brake pedal pushrod to the pedal. Make sure to adjust the brake pedal pushrod for the added ¼” bracket depth. Reinstall the brake master cylinder and hard lines using correct size line wrench.

 

Remove all 4 wheels to prepare for bleeding the braking system. Bleed all 4 wheels checking the master cylinder level often. Start at the passenger rear, driver’s rear, then on to the passenger front, followed by the driver’s front. When firm pedal is achieved, re-install and torque wheels.

 

Measure from the rear of the transmission, to the center of the rear end pinion yoke to get your local driveshaft shop the correct length. After driveshaft is made up, install into tail shaft, and rear end. Secure with new U-straps and bolts.

 

Reinstall carpet, sill plates and seat belts. Cut out small hole in carpet for shifter stick.  Finish off interior with the front seat, and shifter boot and knob.

 

Remove the fill plug with a 3/8” drive ratchet and pump ATF into case until it seeps out the plug hole. Re-install plug and tighten.

 

 
 
 
 

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