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Monte Carlo Z34 5-speed swap HOW-TO


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If you're stumbling across this thread and would like to see the missing pictures, I still have them saved locally. It's just that Photobucket required deletion of some to get under the "free limit" cap, lest it lock out all the pictures. PM me if you have any other questions or need pictures from broken links. THANKS!


Hmmm, how to start. Well, here it is after almost 2 months of wrenching and cursing a few times. I just started it up tonight (5-12-13) and drove it down the street. There are a few things to take care of yet, namely my clutch master cylinder is leaking internally as it won't hold the clutch disengaged for more than a few seconds, but that's about it for major stuff.




Firstly, I am not a expert in these matters, so please take that in to consideration. Secondly, everything from here on out applies specifically to a 98 Monte Carlo Z34; but most likely should cover 95-99 Monte Carlo and 95-2001 Lumina's. Also, I may forget certain things, and I got somewhat less detailed with pics towards the end, but it should still be pretty thorough. If you have any questions about a particular part or procedure, feel free to ask, but I'm going to gear the beginning of this thread towards a how-to to start anyway. I will also probably be editing things occasionally, or omitting others. But ya, on to pics and stuff.


Firstly, this car is not a DD. So may I recommend not relying on a DD to do this project. The Monte hasn't been driven much, so it is nearly, exclusively a project car at this point.


Here it is on day/ night one. Almost 2 months ago; May 13 2013 as it sits in my garage. (as a sidenote, my car has been top-swapped/ SC 3800 for 3 years now, so there may be slight minor upper engine things that are different between mine and your NA 3800 W-car.)


I started with the interior side of things first, but it shouldn't matter whether you decide to swap the trans/ engine assembly first or tear apart the interior.


Firstly, start with the 2 Phillips screws in the knee bolster and the 2 plastic phillips push pins in the bottom of the bolster.



Then unplug the trunk release button


The forward facing side of the shifter handle has the U-shaped clip that can be pulled out with a flat-head screw driver or a pick. Then the T-handle of the shifter can be pulled off.


Pry tool or equivalent for the trim surrounding said shifter


Unplug the lightbulb for the gear selection illumination


Then the main trim/ cubby hole thing trim piece can be pried up and away


Unplug the cigarette lighter and shift interlock plugs



There is also a main plugin that can be disconnected a little further upstream behind the CD slots (after that trim piece is removed)


(x4) 10mm lag screws holding the rest of the console to the floor here



Console gone

http://i1177.photobucket.com/albums/x349/Carkhz316/HPIM2580.jpgA few pics of the passenger side dash area. Here you'll find "Christmas tree fasteners" holding the kick panel/ bolster thing. Then there are some 7mm screws holding the glovebox in. You'll also have to unclip the glovebox light too




Pulling my A-pillar gauge pod. That empty spot is for my future Wideband or Aeroforce interceptor gauge maybe

http://i1177.photobucket.com/albums/x349/Carkhz316/HPIM2586.jpgThe dash surround is pretty easy. It just pulls off and you'll have to wiggle it around the steering column (unless you jumped ahead and already have the column unbolted I guess) After that, you'll find more 7mm's holding a lot of stuff: The radio, the HVAC switch, the gauge cluster and various spots of the dash panel,





including 4 underneath the defroster vent


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Alrighty, continuing with interior dissasembly. I know 1.5 Gen Monte and Lumi's are kind of the red-headed step children of the W-body world, but maybe some of you will find use in this build thread and may want to pursue a 5 speed swap too.


Next up, unbolting those seats. They are a external torx, but I didn't have the right size, so I make-do with a 8mm 12 point socket to remove them


If you have a power drivers, don't forget to unplug the power wire underneath


On to the under dash stuff. Really this is all up to you where you want to start, so there is not particular order to things. First you can remove this cover underneath the steering column



Here's the main ignition harness connection. There is a 7 or 8mm screw in the middle of it that bolts it together



Looking up into the steering column/ pedal bracket cage thing. There are various clips, screws and grounds bolted here and there



There is a hidden screw, well more hidden than usual, in this area where the pry tool is pointing on both the left and right side of the big cage/ box thing


Gauge cluster is out. Just unplugged the headlight switch. It is just pressed in with the metal clips on the back side


And the HVAC switches


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For whatever reason, I don't have pics of a few somewhat crucial spots of the dash structure, but they're easy to explain. After you've pulled both A-pillar trim pieces off, so you can then remove the door sill trim pieces, you'll find (x2) 13mm bolts bolting the big steel bar to the A-pillar. The two trim clips on either side that are attached with a 7mm are also holding the big steel support bar too, so don't forget about those.


Next you can pop the passenger airbag cover off. It is held on tightly, but just pries straight up. Then, there are (x4) 10mm holding the airbag in the dash. After you've unplugged the harness, it should lift straight out


Here the steering column is dropped. It is held in by 2, 13mm going up, near to the top of the column, and 2 more that point to the firewall near the bottom of the column


At this point, you should be just about ready to pull the whole dash assembly out of the car. You'll have to kind of wiggle here and there to have it clear everything, including the defrost vent thing, the big steel dash bar, and all the wiring harnesses which you'll have to guide out of the way.



Note the ziploc baggies. If you are unsure of where all the screws and bolts will go, and don't want to take a pic of each one, put groups of them in baggies and mark them accordingly. This helped me keep things straight when I got to sections with multiple screws and bolts for one section

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Updated my first post with interior pic. Also, I took it for a drive on Sunday night and broke the shift cable. Whomever had the cables before me replaced the bushings with brass ones and when I put them on they were sort of tight. I didn't think much of it, but I think the tightness caused the cable to not be able to swivel properly as it snapped right at the bushing/ fitting. Oh well, I caved and bought the HD cable from the company as per 19Cutlass94 's thread: http://www.w-body.com/showthread.php/77606-W-Body-shift-cables so I guess I have more things to do now. Oh well, the car runs and and drove, so I'm happy. Anyway, on to more tutorial....


Now, I don't know if the big steel dash support bar can be left attached to the dash structure or not, but I had it separated by this point anyway, so here is some stuff attached, namely the radio antenna and some module the Passkey 2/VATS module (thanks RobertISaar) attached to the back side of a plate on the bar


At this point you should be able to remove the dash bar and be left with this mess:


Alright, ignore the face that this pic is reassembly of the 5 speed pedal/ steering column box, but it is bolted up just the same. In the structure below the windshield on top of the box, there are two nuts holding those "ears" on top, and 2 bolts that go straight down inside there as well.


There are also 4 nuts bolted to it holding it to the firewall plate, accessed from the engine bay side, behind the brake booster. Once you have everything unbolted, you should now be able to remove the pedal box assembly. (Note the wire harness routing on top. If you forget this like I did, you WILL have to pull the box back down to route it correctly, as there is no room for it elsewhere. You can't cheat and wiggle it up there, I tried)


Finally, this thing is out. Here it is side by side with the 5 speed box. There are differences that you'll have to work with and change, but we'll get to that later in the thread.


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I've been holding off on replying until you were 'done' so it could all stay together.


But this is totally BOMB and I LOVE IT!!!!!!! Great work!

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The interior is the worst part of the swap. I don't wanna do it again. lol


Nice work man. Gotta have patience to do this kinda stuff!



Sent from my iPhone in some random spot of Texas.

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Thanks Buck!


I would have to agree that the interior was more daunting and challenging than the engine/ trans R&R.


If you are going to replace the firewall plate with the correct one with the hole cut out for the clutch master cylinder, you will have to remove some more stuff. Initially it is just bolted to the firewall around it's circumference with 10mm nuts, but more stuff has to be removed first.


The steering column should be held on by just the pinch bolt and the knuckle/ U-joint. It is a 13mm bolt that holds it. After that, you should be able to set it aside



While the engine doesn't have to be removed in order to remove the firewall plate (nor do the entire swap really) it does make things quite a bit easier. I'll just gloss over the fact that I had the engine out at this point to get the interior side disassembled. You will at very least had to have had the brake master cylinder and brake booster pulled off to remove the pedal/ steering column box. Assuming that is so, there are just a few more things to do


You'll have to disconnect the heater core and AC evaporator lines. There is also the throttle cable that can be pulled through once unclipped from the gas pedal. The pedal itself is bolted to the plate from the inside with 2 10mm bolts (one is a stud for the trim to slip over)



There is also a connector and some other wiring bolted to the drivers side of the firewall plate. You can see some of this wiring in the steering column pic, but this will have to be unplugged from it's connections and bolted from the plate (x2 7mm's IIRC) and pulled through out into the engine bay


Lastly, you'll have to at least loosen the big 'ol case that houses the AC evaporator and heater core to get the lines out far enough from the plate to remove it. It is held on by a few 10mm nuts on the firewall in the engine bay. There is also the C100? connector that has to be unbolted as well in order to wiggle the case out and down into the interior



....and here is the plate


At this point it's pretty much reversal of disassembly. I didn't take as many pics of reassembly, but you should be pretty familiar with the parts of the interior at this point. If not, just take notes and/or pics as you go along. It helps a lot.


There looks to be a cheap foam-like sealant used on the edge of the firewall plate to seal it to the firewall. In lieu of that stuff, I ran a bead of windshield urethane. You can use whatever you wish, or nothing at all. I don't think its all that crucial. I considered RTV/ silicone if I didn't have the urethane.

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Anyway, about that pedal box. The first, and biggest point of contention is that the upper steering column bolts are closer spaced than the holes on the 5 speed pedal box.



The CTC distance of the the column/ auto pedal bracket holes is approximately 6 3/8".



...and the 5 speed is tapped for a spread of 7 1/8"



So, I drilled and tapped them accordingly. The bolt size/ thread pitch for these bolts are 8mm x 1.25



So here's the pedal box again after Paint treatment


The other big deal with this damn thing is 2 fold. If you look forward of the column mounting holes a few inches (red arrows), you'll see where there are channels on the auto pedal box (top), the manual pedal box is reversed and they jut out (yellow arrows/ circled area). This isn't so much of an issue except there are 2 bolts that go through here to attach to the big steel dash bar. You will either need to find someone to cut and weld aluminum (I had a local machinest do the OFA, but didn't think this was worth doing to the pedal box) OR, drill holes through the parts that are jutting out which means you'll have to use longer bolts to be able to bolt to the steel dash support bar. While I don't think this is absolutely necessary to do, I felt better about this area being bolted back together.

The other issue is the area in the blue squares, rather the flipside (no pic, sorry) The other side of the blue square area is where the steel bar rests, when bolted to the pedal box. The problem is that it sits up a bit higher and interferes with the steel bar when using the 5 speed box. You have one of two options here:


1.) cut and weld the aluminum to fit, or

2.) persuade the steel bar to fit, haha


I chose the second option. All you need to do is "pinch" the section of the steel bar that runs across this portion. Its up to you what you want to do, whether it be use a press or a BFH (guilty) to make a fit. It doesn't have to be moved much, only about 1/2 inch or so.


To continue on with the pedal box, you might want to address how you want your cruise cancel and brake switches installed. I wanted to retain all the wiring and plugins that I could on the Monte to make it as seamless as possible. In the Monte, there are 2 switches actuated by the brake pedal. I wanted to use them both to keep the same connectors in the car, since the 1st gen switches are completely different. I'll get into the wiring later on.


Both Monte brake pedal switches have this little screw on adjuster with pinch tabs. I hogged out the circle holes with a die grinder (best tool I had to work with) already on the box to accept the little squeeze tabs so they could snap into place



There was also not enough clearance for the larger switch (that has the circuit for the brake lights) to install in the brake pedal switch hole; so more die grinding ensued:




The auto pedal box has certain holes tapped and drilled here and there that I wanted to copy onto the 5 speed box. You'll have to just look at everything carefully and match everything up; same hole size in the same locations.



This is the top of the sheetmetal bracket that allows the pedal box to be bolted to the firewall. I had to add these holes for the "christmas trees" to secure that harness I mentioned earlier.



Lastly, there is a plastic box that holds the DRL module and EBCM, that attaches to the left side of the pedal box. It has a large circular shaped pattern of tabs that latch into a corresponding circle hole on the auto pedal box.


Unfortunately, its a big oblong hole on the 5 speed. Fortunately, the rest of the plastic box lines up on the sides and whatnot. You'll just have to drill the holes for the little plastic retainer pins. If you keep it synched tight to one side of the hole, half of the little plastic tabs with hold onto the side of the big hole to help secure it.


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After you get the pedal box done, and assuming you now ready to or already have installed the firewall plate, you can now install the pedal box. You'll have to wiggle it into place. Don't forget about the square plate that goes inbetween the 4 studs that bolt to the firewall plate and the pedal box itself. As I mentioned earlier in the thread, everything is pretty much in reverse for the interior. After you have the firewall plate and pedal box in (don't forget that harness that goes on top), you can but the defrost tubing in, followed by your modified steel dash support bar. You can also bolt the steering column in now and route the wiring around it, including plugging in the big wiring plugin that is bolted together, mentioned earlier in the thread and also shown below:


At this point, you should be able to put the main dash piece back in.







Here is that plastic box that holds onto the DRL module and EBCM. You'll have to route the wiring and plugins around to it.




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I chose to install the clutch master cylinder at this point, so to know where to route the wiring that goes near it. You'll have to pull and stretch it around a bit to clear the pushrod for the CMC, but it is pretty easy. Also, the clip that attaches it to the clutch pedal is apparently a one time use, so use it wisely.




At this point, I didn't have much left, so I decided to route the shift cables so I could button up the floor area and lay the carpet back down. If you are looking from in the engine bay, look just to the left (passenger side) and down a bit from the down pipe area and you'll see a circle stamped into the firewall. This is the "cutout" or perforation for the cables/ grommet. If you see the circle, grab your BFH and a quick tap should knock it out. Now, there are two layers of the firewall. After you knocked the engine bay side out, you'll have to go on the inside and grab a hole-saw to cut that out. There is no circle shape stamp like on the outside, but there should be a small dimply in the sheetmetal indicating the center. Use that as a guide, otherwise you can certainly come at it from the outside too if you're unsure, or if there is no center punched dimple.


There should be a small channel stamped in the floor pan to route the cables too. They should go under the floor venting tube and insulation



The console and shifter area should be one of the few things left to install. I actually had the car running and took it for a drive before I had the shifter bolted solidly to the floor. I was waiting for this bracket that bolts to the back of the shifter. I had it held in by the one front bolt


Well, I finally got that bracket to finish bolting this shifter down. I very likely could have fabricated one, but I had no idea how high it would lift the shifter up from the floor (which is about an inch or so).


Don't forget this little vent elbow that go's in the center front of the floor hump. It bridges the gap to the floor vent tubing


At this point, you can probably install the console itself. The rear, if you recall in a earlier post, is held in by 10mm lag-type screws/ bolts.


The front is the same, but here I ran into an issue. The front originally mounts to the auto shifter bracket. There are no mounting provisions on the 5 speed shifter bracket. I improvised here just to give it something to hold on to. I grabbed this left over wiring harness bracket that went on the trans (I think).


I bent it into a Z shape to give the front of the console something to hold onto. The top side can go in either of the front holes on the console, and the bottom I bolted to the front shift bracket mount. Feel free to do whatever you wish here, or omit it. I just wanted something to hold onto the console up front, though it did seem to be sitting securely enough without it



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Oh I'm getting there. I just had to finish my previous post before I continued on.


So here I'm going to outline what I did for wiring, which after finding the appropriate diagrams, was one of the easier parts for me as I pride myself in my electric diagnostic ability. Since I wanted to reuse the original Monte switches, I had to figure out which wires I wanted to do what now.


Here is what we need to attend to:


(Ignore the extra wire taped in. It's the brake wire for my Astro Start) There are 3 connectors that go to the 2 switches. The 2 brown wires on the left go to their own switch, which is for the cruise control disable (normally closed switch). I intended originally using this as a clutch switch of sorts, but ended up keeping it as a dedicated cruise control disable, but mounted to the clutch pedal instead. The other 2 plugs are:


Orange and white: brake light output/ brake signal (N.O)

Pink and purple: brake/ TCC switch input to ECM (N.C.)

Pink and green: brake shifter interlock (N.C.)


Since we don't have a Torque Converter Clutch anymore, we shouldn't need that circuit, but it's still a brake input to the ECM, so I didn't want to touch that. The only thing I really had to change was that I wanted the cruise to be able to be canceled via the brake or clutch pedal. Since we don't have a auto shifter anymore, we don't need that pink and green circuit for the shifter interlock (it's the solenoid that keeps you from shifting out of park unless you press the brake).


While you can certainly just cut and splice, I wanted to keep everything as factory-ish as it could be, if you will. So I started by opening up the connector and popping out the terminals for the green wire and the pink one next to it. You can use a pick or terminal tool like I did.



Do the same thing to the switch with the 2 brown wires (cruise disable). You only need to pull one wire from this one. It doesn't matter which as we're just tying these 2 switches together in series. Take the one brown wire you pulled and plug it into the spot for the pink or green wire. It doesn't matter which spot you use.


If you really want to get fancy and technical, get yourself a pack of these terminals from you local parts store and crimp them on a stretch of wire that will reach between the brake pedal switch and our new clutch-mounted cruise disable switch. You will then plug them into the 2 remaining empty terminal spots. You now have effectively extended the cruise disable circuit by simply adding another N.C. switch in series.



I'll have to grab a pic of the installed switches, as I don't have one at the moment

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Alrighty, on to some more meat and potatoes work.


Here's the whole engine bay before I've touched anything. It will pretty much look exactly the same when I'm done, but it's here for reference anyway


First things first, unhook the battery. Often times I don't when doing lots of other stuff, but since the starter and alty wires are getting disconnected, we don't need the car turning into a electric chair



In no particular order, start unhooking everything you see, haha







You may want to depressurize the fuel system properly, so as to avoid taking a shower in gas. I just pushed on the schraeder valve with a pick, and then a few rags around it and the fuel lines when I disconnected them


Throttle and cruise cables:


MAP sensor vacuum/ boost line and plugin; also O2 sensor:


Alternator and rear fuel injectors:


Front/ upper motor mounts:


While the fans probably don't absolutely have to be removed, I took them out as they are easy (a 10mm top center, and on the sides) to remove and take up a bunch of space in the engine bay:


Fan plugs:



And the shift cable


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While I may have glossed over some of the engine things up top, it covers the majority of it. On to the bottom...


One last view of that unsightly auto trans pan, :lol:


You'll have to unhook the starter connections (B+, and solenoid power too). Also in this area is the front knock sensor, and oil level sensor/ switch:


Main ground on the trans to engine bolt/ stud:


Just a few 15mm nuts and bolts holding the AC compressor on the engine. You can leave it on the engine and unhook the lines, but I opted to shed it from the engine to free up some pull space. It doesn't matter to open the system if you are replacing the firewall plate as the lines have to be disconnected at the firewall if you do.


The axle nuts can be undone at any time, but will have to be before pulling the axles. You'll also have to undo the tie-rods, and possibly the ball joints to squeeze the axles out.


Back side of the engine; as seen from the the passenger wheel well.

Here, you can unhook both the power steering pressure line, and the return line. Also from here to disconnect: Vehicle speed sensor (on top of the trans, just in from the axle), rear knock sensor, and oil pressure switch/ sending unit:


If you have a axle puller feel free to use it here. Otherwise a nice tug sometimes can pull them. I ended up putting a bar against the backside of the tri-pot and smacking it with a hammer and they both popped out. There really isn't much room to pry them out, at least on my car there wasn't:



Downpipe to rear manifold. I've had it apart in the past. Anti-seize is your friend. Mine popped apart like gravy:


Undo the (x2) 15mm nuts holding the lower motor mount to the cradle:


...same with trans mount on the drivers side:



While I'm technically back "up top" I found out that the brake master cylinder was really in the way for me. So, get ready to unbolt that. You may have enough room laying it to the side, but since my brake fluid really needed a flushing and bleeding, and since it was still in the way, I opted to remove it:



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Dare I say it, you should be just about ready to pull the beast out (assuming you are R&Ring the engine) If I didn't explain earlier, I wanted to yank the engine as I had the resources to do so (hoist and engine stand) and I wanted to attend to and replace the oil pan gasket and rear main seal and cover gasket as extra insurance, as I wasn't quite sure where the bath of oil had been coming from. As it turns out, I'd have to replace the oil pan anyway, but more on that later.


If you are yanking the engine and trans, hook up your choice of chains or hoist tools. I just had chains, and it's always worked fine. Also, removing the hood makes things easier by not being in the way.


Don't mind the ball of chain wrapped around the cherry picker. It's a long chain and I didn't want the slack hanging everywhere.







That engine bay is almost empty now. It's kind of surreal to see my car so incomplete


And your goofy looking narrator and host in a obligatory "standing in the engine bay" shot:


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At this point, I really wanted to see what that big 'ol Getrag looks liked bolted to the 3800, and to test fit it of course




I thought it looked pretty sweet.


I also wanted to find out how well the axle did or didn't fit and clear the oil filter adapter. For some reason, since I could not find anything about this part when swapping into a Monte or Lumina of this era, I truly wanted to believe that mine would be some special type that clears just fine




Nope. It hits. Damn. The CV boot is just touching the filter and it puts the axle this far out



As it turns out, I only have the same old W-body: 3800 oil filter adapter as the rest have



As far as I know, all the OFA's for other 3800 cars will physically bolt up to the engine block, but will not work for one reason or the other. If you take a gander at this page you'll see a bunch of different styles:




The first one is the ticket, but I'll get back to that in a moment. The second is the "over the axle" style, which puts it up and over the axle, effectively pointing it down and back towards the firewall. This would work great, except you would need to relocate or delete the power steering pump as it is in the way. These can be found on certain vans like the Silouette and Transport. They skip the description for this one on that page that I linked, for some reason.


The 3rd is of course the W-body filter.


The 4th is found on some bigger 3800 cars, like the Buicks and Olds cars (LeSabre, 88, 99, PA). This one could MAYBE work (I haven't checked), as it MIGHT clear the axle (it really doesn't look like it would afford much more clearance). The problem I see is that it would hit the big motor mount bracket, or even the oil pan (if using an aluminum oil pan from a W-body). While it would work with the intended H-body aluminum oil pan, along with the newer style pan that has a groove cast in the side of the pan for the oil filter (not my pic):


Neither would work as the H-bodys and others similar don't utilize the same lower motor mount and therefore don't have the mounting cast into them like the W-body specific aluminum oil pan.


Lastly, the F-body OFA won't work as it doesn't move the pinch point between the filter and CV shaft at all.


Back to the first one.


To avoid further confusion that you'll find in descriptions, the first one is found in most, if not all, '88-'90 3800 Buick Reatta's, and '85-'87 Pontiac Grand Am's with the 3.0. They are the same OFA, and the one I ended up using. While this is the only OFA that will work in clearing the axle, there is one issue to address with it. The mounting boss for the oil pressure switch/ sending unit is mounted on top, which interferes with the PS pump, again (sigh). I took it to a local machinest as I had no choice here. Unless you can weld aluminum, you'll have to have the top cut/ ground off to match the W-body style one. Even when you match that profile, is is damn close to the PS pump, much like the stock W-body OFA having only about 1/8" of clearance on top.


PRO-TIP: when searching for the OFA, just look for a engine out of a Reatta, or Grand Am such as on http://www.car-part.com/ You'll never find a listing for just the OFA; ebay is even a bust. I just looked at the engines and found one that said it was CORE OR PARTS ONLY, called a JY about it and they parted with the OFA. It was only a couple hours drive away from me, but I had them mail it to me anyway.

You don't absolutely have to have the oil pressure sending unit tapped into the OFA, but I wanted it to be for the sake of keeping everything working properly with the dummy light and whatnot. I had the local guy weld on and tap a piece of aluminum stock to place it in the spot on the original W-body OFA. I don't have the best pic of it, but these should give you a decent idea. Ya, I painted it




Yup, you can see my intermediate shaft brace I made too. I did make it as I do have a welder and can weld steel just fine, just not aluminum though. I have a cardboard stencil that I can take a pic of if anybody wants to have it for a quick guide, otherwise you'll just have to use your imagination. You can use the bolts for the big motor mount cradle/ bracket to bolt it to the engine block though, so that's pretty convenient there.




Not too bad weld, it looks like it's a tiny bit on the cold side, but I had my wire feed cranked up too high. It almost burnt through the back. Plenty hot for 3/16" steel



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I know you don't like more work than you think you have to do; neither do I in the case of this swap. Unfortunately, there is yet another thing to contest with when switching OFA's: The oil pan. Don't worry, there is no machining or welding required here. You just need to get a hold of a newer W-body specific oil aluminum oil pan, such as found on ~'05+ Grand Prix's and Lucernes, and some 7th gen Impala's and Monte Carlos, and possibly Regals too (I didn't check). Only the W-body one has the mounting for the motor mount cast into it. The other 3800 aluminum pans do not.


The reason you need to use the aluminum oil pan is because when you use the Reatta/ Grand Am OFA, it won't clear the motor mount bracket. Therefore, without the motor mount bracket bolted to the engine, and then to the motor mount, you can't really install the engine. The aluminum oil pan does away with the giant wrap around motor mount bracket and has a very small one that sandwiches inbetween the mount and the oil pan, which frees up a bunch more room:



Make sure to try and grab the bracket too. Another JY that I called for the pan (and later for a smaller brake booster) apparently didn't know what I was talking about when I described the bracket that allows the motor mount to be attached to the oil pan, sigh. Oh well, you can still get one from a dealer for about 10 bucks




Before I swapped the oil pan, I decided to take the opportunity to swap the rear main seal, and cover gasket.




The pulley was my seal driver. It worked fine. So far so good. Everything is still dry.


Regarding the oil pan: you'll have to use the oil pickup tube for the aluminum oil pan as it is angled a bit different in conjunction with the aluminum pan's built in windage tray.


Anyway, the aluminum oil pan doesn't utilize a gasket, but instead a sealant exclusively. There is a GM sealant that is specified, but the alternative that is specified by GM to use anyway is this stuff:


It is awesome. It doesn't need a cure time for wet use. Gob and go (almost literally). I've used this on differential covers and immediately filled them with oil and never had a leak;. whereas I've had leaks with standard RTV. While it is spendy (~$30) you'll get numerous uses out of one tube.


Lay a small bead around and a little bit extra on the corners where the front and rear covers meet the block and sandwhich it on.



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There is actually one more issue with the oil pan and oil filter adapter. What I didn't notice until I went to bolt it on was there was a lack of clearance (ugh, again?) between the the area at the top of the oil filter where is spins on and the oil pan. There is a casting rib/ line in the oil pan where it touches. While there are spacers that you can buy for the OFA (not sure where; there's another member on here that used one on his Impala), I didn't know they existed at the time. So, a few quick passes with the grinder shaved the spot off the oil pan. This ridge you will have to grind off, if you choose to do so, is next to the hole on the inside for the windage tray bolt. Now, I was worried about grinding though, but there looks to be plenty of material left after grinding, and I still have about 1/32" -1/16" of clearance now between the OFA/ filter and oil pan. If you do decide to go this route, just make a quick pass with the grinder, and keep checking the clearance by holding the OFA, with the filter attached, up to the pan until it no longer touches.




Alrighty, on to some more fun. If you decide to go with a Spec clutch, it takes a couple weeks from the time you order it until you receive it, as they are custom built. So, keep that in mind if you wait to order one.


Here's ~$550 of my hard earned dollars for a Stage II



For the flywheel, you'll need one for a '96-'02 F-body (Camaro or Firebird) with a 3800. It will have to be machined about .260", to bring it to a total thickness of .840", as measured from the clutch face to the crankshaft mounting surface on the back of the flywheel. Also, be wary of certain aftermarket flywheels. While I initially thought that for a few more dollars that I couldn't go wrong with a new aftermarket one, it turned out to be a waste of time. Fortunately, I was refunded the first 2 that were bad. I ultimately went with a JY unit under the assumption that it would most likely be an original. It worked in my favor. While the first two aftermarket flywheels would have worked in a stock F-body application, where you don't have to remove much material, they didn't work cutting them down over 1/4". What happened to me is this



Within about .060" of target thickness, both aftermarket flywheels revealed these casting voids, or air bubbles. Not good. So, get a junkyard one, or your choices are a GM one for ~$160, or there are some forged steel and billet aluminum ones out there for ~$300-$400 on a Fiero site. Otherwise, Spec offers a aluminum one as well for somewhere in the neighborhood of $300+.


Third time's a charm with my flywheel. After the JY unit turned down clean, it was time to bolt 'er on. You'll need new flywheel bolts as the stock flexplate bolts aren't long enough for the thicker flywheel. The size of the bolts are as follows: 5/16" - 18tpi x 3/4". You'll need (x8) of them. A dab of blue loctite and they can be bolted down.


The flywheel can only be installed one way, as the holes are not symmetrically drilled. There is also a oval shaped hole as a reference spot. Follow the torque specs per year of car as they can vary apparently.


Before installing the clutch, note the sticker on the Spec clutch denoting flywheel and pressure plate side. This particular clutch will physically only fit one way anyway



When bolting the pressure plate, you'll need (x6) of the following bolts: 8mm x 1.25 x 18mm. Use some blue loctite on these too, and follow torque specs according to either a original 284 car, or F-body torque specs. Insert the clutch alignment tool into the clutch and start tightening the bolts evenly while occasionally wiggling the clutch tool to make sure it is seated on center.



Next is to install the throwout bearing into the clutch fork. Don't forget to apply a small dab of grease on the input shaft and on the clutch fork pivot.



At this point you should be about ready to bolt the trans and engine together. While this part would probably be much easier with a helper, I managed with minimal cursing by setting the trans on a floor jack and lifting it into position while my engine was suspended by the engine hoist.


Edited by carkhz316
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It's nearing time to drop this pig back in, but I had to address some things first. If you are running stock exhaust manifolds, you'll need to spin the mounting flange on the rear manifold. It originally points up and down, and the lower portion hits the shifter cable bracket.



While the "easy" solution is to just run headers I suppose, they are not in my budget at the moment, in lieu of the huge price jump recently on 3800 headers.


The crossover pipe flange spins freely on the pipe, but the manifold flange is spot welded in two spots. You'll have to cut or chisel the spot welds so it can be spun around.


Once that is done, you should have just enough clearance to install the cable bracket retainer piece.


The other part is the engine bay wiring. There isn't much to change; just the vehicle speed sensor, reverse switch, park/ neutral switch, and the trans range select wiring. I'll also hopefully be updating my posts with relevant wiring schematics.


I'll start with the vehicle speed sensor harness. Firstly, the original position is on the passenger side of the auto trans. Since we need to move it to the driver's side on the 5-speed, you'll only have to shorten the harness by a bit, about 8-10 inches or so. It may very a bit depending on how you route it, so measure twice, cut once. Also, the plugs are different between the two. I found a unrelated plug laying around and took a dremel to it to notch it to fit the 5 speed VSS. I'm sure there are appropriate plugs that would work, but I didn't have time or patience to dig that far when I had a fairly easy solution already.



The next part to look at holds all the other major wiring changes we'll need to make. These are on the two plugs that go into the trans range selection switch.


The 4-pin, white plug on the left is for the gear selection logic switch. This tells the computer that you have shifted into any one of the gear positions. For the time being, I wired mine to indicate neutral, by tying the white and yellow wires to the black/ white wire on the other plug.


The other 6 wire, gray plug contains the wiring for the P/N switch, Reverse, and power trunk release (if so equipped). The black/white is the ground for both plugs (not to be confused with the other black/white wire on the 4 pin plug.)



The P/N switch wires are the purple and yellow. These are just for the starter solenoid relay. You will have to splice these two together. On a side-note, if you have the time and patience, I'd recommend soldering and heat-shrinking as things under the hood can and will be subjected to the elements.



Like before with the brake switches, you can either pull out the terminals, or crimp new ones on. The orange wire is the power for the both the trunk release and the reverse lights. You'll want to splice the green trunk wire into the orange wire, so you can pop the trunk at any time (normally only in park on the auto).

The other green reverse light wire will go to the reverse switch along with the orange wire. Hopefully, you'll have the reverse switch intact along with the plug in that is permanently attached to the reverse switch. If not, you'll have to hard wire it with the trans in the car. This pic shows the engine and trans in the car as I had to change the wiring just a wee-bit.


Make sure to route the harness going forwards to the little bracket, as the shifter will rub on the the harness if you don't.

Edited by carkhz316
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Now you should hopefully be ready to install the engine and trans. As with other big and heavy stuff, having a helper is always the way to go, but alas, I had no helper this time around upon installation. But first, I had to get the auto trans mount bracket off the cradle.


Now I can't say for sure on all cradles, but on mine, the holes were already there for the 5-speed trans mount. This may not be true on other, newer cradles. Apparently the 2nd gen cars are hit or miss.


After that, carefully lift and roll into place with your hoist.


To quote another thread "MMMMmmm, that engine bay looks hungry; lets feed it!"



Like with removal, you'll have to slowly guide the assembly so as to avoid pinching any wires or hoses. Having a spotter/ helper is great, but it can be done by yourself if you're patient and keep watching it carefully.


When I saw this underneath:


I couldn't help but think of this:



Once you get it in, it's a matter of bolting everything back up. I hate to be like the book, but "installation is the reverse of removal". If there is great need or want for reassembly, I suppose I could post pics and whatnot, but it's really just the reverse from here on out. The only exception is hooking up the shifter cables and the clutch hydraulics.


For the shifter cables, it's just a matter of routing them to the trans. They'll go underneath and right next to the downpipe and rear exhaust manifold. While it's probably not necessary, I wanted the extra insurance of protection them from the heat, so I wrapped them in header wrap



The smaller select cable just presses on the studs and the plastic retainers hold them in place, assuming they're unmodified. In the case of the larger shift cable, mine had the bushings replaced with brass at some point, not by me. After you slip these on, you'll need to put a small E-clip on to hold them on.


You can get these from the parts store or hardware store. You'll need 2 of them; one on the trans and one on the shifter. I think the size is 5/16".


If you are using the stock clutch hydraulics with the accumulator, everything should just bolt right up. The accumulator bolts right next to the slave cylinder on the trans. If, on the other hand, you want upgrade the hydraulics to eliminate the accumulator, see this thread:



I went head and purchased the following from the thread:


If you follow the above thread, you'll be able to get rid of that crappy accumulator and have a nice firm clutch.

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