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Technical Reference, Hints, Tips, and Techniques

I’ve not quite figured out where to put all this info, so I’ll stuff it all onto this page!  Please do skim down this page for information you might be interested in.

Newest items are added to the end of this list.

  1. On the TR-3550/TKO 5sp, try using allen head bolts (1/2” by 13 pitch) for the trans-bellhousing bolts.  The upper passenger side bolt is pretty tight with a hex head bolt. (See pic here)
  2. Torque Specs (generally speaking, you should still look up your specific application)
    * Torque the trans-bellhousing bolts to 60 ft/lb.  80 ft/lb is ok if you really want to crank them down, but no more than that.
    * Flywheel bolts; 65 ft/lb, tighten in a star sequence
    * Clutch bolts; 35 ft/lb, tighten in a star sequence
  3. Interested in driveline angles?  Click here.  And be sure to buy an Angle Finder tool.  Go to http://www.tools-plus.com/das.html and search for ‘Angle Finder”.  They are only $10-$20, and are useful for many other things as well.

    And here’s a slick tool from Tavia, called Tavia 08410 Bellhousing Fixture w/Indicator’
  4. For online manuals for all the TTC transmissions, Click here.
  5. Break-in procedure for the TR-3550/TKO, Click here.
  6. GM Speedometer cable too short?  Check out the solution on this page!
  7. You might want to check the threads on all threaded holes and bolts prior to putting the trans into the car, just in case one of them is screwed up.  :-)  Could save some under-car-hassles.
  8. When filling your trans with fluid, it’s much easier to dump it in under one of the 2 optional shifter location plates on the top of the trans.  The fill hole on the side of the trans certainly works, just not the most convenient if you can get to the top plates.  If you’re filling the trans while it’s out of the car, feel free to lay it on it’s side, and fill thru the fill hole.
  9. Be sure to use some grease, such as white lithium, on the internal rod of your GM speedometer gear adapter.
  10. Crossmember won’t fit under the tailhousing torque arm bosses?  Cut them off!  I used a 4” hand grinder with a 1/8” cutting wheel. A Saws-all will work also.  There are some pics of this in my article.  Click here.   If you’re buying a new trans, we’re now cutting these off for free.  Just ask.
  11. Tunnel Surgery:   Trans won’t fit into your tunnel?  You’ll likely have to “lift” the top of your tunnel to get the transmission to fit.  There are a few ways to do this.  Here’s how I did it (click here) for my ‘69 Chevelle, and there are some other peoples’ solutions also.
  12. Trans won’t fit in your tunnel?  Double check your body mount bushings.  If your’s are old and sagging/crushed, them maybe new ones will pick your body up just a bit.  Might help with gaining some tunnel clearance.
  13. Interested in rear-gear and tire height calculators?  See these:
    Compare multiple transmissions with our calculator
    Gear Ratio Calculator at www.Prestage.com
    http://www.xse.com/leres/ss/calculator.html and
  14. Want a simple Neutral safety switch with the TR-3550/TKOSee this page.
  15. Trying to track down a noise? (click here)
  16. How to determine your rear-end gear ratio.
  17. Don’t lower your tailshaft to get the trans to fit in your tunnel.  Here’s why.
  18. How about a low cost aluminum 3.5” driveshaft? (click here)
  19. Need a custom crossmember for your application?  Check out Chris Alston’s ChassisWorks custom crossmembers at http://www.cachassisworks.com/ .  Click on the ‘Engine Mts’ link on the left, then scroll down until you see the “ STRAIGHT & DROPPED CROSSMEMBERS” section. 
  20. Read about the Starting Line Ratio (aka Launch Ratio) here.
  21. How does a manual transmission work?
  22. Need a custom bellhousing adapter made? Check these guys out:  http://www.transmissionadapters.com/index.htm.  I don’t know anything about them, but they might be able to help you out.
  23. Need a ball stud adapter bracket for your 502 crate engine?  Get one at Scoggin-Dickey Performance http://www.sdpc2000.com/cart.asp?action=catalog_start&catid=134
    This bracket may require some clearancing/grinding when using it with a McLeod Steel bellhousing.
  24. Is your 3550/TKO grinding when shifting into Reverse?   The solution is simple and free!  Simply shift into 2nd, then over to Reverse for a smooth shift everytime.
  25. Is your 3550/TKO “noisy”?   These trans will produce some noise due to the very large gears inside the trans (i.e. strong gears!).  The noise is definately less than that of an M22 “Rock Crusher”, but more than a typical M20/M21.   It’s normal.  One thing you can do to minimize the noise inside the car is to use an isolator on your shifter bar.  There are some pics of this on this page (click here).
  26. How strong/durable are these transmissions? (click here for more details)
  27. Before installing any transmission, ensure that the shifter can be shifted into all gears.  It is possible that the shift forks were jostled out of alignment during shipping.  If you have this problem on the 3550 and TKO model 5 speeds, remove the mid-plate cover, reach in and manually align the shift forks.
  28. What about the GM Alum bellhousings and truck bellhousings?  Don’t get them mixed up!  See more here:   http://www.chevelles.com/cgi-bin/forum/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=28;t=004907.  If that link doesn’t work, here’s a printout (475k) of the thread (click here)
  29. GM Flywheel and clutch sizes (click here)
  30. Need a new rear seal for a TKO?  Get the #7300S, National Seal brand, from your local parts store.  It’s also the same as the C6 small seal.
  31. Need a new front seal for a TKO?  Get the NAPA #11123.  Be sure to read the next tip on removing the input shaft.
  32. Input shaft removal;  be sure to use an anarobic sealer rather than silicone when putting it back together!  Remove the 4 retainer bolts.   The input shaft will come out very easily once you have the seal broke on the retainer.  Push on the input shaft to keep it in place, and remove the bearing retainer.  Don’t just yank it all out, as you’ll have roller bearings dropped everywhere, possibly into the transmission!  Once you have the bearing retainer off, carefully remove the input shaft and collect the roller bearings.  Properly clean and prep the bearing retainer surface per the instructions on the sealant tube.  This is not a time for taking short cuts.  For re-assembly, use some wheel bearing grease to hold the roller bearings in place, and gently/carefully re-insert the input shaft.  Reinstall the bearing retainer, and properly torque the 4 bolts. 
  33. The TKO-500 and TKO-600 require a 10mm x 1.5 bolt (2) for the trans mount.
  34. The TKO-500 and TKO-600 require a 8mm bolt for the shifter bar.
  35. Leaky Speedo adapter?   1st, don’t overfill your fluid.  Only fill to the bottom of the fill plug.  2nd, it’s very important to ensure that the vent on top is not smashed shut.  3rd, a small o-ring inserted over your speedo cable (inside the big nut) will help a bunch.
  36. Need a shifter boot?  Try Hurst and Lokar  (http://www.lokar.com)
  37. Vibration problems?  Compare the new trans to your old, and confirm that your driveline angles are ok (more about driveline angles here).  For example, the TKO output shaft will end up about 1” lower than a toploader 4sp at the rear crossmember (centre of driveshaft to flat surface on crossmember mount = 57mm for TKO and 77mm for toploader).  Add a 1” spacer, and you’re back in business.  Thanks to Adrian Greener for the tip and measurements!  Results will vary, and this tip is intended to give you a hint on where to start if you have a new vibration with a trans swap.
  38. Speedo adapter won’t clear the trans mount boss?  Here’s more info and the solution (click here)
  39. ‘64-’72 GM Shifter (stock) Tech

Have a suggestion for this page?  Email me! I’ll be glad to research it and post it.


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This website is a comprehensive collection of information regarding the installation of TREMEC transmissions into various vehicles. Material contained in here may be reproduced for PERSONAL USE ONLY. No material may be redistributed in electronic or printed form without the written permission of Brad Wedan (owner). Owner believes to the best of his knowledge this information to be correct, however no warranty is made as to its accuracy. Owner also disclaims any liability for financial loss, property damage or injury in connection with use of this information. Not affiliated with, endorsed or compensated by TTC, or any sanctioning body mentioned within. Any trademarked names are property of their respective trademark holder and are used for identification purposes only. Portions of this website may be copyrighted by other individuals or organizations.

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