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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-06-2013, 05:50 PM Thread Starter
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5 speeds

Hi Guys, new to forum. I have both a 1970 Grand Prix J that is all stock and am currently building a 1970 4 speed GTO.
Considering a 5 speed conversion but not really into cutting and modifying.
Talked to Keisler about the RS500 and they say lots of good things and that the kit will bolt right in.
Talked to Tremec about the TCET5009 and at first they say yes but then maybe modify the tunnel and you have to measure driveshaft and they will make one. Guy told me the cars from the factory can vary 4" (I find very unbelievable).
Both seem similar priced, Tremec guy says T45 was POS.
I have driven both a Richmond and a TKO in different cars during the long haul on the power tours and had trouble with both 2-3 shift, lots of trouble.
Guy at Tremec says maybe I need to learn more?? I have owned a 1964 Tri-Power 4 speed goat, a 1969 RAIV 4 speed goat and multiple other late model 5 speeds so....

Any feed back? I felt better talking to the Keisler guy (Tom Wilhite in Kansas told me about them)
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-06-2013, 06:36 PM
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You need to get on the Performance Years forum. LOTS of information regarding this. From what I've gleaned, the only 'bolt in' unit without floorpan mods is the Kiesler SS700. About $4400 for the entire kit, and a long wait. Also, service is a bit sketchy. I've heard all kinds of things about notchy/balky 2-3 shifts on several of these units, as well as gear noise and shifter vibration, too. Tread very carefully. I'm sticking with the Muncie in my own '65, with a 3.36 rear gear. It does everything well, is bulletproof (semi), and shifts like a GTO should.
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-06-2013, 07:49 PM
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Did a lot of comparing between the Keisler & Tremec and read a lot of blogs. They even have a couple U-Tube videos using the transmissions. Keisler seemed to fit without cutting the floor, but the video they put out, looked like it was more applicable for a stock HP engine to me. Blogs for both were good and bad.

Tremek requires floor mods to the trans tunnel, its taller than the stock Muncie. There is a website you can find showing the mods required -not to bad. Its longer, so crossmember changes & driveshaft. The TKO 500 is rated for 500 ft lbs of torque application and TKO 600 for 600 ft lbs. Reviews were good overall, with a few concerning complaints that made me uneasy.

Went to a car show where they had a Tremec display and factory rep.. They also had the man who does Tremec R&D using his 9,5000 RPM spinning Ford 302 mustang drag car, Bob Hanlon, Hanlon Motorsports out of PA. He has a web, but seems he rather talk to you directly to help you out. His wife handles the phone and orders. He took about 45 minutes to talk with me at the show and show me the mag articles he wrote on his Mustang and some parts of interest.

The Tremec in factory from will not work/shift cleanly past 6,000 RPM by design in how the synchro's work. Guys with high winding engines are disappointed when it won't shift/grinds past 6.000 RPM. To make it shift at higher RPM's, you MUST install the carbon fiber lined synchro's that Bob came up with to cure the problem - a $400 add on to the already $2295.00 price tag, so most don't get it and then speak ill about the trans as junk.

The trans is not your old 4-speed and you do not shift it the same. If you do, you will miss the 2-3 shift 95% of the time, compliant #2 about the trans. Bob showed me with a trans on display. The shifter operated a series of sliders in the trans, not forks like the Muncie. The shifter is self centering in that when you go from 1-2, it has springs that centers the shifter for the 2-3 shift. So, you cannot jam the trans into gear like a Muncie, you must actually open palm it from the 2-3 shift and simply push it up to 3rd. The quadrant pattern is tight and if you manhandle it like a Muncie, you go 2-5 most every time. I suppose you can pull it hard 3-4 and no problem manhandling 4-5 shift.

Its a 26 spline clutch shaft and you need to use a light clutch disc. A heavy disc will aggravate the spinning motion (inertia) of the input shaft which can cause a poor shift. The syncro's are cone shaped and they slow down the trans gears to shift, so if they are kept spinning because of inertia (heavy clutch disc), it takes the synchro's longer to slow down the gears and you can't get that fast clean shift out of it. Bob can recommend the set-up to use.

Must use the correct trans fluid as recommended by Tremec. Bob can supply this.

Must make sure your trans is perfectly centered to your crankshaft. If your bell is off-center the least amount, you will have problems as your pilot bearing will force the trans spline out of center and cause problems. The old Muncies have lots of play in the front bearing, just grab one and wiggle it around. So a little off set with these is OK, but a Tremec has to be perfect, it has tighter tolerances.

Bob can make a speedometer cable your length having the GM end for your car and the Ford end at the transmission. You can by a higher priced adapter which is available if you rather spend more money, or there is a plug for electronic speedo. He gave me several other tips as well. He can help, even though he is a Ford man. He developed a clutchless Tremek if you want him to build you one. He builds and rebuilds them -that's all he does. He blows them up, figures where the weak spot was, and the factory makes its changes. He knows his stuff.

I bought a TKO-600, factory spec (because I won't be shifting at 6,000 RPM or above) through him because of this talk with him. I felt secure in buying one and it shed light on all those things I was concerned about after reading many blogs that seemed to have problems with the Tremek. Have not installed it, but have it when I get to that point of my build. Liberty Transmissions is also another place that sells and modifies the Tremek. I think they sell kits for installations specific to your car for more money if you are not into fabricating.

Hope that helps a little in your choices.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-07-2013, 10:33 PM
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Sorry reply from my phone. I was in your shoes 2 years ago I ended up switching from a Nash 4+1 to a tko600 forget the 500 that's for small blocks not our Pontiacs. I have been building a touring car so I went with a hydro clutch which I think made it difficult for alot of people but my daily driver is a sti so I wanted something to feel tight. A hydro clutch would make your conversion a snap but add 500 to the build. My car is a 69 Gto with a 468 I built it to be low compression and reliable off pump gas. I just had it dyno tuned it put out 440 HP and 548 lbs tq. I can't imagine what it can do high compression with an aggressive camm. The tko moved the shifter back 2" and I had to mod the parking break cable but it was a clean fit no problems. I went with the. 64 overdrive and it does [email protected] rpm with pypes exhaust I can drive all day on the highway without an ear pain and it almost doubles my 7 mpg. It did take 6 months to get it but keisler staff was always easy to work with. Overall I recommend the tko600 as one of the only true overdrives that can handle the torque of Pontiac and still be comfortable. I also had some problems with my Richmond 2-3 until I pulled apart and found chewed front and rear bearings.

Last edited by groovedown; 09-07-2013 at 10:58 PM.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-08-2013, 08:37 AM
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Love my TKO600 and it has handled my cars 800++ HP and portly 3700lbs with nary a whimper. And I regularly shift it at 6000 plus too with no missed shifts.

My car is a factory Bench Seat 4spd and has a shifter handle unique to this option that has a bend in it. There is no leeway really for shifter location and Keisler nailed it the first time. I modified my stock shifter handle to fit the billet TKO shifter and it fits perfect and shifts like butter. I did have to raise the doghouse but it is undetectable and factory carpet fits fine. For anyone with even moderate mechanical ability and access to a wire welder you will have no problem.

I did make a new trans cross member out of tubular steel that actually bolts to the frame but that was not necessary. Just didn't trust that factory unit with the power I'm putting down.

Ratios are perfect IMO and love the OD which puts my engine right at the sweet spot of 2300 RPM at 75 mph. You should see the looks on peoples faces when I pass them on the interstate.....priceless .

If and when I ever do grenade the TKO I will just whip out the CC and order me another. It is the perfect trans for my car and driving style.
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-10-2013, 01:52 PM
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TREMEC Transmission

I just ordered a TREMEC TKO 600 for my '69 GTO. I have heard a lot of good things about this tranny. The trans shop I am purchasing it from also said for a GM A body application, they have to machine the forward shift area due to the height and width of the TKO tranny. This should also negate the need for a tunnel kit. This is to provide for smoother shifting. While it may fit, I may have to shorten my drive shaft. Other than this, it should bolt right up with little or no further modification. It should match up nicely with my Ford 9" rear with a 3.89 gear. Post what you decide on and how it works out. I hope this info is helpful in your selection process. I am hopeful to have mine installed and running by next weekend.

Last edited by Taxangler; 09-10-2013 at 05:53 PM.
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-15-2013, 03:04 AM
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I purchased my TKO 500 from AMP Performance and installed it behind a 461 in my 1969 GTO.

If you decide to do use a Tremec TKO you will have to cut and balance your drive shaft, and make a couple small cuts and welds (if your floor pans are not sagging). I was in the process of replacing the floor pans, so a little more cutting and welding was not a big deal.

I went with AMP Performance (GM Tremec TKO 9 piece starter kit) for $2414 with shipping. because they had the transmission in stock and Kiesler was a 2-3 wait for a RS transmission.

I selected the 500 instead of the 600 because of the 3.27 first gear. The 600 has a 2.87 first gear.

I also purchased a off set shifter to place back in factory position ($149) and a drive shaft ($399) so I could do the swap in less than 6hrs.
However, they made the drive shaft the same size, but they did pay to have it shorten and balanced locally, which was about $100 dollars

Customer service was outstanding with AMP

Hope this helps.


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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-16-2013, 02:55 PM
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I too run a TKO600. Only mods were slightly shortening my TH350 driveshaft, relocating the crossmember back about 2" and yes, the dreaded floor pan slice n dice. Shifts smooth as silk and GREAT highway manners. If this is a freeway driver DON'T get the Road Race TKO as it has a .82:1 5th instead of the more desirable (imo) .64:1

Why get over drive if your only a few notches below a 4 speeds 1:1.?. With 3.73s my 455 hums along at 70mph right at 2000rpm on a 26.5" tire.

My .02

You outta see her on a road course, or a quarter mile
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