the car is badged for a 326 V8, but the engine block number calls it out as a 350 from a 72 pontiac. i dont know anything about the change, since it was done, from the look of it, long before i got the car. i also dont know when the transmission was changed. i suppose both might have been done at the same time in the late 80's.
there are basically two "generations" of the T5, referred to as NWC (not world class) for the early transmissions, up until the late 1980's, and WC (world class) from then on. there are a lot of opinions floating around about the differences and what they mean. as an example, i am pretty sure that the tail housing is a NWC part, possibly from a S10 pickup, but i am not sure. i think it is an earlier part because it has the analogue speedometer fitting. i have not seen references to a WC transmission with one, but, as someone pointed out, there are over 250 different combinations of housings, bearings, shafts, and gear ratios. these transmissions have been used everywhere, under lots of different vehicles, and it appears that you can put parts from a brand new t5 (yes, they are still made by the company who bought the transmission business from BW way back when, tremec) into a first year transmission.
while i didnt expect a lot of t5 partisans to make an appearance here, i was hoping that the issue would ring a bell with the collective wisdom, since i imagine that the issue is a generic problem, like a clip sprung loose, or a pin sheared off.
basically, i was being lazy, and hoping someone would be able to point me to the likely culprit, so i wouldn't put effort into taking things apart that i didnt need to. i may find myself having to replace the gear itself, but a lack of mess in the fluid and lack of gnashing or grinding leaves me with the hope that i will find a clip laying in the bottom of the housing or something equally trivial to fix.
yeah, right . . . . . .