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Auto to Manual Conversion Guide

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Update time! Most everything is ready to go now. I've got some pictures to share.

PIC 1 - Gearbox. I think I already uploaded a picture of the box but here it is again. I do believe it's a 240K box even if we have a 280ZX clutch...

PIC 2 - Bracket. This neat litte bracket will allow for adjustment of the clutch. I have also drilled the holes where needed so it's all ready to install. I'll take another picture once it's in there.

PIC 3 - Brake Pedal. These pedals were actually not from the parts car, but another 240K I found a year or so ago at a wreckers yard. I picked them off in case I needed them later. The ones in the parts car were OK but had more rust, so we used these ones. Steve and I sanded them back to metal and then I painted them today. Primer then satin black.

PIC 4 - Clutch Pedal. Same again.

PIC 5 - Dust Cover. We also grinded back the dust cover to bare metal last night, and today I sprayed it with some silver hi-temp paint. Not really necessary at all but I wanted to buy some hi-temp paint anyway to paint my calipers later on.






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PIC 6 - Clutches old and new. This is the new clutch (for 280ZX) and the old clutch. They look like they are exactly the same, though the height of the old one was slightly less. I figured it would compress through use?

PIC 7 - Degreasing bolts etc. Had these soaking for a while to get rid of the muck. The gearknob didn't want to come off, but it eventually did (someone glued it on). Thread still looks ok, so should be good! Yes, I have another knob for it.

PIC 8 - Exhaust. I managed to get this off today too. It was not that hard. The car is very loud now!!!

PIC 9 - Flywheel + Clutch master and slave cylinders. The flywheel has been machined and I bought a new clutch master cylinder and slave cylinder.

PIC 10 - Other bits. These are all the rubbers and seals that I bought. I have still not found a gearstick inner rubber (I've been to wreckers and emailed a few places) but Scott's Old Rubber says that they have something similar... they are getting back to me.

I also took out the centre console. Might have to do something (secret project) while its out :bunny:






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Day 2 - Thursday 26/01/06

On our beautiful sunny Australia Day Victor and Steve came over again to help out with stage 2 of the swap - getting the automatic gearbox out of my car! I stressed that this time we would have to be a bit more careful - if something is in the way, we would unbolt it and set it aside rather than breaking it off LOL Anyway, it was a good day and we made excellent progress. We only didn't go further because we didn't have a torque wrench nor a clutch alignment tool (nor the knowledge to know what exactly that meant!). As before, a summary of what we did.

- Firstly, we removed all the lines and brackets and wires running to the box. The transmission cooler lines from the bottom of the radiator will leak, so have your bucket handy. Though if you have you car up on an angle like we did it will only trickle out from there. We let the majority flow into a bucket then tied on some paper towel to soak up anything else that came out of the hose and radiator. The transmission cooler lines came out easily on the left but on the right we couldn't remove all the brackets (they were in the darndest of places!) so we just removed the lines themselves for now. One of the bolts sheered too on the speedo cable bracket.

- Removing all the stuff is pretty easy, it's all fairly obvious but I say that hesitantly - we have yet to put it back together!! Though, most of the stuff we won't even need.

- Here's a warning - don't take the bottom of the gearbox (sump?) off ... it kinda leaks all the fluid all over the ground. And Steve's head. Steve learned this the hard way ROFL This is the kind of place where having a bucket nearby is handy.

- Now, drain the trans fluid. LOL

- Also, remember not to drop your TOOLS in aforementioned bucket of liquid (STEVE!!).

- Also, clean said tools if they do drop in the bucket, as otherwise they will be slippery, and may cause severe pain if you mash your knuckles against anything (e.g. engine block). LOL

- Fare few wires to disconnect - we just disconnected them at the engine bay where they meet the rest of the loom. Hope this works! Yes, we will have to remember to short the dont-start-in-drive wires later.

- Removed the driveshaft.

- Now the box is ready to come off. We jacked it up, put some wood behind the engine head and removed the cradle holding it up. The whole engine will want to fall backwards so that's the purpose of the wood. We also put a jack under the engine to support that some more. Pictures later will explain better.

- Jimmied the box off a bit, but it wouldn't come off without the engine lower so we had to lower the engine jack a bit. Once this was done, it came off alright. Since we used two jacks to support the box, it came down pretty steadily. Rolled it onto some more wood once it was down and slid it out. Very gracefully, I assure you.

- Now to remove the other stuff. This was one of the hardest parts, as the bolts were VERY TIGHT, and it was hard to keep the whole thing from rotating. We used some wood and a flathead srewdriver to make sure the flywheel wouldn't move, and got the donut off.

- The flywheel was hard. We ended up using some kind of crazy leverage contraption. Eventually we got them all off and it was done!

- After this we decided to put the manual dust cover and flywheel back on (they are different). Well, that was pretty damn hard too. Dust cover went on reasonably easily with a bit of hammering to get it fitting right, but the flywheel was awful. The problem was that the holes for the bolts had no margin for error at all, but the centre hole for the drive shaft did. So you had to lift it up at the same time as trying to align the screw holes and screw the bolts (which I shall also mention are slightly longer for manual than auto) in by hand. We got it eventually but it's not something I would want to do in any hurry. We will tighten them properly on Saturday with a torque wrench.

Today I just went to try to get a seal for the manual box for the throwout lever hole. It's coming tomorrow so that should be nice to have a properly sealed box.

And now, for pictures!

PIC 1 - This is our small garage setup. We were going to work outside originally but were forced inside by the fear of rain last week and decided it would be much nicer to work here than outside.

PIC 2 - I removed the centre console so we could just get straight to work on Thursday. Very simple, though I just hope I'll be able to plug in the head unit again! LOL

PIC 3 - This is the LHD transmission cooler line. It goes all the way from the bottom of the radiator to the transmission.

PIC 4 - Again, don't remove that. It's quite ok to stay where it is! Notice two connections there too, one is the vacuum something that goes to the carbs (should I block the hole on the balance tube between the carbs?) and the other is something else. It's all gotta go!

PIC 5 - Driveshaft, OUT! Note the cradle still holding up the gearbox. This cradle is incidentally different than the one we took out of the manual car. I'd much rather use the one that came out of my car as it's a lot cleaner and less rusty, so I hope it fits. I don't see why not.






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PIC 6 - The jack under the engine as I mentioned. The gearbox is already starting to peel itself away from the engine at this stage.

PIC 7 - Two jacks to steadily lower the transmission once it's released from the engine. Note here that the cradle has been removed in place for the second jack.

PIC 8 - Wood behind the engine head.

PIC 9 - A couple of cradles (the big one supports the transmission and the smaller one is the bottom part of a driveshaft support).

PIC 10 - The automatic transmission is out! This is before any cleaning, amazingly cleaner than the manual in the parts car. I guess we'll just throw this out as there can't be any demand for an auto 240K box surely?






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PIC 11 - Donut!

PIC 12 - Auto Flywheel!

PIC 13 - The back of the engine block. We looked at the seal here and it seemed pretty good - do we still need to replace??

PIC 14 - Flywheel and manual dust cover are on. It's looking awesome. I thought about cleaning up the underside of the car while we were down there but the grease is only keeping rust away so there's no point really.

PIC 15 - We borrowed an oil syringe from my older brother's workplace.






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Day 3 - Saturday 28/01/06

Steve, Victor and Peter came in the morning for D-day. We were determined to get it working today, and we didn't really have much to do... surely. It was all installation now. Added to the fact we wanted to get it done was that on Sunday my parents were going to move the entire kitchen out into the garage because we are having a new floor put in the kitchen on Monday. Make or break! We ended up working until about 11pm and I didn't get to bed until 1. But we got it done!!!

- Before they came I had got the brake pedal almost back on... these pedals are a nightmare. Next time, I would take the whole drivers seat out and put a pillow over the mounts to make it more comfortable. Also, make sure you have a few torches... good ones, that dont run out after 5 minutes. Oh and don't forget to adjust the steering wheel up.

- Forget what I said about the flywheel the other day. That's incorrect - the only reason the centre hole was too large was because we didn't remove ALL of the automatic gear. There is a spacer thing that will come off. It needed a bit of a pry with the spanner to come though. Once that was off, fitting the flywheel was reasonably easy. Set up the torque wrench to the appropriate setting (found in the blue Service Manual) and there we go. By the way, we chose not to replace the rear of engine block seal as the one in my car looked to be in very good condition anyway.

- Spigot bush. Peter suggested we put the bush into the freezer for a bit to shrink it a little for easier fitment. What an ideas man...! It fit without trouble at all.

- Clutch time! Perhaps the hardest part was aligning the clutch. Thankfully we had Peter and a good set of verniers. A clutch alignment tool would probably make an easier job of it but I didn't want to spend $40 on something I'd use once. Besides, if you look at my total costs you will see I went a little over budget.

- Meanwhile, we also had to fit the new seal to the rear of the gearbox. That proved a little difficult but it all came out eventually. Also, I bought a new dust cover for the throwout lever on the gearbox. Luckily, Nissan had one and only took a day for delivery. It fits nicely!

- We tried to fit the gearbox on, and we couldn't even get it to come onto the splines. Fit the (removed) driveshaft into the gearbox to move the splines until they fit. Unfortunately, it didn't want to go further than that.

- So, back off again and adjust the clutch. Peter made sure it would work this time, and sure enough, fitting the box was easy. It just about jumped itself on!

- Fitted all the gearbox bolts and put the cradle back on. It would probably be a good idea to take a photo of the bolts, washers and rubbers and how they fit with the cradles. It would save a bit of time. By the way, although the two gearbox support cradles looked different, we used my original one (not the parts car's) and it fit fine. Also, when we fitted the cradle we had it reasonably high as we thought it would drop a bit when released from the jack. It did - about half a cm.

- Fit the driveshaft and bolt it on. It's important here to have the top part of the centre bearing bracket on top of the bearing before you bolt it all together, as you can't get it back over the bearing otherwise.

- Fit the centre bearing cradle.

- Now, you can use your existing wiring from the auto easily enough. Wires are simple - use your wiring diagram and it's a piece of cake. We thought we could do it without one so had a few problems but eventually worked it out. Two reds go into gearbox (that's reverse lights), and you must short the two blacks (inhibitor). The other two (kickdown) don't need to do anything.

- Fixed up the throttles and blocked the little hose that used to go to the auto box.

- Bleed the clutch lines, and fill up the gearbox oil.

And that's about it. I have probably forgotten to mention a few things and I purposely didn't mention the really simple stuff. I've tried to be short and sweet with this as there's nothing worse than 10 pages of paragraphs when all you want are the facts. Overall, the swap was not too hard - but it certainly took us some time and figuring out. I would never have been able to do it by myself. Again, I would like to thank SO MUCH Steve, Victor and our group Datsun affectionado Peter whom without we would probably still be out there. Thankyou so much! Also to Victor's dad who let us borrow his tools, including one gigantic jack that really made our job a lot easier.

I sincerely hope some find this useful. If not, I guess it has been useful for me to go over what we did as a sort of summary. Without a doubt this has been the best learning experience for me in regards to my car. Just awesome.

Anyway, it is not completely finished. I have a few things to tidy up first:

- Close the back of the balance tube on carbs that previously went to auto box

- Close the outlets at the bottom of the radiator

- Find two dust cover bolts

- New little rubber stopper for the clutch pedal

- New circlip for pedal

- Inner rubber for shifter

- Get outer rubber for shifter made up

- Fit centre console

- Fix up wires under the car (at the moment they have been twisted and taped over)

- Remove sheared bolt from under the car and secure the speedo cable back.

And now as usual, some pictures.

PIC 1 - The throwout lever dust cover.

PIC 2 - Clutch being aligned. Peter used verniers to measure distance between clutch and flywheel, and a big flat spanner to gently tap the clutch until it was sitting perfectly.

PIC 3 - The new seal fitted to the back of the gearbox. The old one was pretty brittle and left bits but rest assured we did clean them out before fitting.

PIC 4 - This is how you fit pedals... the clutch is actually quite easy but the brake pedal was difficult to get at. It would have been nice of Nissan to just bolt the rubber pedals on the lever so we could easily swap them!

PIC 5 - Manual is in! OK so it doesn't look like much, but it works. Now I just have to source the other bits and it'll be fantastic!!

Thankyou Peter, Steve and Victor once again for your help!!






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And now, my costs. Note that I have not included the parts car as a cost. This is just the "extra parts" costs!

Trolley Jacks							$62.97 
Clutch kit (20% Discount) $210.00
32861-N4200 bush-control lever, head $7.26
32862-E9300 Boot control lever $11.09
32855-H1010 bush x2 $18.42
32202-B9500 Bushing crankshaft $17.24
Degreaser x2 $17.20
H-D Handwash $11.25
WD-40 $5.20
Black paint $17.49
Undercoat $19.49
Gearbox oil $34.99
Clutch fluid $5.79
Clutch master cylinder $47.00
Clutch slave cylinder $22.00
Flywheel machining $38.00
Sandpaper $7.90
32136-U0100 Seal - oil - rear extension $8.00
Brackets $5.00
Hi-temp paint $16.00
Crankshaft oil seal for rear of block $14.50
30254-N1329 Cover-dust withdrawl lever $16.20
TOTAL: $612.99

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Yes Michael it is all running, but with my big tyres on the back I do not expect a chirp in 3rd... It does get down and boogy though! I haven't been too rough yet :) Can't wait till it's all back together properly.

It was a fair bit over budget wasn't it. I needed all of it though, so not much you can do about it. I don't care, it was worth it!!!

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Well done Lachlan (and co.) Its gives you a great feeling of satisfaction to complete a large project like that - I remember doing similar engine/trans swaps on early kingswoods, premiers and monaros when I was younger - great fun! You need to give us another update on the new driving experience...that's the best bit!

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Congratulations..it must feel like driving a whole new car. I know it did when I went from auto to manual.

I expect to see you hammering 'round the GC in no time!ROFL

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Update on the driving experience... It does chirp into 3rd :P

It does feel quite odd driving now... very much so like a new car. Since the clutch is a 280ZX one it's actually quite hard - wouldn't want it any harder. Gotta sort out my sticky pedal though, makes taking off from a standstill a bit of a magic act! Thanks for the positive comments guys :)

BTW, got a complaint from a neighbour too on Saturday night. Hooning around without any exhaust and doing burnouts... True we took it around the block twice - slowly - to test the gearbox and clutch, but that was with exhaust fitted and definitely no burnouts!! I doubt I'd be able to even do it, and I would definitely not do it in front of my own house :stupid: I think I know the neighbour who complained too, but I'll reserve the thoughts I have towards her :) Anyway, police came today while I was out and said they will be returning. I sure look forward to that! :D

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Be thankful they only complain..

..one of my "friendly" neighbours decided to key my car on Australia Day (now THAT'S un-Australian) - only days after I got it back from the panel shop. What makes it worse is that I only got it back on the Friday, having spent $$ on getting little bits here and there on the body attended to. Now I have a lovely foot long scar on the passenger side.

I know who did it too, but I've got no proof. I don't do burnouts or make any noise, he just doesn't like me.

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Ahh yes, 3rd gear chirp :D

Luckily we have a neighbour opposite that is generally louder and more car obsessed than us so, people around this area are somewhat used to it. DOn't do anything excessive, just when testing something out it gets a quick blat down the street and back and then back up the drive for more tinkering followed by another blat :D

Glad you've finally got it manual now though! All you need is one of Alan's S20's ;) Of course, then you'd probably need a different box anyway!

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Oh, also.. try getting some softer return springs for your twin SU's.. that'll fix the "sticky pedal" .. at least, that's the problem with mine, although I have got it down to a fine art now.. :D

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Great to hear, Lachlan! Sounds like you're enjoying the manual experience. It's only a matter of time before you have the triple 45mm Webers fitted, with fully worked L28 up front. :tapemouth

Two reds go into gearbox (that's reverse lights), and you must short the two blacks (inhibitor).
Of course - makes perfect sense now! Why didn't I think of it?? :stupid:

Pretty lame of the neighbours to call the cops though. It's not as if you regularly hoon around your neighbourhood. Might be time to get a second muffler (or resonator) fitted, if the cops are going to be keeping an eye on you.

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Hey Michael, yeah I got some softer return springs and it helped a bit, but there is still some slack before it starts. I think shortening the cable might do the trick... I just wish it weren't a floor-mounted pedal... the Z one was perfect.

Peter, it didn't make sense to us because the two reds were male, and the two blacks were female. The two wires from the box were also male. Odd... but easily worked out. :) We have continual problems in the neighbourhood with reckless drivers testing out their rubber burning skills on the street. It quite possibly could have been some random person who saw the numberplate and just reported that. Who knows... all I know is I won't drive around the block at night anymore. Just a longer walk home if something doesnt work :o

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Youre finally there! Ive been reading every post with anticipation - and where have these twin SU's come from :D? When did you get them put in - was this your mysterious 'side project'? Bet its an infinitely more enjoyable experience.

And whats this about a chirp in third gear? Perhaps the ratios are slightly different in the five speed, because there is absolutely no way the tyres will chirp in third gear with my four speed. Anyway, sounds great, hope to see pics/video soon :D


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Hi Tom, I have had the dual Hitachi SU's in for a long time now... one of the very first things I did. I put off the "side project" due to underbudgeting for the conversion. :( The four and five speeds do have different ratios:

	F4W71B	FS5W71B
1st 3.592 3.321
2nd 2.246 2.077
3rd 1.415 1.308
4th 1.000 1.000
5th 0.864
Rev 3.657 3.382

But using my immense car knowledge, wouldn't that mean the ratios are actually shorter in the 4-speed? I guess there are a lot of other factors too, including carbs, weight, engine condition, tyres, gradient of the road etc. etc. etc.

Anyway, will try to get a video soon. As for pics... you want more?! LOL What of?

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Rear end gearing also has an effect on the final drive. I've not tried spinning my tires yet, but I swapped out the F4W71B 4 speed for a FS5W71B 5 speed and lost some off-the-line jump. However, once in third gear, the car moves like a scalded cat. This is with a 3.90 rear end. Funny, though all I've read seems to point out that these are 72 transmissions, and my car is a 71.

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Really? I must have missed that...or my memory has since faded into oblivion. In any case are they round top hitachis, or flat tops? Just a pic of the engine bay is all i was after!

In regards to the 5-speed trannies, im not sure if that (small) descrepancy between 3rd gear ratios would account for the chirp? The ZX box is an altogether different box, isnt it?


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According to the manuals and things I've got the differentials should be the same (ie R180 3.54). My carbs are round top hitachis from a 240Z. They add a bit of performance, but chew a lot more fuel and harder to keep in tune.

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This just in - the metal frame that holds the outer gearboot in place is NOT the same in early and late-model cars. The later ones must have a slightly wider console or something. Lucky I checked before I got a new gear boot made up!! I am now searching for the frame for an early car. Sure I could fabricate something, but I'd rather have the real thing.

Picture shows what I'm talking about.


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All you need is one of Alan's S20's ;) Of course, then you'd probably need a different box anyway!

Just wanted to add this information for reference. The GT-R was fitted with FS5C71B transmission with the following ratios:

1st 2.906
2nd 1.902
3rd 1.308
4th 1.000
5th 0.864
Rev 3.382

It was fitted with the R192 diff with a ratio of 1:4.444 (This is so high - could be an option part?)

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