First, the AP techs slapped the bell housing on without the flywheel or clutch. The trans was hoisted up to see what kind of clearances there were for the tunnel. Turns out, a little hammering was needed just at the vent tube (a common issue with TKOS). One of the ways AP gets these larger transmissions to fit into older vehicles is to minimize the transmission case. AP also offers fiberglass tunnel humps for many trucks like this one. Six-speeds will need a larger tunnel opening.
The trans on the left is a stock-out-of-the-box TREMEC TKO. The trans on the right has been minimized by
AP. You can see the corners on the top of the trans have been cut down for better tunnel clearance. The shifter was replaced with a White Lightning short-throw shifter that also serves as forward shift position to clear a bench seat.
THESE PRO-FIT KITS COME COMPLETE WITH EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO GET A MANUAL FIVE-SPEED TRANSMISSION BEHIND YOUR V-8.”
Once the tunnel clearance was checked and the shifter location was set up, the X-factor universal adjustable cross member was installed. AP has these in three sizes that adjust to fit frame widths from 20 to 34 inches. We used the widest, which adjusts from 32 to 34 inches; this allows you to set the height for the right driveline angle and uses a standard GM transmission isolator. The cross member also allows adequate exhaust clearance for lowered trucks. Simply slide the plates to the frame, mark the holes and drill using the supplied grade 8 hardware.
The cross member was set to the right driveline angle. TREMEC calls for plus or minus 3 degrees to avoid vibration. A cheap magnetic angle finder makes it easy to set the angle.
Now the real fun begins. Once the mock-up was done and the trans was removed, it was time to start the installation. One critical procedure is to dial-indicate your bell housing. This is very important for ensuring the bell is centered on the engine so the input shaft lines up straight with the crank. This is critical for transmission longevity. AP has how-to videos and instructions to get this right.
Once the bell was checked, it was removed so that the flywheel and clutch could be installed. The AP tech made sure to torque everything down to spec.
Then it was time for more math.
This time it was for the hydraulic clutch bearing. Once the bell and clutch were installed, the distance from the pressure plate fingers to the edge of the bell was measured to determine the amount of space available to install the bearing.
The Hydramax hydraulic clutch kit allows many different clutch combinations.
The key is taking measurements and setting the depth correctly for your setup. The specs are .150-inch air gap between the bearing and the pressure plate fingers. The measurements will determine the number of shims you need to set it correctly for long clutch and bearing life. Once again, AP has all of the instructions and videos to make this a simple task. You will need a digital caliper for the job.