305 cylinder head porting notes
305 H.O. build notes
Testing and modification of the AFR195 cylinder head
Design and construction of the 385 CID long block
From carb to EFI: Rolling your own system
Dan's ALDL page for 1982 thru 1986 applications
Cool ways to modify your TPI
Installing the Teamtech safety harness
Installing Kenny Brown Super Subs into your Third-gen
B&M Supercooler for auto transmissions
Need to make it stick? Install one of these!
Brake it or break it: How to install 1LE brakes onto your third gen
Strengthening tips for the 10 bolt axle
1.27g in the turns at the track. It's verified. See how!
Dan's gallery of cool car sounds
Dan's gallery of cool car photos
Favorite links that you cannot live without
The ws6transam.org message board for hobbyists


July 2003

We got the roll bar installed in May, and the T56 6-speed transmission was finished in June.

The transmission installation turned out to be fairly technically complex, as I also needed to swap over to a digital speedometer from a 1987 Firebird. This involved quite a bit of research as the L69 instrument cluster is not consistent with any of the published wiring diagrams.

I've taken a few pictures of the installation, but due to the complexity, I decided to create a .pdf document with the details, rather than a detailed installation page. If you are thinking of doing a swap, be sure to allocate enough money. Things you may not be aware of include the cost of a torque arm, clutch, speedometer recalibration box, and custom flywheel, if you have a 2-piece rear main seal engine. These components can easily exceed the cost of your donor T56.


Roll bar installation

Preparing to run mid-11's. Other summer modifications include a T56 six-speed, aluminum bumper support, new race harnesses, and a new headliner.

Big hint to you potential T56 installation folks: There's a method to driving that transmission home the last half-an-inch called the "suck-it-in" method. It is a way of compensating for slight alignment issues with the pilot bushing. Essentially you put in four 2-inch long bellhousing bolts, then actuate the clutch lever with a big pair of channel locks. This unloads the pressure plate, enabling the clutch to shift and the input shaft to drive home into the center of the pilot bushing.

Don't forget to cut your hole in the transmission tunnel before placing the transmission into place. The shifter top plate actually pokes up through the tunnel. The hole is your basic 6 x 9 inch hole, and you probably want to measure carefully before breaking out your sawzall. I test-fit the transmission beforehand, traced the outline of the shifter top plate onto the underside of the housing, then opened up the box a bit for clearance. I then drilled the four corners out of the box with an eighth inch drill bit. Afterwards, I ground four slots (after cutting out the auto transmission shifter mounting plate, which is spot-welded in place.) through the metal with a cutoff wheel, then poked the sawzall through the slots to make four simple cuts. The plate fell out with no dramas. Then, I inserted my lower shift boot, and peened it with a hammer to contour the transmision tunnel. I think that the T56 puts the shifter a little farther back and to the right of the standard T5 applicationb.


T56 clutch installation

The 2-piece rear main seal block requires a custom flywheel from either Centerforce or Fidanza. Attached to the new flywheel is a SPEC stage 2 clutch. With the bellhousing attached to the L69 305 block, the transmission is ready to be installed.

What a clean install! Too bad you cannot make out the splendid 6-speed shift pattern in this washed out photo. The shifter is a B&M unit, though finding third gear still seems a little problematic. In addition, the speedometer is not yet calibrated. However, fanning the clutch in first gear while mashing the gas is a joy! I need to work on launching technique, it seems. Either I bog the engine, or I fry the tires.


Jackstand blues

I keep putting 'er back up in the air. I'll be taking it to the CamaroZ28.com national gathering in late July. In the mean time I need to drop the exhaust and fix a few rattles, among other things.

Minirammed 385 status:

No status.

It is still waiting for me to finish the heads. I also need to buy me an aluminum waterpump, and a new distributor. Due to my impulse buy of the T56, I need to push the engine project to April 15, 2004. Instead, I will try to eek a 13.xxx / 101+ mph quarter mile out of the old Feeble305. It looks pretty good, though I think the carb needs attention.


Dan's Powdercoating services

As an offshoot of my hobby, I have put together some tools and procedures for specialized powdercoating. I can powdercoat small to medium sized metallic parts such as valve covers, plenums, intakes, and accessory equipment. I can also provide items such as third-gen spindles that are converted for use with 1LE calipers, CS-130 series alternators, T56 shift pattern decals, etcetera. For a sample of some of my various projects,

click here.


ws6transam.org Sponsors:


Air Flow Research has agreed to sponsor the flow testing of the cylinder heads. As a result, you will be getting extensive flow profiling of the AFR195. If you have a computer simulation, go ahead and use the numbers for your own virtual engine. If you need cylinder heads, read the tech article and judge them for yourself. b

Comments? Contact me.

Last modified: June 20, 2003