What makes an old muscle Mopar better? An old muscle Mopar with a 4-speed transmission! No slushbox automatics here, we are talking heavy left foot, gear jammin’ greatness! Combine that with 4.10 ring and pinion and it’s a side slippin’, rowin’ gear good time! What do you mean I can’t drive 500 miles on a road trip without a fuel tanker truck behind me?
What makes today’s muscle Mopars more enjoyable to drive than our old 60’s muscle Mopars? The ability to drive on the freeway while still having some steep rearend gearing without the engine winding to the moon and sucking down every available drop of fuel. Anyone who has had an old Mopar with a 3.91 or 4.10 (or steeper) ring and pinion set knows that driving any long distance at a steady rpm will yield a gas gauge that drops faster than the miles driven. Plus you are getting passed by every car on the highway because you’re doing 55mph and the tach is singing at 3,000-plus rpm!
Above left: Here is our conversion candidate, a well-worn and loved 1969 Plymouth Roadrunner. It is a factory 4-speed car so it has the correct tranny hump inside but really it doesn’t matter, Silver Sport Transmissions has kits for factory auto cars also. This car has a typical hopped up 383 big block and a Dana 60 with a 4.10 gear set. Above right: Everything you need comes in 5 boxes except the driveshaft, but that comes later.
Above left: The SST PerfectFit kit comes with everything you can imagine to make your swap a reality – including all mounting hardware and fluids! Above center: A key part of the kit is the included plates, covers and components necessary to button up your B-body without any leaks or rattles. Above right: Road Runners are best because of the large trunk area used for displaying all this great stuff!
Above: This photo doesn’t do justice to the super neat and tidy remote hydraulic master cylinder. This is the neatest, cleanest way I have ever seen short of custom race fabrication of having a hydraulic throw out bearing master cylinder kit.
Alternatives to this sad scenario are few and far between. Now any enterprising Mopar car nut is going to find themselves a mid-to-late seventies A-833 “overdrive” 4-speed and swap that in place of their trusty regular A-833 4-speed. But a problem arises is in that it came with a far larger front bearing retainer that won’t fit their existing bell housing and they are 23-spline input shaft, which leaves all the Hemi and 440 guys out in the cold.
Fast forward to the 21st century; no longer does your trusty old Mopar muscle car have to sit in the garage and miss all the fun. Enter Silver Sport Transmissions and their 5-speed conversion kits. Manual transmissions have come a long way since Mother Mopar designed the New Process A-833 4-speed transmission. While most cars these days have automatics, the Big Three still engage in the factory hot rod battles, out of that rivalry has come tremendous development in manual transmissions. Enter Tremec and their drivetrain solutions; they have been making the majority of 5- and 6-speed transmissions you will find in any late model muscle car from the early 1990’s to today’s factory offerings.
Top row: Silver Sport Transmissions’ VP of Sales and Marketing, Jeff Kauffman emphasized that customers should always call prior to deciding on a purchase, as SST will custom-equip each package so not to sell a customer parts or items their application doesn’t require. Each kit is custom-tailored to kit every customer’s particular build. Bottom row: Whether you’re building a big horsepower, tire-burner or a weekend cruiser, SST has the parts to fit your build perfectly. They also include incredibly detailed instructions on how to expertly make the upgrade.
Above: First off, put the car on hard stands. The pedal box stays but from the flywheel back to the drive shaft come out.
Above left: Prior to unbolting and removing the transmission, we properly supported the engine. Nothing too scientific here! Above center and right: With the old 4-speed and its linkage removed, we can access the bellhousing and clutch.
Silver Sport Transmissions has put together a do-it-at-home 5-speed conversion that requires minimal surgery to your beloved Mopar. This is an extremely high quality kit that leaves no stone unturned when it comes to the parts and pieces needed to install a tough-as-nails Tremec in your old Mopar muscle car. While many articles are written and photographed in a large shop with a lift and a team of engineers on standby, we did this install on the concrete, on jack stands with hand tools to prove that it can be done at home with a basic equipped tool box.
Now I must stress that it is absolutely imperative that you read and fully understand all the installation paperwork that Silver Sport includes with the transmission kit. Failure to do so will lead you to great frustration and anguish; it truly is a straight forward, easy-to-install conversion that is very well worked out. Plain and simple, read the instructions!
Above: With all of the linkage, clutch, flexplate and bell housing removed, we can take a minute to clean up the back of our 383 prior to installing the new stuff!
Above center: Silver Sport Transmissions gives you a template to follow in the form of a pre-cut blocking plate for you to make the necessary cut to the transmission tunnel for the 5-speed shifter. Above right: Cut the transmission shifter hole. We used the new steel cover plate as a template of where to cut our floor pan. As you can see it is right next to the old original hole and if you’re careful with your cut you can minimize to opening to only what is needed.
Above: Because of the new Tremec’s input shaft, a new pilot bearing needed to be inserted. We found a 1 7/16-inch socket was the perfect fit to tap it into place.
Above left: SST smartly provides a final warning on the flywheel, as Mopar bolt patterns are specifically aligned so that the flywheel will only bolt down in a specific location. Above center: The kit also includes top-of-the-line ARP hardware. Above right: Following the instructions, we torqued the flywheel bolts down in a criss-crossing pattern.
Above: Using the supplied alignment tool, we installed the clutch disc and cover, bolting down the pressure plate to the flywheel using the supplied hardware and thread locker.
Above: Here’s the Tremec transmission, it’s a sizeable piece we rolled it in from the back of the car after raising the rear end a little higher. Once it’s under the car and oriented correctly there’s room to maneuver it around.
Above left: One of the neatest parts of this whole installation is the hydraulic throw-out bearing. No more worn out bushings, no more bent Z-bar, no more rotten clips! Above center: Just follow the instructions provided to the letter and take your time and you won’t believe how easy this to set-up. Above right: The high quality of this kit really comes out when using these finely machined parts.
Above left: The master cylinder for the hydraulic throw-out is one of the slickest pieces of machinery in this kit. Above right: Bleeding and running the lines is simple with plenty of line to work with on the -4 braided S/S lines. Install the bleeder fitting and bleed the system, super simple!
Above: With the help of the new backer plate as a template and a permanent marker, we made our measurements, drilled our new holes and installed the backer plate on the firewall and then bolted on the master cylinder. Everything fits in the engine compartment with plenty of room to work on anything.
Above: With everything all bolted in (with the new driveshaft that Silver Sport Transmissions provides after you send them all the particulars they ask for) – it couldn’t be easier.
Above left: The brand new shift ball! It’s almost hard to believe that this old Mopar has 5 forward gears to row through! It truly is a plug-and-play kit that you can install at home with hand tools and some patience. Just follow the directions and your old Mopar can once again frolic with its friends on the highways! Above right: Now with our Silver Sport Transmissions 5-speed Tremec, we guess it’s time to start cracking on our big stroker, Edelbrock Pro-Flo4 EFI-fed Gen2 Hemi for this street-driven Road Runner! Look out for future updates on Mopar Connection as we continue wrenching!